Mercedes collision “can’t and won’t happen again”

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, 2014Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has vowed his two drivers will not make contact again as they did during today’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided at Les Combes on lap two which compromised the race of both drivers and left Hamilton point-less.

Wolff said the collision “ultimately cost us a one-two finish today, because we saw that our car had that kind of performance in it”.

“It has been our clear policy to let the drivers race this year but rule number one is: don’t hit each other. To see that kind of contact, so early in the race, is an unacceptable level of risk to be taking out on track.

“It cannot – and will not – happen again.”

Rosberg eventually finished second, pitting three times after locking up and damaging his tyres while racing Sebastian Vettel.

“After the collision, Nico drove the first stint with a significantly damaged front wing, changed it, then had to make an additional stop after flat-spotting his left front tyre to the point where it was dangerous,” Wolff explained. “He then charged back through the field and was impressively close to taking the win in spite of a dramatic race.”

Hamilton ran at the tail of the field with a badly damaged car and urged his team to retire the car to save its engine. They did so six laps from home.

“Lewis was fighting with one hand tied behind his back after the puncture, which damaged the floor and cost him a significant amount of performance,” said Wolff.

“We left him out there in case the Safety Car came out, bunched up the field and allow us to gain some places, but it became clear that he had lost too much performance and was continuing to do so, so we retired the car before the finish.”

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193 comments on Mercedes collision “can’t and won’t happen again”

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  1. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 24th August 2014, 17:35

    Oh yes it can…

    • Sven (@crammond) said on 24th August 2014, 17:37

      Exactly my thought ^^

      I´d rather bet it will than it won´t…

    • Yes it can happen again, this time Nico had to take the blame, as Lewis is still classed as
      the golden child, but looking back over the last five years he was never blameless, and a
      one point considered to be the most dangerous driver on the track with his gung ho
      attitude to all around lets not forget the facts never lie !!!

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 24th August 2014, 18:12

      Totally. Incredible how lucky Rosberg got it this race. Totally ruined Lewis race, managed to finish second hanging up ahead with the front wing damage and recovering after locking up the tyres so badly.

      He knows on paper he’s a bit behind Hamilton, so he needs to exploit every chance and this sort of thing will happen again if he’s not careful enough, or if Hamilton stays a long way ahead.

      • Luca Nuvolari (@nuvolari71) said on 24th August 2014, 19:09

        Behind Hamilton? it’s the funniest thing I have read here today. Nico is simply more mature and a better package. He’ll win the championship because he’s intelligent, regardless of what happened today

        • DaveD (@daved) said on 24th August 2014, 19:34

          More like: “Nico is a dirtier driver, therefore he’ll win the championship”.

          If Lewis had pulled that stunt, you’d be screaming for his head on a platter.

          • Mark in Florida said on 24th August 2014, 19:54

            Hamilton has been way more aggressive with his driving than Nico. And past races have cemented Hamilton’s rep as an overly eager driver shoving people off the track. Maybe Nico is tired of being pushed around by Hamilton, this time he shoved back.

        • Hamilton pushed lots of people off the track on the way to the top, he should be
          a man and take some of his own medicine, not come on boys you have to pull
          me out of this race, no matter how he worded it for us to hear, and if proven
          I don’t blame nico he is far better racer

        • f1manUK said on 24th August 2014, 20:47

          BBC: “We just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose,” said Hamilton.”He [Rosberg] said he could have avoided it, but he didn’t want to. He basically said, ‘I did it to prove a point’.”
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/28921431

          • Luca Nuvolari (@nuvolari71) said on 25th August 2014, 5:02

            I will never believe Ros did it on purpose, even if Nico himself tells me in my face. Ham lies because he’s frustrated and the management fu**ed up by defending him in public

          • @nuvolari71 so if you don’t believe Nico even if he tells you to your face is there a point arguing with you?

    • gazzaguru said on 24th August 2014, 18:55

      Neither Niki, Toto or Paddy have the mettle to control either of their two drivers. It’s going to be total chaos for the remaining races…..

      • Pete (@repete86) said on 25th August 2014, 17:15

        Niki does, but judging by their comments yesterday, he’s not in a position of authority at all. It’s times like this that I’m sure they all wish that they had kept Brawn.

    • Bobby (@f1bobby) said on 24th August 2014, 21:12

      It’ll happen at the next round.

    • alan93rsa (@alan93rsa) said on 24th August 2014, 21:25

      Lewis has done plenty in the past. He is no doubt very fast. He is also aware that he has managed to get away with plenty of pushing the limits with other drivers. It appears he is getting into the realm of the Andretti winners and whiner’s club.

  2. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 24th August 2014, 17:39

    Won’t happen again? How will you ensure that? Well, unless you sabotage one of the cars.

  3. trublu (@trublu) said on 24th August 2014, 17:43

    On BBC Hamilton is claiming that in team meeting ROS admitted fault and also admitted that he could have lifted but didn’t to prove a point.

    Would certainly make things clearer. After initial wheel contact ROS made no clear effort to lift.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 24th August 2014, 17:49

      That’s progress after his lack of effort to apologize to the team on the podium and during flash interviews.

    • Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 24th August 2014, 18:06

      Reported that Mercedes confirmed what Lewis said…
      https://twitter.com/JennieGow/status/503582975511248896

      Damn ROS is smooth

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th August 2014, 18:10

        Surely that would be a DSQ and possible race ban if confirmed by the FIA?

      • I consider Nico to be the best fluid driver of the two, Lewis is like
        a dodgem driver on a handful of steroids

        • Bobby (@f1bobby) said on 24th August 2014, 21:14

          I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not? Rosberg is a cretin, makes more mistakes than anyone I’ve ever seen before but somehow gets away with everything. He’s coated in teflon.

      • Pete (@repete86) said on 24th August 2014, 18:37

        Wow. This almost makes me wonder about Monaco. It makes me wonder if he learned perhaps a bit too much from Schumi…

        • Slowhands (@slowhands) said on 24th August 2014, 18:50

          No wondering needed, Monaco becomes crystal clear now. This is a smooth, skilled, baby-faced Machiavelli in a crash helmet and firesuit. He knows exactly what he’s doing, which is win a WDC by any and all means. Mercedes have to decide if that’s the behavior they want from their drivers. Ferrari were okay with it from Schumi, but they had a clear one-two policy. In this case, it will be chaos from here on out.

          • Bobby (@f1bobby) said on 24th August 2014, 21:15

            Yup, knives out from here to the end.

          • Zane Jakobs (@zjakobs) said on 25th August 2014, 1:12

            @slowhands Oh yes, Rosberg is now going to flip hamilton a la maldonado and guttierez at monza, pull a Senna-Prost in suzuka at Casio Triangle, and then stick a grenade up Hamilton’t exhaust in abu double. Are you mental?

          • Slowhands (@slowhands) said on 25th August 2014, 15:23

            @zjakobs No need to be insulting. By “chaos” I meant within the team and between the two of them personally, not necessarily on track. Rosberg’s actions this year show that he is able to be cold and calculating in the heat of battle. That gives him emotional advantage over Hamilton, who “wears his emotions on his sleeve” and undergoes huge ups and downs in the course of the weekend. They have known each other since youth, Rosberg knows just where to poke Lewis to create maximum anger and frustration. Did you read earlier in the year that he would go out and kick a soccer ball against the side of the building during Lewis’ debriefs with his engineers just to annoy him? Rosberg has been a master of plausible deniability, but he finally came clean in this latest episode.

            Now that he has created a comfortable points buffer, I think he will be content to stay clean on track as long as he can maintain the buffer. If it narrows again, though, watch out. ROS is too slick for the clumsy driving of MAL and GUI and too subtle for explosive ordinance. But a move a la Senna? Absolutely, I wouldn’t put it past him. And unlike Senna, who was up-front about his intentions, ROS would make it look like enough like a “racing incident” that he can spin it to try to appear innocent.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th August 2014, 3:41

          Not from Schumi but from HAMs hero Senna, ironic eh ?

          • Slowhands (@slowhands) said on 25th August 2014, 15:32

            In terms of technique, more Schumi than Senna. Senna made no attempt to hide his intentions– he would take you out and everyone knew that’s what happened. This “behind the back” stuff, especially throwing his car down the escape road at Mirabeau, is right out of Schumi’s playbook.

    • JenniKate (@jennikate) said on 24th August 2014, 19:02

      Wolff says Rosberg’s crash comments were misinterpreted –

      “[Rosberg] didn’t give in. He thought it was for Lewis to leave him space, and that Lewis didn’t leave him space.
      “So they agreed to disagree in a very heated discussion amongst ourselves, but it wasn’t deliberately crashing. That is nonsense.”

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/115558

      • John Well said on 24th August 2014, 19:08

        By not backing off, what did he expect to happen then?

        • Hydro (@hydrouk) said on 24th August 2014, 19:12

          He wanted Lewis to drive off the racing line to avoid him.

          • John Well said on 24th August 2014, 19:15

            Then I think he made the wrong decision.

          • wouldn’t the first time a driver thought, after sticking his nose into it, “yield or don’t yield- it’s now up to you”. After Hamilton’s intimidations of the past (physical and psychological) I think Nico just telegraphed “enough is enough”.

          • David BR2 said on 24th August 2014, 21:38

            @wacamo Yield when he was barely level with Hamilton’s rear tyre? You can’t make up how dim some people are.

          • (big) If that was his thinking, it worked, didn’t it?

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th August 2014, 6:45

          He wanted to show Hamilton that sometimes its Lewis who has to give way (to avoid damage), more or less a lesson learnt from Senna – i.e. I overtake you because you lose more than I do if you block me.

        • USRacer said on 25th August 2014, 15:42

          Why could HAM not hold the inside line? Blame is aimed towards ROS for not lifting but both had options that could have resulted in no contact.

      • David BR2 said on 24th August 2014, 19:34

        Wolff confirms Hamilton’s reporting, not his interpretation. But I’m at a loss to understand how someone saying they didn’t avoid an incident ‘to prove a point’ wasn’t admission of causing a collision.

        Sounds like Mercedes trying to cover up Rosberg’s deliberate foul play. Again.

        • leslexx (@leslexx) said on 24th August 2014, 20:02

          Not suprised Toto has once again sprung to Rosberg defence. How can you say you did it to prove a point and not have done it deliberately? Please educate me

          • D (@f190) said on 24th August 2014, 20:35

            Exactly. Mercedes will now open up their tins of paint and whitewash over this whole mess up. It’s clear for everyone to see, but as always we’re treated like idiots.

            The incident was rosbergs fault, he was lucky to get away with it. Like Monaco, only Rosberg knows for sure if he hit Hamilton on purpose, but he doesn’t come across in a good light currently. Like others have said, I also fail to understand how someone does something to prove a point, but didn’t do it on purpose. He had two choices and in “making a point” he chose the one which would obviously result in contact.

            The team said he would be punished, but so far my pet jelly fish has shown more backbone than anyone in the Mercedes management.

            “If Lewis has said that it’s going to be a slap on the wrist, and that there’s going to be no consequence, then he’s not aware of what consequences we can implement.”

            He talks the talk, but nothing will ever happen. There are no possible options open to them at all. A team can’t ban their championship leading driver, nor get rid of them totally. I’d bet Rosberg would rather have a WDC than money, so any financial punishment is also pointless.

            He has options, but is to weak to implement them. Meaning he actually has no options.

          • David BR2 said on 24th August 2014, 22:30

            One and perhaps the only option would have been to let FIA re-investigate the incident following Rosberg’s admission. The worst case scenario: a one race ban or the Spa points lost for NR. Mercedes can take the points loss and Rosberg would be kept in check.

            Instead Wolff tried to rework the semantics of what he said, which is not only treating everyone as idiots, it gives Rosberg licence to do the same, again, no doubt congratulating himself on the cunningness of taking out his competitor in front of everyone’s eyes, admitting the fact, and getting away with it.

          • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 25th August 2014, 7:40

            @f190 And all this shows Hamilton’s character when he runs from a closed meeting to the press to broadcast what has been said in a circumstance that assume confidentiality.

  4. JCost (@jcost) said on 24th August 2014, 17:47

    It’s clear that for Mercedes it was a lot about the timing. Nico had a whole race to beat Lewis but he chose to take high risks early into the race costing Lewis valuable points and costing the team another 1-2.

    On it happening again… man, drivers will try to beat each other out there, sure more caution is expected but nobody can guarantee they will not hit each other.

  5. Stephen Higgins said on 24th August 2014, 17:47

    Lewis is to blame in my opinion, he didn’t give Rosberg ANYWHERE NEAR enough space. Lewis knew he was there and turned in on him when he should have taken a wider line on the exit of Les Coombes and could have defended easily into Bruxelles.

    End of.

    • trublu (@trublu) said on 24th August 2014, 17:50

      This has got to be your first F1 race.

    • Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 24th August 2014, 17:51

      Do you know what a racing line is?

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th August 2014, 17:53

      If you only have your front wing in line with a driver’s back wheel the onus is on you to back out of it. Going into a corner with only the very front of your nose poking up the inside has always been seen as careless with the other driver having the right to take their normal line. You either back off or make sure your car is properly alongside. Rosberg did neither unfortunately. A small error in positioning but very costly and entirely his fault.

      • McKenzie (@mckenzie) said on 24th August 2014, 18:09

        Going into a corner with only the very front of your nose poking up the inside has always been seen as careless with the other driver having the right to take their normal line.

        Indeed @matt90. Moreover, this isn’t a case of one team blaming another. Wolff was clearly livid – with one of his own drivers – when he was interviewed by the BBC. Rarely do we hear a senior team official speaking in such terms about one of their own drivers.

        If Wolff et al are unhappy with NR’s actions that’s good enough for me. They run the team.

      • mateuss (@mateuss) said on 24th August 2014, 18:19

        @matt90 I would just like to point out that they first connected wheel to wheel and then slid of and then clipped the wing, and at about 45° angle of the turn he had half of his car alongside still, so.

        Two drivers wanting to race too harshly, and the stakes are getting higher, this can only get better! I hope the team fails with their instructions to the drivers… Because team orders are the only thing that can ruin this.

      • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 24th August 2014, 20:01

        Exactly.

      • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 25th August 2014, 7:57

        Hamilton had the right to the racing line but also he knew that Rosberg was there so he had a choice to keep the racing line and risk collision or live some more space and avoid a potential damage to his car and still he would have been ahead of Niko. As usual he choose the first, aggressive option and this time pay dearly for it. I agree that Rosberg should have backed up more but Hamilton’s mistake was that he left it up for the others to care for his race. Niko obviously doesn’t.

    • I agree Lewis to blame trying to cause a accident to ruin Nico’s chances of a clear win..

    • The replay I watched showed Rosberg turning into Hamilton…twice!!

    • Lewisham Milton said on 24th August 2014, 19:40

      End of what?

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th August 2014, 3:48

      SH suggest you look at the BBC articles picture of the incident. End of .

  6. No Ross Brawn. Doubt anyone will be calling Toto or Paddy or Niki to manage a team.

    Eddie Jordan, “That for me is a boardroom decision, it should never happened, don’t blame the drivers. You can’t just let people go and do what they want to do. The team has suffered here. What they did is stupid. They are allowing the emotions of the driver in the heat of the moment to take over…The team are looking for other people to blame and they have to blame themselves.”

    • ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh) said on 24th August 2014, 18:40

      Eddie Jordan is a class act.

    • mateuss (@mateuss) said on 24th August 2014, 21:08

      The thing is, is this approach worse than the usual model of one team dominating, team ordering, with no racing?

      As a racing racing fan, I find it wicked blasphemy to suggest otherwise!

      But even for Mercedes PR, even after such incident and the war that has been escalating? I question if it might be even good for that.

      I can envisage a scenario where this approach that the team has had up to now could be very detrimental for the company’s PR. If the car was a tenth quicker than the rest and as a result of the fighting they would be scoring fifth, sixth and such places on a regular basis, despite being the fastest car.

      But that is not the case, the car is one of the most dominant ever, they are miles ahead of anybody in both championships and are constantly winning, scoring podiums, everybody is loving the best one team WDC battle since… I would not even know (too young)… Since ever? Since Prost v Senna?

      Sure, good talking to both drivers is in order, to try and persuade them to be less reckless, but I don’t see that a change in the general procedures is necessary, or would be a benefit to anyone.

  7. aka_robyn said on 24th August 2014, 17:50

    My favorite quote of the day so far, from the Totonator:

    “If Lewis has said that it’s going to be a slap on the wrist, and that there’s going to be no consequence, then he’s not aware of what consequences we can implement.”

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/115551

    • With all of that dribble being said,Nothing will be done.

    • Mercedes huffs and puffs “we lost valuable points”. Hrrmmmph. Does anyone really think Mercedes will NOT win the constructors championship this year? Lauda, even though he appears to favor Lewis, is vehement that there are/will be no team orders. With two aggressive top drivers, I think the Mercedes brain trust is just giving us some good kabuki theatre / corporate speak.

  8. gabal (@gabal) said on 24th August 2014, 17:50

    How will they ensure it? Force Rosberg to sit out of one race as punishment?

    • Chris (@cgturbo) said on 24th August 2014, 18:03

      @gabal

      I was laughing at people suggesting this earlier… But the more the reports keep coming in and the story unfolds… The more I think it’s a distinct possibility!
      They could easily bring in a reserve or young driver, or one from somewhere else on the grid (Hulkenberg, perhaps?) to take over for a race and essentially let Lewis win (barring technical issues)… Whoever they bring in won’t win (unless Hulkenberg etc), but with the WCC being essentially theirs, I don’t think they’ll mind.

      • I think Di Resta is their reserve driver. They could use him, he has recent racing experience.

        I doubt it would happen though, but maybe it should when one of their drivers gives up a potential 1-2 just to prove his own personal points…

      • Breno (@austus) said on 24th August 2014, 19:16

        Well, that would put Lowe, Wolff, Lauda and Mercedes below Briatore and Renault.

  9. Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 24th August 2014, 17:52

    Does Nico work for Flavio Briatore… just a thought…

  10. So Nico did it to prove a point Ham said. Come on then FIA make a stand on a delibrate act. Joke you are, failed Ham big time with your unreal 20 secs on KMag nothing on Ros. The one were it destroyed the race the driver got no penalty haha

    • If he’s admitted he caused an accident on purpose then I think the FIA should revoke his racing license and have him psychologically assessed to see if he’s safe to be allowed to race.

  11. David BR2 said on 24th August 2014, 17:57

    Rosberg clearly thinks he can do whatever he wants this season, Mercedes and Hamilton will just have to suck it up and – as in Monaco – the team will have to clean up his mess. Getting seriously unpleasant.

  12. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 24th August 2014, 17:57

    Mercedes confirmed thatnwhat Lewis said is true… and now?

  13. leslexx (@leslexx) said on 24th August 2014, 18:03

    Yes, it can and I hope it will. If i was Lewis, I’ll see i take my revenge. It wont happen again only if the cars are not close to each other on the grid and if you decide to sabotage one car, we all know whose car that would be.

  14. Bet Derek Warwick feels a bit of a mug now …

  15. Mercedes should say to Rosbug, “you’ve cost the team 25 points, we’re going to put the reserve driver in your car for the next two races”. This would make the championship fair, be a deterrent/warning to Rosbug & Hamilton to behave themselves, whilst still allowing the team to accumulate construction points.

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