Mercedes takes “disciplinary measures” as Rosberg accepts blame

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014Nico Rosberg has apologised for colliding with Lewis Hamilton during Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes have confirmed.

The team said “suitable disciplinary measures” have been taken, but did not specify what these involved, and said the pair “remain free to race” for the world championship.

A statement released on Friday said: “Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton met today in the boardroom of Mercedes AMG Petronas headquarters in Brackley to discuss the events of the Belgian Grand Prix.

“During this meeting, Nico acknowledged his responsibility for the contact that occurred on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix and apologised for this error of judgement.

“Suitable disciplinary measures have been taken for the incident.

“Mercedes-Benz remains committed to hard, fair racing because this is the right way to win world championships. It is good for the team, for the fans and for Formula One.

“Lewis and Nico understand and accept the team’s number one rule: there must be no contact between the team’s cars on track.

“It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated. But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them.

“They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula One world championship.”

Rosberg also issued a statement accepting responsibility for the collision.

“In the days since the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what happened during the race and discussing it with the team,” he said.

“I have already expressed my regret about the incident but, after meeting with Toto, Paddy and Lewis today, I wish to go a step further and describe it as an error of judgement on my part.

“The number one rule for us as team-mates is that we must not collide but that is exactly what happened.
For that error of judgement, I apologise to Lewis and the team. I also want to say sorry to the fans who were deprived of our battle for the lead in Belgium.

“Lewis and I have been given clear instructions about how we race each other. As drivers, we have a clear responsibility to the team, the fans of the sport, our partners and Mercedes-Benz to deliver clean racing. We take that responsibility very seriously.

“I look forward to concluding the season with hard, fair competition on and off track right up to the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi.”

2014 Belgian Grand Prix

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210 comments on Mercedes takes “disciplinary measures” as Rosberg accepts blame

  1. Formula-I (@f1indofans) said on 29th August 2014, 13:56

    I dont think cold-headed Lewis will forgive him

    • ColdFly F1 (@coldfly) said on 29th August 2014, 14:56

      but the question is what will hot-headed Lewis do? ;-)

      • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 29th August 2014, 15:01

        He’s probably going to be wondering what his team and his teammate are up to as he has since Bahrain :-) It’s gotta be very tough for him to race knowing that most of the opposition is internal. No wonder his car can’t even go straight in qualifying… If you look through the season it’s hard to say that Mercedes has been behind Lewis starting from pit stops to car reliability to team orders to strategy. They’ve screwed Lewis as much as Nico has and that’s the bottomline. Alonso would have come out of his car and strangled Paddy Lowe and Toto Wollf by now:-)

    • Clive Allen (@clive-allen) said on 29th August 2014, 22:20

      Cold-headed Lewis will get on with the job. Hot-headed Lewis will have a lot to say in press interviews after any incident.

  2. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 29th August 2014, 13:57

    It’s absolutely what I suggested in the ‘How can Mercedes defuse the Hamilton-Rosberg row?’ article. I’m kind of… proud. :P

  3. SD (@sd) said on 29th August 2014, 14:06

    I dont like the way public reacts to news like these. First, when Nico said his views about the meeting were different, but did not really go into the details, people assumed he did not have any good points and said that the only reason he is not telling us his point of view is because he does not have any points to defend himself. Now that Mercedes has this news out, people assume nothing has been done except for a slap on the wrist. How do we know nothing has been done? Its quite possible that mercedes has asked Nico to give up a lead in the next race and let Lewis by. We just dont have enough information to reach a conclusion on our own. This is exactly what is wrong with today’s media and we should refrain from doing this.

  4. Luca Nuvolari (@nuvolari71) said on 29th August 2014, 14:08

    There you go. Free to race, because there is no way anyone can control these guys. They are 2 purest race drivers, the constructor championship is already in Merc pocket, they will race for themselves, as expected. I am only worried that, in case of another race accident, it will be judged the wrong way. The chance that it will happen again is still big, from my point of view. This is all good for the show in its bigger picture. The more drama, the better. Obviously the advantage is with NIco’s now, because 2 DNFs in the same race will only be good news for him. This is a golden chance for Lewis to display some maturity, if he has any. Noone doubts is a splendid driver, a one of a kind, but he’s still behaving with his ego only. Excited to see them braking at T1 in Monza from 340 km/h next race.

    • Breno (@austus) said on 30th August 2014, 0:32

      340? Only that? I suppose people were peaking at 330 with DRS going down Kemmel.

      So much for the hopes and dreams of 400 km/h, they seemed as absurd as anyone winning a race besides Mercedes.

  5. gregwtravels (@gregwtravels) said on 29th August 2014, 14:08

    Nico has now posted a statement on Facebook, reposted by Mercedes AMG Racing. https://www.facebook.com/nicorosberg/posts/10152726499289874

    In the days since the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what happened during the race and discussing it with the team.
    I have already expressed my regret about the incident but, after meeting with Toto, Paddy and Lewis today, I wish to go a step further and describe it as an error of judgement on my part.
    The number one rule for us as team-mates is that we must not collide but that is exactly what happened.
    For that error of judgement, I apologise to Lewis and the team. I also want to say sorry to the fans who were deprived of our battle for the lead in Belgium.
    Lewis and I have been given clear instructions about how we race each other.
    As drivers, we have a clear responsibility to the team, the fans of the sport, our partners and Mercedes-Benz to deliver clean racing. We take that responsibility very seriously.
    I look forward to concluding the season with hard, fair competition on and off track right up to the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi.

    • OOliver said on 29th August 2014, 14:26

      P/s It doesn’t hurt to be contrite with an extra 18 points in the bank big grin

      This portion was omitted.

  6. Maciek (@maciek) said on 29th August 2014, 14:19

    Suitable disciplinary measures…. hmm, my guess is they’ve taken away his hair products. But seriously, what can a team really do to a millionaire star driver leading the championship that might plausibly be described as ‘disciplinary’?

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 29th August 2014, 14:24

      @maciek – The only thing that they could do that would hurt Nico would be to ban him for a race but that would effectively be punishing themselves so why would they?

      He’s got more money than anyone could ever need, is the clear leader in the WDC and will earn more money by winning the championship than Mercedes could get away with fining him.

      • JimG (@jimg) said on 29th August 2014, 14:48

        @petebaldwin, @maciek: The only thing I can think of to punish Nico but not the team would be to order him to let Lewis past the next time he’s in the lead. What if he didn’t do it? How about this for a nuclear option: I’ve seen a few mentions of Nico having a contract for next year, but would disobeying such an order break that contract? Bear in mind that this would not be a tactical team order during a race, sprung on a driver in the heat of battle, but a premeditated order given and agreed to before the race.

    • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 29th August 2014, 14:36

      +1 – If the measures don’t involve points, they are irrelevant.

  7. Tiomkin said on 29th August 2014, 14:20

    They should suspend him for one race and tell him, “It’s to prove a point”. I’ll bet he never repeats that maneuver again.

    • RogerA said on 29th August 2014, 14:41

      No they should not have suspended him, That would amount to a team manipulating the championship.

      Had they suspended Nico for a race & had Lewis won the championship by a few points it would have been a tainted win & it would have basically been gifted to him by the team.
      It would need a * by it in the record books for sure.

      • Ian W said on 29th August 2014, 15:05

        Surely that is ignoring that Nico has manipulated the championship by either incompetend driving or taking a rival out of a race.

        • RogerA said on 29th August 2014, 17:15

          Mistakes happen, You can’t go around suspending every driver who makes an error & happens to have contact with another driver.

          A driver making a small error & clipping another car is also completely different to a team actively stepping in & taking a championship contender out of the car for a race.

          Drivers makes mistakes & sometimes in close racing there will be some contact between cars & its possible in that situation that one car will suffer more damage. Its unfortunate but it happens & that will always have some affect on the championship standings be it the main title fight or lower down.

          Hamilton himself locked up coming trhough the field at Hockenheim & clipped Kimi Raikkonen which damaged Kimi’s front wing, Later on Vettel also clipped Kimi which further damaged the wing.
          That damage hurt Kimi’s race & could end up dropping him a spot or 2 down the final championship standings so should Lewis & Vettel be parked for a race for affecting someones championship position? Of course not,
          It was a racing deal, Its unfortunate Kimi got damage that harmed his performance & that it may cost him in the standings but its how it is.

          Should Lewis have been parked back in 2010 when he cut Vettel’s tyre at Silverstone due to a small error of judgement? That may have cost Vettel the championship had the safety car not come out later which gave him a shot at points.

          Hamilton & his fans need to get over it, What happened was unfortunate but it was still a pure racing incident caused by a very tiny error of judgement. No punishment should be handed down, Just leave them to race it out on track right down to the end.

          I’d say the same had things been reversed & if it were Lewis who made the small error. As I say these things happen, Lets move on to Monza.

          • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 29th August 2014, 20:12

            That is a good point – if clipping wings is so normal why then is everyone so upset about this and blaming Nico for doing it deliberately? Why? Obviously if Nico was such a great guy then the thought would never cross our minds, right? Or is it because we feel that Nico is the kind of guy that would do something like that on purpose?

            Look at the big collision between Maldonado and Gutierrez – even though Maldonado has been involved in many accidents, no one suggested that he did that intentionally.

      • Tiomkin said on 29th August 2014, 16:27

        Isn’t deliberately causing an ‘accident’ manipulating the results. If the result was Hamilton in hospital or out for the rest of the season, people won’t be so quick to back Nico. He is a professional driver and therefore should face harsh penalties for willfully crashing his car. A suspension is light. Fining him cash makes no difference to a Millionaire.

        • RogerA said on 29th August 2014, 20:04

          Have proof it was deliberate?

          No didn’t think so.

          Just another pathetic hamilton fan going along with there hero playing the victim, its so sad.

          • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 29th August 2014, 20:14

            You do realize that you just called Hamilton a hero, right? I’m just saying that you might be in denial:-)

    • Breno (@austus) said on 30th August 2014, 0:34

      Meanwhile, back in the days Briatore just fired drivers when he was unhappy.

  8. pking008 (@pking008) said on 29th August 2014, 14:26

    That is very very convenient for Nico isn’t it? He had a chance to apologize on the podium he didn’t. He had a chance to apologize afterwards, he didn’t, he had a chance to do so even at the meeting of 16.45 he didn’t insisting he did it to prove a point. Now, the whole world is descending on Mercedes and its sponsors and voila, all of a sudden he takes responsibility almost a week after the event at a new meeting after tweeting just a day ago that Lewis was lying about what he said in the first meeting and we are supposed to believe him? Also conveniently, he is laughing all the way to the WDC with a 29 points lead illegally accumulated in Monaco and Spa. What exactly is the disciplinary action against him? we would like to know Toto.

  9. pking008 (@pking008) said on 29th August 2014, 14:28

    Now, I wish it was still like the old days when you can visit physical violence on your opponents and Lewis knock that smirk off his face.

  10. To all those thinking that the chances of Lewis and Nico hitting each other again is high, I wouldn’t whink so. They both now know that the consequences of a second crash can be huge and I am sure they will be extra carefull when they are close at the track.

  11. lawrence said on 29th August 2014, 14:49

    I guess the team more worried about PR than about the genuine atmosphere within the team, will be pressured into this kind of nonsense by Hamilton’s media dramas. He is basically using media to deal with his own team and get his own way.
    Toto is a sad joke, not a team principal.

  12. MattB (@mattb) said on 29th August 2014, 14:51

    I’d imagine that the conversation went something like: “The next time you crash into your team mate, we shall make sure that your car has a problem qualifying for Abu Double”.

  13. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 29th August 2014, 14:52

    Lewis has also now issued a statement.

    Today we came together as a team and discussed our differences. Nico and I accept that we have both made mistakes and I feel it would be wrong to point fingers and say which one is worse than the other. What’s important is how we rise as a team from these situations. We win and we lose together and, as a team, we will emerge stronger.

    There is a deep foundation that still exists for me and Nico to work from, in spite of our difficult times and differences. We have the greatest team, the strongest group of individuals who have worked their hands to the bone to give us the best car you see us racing today. It’s important that we never forget that and give them the results they deserve. Today, Toto and Paddy told us clearly how we must race against each other from now on in a fair and respectful manner.

    The fans want to see a clean fight until the end of the season and that’s what we want to give them. It’s going to be a tough road from here but Championships have been won from much further back than I am now. And I promise you that I will be giving everything and more to win this for my team, for my family and for my fans.

  14. Regarding the disciplinary action or punishment for Rosberg, I believe the best thing to do would be to give Lewis a slightly more advantageous strategy, such as pitting him before Nico for one race when he is not ahead.

  15. Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 29th August 2014, 14:54

    I guess we’ll have to wait until Monza to find out what the disciplinary measures are and whether Lewis was right.

    If the measures don’t affect Nico’s races and his points directly then Lewis was right and Nico will not even receive the proverbial “slap on the wrist”. I think it will be safe to assume at that point that Mercedes has become Team Rosberg.

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