Toto Wolff is hoping Ferrari can join the battle up front after falling into the midfield in recent years. The Mercedes team principal feels the Italian marque deserves to be fighting for race wins rather than fighting for superiority with the midfield runners.

Ferrari were one of Mercedes' most consistent challengers during the Hybrid Era, but have gradually dropped out of contention in recent years. In 2020, they not only finished behind Mercedes and Red Bull, but also behind McLaren, Racing Point (now Aston Martin) and Renault (now Alpine F1) making it their worst season in 40 years.

Formula 1 is entering a new era in 2022 with a raft of regulation changes, and Ferrari have been tipped to get back in contention. While the Maranello-based team did show signs of recovery in 2021 by finishing third in the championship, they focused most of their attention last year on the 2022 car.

Charles Leclerc (2R) and Ferrari CEO Louis C. Camilleri (R) celebrate with team members after winning the Italian GP in 2019 Miguel MEDINA/AFP

Wolff says F1 needs the legendary red team fighting at the front, and even admitted that he missed Ferrari "as a fan" of the sport. The Mercedes team principal understands that it takes a big effort to get back into title contention, but is hoping the Mattia Binotto led team can at least compete for a few wins in 2022.

"As a fan, I love Ferrari," Wolff said, as quoted on Sky Sports. "They are the greatest name in Formula 1, and it cannot be that Ferrari is not competing for race victories and titles."

"Winning championships is something different, many things have come together to achieve that but I think for all of us fans of the sport, Ferrari needs to be in the mix."

"We have missed them in the last few years," Wolff added. "The passion of everyone at Ferrari and also for the Tifosi in Italy, it's important to see that the car is competitive.

The 2022 F1 season gets underway with its first pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya on Feb. 23. The three day test will give all teams a chance to assess not only their own cars, but also a chance to analyse the competition going into the new campaign.

Toto Wolff
Toto Wolff is hoping for a clean title fight next weekend ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/POOL via AFP