Mercedes will not try to halt the fierce rivalry between Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, team boss Toto Wolff told AFP.
The feud that came to a head when Rosberg drove into Hamilton on the second lap of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps last August was good for Formula One, Wolff said in an interview.
But the British and German rivals must not cross the line of what is acceptable again.
“We are not going to change our approach in terms of philosophy on how to let the drivers race. Even if it is not always easy.
“For us, for our brand, for Formula One, it was important to let them fight, one against the other,” the executive director of the Mercedes AMG Petronas team said of the Hamilton-Rosberg duel that marked 2014 and is about to resume.
Wolff said Mercedes had understood going into the Belgian race that the rivalry was reaching a peak. He indicated that the team felt there had to be some kind of confrontation to clear the air.
“If you have no emotion in this sport, if you stay rational all the time, you lose a lot and the sport loses a lot and the way we run the team is with emotion.
“What happened in Spa, we were very conscious that we could have this situation. We have a conscious approach, just about controlled, because we knew what we wanted as an outcome. What we wanted was that it did not happen again,” Wolff said.
“All the communication, all the reaction after Spa took this into account,” he added.
A storm erupted when Hamilton, who retired before the end, said after the Spa race that Rosberg had told him the crash had been deliberate.
Wolff said at the time that the rivalry had reached “an unacceptable level of risk" and that it was costing Mercedes points.