Mercedes could rethink Formula 1 team orders stance if rivals close

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has hinted Formula 1 title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will be reined back in battle if the opposition closes the gap

Mercedes could rethink Formula 1 team orders stance if rivals close

F1's currently-dominant team permitted its two drivers to engage in a classic scrap for victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, in which they repassed each other several times before Hamilton took victory.

Mercedes received praise for not subjecting its drivers to team orders, beyond an instruction from race team chief Paddy Lowe not to take each other out.

OPINION: Don't slam Mercedes if it all goes wrong

But Wolff suggested the squad's policy would probably have to shift if more drivers started to become a threat to Rosberg and Hamilton, who have dominated thus far.

"Bahrain was particular because our package worked very well and we had quite a competitive advantage there, so it's easier to take a decision for the sake of racing because you know you're going to have quite a margin to the car in third place," Wolff explained.

"The more narrow that margin gets the more you have to look out for competitors, and our rule number one is that the team-mate is not enemy number one, the competition is, and there might be situations in the race when you have to consider that fact.

"You cannot [afford to] lose lots of time in a battle if you have your enemy right up your back."

MERCEDES' MARGIN OVER RIVALS

Mercedes has now scored three straight one-two finishes, with Hamilton leading Rosberg home in Malaysia, Bahrain and China. The table below shows the gap back to third place each time.

Race Gap between Mercs 3rd to 1st deficit Malaysia 17.313s Vettel, +24.534s Bahrain 1.085s Perez, +24.067s China 18.062s Alonso, +23.604s 
shares
comments
Formula 1 teams in push to make cars more visually spectacular
Previous article

Formula 1 teams in push to make cars more visually spectacular

Next article

Long Beach Formula 1 return highly unlikely reckons Takuma Sato

Long Beach Formula 1 return highly unlikely reckons Takuma Sato
The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Formula 1
Jun 27, 2022
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022