Skip to content

Ferrari can't be written off for 2017 title, says Mercedes' Toto Wolff

"Never underestimate a team with so much resources and so much passion," says Wolff as he admits Mercedes' dominance can't last

Toto Wolff expects 2017 to throw up "huge opportunities" for Mercedes' rivals and has warned that Ferrari should never be underestimated.

Ferrari were expecting to challenge the Silver Arrows for the title this season but are still waiting for their first win, and have even dropped down to third thanks to Red Bull's resurgence.

Recent poor form on the track has mixed with disarray off it, with James Allison leaving his post as technical director while doubts remain over team principal Maurizio Arrivabene's future.

Are Ferrari in freefall?

Mercedes boss Wolff believes that Formula 1's most successful team will always be a credible and dangerous competitor, no matter the circumstances.

"I don't think you can write Ferrari off," Wolff said. "They've clearly had a tough time recently - I think they switched off very early for 2017. Never underestimate a team with so much resources and so much passion."

Mercedes have dominated the sport's V6 turbo hybrid era, winning back-to-back constructors' titles and are already 159 points clear of Red Bull this season. However, with a major technical shake-up on its way, and Red Bull famed for their aerodynamic prowess, Wolff is taking nothing for granted.

Also See:

"Looking at our competitors: the expectations for Ferrari are always very high - and living up to those expectations is a different matter," the Austrian told the official F1 website. "And probably after a strong 2015 season we see a setback for Ferrari this year. But I do believe that they are improving.

How F1 drivers are enjoying the summer break

"And Red Bull clearly have a more competitive package as Renault has improved a lot - and next year the new regulations clearly give huge opportunities. So let's see."

Despite the obvious improvements from the chasing pack, the only race Mercedes have failed to win this season was in Barcelona when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided on the first lap.

Even Wolff wasn't predicting such dominance as we prepare for the final nine grands prix following the summer break, though he is also anticipating a Red Bull fightback.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Watch part two of our German F1 Report show which focuses solely on reviewing the biggest talking points and moments from the 2016 F1 season so far.

"We were expecting Hungary to be a very difficult one and Red Bull to be performing well and it was the opposite, we were actually as strong as in Silverstone," Wolff added. "But Hockenheim could have been won easier for us and it was the opposite, so it isn't clear cut. They keep coming back and there isn't a lot of speed differential on the straight any more.

"They will be coming back in good form next year and even the second half of the season I have no doubt. This team is winning almost every race, we've kept it now for two and a half years but that's not going to last."

Around Sky