Mercedes is considering whether to shift more of its focus onto its 2020 Formula 1 car development, following a dominant start to the current campaign.

The German manufacturer stretched its 100 percent win record in 2019 to eight races as Lewis Hamilton took a commanding victory at last weekend’s French Grand Prix, with teammate Valtteri Bottas sealing Mercedes’ sixth one-two finish of the year.

Hamilton now leads Bottas by 36 points in the drivers’ standings, while the nearest non-Mercedes driver Sebastian Vettel is already 76 points adrift. In the constructors’ championship, the reigning world champion squad holds a 140-point buffer over Ferrari.

Asked if Mercedes’ early advantage over Ferrari enables the team to consider diverting more focus onto 2020, team boss Toto Wolff replied: “You always assess that. You assess that almost every week and look at how the points develop and you shift resource.

“There is no big difference if you are ahead or not, because we are talking about a few individuals that would switch to the new car a few weeks earlier, so we are talking an adjustment for small percentages.

“So it doesn’t really make a big difference. Certainly the gap we have opened up provides a certain comfort but it’s also risky. We are eight races in with 13 to go, it’s 500-odd points. There is still a lot to score.”

Ferrari introduced a raft of updates including new wings and brake ducts in an attempt to reduce the deficit to Mercedes, with the team concluding it had gathered “mixed” results. Despite a dominant performance in France, Hamilton said Mercedes had not brought any upgrades to Paul Ricard.

“We actually didn’t come here with any upgrades, we just continue to refine this car,” the Briton explained.

“My feeling within the car is improving as I get more into the season, particularly in qualifying but also in the race. So just a big thank you to all the guys back at the factory for their continued hard work. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

“I know we’ve had a lot of success, and they’re used to it but I hope they continue to keep pushing. That’s what I’m doing.

“There’s not a single person I think that is complacent within the team,” he added. “They could be out there drinking right now but instead they’ll be working on the car onto the next one.

“They’re just sheer hard workers. Honestly never through I’d see such a great team and be so fortunate as to be in such a great team.

“I think Valtteri and I, want to help them to continue to break more records.”

 

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