Toto Wolff says Mercedes can fight back in 2019, as they appear to start the season behind Ferrari and potentially Red Bull in terms of pace. However, the Silver Arrows chief says the reigning champions must not "do too much" in trying to close the gap.
Although Lewis Hamilton ended pre-season testing within 0.003 seconds of Sebastian Vettel, the Scuderia's performance was largely impressive, while Red Bull came away confident of having long-run pace to match anyone on the grid.
Both Hamilton and Wolff estimated that Mercedes may trail Ferrari by a huge half a second per lap – a figure seemingly backed up elsewhere on the grid.
"We estimate that we are two, three tenths behind Ferrari and two tenths ahead of Mercedes," Red Bull chief Dr Helmut Marko told APA news agency.
However, Wolff is keen to draw on the experience of last year, when Ferrari often had the car to match Mercedes, but could not convert it into title success.
"Already last year we were behind Ferrari in terms of pure performance several times and we had to excel to win," he told France's Auto Hebdo.
"It will be necessary to dig deep within ourselves and optimise everything, because we are facing our biggest challenge.
"We must be careful not to do too much because that is risky. I have the best team around me. We just have to proceed as we usually do.
"There is a mountain to climb but we know how to do it. We did not become five times world champions for no reason."
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