Australian Grand Prix: Mercedes 'need more than one win'

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer in Melbourne
How will Hamilton fare at Mercedes?

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff says the team needs to win more than one race for the 2013 season to be considered a success.

Mercedes won in China early in 2012 but dramatically dropped off the pace to the point they were struggling to score points in the final part of the season.

Asked if matching last year's tally of wins would be enough, Wolff said: "No, we need more. And regular results.

"It is about having a steady season and being among the lead teams throughout."

New recruit Lewis Hamilton said ahead of this weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix that he was "excited" to find out how Mercedes compared with their rivals.

He added: "I've prepared myself knowing it's going to be a tough year. They didn't have a great car last year.

"We don't know how this car will go, but wherever we are we just have to work hard and get on top of it."

Hamilton added that, of his rivals, he believed Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was in the best shape ahead of the new season.

Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg set pace-setting lap times in pre-season testing.

Wolff admitted the car's early performance had pleased him but added: "It is testing not racing. We have 19 races ahead of us, we have to wait and see the first result and then see whether it is really exciting or not."

Wolff was appointed as Mercedes motorsport director and executive director of the F1 team in January following the axing of former sports boss Norbert Haug.

He made it clear that another year of failure would not be acceptable.

"Mercedes is in F1 to be successful and to be a front-running team and eventually win a world championship," Wolff said. "This is the expectation and we are there to fulfil it.

"We know last year was not very good. The beginning was OK, the second half wasn't. It's about maintaining a high level throughout the season."

Mercedes have recruited Hamilton, who has also joined the BBC Sport website as a columnist, this season on the highest salary in F1 - $31m (£20.7m) a year - to partner Nico Rosberg.

Team principal Ross Brawn said he believed Mercedes had the strongest driver line-up in F1.

Brawn also admitted the team "got left behind" last year after a strong start but said he was confident changes he had made to the team's engineering line-up in the last 18 months would begin to bear fruition this season.

Brawn said: "For us success is the level of performance we had in China and Monaco [where Michael Schumacher took pole position before being demoted because of a penalty and Rosberg finished second]. From there, it is the springboard to make a serious challenge."