Wolff warns against 'foolish' optimism
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has played down his team's favourites status ahead of the first race of the season in Australia this weekend.
Mercedes' strong showing in pre-season testing means they have the shortest odds to win the Australian Grand Prix and are also tipped for title success. But without a single race run, Wolff said there are still plenty of reasons to keep expectations in check.
"You have to keep the expectations low with such a change in regulations because if you head into the weekend foolish with pink glasses on, saying 'This is our year and we are going to destroy everyone else', it would not be the right attitude.
"We have had five or six race simulations [in testing] and we finished two, so I guess of course it is good and satisfying being up at the front in testing, but it doesn't mean we will be up in the front on Sunday. This is why we have to keep the optimism back a little bit at this stage and see how it pans out here and in Malaysia."
Wolff said testing pace was a little bit more transparent than in recent years, but believes a few teams showed decent pace.
"I guess maybe testing this year was a bit more relevant that previous years because you couldn't really play around with the weight. Everybody is fighting hard to get near the weight limit, so nobody was really sandbagging.
"Again, from testing, you would probably say that our strongest competitor appeared to be Williams, but Force India had some strong running, McLaren had some good running in Jerez and Ferrari had some good days also. This is probably the pack, but again, from testing, we don't know."
And Wolff was not willing to write off Red Bull either.
"You can only analyse what we have seen so far and they had a really difficult start in Jerez and they didn't look good. But some of the teams have improved and got some mileage at the end. I have no doubt that the last two weeks they will have tried to optimise everything and eventually they will bounce back.
"Nevertheless, we have an advantage at this stage of the season because we have done more kilometres and we had all the customer teams running and doing lots of miles, and this obviously adds up."