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Toto Wolff: 'The enemy has come alive'

Luca Martini/Sutton Images

Toto Wolff insists Mercedes will not take anything for granted at the Japanese Grand Prix after the resurgence of Ferrari and Red Bull in Singapore.

After two dominant wins at Spa and Monza, Mercedes fell drastically off the pace in Singapore as Ferrari and Red Bull excelled around the Marina Bay street circuit. Mercedes is expected to return to its dominant position at a Suzuka circuit which suits its strengths on both the engine and aerodynamic side - though Friday's two wet practice sessions gave little indication - but Wolff says the recent form from Ferrari and Red Bull has the team's complete attention.

Asked about Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's win in Singapore, Wolff told Sky Sports: "You always have to look at them - and also Red Bull made a step forward. They are strong competitors and you cannot expect or take it for granted that you are always quickest and always winning races. This is not normal for Formula One so we are going to have an eye on them. This circuit should certainly suit us much more than Singapore but certainly the enemy has come alive."

Speaking specifically about Ferrari, Wolff said: "I think in particular the last one was a surprise because the way they won it, complete domination. But everyone is keen to see good competition in Formula One and especially Ferrari, such an iconic brand, to see them bouncing back is good for the sport and good for us to have a strong competitor, it makes it more precious to win."

On the eve of the Suzuka race Wolff said Mercedes was "not terrified" about its drop in pace last weekend and went on to explain the reasons for that slump in more detail.

"In Formula One there is no such thing as a silver bullet, that suddenly someone discovered something or we made one particular mistake. It's just many things that came together; Singapore is a very different circuit. We weren't looking very good in hindsight last year either, although we won the race qualifying wasn't our best. So we have five or six areas we are looking into and if you combine all that its where you end up.

"Of course, you need to make the tyres work and therefore you need a mechanical set-up that works. You want to avoid them running too hot and running too cold, and having the grip in that one lap which you manage to put yourself on pole - then you can control the front and we have seen that with Sebastian. So it's mainly set-up issues."