The Mercedes Formula 1 team will “explore little things” at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix but has no plans to introduce another major update to its 2019 car this season.

Since introducing its latest engine at the Belgian Grand Prix in August, Mercedes has not made any major iterations to its W10 challenger, while chief rival Ferrari has benefitted from a revised aerodynamic package it brought to Singapore and gone on to claim three wins out of the last four races.

A somewhat fortuitous victory last time out in Russia halted Ferrari’s recent resurgence but aside from a small update at Suzuka, the reigning world champion squad is keen to switch development onto its 2020 car.

“There will be little things at Suzuka, that we are just interested to explore, but not the big steps that we had and we pushed very hard until the summer," said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. 

“That’s the way it was planned. You’ve got to manage your resource in the right way, also looking into next year - that is something that we consider very carefully.

"We'll bring some minor upgrades to the car in Japan which will hopefully help us take a step in the right direction; however, we know that we need to extract absolutely everything from our car and the tyres if we want to be able to challenge for a win," he added.
"The next race takes us to the iconic Suzuka Circuit with its exhilarating corner sequences and highly enthusiastic fans. We have a strong track record there, having won every Japanese Grand Prix in the hybrid era, but we expect this year to be challenging given the strength of our opponents.

"It will be a very close battle on track - and one that we very much look forward to. Our targets for the final quarter of the season is clear and it's up to us to make sure we achieve them."

Ferrari has made significant strides in the power unit department and continues to prove the benchmark in terms of outright engine performance heading into the final five rounds of the campaign.

Asked if Mercedes will need to rethink its engine concept in a bid to catch up with Ferrari, Wolff replied: “I think we need to look at all areas of the engine and if there is some innovation that we should have spotted.

“Certainly in terms of internal combustion gains and thermal efficiency gains that you can achieve from year to year, we are speaking about something below a percent.

“That is something that you can physically attract with year-on-year development. With mature regulations like we have now, it is probably even less.

“So you have to be clever with all the other bits of the engine while adhering 100 percent to the regulations.”