I’m unclear on how may times Mercedes boss Toto Wolff feels he needs to publicly warn his two driver, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, that their rivalry needs to be tamped down in 2016 lest the team be forced to jettison one of them.
It’s the second or third comment to the press in the last week about the issue:
“It’s very important to keep the spirit within the team, and the competition between Nico and Lewis has been very fierce, very competitive at times,” said Wolff.
“It’s understandable because they are fighting in a car that is capable of winning the championship against each other.
“The guy in the other car cannot be your friend, but we need to be careful that it doesn’t spill over on both sides of the garage.
“We’ve seen teams in the past where there is a competition being created that is not good for the dynamics within the team.”
So the final sentence must be where he feels this intra-team battle is heading and it’s what he wants to avoid. At the same moment, you have Paddy Lowe from Mercedes saying that Lewis is going to have an uncomfortable winter given that he’s been beaten by Nico in the last three races.
It’s the third time I’ve considered their remarks within the context of the team and perhaps this battle is galvanizing each side of the garage against the other but that’s nothing new in F1. Each crew wants their driver to win. Just ask NBC’s Steve Matchett.
I don’t envy Toto with two competitive drivers in the most dominant cars on the grid and both know this may be their final chance at getting so many titles on the trot. You have to strike while the iron is hot and Lewis has done so while Nico, no doubt, wants to.
Perhaps for the harmony within the team, it would be best if Ferrari, Red Bull or Williams somehow found massive performance gains over the winter and rendered this entire situation a moot point by beating Mercedes like a rented mule. That might be a win-win for everyone. No more F1 domination creating boring seasons and Lewis and Nico together again in harmony trying to beat another team instead of each other. No pressure or anything, Ferrari.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT