Toto Wolff is heading into Monaco this weekend determined that Mercedes' drivers will not crash again. From the moment Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg tangled and ended in the Barcelona gravel, the German team's boss has played down the explosive incident.
But now, just a day before track action resumes in Monaco practice, Wolff is insisting it will not happen again. "The drivers know how we operate," he said. "The team is responsible for giving them the best possible cars and they are responsible for getting the best out of them - and for bringing them home."
That comment was made in Mercedes' official race preview, but in the pages of the Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten, Wolff added: "I feel physical pain when I think of Barcelona. As a team we lost 43 points and I hope our drivers have learned from it. Obviously something like this happens to us every two years," he added, referring to a collision between Rosberg and Hamilton at Spa in 2014.
Initially, although team chairman Niki Lauda pointed the finger at Hamilton, Wolff insisted that in fact neither the Briton nor Rosberg were to blame for what happened in Spain. He now says: "They were both to blame. Lewis because he was aggressive, and Nico because he should have known that in his engine settings he was missing 160 horse power," Wolff explained.
Mercedes this week rubbished a wild rumour that Hamilton's partying had finally caught up with him and he could be sidelined in Monaco because of a mysterious nightclub incident. Wolff told Salzburger Nachrichten that the reigning world champion's off-track lifestyle is under control. "He is the first to know what is good for him and what is not. And if his performance suffers from his lifestyle, he would change it. So he doesn't need us to do anything," he insisted. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing