Abu Dhabi: When you have two of the world’s best and fastest drivers in your line-up, then the toughest job is to maintain serenity within the setup.
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff so far has played the role of a shock absorber to par excellence and his ploy of rotating Nico Rosberg’s and Lewis Hamilton’s mechanics has worked as a perfect shield.
Compared to previous years where one has witnessed some ugly flare-ups between the two drivers, this year both have managed their relationship better.
With the title challenge down to the wire, where Hamilton needs a dramatic comeback to win and also hopes that Rosberg fails to finish on the podium to overturn his 12-point deficit, things will be super hot in the Mercedes team garage, akin to a ticking time bomb.
And with the title having boiled down to the wire, Wolff will be keeping his fingers crossed, hoping that the finale would end without any glitch.
“It was clear that they would be the greatest rivals for winning the Drivers’ title and we’ve seen that this weekend is somehow a bit different; you can see that there is pressure coming up, which I guess is pretty normal at this stage of the season,” said Wolff, who was however, pretty happy with the way both have gone about their business this season.
“I find it very remarkable how they’ve managed the relationship between the two of them for the benefit of the team, taking into consideration that it must be very intense and very high pressure for them,” added Wolff and asserted that his move to switch his staff around was the ideal thing to do to maintain harmony among the drivers and within the team.
“If you change a crew that is directly involved with a driver, such as mechanics or a number, one that a driver constantly looks at when he’s pulling out of the garage, it can have a psychological effect and we acknowledged that. It was part of our thinking when we shuffled it around. But as a matter of fact we are 1,500 people in Brixworth and Brackley and it’s about developing personnel.”
Hamilton with his impressive show in the practice has clearly sent in a strong message that he will not be sparing an inch. Rosberg, more than anything, will have to sustain that constant barrage of pressure and Wolff backs the German to weather it.
“Yes, Nico deals with it very well and there is nothing that somehow affects him. This is at least my impression. Whether it’s a difficult weekend, he has learnt to assess it in the right way at the right time and move on — or whether it’s a good weekend, to stay humble, both feet on the ground and try to understand why that was.
“Whether spirits are high or spirits are down it was all pretty stable with him — and certainly, as far as I can see, that is one of the keys why he’s leading the championship today.”