Mercedes to con­front Rosberg-Hamil­ton ‘an­ar­chy’

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

ABU DHABI:

Mercedes’ cel­e­bra­tions over Nico Rosberg’s first world ti­tle have been over­shad­owed by “an­ar­chy” be­tween the world cham­pion and Lewis Hamil­ton.

Some re­ports have said the team could even pun­ish the Bri­ton for slow­ing down the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sun­day in the hope that arch-ri­val team­mate Rosberg could be over­taken and lose the ti­tle.

Hamil­ton twice re­jected team in­struc­tions to speed up as Rosberg came un­der threat from Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said “It’s very sim­ple: an­ar­chy does not work in any team and in any com­pany. A prece­dent has been set.”“Un­der­min­ing a struc­ture in pub­lic means you are putting your­self be­fore the team.”

Ac­cord­ing to Wolff, Mercedes will “look at the over­all sit­u­a­tion and say ‘what does it mean?’ Ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble. “Maybe we want to give them more free­dom next year, or go with the harsher side where we feel the val­ues were not re­spected. I am not sure yet where my fin­ger is go­ing to point or the nee­dle is go­ing to go.”

Hamil­ton has said Mercedes should have just let the team­mates race out their ri­valry. “I don’t think I did any­thing dan­ger­ous, I don’t think I did any­thing un­fair,” said Hamil­ton. “We were fight­ing for the cham­pi­onship, I was in the lead so I con­trol the pace.”

But Hamil­ton’s be­hav­iour and fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with Rosberg will be only one of a host of new chal­lenges next sea­son when For­mula One ush­ers in a raft of rule changes and faster cars.

With the sport now owned by US gi­ant Lib­erty Me­dia, the prospect of its num­ber one box of­fice at­trac­tion leav­ing the cham­pion team is not likely.

F1 Chi­canery

Wolff may be more wor­ried by the prospect of a re­vived chal­lenge from Red Bull and Fer­rari af­ter the rules are changed.

Red Bull boss Chris­tian Horner has made clear he be­lieves his team will mount a se­ri­ous ti­tle bid next year.

“It’s been an amaz­ing sea­son,” Horner said. “Our ex­pec­ta­tions at the be­gin­ning of the year were to get in the top-five so as to emerge as the near­est chal­lenger to Mercedes.”

Things went far bet­ter than that. The team ended “se­cond in the con­struc­tors, won two grands prix, in Barcelona, Max the youngest ever win­ner in F1, Daniel achiev­ing a one-two fin­ish in Malaysia plus 14 other podi­ums, it’s been an in­cred­i­ble year for us,” said Horner.

“There’s no guar­an­tees, Mercedes will be firmly the favourites next year, again, but we’re hop­ing to close that gap down and hope­fully dur­ing the course of next year take the chal­lenge to them.”

The 2017 sea­son will see heav­ier, faster cars, by up to five sec­onds a lap, with wider wings and tyres. Many pad­dock ob­servers be­lieve this will give Red Bull’s highly-rated de­signer Adrian Newey a chance to cre­ate an­other race-win­ning ma­chine.

Horner be­lieves the changes will up the pres­sure on Mercedes, who have won the last three driv­ers’ and con­struc­tors’ cham­pi­onships fol­low­ing an era of Red Bull dom­i­na­tion when four-time cham­pion Vet­tel won his ti­tles.

Mercedes won 19 of this year’s record 21 races with Red Bull win­ning the other two races, one by Dutch teenager Max Ver­stap­pen, who be­came the youngest race win­ner in his­tory, and one from Aus­tralian Daniel Ric­cia­rdo.

But at the end of the year, Red Bull were nearly 300 points adrift of the dom­i­nant Sil­ver Ar­rows - a re­sult that hit hopes for a more com­pet­i­tive cham­pi­onship to stop the fall in tele­vi­sion view­ing fig­ures. Of­fi­cial re­ports in­di­cate the sport has lost 200 mil­lion view­ers since 2008.

For­mula One ring­mas­ter Bernie Ec­cle­stone be­lieves two shorter races should be con­sid­ered as a re­place­ment for one longer event, fol­low­ing a spike in view­ing for the Brazil­ian Grand Prix.

Horner, and oth­ers pre­fer a more tra­di­tional ap­proach. “I think there’s only one Wim­ble­don fi­nal or one grand slam fi­nal. Two races, I don’t think is the way to go, you just need to make the one race a good one.” With Hamil­ton de­ter­mined to get ahead of Rosberg again, new rules, faster cars and un­rest about the sport’s struc­ture, For­mula One’s fu­ture may take many twists next sea­son. — AFP

ABU DHABI: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamil­ton of Bri­tain, right, con­grat­u­lates Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Ger­many, left, dur­ing the podium cer­e­mony af­ter the Emi­rates For­mula One Grand Prix at the Yas Ma­rina race­track in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emi­rates, Sun­day. —AP

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