Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have been told the team rules for their future wheel-to-wheel battles in the wake of their spectacular duel during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Silver Arrows pair thrilled the Formula 1 world last Sunday with their battle for victory at Sakhir, despite bosses urging them to “bring both cars home”.
It was reported that the team denied that the drivers ignored team orders for appearance only, and would quietly curb that sort of behaviour behind the scenes ahead of future races.
The fight in Bahrain was also timely for Formula 1’s ‘show’, in the wake of hefty criticism of the controversial new rules.
“I am so happy that the race was so well received by the fans,” said Rosberg, “because the welfare of the sport is very important to me.
“In my eyes, the criticism of the new regulations was very unfair, especially so early on, and the negativity was getting louder and louder.
“For me, there was no better way to silence it than to deliver one of the most exciting races in the history of Formula 1,” he added.
But Team Director Toto Wolff insists that Bahrain was not simply a one-off.
“They can fight against each other,” he told Sport Bild magazine, “so long as there are no harakiri-manoeuvres.
“So you’re not driving with the same aggressiveness against your own teammate as you would against the others,” Wolff explained.
He said that Mercedes’ attitude to ‘team orders’ is important, given that both Hamilton and Rosberg are conferred equal status inside the Brackley based team, whose W05 car is currently utterly dominant.
“We are here to race,” said Wolff, “we have two really good drivers who can win races and deserve to be world champion.”
Christian Danner, a former driver turned commentator, says that Mercedes’ approach will be welcomed by many, Mercedes is very dominant, but in contrast to what we have seen over the years with Ferrari and Red Bull, Rosberg and Hamilton can race freely.
“This is not only a very brave decision, but also the right decision for the sport,” he declared. (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.