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Time to let slip the Mercedes dogs of war?

NEWS STORY
29/07/2014

With Mercedes virtually assured of the 2014 Constructors' Championship perhaps now is the time to let its drivers go full-on head-to-head.

Sadly, Sunday's race was somewhat overshadowed by the public bickering over 'team orders', a situation not entirely helped by Niki Lauda's subsequent admission that there was an element of "panic" on the pit-wall.

In reality, one can see both sides of the argument as far as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are concerned, for whilst teammates each, at heart, is a very determined racer targeting the ultimate prize and to come out on top one cannot afford to take prisoners.

Although the fact is that Mercedes could still be beaten for the title - all part of the "panic" at Brackley - the reality is that should Mercedes fail to score a single point in the coming races - unlikely seeing as it has averaged 35 points in the eleven races thus far - even if Red Bull finished 1-2 it would take until Japan before the Austrian team closed to within two points of the championship leaders.

Barring a reversal of form of unheard of proportions it simply isn't going to happen.

Consequently, surely Mercedes would be best advised to let its drivers off the leash from Belgium, albeit imposing a few ground rules.

Not only would this give us something to savour, it would go some way to ending the conspiracy theories that inevitably followed Hamilton's disastrous qualifying in Hungary.

The hammering the German team took on social media on Saturday as Hamilton's car smouldered away at the end of the pitlane is something that will continue until the German team faces facts and makes it clear that, within reason, the gloves are off and there are no favourites.

Unless a decision is made and the drivers are told they are free to 'go for it', whichever of them win the title there will always be an element of 'yes, but what if…'

Faced with one of the most dominant seasons in living memory, and having produced a package that is the envy of the pitlane, it would be a tragedy if the Silver Arrows were the suspicion of bias.

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 30/07/2014 17:10

"More common-sense exhibited here than almost the entire "Media Pack", and certainly the Mercedes pit-wall!
Even with Mercedes' car's superiority, racing this year has largely been brilliant, up and down the field. Although far from perfect the new formula, relying (if only a little) less on aero, has proven a winner despite the nay-sayers (Mr Ecclestone amongst them).

The "double points" fiasco could well leave a very bitter taste in our mouths. Should either of the two main protagonists leap-frog the other solely on the basis of this then it will be a travesty. "

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2. Posted by TokyoAussie, 30/07/2014 4:31

"There is also the looming problem of the "double points" fiasco for the last race, easily the most nonsensical change made to the championship. If a driver (Hamilton or Rosberg) needs the double points to pass the other, then the championship win will be incredibly hollow, and will be viewed as such by everyone. If a driver doesn't need the double points, then the whole idea of double points has absolutely no use. Either way, double points will be seen for what it is; a joke. Why do the powers that be not see that? It's too obvious for words."

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3. Posted by Francis, 30/07/2014 1:36

"Mercedes problem is not Lewis or Nico - it is the single strategist format Mercedes is using. This single strategist is exaggerating the importance of the pole lap, forcing the drivers to take unusual risk to win the race on Saturday, since the W05 is so strong it is impossible to overtake on the track even in another W05. If Mercedes let each driver's engineers develop a winning strategy with a team goal for each race, like all the other teams, the whole situation would work itself out.

This Sunday the strategist was caught napping by the safety car lottery that fell in Hamilton's favor (talk about luck). Rather than react to this historic opportunity to put a car on the top step from the pitlane, the strategist stayed true to the original plan and kept Lewis on the two stop plan and Nico on the three stop plan. As a result they met between lap 48 and 50 with Lewis refusing to slow down for Nico. BUT think about if Lewis had pulled a Massa and yielded - Nico would not have been able to keep Lewis out of his pit window. So after Nico's last stop he would be required to pass Lewis AGAIN! but this time Lewis would be on well worn medium tires witnessing his podium fade behind Ricciardo and then Nico with Alonso between them. Imagine that conversation with Paddy "er... Lewis, Nico needs you to let him through AGAIN!!!" Asking any driver to yield twice is beyond the call of duty... Asking Lewis Hamilton to do so after that Saturday fiasco... (well you insert any EXPLETIVE here). Sadly this team misses Ross Brawn more than ever right now. Ross would have seen that can of worms coming a mile away!!!"

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4. Posted by Kkiirmki, 29/07/2014 21:22

"I seem to remember reading at the start of the season that there were no team orders at Mercedes??? If Mercedes couldn't win the constructors championship (and the drivers too) with the performance advantage they have this year then they should seriously consider leaving F1. "

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5. Posted by MrShadow, 29/07/2014 21:05

"I understand the position of Lewis, but still I think that if they had made it clear to Nico he would not be given the position without a fight a battle would have been done. Nico cam within 0.5 seconds of Lewis for a number of laps, meaning he could have been closer and made a move if he would not have thought he would get a pass. With the pace Lewis had, he would have made up the time to Alonso without effort, so his point of losing time is a bad excuse. The real issue is that Lewis feels at this point the constructors title race is run, and he does not wish to give any kind of advantage to Nico. Understandable, but it needs to be clear within the team."

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6. Posted by vermin, 29/07/2014 20:56

"Yes, let slip the dogs of war.
There is more than enough sentiment against:
Team orders;
DRS;
Two grades of tyres per race;
Fuel consumption.

Let's go racing and not implementing computerised modelling and strategising!"

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7. Posted by miss d'it, 29/07/2014 16:51

"Conspiracy theorists
Jingoistics
No1 drivers

Is it any/all of the above ?
Or is Lewis just not getting the rub of the green ?
Rosberg has had his glitches too, Monaco, Montreal, Silverstone and the safety car deployment at Hungary (although he should remember that the medical car was out at the same time, lets hope he decides that it better to be safe than sorry when the medics are needed)

I have thoroughly enjoyed the racing this year, from all drivers, very reminiscent of the prost/senna/mansell era, funny though that LDM has been very quiet since making his 'taxi' comment.

I also would love to see the two of them race, evenly, fairly, without bias, without team orders (disgraceful on sunday), but in the knowledge that they RACE, and not force the other into dangerous situations, or taking them out."

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8. Posted by tjwiffen, 29/07/2014 16:48

"Here's the thing. At this stage of the season where both Nico and Lewis are in contension for the drivers championship there should be no reason for team orders. Passes like this just cheapen the result. Nico wasn't close enough to be in a position to pass anyway. The only circumstance where Lewis should have allowed Nico to pass is if Lewis was out of contension and Nico's chance at the title was threatened by a driver from another team. Until this situation arises the two should be allowed to race each other and allow the best driver to succeed."

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