With the new regulations in place this season to restrict the amount of ‘control’ of drivers over radio, can we expect to see Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg duel to steal limelight again? In an interview with The Guardian, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that the team would probably allow controversies revolving its drivers to happen without curtailing it.
This season all the drivers will have more freedom to take decisions on the track and not be overpowered from the pits through radio communications. The rivalry between the Mercedes drivers is quite well known since 2014 when it reached a peak, as both battled for the championship title until the race of the season.
Also Read: Lewis and Nico rivals since childhood
The rivalry took spotlight back in 2014 Spanish Grand Prix when Lewis and Nico took verbal jabs at each other trying to break each other “mentally”. There were controversial moments the same season when in Monaco qualifying Nico took pole by not allowing Lewis enough space for a clean qualifying run. In the 2015 Belgian GP, Hamilton was accused deliberately colliding with Nico Rosberg. Again, in 2015 Chinese GP, an animated Nico Rosberg was heard over the radio accusing his teammate of controlling the pace of the race.
The rules in 2016 has forced Toto, leaving him no option but to give complete autonomy to both its drivers to make decisions for themselves on the track. Looking back to Spa 2014, Toto said, “In Spa, I thought it was unacceptable and unbearable that the drivers crashed and risked losing the championship”.
But then, he also realised the importance of the controversies and that incident leading towards the development of the team as a whole. Toto said, “We are letting controversy happen. It will get nasty again. We are going to have some interesting moments on the track. But his time I am not going to control and contain it”.
Will this move make Formula One races more intense? We hope to find out this weekend, with the inaugural race of the season scheduled on 20th March, in Australia.