Toto Wolff: “They are enemies in the same team…”

Toto Wolff admits that the first corner clash in Austin between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will lead to a discussion with the two drivers in order to calm the situation.

The incident followed a similar one in Suzuka, where Rosberg was edged wide and lost momentum.

“Lewis came on the radio and said it wasn’t on purpose,” said Wolff when asked by this writer. “I think it’s something we are going to talk about in a couple of days, but this is a moment to celebrate a World Champion who deserves to be World Champion, and then once emotions have cooled down, we should discuss.

“It’s clear that a racing driver who has just lost a World Championship for a second time against his team mate in a tough race where certainly Turn One wasn’t very nice, and he lost it by his own mistake. I think we have to respect for that.”

Wolff admitted that the last three races will have a different feel given that both titles are won.

“Flat out! Actually, we have been unleashing them all the time already. I don’t know, I have never been in that comfortable situation of being able to sit in a race and enjoy it like a fan, watch it. But then it’s also a crucial moment now to make sure that today’s race won’t release consequences within the team, and splitting the two sides of the garage.

“Celebrate the World Champion, let a couple of days pass, emotion cool down, have a chat. It’s never easy, it wasn’t easy the first time around. I think we’ve gained some experience, I’ve gained some experience, I’ve been around a little while now, and I just need to have a calm approach, but a firm approach, about how we would like them to compete out there.”

Asked if Rosberg would eventually be happy for Lewis he said: “That’s never going to happen. They are enemies in the same team. It’s clear that we cannot expect him to cheer up in such a situation.”

23 Comments

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23 responses to “Toto Wolff: “They are enemies in the same team…”

  1. MCB

    Can’t help to feel a bit for Rosberg. Yes, LH is the better driver. Yes, LH fully deserves the title. But LH drives hard and not always fair imho. Remember a couple of years ago he had a season (2011 I believe) constantly battling Massa and touching/crashing into each other. It shows that that’s how he races. Racing hard is fine, but you have to leave a bit of room for the other fellow.

    I think with both titles wrapped up and how angry NR was yesterday, we’re in for some 1st round fireworks the last couple of GPs. Nothing to win, nothing to lose for NR (this really was the case for this race too). Wouldn’t be surprised if both Mercedes crashed out in Mexico next weekend. The question is: how will Mercedes manage it? After Spa last year they came on strong on NR (a bit too strong perhaps, as NR hasn’t really been the same since). Does Toto have the guts to come on strong on LH as well? Doubt it if you read the reaction in this article.

    • Andrew W

      To imply that the Austin turn 1 incident wasn’t fair is itself unfair. I felt the team was unduly hard on Rosberg after the Spa 2014 incident and certainly hope they publicly condemn Hamilton should he prove to have been in violation of a similar internal team agreement. Otherwise, let the race stewards be the arbiters of fairness regardless of internal team instructions.

    • anon

      I think that Nico would not necessarily have been angry just at Hamilton though. I would think that there was also a fair amount of anger and disappointment at himself for making the mistake that let Hamilton through by throwing away the one advantage he did have – track position – by himself.

    • Drew Oliver

      NR Poor loser, very poor statesman for his country, childish needs to grow up and face the fact he is second to LH the world champion the better driver.

      • DW

        That wins the childish fanboy comment of the week.

        Not something that I’ve ever seen on here … just hoping this place doesn’t head the way of other F1 sites with this rubbish.

  2. WE were all standing up and stretching after yesterday’s race while the drivers got out of their cars and moved into the weight room. The buzz around me in Turn 19 was that LH ran a good race and how happy they were for JB.

    And then… The large screen TVs moved over to the cool down room where LH picks up his sponsor cap and tosses his teammate one. We all laughed as NR tossed his cap back to LH. “What a crybaby” the Button fan called out. “Oh My God, did you see what Nico did?” came from another fan.

    I’m wondering what Toto does when he sees that NR just tossed back his cap?

    • petes

      Why would he even be interested!
      The crapping on that has overtaken the net since this action shows too many people need to get a life.

  3. GeorgeK

    “Lewis said he didn’t do it on purpose.”
    Well, I guess that would be the 4th big lie, eh?

    Nico seems to fold whenever pressure is applied to him, and unwilling to apply pressure back. All in reference to running against Lewis.

    I stated (as did many others) after last year’s castration following Spa bump off that Nico would never be able to act or react aggressively with Lewis.

    Mores the pity he threw the win away yesterday.

    • giekas

      I believe that sometime after Spa 2014 Toto said something along the lines “… from now on the rule is – if similar incident happens in the future, the offending driver risks losing his contract …”. Only I don’t think this new rule applies equally to both drivers. Red Bulls turned a blind eye when their beloved driver was out of line, and Mercs would not make silly choices as well. Which would mean that from that moment on NR carries a duty, if any incident happens, to be able and show unambiguously that his portion of blame was definitely smaller than LH’s. That would explain his changed behavior.

      • GeorgeK

        From The Animal Farm: “All animals are created equal……some are more equal than others.”
        MB have nurtured the good and the bad, a 3 time WDC as well as a 2 time Mfg champion, who now wields a mighty sword; the fact that MB want more of the same. There will be no private nor public admonishments against Lewis.

    • Peterg

      Nico has not come out on top since the Spa reprimand, it would seem he has been spooked.

      Having lost a chance to win a WC, to his teammate in 2 consecutive years, he needs to come back in 2016 with all guns firing. Mercedes provides him with a good car, however, if you cant beat your teammate, accept number 2 status….or move on

  4. petes

    I’m wondering why the pole side is very often on the wrong side of the track for the first corner these days. Adjustment would be beneficial a many tracks.

    • GeorgeK

      I had the same question in mind. It would seem the offset in starting places is negated by P2 having a direct shot at the inside of the first corner.

  5. Brad Ford

    Leaving “room” for your competitor is how you lose championship. Driving hard is about “taking” the best line and exploiting it. If Rosberg doesn’t have the will to force the issue, he will never be the champion as Hamilton will always “take” from him.

    • petes

      Well I guess if Nico had hardened up the WDC would still be open….

      • DW

        Pete, if Nico had hardened up long ago, his teammate wouldnt still be driving him off the track every time he went past.

        However, what I have seen from Nico in the last couple of years has really changed my initial opinions of him.
        His racecraft has been poor, his mind has been fragile, and he’s become a joke to his own employers … look at the Lauda / Wolff reaction when Nico ran wide yesterday handing Lewis the win … it was like a knowing look that he was never going to win.

  6. MW

    Nico’s appears to be a nice bloke but the sad truth is that he’s too nice and now has the unshakeable reputation as a ‘bottler’ when it comes to winning the big pressure moments. Would Ham/Vet/Alo have made that mistake when leading yesterday – no. He’s never recovered from Monza last season in that respect.

    Harsh reality is that Merc could get any of half a dozen drivers to take his seat. The only realistic candidate for Hamilton’s after 2016 would be Alonso – and he’s hardly famed for facilitating team harmony (or getting any younger).

    1 year remaining on Nico’s contract and a difficult decision for Toto – see if Rosberg accepts his role as effectively ‘no.2’ driver or put Verstappen in alongside Hamilton and see if he’s got ‘it’. As a neutral – Verstappen please!

  7. Lars

    All I could think about when I watched the turn one incident and how Nico let Lewis run him wide was neither Senna or Prost would have allowed the other to push him wide like that. They would have forced the issue back: with the result being a collision. Clearly Nico should have taken Lewis out in my view. Now for all time, Lewis knows when push comes to shove Nico will back down.

  8. Oh, and if Nico wouldn’t have gone wide; and they would have crashed out…both of them…you Lewis fanboys would have said it was Nico’s fault. It was clearly Lewis who was in the wrong; and should have received a penalty. The stewards ignored it; it’s over and done with. Nico now has to move on, obviously. Lewis doing the hat toss was poor taste, in my opinion…just more of his way to show off when he thinks no one is looking. He puts on all these airs when the camera is on him. Phony. So, since they have to have discussions, there is clearly a reason…and now we know the team needs to step up. They won’t; they are clearly on Lewis’s side; and it shows…cut to Toto and Niki’s faces…they should never play poker.

  9. TheLollipopMan

    Agree with a lot of the comments here. Rosberg hasn’t been the same since Spa last year, when he was publicly emasculated by his team. Aggression from Lewis he can handle. He’s managed it fine since their karting days together (hence he threw the cap straight back at him post-race). But in Spa he was publicly humiliated by his team – Lauda and Wolff both rebuked him over what many felt was merely a racing incident, caused in part by intimidation by Hamilton by way of his aggressive driving. He was booed on the podium and again at other races after that (it happened earlier in Silverstone too, if I recall correctly). Lauda later apologised to him, but too little too late. He’s now damaged goods and the beta-male in the team. He’ll have no choice but to jump ship (like Vettel did) to get his alpha status back, because a three-time champion will always take precedence in the team, no matter how fair Wolff and Lauda try to run things. That’s why Rosberg backs off Hamilton in these first-corner stoushes, because he knows the team won’t support him and the fans will boo him. Once bitten twice shy.

    • GeorgeK

      You summarized it all, and I for one agree. Time to go, question is where??? If MB had a conscience they would guarantee him a ride in DTM, and make it plain he is not cutting it in their F1 team.

      Problem is, Like Rubens playing 2nd fiddle to Michael, he is very good and provides consistent 2nd place finishes for mfg points. They want Nico but can’t have him playing bumper cars on track with the egomaniac Lewis.

  10. TheLollipopMan

    Oh, he’ll definitely want to stay in F1. He just has to get his mojo back, and there are two ways he can do it. One is to move to another team in 2017 (Williams? Ferrari?), and the other (and hardest) is to stay at Mercedes and stand up to Hamilton and give him no quarter, like he did last year. If Hamilton wants to race hard, then Rosberg needs to race HARDER than him. He needs to start pushing Hamilton out at the first corner instead of the other way around. To beat Hamilton you have to break him mentally. He’s so dominant this year because he’s in his comfort zone. He can push Rosberg off the road and his team allow it. Hamilton has the security of knowing he can do no wrong in the eyes of his team, and this energises him. Rosberg needs to dig deep and fight this by standing up to Hamilton and pushing back. If the team censure him then he needs to stand up to them too, and (most intimidating of all) stand up to the fans who will inevitably boo him when he starts playing Hamilton’s “hard racing” game. He can’t let Hamilton belittle him anymore.

    • GeorgeK

      Spot on again, though I’m not sure if Nico has the intestinal fortitude, or self centered ego like Lewis, to go that route.

      As you stated, Lewis smacks him around on track, and denigrates him off track with a sense of immunity. As a 3 time WDC he has earned some latitude, but not to the point he carries it.

      Nico needs to punch him in the mouth on track figuratively, and if necessary, literally off track as well.

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