A quiet Friday afternoon…

Mercedes has been struggling to figure out what to do with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton’s spat at Spa. Here’s the answer:

Lewis Hamilton: “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.’

“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.”

Nico Rosberg: “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.”

Says it all really.

142 thoughts on “A quiet Friday afternoon…

  1. Mercedes PR: “Lewis, Nico, here are your scripts. Off you go and read them to the nice people out there.”

  2. Exactly what I would expect from some young professional drivers who have a had chance to calm down and see the true perspective. I am so looking forward to Monza!

  3. Fair play Merc F1 now let’s enjoy the final seven super races!!
    Joe on a side note-Do u think Ferrari/Schumi made sure Eddie didn’t win the final race off 99 and the Drivers Championship as Eddie mentioned that the floor he used went missed for the Japanese GP and with it 1 second advantage over Mika?
    Super blog and mag as ever 🙂

  4. Sounds great…wonder how long the level headedness will last. Looks like it’s “go for it, but no hitting below the belt” from now. Can’t wait to see them in a fair fight again soon.

  5. Ha, I bet Rosberg looks forward to a nice clean fight now he’s cheated himself into a healthy lead. A free 18 points and no apparent retribution. I used to like Nico but not anymore. A certain other German F1 driver used to go around driving into other competitors when it came to the crunch. Ask Damon Hill & Jacques Villeneuve. If Rosberg does win by more than the 18 points then for me it will be a hollow victory & not deserved.

  6. Eventually they have managed to put out some reasonably well considered statements, which will allow them to move on to focusing on the next race.

    The pity is that it took them a week to do so, rather than a few days.

  7. I think Merc have done very well to manage the situation. They have to let them race. It would be so damaging to the brand if they stopped them now. They couldn’t really do anything meaningful to Rosberg, I considered them breaking his gearbox seal after quali as the most they could do but even that would be way too far. Its not the end though. That’s for sure. It will happen again and I cannot see how these two can exist in one team for the long term. It has never worked before. What team actually had two drivers fighting for the championship that didn’t have a complete melt down? I can’t think of one.

  8. But does it count if he wasn’t suspended upside down by his ankles several floors up as he read this out?

  9. Yep – says it all my guess is they got yelled at after which they gave a statement that someone from the PR department proof-read.

    Does that sum it up?

    Still it does show that somone within the orginisation felt it was needed.

  10. Joe, you know better than I that these statements are PR fluff, plain and simple.

    Reading between the lines, Mercedes have told them both, whoever violates this stated team strategy will be defaulted to #2 status.

  11. Oh dear. A Nico admission of guilt and apology. All those people defending him, left with large amounts of egg on their face! 😉

    Being serious, yes they’ve both been a bit naughty this season. Nico with the settings in Bahrain, Lewis ditto in Spain, Nico in Monaco with the ‘pole’ incident and Nico again at Spa. Hopefully they’ll both be hard but fair and give us the accident-free drama we had in Bahrain again for the rest of the season.

      1. For previous incidents. Nico on Spa: ““For that error of judgement, I apologise to Lewis and the team.”

        1. It is your assumption that Lewis is referring to something else than Spa when he says “we both made mistakes”. I disagree with your assumption as the statements were all about Spa.

          Per the rules you are supposed to leave car’s width of space to an attacking car, which Lewis didn’t do. And I’m not referring to the more clear example of Hungary, but to Spa. Had he left tad more space, no contact would have happened. Rosberg could have back off earlier, as it was his team mate he was fighting with. Which is what the team expected him to do. But being pushed off the track again was unlikely option for him to take. Not after Hungary.

          Result: classic racing incident, two cars in the same space at the same time…

          1. It is not a racing incident if one is doing it deliberately. Why is it so hard for people to understand this very basic concept.

            1. I presumed Lewis was apologising for coming out of the post race meeting and claiming Nico said he did it to teach him a lesson. I believe that was Lewis’s only mistake of the Spa Weekend.

    1. I defended him – but having looked closely in a mirror, and getting a second opinion from a few people (F1 employees) there appears to be no egg on my face… or, for their similar defence of NR, theirs either

        1. Perhaps I should have said that my point is not about his action, it is about double-standards. The community has been very quick to criticise Rosberg, and he may suffer long-term damage to his reputation in the eyes of F1 and its fans. Contrary to this, the likes of Prost & Senna who commited pretty much identical Rosberg-type crimes, are held in iconic status by the same community.

          I’m not really a “fan” of any driver (from current area), but favour NR over LH any day. My dislike of LH is based on his personality-based characteristics, not his driving.

      1. Defended him on what grounds? If that contact was not a deliberate action, how then was he making a point? There is a departure from logic and reality in the notion that this was just a racing incident. Rosberg placed his car on purpose on the racing line in a blind spot knowing that if Hamilton took the racing line (and why wouldn’t he?) there would be contact. In other words he PLANNED the contact.

        The instant, candid reaction from the team was furry that the direct order NOT to crash into each other was deliberately ignored and they clearly saw Rosberg as the perpetrator. Today he admits that and says sorry it was my fault.

        How much clearer can this be? Deliberate planned action was taken and he got precisely the results he wanted. His lead in the championship is extended and if the situation in Hungary is repeated in any of the races left in the season Hamilton will be made to pull over as instructed.

        Bernie Eccclestone was correct when he said that Rosberg was clever. Here he has manipulated the team into strictly enforcing orders from now on, gained a commanding lead in the championship and fooled the FIA, (and I am afraid to say far too many F1 “experts”) getting no sanction what-so-ever along the way.

        Rosberg may win the championship through this, but it is not the kind of win most will applaud and respect. Sad to see F1 being fought like this.

  12. Most likely both drivers got a slap on the wrist, Rosberg for his not so smart on-track move and Lewis for talking out loud while he should have kept it internal.
    The statement sounds like Spin doctor language with some Nico and Lewis sauce over it.

  13. Carefully chosen words no doubt, but ultimately sensible. If this means the end of the matter and allows them to carry on racing then well done all round.

    1. “Today, Toto and Paddy told us clearly how we must race against each other ..”

      “Clearly….”

      That can mean anything up to, and including, gunpoint…

    1. Isn’t it? Expressions of harmony and a willingness to subordinate personal desires, the value of teamwork, an appreciation of team goals, some contrition, vows to work better together in the future — it has it all.

    2. A slap on the wrist in the end, just like Lewis said is gonna happen.
      If you put Nico in that situation again, I bet he will do it again. He will take the points anytime over a fake apology. Mercedes is the new RedBull. Situations like this shows what a great leader Ross Brawn is.

    3. I don’t think it’s very wonderfully crafted if it’s so blatently obvious that it loses all meaning as a reflection of the drivers true opinions. Quite nauseating, actually.

  14. Joe,
    Sounds like a load of masterful PR speak to me. When the pressure increases, I bet all of this goes straight out of the window.

  15. Should we read anything into the uses of “We” and “I” by Lewis and Nico respectively? Interesting one.

  16. Corporate style blandness to dumb the whole thing down.

    To even things out maybe some mysterious undercuts or poor strateguy calls for Nico would be interesting

  17. Woow
    Another masterpiece of PR; I feel good about it and really hope they will walk the talk.
    Who said that Merc’s management was weak ?!

  18. Cue a complete absence of backtracking on all the fan forums, as people who were wrong about the cause, or who disagree with either driver’s statement will try to make out these statements don’t mean what they say…

    Hopefully that’s the last of it (until the next press conference)

  19. Note to corporate F1 driver quote writers: Insert ‘for sure’ several times to make it look slightly believable and never ever use the word ‘apologise’.

    1. This actually made me laugh, what is it with ‘for sure’ in F1? I’ve not really noticed it in other sports.

  20. Not sure it says it all, to us on the outside. How do you punish the driver without punishing the team?

    Rosberg could afford the move at Spa and even put himself out with little impact on his chances, but do huge damage to Hamilton’s fight back.

    IF Rosberg puts Hamilton out one more time then odds are he wins the World Championship. In fact to that extent he has probably already done all he needs, so maybe there is no need for punishment because the damage is already done. Rosberg simply has to stay on the podium and Hamilton has to take every win to even have a chance to fight back.

    So what happens if Rosberg pulls a similar stunt in the last race and the FIA sit on there hands and all that great PR for Merc for a good car this season is for nothing. What if he tangles with Hamilton before season end, they going to make him sit out a few races until they are neck and neck on points again? It says something, not sure it says it all, because to me the team is probably reluctant to do anything but look red faced and blowing hard and Rosberg has achieved his goal, put all the pressure on Hamilton to climb a massive hill.

    A threat not defined is a good one because you cant get your bluff called as easily. But If I was Merc I would have called Rosberg out to the media and said the punishment for tangling with Hamilton in the future will be dire and significant, that he has been told he will represent the team first and foremost as a sportsman or else. I would have had the board of Mercedes endorse the position and leave Rosberg sweating for the rest of the season and everyone clearly on notice as to who is in charge of the team and unsportsman like behavior is completely unacceptable. Why? Because it covers them for the liability that is Rosberg trashing the image they have spent untold millions cultivating in recent years.

    Rosberg has the demonstrated potential to be a PR disaster. Had he fought cleanly and sensibly at Spa the press would have been amazing regardless of the outcome. Rosberg could probably have won. Instead Merc got a bunch of negativity and look like they have no idea what to do to fix the situation. Well anyone with teenagers knows you don’t give them the keys to the car if they screwed up and show every sign of doing it again! The threat has to be there and it has to be very real and for a rich kid, very severe! Benching him for a few races would send a message to current and future drivers not to mess with the team and redress a current imbalance in power. Sure Rosberg could leave the team, he wont and if he did, he would just hurt himself. Merc missed a chance here to be SEEN to be in charge.

    1. Adam, you have a lively imagination!

      MB has done a good job on this. Of course it can all unravel again, but they´ve put this one to bed.

    2. Rosberg. Rosberg. Rosberg.

      Here are three traits of human psychological behavior that you may wish to consider, Adam:

      1. People are motivated to accept accounts that fit with their pre-existing convictions; acceptance of those accounts makes them feel better, and acceptance of competing claims makes them feel worse;

      2. Dissonance is eliminated when we blind ourselves to contradictory propositions. And, we are prepared to pay a very high price to preserve our most cherished ideas; and,

      3. We are often confident even when we are wrong. Declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true.

      I’m just saying ….

      1. Great reply Bob! Adam, your partisanship is hilarious! By the way, I hear the Lewis Hamilton Fan Club is looking for a president…

      2. Moreover, exactly how long will the calmed down situation exist before Nico feels the need to put his car in a ” give me space or we both crash ” position at another track, or Lewis feels the need to express to the world’s media, how Nico is no friend of his, Nico has been nasty to him, Nico this Nico that, which to be fair, has been going on more or less all year, and for which I’m not alone in being really sick of hearing it! Regardless of any rights or wrongs at Spa, frankly if I’d been Nico and had all this rubbish stuff chucked at me in some rather feeble attempt at unsettling my frame of mind, rather than the Spa action I’d have been more likely to punch the other guy in the face and have done with it……perhaps that’s the answer, put gloves on them, put them in a ring, and give them 10 rounds to sort it before they get back into the cars!

    3. All good points that I’m sure have been explored exhaustively by Merc themselves as well as various Motorsport media across Europe, if not the globe.

      My take on this is that Roseberg has been absolutely roasted in this last meeting… And there can be no doubt that Merc have contractual clauses thT could easily jettison either of them at any point if their actions are consistently to the detriment of the team… Does anyone now question Roseberg’s at spa were not? Has anything Hamilton done this season compare?

      Up until the WCC is beyond doubt in an absolute mathematical sense both of them are now held publicly absolutely to account, then perhaps to be cut free… And so far, Roseberg has done the real dirty twice. Hamilton’s demeanours aren’t in that league. In light of Monaco and spa Would Nico have let him by in Hungary were roles reversed?

      It is Roseberg that behaves as someone rattled, not Hamilton. No matter what has happened so far, Hamilton has inched his way back.. And likely as not will do again. If anything, this is Hamilton’s greatest season!; lost pretty much 50 points plus due to the car, arguably 30 due to his team mate… And is still in the runningfor WDC!

      This is utterly remarkable performance from Hamilton. If he does win WDC this year, it will be one of the greatest of all time. Nikki Lauda is right there. He knows. At last Hamilton has a proper mentor and if he does win WDC this year, I think he will go on to achieve remarkable things.

      Roseberg isn’t in that league. You know it, we all know it. Merc does too… Contracts mean little when you are acting solely in your own interests and not Mercs.

      Roseberg has had far more than a slap on the wrists… He OWES Merc.. And he may well end up losing his seat for a race or two if anything similar happens again… Not so Hamilton.

      So… As much as Roseberg appears to have “won”, he owes… And still, despite everything, Hamilton is right there, especially with 50 point race finale.

  21. The statements do nothing to address the fact that Nico ended up with points at the expense of Hamilton, and has extended his lead in the Drivers’ Championship. I appreciate that the team is more concerned with the Constructors’ title, and want to avoid any further unnecessary DNFs. But fans tend to be more interested in the Drivers’ championship, and have been cheated of a fair contest. If Rosberg wins, his title will always be tarnished, But that’s not much compensation for the fans who’ve been waiting to see what Hamilton can achieve in a decent car.

  22. That entire piece was nothing but oil on stormy waters to give the appearance of corporate and team unity.

    Yes, it’s all behind them now until Monza provides yet another close racing opportunity. Unless of course Lewis’ car develops brake problems during qualifying or should suddenly burst into flames on an out lap, and is nowhere near the front of the starting grid.

    Or maybe the punishment

    Shite man, I’m almost sounding as paranoid as Lewis!

    1. Got distracted and never edited this properly:
      “Or maybe Nico’s punishment will be a 10 place grid penalty imposed by the team?”

  23. Has the “punishment” been announced ?
    Would Lewis settle for anything less than some way of reclaiming lost points ?
    Of course, Mercedes would not make that public.
    Or Rosberg got away with it then? He now looks the bad guy, had a slightly embarrassing apology, but he’s still got the points hasn’t he ? So job done. Rosberg now knows Lewis wont be able to attack him as hard as before, so it’s all worked out rather nicely for Mr. Crashberg

  24. Seems reasonable as a release, there had to be a middle ground here and there is little point of hanging out to dry either of the drivers. Whilst that may satisfy the fanboi’s on who ever side is deemed to be more right than the other driver , it just alienates and splits the team.

    The morale has been affected and a split becomes less than 2 halves of the whole. Infighting whilst when professional is constructive the recent bad blood is emotive and hence is destructive. Drivers are fragile ego’s (Hammy more than most IMHO) and this needed to be seen to be equal whatever or whoever was worse is immaterial “Well he started it” is hardly professional.

    They simply needed to have their heads knocked together and be sat down and told that whilst they can play with the toy’s but they are only borrowing them and there are a lot of grown ups who need them to behave in certain ways.

    I genuinely hope LH can man up and put it to one side. I suspect NR has the mental strength and nuance to at least make a show at being friends.

    I look forward to the next time they are standing together to see who has grown from this…

  25. Am I the only one here that enjoys a little confrontation and added excitement to these races that seem to be dominated the last few years by one team or the other?
    Give us more of the passing on the corners or the straights rather than the pole sitter winning from start to finish.
    How about no restrictions on the horse power or wing sizes and unlimited use of the DRS and other methods of downforce.
    In other words no restrictions on technology whatever.
    Yes Yes I realize now that Rosberg should have backed off, anyway he probably would have passed Hamilton on the straights when drs was enabled.

    1. … Yes, but Roseberg drove in to the back of his team mate to prove a point, not because he had any realistic chance at the time to overtake him. .. We’d all have loved to see 44 laps of ding dong between the pair of them on the greatest track of all…

  26. Rosberg has demonstrated that he is effective in destabilizing Hamilton, which is probably all he needs to do to keep his edge in the championship. Hamilton has tried to use intimidating tactics on the track, and shooting his mouth off when not racing. Rosberg seems unperturbed. Rosberg has raised his on track game and done some things to upset the flow that Hamilton seems to need around him.
    All-in-all, it seems like a classic case of two alpha males fighting for the same spoils: something that we have witnessed many times in the 40 or so years I have been following F1…
    The real difference, I suppose, is that Mercedes management seem somewhat inept in developing a coping strategy. My guess is that these on-and-off track spats and incidents will continue for the rest of the season with Mercedes constantly trying to appear even-handed whilst attempting to retain their authority. Both drivers have, at some point in the season, deserved to be penalized by the Team, but the Team choose not to implement sanctions.
    Interestingly, Nico has been re-signed by the Team whilst Lewis and the Team have decided to stall their contract negotiations for a while, and have promised not to talk to other interested parties in the interim. If that isn’t BS, I don’t know what is… my take is that if Nico wins the Championship, Lewis will go elsewhere. He is being paid to the level of a team leader and his (greatly) underpaid (by comparison) team-mate is challenging him and beating him. His arrogance and self-belief will have to be severely curbed if he is to accept the situation: and I am not sure he has the skills or maturity to do so.
    I really hope that Mercedes lets them fight it out on track and that the FIA does not get involved in investigating RACING INCIDENTS…
    As an aside, Emmanuel Pirro, the former F1 driver acting as the FIA steward at Spa, told La Gazzetta dello Sport that it was obvious that it was a racing incident, and said that the incident between Vettel and Alonso was more suitable to be investigated, but wasn’t; because it was a racing incident.
    In reality, this has been blown out of all proportion by pretty much everybody…

      1. Former drivers have a lot of experience from a driving perspective that allows them to understand incidents in a way that is different from us mere mortals who have never driven an F1 car, let alone in anger i.e., in competition.

        As someone who has (successfully) campaigned for drivers to be included in the FIA stewards, how can you say Pirro is ‘wrong’, because his assessment of the situation (with the access the stewards have to much more detailed data, media, and other information than most of us) leads him (and the other stewards) to a conclusion that you disagree with?

        Surely it would be better to say that you disagree with his decision, than state that he is wrong?

        1. He is clearly wrong if Rosberg admits doing something (which obviously he did) and then apologises for it.

          1. Oh come on… Rosberg has admitted “something” under pressure and has been coerced to apologize…

            In any court of law expert opinion would take precedence over a corporate public relations exercise… otherwise what is the point of having experts with access to all the telemetry and other data streams?

            To accuse Pirro of being plain ‘wrong’ is to devalue the point of having Stewards at all, let alone those with F1 driving experience…

              1. Utter tosh. Man, I know it’s your blog, but you’re as stubborn as a damn mule. It was a racing incident; bleating on about how Rosberg deliberately wounded poor naïve Hamilton’s chances is the dead horse. You’re a journalist. Pirro was a driver. I’d taken ANY driver’s opinion of an accident over ANY journalist’s view any day. The brouhaha following this insignificant incident (driver tries to pass other driver – driver clips tyre – tyre deflates – yawn) is all as ridiculous as example of creating a mountain out of a molehill as I’ve ever seen in F1. It’s pathetic and pitiful frankly.

                1. You have said it all in the second sentence. If you don’t like my opinion, fine. Don’t read it. But a blog is a personal opinion and I am not going to change my opinion. Just because someone drove a car once does not make them right in every single instance in the future. Of course they know more than I do. I don’t doubt that but they also make mistakes. I felt it was not a racing incident from the start and nothing has changed my view. Rosberg admitted it was not a racing incident, so just listen to him.

              2. Thanks for the personal insight into my wanting to situate an alternate and germane perspective into the discussion…

                I got your message loud and clear!

              3. But we now have the impedance mismatch between the stewards not even investigating, and first a reported overheard and now a formal but undoubtedly contractually coerced apology, which still is short of being a admission “I did x to effect y”.

                I guess I will resign myself to being among the few who see the wrongdoing as a political misstep, enabled by the rules. I shall also, until Rosberg is formally found guilty of a infraction, by a competent authority, not apportion guilt. I thought we were tired of two dimensional drivers regurgitating PR speak. How is it not very considerably more worrying, when a driver is trotted out like this, whether alongside his naughty teammate or not, and forced into a apology?

                Obviously getting Nico to apologize, and covering that up by bringing Lewis along for a bit of communal shaming in the press conference stock, has satisfied many, including Joe, and a number of other significant influencers of opinion. I think this is a very damaging state of affairs. Nico may well be sorry. As I said, I thought that if he reacted apologetically on the steps the podium, he was exhibiting shock at the inevitable repercussions of his action, not his action on track. I do not know how fans of other sports would see this cooperative manipulation of competitors, this communal humiliation, for that is what it is, to suit the outcry of even a majority of journalists and fans, causing a legal play to be accepted as unfair and encouraging circuitous logic to be applied to justify what I think is a unreasonable outburst. I think it’s borderline offensive to the sporting authority. I don’t think this would necessarily have seen Max M dragging bodies down to la Place de la Concorde, unless the immediate intent was to censure the stewards’ inaction. If there is a case that the stewards’ inaction is inappropriate, or unfair or unsporting, I think, given the outcry, even J Todt would have acted. But, though the rules now seem to very different from what many of us would like them to be, there clearly is no argument that they were misapplied. I struggle to find any level on which I can agree even to disagree, with those who think Nico is plain guilty of a crime, nor any angle form which to view this as settled by retroactively playing to public opinion in obtuse, and insulting to the intelligence, PR “crisis management”. Maybe if I looked at it through the kaleidoscope sight of those, starting with Wolff and Lauda, who are punch drunk dazzled by emotional rage, of the wobbly wobbly world of PR idiocrasy that apparently panders now to calls from press and public in applying superficial sanction, maybe then I would see how this all works. The move was either legal, or it was not. It does not matter, what Nico was thinking, mens rea, but what he did, mens actis. He was not sanctioned or reprimanded. No amount of apologizing can change the fact on the track.

                I think everyone has overreacted completely about this. The intensity of emotions at least signal there are very strong feelings about these two drivers, which is a good thing. But it’s common enough fir emotions to transfer form one object of consideration or observation to another, and emotions intensify when there is illogic involved.

                I think the MB corporate action is awfully weak, demeaning to the drivers and I think all fans either side of this, and is in turn a reaction to a irrational tide of emotion they became scared of. They need to be asking, very very seriously, just what state of mind their managers are in, to be so explosive. We should be hearing apologies from the managers. You do not dump on tour talent like that. I think therefore MB had to pander to the idea that this is a huge event, somehow. But “had to” only in the minds of a exasperated, confused and inept organization who are in genuine difficulty understanding how they have let their employees, Wolff and Laura, create such a unpleasant scene. We can’t know, but had tide two not shot their mouths off at a screech that a good ol’ V10 wouldn’t have disguised, I think there would be nothing like the furor, the free for all that followed.

                The sight of angry management faces is still fresh in my mind. This PR stunt stinks. I cannot agree with the logic of various commentators, including Joe, because when the logic is applied, logic alone does not stand, you have to make a interpretive view to arrive at the conclusion of guilt, and put simply, he was not found guilty, and I am pretty certain that if there was evidence meaning the relevant menus acts, fact on the track, of guilt, even M Todt would catch on that the FIA needs to do something. The only possible stretch of imagination I can make to justify inaction by the FIA if somehow the FIA do think this is worth revisiting, is that they see past the perils of pandering to the pestilence of public prurience .

                The damage caused to themselves at MB has only just begun. This will be referred to over and over again. Those apoplectic, and frankly ugly angry faces may deservedly become symbols used to reflect upon any future failing. I even think it is possible, that once hot heads cool, people might start questioning this rather nasty expression of what I consider to be mob justice. The possibility of this fiasco being but fuel on every fire, real or imaginary, is distinct. And each time, MB will have their noses rubbed in it. Moreover I think they’ll get it stuck to them from both sides, no matter what they do, now. Super silver silliness.

        2. Really? So drivers are infallible as stewards. What about Warwick at Monaco and Daley at Canada? They either missed or turned a blind eye to what really happened.

      2. It is possible to view it as a racing incident and still think Rosberg had the greater share of responsibility, Joe. Pirro seems to understand that as do many others.

    1. Agree completely, Stephen. “Destabilizing Hamilton” is a very apt way of expressing what’s going on. I don’t recall that Lewis has ever been seriously challenged by a co-driver, and it seems to be bothering him immensely. Hence, his whining to the press.

      And, Brit fans (Joe), don’t get me wrong: I appreciate Lewis’s obvious talents on track. He’s clearly in the upper tier of current drivers. I simply don’t admire the way he’s dealt with the pressure this year.

      Finally, the incidents between Alonzo and (fill in the blank: Vettel, Magnussen, etc.) were certainly more violent and potentially dangerous than the Mercedes contretemps.

      1. I must say Bob Wood and stephenAcworth’s points of view are much closer to what imho F1 is, if one forgets about taking side with so-and-so. That’s racing, and these super egos will just go on, which is fun.

      2. I agree with Stephen, JoJ & Bob Wood, to a certain extent. Looking at the whole mess with a detached view, there are things that stand out from their comments.
        One is that Nico has an ongoing contract, MB & LH have apparently agreed to not conclude a renewed contract until the ” heat is out of the title situation “….to me, this sounds like LH’s Superdooper Management Team, saying ” hang on Merc, our contract says our driver can leave if he does not finish in the top 3 in any given year , and as he thinks you’re letting Nico win the title, then he may go to Mac/RBR/ Ferrari, if you don’t rein Nico in”.

        Second point is that I didn’t hear Pirro’s comments, but with total respect to Joe and anyone else here, it is only logical to accept that as the Stewards have far more info than anyone else, excepting Charlie Whiting, if the Stewards thought it deliberate, they would have issued a Penalty there and then, or immediately after the race. Pirro used to race F1, but more importantly, he’s been a racing driver for 30 years or more in many, many different categories, and been on the end of Penalties himself. That’s why the FIA has this system, and it works far better than the old system did.And the hit caused Nico to miss a possible win, it could have caused him a retirement, I don’t think he is so stupid that he would risk his car like that, as it could have easily been a Nico dnf and a Lewis win.

        Third point, Merc management, such as it is, is nowhere near the calibre of that provided by Ross Brawn. If one recalls, Ross has a very brief Team Orders discussion with Nico at one race last year, and Nico backed off. I have no doubt that neither Lewis nor Nico, would argue with Ross Brawn. Merc made a massive error of judgement ( typical big corporation idiocy ) in putting Ross in a corner and saying instead of you, we’re going to have 3 bosses for 2014…..and this mess is the result.

        Fourth point, apart from Ferdy, who was less mature than these days in 2007, Lewis has only had HK & JB to handle as an F1 team mate. HK was at best, a decent No2, and although everyone though LH would bury JB, that didn’t happen. JB just wisely accepted that LH was faster on a single given lap, and concentrated on race pace, as Lauda did with Prost in 1984. JB wasn’t buried and as a result, Lewis respected him, as he realised JB was a WCD for good reason. Coming to Merc, I would think that Lewis thought he had an easy run to another WCD. He didn’t expect Nico to be trouble, or to be particularly quick, or not quick enough to give Lewis any bother. Last year that backfired, and this year it has done so again, only more damaging this year as last year the Merc was not 2secs a lap quicker than any other car!

        Lewis is a great driver, one of the very best F1 drivers out there, but with the dominance Merc has, really in the best interests of Merc & the drivers, the logical thing to do would have been to toss a coin at the first GP and say, heads or tails, and heads win the title this year, tails wins it next year, end of controversy! My thinking here is that the gap Merc has, is such that a Merc driver will win in 2015 too, possibly 2016 as well.

  27. i thought that was well said. if the boys are sincere then we should have a good championship for the rest of the year. Good luck to both of them.

  28. Autosport is reporting that Mercedes have imposed a monitory fine on Nico. I said this is what should have been done right after it happened. If true, does anyone have Dr. Z’s number?

  29. This is what happens when you let PR-people do their job, they can make anything that is actually genuine look fake and construed.

  30. While I was driving home Radio 5 Live mentioned Nico has been disciplined. What does that mean? A fine? I assume both drivers are now under threat that, if you hit the other one (intentional or otherwise) we’ll drop you for a race.

    1. Apparently Rosberg will no longer get his boiled potatoes pre race. Also, his football has been put away until further notice.

    2. “While I was driving home Radio 5 Live mentioned Nico has been disciplined. What does that mean?”

      Stopping his ice cream at tea time?

      A fine, which will mean nothing to a multi-millionaire?

      I bet he’ll gladly take this over any incursion into the 29 point advantage which has been heavily influenced by the incidents in Monaco, Canada and now Spa. I’m not going to judge Rosberg – he may well be honest in his apology and we may see some clean racing to the end of the season without the tricks and slights of hand, we may not.

      Or maybe he’s just laughing up his sleeve?

  31. I really want to know what has been agreed here? What has Lewis gained from agreeing to these press releases?

    What happens now in combat. Essentially Lewis is now going to have to be more careful but this will actually play into Nico’s hands because as we know Lewis is a better racer but now will have to race with one hand behind his back.

    1. Sorry, Jimbo, you are a spectator, not a player. Really wanting to know what has been agreed is not your place.

      We´ll have to see what happens. The essential element of motor racing is that anything can happen any time. When I watched Alonso give an absolute masterclass at Monaco in 2007, I could not have imagined what would unfold.

  32. Ah well! Hopes of a Prost/Senna battle to the end of the season are dashed.

    Whilst the incident was a catastrophe for Merc from all sorts of angles, I do miss the proper racing. Now that one driver has to submit a written application before he can overtake another, the magic ‘aint what it used to be.

    In Prost/Senna days if you went off, you stayed off, in the catch fencing or the loose gravel, if you hit anything the likelihood was of injury. Now that the danger of injury is very much reduced and many gravel traps have either gone or been made drivable, ie the risks have been whittled away to very low comparative levels, one would expect the chances taken to increase, but no! Instead we we seem to have a set of Blair type rules added, do not take any form of risk, there will be a rule to cover every possible situation, and if not, a new one will be added.
    Nanny rules.

      1. Yes well, but in the days of senna and Prost at what point in the season did the real argy bargy kick off? Even when they weren’t team mates, they both knew when to duke it out and when they shouldn’t.

  33. I do hope that Lewis is not being ‘naive and innocent’ in agreeing to postpone his contract talks until the end of the season.

    I am not saying after more than 50 years of watching Grand Prix racing that I am going to stop watching F1 if Lewis is not in it, but I after seeing great drivers from Moss, Clark and Hill onwards through the decades I believe him to be one of the special ones. Not a fan boy then as supporters of Lewis are categorised on some web-sites! Not yours.

    He adds value to F1. Not that we thought in those terms in the sixties. His skill seems not to be appreciated by all.

    I am not impressed by his personal accoutrements but his ability behind the wheel.

    If there was not already sufficient evidence before, and there was, particularly in Hungary, Laps 2, 16 & 17 in Spa prove that whilst very very good Rosberg is not top flight.

    Hamilton has been trying too hard to prove the gap in ability between him and his team mate. The harder he try’s, given the other extraordinary ‘happenings’, the worse it seems to get for him. The wheel must turn.

    It makes F1 interesting though. Just a great shame that undeserving recipients (CVC) benefit!

    SD

    1. I agree whole heartedly… There is, or seems to be considerable baggage around Hamilton that jars… I recall a “welcome to my crib” feature somewhere that was just cringing to witness… And yet, and yet… What he does on track, when seen “live” is just astonishing. Utterly instinctual. Very, very special.

      This year I was at Spa, Eau Rouge, my first F1 meet in years… And this guy was the only F1 driver to overtake going in to the opening of that complex. It was Chilton he was going for, so not quite Webber vs Alonso, but nonetheless… Jeezo, heart in the mouth. A few laps later he tried it vs a Caterham… But to no avail. Then we knew his car was wrecked after the NR inspired off over the kerbs. Nobody else on the F1 grid attempted anything like it… The GP2 boys did though!, on Saturday after the hail storm in the wet! (There are at least three of them well deserving a current place on the F1 grid).

      For me, Hamilton, a bit like Mansell can be hard work to “like” from the sidelines, but by god, he is brave and he is exciting on track, especially within 20m or so… Live, his moves are over and done so quick the risk is impossible to analyse. You haven’t even finished the first vowel in the expletive. On TV, with replays etc it is too easy to question perhaps, but as a live sport, Hamilton, Bottas, Alonso are the stars, at least from where I was sitting last weekend.

      So I’ve gone from an armchair critic to a grand stand fan of Hamilton (and Bottas with his mind boggling turn-in and staggering pace in to and through Eau Rouge).

      Oh, and one final report from Eau Rouge; RIccardo passed by on his final lap to resounding cheers and hand claps. Roseberg to nothing. Bottas again received the crowds acclaim as did the Alonso/button/magnussen/Vettel bunching.

      Eddie Jordan was wrong to call out those that jeered Roseberg, plenty more had done plenty to lead us to cheer than he did, not as a Hamilton fan, but one of F1 racing.

  34. I find the “Hamilton was whining” comments a little offensive. In his position I would have been climbing up the wall, but when he came out to the press box he was calm, composed and basically told the waiting reporters what had happened in the Mercedes meeting.

    It was pretty much confirmed by Toto and Niki, so I don’t have a problem with “telling it like it was”, as long as it was factual, which it appears to have been.

    1. Why couldn’t he keep it to himself and allow things to resolve internally? Punch him out behind closed doors, verbally and or physically, if he was so outraged?

      1. Sorry, but whining is unattractive in any sportsperson. Mansell,, was a great driver, but whined a lot, Piquet could whine too when he wanted to, Prost whined quietly to the media. There have been one or two others, but fact is no one likes people whinging, especially when in the case of Hammy & Our Nige, they are/were sitting in cars with a 1-2 sec per lap advantage. With that in their pockets, no one should see/have seen them go, so it grates when people whine. So “whining” is why people think Hammy a great driver, but his attitude somewhat grating at times. It has nothing to do with anything else in your imagination AW2. To be fair, Rosberg has also whined this year. I don’t recall him whining when at Williams, nor previously at Merc, but this year he has whined too, but fewer times than Hammy has. If Nico whines further during the year, I shall be disappointed and say so, as his Dad, Keke, was not a natural whiner at all!

        1. I liked Nico because he was quiet. I am not yet comfortable with that quiet reflecting taking forcible advantage. Only because it’s incongruous to the image I felt built up. He must know that’s out of the window, the nice bright boy, who my mum fancies, and I think his regret is more to do with not may e actually having that kind of character…. it was just logical… he’s been wondering what his mentor would do, if it can all come down to one race… I blame this on the Abu Dhabi rule, nothing else.

  35. Well, it seems to me we now have reached the point of having teenage girls analyzing who stood where on the Kremlin wall.

    “Teenage girls”, in that the whole thing is very much like what happens to gossip at school after 2 girls fight over a boy and are sent to the office. “Kremlin wall” because we appear to have much weight placed the significance on Nico agreeing to a script in which he used a long word for “sorry” when Lewis’ script didn’t include the same word.

    Look, they both said what they were told to say. Which means Nico was told to say he was sorry while Lewis had to own up to his sins as well but without apologizing for them. And, yes, Nico had to give some of his allowance back to mom and dad. And Nico still has more points. (At this point, I’m guessing either driver would be happy to trade apologies-and-wrist-slaps for another pocketful of points.)

    But we still don’t know beans about what actually happened, either on the track or behind closed doors. As for the split-second incident that gave rise to all this, there is only one thing we don’t know and likely never will: What was in Nico’s mind… at the time it happened? Not after the race… and not now… but at the time?

    Does anyone really believe that Nico expected that sacrificing the front of his own car was likely to hurt Lewis more? Was he stupid enough to think that destroying his own front wing would result in Lewis’ race taking a worse hit than his own? Given the ratio of broken wings to damaged tyres in the semi-frequent occasions of similar contact, I don’t think so, simply because Nico doesn’t seem like a dullard.

    Which leaves a choice between a botched move to pull back in after Lewis won the corner vs. a botched-but-surprisingly-effective-anyway reaction to show that he won’t be pushed around by Lewis on track anymore. Which kind of botch was it?

    I take the completely-unsupported-by-evidence view that his initial turn-left was reflexive accident avoidance as Lewis came across, while the subsequent turn-right was a secondary reaction of “No, I won’t… not anymore dammit.” But I’m just making that up. It might well be the other flavor of mistake… which he then rewrote to sound tough in the post-race meeting.

    In truth I don’t know what was in Nico’s mind… and won’t ever know. Neither will any of us, But we will get to suffer endless attention to this whenever we wish to follow the sport… whether we like it or not. Because even if the drivers want to put it behind them, the folks who carry video cameras and voice recorders surely don’t.

    Given the continuing circus that is certain to feed itself, what that really means is that we’re about to find out which driver is mentally tougher. We won’t learn about which driver is micro-marginally faster, because that’s not what the media will focus on. Instead, both drivers will be beat over the head with this for half the days of their lives.

    So, who will be less affected by the media tempest? Personally, I’m guessing Nico is the more rattle-proof of the two… but we’ll see…

  36. I have a clear mental picture of the team meeting(s) that precipitated these statements from Lewis and Nico. Here in the States, we might call this a “come to Jesus” moment. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in that room! Still, I hope the drivers are sincere in their statements, and I hope this leads to better, cleaner racing from both of them. I’ve been cheering for the Mercedes team for several seasons, and it’s great to see them in a position to capitalize on their mastery of the new rules so quickly (and to see anyone but Vettel winning races for a change!). Thanks, Joe, as always for your insights and observations that have given me so much better understanding of the sport and of situations like this!

  37. I think the motives behind the move are interesting… Many races this year Nico finished a very close 2nd to Lewis – at times with a better car or tires, and he was given absolutely no quarters by “tough luck” Lewis (nor should he have, but I imagine that goes both ways) and couldn’t pass without risking contact. While the team says they are free to race, are they really? If #1 closes the door and the team has a “no teammate contact” clause, when is a pass *ever* going to work between those 2 in norma” racing conditions?

    I’m guessing here but at some point if Rosberg is to stand a chance in the championship, he’s gotta impress upon his teammate that he’s not gonna be a doormat and stick the car in there, like Lewis would… I think that’s all he did (misjudged as it might have been) and his point was “if you don’t give me ANY room, well…let’s see” – on the runup right before that point Nico had a speed advantage and had just been blocked. So yes, his mistake, the team will make him drive a diesel company car for a week, but really, I think overall it might have been a worthwhile move psychologically and Lewis might not close the door so readily next time… maybe?

    It’s starting to smell of Prost-Senna and (w. Nico as Prost) 😉

  38. I have a rules question.

    (This is tangentially related to the Great Nico Kerfuffle, but I’m asking because it’s a matter of ongoing confusion for me, not because I want to stir up more crap. Since the blog has no capability to focus rules questions anywhere in particular, I’m asking now while I remember I’m confused about it.)

    About the issue of “leaving room” for the other guy… when if first came out that drivers supposedly had to leave room, it was in reference to drivers (i.e., an older-and-slower Schu) zig-zagging. And the announced “leaving room” mandate applied not to the zig but only to the subsequent zag… one could zig right to the edge of the track, but had to be more civil on a follow-up zag.

    Lately, however, it seems that many seem to think that one must leave room in the initial zig, not just on the zag… but is this really true? When it comes to the first move, can a leading driver shove his trailing tormentor off the road or not? If he can, when did the rule change to impose restraint on the zig as well as the zag?

    Does anyone know?

        1. I proof vital papers printing them LARGE and pinning them to the wall for a day… I need a secretary…

          We should be questioning the rules. For overtaking, and for bonus points.

  39. This is a lot of Bla Bla Bla.
    As a fan I love the rivalry between these two talented drivers and I hope that they don’t star to behave too politely on the track.
    All the technical aspects and the glamour of F1 are fascinating, but this is Enterteinment. At least for me.
    Please Lewis and Nico keep the gloves off!!!

  40. Joe is it possible that Mercedes designated who’s #1 and who’s #2 underneath all this public kumbaya talk?

  41. We can only hope that the 2 Mercs are in P1 and P2 to start the race in Italy. Then we will see just how ‘genuine’ the statements were.

  42. I just think this is the nail in this years championship. Merc are going to make sure their hot headed drivers are not going to F up their brand values (whatever they might be) so no more close racing, separate strategies etc.

    This would not be so bad if it was not for the simple fact that Merc are the only show in town.

    Now add the double points fiasco in waiting for Brazil and I am afraid we will all rather quickly forget about this year.

  43. For all true F1 fans, lets get this into perspective. Even if Lewis loses out this year, he will still be regarded as one of the all time greats. Since he entered F1, only one man has won more Grand Prix (Vettel in the all conquering Red Bull). Lewis will more than likely still be be fighting at the front long after Nico’s bubble has burst. Mr Mansell only won one championship yet is hailed, rightly so, as a true racer with a record to back it up. Does anyone talk of the last Rosberg to win a championship? As I noted recently, Lewis is currently F1’s Golden Ticket: love him or loathe him, he always brings excitement and drama to a season, a much needed ingredient in F1.

    1. Well I remember Keke not so much for his WCD ( taken in a naturally aspirated car against turbo opposition in a very closely fought year ) but more for his Silverstone lap with a deflating tyre! There were few drivers with bigger danglys than Keke!

      1. That makes me feel old, even though Keke is about the limit of my memory… was a kiddo in awe, back then…

        I’ve been reminded today, how comings together weren’t much more strictly dealt with, in times past. Disqualifications or suspensions, not drive throughs. But I don’t think it’s comparable. Just maybe we should bring back some strong sanctions. This rule situation worries me, and all the attention of experienced commentators is being distracted. I am very against what has been done in spirit following this incident, but I would have accepted also, had there been a harsh punishment, pour encourager les autres. A symbolic punishment would benefit the overall racing, instill respect that is forgotten in all too presumably safe driving days (every possible test cannot have been thought of) and you could argue the higher purpose of that. As it is, it’s just a depressing show.

  44. Hamilton seems to want to use the media to gain an advantage which discounts him in my personal view. It is not a new tactic for him and hopefully fans will appraise him for his backhanded approach..he lost me as a fan.

    1. Mario Andretti was great at talking to journalists, pushing stories that promoted his interest. In recent times, Fernando Alonso has been clever, much cleverer than during his time at McLaren.

      We should therefore be unsurprised that Lewis Hamilton uses “media” to boost himself. Hamilton is a young man so he is more likely to use “social media” (ugh, tautology) than a grey-hair like me. And if Lewis feels comfortable communicating via Twitter, intermediated by team PR, that is his (or the team’s?) choice.

      Social class and social development are more important considerations when judging Lewis Hamilton.

      Lewis came from a typical English/UK background; having a black dad and a white mum is normal, unlike living in a castle or having a dad who raced in F1. For many childhood years, Lewis was a normal kid apart from his expensive hobby of karting. He professes that if he had not been good in a kart, he’d have tried harder at football and cricket (ie a typical sport playing youngster).

      During his karting career, Lewis and his Dad were helped with money and parts from other karting enthusiasts. When Lewis first drove single seaters, he was hothoused to create the F1 driver. Lewis missed out on a lot of the growing up process, but I see behaviour by him which is like that of my neighbours’ children of his age.

      Lewis Hamilton was not a rich kid, but he grew up surrounded by them. Lewis has one of the most recognised faces on the planet, which denies him the fundamental right of all English men and women: to enjoy a pint down the pub with a few mates. Instinctively and culturally, Lewis might prefer to spend time with his mechanics, but that does not fit with F1 glamour. He is a duck out of water.

      Derek Warwick, President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, drove stock cars before showing his talent in non-contact motor sport.

      1. +1 (with irony, in following context!) Phil,

        For pointing out social media is a tautology.

        Elsewhere, essay and discussion about social media in F1. I went all “old skool” and mused what one might do with it. Was taken as criticism of the author’s talents. Incorrectly; it was a good effort. “a lot of words saying not much”, also. I though how perfect that was, since the very expression, “Social Media” (respectfully capitalized, to boot..) is form without content.

        Sorry, I should have politely introduced my reply to you, with the formal “@ Phil Beasley”, so as to be, erm, “SM Compliant”….

        (obligatory) 😄

        ~ j

  45. A clear racing incident that’s been blown out of proportion. Nico was careless, and apologised for his ‘error of judgement’. But to suggest something more sinister as in some intentional attempt by Roseberg to sabotage Hamilton is a far stretch. He had more to lose on that corner, so it doesn’t make sense for him to have tried something ‘deliberate’.

      1. Thing is Joe, everyone here has an opinion, some one way, some the other,, yet more in the middle, but it’s over now, it don’t matter anymore, all we can do is see what happens in the remaining races….and wonder if Ron can snatch either Alonso-Vettel or Hammy for 2015 or 2016….which is actually much more interesting than Nico & Lewis playing dodgems! Given your stated position, and that as you often note, it is your blog, it’s nice that you have let everyone have their say, even those that you obviously don’t agree with. That alone bolsters your integrity as a journalist imho.

        1. I think key points are being edited from the debate. So you cannot even argue if there’s no debate about what you might argue about. I am still at pains to distinguish the general furor from the Lauda and Wolff bursting faces and shotgun mouths.

          1. >> I think key points are being edited from the debate.

            That, combined with a tone of “it’s as obvious as an elephant-in-the-room… if you only read between the lines”. If there’s an elephant in the room, you don’t have to read between the lines to see the damned thing.

            Too many very-dubious non-fan-boys around for it to be the open-and-shut case some seem to claim. Too much reference to alleged-evidence that seems nowhere to be found.

            I just wish the lynch mob would clearly state exactly (a) the specifics of the alleged crime, and (b) the actual evidence. Not allusions. Not circular arguments, but rather the kind of thing that a crusty old school teacher would give full marks. Joe, would you be at risk of getting sued if you actually did that?

  46. Actually I have problems believing this whole story.
    Rosberg and Hamilton go back quite some time and have always been on friendly terms. I suspect they text each other the most ridiculous blog posts about this thing and have a laugh about it.
    Sure, there’ll be some minor frictions with the championship in play, but this sure isn’t anything like Prost vs. Senna.

    On a somewhat related note, whenever Hamilton and Alonso ran into each in the pre-podium ‘green’ room in the last few years, there was the obvious mutual respect. Their relaxed body language towards each other even seemed to suggest something like a friendship. Has anybody ever uncovered the real story from their year at McLaren?

    1. Joe has hinted several times that there is far more to that than is publically known, and that he has indeed uncovered it… but can’t publish yet.

  47. surprised that you didn’t produce the old adage joe …there are none so blind as those that will not see

  48. So are we to believe Lewis is bereft of a proper childhood and a sort of Michael Jackson of the motorsport world removed from reality and Nico’s a polished little rich kid that has blown his cover! Personally I’ve seen it before on many levels, pure and utter competition in equal machinery. Equal machinery that is dominant will guarantee one of them the title, but not both. We should not be surprised that this relationship is where it is or for that matter should MB when they are unable to manage themselves let alone their drivers.

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