Mercedes ‘excited’ by Baku unpredictability – Wolff

Despite the challenges facing Mercedes this season, the world championship winning team is happy to contend with unpredictability, according to Toto Wolff.

The Silver Arrows outfit, which appeared ready to blitz the competition after Lewis Hamilton’s spectacular pole lap in Melbourne, has yet to win a race, having to compose with an opposing front offered by rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.

Despite the deficit, Toto Wolff says Mercedes is embracing the challenge, insisting on the benefits uncertainty brings to the sport and its fans.

“The 2018 Formula One season is set to be a celebration of everything we love about motor racing,” says Wolff in the team’s preview.

“Three teams are fighting fiercely for race wins. We’ve witnessed exciting races with nail-biting overtakes. The fastest F1 cars in history, driven by some of the best drivers this sport has seen.

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“So far, this year has all the ingredients for one of those legendary F1 seasons – a season that fans will look back on with smiles on their faces in years to come.

“And it’s not just the fans at home or at the race track who are excited – we feel the same. And we know that we have a massive challenge on our hands.

“Last year, we were in a tough fight with Ferrari. However, it was nothing compared to the intensity of this year’s battle.

“Both Red Bull and Ferrari will do everything they can to beat us. Their cars, their teams, their drivers – all of them operate at a high level and will continue to put us under pressure.”

Mercedes has exploited its engineering excellence to the max since the advent of the hybrid era in Formula 1. But with dominance sometimes comes a sense of fatigue. So there’s nothing like a challenge to revive the motivation and drive of all those involved, explains the Austrian manager.

“Not everyone likes this kind of challenge – but we love it. Each member of our team joined this sport for these moments. We’re all together in an amazing battle in which every detail counts and with an outcome no-one can predict.”

Mercedes has conducted its usual due diligence on the upcoming race, and prepared its troops for every possible scenario that may emerge in Baku. Still, uncertainty prevails, says Wolff.

“We’re going into the race weekend in Baku feeling excited about that unpredictability,” he adds.

“It will be the first time the Azerbaijan Grand Prix takes place in April, with completely different conditions to the previous years when we went to the Caspian Sea in June.

“This is a demanding circuit where the drivers need confidence in the car to find the right rhythm – and you want to hit the ground running on Friday morning. Last year’s race threw up a podium that nobody could have predicted and, as is the way with street courses, we can once again expect the unexpected.”

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