Toto Wolff and his Mercedes colleagues must still be buzzing after their stunning 2018 season.
The German team wrapped up their fifth consecutive constructors’ title while Lewis Hamilton added a fifth drivers’ championship to his mantlepiece.
While it was smooth sailing for Mercedes for much of the last 12 months, the major aerodynamic rule changes coming in 2019 could well shake things up.
With that in mind, Wolff is treating every team on the grid as a title rival.
“I think with the rule changes everything is possible,” he said, per MotorSportWeek.
“It is almost like 2009 where Brawn identified the double diffuser. I think there could be teams that have found loopholes, which others didn't spot, that could make the difference.
“So we are taking everybody seriously. Whether it is Ferrari finishing second this year or Williams finishing 10th. All of them could come with a car that can outperform us.”
Change isn’t something Mercedes will be overly keen on amid their dominance of the sport, but opinions may change once the campaign kicks off.
It’s happened before, too, namely relating to the infamous Halo device introduced last term.
Wolff was among the many critics of the safety measure until it proved its worth in an incident involving Sauber’s Charles Leclerc at the Belgium Grand Prix.
Asked for his take on the issue now, the Austrian said, per Planet F1: “Yes, I have changed my mind.
“I still don’t like the aesthetics of it, and I hope we can find a solution in the future that looks good.
“[But] I really like Charles, he’s a young, upcoming racer that deserves to be in Formula 1 and I would not have forgiven myself if we would have voted against the halo and it would have failed, and we’d have had a severe incident with a potentially catastrophic outcome.
“So, even though it’s aesthetically not what I like it’s a super initiative that has shown its merit.”
Despite seeing the Halo’s value in terms of keeping drivers safe, Wolff still years for a design that’s easier on the eye.
“We need to get the right balance between aesthetics and safety,” he added.
“I personally like the closed canopies like fighter jets.
“Between the teams and the FIA and the commercial rights holder, we just need to work proactively and in a collaborative manner to find solutions that look great and save lives.”
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