Toto Wolff has reiterated that after China Mercedes may have to focus more on how best to manage the team’s two drivers in the light of the increasing challenge from Ferrari.
He stressed that the priority was team wins, and that might involve interference in the Hamilton/Rosberg fight.
However Wolff, who already said after Malaysia that strategies might be split, insisted he wouldn’t be telling the drivers to hold position and not fight each other.
“It could come to a situation where you see that we are risking the win against the Ferrari that we night do any unpopular call,” said Wolff. “We wouldn’t freeze anything like this, that is something that we decided not to do, but it could be a situation where we need to manage them more.
“Our objective number one, and this is what we decided with the drivers, is that we have a big responsibility to the team, to a big brand. It’s not just about the two guys out there but about a thousand people working on those cars. And if it would ever come to the call between interfering between the two of them because we risk to lose a race, then we would do that. We don’t have the gap any more from last year where we can just let them push each other until the very end. We need to manage the gaps between the two of them.”
Regarding any ‘hold station’ orders he said: “What we understand as a clear team order, which we’ve seen in the past, is saying ‘you’re not allowed to overtake,’ because you’re the faster car for example. This is not something I can honestly see happening.
“I can see why teams in the past did it, because they were under threat of losing a championship. Knock on wood we haven’t been in that situation yet, but managing more, without making such a drastic call, is within the possibility now.”