‘Iron fisted’ Wolff threatened to bench Hamilton and Rosberg over collisions

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In the round-up: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff reveals how an “iron fist” was needed to keep Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in line during their four-year stint as team mates at Mercedes.

In brief

Wolff: “Iron fist” needed with Hamilton and Rosberg

Wolff joined Mercedes after Hamilton had been hired as team mate to Rosberg. The pair had driven for the same team in karting over a decade earlier and Wolff admitted there was “negativity” between them at times following their reunion.

“I couldn’t change it because the drivers were hired before I came,” he told the High Performance Podcast. “Nobody actually thought, what is the dynamic between the two? What is the past between the two? I mean, there was a lot of historical context that nobody of us knew and will never know.”

The two drivers clashed at times as Mercedes dominated the 2014 season, notably at Spa, which left Hamilton with a punctured tyre and handed victory to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. “It was very difficult because I came into the team as a newcomer in Formula 1 and Nico and Lewis had been in the sport for much longer,” said Wolff.

“But still, I was able to create an environment where they had to respect the team, sometimes with an iron fist. And they understood that they couldn’t let us down. They couldn’t let Mercedes down.

“When the events of 2014 [happened] I felt there was some selfish behaviour. I said, the next time you come close to the other car, your team mate, you think about the Mercedes brand. You think about single individuals in the team. You think about Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Mercedes. That’s going to change the way you act.

“You’re not going to put your team mate into the wall. And I always made clear that if this were to happen regularly and I would see a pattern, I have no fear in making somebody miss races.”

Rosin dismisses innuendo over Schumacher’s F3 title

karting
Feature: Michael and Mick Schumacher – Their different routes to Formula 1

The remarkable mid-season turnaround which put Mick Schumacher on a path to win the 2018 Formula 3 championship attracted considerable speculation at the time. Having failed to score a victory over the first 14 races, the Prema driver won half of the remaining 16 and clinched the title. Dan Ticktum, who saw Schumacher and his Prema team mate Robert Shwartzman ease past him in the points standings, suggested at the time they may have “a special engine map or something”.

Prema team principal Rene Rosin rubbished those claims in a recent interview for GP Racing magazine. “The comments were inappropriate,” he said. “If somebody had a doubt about the legality of the car, the legality of the engine, they had all the rights to make all the protests they want. Nobody made a protest.”

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