Hamil­ton and Ros­berg could be al­lowed to fight

F1 Racing (UK) - - INSIDER -

Merc boss ad­mits he may have to let his driv­ers choose their own strate­gies and bat­tle it out on track if they con­tinue to dom­i­nate

Mercedes For­mula 1 boss Toto Wolff has raised the pos­si­bil­ity of let­ting Lewis Hamil­ton and Nico Ros­berg off the leash com­pletely should the team’s dom­i­nance con­tinue this year.

Red Bull boss Chris­tian Horner, Wolff’s political and com­pet­i­tive ri­val, has claimed that Mercedes’ su­pe­ri­or­ity is dam­ag­ing in­ter­est in F1, and Wolff now ac­knowl­edges he has a point.

“Our dom­i­nance is bad for For­mula 1,” Wolff told The Mail on Sun­day. “It is. It makes the rac­ing bor­ing. The re­sult be­comes pre­dictable. The sport needs mul­ti­ple win­ners. It needs the odd freak re­sult. It needs the un­der­dog to win. The mo­ment you be­come a dom­i­nant force, you suf­fer and your brand suf­fers.”

Wolff and Mercedes have so far op­er­ated a pol­icy of al­low­ing their driv­ers to race while giv­ing them both as close to the op­ti­mum strat­egy as pos­si­ble. This has of­ten led to them be­ing close on track but un­able to race one an­other be­cause the driver in front, with first call on pit­stop tim­ing, has a small but cru­cial ad­van­tage: in the Pirelli era, stop­ping first is worth be­tween two and five sec­onds over a driver be­hind.

Wolff says that if Mercedes re­main dom­i­nant, he may have to re-think this pol­icy: “I want the dom­i­nance to con­tinue bu, if it were to con­tinue like this I need to think what to do so we do not be­come the en­emy, and how we can help the show. Maybe it’s about un­leash­ing the two of them com­pletely. Make them have their own strat­egy. That would be a so­lu­tion.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff: “I need to think what to do so we do not be­come the en­emy”

This raises the prospect of the team al­low­ing a more naked fight, with the driv­ers and their re­spec­tive en­gi­neers al­lowed to com­pete against each other and de­vise al­ter­nate strate­gies.

Wolff added: “It might have a new di­men­sion. I want to con­tain it. I don’t want fight­ing in the team. I’d like the box­ers to fight, but not the train­ers and the phys­ios and ev­ery­body around the ring. I’d like the box­ers to be­have like box­ers, who fight very hard, but af­ter the fight has fin­ished you can be a sports­man and em­brace your en­emy. But it is easy when it is the­ory.”

His com­ments were made in the con­text of his warn­ing at the fi­nal race of the sea­son that if he felt the ri­valry be­tween Hamil­ton and Ros­berg was bad for the team, he may have to drop one of them. Ros­berg’s con­tract runs out at the end of 2016, while last sea­son Hamil­ton signed a new three-year deal that ties him to Mercedes un­til the end of 2018.

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