Mercedes need 'optimistic' outlook as Wolff plays the 'long game' ahead of British GP

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After years of downplaying his team, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he now needs to exude optimism in their fight with Red Bull.

The Brackley-based squad is facing the toughest challenge yet to remain the only champions of Formula 1's hybrid era, as their rivals from nearby Milton Keynes have opened up a solid gap both in the championships and performance-wise in recent races.

But while the crown on their head has been knocked askew, Wolff is far from throwing in the towel just yet.

"I am always a sceptical person, half-empty glass, but I am seeing the positives," he said after the last race in Austria.

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"We have 13-14 races to go. We are one retirement away from Red Bull and we have lost more points than we should have lost to our own mistakes.

"Clearly the last two races we did not have the performance we must have in order to fight Red Bull and we need to get our act together in every single area and hopefully perform better on the other tracks.

"Losing 13 or 14 points is not great but this is still the long game. It is against the odds for us now, and that's clear because they have a performance advantage and you can see that."

This weekend's British Grand Prix is expected to be better for Mercedes, as they have only lost two races at Silverstone since 2014.

Hopes are also being raised by the introduction of what may be the final significant upgrade to their W12 car this year.

“We are looking forward to Silverstone, we’ve got a good update coming there that’s quite exciting," engineering chief Andrew Shovlin said.


"We are looking forward to the home crowd, there is obviously a lot of Lewis [Hamilton] fans that are going to be there, and it is also a track where our car has worked well.

“So, we’ve got a few days just to regroup, turn around the cars and get them ready for the next race in that updated bodywork, but we are optimistic for a better weekend.”

That view was shared by Wolff, who believes it is now important to keep his Mercedes team upbeat despite a tricky season. 

"All these years I have tried to keep our feet on the ground by not being carried away with performance and now I need to do the opposite," he said.

"We are not going to give up at this stage of the season. We are not going to give up at any time unless it is not mathematically possible anymore to win this championship.

"So we need to see things optimistically rather than pessimistically like we have done in the past."