Mercedes boss plays down ‘favourite’ tag

Mercedes tested their new car in Jerez last week
Mercedes tested their new car in Jerez last week

The boss of the Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas team, Toto Wolff, has played down suggestions the team is the favourite for the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship this year following an impressive performance at the first test in Jerez by Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes completed the most mileage of any team in the opening week of testing and even moved on to a race simulation on the morning of the final day. Ferrari and McLaren also had successful weeks in terms of mileage, but Red Bull struggled, as did all of the Renault-powered teams present.

Despite the strong showing in Spain, Wolff is taking nothing for granted. He said: “If you look back through past seasons, the favourites after the first few days of testing are not always in the same position at the first race.”

Lewis Hamilton crashed the new 2014 Mercedes on the opening day of the test, due to a wing failure.

Wolff added: “It looked like it could be difficult after the first day, but from that point onwards the car ran very reliably.

“We can’t really judge performance yet, of course, but that is normal after the first test and hopefully this will become clearer after the first week of testing in Bahrain. We are looking forward to that and adding further development to the car.”