Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2016

Mercedes won’t punish Hamilton for delaying Rosberg

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In the round-up: Mercedes’s Toto Wolff has backed down over Lewis Hamilton’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix insubordination.

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Despite yesterday’s news quite a few of you are still holding out hope that Fernando Alonso will appear in a Mercedes next year:

If Briatore says that they will honour their contract with McLaren it means he is literally on the phone to Toto Wolff right now!
Roth Man (@Rdotquestionmark)

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  • 121 comments on “Mercedes won’t punish Hamilton for delaying Rosberg”

    1. Regarding COTD I was very surprised to read plenty of journalist taking Briatore’s words as a confirmation that a move to Mercedes will definetly 100% not happen. It’d not be the first time something happened after the main protagonists claimed it’d not happen at all…

      I’ll believe Briatore once Mercedes sign a driver for the second seat that isn’t called Fernando Alonso Diaz

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        10th December 2016, 1:04

        You can never confirm a rumour until it’s officially been denied.

      2. Who even listens to Briatore after all the crashgate lies.

    2. Bit surprised Alex Brundle doesn’t remember Franck Montagny getting banned for a drug offense in Formula E last year, considering he was part of ITVs commentary team at the time. Tomas Enge is another one who springs to mind. Do F1 drivers undergo random drug tests like other sports?

      1. @leethatsme I believe Montagny took cocaine for recreational purposes – he wasn’t professionally doping.

        The drivers do definitely undergo spot drug and blood tests – Alonso, Perez and Ricciardo have confirmed as much.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          10th December 2016, 1:07

          I believe Montagny took cocaine for recreational purposes – he wasn’t professionally doping.

          Well he had to make Formula E interesting for himself somehow! :P

      2. @leethatsme @optimaximal I don’t think the FIA test drivers as much as other sports. Tho other sports are said to cover the big stars when they do. In tennis, it’s believed Nadal doped for years… and we all know now how the UCI covered a lot of Armstrong’s activities for years…

      3. Tomas Enge tested positive for cannabis use, Randy Lanier got a drug conviction and Franck Montagny has tested positive on a cocaine derivative.

        All for recreational purposes though.

    3. Personally, I don’t see Wolff as being sincere with his ‘regret’. More likely he is only making the statement due to the current situation with the team – i.e. Rosberg’s leaving.

      Nevertheless, having expressed regret at his and the teams snafu, I think it would be in order for him and the whole team to offer Lewis Hamilton an unreserved apology for their mess up, and the ensuing brouhaha that followed it.

      1. Lewis we’re sorry we only handed you 2 world championships uncontested by another team instead of 3.

        You really deserved 3 of the easiest championships in history to be unchallenged by another team for 3 years in a row.

        Please forgive us we aren’t worthy of your presence after all it’s you who’s responsible for the unmatched performance of our cars – not the 1500 people who make 2% your salary who you accused of Sabotaging.

        We’re so sorry – we know no other drive could deliver us wins or a championship.

        1. +1

          He’s acting more and more like Bieber.
          Maybe a little bit more humble against the team and other drivers.

        2. Sarcastic logic, I love it. +1

        3. @duke

          At least he is still there racing and did not drop them all in the crapper!

          You numpty…

        4. Wow.

          I can (almost) understand you wanting to believe Rosberg is a pushover. I can (unfortunately) come up with reasons why you’d be unable, or unwilling, to recognize Hamilton’s accomplishments.

          But I can’t understand why you’d expose yourself to such ridicule.

        5. You hit the nail on the head..

      2. I think Mercedes are often too rigid in their planning and execution that they tend to make some wrong decisions.
        Rosberg vs Hamilton .. Monaco:-
        Rosberg was going so slow Mercedes were at risk of not finishing in the top 6. It took them a while to decide to let the other car (Lewis’) past, and won because RBR fumbled.
        Rosberg vs Hamilton Hungary 2015:- Lewis had worked his way from the back to a winning position, they then expected him to let the othet driver (Nico), through. And then proceeded to compromise the driver in a better position to win, by sticking to a tyre strategy for scoring points and not winning a race.
        Same thing in Adu Dhabi, telling their driver not to compete for the only thing left that was at stake. They could as well have asked him to let Rosberg through.

        1. @OOliver Small correction. Monaco 2016 was won because Hamilton did 51 laps on the US tyre, Hamilton refused to come in to pit aswel and kept going. RBR did not saw that coming so Hamilton/Mercedes pushed RBR to adjust their strategy and they lost. And thr other small correction is Hungary 2014 where Hamilton started from the pitlane.

          1. Your right Lewis would won the race if they had given him the same aggressive strategy they gave Rosberg despite the face that Lewis had 3 new soft tyres availabe

          2. Where did you get that info that he refused to come in at Monaco?

            Now you’re making things up.

            1. Refused is too strong a word– they wanted to bring him in for inters, and he stayed out because he was faster on the wets. Similarly, he got ridiculous mileage out of the ultra-softs, and told the team he’d rather stay out. The problem is, the transcript only has about 20 lines in it, because of the Radio Ban, so you have to go back to in-race commentary.

      3. Yeah, I agree that Rosberg leaving took away the justification for that, so with hindsight, they no longer feel the need for that point to be made. And off course it would now needlessly upset Hamilton if they would punish him @stubbornswiss

        1. That may apply to Wolff, who obviously took issue with Hamilton’s strategy during and after the race, based on the race strategist’s assessment, and maybe other factors. However that doesn’t necessarily apply to other elements of the Mercedes, Lowe and Lauda seemed OK with it and probably genuinely recognised it was a mistake to interfere in Hamilton’s legitimate attempt to win the championship. Wolff’s statement now fairly clearly accepts the team was wrong, even if doesn’t amount to an apology.

          1. Let’s not forget the team was under no obligation to screw Nico, something that most are forgetting as the other side of the coin when they so easily argue how ‘unfairly’ LH was treated in the last race. Hindsight is 20/20 and while this was actually happening they had TWO drivers to look after, not just one. From my standpoint, if I’m Toto, and after LH had a hissy fit and threatened to quit, and also cried conspiracy all season, and apparently agreed with the team he wouldn’t back Nico into traffic, I’m not apologizing for trying to look after two drivers, one of whom did not deserve to be screwed by the team out of a WDC with extraordinary measures favouring LH in Abu Dhabi.

            Perhaps LH should have just told them ahead of the race that this was what he was going to do, since it would be his only option anyway if Nico was managing to hold second place after the dust of the start settled, and that way the team wouldn’t have felt the need for an instruction.

            In other words, if this feels like some to be LH vs. Mercedes or LH vs. Toto, LH had a role to play in how this all played out. He’s not some innocent party being singled out to be hard done by, just because…But of course LH seemingly would disagree.

            1. Perhaps LH should have just told them ahead of the race that this was what he was going to do, since it would be his only option anyway if Nico was managing to hold second place after the dust of the start settled, and that way the team wouldn’t have felt the need for an instruction.

              And then Mercedes would have changed the pit stop orders to prevent Hamilton from using his plan.
              Hamilton’s and Mercedes’ goals were clearly distinct in this race, so your point doesn’t hold water @robbie. Mercedes wouldn’t help Hamilton win the championship as long as Rosberg was still running. I fail to see how they screwed Rosberg here.

            2. @x303 I haven’t suggested they screwed Nico. I have suggested they would have had to screw him if they helped LH, and I ask why would they? Why should the team have taken extreme measures to help LH win the WDC? No matter what anyone might think of the instruction, right or wrong, fair or unfair, doesn’t change the question…why should they have tried to help LH back Nico into trouble?

              From what I gather the team and LH agreed he wouldn’t do what he did. So the way it played out was in part because he was doing what he said he wouldn’t and in part because they had a threatening SV on their hands. Ultimately Nico was holding his ground anyway so there was little LH was going to be able to do. Different story if let’s say Nico had gotten spun in T1 and wasn’t looking to come better than 4th. Then the team would have been advising LH on SV’s status, which of course would not have nearly been as much of a threat with LH going a normal pace, and the WDC would have been his.

            3. Your argument makes no sense (@robbie). What help from Mercedes are you talking about? He didn’t ask for any! The only one who did was Rosberg who made the totally bizarre request for Hamilton to let him pass, and he’d return the position by the end of the race. You’re forgetting that Hamilton could control the race pace because he was in front. He was in front because he got away cleanly from pole position, won perfectly fairly the day before.

              You’re also being blinded by your anti-Hamilton bias from recognising that (a) his tactics were within the rules, and (b) he could have tried other tactics to get Rosberg in trouble, like trying to block him at the start, but actually complied with team orders. My reading is that they were told to get way cleanly from the grid, drive at a reasonable pace and complete the first pit stop normally at least, allowing (from LH’s perspective) time for some kind of ‘eventuality’ to happen to Rosberg maybe. When nothing was happening towards the end of the race, he then went into slow-down mode, his only remaining (legitimate) option to try to win the title. I really don’t see how you think it was wrong for him to try to do so, or right for Mercedes to impede him. Even they now recognise they were wrong to try to do so.

            4. @David BR I am merely posing the question from a different angle that’s all. Most are questioning the instruction and I merely ask it from Rosberg’s standpoint and how the team was needing to look after him too, not just LH.

              I don’t have a problem with LH’s action, but I also didn’t have a problem with the instruction, as they were allowed to consider Nico too, not just LH. Now they are saying in hindsight the instruction was wrong, but I think they were trying to be fair to Nico too, and certainly LH needed to win no matter what. He was crawling along compared to SV and was only ever going to either have to pick up the pace anyway, or try to keep SV behind him assuming his plan would have worked and SV had passed Nico.

              I merely ask to look at it from not just LH’s side, and how much should Mercedes have been reasonably expected to go along with a strategy to screw Nico. They went along with it until they saw how extremely slow LH was going and how quickly SV was. There was no dastardly plan to screw LH here, like his fans seem to think. I think that is convenient thinking because LH and his fans also think he was conspired against all season. Which is wrong.

            5. SevenFiftySeven
              13th December 2016, 13:05

              @Robbie, I hear what you’re saying and I concur with your take on this. Things will appear more logical if others see things from the team’s point of view.

              Context first – It’s the last race. WCC is secure. The WDC is almost decided 95-5 to Rosberg. That 5% chance of Ham winning it would have had to come from Ros having a mechanical DNF, or DNF due to opening crashes, or ROS losing position in the start or midway or from opening-lap skirmishes. None of that happened. As a team, you are assured of a 1-2 finish and you prefer that outcome. You don’t experiment to potentially make the cars fail, and you don’t interfere with the chances of either of your drivers’ championship bid. However, you do keep in mind who has the better odds of winning it, and certainly don’t sabotage that.

              With 10 laps to go before the checkered flag (and the odds of 95-5 and a 1,2 staying the same), you as a team, don’t suddenly try to increase that 5% chance of the other guy to 50% just to favor one driver over the other. You don’t condone the driver with a 5% of doing it late in the race, either, because that, by definition, is ignoring the guy with the better chance of winning. It is too late to do that. If Ham backed Ros to the pack in Brazil or Austin, it would’ve been understandable. It was too late to do that at Abu Dhabi, and even more pointless to try and do that with 10 laps to go. And, it’s not like Mercedes ordered Ham before the race to not back his teammate to the guys behind. Ham was asked and he said he wouldn’t do that. If he had said yes, the team would have been prepared. What ensued was a 1-2 finish with a gap of 4/10ths of a second between the two with no sign of a moral victory in sight.

              As a team you also think about your actions and their consequences and repercussions. You manage a team of 1500 people that are your responsibility. Had Ros been rear-ended by Vettel or Max while being pushed back, and let’s say it wasn’t Ros’ fault, the entire side of that garage (along with the driver) would have had a torrid winter. The team would be down in morale and in the worst possible situation going into an unknown, new season with brand new regulations.

              If one gauges this entire story from the Mercedes Team’s point of view, it is understandable. If you view it from TeamLH’s point of view, it won’t make sense. Because TeamLH isn’t Mercedes; it is LH and his fans. LH could well have been a team player once in Abu Dhabi by speeding up in the last 2 laps. It was clear by that time that Ros would not finish below 3rd. Instead, Ham made Ros the hero that day.

    4. Agree with COTD. I’ll never ever believe a single word that comes out of that pathological liar’s mouth

      1. Don’t be too hard on Briatore. Remember, his job is to take care of his drivers, not give information to the public.

        1. Remember, his job is to take care of his drivers

          @dc Like instructing one of his drivers to crash?

          Unless you were being sarcastic.

        2. I thought his job was the managing director of Renault F1 team?

          1. @socksolid

            Cyril Abiteboul is MD of Renault F1. Briatore is Alonso’s manager.

            1. I meant to respond to your earlier post about the crashgate when briatore was managing director of Renault F1 team :)

    5. Something is not quite right with Mercedes management – they have developed a habit of making outrageous comments – usually about Lewis Hamilton – and then having to walk those comments back shortly afterwards. Nikki Lauda made a series of comments last season, including blaming Lewis for some poor performances, as well as claiming Lewis trashed a Mercedes motorhome – and then had to withdraw the comments on each occasion.
      Toto was visibly angry post-Abu Dhabi and vowed to punish Lewis lest “anarchy” overwhelms the team – and is now walking those comments back. Toto also hinted quite strongly that Alonso could be on the way to Mercedes – it seems he is now withdrawing that and hinting that Wehrlein is their choice.
      Doesn’t look good at all – maybe they should hire a communications adviser!

      1. Why? You seem to remember every word they say.

        Mission accomplished from a PR perspective.

      2. Toto was visibly angry post-Abu Dhabi

        I didn’t catch that at all. I thought he looked ecstatic.

      3. I think they lost there bottle knowing that if Lewis walked as well they were in deep poo poo

      4. @rantingmrp

        I don’t recall a visibly angry Toto. When questioned on the matter he said it was something he needed to sleep on it before giving an opinion. He looked concerned because he’d just had an employee disregard instruction. But he kept a cool head without making any rash comment on it, slept on it and now having reflected on it realised it’s a none issue.

      5. The real problem at Abu Dhabi was the somewhat conservative, and myopic, strategy guy on the pitwall.

        As Lowe explained (and probably didn’t make friends with Wolff in the process), he refused to tell Hamilton to speed up, because he could tell that Hamilton had a lot of speed in reserve, and that if Vettel *did* pass Rosberg, it would be fairly easy for Hamilton to speed away.

        It really sounds like the Mercedes race strategist is too focused on the numbers, and forgets the drivers are involved.

        Hamilton was driving a slightly risky strategy, but it was the only way he could possibly hope to win the championship– Lowe recognized what he was doing, Lauda probably recognized it, and I suspect Wolff realized it too– but I think it really annoyed him that Hamilton was pressuring Rosberg that way.

        The reality however, is that Hamilton gave himself the best possible chance to win the championship, without jeopardizing the team victory, so for all the complaining done during the race, Hamilton drove a superb race that the fans enjoyed.

    6. TremendousRepeat
      10th December 2016, 5:45

      People wondering why Rosberg quit, when the company you work for clearly favoura another driver despite you actually leading. One man plays nice to the company policy another plain out disrespects the company, yet its the good employee that gets shafted. I’d quit too.

      1. @TremendousRepeat Absolute nonsense. Rosberg had barely any car problems, they team did everything so he could win the WDC cause on his own he couldn’t do it and after winning he fled, no wonder Mercedes is not happy about Rosberg.

      2. @Trem Repeat
        Do you remember Nico parking his car in Monaco causing the yellow that endured Lewis couldn’t beat his qualifying time, or Spain this year where he pushed Lewis fully of the track or Austria (I could go on and on about Nico’s bad driving impacting Lewis’s race)? The only thing you can moan about is Lewis doing the only thing he possibly could do to win the ultimate prize in F1. At least he had the skill to try and showed he wasn’t going to give up, unlike the quitter Rossberg.
        I’d st least done another year and put the money aside for my kids or something, I’m sure they’d appreciate the sacrifice, I’m sure the team would too after delivering an amazing car proven to be the most reliable of the 2 they made that year.

      3. Nico cause basically all the accidents between them and instead of getting the blame he got covered while both got the “be careful or else” talk. In Spain he basically destroyed both cars and they even blamed Hamilton and Hamilton was so pιssed about it that he threaten to quit.
        The only one getting favoured was Rosberg.

    7. Mercedes’ management doesn’t seem to have learned the old military maxim: “Never give an order that you know will not be obeyed”. Doing so accomplishes nothing and only serves to undermine the commander’s authority. Maybe they will learn this lesson now. Red Bull could have used the same wisdom at the time of “Multi 21”.

      1. the highest paid employee at Mercedes not adhering to instructions given by the employer deserves being sacked. Given the superior equipment provided by Merc there are a dozen drivers who could beat Lewis if he weren’t in a Merc. Let’s see 2017, maybe the brat gets put back where he belongs

        1. Walter, I am curious as to whether you would be prepared to evenly apply that principle to all other drivers on the team, as I suspect that you’d soon find that there were very few drivers left who haven’t, at some point in time, deliberately disobeyed instructions from the team.

          For example, earlier this season Wehrlein repeatedly and deliberately disobeyed orders from his team during one practise session to shut down his engine when he went off track, nearly ruining it in the process. Would you have fired him from the team for deliberately ignoring an instruction and doing something that nearly caused severe problems for the team?

          1. Vettel had ignored team orders at least twice, there was the classic multi 21, and last year when he was told to let Ricardo past. His exact words were tough luck. He was praised by pundits for being a real champion.

            And if Kimi had done it, well everyone would have said he was the greatest person ever. Fact is people are only mad because it’s Hamilton. And I’d love to know who these several drivers are who would beat him?
            Considering he’s recognised by team principles, media, pundits and even other drivers as being one of the all time greats?

        2. Well Walter … so you would have kissed your championship goodbye without even a fight, you are either and angel or a hypocrite.

    8. Toto said in Sky that Mercedes are greatly miss Rosberg’ directions and development work. With Lowe leaving, Mercedes engineering department gonna take another blow.
      Mercedes need junior team asap to avoid future abrupt like this. They’ll always have a pool of potential drivers and they can split development cost in two team like Toro Rosso aim with Red Bull in 2018 using shareable part like Hass-Ferrari.
      They can afford to lose somebody like Lowe to be their junior team principal but still gain benefit from it.

      1. @ruliemaulana, I think you’ve slightly misread that particular article and have assumed something that hasn’t happened.

        It is being claimed that Lowe has been approached by another team and is currently considering that offer – he hasn’t actually accepted the offer and is reportedly in talks with Mercedes, indicating that they may yet retain him. Furthermore, it is being claimed that they have an option to sign Allison as a replacement to Lowe – so even if he were to go, the indication is that they’ve already got an experienced and highly regarded replacement lined up to replace him.

        1. Yes, Allison would be a qualified replacement and do well.
          The damage to Merc will come from the knowledge Lowe takes with him if in fact he leaves.

    9. So breaking a team agreement and disobeying a direct team order is perfectly fine. At this rate, I’m surprised Wolff isn’t issuing a letter of apology to the fans like he did after Hamilton started the rumor the team was sabotaging him.

      Seems Wolff can’t take the thought of being booed by the Hamilton fans or becoming unpopular with the British media. The net effect is that Hamilton has got him by short hairs.

      1. I think it’s just really cute that Toto Wolff finally sides with Lewis on the Abu Dhabi issue just after the other driver has left the team.

        1. I don’t think there was much Toto could do, short of sack Hamilton. If Hamilton was sacked then he’d get a seat fairly quickly in another team, and not just any team, it would be a team like Red Bull or Ferrari. When you consider the rule changes for next season, there was no guarantee that Hamilton in a Red Bull or Ferrari wouldn’t be on the podium regularly, meaning good constructors points for another team.
          Since Mercedes aren’t prepared to sack him, then really they have to make themselves not look stupid.

          1. Spot on

            After building an awesome car you need an awesome driver or make sure your rival doesn’t have an awesome driver by hiring the best drivers you can. That’s currently Lewis and Max.
            Abu Dhabi was a cv race for Max and Lewis.
            While Mercedes are currently looking, the rest of the grid where looking too. Redbull and Ferrari would snap Lewis up in a heartbeat as it would ensure they have more of a chance against Mercedes next year.

          2. I think there is no way he would be a candidate for either RB or Ferrari.
            Ferrari has never sought Hamilton and Vettel is the man who supposedly will lead them back to the glory of the Schuey years.
            Red Bull has Ricciardo who is is a top 2 or 3 driver (Alonso claims he’s the best) and VES.
            I think more likely he would end up at Williams or McLaren.

      2. It really doesn’t occur to you that obeying a team order that is self-evidently wrong doesn’t really merit a penalty? Let’s be clear: for Mercedes the difference between a 1-4 finish and a 1-2 finish in the last race would be virtually meaningless. Even losing the race (coming second) would be hardly a major dent in their season. But for Hamilton (and Rosberg) it meant all the difference between winning the championship or not. Treating their drivers as automatons when they had so much at stake personally was not cool.

        1. Exactly. It seems so characteristic of Merc to be clumsy when it comes to making quick decisions in reaction to unpredictable developments. Clumsy strategy decisions and clumsy quotes and reactions from Lauda and Wolff. Of course, they have proved to be the best in the disciplined, controlled, meticulous, intelligent, mechanical process of developing and building a car. They need to understand that a more flexible, pragmatic and instinctive approach is necessary for the race weekend.

        2. Actually, a 1-4 finish would have saved them a bit of money on their FIA entry fee, since it’s based on total points won. :)

      3. @balue but the team were wrong

        If someone disobeys an instruction that turns out to be wrong, why should they be punished ?

        1. @3dom It’s really beyond debate whether it’s the management or the driver in the car that’s the arbiter of what is right.

    10. All in all the Mercedes team has done a great job, their management (Toto basically) have on occasion made bigger fools out of themselves compared to their drivers. Honestly I think he is fairly incompetent on managing the team, that’s why he’ll be very happy to get Wehrlein there.

      1. I think he has a hard job. You have drivers who have to fight each other on the track each time for the WDC and the tension it brings, you have Lauda who just says his opinion no matter what and everything that gets said gets blown up in the press. At the end of the day he has the goods, so he can’t be that bad.

    11. Mercedes won’t punish Hamilton for delaying Rosberg

      In other news, it’s Xmas day on the 25th December.

      1. @psynrg my thoughts too, it seemed obvious to me that they wouldn’t do anything

        1. @psynrg @strontium it’s taken them long enough to declare their decision. The time delay makes you wonder whether they would have dealt with the matter differently if Rosberg hadn’t announced his retirement

    12. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      10th December 2016, 9:24

      As much as i think Lewis acts very unprofessional and childish for probably half the time he is media facing, I don’t think he needs punishing for making the choice to back up Nico. I’d have done the same and probably from his point of view, maybe next time just ignore the radio. I do disagree with his choice to threaten the team with withdrawal from the championship after Spain though, and for that alone he should’ve had a two race ban. Merc, like red bull with multi 21, shouldn’t issue commands that will not be obeyed and if they do, then follow up with punishment every time.

      1. @peppermint-lemon
        How can they ban him if he was going to walk?

        1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
          10th December 2016, 12:43

          It was ah idle that from Hamilton because the is no way he would’ve just let Nico walk to the title in that way. Su they would have been able to enforce it. If Hamilton did walk then they’d have had a few options to call upon. All it would’ve meant is Alonso and Rosberg in Merc though 2017.

      2. @peppermint-lemon I disagree regarding Spain, because we don’t know what actually happened. There will have certainly been a lot we didn’t hear about when it happened, such as conversations with Lewis, and banning him would have been destructive to the team spirit and success.

      3. In Spain Rosberg pulled a Schumi taking out both cars instead of letting himself lose. And after doing something so unsporting Lauda went and blame Hamilton instead and the team went twisting their arms about being bad boys.
        If i was Hamilton i would threaten to quit too. It’s totally unfair when one screws up and i get blamed and i get preaching too. Toto wasn’t willing to admit that Rosberg was causing all the accidents which was the truth.

    13. I dont know which are bigger comedians
      Toto Wolff and Mercedes Executive team or Ferrari strategy team of 2016

    14. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      10th December 2016, 9:37

      Sure Wolff is repentant now he depends on Hamilton leading the team next year, but far too often in 2016 Mercedes has seen Rosberg as the favourite to win the title and therefore the driver to side with. No doubt they also followed that strategy in other years when Hamilton looked favourite to win, the problem in 2016 is that it meant backing the talented but unexceptional Rosberg over the superstar Hamilton – and having repeatedly undermined Hamilton during 2016 they now find themselves reliant on him. Oops.

      The most telling part of that Sky interview is this bit –

      “It is like many other employees,” Wolff added when asked if Hamilton could choose who is next team-mate is. “We will give Lewis the information once we’ve come to a point where we think it’s a sensible decision and then inform him.”

      If Wolff really believes Hamilton is just a hireling then he may be in for a nasty shock rather soon. I predict that as soon as McLaren get themselves in a position to challenge, Hamilton will jump ship to a team which properly values him.

      1. Well, since Hamilton himself mentioned that he doesn’t really care who his teammate will be, just that he excpets equal treatment, I think there is nothing wrong with him not being involved in the negotiations at all @thegrapeunwashed

        1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
          11th December 2016, 9:30

          @bascb The problem is that Wolff refers to him like an item of furniture – just another thing cluttering up the factory: most top drivers need more than just the equipment, they need to feel cherished. Maybe that makes them a bunch of prima donnas, but certainly Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel all appear to need teams which worship their talent; and I reckon Ricciardo and Verstappen are likely cut from the same cloth.

          After a season where Hamilton already feels he’s been mistreated, Wolff shouldn’t be telling the world he’s just one of Mercedes’ many employees and of no particular account when deciding team matters – at least, not if he expects the contract to be renewed.

          1. I think you are looking for things that aren’t there @thegrapeunwashed.

            I think that Toto was possibly getting annoyed by constant questions about how much influence Lewis would have, despite the man himself saying up front that he really isn’t bothered by it and never gave an inkling of being wanted to be involved in the first place.
            For choosing who the replacement will be, Lewis IS one of those employed. Just like Lowe (or maybe rather his replacement), and a host of other people who are important to the team results. I am sure that Mercedes informed about their thoughts on possible replacements, but that is it, the decision is made by the management.

            1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
              11th December 2016, 17:08

              @bascb Hamilton’s public statements should be taken with a pinch of salt. I can’t imagine Schumacher at Ferrari, or Vettel at Red Bull, being excluded from such a decision – because during each driver’s tenure the team focussed entirely on the needs of the driver; in Red Bull’s case it focussed entirely on Vettel without forcing Webber into a number two role, just as McLaren had done in the Hakkinen years.

              Now, it might be that Mercedes don’t view Hamilton as of the same calibre as any of the drivers I’ve mentioned, and therefore don’t think he merits the lynchpin position within the team; on the other hand, if they really do see him as an exceptional talent, they’re treating him in rather a cack-handed manner.

              I don’t think Hamilton will ever go to Ferrari, nor will Red Bull ever employ a driver who hasn’t come through their young driver programme, but if McLaren or Renault start challenging for wins I could well see him switching teams. Things seem to have gone awfully sour inside Mercedes.

            2. Wait, what @thegrapeunwashed, Hamilton seems sincere enough not being interested in getting any preferential treatment etc. So why would he then sit through meetings in the office discussing this with managment, instead of going off on his own winter program of relaxing, training and preparing?

              That is quite a difference to what Schumacher, Vettel and Alonso before that had at Ferrari, where they are (were) the clear no. 1 driver and had provisions that supported that in their contracts. Much like Senna or Prost also had some kind of clause that blocked specific drivers from joining “their” team.

            3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
              11th December 2016, 20:26

              @bascb I suppose I’d find that easier to believe if Toto had said “Lewis told us he doesn’t care”, rather than “We make the decisions, not Lewis”.

            4. sigh @thegrapeunwashed and why would Toto say so, when years ago they already agreed (and put in contract) that Lewis is NOT a no. 1 driver, and that he does NOT have part of choosing the teams drivers, chief designer etc?

              Sorry, but I really don’t get what you are looking for there. Hamilton has repeatedly said that he is not interested in all of that. This is not about Hamilton, but about choosing a new teammate. And Hamilton has no special role in that, end of it. And so it is, because neither he, nor the team want that situation where he would have a say/veto or whatever.

            5. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
              12th December 2016, 9:37

              @bascb I disagree. A driver doesn’t have to be number one to be regarded as the focal point of the team (e.g. Hakkinen, Vettel), and such a driver should be kept in-the-loop over any decision which will impact him, whether he’s got anything to contribute or not.

              Had Wolff said “Lewis has told us he doesn’t care” that would be one thing, but he said “Lewis is just an employee and will be informed after we’ve made the decision”, which is quite another.

              Mercedes haven’t needed Hamilton for the last 3 seasons, the car has had such an advantage over the rest of the field that any quality driver would have been expected to win the title; but we’re entering uncharted waters now and the team really needs a top talent in case they’ve got serious competition in 2017. Now’s not the time to be telling Hamilton he’s just one of many employees and not worthy of special attention.

              I don’t doubt that you think this is a trifling matter, but I think this shows a real tension in the team: Wolff demands a master-servant relationship, but that’s not how you manage the talent – Brawn could tell him that, so could Horner, so could Dennis. If he wants to be the big boss man, he’s going to need to employ drivers rather meeker than the Hamiltons, Vettels, Alonsos or Verstappens of F1. Mercedes may be burning its bridges just as it gets to the point where it needs Hamilton.

            6. yes, @thegrapeunwashed, i think that is the issue

              I think this shows a real tension in the team

              You are trying to see things that quite likely are just not there from a line in an interview that could well have been an translation and without knowing the question Wolf exactly answered.

              I think we would have heard from Lewis already if he had some reason to be upset. He will certainly have gotten the message that the team now is not happy with how they gave him instructions during the race, I think that will be a more important message for him.

            7. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
              13th December 2016, 8:58

              @bascb It’s an interview with Sky conducted in English, the link’s given at the top of this article. I guess we’re never going to see eye-to-eye on this, but my prediction is that Hamilton won’t re-sign for Mercedes in 2018 if there’s another competitive team available; Wolff’s authoritarian style of management doesn’t work with star drivers.

      2. I don’t think Hamilton will be too bothered. More important for him is having a decent car and being allowed to race to win.

    15. @thegrapeunwashed
      Not just McLaren, any top team would have Lewis purely to further distable Mercedes.

      1. Well … it could be that this is a british forum but someone that had not been aware of what Mercedes is been doing in F1 the last three years could think that Hamilton is the magic star that builds the championships, and not, as it is in fact, the other way around. If there are people that beleave that Merc needed Hamilton and Rosberg to win the last three championships they are just so wrong. When R.B. had a very dominant car a lot of people in this forum refused to give merit to Vettel, and it was said also a lot that the real champion had to be Newey, L. H. himself said at least once that he wont be comfortable winning under shuch cirmcunstances. But now that Merc. has built a much more dominant car (in the last 3 years, in every aspect) than the one R.B. had, all of a sudden, it is Hamilton merit. Do not let your britishness blind your mind.

      2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        11th December 2016, 9:18

        @9chris9 no argument there, I just think Red Bull don’t need anyone, no top driver should go to Ferrari the way it’s run now and Renault are quite a way off producing a competitive car. Whereas I think McLaren might have something by 2018.

    16. Marca reports according to a team source that Hamilton supports Wehrlein getting the seat, so I think we only have to wait for the announcement as everyone else seems to be out of their reach.
      (I tweeted you a link late in the evening @keithcollantine on the F1F account, don’t know if you saw it)

    17. @robbie if you haven’t done so, I encourage you to read the Pirreli article, it is pretty much what we discussed the other day.

      Seems like 2017’s tyres are an aproximation to the final product, it will be interesting to see how they react.

      I wonder though, why can’t they choose the best prototypes during the tests in February instead of doing that now, surely they would have more and better data. Maybe FIA is asking to homologate them earlier.

      1. @johnmilk Yeah I would suggest February is too late for them from a production standpoint. I’m still unclear as to whether they are indeed going to get a hot-weather test with the 2017 cars ahead of this season. I’m sure they will take all the data they can get and even if it can’t all be implemented in time for the season, at least it goes toward the overall effort.

        But as far as any concerns of them missing the mark and having a repeat of exploding tires, I have this feeling that there should be no problem. Just from my armchair, they’re no longer being asked to make tricky gadget tires that are the story of F1 as in recent years. These new tires are going to be much more akin to real tires that most series have been using for decades and that Pirelli has made millions of too. Oh of course there may be some uniqueness too for these new cars, but in general they just need to make sturdy tires that will degrade the regular way, and they don’t have that mandate any more to make the tires cause variety amongst the racers as was attempted (and failed) in recent years. The tires were very limiting. These new ones I think are going to be much much better. An additional tweek of them for 2018 does not automatically mean the 2017 tires will be problematic.

        1. @robbie, if I recall well, typically there has tended to be around a six week lag between the tyre test taking place and then any changes being incorporated into the tyres due to the time taken to analyse the data, determine a potential solution and to then adapt the production lines to accommodate a potential change in design.

          With regards to the higher temperature tests, at the moment that is still in dispute between the teams and Pirelli so, right now, test dates haven’t been formally agreed. However, if the past few years are a reasonable guide, testing will probably start in late Feb, which would be rather tight for Pirelli’s development timeframe given the first race is in late March.

          Furthermore, if the tests do take place in Barcelona, the data which would be acquired would be of much more limited use – all of the tyre manufacturers have been complaining for quite a few years that the winter tests in Spain don’t really help them due to the conditions being so unrepresentative of the rest of the season.

          1. And there is not just the time from testing to production but giving the teams a chance to absorb what the changes will mean for them, ideally during test sessions that barely exist. Without test sessions I think any tire maker would have to keep changes minimal, unless of course there was a big problem that needed a drastic solution as we have seen in the recent past.

    18. Rate the race results of Abu Dhabi, @keithcollantine ?

      1. And dow, did we see that?

        1. @sravan-pe @johnmilk They haven’t been up yet, they’re coming in the end-of-season features on both polls.

    19. From screaming ‘Anarchy’ to admitting regret all within a few days.

      Talk about a Wolff in sheeps clothing!

      1. Nobody screamed anything, and the real guilty party when it comes to anarchy is LH for publicly accusing Mercedes of conspiring against him. Not to mentioning threatening to quit. Refusing the team instruction was much more understandable than LH’s other transgressions this season.

        Wolff doesn’t actually use the word regret, and while he may say it was wrong to give that instruction, I have no doubt that after LH treated his team this season TW would have also thought it would have been wrong to help LH with extreme measures to screw Nico out of the WDC. He had two drivers to look after, not just one. And LH gave TW every reason to not go out of his way to help him over NR.

        1. still it would have been nice to see Nico make at least one overtake this year, for the win.

          1. By the way before you perpetuate another falsehood in the zeitgeist, at no time did Hamilton ask Toto for help. His request was, “Let us race.” As in do not interfere in the Driver’s Championship; team objectives already being met. Meantime while Wolff had *two* drivers to look after, he *chose* to help only Nico in securing the WDC by threatening Hamilton with a Rosberg undercut. That was barefaced partiality by any standards.

            Is it any wonder then why he admitted the error days later after coolheaded reconsideration? Not that you’d know anything about that, particularly where Lewis is concerned..

            1. I’ve not claimed LH asked for help, although we don’t know because we don’t get to hear/read anywhere near all the radio communications.

              With Nico holding his own, TW was under no obligation to screw him be taking extreme measures to help LH like his fans seem to think he should have done.

              If indeed TW was favouring Nico, perhaps let’s review what LH has been like as a ‘teammate’ this season, levelling accusations at them of conspiring against him, including him threatening to quit. How warm and fuzzy should TW have been toward LH while his other driver sat there in second place doing everything he needed to do to win the WDC?

        2. I see @keithcollantine has omitted a REPLY button on your last baffling comment. You call allowing two team drivers race without interference “extreme measures”?? You’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel now, aren’t you @robbie?

          In any case if you would unstick your head from the sand a moment, you would realise Rosberg’s actions have for the most part been inordinately selfish and disruptive to the ‘team spirit’ you so highly laud. Myriad examples are already on record, but his retirement from F1 was perhaps his most glaring exhibition of spite.

          While Hamilton may have (allegedly) threatened to exit Mercedes to coax fairplay, Rosberg actually made an exit without preamble, leaving his entire team in a desperate lurch and his bosses scrambling blindly for a replacement driver, at a time they should’ve been laser-focused on getting to grips with 2017’s new Formula. If that isn’t a cynical display of rank cowardice, I don’t know what is.

          This by the way is no attempt to make you see reason @robbie. It merely equilibriates the bilious anti-Lewis crap you have been spouting with metronomic consistency here, as is your right to do. By all means carry on chappie.

          1. @riggerus Well ‘chappie’ if you weren’t so blinded with your anti-Nico rhetoric you might see that I merely pose the question as to what extreme measures, or how far, should anybody have expected Mercedes to go to help LH screw Nico, if circumstances had better lent themselves to that…ie. While some only question why they would ‘stop LH’ from trying to win the WDC, which they weren’t, at the same time why shouldn’t they have been looking out for Nico too?

            So easy for you to claim my head is in the sand while you sweep LH’s behaviour this season under the carpet. Perhaps look in the mirror before you make comments about others’ bias.

            1. At least you finally admit you have a bias, that’s progress. Yet again you keep pushing this ‘help Lewis’ conspiracy. Chappie you may drone that over and over till the cows come home, your little theory will remain a figment of your delusional imagination, believe me.

              About Rosberg, he’s a very capable driver and 2016 WDC winner. His professional abilities are not in doubt, evidently given how hard Mercedes is having it in search of his replacement. That in no way whitewashes his selfishness, rank cowardice or professional inferiority to Hamilton. He is human, as much as any driver in F1 is, and not above foibles as regards personality. Neither is Hamilton. What I find interesting is how shambolically exaggerated your incessant badgering of the guy is.

              And dude don’t even try to pretend you’re anywhere near fair in your assessments of him. Your anti-Lewis screeds could circumnavigate the Earth, and any F1Fanatic regular would back that up. When you can say the same about me regarding Nico, then we’ll talk about that mirror… chappie.

    20. So Liberty Media still to decide?

      And earlier it was a done deal. Anybody get the feeling it will be Liberty Who? By the start of the 2017 season.

    21. Prolonging the ‘we may still punish Lewis’ meme was simply a way of keeping Mercedes in the news. Then Nico retired, after saying a couple of days before that he now really wasn’t bothered about what happened in the race, there was a surprise, not. So Mercedes are then faced with how to back down without Toto losing face… seems there was no way for that to happen and it he just put his hand up and said it like it always was, a bit of a nonsense instruction to Lewis.

      Well done Toto, it’s for the best in the long run

    22. So if instructions/orders given to Hamilton were wrong, and Mercedes Benz and its team principle now admit they were wrong, was Lewis Hamilton, who obviously knew these instructions/orders were wrong at the time they were given, wrong to ignore them?

      Herein lies the question.

      1. I think that Mercedes have set a new standard of integrity in F1. Managing competing drivers who are allowed to race each other relatively unrestricted is never going to be easy. Mistakes are always going to be made. What matters is how they are dealt with. I don’t recall too many other team principals admitting mistakes. Ron Dennis? Briatori? Ferrari?
        IMHO Mercedes have been setting a new bench mark standard for ages. How many teams let their drivers race each other and manage the conflict successfully?

      2. Sure he was wrong to ignore them… But Mercedes goals (another 1-2) were reached, so he caused no harm to team results?

        Would some footballer superstar be penalised by the team if he scored goal from the left, instead of from the right like team demanded?

        1. Aahh, but you see no team would request something that stupid.

        2. I think he would have been wrong to obey an instruction that was wrong @jureo

          I respect Hamilton for disobeying. I think any real racer would have done the same. I lost some respect for Mercedes for giving the instruction. They have regained some respect for admitting it was wrong, but the time delay means they don’t regain as much respect. And with them losing Rosberg, it makes you wonder whether they actually believe that they were wrong to give the instruction

        3. i think a closer analogy would be two teammates of the same team both going for the top scorer award on the final day of the season and level before the game starts. Player one scores, team is 1-0 up but when player 2 has a shot on target, player 1 blocks the shot [on purpose].

    23. Always thought there was a lot more to Spain than met the eye. I think roseberg actually got a lot more of a talking to over that and Austria than was shown. One day when the books are all out we may know.

    24. Mercedes changes their mind – imagine that. What a bunch of discombobulated, gutless clowns!

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