A shift in car design and development philosophy has been key to ensuring Mercedes has retained its place at the top of Formula 1’s pecking order, says Toto Wolff.

Mercedes largely dominated the early years of the V6 hybrid era which began in 2014 thanks to its supreme power unit performance, but with rival engine manufacturer’s such as Ferrari and Honda closing the gap, it has prompted the German squad to rethink its development strategy.

The reigning world champion outfit’s W10 challenger boasts significant improvements in terms of downforce and drag, enabling Mercedes to enjoy increased performance in low-speed corners, an area it had previously struggled.

Mercedes’ latest offering has been the outright quickest package at five of the opening six rounds of the season, with the team picking up six consecutive victories to open up a huge early lead in both world championships.

“In the early days of the power unit regulation change, we had a car that was a low-drag, fast car on the straights carried by the might of the engine,” Wolff explained.

“Over the years I think chassis and power unit have merged in order to extract the optimum lap time. And half of that was that the engine is still impressive, but we were able to wrap a chassis around it that has more downforce and more drag.

“We are not the quickest car anymore on the straights but we believe that the best compromise between these two blocks of performance works well for us.

“If you had told me last year that we were a solid P1 and P2 here [in qualifying] I would have thought that was great, but I wouldn’t have probably believed it.”

Mercedes heads into this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix looking to record a seventh straight victory and is expected to introduce its first engine upgrade of the season.

“I think every single circuit is a great challenge,” Wolff said. “Monaco, traditionally and historically wasn’t our best track. We knew that from the slow corners performance that we saw in Barcelona we have a chance but Monaco is different. From pure car performance over a single lap, definitely we were the quickest [in Monaco].

Montreal we did great last year. It’s a really exciting challengem and another great motivation to go there and try to perform as good as we can.”



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