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. Holy Hell, why are we still going on about this! It’s nauseating.
    Who cares now, it’s over.

    • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 29th August 2014, 17:55

      Are you implying that the championship is over and we should focus on football instead?

      Nico deserved to ruin his own race and he would have been 14 points behind now… 14 points behind versus 29 points ahead (a 43 point swing the wrong way in the championship) by an idiotic amateurish move. And apparently it was done to prove a point while lends huge insult to injury. If Nico accidentally wins the WDC, it’ll be a disaster.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th August 2014, 23:22

      Because it’s news, and because like it or not it’s attracted far more attention than any other story over the last few weeks.

  2. Ayrtonfan (@) said on 29th August 2014, 15:12

    Lewis speaks his true words right after an incident- I don’t always agree with him, but they are better than a team prepared statement 10 days later.

    Deep down I don’t think he thinks Nico hit him on purpose (I may be wrong) but he speaks with roar emotion- not unlike Senna V Prost. If this one has not boiled over, it will very soon.

  3. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 29th August 2014, 15:17

    The best parallel situation that comes to my mind is Hulk vs PereZ in Hungary. hulk admitted after the race it was his fault. What I dont remember is if he was penalized during ( or after) the race for that.

  4. Robbie (@robbie) said on 29th August 2014, 15:20

    I was up in Northern Ontario picking blueberries and catching pickerel last weekend. I wasn’t able to see the race live, and managed to go all the way until Wednesday night without knowing what happened, and watched my recording of it as if it was live, very late Wednesday night into Thursday morning. So of course I was a thousand comments behind by the time I came here to the site.

    Bottom line for me…I am thrilled to read both of the latest comments from NR and LH as they have expressed exactly what I hoped to hear and expect for the rest of the season. This is a great rivalry and the team continues to prove that even though it would have been much easier to hire one rooster and one other to lick his boots, that’s not how they play, and they get that the bumpy ride that this is is far more thrilling and is what the fans pay to see, and is worth the ‘headaches’ that can come with managing two roosters. As I have said before, Mercedes gets it and I cannot thank them enough.

    • William Stuart (@williamstuart) said on 29th August 2014, 20:48

      Good that someone has said this, it must be such a ballache for Toto and Nicki to keep their word, it must be so hard to watch the close racing. But it seems that they have the same underlying view as the fans, and that’s great for the sport.

  5. Frasier (@frasier) said on 29th August 2014, 15:26

    Slightly worrying that we have Derek Warwick as the driver steward, wonder if he still thinks you’ll not find a more honest driver than Nico Rosberg, whose early career opinions are aired in the article below on bending the rules.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/06/sports/06iht-prix.2718507.html?_r=3&

    Yes, it’s been posted before, but a personal quote is worth repeating.

    This week Warwick was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying.

    “I think what Nico was trying to say is he’s had enough of the forceful driving of Hamilton at Bahrain and again at Budapest, and he wasn’t going to give in. I think it’s an internal problem, not really a problem for the FIA or the stewards. They [Mercedes] have to somehow reprimand Rosberg and make sure these two guys don’t touch each other.”

    So, the stewards in Monza are going to look the other way again… unless there’s a possibility Lewis can be penalised, Derek Warwick was also steward for the incident in the link below

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2G2eA-QmVg

    Oh dear…

    • Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 29th August 2014, 15:58

      Warwick again? Poor Hamilton.

    • Apparently Derek Warwick has been a steward in some of the most controversial steward decisions concerning Lewis Hamilton over the years.
      It suffices to say that Derek Warwick is at war with Lewis Hamilton.

      • ADD (@addimaf1) said on 29th August 2014, 16:31

        Please tell me he’s not the one behind the 2008 Belgian grand prix decision.

        • PeterG said on 29th August 2014, 18:06

          They didn’t have driver stewards in 2008. They had 3 stewards selected at random & a permanent steward (Who’s name I forget) who would attend every race.

          And I think the hatred been aimed at Derek Warwick is a bit pathetic to be honest.

          Nobody seemed to have an issue with him until he took a decision that went against Lewis & he’s been acting as a driver steward since 2010 & by all accounts is one of the most respected of the driver stewards amongst teams/driver because of how seriously he takes the role, Hence why he’s been invited to do it more than others.

          People can keep going on about Monaco, BUt have you seen all the data that the stewards did?
          Its easy to look at a bit of video & say whatever you want, But when you have all of the data, All of the angles & a knowledge of whats its like to drive one of these cars & how they react to certain situations, You are going to have a far better insight to make the decisions these stewards do, Thats why they brought in driver stewards to begin with.

  6. Cornflakes (@cornflakes) said on 29th August 2014, 15:30

    I hope we gain some insight on what these ‘disciplinary measures’ could be. If you were Toto Wolff et al., what would you do? The only thing I can think of that would impact only on Nico is a pay cut, and when becoming F1 World Champion for the first time is at stake, I’m willing to bet Nico would sacrifice his entire year’s salary for the chance.

    No, these sanctions will do little to prevent ‘heat of the moment’ acts unless of course the FIA stepped in and deducted his points. This is basically Merc’s way of saying they won’t tolerate it but the driver’s way of saying nothing will change (which is great for us fans!)

  7. Steven (@steevkay) said on 29th August 2014, 15:31

    The thing is, all that really can be done is a slap on the wrist since anything to hinder the driver can hinder the team’s outlook as well (i.e. constructor points).

    I’d do something like remove FP1 & FP2 time in favor of a young driver so that offending drivers lose out on practice/setup time at the track, but ultimately still have the equipment to get a high qualifying spot and race finish.

    It doesn’t seem like all this matters when the drivers are ultimately left free to race anyway; hopefully they both learn from this experience and are a bit more careful around each other.

  8. Ron Mon (@henslayer) said on 29th August 2014, 15:44

    Now that Hamilton knows that he can do whatever he wants and Rosberg will get blamed, watch out!

  9. lawrence said on 29th August 2014, 16:36

    This is just showing how weak the leadership of this team is. That they had to hang Nico out this way in order to appease media that was sent into frenzy by their own driver (Lewis) in the first place.
    Team can’t distinguish between good PR and good deeds.
    I’ve never really expected more from Toto, the guy who is too concerned by his own PR, since he pretty much lucked into being the principal of the top team.
    I really don’t see him having any kind of a clue how to build on from where Ross left.

    In my opinion, firstly Toto and Lauda should have kept their mouths shut during the GP. Then they should have reminded Lewis that you don’t wash dirty laundry in the public, and finally, should have kept everything inside after this internal discussion.

    I can’t see no other point in announcing all this to the media, besides pleasing the media and getting some good PR. But the real team shouldn’t prioritize that over the integrity and that mantra that you win like a team and you lose like a team.

    • Tiomkin said on 29th August 2014, 17:00

      Nico admits he crashed on purpose, but in your mind it’s Lewis’ fault.

      **facepalm**

      So if someone attacks you and steals your wallet, it’s your fault. Ok, I get it now.

      • RogerA said on 29th August 2014, 18:14

        Nico never admitted he crashed on purpose.

        The only person that ever said that was Lewis & we all know he will say anything to get people to feel bad for him because he likes playing the victim.

        • lawrence said on 29th August 2014, 22:58

          Exactly.

        • “The only person that ever said that was Lewis”

          Goto Autosport and read Toto’s interview, he said the same as Lewis, that Rosberg did it to prove a point. That’s besides the fact that the Merc spokesperson came out immediatly after the meeting and said Lewis statement was broadly accurate. If you dont take that to mean that Nico, at very least implied that he was at fault, then i feel sorry for you.

          But whatever, don’t let these little facts destroy the image you’re trying to create about Lewis.

  10. Casanova (@casanova) said on 29th August 2014, 17:08

    What I find most sad about this affair has been Rosberg’s handling of it. He must have known as soon as he saw Hamilton snaking off the track with a puncture that (a) he’d cocked up, and (b) he’d gained a substantial championship benefit from it.

    And yet, after the race, his words were “I regret the contact because it meant I didn’t win” – a brazenly self-centred view of the accident. His more appropriate public apology has only now appeared, 5 days after the race, having been ordered to make it by the Mercedes bosses. I have been a Rosberg fan since he broke into F1 with Williams, but my opinion of him has been shattered by this. Not by the contact itself – we all make mistakes, and it’s inevitably going to happen sooner or later when two drivers are going wheel-to-wheel. No, it’s the pathetic refusal to apologize for a clear error until told to do so. I know racing drivers are supposed to be selfish, blinkered, ruthless operators, but it would have taken only an ounce of sportsmanship, and no loss of face, to put his hands up after the race and make a proper apology.

    Compare Nico Hülkenberg’s statements after hitting Perez in Hungary, and you will see a much more humble and honourable driver.

    Some will argue that there will have been many more things said in private than have been said to the media, and this is of course true – we can’t know the full dialogue that has occurred between Lewis, Nico and the Mercedes management. But I think Nico owes that apology to the fans and followers of the sport, not just to Lewis. A mistake made with the world watching deserves a prompt apology under the same spotlight.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th August 2014, 23:25

      @casanova

      after the race, his words were “I regret the contact because it meant I didn’t win”

      I don’t think that’s a direct quote, and I’m not sure which quote of his you might be paraphrasing?

      • Casanova said on 29th August 2014, 23:38

        I paraphrased from memory a quote appears in Lee MacKenzie’s post-race interview with Rosberg. I’ve dug it out – it can be seen at ~52:50 of the BBC’s highlights program. Rosberg’ answer begins: “For sure, I regret that we touched, yes definitely, because it cost me the win”.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st September 2014, 14:05

          @casanova I must admit I amongst many was quite curious to hear if NR would apologize while on the podium, and was intrigued that he didn’t. But after hearing more about his intention, which was basically to stand his ground and show LH that he was not going to so easily just allow the door to be shut on him, I understand more why he didn’t apologize.

          Hulk vs. Perez is not the same as NR vs. LH. The world knows NR vs LH is for the WDC this year. I think in NR’s mind, immediately apologizing would have removed the impact of the point he was trying to make to LH…he’s not just going to roll over….he’s not going to back down…he’s going to fight for every inch. NR was not going to apologize for giving us what he want…a hard fought rivalry. If he seemed bull-headed about this, well, that should be welcomed and expected of a WDC level driver, given scenarios like SV getting WDC level hero worship for disobeying a team order in race one of a season against a teammate whose car was cranked down and a sitting duck.

  11. RogerA said on 29th August 2014, 18:13

    Just wanted to post this with regards to the stewards & Hamilton since many are going on the past week about how Lewis seems to always be on the end of bad call’s-
    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2011/11/03/lewis-hamilton-35-incidents-fia-stewards-fair/

    The stewards have actually not treated Lewis any differently. He gets penalty’s for the same things other do yet when Lewis gets the penalty there’s uproar & when its someone else its seen as fair?

    Take Monaco 2011, Lewis hist Massa via a dumb move at the hairpin & gets a penalty & Hamilton fans are outraged about it. Yet Di Resta did the same thing & got the same penalty is an identical incident & the same fans felt it was fair?

    Just proves that Hamilton fans think there golden boy can do no wrong & that any decision that goes against him is unfair. There as bad as there hero.

    • Frasier (@frasier) said on 29th August 2014, 19:19

      @RogerA actually the conclusion to the article you linked doesn’t really match the data, notably because of Spa 2008. I’d be more convinced if other drivers records were also examined in detail.

      It’s not just the penalties that Lewis gets himself, it’s also the lack of penalising others who compromise his races blatently eg

      http://www.espn.co.uk/australia/motorsport/story/12801.html
      video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebFvfyUFxuc

      A post race reprimand was given to Webber, and the stewards only gave that because Mark apologised for his error and in doing so exposed their bias/incompetence. It’s not the only example but trawling through them all won’t change things.

      Your Monaco 2011 example is typical of Massa trying to close the door with the horse halfway bolted, much like he did to Magnussen in Austria this year. Contrast with the incident in the same race where Schumi put his car inside Hamilton on the same corner in the same manner, guess what, Lewis accepted it and gave him racing room. Fortunately Massa is now considerably slower than Lewis and they don’t rub wheels so often.

      • RogerA said on 29th August 2014, 19:59

        The Spa 2008 penalty was fully justified.

        He cut the corner & clearly gained an advantage by coming off the runoff much closer than he would have done had he gone round the corner behind Kimi. And as I proved with a video yesterday Lewis was fully back on the throttle before Kimi was fully past him which shows he did not fully give the advantage he gained back.

        The video/screenshots I posted yesterday proved this & every other driver on the grid apart from Sutil & Kovalainen agreed with the decision when asked about it by the media at the next race.

        The thing with Massa at Monaco was 100% Lewis fault. Di Resta did the same & got the same penalty so stewards were totally consistent.
        There was no opportunity for lewis to pass there, he threw it up the inside over the kurb & into the side of massa.
        then he put massa in the wall in the tunnel by using kers & going up the inside again round the bend which is something you never do through there as the car on the outside will also end up in the wall due to the dirt & debris that collects.

        If Lewis was so innocent then why dod not other driver disagree with these, Why did the TV pundits which include ex drivers also agree with them? Its because Lewis was to blame & got the penalty he deserves in those incidents.

        • Frasier (@frasier) said on 29th August 2014, 21:29

          Sigh! RogerA, Spa 2008, Lewis and Kimi were side-by-side going into the chicane, your ‘proof screenshots’ were way back up the track, you are not only wrong but clearly desperate to prove something…

          As for the commentators etc ageeing, you’ll have to find references for that, oh heck no, on second thoughts don’t bother, most of us have made our mind up about that incident anyway, and I’m thinking they don’t agree with you.

          Massa, well we can discuss that Monaco race til the cows come home, but the big accidents just keep coming for Felipe, and Lewis isn’t part of them is he?

        • “The Spa 2008 penalty was fully justified. He cut the corner & clearly gained an advantage by coming off the runoff much closer than he would have done had he gone round the corner behind Kimi.”

          Please do inform us all of your opinion of Canada 2014 and Rosbergs cheating, then.

  12. Bobby (@f1bobby) said on 29th August 2014, 18:31

    It’ll all explode again in Monza or whenever else they inevitably collide.

  13. KeithR (@lockup) said on 29th August 2014, 19:19

    Derek Warwick is a lovely guy but he was a disgrace in Monaco. He was quite obviously determined to find Rosberg innocent, protect Keke and avoid a scandal. He even said: “Nico gave me the answers I needed,” as well as making out the interview was a big part of the evidence (like someone would cheat but not lie) and claiming they’d had ‘all the data’ when they didn’t look at tyre loading data which were damning. It was a shameful, timid whitewash, with the blatant prejudgment as @frasier reminds us.

    Now he’s claiming whatever happens next between Rosberg and Hamilton is nothing to do with the stewarding? It’s supposed to be the governing body enforcing the rules Derek, not the teams or the drivers! You’re not brave enough to be a steward.

    This whole situation could have been avoided with proper stewarding. Pirro was no better, spending 10 seconds deciding the definitive ‘causing an accident’ was a racing incident. Where’s Mansell when you need him? Someone with balls.

    • RogerA said on 29th August 2014, 20:03

      Since you seem so sure the tyre data will find guilt im sure you have seen it then?

      Stop whining about it already, It was a simple mistake nothing intentional & it just shows how desperate hamilton fans are to make there hero out to be a victim & make it out like the world is out to get him.

      next you will be saying how warwick & nico are racist or something right?

      love how all the armchair experts who have not driven a f1 car & never been round monaco & who have seen none of the data love to claim they know the facts.

      • KeithR (@lockup) said on 29th August 2014, 20:25

        “I was told they looked at the standard brake, throttle and steering traces, but not the tyre load data. Had they done, I’m pretty sure they’d have found an inconsistency between what the tyres could take (as seen on previous run) and how much steering input was made. As DC said, he appeared to be sawing at the wheel even when the car was clearly planted to the road. That is very much what it looked like from front-on – with the car simply following his steering inputs. It’s was as if he’d expected that sawing to create a twitch and when it didn’t and he found himself arriving at the turn-in point with the car slowed and stable, he then locked up, ensuring he couldn’t make the turn. It’s the locking up of the wheels at a point where the car is easily slow enough to make the turn that gives it away.”

        “Even inside the team, there are those who will tell you off the record that they suspect that it was indeed deliberate. To not reflect that general feeling – as well as how I personally judged the front-on shot of the incident (which was not shown on tv) in which Rosberg’s car appears to be easily slowed enough to make the turn at the turn-in point – and only then locks its brakes – would do the report a disservice.”

        Mark Hughes, Motor Sport

      • Frasier (@frasier) said on 29th August 2014, 22:01

        RogerA, yet again I’ll post this link, read it and then tell me that Rosberg didn’t cheat at Monaco 2014.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/06/sports/06iht-prix.2718507.html?_r=3&

  14. Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 29th August 2014, 19:58

    Rosberg made the following statement that I’ve picked up on:
    “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.”

    Could these be the so-called “disciplinary measures”? What kind of instructions could they give about racing each other? If memory serves me right, “clear instructions and agreements” between drivers have resulted in the biggest feuds in F1.

    Clear is not good for the teammate who abides by the rules – it always suits the one that likes to bend the rules.

  15. Tayyib Abu said on 29th August 2014, 22:33

    I dont unerstand why people have such an idealistic image of F1. This sport unlike any other sport in the world is ONLY about winning, it is everything. In battles like these and in the past, its not about an sportsman, or as a good a race driver or an athlete. Its just about as a man how far are you willing to go, how desperate are you to win. If I was a 5 time champion but booed by everybody I wouldn’t care. I have no issue whether it was deliberate or not because I understand it might be his ONE chance at a world title, 2nd is nowhere in this sport. Wouldn’t blame Hamilton if he did something underhand to win. Think its time some fans of F1 understood that as a sport AND a business all that matters is winning. Nothing else, not how, or why just that you won.

    • KeithR (@lockup) said on 29th August 2014, 23:41

      @Tayyib Abu This is a confused view IMO. If it’s not a sporting achievement it doesn’t represent an achievement. The essence of cheating is claiming excellence – that you don’t have.

      People are always saying things like this, ‘winning is everything’, but it’s not true. Being seen to be the best is everything. This is why Schumi’s bad moments so diminished him. Same with Nico, the way he’s going. Why do you think he got booed?

      Obviously it’s up to the governance to make sure that winning represents excellence not mere desire, and it’s frustrating for fans when they wimp out of that and are even deceitful themselves.

      • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 31st August 2014, 16:00

        A huge +1

        How you win is sometimes a lot more important than winning in my book. If Lewis wins this WDC against all odds, it’ll be truly be one of the biggest achievements in F1

        It will probably be another movie about a driver overcoming all odds to win the WDC against his own teammate (I can already see Will Smith and DiCaprio in it).

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