• Mercedes

Losing 2014 titles would be 'failure' - Wolff

ESPN Staff
March 19, 2014 « Red Bull out in the cold as rivals back FIA | Magnussen 'not at Hamilton's level yet' - Boullier »
Toto Wolff is determined not to allow Mercedes' rivals back into title contention © Sutton Images

Toto Wolff is adamant that anything less than securing the drivers' and constructors' titles this season would be a disaster for Mercedes.

Nico Rosberg was in a race of his own in Melbourne, but the early retirement of Lewis Hamilton meant Mercedes did not fully capitalise on his pole position. Only Williams seems to have a car capable of challenging the Mercedes currently and Wolff admits Mercedes cannot afford to let its rivals back into the game.

"Yes, absolutely," Wolff said, when asked whether not winning both championships would be seen as a failure. "I don't see that we have a big advantage, to be honest, because you can see if you have a DNF then you lose points, and McLaren are leading the constructors' championship. Yes, we have a little bit of a margin and losing that would be something I'd consider as a failure."

Despite his determination to keep Mercedes in its current position at the top of the pile, Wolff is under no illusions that it will be difficult to maintain such a clear advantage.

"We have a margin performance-wise, but it's not an awful lot. If you look at where Red Bull have come from after very little mileage in testing, that is quite a wake-up call for everybody. Look at where they were two or three weeks ago in Bahrain, so we need to be very careful, and we haven't seen Sebastian [Vettel] running with a reliable, fast car.

"You would expect him, with his experience, to go even faster so we have to keep on pushing. At Williams, if you look at Valtteri's [Bottas] pace before he hit the wall, and again afterwards, then I'm quite sure they would have ended up on the podium. So I don't think you can ever lean back and say 'this is a comfortable buffer'."