Wolff expects rivalry to change amid Ferrari threat

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Toto Wolff is interested to see how the dynamic between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg could change amid a challenge from Ferrari.

The two Mercedes drivers have had an increasingly tense rivalry over the past two seasons as the team has dominated in F1, with Hamilton going on to win back-to-back titles. Following pre-season testing, both drivers have been wary of the threat posed by Ferrari this year and Wolff believes it will lead to a change in the relationship between his drivers.

"We expect the competition to be tougher than ever this year," Wolff said. "Expectations are high, both internally and externally. But Ferrari look confident and there will likely be other teams involved in the battle.

"Testing is about clocking mileage and understanding the car, so there is no clear order at this point. But if it were to be this way, that's something we would enjoy. We are racers and we love a challenge. Having an enemy pumps you up for a battle - and having strong competitors motivates us to push even harder.

"This is not a sport where you can relax. The minute you start being complacent you lose out, so you have to keep the energy in the system and we are doing this all the time. Likewise, the drivers need to keep raising their game. They are major competition for each other in the same car, which is not always going to be easy to handle. But with others also in the mix, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic evolves. We've shown in the past two seasons that there are no team orders - and this does not change."

And Wolff says it will be good for F1 if the rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg increases, even though it will make his own job harder.

"Formula One is a sport - but it is also entertainment. Controversy, both on and off track, makes headlines. That's not a bad thing - it's part of the world we live in. But we can think about that later. For now, I can't wait for the flag to drop in Melbourne: let battle commence..."

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