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
Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Singapore Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

A testing return to the Singapore Grand Prix in tricky conditions created plenty of hazards and mistakes for the Formula 1 drivers to fall into. That partly explains a number of low scores, including from a handful of high profile runners, allowing others to take a starring role under the floodlights

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP Plus

The two key contributors to Leclerc's defeat to Perez in F1's 2022 Singapore GP

In a marathon Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Sergio Perez’s victory was only assured hours after the race due to a stewards investigation. Throughout the contest the Red Bull driver impressively held off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in changing conditions to see the Mexican pull out enough of an advantage to negate his post-race penalty

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Formula 1
Oct 2, 2022
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022