Feb.23 (GMM) Toto Wolff says he expects Aston Martin to shine in Formula 1 this year.
Following Lawrence Stroll’s takeover of Force India, Stroll called the team Racing Point and last year impressed with the ‘pink Mercedes’ car.
Now, with Wolff also buying into Aston Martin with a minor shareholding, Stroll is taking the carmaker’s name into F1 – and the Mercedes boss is expecting big things.
“If you bear the name of an automobile manufacturer with this great tradition, you have to have ambitions to be at the front,” Wolff told Speed Week.
“This is also an upgrade for Formula 1 with a great brand. For Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, this will be the first reality check and it will be fascinating for me to watch Aston Martin too.”
As for Mercedes’ other rivals, Wolff thinks the toughest challenge will be Red Bull.
But he adds: “McLaren will be good for big surprises. Ricciardo is a well-known figure and I personally think very highly of Lando Norris.”
And when asked about Ferrari, Wolff said: “It will be exciting to see how Carlos Sainz goes against Charles Leclerc. Ferrari will be stronger than they were in 2020 – they just have to.
“They also had a weak chassis last year so I assume that the mistakes have been corrected.”
Wolff also commented on rookie Mick Schumacher, and urges the Formula 1 world to “leave him alone a little bit”.
“It is an apprenticeship year that is ahead of him. Mick is certainly an asset to Formula 1, but we need to give him the time to get a foothold in this environment,” he said.
Arguably even more interesting, Wolff said, is Fernando Alonso’s F1 return.
“The really interesting thing here is the comparison between these very young, almost teenage drivers with the 40-year-olds,” said the Austrian.
“Fernando is one of the most talented drivers, one of the strongest fighters, who will definitely be competitive. I’m quite sure he will want to show that he can still do it.”