Mercedes may have to im­pose team or­ders

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Lewis Hamil­ton and Nico Ros­berg will still be al­lowed to race one an­other – un­til the other teams start to catch up

Mercedes have ad­mit­ted that they may have to re­view their pol­icy of al­low­ing Lewis Hamil­ton and Nico Ros­berg to race freely if it be­gins to af­fect the team’s ad­van­tage over the op­po­si­tion. The team are de­ter­mined to stick with the ap­proach as far as is pos­si­ble, see­ing the huge mar­ket­ing benets in al­low­ing their driv­ers to slug it out on the track. Mercedes were widely praised for not in­ter­fer­ing in the scin­til­lat­ing bat­tle be­tween their driv­ers in Bahrain.

But while Mercedes do not care which of their driv­ers wins the ti­tle, it is crit­i­cal that one of them does, and they are de­ter­mined to en­sure that hap­pens. Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor (busi­ness) Toto Wolff said: “Bahrain was a very par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion be­cause our pack­age worked very well there and we had quite a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage, so it’s eas­ier to take a de­ci­sion for the sake of rac­ing be­cause you know you have quite a mar­gin to the guy in third place.

“The more nar­row that mar­gin be­comes, the more you have to look out, and our rule is that the com­pe­ti­tion is en­emy num­ber one, not your team-mate. So there may be sit­u­a­tions in the race where you have to con­sider that, and you can’t lose time in bat­tle if you have your en­emy on your back, but we’ll see what hap­pens.”

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor (tech­ni­cal) Paddy Lowe, mean­while, has ad­mit­ted that Mercedes’ ad­van­tage is big enough to last for “a few races”, but the team are wary of the abil­ity of Red Bull and Fer­rari to catch up.

“We can­not stand still,” said Lewis Hamil­ton. “We have to keep im­prov­ing and I’m sure we will.

Nico and Lewis can con­tinue to fight each other, pro­vided their ri­vals don’t get too close

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