The British press are sensationally claiming that Lewis Hamilton could be suspended or even "sacked" after defying team orders during Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton was asked on a number of occasions to speed up after he slowed his pace in an attempt to back team mate Nico Rosberg into his rivals, despite earlier ruling out employing such a tactic.
"I didn't expect it but maybe I was naive," Rosberg said of Hamilton's driving after the race.
Mercedes reportedly warned Hamilton against such tactics before the race, as well as demanding he pick up his pace in radio messages during the race, and now a number of publications are reporting that the three-time champion could face serious repercussions.
The Daily Express claims Hamilton "could be sacked", while the Times said he "faces (a) team ban" for his behaviour. Germany's Welt newspaper added that Hamilton's behaviour in Abu Dhabi was "childish".
Team boss Toto Wolff is quoted: "Anarchy does not work in any team and in any company. Everything is possible."
"This is a mechanical sport," Wolff insisted. "You need to win and to lose with dignity.
"I think it's a pity we are talking about this," he added. "Nico Rosberg has won the world championship after a terrific season."
There is also controversy about Hamilton's comments apparently questioning the legitimacy of Rosberg's title, including the claim that he lost many points through unreliability.
Mercedes' team chairman Niki Lauda admitted he understood Hamilton's driving, but insisted he must put the team first.
"As drivers we always try every trick in the book, but you always must have respect for your team mate," he said.
Despite the furore surrounding Hamilton's tactics, some drivers have backed the outgoing champion, including Kimi Raikkonen who said his behaviour was "not ridiculous".
Carlos Sainz added: "I would have done it too. If you want to win the title you have to try everything, as long as it's within the rules."
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