Toto Wolff: ” it’s normal that it causes emotions to run high…”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says it’s no surprise that emotions are running high in the Lewis Hamilton v Nico Rosberg battle – and he insists that the team doesn’t want to put a stop to it.

It’s been apparent since Ferrari’s win in Sepang that it will be harder for the team to manage the dynamic between the two drivers.

“After the wake-up call in Malaysia, it was satisfying to see how the team pulled together for the race in China,” he said in a team preview. “We did our homework, made improvements and scored a strong one-two finish. But China also confirmed that Ferrari will be a threat in all conditions this year, not just when it’s very hot, and that we will have new challenges to face as a team, with another competitor who is much closer to our level of performance.”

Regarding Hamilton and Rosberg in China he said: “We saw tensions between Nico and Lewis in the race, and we tackled them directly on Sunday night to stop anything carrying over to this weekend. When you have intense competition, it’s normal that it causes emotions to run high – and that’s not something we want to change.

“But both drivers are now very focused on delivering maximum performance in Bahrain and our package should cope well with the demands of the circuit. We maintain our philosophy of letting the drivers race – but they both know that the number one priority for the team is to win for Mercedes-Benz.”

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Toto Wolff: ” it’s normal that it causes emotions to run high…”

  1. Stone the crows

    Though Mercedes is still the best of the best, Ferrari are close enough that Mercedes cannot do what they did last year, which was use alternate strategies for each car with impunity. When you have a 8 second or more lead over the car in P3 you can do what you want, but now it’s down to 1 second or so and Mercedes has less margin for error than they had in 2014.

  2. MCB

    Adam, your thoughts about this if you like:

    With Nico having a contract till the end of 2016 and Hamilton not having signed his yet, what will this mean for the future. I think the chance of another “fight” between teammates this year is significant and will increase each race. Surely Mercedes can’t afford that. At some point they will have to put a stop on this and will think about having another year with these two drivers.

    Could it be that at some point they will start looking for a replacement driver for LH (Alonso, Bottas, Verstappen even?)? It would be a cheaper option and will make some headaches disappear. With a car that’s still the best around, I’m pretty sure they will still be winning both WC’s.

    • GeorgeK

      That would be a strategy right out of the Frank Williams driver management playbook.

      Except Frank would have separated with Lewis a week or two after season’s end.

      • petes

        Right on the money gents.
        LH’s contract negotiation will continue to be ongoing. If NR wakes up to himself and pushes. LH will crack – his head is a fragile thing.

    • anon

      Whilst Hamilton may come with a higher price tag, on the other hand Hamilton offsets that by being substantially more marketable than Rosberg on the international market.

      I might be mistaken, but I believe that one of the reasons why Blackberry chose to sponsor Mercedes was because of Hamilton’s presence, so it could be argued that Hamilton is offsetting the costs of his contracts by attracting sponsors to the team.

      Besides, Rosberg’s contract is hardly cheap either – he reportedly signed a deal worth $25 million a year (about £16.5 million) when he extended his contract, so he is almost as expensive as Hamilton is (who is thought to have been offered around £20 million a year under the latest negotiations).

      Also, what is to say that the same problem wouldn’t occur with, say, an Alonso-Rosberg line up, or a Bottas-Rosberg line up? Replacing Hamilton wouldn’t solve the issue Mercedes has, because it is not solving what some might consider to be the real root cause of this problem – the way that Mercedes’s senior management handle their drivers.

      • GeorgeK

        I don’t think MB want to lose Lewis, but I do think they need another driver who will be more aggressive in chasing Hamilton, and smart enough not to admit he could have avoided any contact, if they have contact.

        Nico is an impossible situation. He can never be aggressive in overtaking OR defending, as any contact will always be his fault. Lewis has a free rein to chop or dive under and Nico will have to leave room or back off.

    • Bottom line is with a dominant car any pair of drivers will be tricky to manage… HAM and ROS have known each other so long it’s a special case, with positives and negatives…

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