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Mercedes could drop one of its drivers

NEWS STORY
04/09/2014

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that should the team feel it is unable to manage its drivers one of them could be shown the door.

Despite, or because of, what happened in Belgium, and all that followed, the atmosphere within the Mercedes camp doesn't seem to have improved over the past two weeks.

Whilst Nico Rosberg has accepted responsibility for what happened at Spa, and the team has said that both drivers are free to continue racing, the German looked far from happy today ahead of the Italian Grand Prix weekend.

Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, appeared far more relaxed, using this afternoon's press conference to suggest he has moved on and all is well, even if some are not quite convinced.

Whilst his team heads towards it first constructors' title, Wolff admits that there is concern the relationship between his two drivers could flare up again at any time, leaving the Brackley outfit with a difficult decision.

"We have made it very clear this is an unacceptable scenario for us, actually for both of them," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "We don't want this to happen ever again and the consequences are very easy.

"If we are not able to manage the two of them following the Mercedes-Benz spirit then we need to admit that and take decisions and take consequences of having a different line-up probably," he warned.

Whilst Rosberg recently agreed a new "multi-year contract, teammate Hamilton is still in the midst of negotiations, though he admits he is keen to stay.

Asked about the punishment meted out to Rosberg following his admission that he accepted full responsibility for what happened at Spa, Wolff was giving nothing away, possibly having heard of comments made by Max Mosley earlier this week when the former FIA president said it was wrong of the team to make such matters public.

"When you are managing a team it is very important to keep it balanced," said Wolff. "I would very much like the penalties we have been implementing to stay within the team because it is just not fair on the driver to discuss that in public."

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Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Darvi, 06/09/2014 12:21

"Dream scenario would be for Mercedes to swap Rosberg or Hamilton for Button. Jens is a proven and quick consistent points scorer who can also race with a quick teammate..... "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Toe_Dragon, 05/09/2014 19:28

"Rosberg nay be sensing that he is the Barichello to Hamilton's Shumacher...... Wouldn't I just LOVE to see Lewis back at McLaren for the return of Honda Engines...."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by miss d'it, 05/09/2014 17:35

"Hmm
I think it is advantage Hamilton

Rosberg has suddenly discovered that he can't just be a 'maldonado or a grosjean' and recklessly barge into his teamate, and get away with it.
Hamilton is the better 'wheel to wheel' and opportunist driver, and Rosberg know it

Therefore if it comes to wheel to wheel racing like at Bahrain, Nico now knows that he can't risk an outside corner pass. Lewis knows that Nico knows this, and therefore has the upper mental hand

However, i think that both Lewis and Nico will be at Mercedes next year. Even with all that has gone on this year, why would you want to leave the team that is going to give you the best car again, with which to fight for the title.
Only spanner in the works here could be Bottas (manager - Toto) swap with Williams (damn fine car)

Time will tell, but stranger things than leaving happen in the wacky world of F1"

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4. Posted by Spindoctor, 05/09/2014 12:53

"It'll almost certainly be Hamilton that goes. Mercedes will never surrender the expensively won "No1" likely to be on Rosberg's car, whatever the likely outcome for next season. There are plenty of highly talented young drivers, and some good old 'uns (like Alonso) around to "replace" Hamilton. Bottas, for example, would almost certainly prove to be very quick indeed....

Despite the pervasive negative commentary exemplified by "FormerF1fan" Hamilton remains one of the quickest drivers out there, and the constant sniping about his supposedly dodgy "temperament" doesn't alter that.
On the contrary, Lewis' character seems to be being tempered into sterner stuff by all the problems, large & small which have assailed him this season. By dint of some brilliant driving; he's doggedly fought back after a variety of technical problems affecting only his car looked likely to put him out of the hunt for WDC. There was no "team" involved in those drives, and no quarter asked nor given.

The person who's temperament appears most doubtful is Rosberg. Despite having the fastest, most reliable car, most of the good luck, and a substantial lead in the WDC, he appears to be running scared.
Whatever the truth behind the reasons for his collision with Lewis, a confident, intelligent and sporting potential Champion driver should not need to prove anything by risking all on the 2nd lap! You can't see Alonso, someone not without "passion", resorting to such an emotionally-driven "error of judgement".

"

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5. Posted by kiwi2wheels, 05/09/2014 12:37

"It will be a real egg-on-face moment for the MB team " principals ", a real " ensure brain is engaged before putting mouth into gear " when the " celeb rapper " is shown the door.

It would be a PR disaster to get rid of a German driver ."

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6. Posted by JackTheCat, 05/09/2014 12:15

"I think it will be Hamilton on his way out. Contract negotiations have stopped and Nico is in all likelihood going to be WC so the number 1 will be on the Merc next year.

Whatever happens I don't think they can keep the same driver line up.

As for the post below I have always thought the slowing up of the Toyota suspicious in that last lap in 2008... but I think it had far more to do with Ferrari and Toyota being involved in legal action over copyright at the time than any call from Dennis.

To be fair none of that is Lewis's fault and the Ferrari was the better car that year so fair play to him. He also was Alonso's equal in his first season and I would be careful how much we praise Alonso who has a few dubious incidents to his name too.... cough Singapore 2008!"

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7. Posted by FormerF1Fan, 05/09/2014 9:37

"So it’s official then. Rosberg is on his way out.

Hamilton has always needed team help, even when he won his championship in 2008 at the Brazilian GP.

So long as Hamilton kept Vettel behind him, he’d be champion. Just a few laps before the end he slid off and let Vettel by. Hamilton was now quite a way behing Glock, but provided Glock would pit, Hamilton would still be OK. However Glock didn’t, electing to stay out on slicks. The lap times between Vettel/Hamilton/Glock in these crucial laps were not too different. Suddenly, 2 laps from the end, Glock’s times went up from 1m20s to 1m44s – 24 seconds more. However, this did not correspond to any abrupt deterioration in track conditions: this increase in lap times was similar to that of a few laps earlier when there was a deluge, but in this case, there was none. In contrast, almost all other cars’ times improved slightly in these last 2 laps, but not the Toyotas.

It looked suspicious to me watching at the time – I was following the live lap times and gaps closely on my laptop – and everything I have read since has served to reinforce my suspicions that progressively cooling slicks didn’t suddenly add 24 seconds to lap times when everyone else was going faster.

My guess is that, should mobile phone records still be available, they would show a call from Dennis to Ecclestone and then from Ecclestone to Tadashi Yamashina precisely 2 laps before the end of the race.

What’s in doubt is Hamilton’s temperament rather than his driving ability - many “Hamiltons” have led to rule changes, his career is littered with self-inflicted injuries, but he still struts about as if he was the only cockerel in the hen coop.

Hamilton is a gifted driver, but sadly his strength of character will be forever compromised by his gifted world championship. The same may be said of Vettel.

Alonso, on the other hand beat Schumacher fair and square in an inferior car, thereby inducing his retirement, and suffers no dark subconscious doubts about his own ability.
"

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8. Posted by Ro, 05/09/2014 9:04

"I may be showing my age but today's drivers are merely puppets, told what/how and when to say and do. I remember an F2 race at Brands back in the 70's when Graham Hill was team-mate to Ronnie Peterson. Ronnie Peterson did a manoeuver on Graham Hill that was the worst I'd ever seen going into Paddock. After the race the two were interviewed on the podium..Graham was not a happy bunny, yet he cooled the situation by saying "what the f..k happened to you Ronnie, I let you past and then you pi..ed off in the sunset whilst I was holding everyone back for you" Everyone knew what he really meant, but he realised they were racing. I look forward to a good race at Monza, race not a moan......"

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9. Posted by nonickname, 05/09/2014 6:46

"I look forward to the winner just taking No1 with them and leaving the team."

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10. Posted by Paul C, 05/09/2014 4:53

"All of the other teams are waiting for Mercedes to collapse like a bad souffle."

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11. Posted by gturner38, 05/09/2014 2:37

"Mercedes has clearly learned from Luca, Max, Bernie, and Flavio. Why handle anything quietly behind closed doors when you can make it public and fan the flames? Sadly, it's the way F1 has been run for years."

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12. Posted by Burton, 04/09/2014 23:20

"Can't they all just shut up already and keep all these scenarios to themselves? Making themselves come across like amateurs."

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