Toto Wolff insists he is keeping “both feet on the ground”, although he admits Mercedes are “cautiously” optimistic they can challenge Red Bull for victory at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Mercedes have shown good pace in recent races, with Lewis Hamilton finishing second behind Max Verstappen in the final two events in Austin and Mexico – although he was later disqualified from the United States Grand Prix.
LIVE COVERAGE: Follow all the preparations ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend
The Silver Arrows also have a recent record in Sao Paulo, having won six of the last eight races in Brazil, including the last two – with Hamilton racing through the field to win in 2021 and George Russell winning his first victory in F1. in 2022.
Asked after the Mexico GP if he was confident in his ability to challenge for victory in Brazil, Wolff replied: “I don’t know. If I’m being too optimistic here…you know only fools are optimistic. I prefer to stay with both feet on the ground, do the best job, qualify up front and hopefully we can challenge him (Verstappen).
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s action, Wolff added: “We have shown encouraging pace in the last few races, so we head to Interlagos with cautious optimism, even though we know the W14 can perform well. prove unpredictable.
“We left Mexico with an intact advantage over Ferrari in the fight for second place among the Manufacturers. This is an important battle for us and we are striving to win it.
“Leaving Mexico with a second place, given the difficult start to the weekend and our positions on the grid, was positive.
READ MORE: Acting Alpine boss Famin ‘very happy’ with Mick Schumacher’s WEC test at Jerez
“The car showed very good race pace, but we know we still have work to do to get the most out of the W14 over the three days.”
Wolff believes, however, that while it is unclear what to expect from the car in Sao Paulo, Mercedes is coming to a track it knows well and hopes to start with a “strong baseline”.
“We have one last race left in this tripleheader and it’s in Brazil,” Wolff said. “We know we have taken a big step forward in the last few races, but Mexico showed that the W14 can still be tricky to master.
“We will look to arrive at Interlagos with a solid base to work from and see what we can do from there.
READ MORE: Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott leaves Silver Arrows
“Of course we have fond memories of Brazil, especially the last two visits with Lewis’ spectacular victory in 2021 and George’s first victory in 2022.
“The fans are extremely passionate about F1 and we always receive a very enthusiastic welcome from them. Hopefully our package will go well there and we can put on a good show for everyone.