‘Only fools are optimists’ – Wolff urges caution over Mercedes hopes in Brazil as he keeps ‘both feet on the ground’
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 at the last two events in Austin and Mexico – although he was later disqualified from the United States Grand Prix.
The Silver Arrows also have a stellar recent record in Sao Paulo, as they have won six of the last eight races in Brazil, including the last two – with Hamilton coming through the field to win in 2021, and George Russell scoring his first F1 victory in 2022.
When asked after the Mexico City GP whether he was confident about challenging for the win in Brazil, Wolff said: “I don’t know. If I’m too optimistic here… you know only fools are optimists. I’d rather stay with both feet on the ground, do the best job, qualify in the front and hopefully we can challenge him [Verstappen].”
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s action, Wolff added: “We’ve showed encouraging pace in recent races so [we] head to Interlagos with cautious optimism, although we know W14 can prove unpredictable.
“We came away from Mexico with our advantage over Ferrari in the fight for second in the Constructors’ intact. That is an important battle for us and one we are focused on winning.
“Coming away from Mexico with a second place, given the challenging start to the weekend and our grid positions, was positive.
“The car showed very good race pace however we know we’ve got more work to do to extract the maximum from the W14 across all three days.”
Wolff, however, believes that despite not knowing what to expect from the car in Sao Paulo, Mercedes come to a track they know well and will hope to start with a “solid baseline”.
“We’ve got one last race in this triple header and it’s in Brazil,” said Wolff. “We know we’ve taken a good step forward in recent races, but Mexico showed W14 can still prove tricky to master.
“We will look to arrive in Interlagos with a solid baseline to work with and we’ll see what we can do from there.
“Of course, we have fond memories from Brazil, especially the past two visits with Lewis’ spectacular win in 2021 and George’s first victory in 2022.
“The fans are super passionate about F1, and we always get such an enthusiastic reception from them. Hopefully, our package will run well there, and we can put on a good show for everyone.”