Toto Wolff keen on return of Mercedes success at Spa
Mercedes have historically been the favorites for a win at Spa, but not in any recent years... will that change in 2020?
Six-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton last claimed victory for Mercedes in 2017, which was his third consecutive win in Belgium. Since then however, Mercedes has been bested by Ferrari in both 2018 and 2019, by Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc respectively.
Photo credit: Ferrari
2020 will likely tell a different story though, as the Prancing Horses have been a significant and consistent margin off the frontrunners’ pace. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is subsequently hoping to resurrect the team’s former winning ways at Spa.
“We haven’t won [at Spa] since 2017,” said Wolff ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, “so it feels like there’s unfinished business.
“It’s an iconic track and one of the fans’ favourites, but finding the right set-up can be difficult because of the variety of characteristics; on the one hand you want as little drag as possible on the long straights, but on the other hand, you need a certain level of downforce to be quick through the corners. It’s also forecast to be rainy in the Ardennes which won’t make the job any easier.”
Also during the buildup to Spa, Wolff was tasked with signing the Concorde Agreement, which all ten teams have now signed, meaning that they will remain in Formula 1 through the 2025 season. There was a brief moment of worry when the Mercedes chief was unhappy with the terms being offered by Formula 1, but they were able to reached a middle ground and the Silver Arrows will race on.
“We have always said that we wanted to stay in F1, so the agreement wasn’t necessarily surprising,” he explained. “But we’re happy that we could bring the negotiations to a positive conclusion. We are committed to our sport and we’re looking forward to the upcoming years which will see the biggest transition F1 has ever seen. This will reward agile, open-minded teams who can adapt successfully to the demands of the new rules.”
Can Mercedes take the top step in Belgium?
Though Mercedes have a sizable pace and points advantage over their closest rivals - which they will be looking to extend - the forecasted rain in Belgium could assist Max Verstappen in bringing a competitive fight, as he excels in tricky wet-weather conditions.