Wolff backs Brawn in Mercedes team orders call

Ross Brawn and Toto Wolff

Ross Brawn and Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff, the new Mercedes co-owner and director, has played down reports of a growing rift between the team’s German and British factions in the aftermath of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

After German Nico Rosberg was ordered by Ross Brawn to stay behind Briton Lewis Hamilton at Sepang, Austrians Wolff and Niki Lauda admitted their disapproval.

But RTL now quotes Wolff as saying: “The decision was unpopular, but right.”

The incident is being compared to the situation at Red Bull, where team bosses tried – but ultimately failed – to impose a ‘hold station’ order at Sepang.

Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko had tried to differentiate the teams by insisting “It’s not like at Mercedes, where there’s a clear number 1 and number 2″.

Hamilton – who according to Marko is undoubtedly the ‘1’ – dismissed that as “rubbish”.

“They (Red Bull) have a clear one and two, they always have had,” the 2008 world champion told British reporters. “And that is why they have always had the problems they have had.”

But during Martin Brundle’s Sky commentary in Malaysia, the former McLaren driver admitted he finds it hard to believe Hamilton decided to switch to Mercedes over the winter without the promise of higher status.

Hamilton denied: “I have always said, from the moment I was speaking to the team, that I wanted equality.”

That’s why the 28-year-old looked so unhappy despite finishing third on Sunday.

“I said to Ross at the end that I wanted to let him (Rosberg) past. He said ‘Absolutely not. When I tell you what I want (you) to do, you have to stick by it’,” recalled Hamilton.

Hans-Joachim Stuck, the German federation president, said he admires Rosberg for not behaving like Vettel in Malaysia.

“It was a textbook example of a world-class driver,” he told SID news agency. “He is an employee of Mercedes and so when he receives an order, he follows it.” (GMM)

  • Hooters

    Vettel = liar. Hamilton = honest. Simple.

  • Rabih Fares

    It’s proof that Vettel is a real racer while roseberg or even Hamilton is just an employee

  • grat

    @rabih: No, it’s proof that Vettel can’t be counted on to listen to his engineer. If the engineer had been right about tire wear in Korea, then Vettel would have handed the 2012 championship to Alonso.

    When Vettel tried to pass Webber late in the race in Turkey in 2010, he screwed up the pass in spectacular fashion.

    Vettel is a child who throws a tantrum when he can’t get what he wants.

    Brawn ordered his drivers not to race, because he wanted them to bring home the cars with 3rd and 4th points– and this race was Ross Brawn establishing who’s really #1 at Mercedes F1– Ross Brawn.

  • Durptron5000

    Now Wolff goes from saying that it wont happen again to agreeing to it…sigh…money money money can’t you see sometimes your lies just hypnotize me.

  • Edvaldo

    Yeah. Vettel is so much of a racer that he waits his partner to tune down the engine so he can overtake more easily.

    More of a coward to me.

    A true racer would announce his attack and tell Webber to be ready to battle.

  • mssmryzr

    And that’s the point Fares. Vettel is an EMPLOYEE. The car does not belong to him. He works for RB. Take a handful of drivers, put any one of them in that machine, and they win races. Vettel is not some kind of magician, just a ego-maniacal petulant brat. Sit him down for a race and let him figure it out.