Toto Wolff feels the opening eleven races of the 2021 Formula 1 season have been amongst the most intense seasons he can remember, and he knows the battle between the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Red Bull Racing is likely to go on across the remainder of the year.
Lewis Hamilton’s second place finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix moved him back to the top of the Drivers’ Championship, while Mercedes overtook Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship at the same time.
Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport and Team Principal of the Formula 1 team, says the team went into the summer break on a positive note, but it was good for everyone to relax ahead of the next set of races, which begins this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.
“This has definitely been one of the most intense F1 seasons that I can remember, so far,” said Wolff. “The battle is far from over and after a few weeks away from the track, we’re all really excited to get back to work.
“The shutdown is such an important time for the entire team. The chance to relax and recharge is invaluable, especially with such a busy second half of the season coming up, and the fight we have ahead of us. We’re all racers at heart though, so while we enjoyed the well-deserved time off, we’re also eager to get back to doing what we love: racing!”
Wolff says the updates made to the W12 during the British Grand Prix have aided the team since, and it is great to come to Spa-Francorchamps on top of both championships.
He says Spa is the perfect place to begin the second half of the season, even if the weather is its usual unpredictable self, but he is expecting a challenging weekend for Mercedes, particularly with a grid penalty for Valtteri Bottas to come after the Finn’s mistake heading into turn one in Hungary.
“We head to Spa-Francorchamps in a good position,” said Wolff. “We lead both Championships and the W12 feels in a better place, after the upgrades introduced at Silverstone and an encouraging showing in Hungary. But we know there is a long road ahead and so much can still happen in this season of ups and downs.
“Spa is a track that we all know and love, one of the true F1 classics with its iconic corners, long-flat out sections and beautiful scenery. It’s a hugely challenging track for both the drivers and the cars, with the longest lap of the season, lots of elevation change and some very high g-forces.
“The weather is also notoriously unpredictable at Spa and always throws a curveball our way. With the Belgian Grand Prix always producing exciting and fun racing, it’s the perfect place to start the second half of the season. Bring it on!”