Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expects ‘big surprises’ from McLaren and makes Ferrari prediction

F1: McLaren launch car for new season

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Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has claimed McLaren will cause “big surprises” in the upcoming Formula One season and he believes that Ferrari “will be stronger than 2020”. Wolff is hoping his team can continue their dominance over the sport but he is expecting stiff competition.

Speaking to Speed Week, Wolff said: “McLaren will be good for big surprises.

“[Daniel] Ricciardo is a well-known figure. And personally I think very highly of Lando Norris.”

When asked about Ferrari, Wolff added: “It will be exciting to see how Carlos Sainz does against Charles Leclerc.

“Ferrari will be stronger than 2020, Scuderia just has to.

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“They also suffered from a weak chassis last year. I assume that mistakes have been corrected.”

Carlos Sainz has replaced Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and will race alongside Charles Leclerc after signing a two-year deal.

Speaking to GP Fans, Sainz explained that he wants “stability” at Ferrari.

“I think, honestly, the only time in Formula One where my career has been moving up and down from one team to another was the time when I left Toro Rosso to go to Renault and then to McLaren,” he said.

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“But if you remember Toro Rosso I was there for three years. In 2017 I felt at home in Toro Rosso and was performing on a good level.

“But then the Renault opportunity came and I was still contracted by Red Bull, so it was a very strange situation there and finally, I was released to McLaren and I thought I was going to build a long-term relationship with McLaren.

“I enjoyed the two years with the team a lot.

“The second year we saw improvements compared to the first.

“It shows that stability in one team and staying in one team for a long time helps with performance and makes you a quicker driver and a better driver.

“[Stability] is also my target with Ferrari and why I signed a two-year deal with them.

“As long as we are happy with each other, I want that to be the new tendency in my contracts, not just one year like I was with Renault not knowing what was going to happen.

“If there is one thing I’ve learned in McLaren, it is how important it is to be more than one year in a team to extract the maximum potential of that car and the people that are next to you.”

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