“Nobody actually thought”– Toto Wolff has claimed that nobody saw it coming, as the tensions mounted between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
The era of 2014-2016 was glorious for Mercedes, but it also witnessed the soaring tension between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, which ended with the latter’s sudden retirement from Formula 1.
Toto Wolff, who was constantly scratching his head to separate the two fiercely competitive drivers from damaging the larger good for the team, now reveals that he never foresaw the tensions between them.
“I’m not sure it gets the best out of both because that is negativity, and you still have to be a team player,” Wolff said. “If the debriefing room is full of negativity because the two drivers are hostile with each other,” he added.
“Then that will spill over into the energy into the room, and that is not something I will ever allow again. I couldn’t change it because the drivers were hired before I came.”
“Nobody actually thought what is the dynamic between the two? What is the past between the two? There was a lot of historical contexts that none of us knew and will never know.”
“That’s why it is something that we’re looking at, how do the drivers work with each other, what happens in the case of failure of one and the other. We accept the annoyance and pain if it goes against one, but we’re trying still to keep the positive dynamic in the team.”
Nothing was more important than Mercedes.
When Wolff finally landed on the profound tensions between the two, he gave an ultimatum to both that whatever they do, the team Mercedes shall not be harmed.
“It was challenging because I came into the team as a newcomer in Formula 1, and Nico and Lewis had been in the sport for much longer,” Wolff said.
“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.
“In the events of 2014, I felt there was some selfish behaviour. I said the next time you come close to the other car, your teammate, 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 teammate into the wall.”