Wolff: Mercedes are no longer the favourites

Toto Wolff has reiterated his belief that Mercedes are no longer the team to beat in Formula 1, that title belongs to Ferrari.

Although Mercedes have dominated the sport since the introduction for the V6 engines in 2014, it is Ferrari who have emerged as the strongest team in the wake of F1’s latest round of aerdynamic regulation changes.

Sebastian Vettel has claimed three wins to lead the Drivers’ standings by 25 points over Lewis Hamilton while Ferrari are 17 ahead of Mercedes in the Constructors’ standings.

It is “painful” realisation for Wolff, who firmly believes Ferrari now carry the ‘favourites’ tag.

He said: “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games, so said Babe Ruth and he was right. Every season the points reset to zero and, with new regulations like we had this year, historic success doesn’t translate into current performance. 

“We’ve come into this season with a strong car that has allowed us to win three of the first six races. But it has also caused us more complications than we have seen in previous years.

“I had an encounter on Sunday afternoon in Monaco with someone I really respect who asked how I felt after the defeat. I told them how much it hurt and their response was “that’s motor racing”. This is the reality of the situation now. 

“We have to fight with all that we are worth for every single win, pole position, podium finish and every point. You can no longer expect that when you look at a timesheet the two Mercedes will be right at the top.”

He added: “It’s painful, but we are not the favourites for this year’s Championship. At the moment it’s Ferrari. They have a very strong package and we need to rise to the challenge to prove once again that we are the team to beat.