Even before proving they will be the team to beat in Australia this weekend in practice, Mercedes insist there will be no repeat of the team orders McLaren implemented in 1998.
Heading into the season with a dominant car then drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard agreed pre-race whoever was leading at the first corner would be allowed to win.
That led to Coulthard famously letting the Finn by to win the race much to the disgruntlement of fans.
Heading into this season, the Mercedes car certainly doesn’t have quite the advantage that McLaren had, but with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton’s only competition potentially each other, the team have ruled out a similar pact being agreed between their two drivers.
“I wouldn’t like that,” Rosberg said in his first Daily Mail column, “and I don’t think the team would either, so we are going to try and avoid such measures.”
Team Chairman Niki Lauda clarified that indeed the pitwall will not be involved in deciding which driver, if either, will be taking the chequered flag on Sunday.
“They can race against each other and collect as many points as possible for the team,” he told Germany’s Sport1.
There has been signs of tension creeping in to the relationship between Rosberg and Hamilton, one that dates back to when they were team-mates in karting.
Indeed when it was claimed Rosberg might have the edge over Hamilton because of his more ‘technical’ approach, the Briton hit back quite strongly.
“Nico often spends much more time with the engineers than I do,” Briton Hamilton is quoted by the German newspaper Bild, “but we come to the same findings in the end.”
“It’s a strange perception that one driver (Rosberg) is massively technical and another is not.
“I didn’t win the championship in 2008 from sheer luck,” he added.
Rosberg however brushed off his team-mates suggestion that the German perhaps wastes his time with engineers.
“It’s no big deal for me,” he said, “as two different approaches is a good thing.”
And asked directly about if there was any greater tension between the two, considering they could battle each other for the F1 championship, Hamilton insisted their long-time relationship can cope.
“Nico and I have known each other since we were 13,” he is quoted in Melbourne by the Mirror. “We’ve raced and won and lost championships together.
“We will remain professional,” he insisted.
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