Mercedes will continue to let its drivers fight hard for the title, boss Toto Wolff has revealed ahead o the opening round of the 2015 Formula 1 world championship season in Australia.
Earlier, former champion Jacques Villeneuve said he hopes the German team dominates again in 2015, because if rival teams are too close, Mercedes might impose team orders.
But Wolff said letting Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg enjoy total equality and freedom to fight wheel-to-wheel is a Mercedes “philosophy”, not a matter of convenience.
“We are not going to change our approach in terms of philosophy on how to let the drivers race. Even if it is not always easy,” Wolf is quoted by AFP news agency.
“For us, for our brand, for Formula 1, it was important to let them fight, one against the other.”
Former F1 driver David Coulthard praised Mercedes for its approach, which is in contrast to how some former top teams managed their driver rivalries.
“I think the way they managed it was correct for the sport and correct for the fans of the sport,” the Scot said in an interview published by Laureus.
Hamilton insists, therefore, that although he is the reigning champion, German Rsoberg will fight him hard in 2015.
“I’m sure Nico is trying to train harder, studying more and trying everything under the sun to make sure he finishes ahead of me,” he told British reporters.
Last year, the intensity of the fight boiled over and affected the former friends’ relationship, but Hamilton said that relationship is currently “quite good”.
“But it’s before the season starts,” the Briton admitted. “In the heat of the moment you have to assume there’s going to be small bits of tension but that’s because we’re fierce competitors within the same team.”
Team chairman Niki Lauda expects the Hamilton vs Rosberg fight to be even more intense in 2015.
“The duels will be even harder this year because Nico will be doing everything to catch up to Lewis,” he told the German broadcaster RTL.
“Nico will increase the pressure, making Lewis increase the pressure in return,” the F1 legend added.