This season is definitely the most competition driven one that we’ve had in recent years. With Red Bull fighting for dominance with Mercedes every race, and McLaren and Ferrari trying to catch up with the fight in the front, we’ve got nothing to complain when it comes to controversies, debates and fights. But even though Mercedes has been struggling to keep itself on the pedestal for the first time since the beginning of the turbo hybrid era, the atmosphere in the team is a little bit different than one would think of.
According to Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, after years of having to constantly perform on the top and push in order to keep winning, the team has felt a sense of liberation from that burden and the fight with Red Bull has given a new sense of motivation to the team.
As he said in an interview with motorsport.com when asked if the stress levels increased from the start of the season: “It eased off actually, because all these years we had the pressure of: we can't possibly lose.
“Now it changed to: this is ours to win, because the odds were against us. So there is suddenly an easiness in the approach that starts to take over, which makes it quite enjoyable.
“Your expectations change. There is no sense of entitlement. This is what we've seen in other sports teams when the expectations are set so high that it becomes even unacceptable to loose.
“And I think with us, we conditioned ourselves. We set the expectations realistically, and we have just enjoyed the journey of getting us back in a position where we would be able to fight.”
Wolff was also asked about the comparison between their fight with Red Bull this season, and with Ferrari in 2018/2019. About that, he answered: “The Ferrari years felt more intense, because I think at that stage, we were so keen in proving that we weren’t a one-hit wonder.
“We wanted to really create a legacy of being the top team for a few years, and now we've achieved that. We have won seven times in a row, which wasn't done in any other sport on a world championship level.
“With that, suddenly, that easiness came into play. We are still very ambitious and competitive. But the anxiety of losing has lost its edge. We still hate it, but it is less detrimental to your own well-being.”
This week we are heading back to the intense battles after a few weeks of the summer break, and the fights will start again nowhere else, than at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium, this upcoming weekend. We are poised to having an incredibly intense and heavy championship fight since since the early 2010s, not only in the front, but also in the midfield and back of the grid. So strap yourself on, cause we are in for a crazy ride.