Merc to let drivers battle; revise Rules of Engagement

To be honest, instituting team order at Mercedes would most likely deprive fans of the only real battle for the championship in 2016. A sad but true reality. Therefore, it’s good that Mercedes realized that and will continue to let their drivers race each other.

Mercedes announced today that they’ve had three incidents in the past five races and this, the team reckons, has cost them 50 points. Therefore, they have “strengthened our Rules of Engagement” in the hopes of keeping the drivers apart.

The did suggest that, like Monaco, they may instruct drivers in order to maximize team points and expect the drivers to manage their on-track behavior better.

They did take time to remind the world that they believe they have the best driver pairing in Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. I wonder if they’ve strengthened their Rules of Engagement with Niki Lauda and what he can and cannot say to the press?

Hat Tip: Mercedes 

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This is the best possible outcome really. I know its impossible to not have ANY contact ever…but then again Bahrain 2014 was very tight and very close yet clean…maybe they can?


It was “clean” only b/c Nico decided to get pushed out of track and not hold his position, losing his position in the process – a decision he decided not to repeat since Austin last year, which has started this whole thing. It is not to say it’s Nico’s fault – in fact I praise him for changing the style and not get constantly bullied by Lewis.

charlie white

I have to wonder how much, if any, input did Bernie Ecclestone had on this issue, knowing temperamental fans like myself will find other things to watch early Sunday mornings if Toto had brought team orders. As for Niki, it should easy to keep him in line: just change the dosage on his daily medication.


According to Andrew Benson at BBC, the team has said there will be “sporting and financial consequences” if the two were to collide again, and he mentioned that Toto hinted at a race suspension as part of the sporting consequences. Threatening them with a race ban may help keep them apart. Or at least stop them from causing damage and taking each other out – when asked if felt he would still be able to pull the same moves as he did in Austin and Canada (going wheel-to-wheel with Nico, pushing him out), Lewis said this: “In all those races,… Read more »


A race ban, really? That’s like when I was suspended for 2 days in High School for being late to class.

There’s really nothing they can do that doesn’t also hurt the team as a whole.

And I’m pretty sure both Nico and Lewis would happily pay a few million bucks for a collision in the pursuit of the WDC. That’s not a disincentive, that’s an investment.


Also if they actually enforced an internal race-ban they would be crucified in the press and social media for ‘fixing’ the WDC.


I agree. The FIA can impose a race ban, for safety reasons (or for racking up enough penalty points). But a team doing it? And to a driver who most likely will be in the hunt for the championship? The more I think about it, the crazier it sounds :-)


After all is said and done,stewards, us fans, team bosses, stakeholders, etc., I think regarding the incident that Vettel said the best thing ever, quoted from Sky;

Sebastian Vettel: “What happened was a racing incident. The fact that it’s team-mates is more spectacular but I don’t think it’s special. It’s not the first time we see cars crashing, drivers having an opinion. it’s important for the sport and gives everyone something to talk about.”


LOL!!!! Perfect!


I can’t help but be curious… when Lewis (in interviews about the new “rules of engagement”) said that “it is a serious alteration they’ve made, which could have huge ramifications” – what does that mean? Andrew Benson/BBC speculated that it could be a potential race ban in the balance, but today Martin Brundle mentioned that such matters would have an impact on the existing contracts. He said that every driver contract he’s seen or negotiated has as cornerstones had a few mutual commitments, such as: The driver agrees to turn up and race, and the team agrees to turn up… Read more »


Perhaps not allowing them to participate in Q3 or something similar. I doubt that qualifying is in the contract in the same way that races are…


Well, possibly. But that’d be the news that almost overshadow the whole race weekend, were it to happen. Would Mercedes really want to do that?

Paul Riseborough

This article is a couple of years old but does a fairly good job of explaining the rules and conventions covering wheel to wheel combat and the associated grey areas which Hamilton uses to his advantage.