Team order controversy hits Merc

2013-03-25 08:08

Mercedes' German-speaking faction has spoken out against the team orders that prevented Nico Rosberg from finishing on the podium at the 2013 Malaysian grand prix.

German Rosberg asked repeatedly to be let past his new British teammate Lewis Hamilton on March 24, who was saving fuel to the finish as he ran in third place.

Team boss Ross Brawn replied repeatedly: "Negative."


Afterwards - but before Hamilton admitted on the podium that he was uncomfortable about finishing third - Rosberg told strategist Brawn on the radio to "Remember this one."

It was a saga not unnoticed by Mercedes' newly-arrived Austrian shareholders and bosses Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff, who were not amused.

Lauda said: "From a sporting perspective, that was wrong. They should have let him (Rosberg) go.

"We need to talk to Ross, if this is the strategy to be used from now on," he added.

Wolff agreed: "From a sporting point of view, that's not what we want to see."


Brawn, whose role as team boss is believed threatened by the Austrian duo and also the likely arrival of McLaren's Paddy Lowe, is understood to have defended the 'team order' on the basis that Rosberg was also low on fuel.

Rosberg denied: "I did not have to save fuel.  Everything was alright. I will sit down together with Ross to rethink whether this was really the right decision."

Rosberg’s rationale was that, with tyres in good shape and fuel in the tank, he might have been able to chase down the leading Red Bulls.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, Damon Hill agreed: "He might at least have been able to hurry the Red Bulls into a tyre problem."

Rosberg added: "I don't know if I would have gotten the Red Bulls.  But I felt good at the time. I was doing well and would have liked to see how far I could have gone."

Justifying his anger on the radio, he explained: "I tried to get them to reconsider their decision."

Rosberg denied Red Bull figure Helmut Marko's claim that the episode demonstrates that Lewis Hamilton is Mercedes' obvious "number 1" driver.

Rosberg responded: "I can understand how this (episode) creates that impression but I am sure that if I had been in front, the decision would have been the same."


  • Kwashic - 2013-03-25 09:59

    They were not sure if Hamilton was going to defend... they shoulda just asked him. He probably would have taken one for the team. Nico took it ...hopefully the favour can be returned one day.

      Cobus Fenwick - 2013-03-25 14:41

      I am missing the whole point. Favours????????????? Where are the days where a racing-strategy involved everything? If your car is low on fuel, it is a mistake in the strategy and should not affect any other driver. The same with the tyres. Strategies today are to see who's is going to be the best, and if it does not work out, then T-orders are used to try and save as much for the team as possible? This is not racing and will never be the way F1 was. You fight for the Championship(every driver) and then for the Constructors. Why do they have a WC? The way that it is going at the moment, 99% can be predicted that RedBull will take the constructors again in 2013 and Webber will have no chance in becomming WC with RedBull. Horner used the word "silly". Why did he not instruct Vettel to let Webber re-take the lead(in the main straight)? Would that be too obvious? It was obvious enough that Vettel ignored him. Everybody said Schumacher killed F1 by winning all the time, he did, that was still racing. They changed F1 to suit their pockets and to create a untrue atmosphere where everybody gets excited with "new created World Champions", to see how many supporters they could draw back to the sport, which they did not succeed as they wanted. They brought Michael Schumacher back into F1 to draw all his supporters back. Look at the attendance after his return! BUT he was not allowed to win, because he would dominate again and they will be back to square one. See the BIG picture? Pitty!

      russel.lunt - 2013-03-26 10:26

      Hamilton would probably have let him through because any more racing on his part could have seen him fail to finish - he was on "lift and coast" since lap 20 apparently. The problem though was that Rosberg had all the opportunity in the world to overtake Hamilton before requesting team orders, which suggested he couldn't make a move stick (he'd passed Hamilton 2 or 3 times only for Hamilton to just take it back at the second DRS zone). I reckon Ross Brawn saw from that that Rosberg simply isn't good enough to be the team's number 1, in which case it was better to give the extra points to Hamilton, who a) had more points in the championship, and b) had out-qualified Rosberg again despite Rosberg seemingly quicker in practice.

  • Julius Klokow - 2013-03-26 18:00

    No doubt Lewis would have led Nico through. Team principles Nicky and Toto is taking the right attitude against Ross now. Let the real racing begin!

  • Dave Hardman - 2013-03-26 21:23

    Brawn and Mercedes should hang their heads in SHAME! Blatantly fixing the outcome of a Grand Prix. They not only stole an opportunity from Rosburg, they allowed red bull to win.

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