The German manufacturer went through an unprecedented streak of success by winning every F1 world title on offer bar one between 2014 and 2021, with Max Verstappen’s drivers’ title triumph last year denying a perfect sweep of eight consecutive world championship doubles.
Mercedes’ winning run came to an abrupt end in 2022 amid a radical overhaul to the technical regulations, with the team slipping to third place in the constructors’ standings behind Red Bull and Ferrari.
Red Bull might have run away with both world championships in the first year of F1’s new era, but Wolff is confident the combination of the cost cap and wind tunnel restrictions will stop another period of dominance.
“It’s a relative competition,” Wolff said. “We know who are our competitors are today, there will be others tomorrow and after tomorrow because of the cost cap limits that have been set and this is what the sport should be.
“Not one team, not three but maybe five [in title contention]. The landscape has changed. I don’t think anybody will run away with eight championships in a row going forward and this is the way the regulations have been designed.”
Mercedes will have more wind tunnel time compared to their rivals due to finishing lower in the championship, coupled with a penalty for Red Bull, and Wolff is hopeful his team can capitalise to make gains over the winter.
“I think it’s harder because you can’t really invest more in order for the outcome to come quicker,” he explained.
“But I think how the aerodynamic regulations are designed, and the penalty that they’ve gotten, it’s 25 percent less wind tunnel [time] and that can have an effect.
“The way that the regulations, the wind tunnel or ATR restrictions, have been set in place allows teams that are further back to really make a big jump compared to the front runners.
“That’s also the reason why we will see much closer championships in the future because if you are last you will have 50 percent more, 40 percent more.
“So, clearly that is an advantage we have to utilise. Is it a given that we can utilise it? Who knows?”