Mercedes bosses to clear up mess

Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda are confident they can resolve the latest crisis involving warring drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Mercedes' Toto Wolff, left, and Niki Lauda, right, are confident of resolving the crisis
Mercedes' Toto Wolff, left, and Niki Lauda, right, are confident of resolving the crisis

Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff and non-executive chairman Lauda, along with executive technical director Paddy Lowe, are the men charged with finding a resolution in the wake of the fallout from Sunday's highly-controversial Belgian Grand Prix.

In a heated post-race meeting at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit involving the trio and both drivers, Hamilton was left "gobsmacked" by Rosberg's remarks when, according to the Briton, the German said he chose not to avoid their collision to "make a point".

The incident occurred on lap two, with Hamilton collecting a puncture after being struck by the front wing of Rosberg's car as the latter failed in a bid to overtake the former.

Hamilton was eventually forced to retire late on in the race due to damage sustained to his car from a long return to the pits.

Rosberg, meanwhile, went on to claim second place behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and is now 29 points clear of Hamilton in the drivers' standings.

Wolff initially described the incident as "unacceptable", and made clear the team would act strongly, suggesting some form of punishment against Rosberg.

Knowing a resolution needs to be found, Wolff said: "We have a lot of controversy about the drivers, about the team, and we're at the point we hoped we would never reach.

"We had a conversation at the beginning of the season that it was an absolute no-go to crash into each other.

"We've had mega-exciting races where they were fighting fair and square, with great excitement for all of us.

"At that stage they were on top of the situation - we were on top of the situation.

"Now it's come to a point, in the second half of the season, where it's getting very tight.

"We now need to tackle this with more intensity to make sure we stay within the boundaries, within the limits we set at the beginning of the season."

Wolff has already suggested the philosophy of allowing his drivers to fight will almost certainly be altered for the final seven races.

As to the exact nature of the alteration, that remains to be seen, with Wolff claiming "the devil lies in the detail".

"We're all fans and we owe it to ourselves and everybody out there to let them race," added Wolff.

"On Sunday that philosophy ended in Mercedes losing many valuable points.

"We don't want to end up in Abu Dhabi (at the final race), with a season where we lost the championship, be it constructors' or drivers', because we're too much race fans.

"We've probably not hit the self-destruct button yet, but there is a lot at stake, and if you don't manage this properly now it could end up at that point.

"It's one thing enjoying great races and letting them fight with each other, but you could look like a fool at the end of the season if you haven't won anything."

Immediately after the race three-times champion Lauda stated Rosberg was at fault, even before the 29-year-old made his shock confession.

Lauda, who has so far acted as confidante and mediator for both men, is in no doubt the team "can sort things out", despite the trust that has been shattered.

"People make mistakes. It's part of all our lives," added Lauda.

"We have to analyse it properly and then we will have to see how we correct it so it never happens in that stupid way.

"We have to tell them what is their responsibility, to discuss it peacefully, and we have to win races and not crash into each other and destroy everybody's race."

Unlike Wolff, however, Lauda has suggested the feuding duo should be allowed to continue to race.

Lauda said: "This is our policy, the same policy in which you respect each other."

Motorsport's world governing body, the FIA, appear unlikely to launch an investigation into the remarks made by Rosberg.

With the meeting behind closed doors, and with no tape or transcript, it would require Hamilton or one of the team bosses to step forward and make a complaint against Rosberg for the FIA to act.

As that scenario is extremely unlikely, it is down to Mercedes - and not the FIA - to determine what sanction, if any, they impose on their driver.

Rosberg, meanwhile, says his view of what transpired in the meeting after the race contrasts markedly to that of Hamilton, but has opted not to elaborate.

Speaking via his post-race video blog, Rosberg said: "It's definitely one of the more difficult video blogs.

"I've been told what Lewis said in the press, and the way he has stated his version of the events.

"All I can say is my view of the events are very different, but the thing is it's better I don't give all the details of my opinion and things like that.

"I hope you respect that. I prefer to keep it internal. We had a very good discussion, an important discussion after the race.

"As when such things occur we must sit down and review them, and that is what we did.

"Everybody gave their opinion, and now we need to move forward.

"There will be other discussions because we need to see if we need to change our approach in the future, as we did in Hungary.

"The good thing is we really have great leadership in the team with Paddy, Toto, and with the help of Niki, and that really is important in such situations.

"Therefore I am confident, as always, we're going to find our way back, and then keep on fighting in Monza, and on we go."