Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff says his squad is remaining “cautious” over its prospects following a strong result at the Australian Grand Prix.
After failing to secure a podium result at the opening two rounds of the year, Lewis Hamilton ended the Melbourne race in second place.
The top-three finish came after a strong qualifying for Mercedes, with George Russell qualifying on the front row alongside Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Russell also led the opening portion of the race but a mechanical issue forced him to retire early on.
Speaking ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which comes several weeks after the last round at Melbourne, Wolff asserts that Mercedes is not getting overconfident following its breakthrough result this year.
“We’ve had a few weeks off from racing but both factories have been hard at work,” he said.
“We’ve tried to maximise this period, bringing planned development to the car and extracting as much as possible from our learnings so far.
“Australia showed that we are making progress, although we need to be cautious about reading too much into a single result.
“But the signs in Melbourne were still encouraging and that has been a good motivator for the whole team heading into this gap in the calendar. ”
Mercedes has started the 2023 campaign off the front-running pace, as was the case last year.
Wolff previously conceded that its unique ‘zero sidepod’ concept wouldn’t deliver it back to title-winning form.
In the coming races, the team is set to introduce a number of upgrades as it looks to recapture consistent race-winning performance.
“Over the next races, we want to keep on making small steps forward,” Wolff said.
“The car will continue to evolve in the coming weeks, as we steadily bring performance and upgrades to the track. We’re excited to see their impact, but we know there is no magic bullet.
“After just under a month with no F1 action, everyone’s eager to be back out on track. Thankfully we’ve got plenty of that coming up. It’s a busy window in the calendar with five races in six weekends, starting with Azerbaijan.”
This weekend in Baku will see a tweaked sprint format, with just one practice session in play before drivers jump into competitive sessions.
Wolff suggested that drivers will have to be extra cautious to end the weekend unscathed.
“The racing in Baku is always dramatic and entertaining,” he said. “It’s a challenging track with the walls close, so there’s no room for error.
“We also have our first F1 Sprint weekend of the season with a tweaked format. It’s an interesting challenge for us to tackle, with only a single practice session to be ready for two qualifying sessions and races spread across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“Hopefully this will mean more excitement and action for fans to enjoy.”