Abu Dhabi

Last Race: 23rd Nov Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi GP Results
Pos Driver
1 Lewis Hamilton
2 Felipe Massa
3 Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes Duo Free To Race 'Hard'

2014-08-30 18:40:00

 RSS

Share:

Mercedes Duo Free To Race 'Hard'

Toto has brought an end to Proving-a-point-gate

Mercedes may have lost a nailed on 1-2 at Spa, but they're still giving the viewing public what F1 desperately needs.


The decision by Mercedes to allow their drivers to continue to race each other hard will come as a huge relief to TV executives around the world. The Nico vs Lewis Show has become big box office (though obviously not for the paying punter at Hockenheim) and now fans know they won't be denied their latest instalment at Monza.
After a meeting at the team's Brackley HQ on Friday with Paddy Lowe, Toto Wolff, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the Press steam cranked out the following statement.
"Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton met today in the boardroom of Mercedes AMG Petronas headquarters in Brackley to discuss the events of the Belgian Grand Prix.
"During this meeting, Nico acknowledged his responsibility for the contact that occurred on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix and apologised for this error of judgement.
"Suitable disciplinary measures have been taken for the incident.
"Mercedes-Benz remains committed to hard, fair racing because this is the right way to win world championships. It is good for the team, for the fans and for Formula 1.

"Lewis and Nico understand and accept the team's number one rule: there must be no contact between the team's cars on track.
"It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated. But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them.
"They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula 1 world championship."

Rosberg has had to climb down from his untenable position that their Spa accident 'was Lewis's fault because he didn't leave me enough room' etc and admit he made an error - an error that not only handed victory to another team, it also brought Red Bull back into striking distance for the driver's title.
Nothing much has really changed with the announcement. All team-mates from F1 to GP2 to Touring cars to WEC know that it is unacceptable to crash into a team-mate. No change there. At the Silver Arrows team, it's just a bit more unacceptable than it was before.
Rosberg, a German driver in a German team, is not going to be publicly hampered in any way by Mercedes. It would be very very bad PR for them to restrict his chances of winning the title in a bid to even out the anomalies in points brought about by the Belgian GP coming together.
The most interesting question about Friday's meeting is: What were the 'disciplinary measures' that Mercedes invoked against Rosberg?

Straight after the race, Lewis guessed that Nico would get a slap on the wrists and nothing much would happen. Given his tendency to divulge information about intra-team injustices (remember him tweeting Jenson Button's telemetry in 2012?) it's likely that Mercedes have told him to keep the details of any Rosberg sanctions to himself.
Or... if Lewis deems them to be insufficient... we'll find out next weekend.
The good news is that the Mercedes team are prepared to see their drivers racing "hard" i.e. not just following each other after the final pit-stop has sealed the order. And that's also good news for Lewis, who is naturally much better at racing hard than Nico.
Though it's great for the neutral fan to see guys like Daniel Ricciardo seizing his moment, the closer he comes to Rosberg and Hamilton - with the threat of a 50-point bonanza in the final race - the more likely we'll see Mercedes switch to safety mode.
Until then, it's game on at Monza.
Eddie Jordan accused the Mercedes team of being weak for allowing the situation between the drivers to develop as it did. However Messrs Wolf and Lowe have reacted in the only way they could, while still leaving us the prospect of a thrilling finale to the season. EJ also had a go at the fans in Spa for booing. When you've shelled out £500 and upwards to go to Belgium to see your favourite driver and he's taken out on Lap 2 (because his team-mate wanted to make a point) you have a right to express some emotion. F1 bosses are very keen to speak on behalf of the fans when it suits them, and it's the real diehards who camp out at a wet Belgian GP weekend who deserve to be listened to.
But here's a thing. Fan/podium interaction could be used in a positive way. The next time Eddie's on the podium instead of asking one bland final question to the drivers he should turn to the fans and ask: "what do you think of double points for the final race of the season?" Then we'll know.
Andrew Davies

The sun rises as Raikkonen puts in his first lap of the morning

Editor's Picks

Introducing Fantasy Racing

Introducing Fantasy Racing

PlanetF1 has launched its own Fantasy Racing game, it's free to enter and you can win some cool prizes...

Ten Stupid Moments

Ten Stupid Moments

We've had our fair share of stupid moments in F1 this year and Andrew Davies has rounded up some of the best (or worst)...

Xmas Shopping F1 Style

Xmas Shopping F1 Style

PlanetF1 has teamed up with Memento Exclusives to offer you the best F1 Christmas shopping - and there's an extra something...

PlanetF1 Fantasy League

PlanetF1 Fantasy League

The season may be underway but you can still enter the PlanetF1 Fantasy League and win prizes on a race-by-race basis...

The Driving Seat And Win

The Driving Seat And Win

Force India have just launched a pretty awesome chair as part of their upcycled F1 range with our friends at Memento Exclusives...