Wolff warns Mercedes of 2017 challenges

F1i 20:45 22/12/2016
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Wolff expects new challenges next year.

Toto Wolff has addressed the Mercedes team following another championship double, warning of a stronger challenge in 2017.

Mercedes won both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles for the third consecutive year in 2016, but Nico Rosberg’s first drivers’ triumph was followed by his immediate retirement from F1.

The team is now on the lookout for a new driver to replace the German, but says it will not make an announcement before January 3, with Niki Lauda saying the decision could take until the end of next month.

Ahead of the Christmas and New Year break, executive director (business) Wolff addressed the Mercedes team, praising it for its recent success and warning of “bigger challenges ahead” than it has faced so far.

“2016 has been a remarkable year,” Wolff said. “Our Team has broken records in the history books; we have pursued our goals with passion and determination; and we were tested at each turn by unexpected challenges.

“Nico was crowned champion and then departed the stage. Lewis needed strength of character to handle defeat with composure and dignity. We celebrated our success and we learned from our mistakes.

“Through all these moments, we have emerged stronger and more capable to face together the road ahead.

“Our position in the spotlight puts every decision taken and every word spoken under an intense microscope. They are debated passionately among our fans and interpreted by the media.

“But there has been enough talking, now. This is the period for calm and considered reflection; to savour our achievements and prepare for the next campaign.

“As we move forward, we will continue to be guided above all by the best interests of our Team. This philosophy is bigger than any one season or any one person.

“It has forged a group that is humble in victory and gracious in defeat; hungry for challenge and resilient under pressure; never satisfied with the status quo, always seeking to improve.

“Our values have been the foundation stones of three world championships. And there will be no compromise as we begin our quest for a fourth in 2017.

“It is now time for some days away from the world of racing, to be enjoyed among family and friends. To recharge the batteries for the bigger challenges ahead.

“We will tackle new rules, welcome a new race driver and take on even stronger rivals. It will test our Team’s character, strength and capability. Bring it on!”

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