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Wolff: 2017 tech regs offer Mercedes’ F1 rivals ‘huge opportunities’

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Toto Wolff remains wary of the threat posed by Red Bull and Ferrari to Mercedes’ dominance in Formula 1, saying the change in technical regulations for next season offers them “huge opportunities”.

Mercedes has ruled over F1 since the last regulation change in 2014, winning all but seven grands prix raced with the V6 turbo hybrid power units.

Lewis Hamilton clinched the drivers’ championship in 2014 and 2015, with teammate Nico Rosberg finishing second both years, and they are once again embroiled in a two-way title fight this season.

Despite winning becoming almost second-nature to Mercedes in recent years, F1 boss Wolff still gets a thrill out of it.

“If you lose the emotion around winning, you also lose the passion for the sport,” Wolff told the official F1 website.

“We love motor racing because of the competition every single race weekend and we love to win.

“Of course, you could start a philosophical discussion: is the fear of losing bigger than the joy of winning? Or the pain of losing?

“Maybe for me personally, yes! But nevertheless, for three years I get good emotions around race weekends.”

Mercedes currently enjoys a 159-point lead at the top of the constructors’ championship over Red Bull, appearing to make a third straight title win a formality for the German marque.

However, Wolff is still concerned about the threat posed by Mercedes’ rivals – particularly in 2017.

“I am not aware that we have received the trophy for the constructors’ title yet,” Wolff said.

“We are sceptical people and believe that you haven’t won until it is mathematically over. Not one single day earlier.

“Looking at our competitors: the expectations for Ferrari are always very high, and living up to those expectations is a different matter. It needs time to develop, and many times it is not a steady upward trend but you also have setbacks.

“And probably after a strong 2015 season we see a setback for Ferrari this year. But I do believe that they are improving.

“And Red Bull clearly have a more competitive package as Renault has improved a lot, and next year the new regulations clearly give huge opportunities. So let’s see.”

Barber IndyCar iRacing results

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Scott McLaughlin led the final six laps Saturday and finished 0.4241 seconds ahead of teammate Will Power to win the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

Scott Speed finished third behind the Team Penske drivers. Alex Palou and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top five.

Click here for the full boxscore from Saturday’s IndyCar iRacing event at Barber Motorsports Park.

WINNER: Scott McLaughlin holds off teammate Will Power

WHAT DRIVERS SAID: Postrace reactions on social media

Other notable finishers:

Colton Herta (seventh), Robert Wickens (eighth), Jimmie Johnson (12th), Graham Rahal (14th), Alexander Rossi (22nd).

Sage Karam led a race-high 24 laps but retired from the 45-lap event because of a crash and finished 27th of 29 drivers.