Written by Aiden Hover, Edited by Daniel Yi
As we all can remember, the rivalry between the Mercedes Formula One pairing of Sir Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was one of the most intense and fractious in the history of the sport. In a recent episode of the ‘High Performance’ podcast, Toto Wolff shed some more light regarding the toxic relationship within the team at that time.
”It was difficult because I arrived to the team as a newcomer in F1 and Nico and Lewis were in the sport for much longer, but still, I managed to create an environment where they had to respect the team, sometimes by force and they understood that they could not let us down. They couldn’t let Mercedes down. ”
Toto revealed some of the techniques he was forced to use in order to maintain a healthy environment within the Brackley-based team, particularly after the now-infamous collision between the two at Spa in 2014. ”When the 2014 events took place, I felt that there was selfish behavior. I said, ‘The next time you get close to the other car, your teammate, you have to think about the Mercedes brand. You think of each member of the team. Think of Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Mercedes. This will change the way you behave. You are not going to throw your teammate on the wall. ” He went on to reveal the extremes the team were willing to go to discipline its drivers, “and I always made it clear that if this became a standard, I would not be afraid to suspend one of them.”
Despite Hamilton coming out on top throughout the first two years of the pair’s partnership, Toto reiterated the disappointment he felt after Rosberg blamed his antics in Belgium on the fact that he needed to “prove a point” which was made even more infuriating when placed against the “giant historical context that none of us knew and will never know [about].”
The rivalry between the two former friends gifted the way to debut victories for both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen as RedBull was often able to pick up the pieces when the Mercedes team – and their driver dynamic – fell apart.
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