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

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Nico Rosberg , Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Glenn Freeman
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021