JUST BUBBLING OVER... Mercedes' F1 British driver Lewis Hamilton sprays bubbly into a corporate box after winning the 2015 Australian F1 GP in Melbourne - but was he racing Nico Rosberg? Image AFP / William West
MELBOURNE, Australia – Mercedes Formula 1 chiefs have lashed back at those calling for immediate rule changes after the German automaker’s utter dominance of the March 2015 Australian F1 GP.
Some even claimed Mercedes’ drivers Lewis Hamilton – who won from team mate Nico Rosberg – weren’t even trying to race.
The start was several cars short because of mechanical and other problems, a court case had soured the air but Mercedes’ prowess seemed only have strengthened further.
Hamilton was 1.4sec clear of any rival in qualifying and then stood accused of sandbagging in Sunday's race even though the nearest non-Mercedes rival, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, was a vast 34sec behind him at the flag.
Williams engineer Rob Smedley said after the race: "That wasn't Mercedes' real pace today. The real pace is what we saw in qualifying."
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff denied Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were not racing but did admit that saving fuel was a priority. "Nico never had the weapons to fight back against Lewis," he said, "because you have to save fuel on this track."
Former F1 team champion Red Bull, however, was lashing out in every direction as the Melbourne sun set on Round 1 of the new F1 season. Australian journalists were busily writing up stories of “a boring race” while Christian Horner and Helmut Marko were ranting against engine partner Renault and warning that Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz might quit F1 in protest over the current rules.
"Yes," said Marko, "there is a danger that Mateschitz will lose his passion for F1. The technical regulations are incomprehensible, too complicated, and expensive. We’ve let F1 be governed by engineers. Our designer Adrian Newey has had his creativity castrated by these engine regulations. They are killing F1!"
''THAT'S THE GOAL'
Wolff lost his temper to the extent of profanity. "I think 'just get your fucking head down, work hard, and try to sort it out'," exploded the Austrian before suggesting Marko and Horner should take their “wailing” out of the F1 paddock and to a famous wall in Jerusalem.
Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda also hit back at the post-race complaining. "Those who continuously criticise have no idea what they are talking about," the F1 legend said through Austrian news agency APA. "We’re all here to bring the maximum in technological innovation, the best cars, the best engines, the best drivers, and to try to win the grand prix.
"That’s the goal in F1. If others are here because of other things, they don't know what they're talking about.”
Lauda believed there was nothing wrong with the image presented by F1 on Sunday. "Ferrari is back on the podium, so how is that bad for F1? Everything comes from Red Bull because it is annoyed that its cars don’t work."