DC urges Merc to let drivers ‘off the leash’

Date published: November 19 2015 - Editor

They have wrapped up both titles and it would be "cool" if the Mercedes drivers have a "gloves-off race in Abu Dhabi", according to David Coulthard.

Although Mercedes clinched the Constructors' Championship in Russia and Lewis Hamilton secured the Drivers' title in Austin, they have stuck with the status quo in the last two races and won't allow drivers to change their pre-determined strategies.

Their approach came under fire in Brazil when Hamilton urged his engineer to try to change his strategy so that he could get ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg, but he was told no.

Merc motorsport boss Toto Wolff was also adamant after the race that they will not change their stance, but BBC F1 commentator Coulthard says it is time to give fans a no holds barred battle at the season finale.

"Mercedes have done an admirable job of handling Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg as fairly as possible during the course of two occasionally fractious Formula 1 seasons," he wrote in his latest column.

"They have done so by running race strategy in such a way that reduces the chances of intra-team friction while giving each driver as much of a chance as possible to win the race."

He added: "With one race of the season to go, though, wouldn't it be cool if Mercedes – now they have nothing to lose and both championships are tied up – just let their drivers and their respective engineers off the leash and ran a gloves-off race in Abu Dhabi next weekend?"

Wolff also claimed that if drivers were allowed to choose their strategies they would lose all the time, but Coulthard believes the theory could be tested in the United Arab Emirates.

"The drivers and their respective engineers could conduct strategy for themselves. Normal rules apply – they can't crash into each other – but Hamilton and Rosberg run their own races, without being restricted by the wider team's wish," he wrote.

"If it was going to work, the drivers would have to accept responsibility for what happens – whether it be losing the race to their team-mate or even letting Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in.

"Hamilton and Rosberg would have to accept that they would have the team to answer to if they embarrassed them. And they would have to be prepared to stand up afterwards and say: "We lost because of my choices, I accept that, it was a one-off just for the fans. The team would have won had we done it their way." And so on.

"As long as that was understood, I can't see a reason not to let it happen."