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Wolff: We were wrong to impose team orders

NEWS STORY
10/12/2016

Having already revealed that no further action will be taken, Mercedes boss admits Abu Dhabi team orders call was wrong.

It's amazing how one's view can change in just a few days.

In the aftermath of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and Lewis Hamilton's refusal to up his pace and stop forcing his teammate into the clutches of the Red Bulls, Toto Wolff described the Briton's behaviour as "anarchy".

Having ignored the calls from his engineer Peter Bonnington, Hamilton then went on to blatantly disregard the subsequent orders issued by Paddy Lowe who feared that it was not only Rosberg's position in danger but that of the Briton himself as Sebastian Vettel closed in on fresher rubber.

Though Rosberg was able to hold off his countryman for second and thus take the title, the mood in the Mercedes camp was far from happy, and while Wolff talked of Anarchy in the UAE, there was widespread speculation as to what punishment Hamilton might expect.

In the wake of Rosberg's decision to retire from F1 however, Wolff revealed that Hamilton would not be censured for his actions. Now, as the German team searches for a replacement for Rosberg, Wolff has gone one step further, insisting that Hamilton did nothing wrong in the first place.

"In the heat of the moment, sometimes when you make decisions you get them wrong," the Austrian told Sky Sports F1. "In our mind, the way we think, this race was giving us the same number of points as other races and we try to win that one, not considering that there was much more at stake for the drivers.

"How the race panned out, we should have communicated differently," he continued, "and in hindsight let them race in the way they deemed to be appropriate."

Give it another few days and Wolff will be claiming it was Rosberg in the wrong and that he should be penalised thereby handing the title to Hamilton.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Pavlo, 12/12/2016 18:41

"As I said from the very beginning.
He should have thought better before putting them in the choice between 2 bad options.

scf1fan: I do sometimes disagree with my boss. And he is happy about this. But of course not in public, and he is clever enough not to order me publicly when he sees that I disagree - so that we can discuss and decide without him having to prove his authority and punish me. Too bad for Toto and Lewis that this was broadcasted."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 12/12/2016 12:16

"@scf1fan - I'm not quite sure how Mercedes might have lost any significant (to them) amount of money had Lewis in dastardly plan worked. They had already sewn up the constructor's championship and one of their drivers would have been World Champion.

@Steve 666 - I'm sure as a long-term Formula One fan you're aware that the most heinous crime a driver can commit is to punt his teammate off the track. I don't think this would have been considered to be racing appropriately. Similarly it would have cast a fairly dark shadow over Nico's championship. The likes of Senna and Schumacher may be given the leeway to behave badly, but that is unlikely to be extended to a one time champion."

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3. Posted by Steve 666, 11/12/2016 16:51

"So if Hamilton wasn't already getting too big for his boots and a bit arrogant, now he will have the belief that he can act as he likes and ignore instructions with impunity. Mercedes have created a very difficult situation for themselves and one they must have foreseen.
Regarding Toto and "and in hindsight let them race in the way they deemed to be appropriate." I wonder if he'd have said the same if, instead of driving a controlled and intelligent race Nico had punted Hamilton off the circuit, "racing as he deemed appropriate " in order to win the championship ?"

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4. Posted by scf1fan, 10/12/2016 23:03

"@-ape- how so? Lewis wasn't "ordered" to pick up the pace, nor to lo let Nico by. He was being told (emphatically) that his pace was endangering his, Nico's and the Team's position in the race. Lewis decided to ignore the Team's concerns for his own agenda. This could have cost the team a substantial amount of money. (And when was the last time you thumbed your nose at your boss?)

And in the end, Lewis still finished second. Now that really was bad news for the Lewis "fanboys"!

See ya next season. :-)"

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5. Posted by Lapps, 10/12/2016 22:12

"There is a new boss at Mercedes and it's not Toto. Think his first name might start with 'L'. If The new driver is one of the Mercedes Juniors you can take it as confirmed. "

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6. Posted by Ro, 10/12/2016 21:26

"Gather he has accepted an offer from Williams....walked or pushed?
"

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7. Posted by -ape-, 10/12/2016 15:55

"Again bad news for the Lewis haters ."

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8. Posted by Ro, 10/12/2016 15:16

"Lowe had no right to even expect Lewis to obey his order. It was wrong to give such an order."

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