Wolff: You cannot expect it to run super-smoothly

Toto Wolff has some serious management to do in the final half of 2014

Toto Wolff has some serious management to do in the final half of 2014

The Hungary ‘team orders’ episode continues to haunt almost a month later and still dominating conversations in the paddock at Spa-Francorchamps on the opening day of the Belgian Grand Prix, this time with Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff azdmitting that things are not running smoothly.

Wolff told BBC that the post-Budapest situation within the team “needed a little bit of mediating, management, caressing, hard words” as the duel for the F1 world title between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg intensified after the Hungarian Grand Prix where the Briton refused to slow down and allow his German teammate to pass as per orders from the team gantry.

Wolff admitted, “You cannot expect it to run super-smoothly. You don’t expect when your team-mate has one more stop to do that you make his life difficult. On the other hand you cannot ruin one’s race by expecting him to lose a couple of hundred metres. It was a matter of the words used not the principle.”

Toto Wolff with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Toto Wolff with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

In the end Hamilton finished third and Rosberg had to settle for fourth, but the Rosberg camp were adamant that if Hamilton had co-operated then a win was on the cards.

“We probably shouldn’t have said to Nico that Lewis was going to let him through, we should have said he won’t make your life difficult,” mused Wolff.

Mercedes have dominated the 2014 season in a manner not seen since the heyday of Ferrari a decade ago, the difference being that both their drivers are title contenders and thus there are shades of civil war within the Silver Arrows barracks.

Between them Hamilton and Rosberg have won nine grands prix this season, and the team should wrap up the constructors’ title within the next few races after which the matter of the drivers’ crown will be fought for by their drivers. And a mighty fight is on the cards. (GP247)