Mercedes, the reigning champions of Formula One, have been dealt a humbling by Aston Martin, the new entrant to the sport, according to Toto Wolff, the team principal of the Silver Arrows.
In a candid interview, Wolff opined that Mercedes were “not taking anything for granted” and had “a lot to learn” from the British marque, who he believes have “real potential” to challenge for podiums this season.
The Austrian-born executive explained that Mercedes had “a lot of respect” for Aston Martin, who have been buoyed by the addition of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
“We’ve seen what they have done over the winter and they have been a real surprise package,” Wolff said. “We have to take them seriously because they have real potential. We have to up our game against them. We have a lot to learn from them and we are not taking anything for granted.”
Wolff is well aware that the arrival of Aston Martin is just one of many challenges Mercedes will face in 2021, a season that could prove to be the toughest yet for the seven-time constructors’ champions.
“It’s going to be an incredibly competitive season,” Wolff said. “We can expect a lot of tight racing with a lot of different teams being competitive, so it’s going to be a real test for us.”
The Austrian acknowledged that, despite their dominance in recent seasons, Mercedes would need to be at their best to stay ahead of the pack this year.
“We know that we have to raise the bar if we want to stay ahead,” he said. “We know that the competition is hot on our heels and that we have a lot to learn from them.”
Toto Wolff’s frank assessment of the situation highlights the competitive threat posed by Aston Martin, who have already made waves in pre-season testing and could prove to be the biggest challengers to Mercedes’ supremacy in 2021.