The Mercedes Formula 1 team will not seek to impose any limits on Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg racing each other despite their Spanish Grand Prix collision.
In the most costly flashpoint of their often fractious relationship so far, both Rosberg and Hamilton were eliminated on lap one of the Barcelona F1 race.
Hamilton got a run on his teammate – who had taken the lead around the outside of Turn 1 at the start – after Rosberg lost power because he was in the wrong engine mode. But as Rosberg defended out of Turn 3, Hamilton was put on the grass and spun into his teammate.
Mercedes had maintained its “free to race” policy after the duo’s last significant collision in the 2014 Belgian GP, and team boss Toto Wolff said events in Spain would not change that.
“We have moved on from Spa in 2014 and it was a completely different situation in the team back then,” he said. “By continuing with the approach of letting them race it was clear that eventually this could happen. And we will continue to let them race.
“Today was just a couple of unfortunate coincidences that ended up in us losing as a team.”
NO FURTHER PUNISHMENTS
Wolff called the double retirement “lesson enough” for the drivers and will not be imposing any form of internal punishment, in contrast to the sanctions Rosberg received for the Spa incident.
“It’s painful for them to see that we have lost what could’ve been a great result,” Wolff said. “What I said to the two of them is that fundamentally, they are sitting in the cars. They are responsible for bringing those cars home and they failed to bring those cars home today. And I don’t want to go any further.”
He felt Rosberg’s incorrect engine setting further complicated the situation.
“It explains why everything went so quickly, because there was such a discrepancy in speed that they needed to make a decision in a split second and that ended up in Lewis hitting Nico,” Wolff said. “Nico closed up the inside with what looked to be a clean maneuver. Lewis chose to go that side and ended up on the grass and lost the car. That was it.”
Wolff insisted the crash would not impact on his drivers’ relationship in future races, while admitting the atmosphere was currently tense.
“You can’t expect them to just be easy about it,” he said. “Each of them is going to have an opinion. This is how racing drivers function and we can’t expect them to react any differently.
“But, I am 100 percent sure it’s not going to influence in a negative way their relationship going forward.”