TENSION BREWING: Valtteri Bottas (right) and team mate Lewis Hamilton could come to blows before the season has even started. Image: AFP / Andrej Isakovic
London - Toto Wolff says he has no problem if Mercedes' Formula 1 drivers are 'attack dogs'.
The comments come as tension threatens to break out even before a wheel has turned in 2017 between Lewis Hamilton and the triple world champion's brand new team mate, Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton is reportedly already firing salvos at Finn Bottas, including a new claim that he would like to prevent Bottas from accessing his telemetry in 2017.
First shots fired
Mercedes team boss Wolff is quoted by the German press: "You cannot want an attack dog in the car and a puppy dog outside of the car. It's not always easy to deal with it and I do not always expect smooth sailing."
For his part, Bottas has gone public with his appeal for help from Hamilton's old team mate, Nico Rosberg, with whom Hamilton shared an acrimonious relationship for years.
READ: Hamilton says 'zero problems with Bottas'
Rosberg says that if he does speak with Bottas, he will remain "very neutral" and not give away any of Hamilton's "secrets".
Asked if that meeting has already taken place, Bottas told Bild am Sonntag newspaper: "No, not yet. Maybe it would be interesting to talk to him. It could be valuable to know what he has experienced.
"He (Rosberg) knows everyone in the team, so anything that helps me to get performance, I will do it. But of course, he must also want to tell me things."
Bottas also told Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper: "In January I sent Nico a message that I want to talk to him, but since then I've heard nothing."
Bottas hits back
He may not get an opportunity to catch up with Rosberg this week, as Mercedes is busily preparing for the reveal of its 2017 car, which will take place at Silverstone.
Bottas said: "It's just for filming but at least we get to drive. Basically, testing begins and then four days later we're in Barcelona."
READ: Bottas' 1-year Mercedes deal explained
As for Hamilton's father Anthony's claim that his new team mate is a "career killer", Bottas responded: "I can only win in this duel - I don't think he will destroy my career. I will show what I can do. I tell you what, I would not like to be my team mate either. Because I know exactly what I am capable of.
"We will see how the duel goes, but the fact is that I'm really looking forward to it and I'm counting the days to the tests and the first race."