Mercedes boss Toto Wolff views 2020 as a “massive challenge” that will have knock-on effects on 2021 as teams prepare this year for next season’s regulation changes.

The reigning world champions head to Australia as outright favourites after dominating pre-season testing in Barcelona.

However, it wasn’t all clear sailing for Mercedes at the Circuit de Catalunya, with several engine failures encumbering its reliability record in Spain and forcing its engineers to resolve the issues ahead of this week’s curtain raiser in Australia.

“It’s finally time go racing again and we’re looking forward to the new season,” said Wolff in the Silver Arrows outfit’s Australian GP preview.

“The team has worked very hard to build a new car and we’re excited to see what it can do when it’s driven in anger.

“We managed to get through most of our programme as planned at the winter tests; however, we faced some reliability issues that we needed to resolve.

“We’re glad that we encountered these issues in testing rather than at a race weekend as we could work on fixing them without any penalties. ”

F1 teams will carry the weight of a double workload this year, managing their season while also preparing for next year’s regulation overhaul.

Wolff believes that any set-backs or complications that could emerge in 2020 will have an effect on the team’s efforts and preparations for 2021.

“The new season will be exciting to watch both on-track and away from it as everything we do this year will have a knock-on effect for our competitiveness in the future,” said the Austrian.

“We face the challenge of the biggest technical changes our sport has ever seen combined with a budget cap, so the work that we do this year will determine the start to 2021.

“This makes the 2020 season a massive challenge – a challenge that everyone in Brixworth and Brackley is looking forward to.”

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