Wednesday, 10 january 2018, 08:48 , by Matthew Scott
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has insisted that the Silver Arrows are taking Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, and Renault as serious contenders for the championship this season, whilst also pointing out that some of the teams towards the bottom end of the rankings from last year could make an impact.
Wolff's team won the constructor's title for the fourth time in a row in 2017 and also claimed the driver's championship through Lewis Hamilton, who notched up his fourth title.
Their dominance on the circuit means that they remain favourites to win the championship again in 2018, but Wolff has assured that Mercedes are taking their nearest competitors very seriously.
"You need to respect every team and the top drivers. We are taking Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault seriously. These guys can fight for a championship and some others might be surprising us," the Mercedes boss told the Mercedes AMG site.
"If we are able to align the dots like we have done in the last year then we will be winning races and then we will be fighting for championships and if we don't then we haven't been good enough."
Mercedes currently have Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in their ranks, but speculation mounts that the latter could be replaced in the near future by the Silver Arrows. Wolff admitted that he is happy with the pairing for 2018, but some interesting driver options would open up in 2019.
"In so far as I would like the pairing to continue, we are committed to both of them in 2018 but having said that 2019 is a very exciting new year,” Wolff told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"There are young drivers that will have gained more experience and some of the very good ones like Daniel [Ricciardo] become free.
"And what we want to see is how the first third of the season pans out, whether our car is good enough and strong enough, and this is what we are actually concentrating on and then we will analyse and then take the right decisions hopefully.