Toto Wolff says Mercedes must forget about its recent dominance of Formula One if it wants to continue winning races and titles in 2018.
Since the introduction of V6 turbo engines in 2014, Mercedes has won every drivers' and constructors' championship, a run which continued in 2017 despite a significant regulation change which was expected to shake up the pecking order. Earlier this month former Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn, who became the head of F1's technical department at the start of the year, told ESPN he fears its success will continue into 2018 due to the way the German manufacturer built its operation over the last few seasons.
When told what Brawn had said, Wolff replied: "Well, Ross needs to blame himself partly for that!
"He set the initial cornerstones in place back in 2012 when the team struggled a lot, with hirings such as Aldo Costa, and they were down to him. He has a problem now, he's on the other side and he needs to make sure there is more teams winning."
Wolff is refusing to assume the success will just continue next season.
"I think we have a good organisation in place and somehow the wheel rolls now, but having said that you must never underestimate any of the competition. It can go super quick and suddenly you are on the back foot and the car is not as good as the others and we have seen that with Ferrari how quickly they can turn it around [the other way] from a so-so season to a world championship challenger in 2017.
"So I think it's important to stay humble, forget about your own achievements -- we are taking all the stickers off the doors here saying we have won the championship -- because in 2018 it all starts from zero again."
Last year Mercedes bolstered its team with the addition of former Ferrari man James Allison as technical chief. Wolff is proud of how strong Mercedes' F1 operation has become.
"The team is strong I would say, at the moment. Valtteri [Bottas] has filled the slot quite will and thinking how the championship panned out, Valtteri and Lewis [Hamilton] was probably the best combination we could have had. In terms of the organisation, I'm extremely happy that all the relevant people have stayed in the team and continue to develop the organisation, we have young leaders coming up now and they will be shortly picking up the ball.
"And James is doing a tremendous job together with Aldo [Costa], Mark Elliott and Mark Ellis as well as many others to restructure the department regularly. A racing team in Formula One is not a static structure that you can freeze and say 'this is functioning now and is winning races and championships, now let's freeze it'. On the contrary, you need to adapt, it's dynamic and in up until now it has worked out."
Interview conducted by Laurence Edmondson