Mercedes F1 team fears Hamilton/Rosberg rivalry will 'spill over'

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has warned Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg that their "very fierce" rivalry must not get out of control next year in Formula 1

Mercedes F1 team fears Hamilton/Rosberg rivalry will 'spill over'

The Mercedes team-mates fought for the world championship for the second year running in 2015, with Hamilton again coming out on top.

Tensions within the team increased through the season, and Wolff claimed last week that Mercedes would consider making a change to its driver line-up if the drivers could not get on.

Speaking at the Autosport Awards on Sunday, Wolff said Mercedes does not want to let the Hamilton/Rosberg rivalry escalate.

"It's very important to keep the spirit within the team, and the competition between Nico and Lewis has been very fierce, very competitive at times," said Wolff.

"It's understandable because they are fighting in a car that is capable of winning the championship against each other.

"The guy in the other car cannot be your friend, but we need to be careful that it doesn't spill over on both sides of the garage.

"We've seen teams in the past where there is a competition being created that is not good for the dynamics within the team."

Wolff also reiterated his claim that Mercedes would consider changing the driver line-up it has had since the 2013 season.

"If it were to become detrimental to the team that would mean that we would not maintain the long-term set-up in the team with the drivers," he said.

"The lucky situation is that they have known each other for a long time.

"Sometimes we tend to over-interpret the animosities that are going on but they have known each other since they were eight years old, and I think that's a good situation.

"The two of them, the mixture, is perfect for us because from Friday onwards [of a race weekend] they keep pushing each other."

Wolff added Mercedes is happy to allow world champion Hamilton freedom with what he does in his spare time away from F1.

"As long as he performs in the car, there is not a problem," he said.

"We tend to put people in a box and you try to imagine how a perfect racing driver should be, how they should be in bed at 10 o'clock in the evening and not partying or flying around.

"Lewis does that and he performs at his best.

"Our role is to find out what environment he needs and what kind of freedom he needs."

shares
comments
McLaren tests a 17-year-old

Previous article

McLaren tests a 17-year-old

Next article

Renault will complete Lotus F1 takeover on December 16

Renault will complete Lotus F1 takeover on December 16
Load comments
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021