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Split in Mercedes management over team orders

Mar 28, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT

Mercedes Formula One driver Hamilton and team mate Rosberg congratulate each other after their 3rd and 4th respective positions during the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit outside Kuala Lumpur Reuters

Although much of the focus surrounded Red Bull’s team orders following the Malaysian Grand Prix, the internal relationships at Mercedes have also been tested following a contentious race last Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were in third and fourth place respectively, but the British driver was forced to save fuel, and was therefore holding his teammate up. Despite Rosberg asking to be let past, team principal Ross Brawn refused to let the drivers change position, which has received differing opinions from the team’s management.

Niki Lauda has criticized the decision, believing that the quicker driver should have been allowed to finish in P3.

“From a sporting perspective, that was wrong.¬†They should have let [Nico Rosberg] go. We need to talk to Ross, if this is the strategy to be used from now on,” Lauda told The Times of London.

On the other side of the fence in Toto Wolff, who believes that there is no issue to be addressed.

“There was no controversy,” Wolff said. “Both had a bit of fuel issue and we were not sure if we could run them until the end and both of them were advised they had the issue.

“Nico showed that he is a fantastic team player and he held onto the position and we would have done it in the opposite way as well.”

Rosberg did not make his distaste public, but he did tell Brawn over the radio “I’ll remember this,” implying that should the inverse of the situation arise in the future, he would expect similar treatment.

  1. techmeister1 - Mar 30, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    Roseberg is not only a top driver but a classy guy. He din’t throw a hissy fit or violate the team’s decision to maintain their positions and pace as both cars finishing was more important than one driver being ahead of the other. It was surprising for Hamilton to admit that Nico drove a better race and that he deserved to finish on the podium in front of hamilton. I’m sure Rosberg’s mature decision will eventually be rewarded.

    While I like Niki, he needs to learn to keep his mouth shut or resign from the team and board as his inappropriate comments cause divisiveness.

    • apexassassin - Mar 30, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      I look forward to Schumi replacing Lauda ASAP.

      Tell you one other thing. Nico’s pace versus Hamilton (in all sessions) has been VERY impressive. I think that not only says a lot about Rosberg’s pace and ability, but also that Schumi was much better in the Merc than most give him credit for. DNF’s aside, he and Nico were pretty closely matched most of the time.

    • manchestermiracle - Mar 30, 2013 at 8:34 PM

      Rosberg didn’t just ignore team orders and risk passing a teammate for his own personal glory? Obviously not qualified to ever drive for Red Bull….

      • techmeister1 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:54 AM

        It’s a pity Webber could not have gotten a decent ride a few years back with a good team. Red Bull seems to think that cheating is the only way to win and maybe for them it is. Who knows how many times this year they will be caught cheating again.

        Niki is entitled to his opinion though it can be counter productive to air it publicly. Brwan runs the team and his decison was not only appropriate it was the correct call. It sucks for rosberg as he was faster than Hamilton but at the end of the race he would not have been able to catch and pass Webber and Vettel due to tire wear and mercedes running a little to light on fuel load for the race. Niki needs to learn to be a team player or resign, IMO. Publicly second guessing Brawn is not a smart way to represent Mercedes at all.

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