OUT OF HAND: Mercedes has been slated for allowing Lewis Hamilton (left) and team mate Mercedes Nico Rosberg's strained relationship to spin out of control. Image: AP/ Luca Bruno
LONDON, England - Formula 1 experts have accused Mercedes of mismanaging Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton's dramatically imploding relationship.
The German team said contrite championship leader Nico Rosberg had apologised for his clash with Hamilton in Belgium and been disciplined with Britain's Daily Mail saying the six-figure to be paid to a charity.
Max Mosley, a former long-time International Automobile Federation president, thought Mercedes was wrong to so clearly point the finger of blame. "If it was decided to fine or punish Rosberg it should not have been announced," he said. "It's as if the team is blaming him publicly. That's not really right."
Eddie Jordan, a former team owner and boss turned British TV pundit agreed, saying the spotlight should not be on the drivers. "I blame the team," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Star. "They are weak, rudderless. They are being run by two drivers who are like spoilt kids doing what they want to do."
Former McLaren driver John Watson even compared Mercedes bosses Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe and Niki Lauda to The Three Stooges and a "Looney Tunes" style of management. "Lewis and Rosberg are doing nothing different to what two highly competitive drivers have done in the past," he told the Daily Express, "but the difference is management and having someone who commands respect, such as Ross Brawn who was in charge in 2013.
"If you don't have somebody who commands respect you end up with the lunatics taking over the asylum - the case here."
After a crisis meeting at Brackley on Friday (August 29) Mercedes' management of the situation continued in the form of a statement attributed to Hamilton that was posted on the 2008 champion's Facebook page. Referring to the Spa clash, but probably also his own comments to the media laer, Hamilton was quoted as saying:
"Nico and I accept we have each made mistakes and I feel it would be wrong to point fingers and say which one is worse than the other. There is a deep foundation that still exists from which Nico and I can work, despite of our difficult times and differences."
FREE TO RACE
It was reported that at the Brackley meeting Mercedes resolved to continue to allow the drivers to race freely - within the boundaries of "clean racing". "It (not imposing team orders) was a difficult decision," Wolff told Germany's Bild, "but Nico and Lewis are our heroes. I hope and believe they understand our requirements and our goals.
"It's up to them to deal with this responsibility."
Lauda, meanwhile, admitted to the Frankfurter Allgemeine on Sunday (August 31) that more fireworks could be expected, particularly as Hamilton "lost everything in Spa" and would be keen to "get back the points".
"We have to be careful," Lauda admitted, "but as long as they don't endanger our clearly defined objectives, they can go on as they like.
"I understand Nico and Lewis very well. They both want to win races and be champion but they cannot put the entire project at risk."
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