Mercedes has confirmed that its drivers are free to race each other for the World Championship – but the team has imposed new “rules of engagement” to minimise the risk of further contact between the pair.
The team issues a statement today following meetings between the team management, Lewis Hamilton, and Nico Rosberg.
“Our drivers were informed that they remain free to race for the world championship,” the statement said. “We believe this is the essence of Formula One, including between team mates. As passionate racers, we want to see them racing, and so do the fans of Formula One.
“However, this freedom comes with a duty for our drivers to respect the values of the team. In the past five races, there have been three incidents which have cost us over 50 points in the constructors’ championship.
“We have therefore strengthened our Rules of Engagement to include much greater deterrents to contact between our cars. With these in place, we will trust our drivers to manage the situation between them on track. Their destiny is in their own hands.”
Mercedes added that in certain circumstances points for the team will be a priority.
“The drivers were also reminded that we may issue instructions during the race to protect against a potential loss of constructors’ points, such as we did at this year’s Monaco GP when Nico was instructed to let Lewis pass.”
Mercedes concluded: “If the drivers do not honour the revised Rules of Engagement, we may impose team orders as a solution of last resort.”