Lauda: As of immediately our drivers can drive against each other

Niki Lauda
Niki Lauda

Like their rivals Red Bull, Mercedes has also scrapped team orders in the wake of the recent Malaysian Grand Prix saga.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber’s already tenuous relationship was shattered at Sepang when Vettel ignored Red Bull’s instruction that he stay behind the Australian.

And behind them, a frustrated Nico Rosberg followed his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to the chequered flag, having been told by boss Ross Brawn to hold station.

The team’s German-speaking faction led by Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda railed against Brawn’s decision, leading to behind-the-scenes talks.

“Yeah, we’ve definitely discussed it and it’s all sorted for the future,” Rosberg told reporters on Thursday.

Lewis Hamilton leads Nico Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton leads Nico Rosberg

He didn’t say what has been decided, but team chairman and shareholder Lauda did.

“We have sat down and agreed that, as of immediately, the drivers can drive their races against each other,” the triple world champion said in an interview with Osterreich.

The new situation at Red Bull is similar, with Helmut Marko admitting this week that team owner Dietrich Mateschitz was “very unhappy” with the Multi-21 saga.

“There will be no more team orders by us,” he said.

Team boss Christian Horner confirmed: “I had discussions with Dietrich and we agreed that Red Bull is not a fan of team orders.

“Therefore we will not impose team orders at the end of a race,” he is quoted by the BBC. “However, we expect the drivers to act on the information they have from the team.”

Asked if that will make life easier or more difficult, Webber said in China: “Probably easier, yep.”