Wolff ‘probably’ would use team orders in USA

Date published: October 19 2018

Toto Wolff has admitted that if it came down to it, he “probably” would use team orders in Austin on Sunday afternoon.

The Mercedes boss knows that if his driver, Lewis Hamilton, scores eight more points than Sebastian Vettel does, the Brit has a fifth World Championship in the bag.

The team have already swapped their cars around this season, with Valtteri Bottas allowing the Brit to take the victory in Russia.

Now, with four races to go, Wolff has admitted that they would do the same thing again if it was required in Texas.

“We have been discussing that and struggling so much with the decision,” Wolff said.

“Eventually when it comes on Sunday, I probably would go for the points but in my heart I hate it. Let’s see how Sunday goes.

“We were discussing about 2007 and when the Championship was lost with two races to go with a few points and it is really just a full concentration every single day and if the points are enough then we are lucky and we will have a big celebration.

“If not, then we go to the next race and we push very hard.”

Hamilton’s title rival, Sebastian Vettel, has been given a three-place grid drop for failing to slow sufficiently for red flags.

However, Wolff believes that the punishment needs to be talked about, after similar issues for Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) and Esteban Ocon (Japan).

“I think we need to talk about it because the safety of the stewards and of a car that is in the barrier is super important,” he added.

“We need to look at the regulations just because we want to get rid of the penalties and merging those two is not a trivial thing.”

In FP2, Vettel was around five seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton’s session-topping time, but Wolff said it was “not the real pace” of the Ferrari.

The Scuderia have brought updates to their car for this weekend, which the Austrian was surprised about, though.

“It is quite interesting actually because it means they are still pushing with this year’s development,” he said.

“I guess that most of the teams have switched off and are doing next year’s development.

“If they brought stuff to Austin, it means they haven’t been fully on for next year so it is interesting.”

Friday’s running in the United States was very limited, thanks to teams only having seven sets of wet weather tyres for the entire weekend.

The Austrian said it was a “shame” that they were limited to such low mileage on Friday, but understood the position that tyre suppliers Pirelli were in.

“The problem is that you will ship these tyres out and 90% of the weekends you will not need them,” the Mercedes team boss continued.

“This is probably the first weekend we need all the intermediates so it is a difficult call for Pirelli.”

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