Mercedes boss: ‘No sense of entitlement’ about 2021

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes has “no sense of entitlement” about how it will fare when Formula 1’s new era begins in 2021 despite dominating for the last six years, according to Toto Wolff.

The Anglo-German squad has won every single drivers’ and constructors’ championship since the current hybrid era began in 2014, although it has faced a greater challenge from particularly Ferrari in more recent times.

While the current hybrid turbos will be retained next year, there will be significant aerodynamic changes including the return of ground effect, more standardised parts, and an expenditure cap, among other initiatives.

Speaking in a Mercedes end of 2019 review video, Wolff acknowledge the potential for such significant regulatory changes to shake up the F1 pecking order and described it as a “very exciting” challenge.

“2021 is going to be a completely new challenge because the regs are being put upside down, what is today in terms of aero will not exist any more in 2021,” said the Mercedes team principal.

“I believe it’s an opportunity as a team to do a decent job and prove that we can go through a regulatory change and come out on top, like we’ve done in the past.

“But certainly, there is no sense of entitlement, (the) last year’s records don’t buy us any credit for future seasons to come, so it’s something that is very exciting for us and I personally really look forward to have 2021 coming.”

On the subject of Mercedes’ 2019 achievements specifically, Wolff identified the lure of an unprecedented sixth straight title sweep as its motivation to stay on top of the field.

He also put the continued success down to careful management of the team’s staff.

“Every single year since 2014, we have tried to set objectives that really motivate us, and 2019, the overwhelming target was to win a sixth consecutive double championship, which wasn’t done before in Formula 1 and, up to our knowledge, wasn’t done before in any other sport on a world championship level,” explained Wolff.

“This was the target that really kept us going; also on the difficult days, helped us to push through the weekends that didn’t run in the way we’ve expected; and it’s something that really kept us energised over the whole year.

“I think there is a reason why there is not many sports teams out there that have won many consecutive championships, because you need to keep the team together, but equally, be aware that this is a dynamic structure that needs to evolve.

“You need to look at the levels of motivation and energy of the team members, you need to keep the seniority and the know-how in the team but equally don’t create a bottleneck for talent that’s coming up.

“This transition and motivation factor is something that I think we have managed well and it’s something that is certainly very difficult and this is why it wasn’t done before.”

Mercedes takes an unchanged driver line-up of now six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and 2019 runner-up Valtteri Bottas into the new season, for which pre-season testing begins on February 19.