Mercedes AMG F1 boss Toto Wolff says the Silver Arrows squad is determined to keep its foot on the throttle next weekend in Japan where the team will implement a few minor updates on its W10.
Mercedes crushed its rivals in the first part of the championship, winning eight consecutive races, but the German outfit has only snatched three victories in the last eight rounds, as Red Bull and especially Ferrari took their share of wins.
However, smart strategy and the Scuderia’s misfortune allowed Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to secure their eighth 1-2 of the 2019 season in Russia.
But with Ferrari still lurking, Wolff knows that Mercedes will require flawless execution and performance to prevail once again at Suzuka.
“Claiming a 1-2 in Sochi after three races without a win was a great feeling,” Wolff said ahead of next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
“We delivered a strong race in Russia, made the most of our opportunities and both Lewis and Valtteri drove flawlessly.
“We brought home 44 points, built the gap in both championships and are highly motivated to keep our foot on the throttle for the remaining five races.”
Since the end of the summer break, teams have gradually started to switch the bulk of their resources towards their 2020 contenders, and Mercedes is no exception. The team will nevertheless rely on a few upgrades to hopefully boost the pace of its W10 next weekend.
“The win in Sochi doesn’t change the fact that Ferrari had a stronger start to the second part of the season than we did,” conceded the Austrian.
“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.”
Since the advent of the hybrid era in 2014, Mercedes has been undefeated at Suzuka, with Hamilton taking four wins in the past five years.
“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,” added Wolff.
“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.”