Nico Rosberg spills the beans on eye-watering bill footed after Lewis Hamilton crash

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the 2016 United States Grand Prix.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg recalled how he was left with a six-figure sum to pay after he and then Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton collided.

Rosberg and Hamilton became Mercedes team-mates back in 2013, but their friendship would degrade into a bitter rivalry over the coming years as they battled for World Championship supremacy in the dominant Mercedes machinery.

Nico Rosberg paid out £360,000 after Lewis Hamilton crash

The rivalry did not play out exclusively between the drivers, with tension spreading throughout the team to the point where after Rosberg retired soon after winning the 2016 title, team boss Toto Wolff vowed never to allow such a toxic situation to develop again.

And Rosberg would discuss one of the methods used by Mercedes in an effort to control this rivalry with Hamilton, that being to make the drivers contractually obliged to pay the repair bill after any incidents which they caused between them.

It was a clause which was put to use too, as Rosberg recalled the “very painful” experience of parting with £360,000 after one of his comings together with Hamilton.

“Because Lewis and I crashed, the team ended up making us pay for the damage,” Rosberg revealed when speaking on the Business of Sport podcast.

“We had to sign a contract that from now on, if we crash, no matter whose fault it is, we will pay for the damage. I remember how much I had to pay that was £360,000 that I shelled out for one of these accidents. That was very painful.

“After that, we definitely made sure that we didn’t collide again.”

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Interestingly, Rosberg by this point was all too aware of the pain of covering crash damage costs himself, revealing how his first salary – pocketed thanks to serving as the Williams test driver – was spent on paying off a loan used for repairs after a GP2 crash that same year in 2005.

“As soon as the 80,000 was in my account, it was gone again because my father had taken out a loan to pay for an accident I caused in Formula 2 at the time,” said Rosberg.

“I crashed my car there, destroyed the front wing and the front end – and that cost 80,000.

“The aim at the time was that we wouldn’t have to pay for my racing ourselves, but instead finance it through sponsors. But of course that didn’t include the big crash. So we had to borrow money from the bank and the first salary went straight back there to cover it.”

After that 2016 title defeat to Rosberg, Hamilton went on to add a further four World titles to his CV, taking his total to a record-equalling seven.

F1 2024 marks his final Mercedes season, with Hamilton’s search for that elusive eighth title looking set to roll over into his new F1 career chapter with Ferrari.

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