Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has made a shocking post-season warning to both Mercedes drivers in which he claimed the relationship between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton is the team's greatness weakness.
"If I were to analyse what are the biggest strengths and the biggest weakness of the team, I would say the biggest strength is the quality and the characters of the personalities within the team.
"The biggest weakness is the dynamic of the relationship between the drivers – and sometimes between the drivers and the team," said Wolff.
This comes after a season where tensions between the Mercedes drivers reached fever pitch after several incidents throughout the 2015 season as Hamilton was crowned World Drivers' Champion for the third time with four races to spare as Rosberg finished 59 points behind the Brit.
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Wolff finds the tension between drivers unacceptable. "We struggle sometimes in winning races on Sunday and having always one [driver] upset, and this spills over into the team. It is something that needs to stop," said Wolff.
The executive director is aware that having two number-one drivers fighting for the Drivers' Championship has its risks, but he has not been impressed with how the drivers have behaved towards one another.
"We took the decision of having two evenly matched drivers in order to make the team progress faster and better, it was a very conscious decision three years ago. Going forward, we will consider if it is the best set-up for the team.
"Personality and character within the team is a crucial ingredient for the team success. If we feel that it is not aligned with the general consensus, spirit and philosophy within the team, we might consider that when we take a decision, in terms of the driver line-up going forward."
Wolff was then pushed on what would be the plan going forward, whether they would implement a number one and number two driver policy or if they would move one of their drivers on.
He replied: "I think it is important to have talented and fast drivers in the car. But we want to work with nice guys."
The issue Wolff has now will still be there regardless of who the drivers are, whilst the team is dominant and both cars can win the title, the team will always have one unhappy driver or one driver who feels like he isn't being treated fairly.
Wolff did also mention that what we have seen is not the whole story. "There is lots going on behind closed doors, I feel that the team is stronger than ever. We are having huge unity within the team, but the difficult relationship of the drivers is one of our weaknesses. And that is not good," said Wolff.
As it stands Rosberg's contract is due to expire at the end of the 2016 season whilst Hamilton signed a contract extension which will keep him in the team until 2018.
If Mercedes did decide to remove one of their current drivers financially it would make sense for that to be Rosberg, but having a German driver in a German team is a big plus for the board of directors.
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