• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Mercedes boss warns collision may lead to team orders


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that the collision between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in Austria could force the team to impose team orders, such a freezing the order at a certain point in the race.

Wolff was keen not to express his opinion on who was to blame.

“I don’t think it’s really black and white,” said Wolff. “Nico was with a car that was handicapped, trying to brake late, and not on the line that was probably normal. And Lewis came from the outside. That’s where the first contact was made. So what I’m seeing is it takes two to make contact.

“I think our drivers are among the two best in F1. We try to build the best possible car, we try to push the limits, and it is not always easy. You have seen we have moments where the car has been letting us down. I don’t want to attribute any blame because every time you watch the video and look at the on-boards there is new information. You can’t clearly say who is more to blame than the other. I have my personal opinion. I’m not going to express it here, but as a matter of fact that needs to be avoided.”

He added: “I don’t want to attribute a particular blame to each of them, there is the heat of the moment, it is either the first lap or the last lap, but you know what I am fed up with trying to analyze it. I just don’t want any contact anymore.”

Wolff said he had hoped that the drivers had learned from the first lap crash in Spain.

“At Barcelona I was much more at ease with it because we had 30 races without any collision. It was clear that it was going to happen eventually, and it wiped out both cars. From my naive thinking, I thought they had learned the lesson and saw the consequences, and it’s not going to happen anymore.

“Here we go, it happens again, so the only consequence is to look at all the options available on the table and one option is to freeze the order at a certain stage of the race, which is unpopular, makes me puke myself because I’d like to see them race, but if the racing is not possible without contact, that’s a consequence.”

He made it clear that every option would be on the table regarding team orders, and that the drivers would be obliged to comply.

“Because the race is on next week we need to discuss internally with all guys involved how we want to manage the situation going forward when the two are close to each other.

“We will make a decision irrespective of what they say. It’s the core race team that’s going to make a decision and it could go either direction. The outcome needs to be that we avoid contact between the two cars, whatever it is. So everything is going to be on the table. There is not going to be a holy cow. We are going to look at it.

“We cannot really hide it from you if it happens. We have tried always to be as transparent as possible we will tell you. The risk is that you put information out, you put a strategy out and then you need to change it, then you are looking like an idiot. So we are going to discuss it carefully, see what the options are and then come up with something. If it is clear cut, I will tell you.”