Gap narrowing - Wolff

20 March 2017 12:44:58 EST

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff believes the gap between the Silver Arrows and the chasing pack has narrowed ahead of the 2017 Formula One season.

With the campaign to get started with the Australian Grand Prix this weekend in Melbourne, final preparations are underway for the highly-anticipated opener.

The likes of Ferrari and Red Bull have been eager to narrow the gap on Mercedes this year and signs at pre-season testing in Barcelona looked promising for the chasing pack.

Wolff has been impressed with Mercedes' rivals and is expecting a tighter contest this season, having dominated the sport for the last few years.

He was quoted by Sky Sports, saying: "What we've seen from Barcelona is that the margins at the front of the field have shrunk.

"We'll see how that pans out in Melbourne, because we still don't know about the fuel loads, weights or power settings of the other cars."

He added: "There is an art to managing expectations. You must not set them too low - but you must also keep them under control. With new regulations, everyone starts with zero points. It provides opportunities as well as risks for every team on the grid."

Red Bull are 8888/1 to win the 2017 Constructors' Championship, while Mercedes are 1/1000 and Ferrari can be backed at 50/1.

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