JULY 6, 2016
Wolff to meet Mercedes drivers on Thursday
Toto Wolff will sit with Mercedes' two drivers to decide the next steps after their Austria run-in -- whether Lewis Hamilton wants to or not.
That is the claim of team chairman and F1 legend Niki Lauda, after the German newspaper Bild quoted Hamilton as saying he had no intention of discussing the matter as "There is nothing to discuss".
But when asked by Osterreich newspaper about Hamilton's apparent refusal, Lauda said: "Toto Wolff will sit with them both. This nonsense must stop."
The big risk for F1 is that, as a result of Wolff's meeting with the drivers, Mercedes might decide to put a stop to the free racing policy, imposing a rule that drivers must hold position.
"We need to let them race," F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told The Times.
"Imagine if we get to the final race of the season and one is told they can't overtake and that decides the championship? It's not good for formula one and it won't be good for Mercedes either," he added.
However, even Lauda - a staunch racing 'purist' - is coming around to the idea that Hamilton and Rosberg might need to have their racing freedoms curtailed.
"We want to be world champion with two top drivers, but the championship must be won without accidents," he said.
"Lewis will not give up, neither will Nico, and logically there is a crash. This is unacceptable," said Lauda.
"I would expect from two adult and intelligent drivers that they manage to do it without accident.
"Toto is talking with Lewis and Nico on Thursday. We want them to race freely, but if it doesn't work and you add up the two and half accidents in Barcelona, Montreal and Spielberg, re must reserve all the steps."
Lauda told Bild newspaper that he thinks the latest saga is predominantly Rosberg's fault.
"For two years he was more reasonable, now he wants to be world champion and goes flat out. But he may not engage in such actions as Spielberg when he wants to be world champion.
"As a racer he must ask himself 'Am I a world champion or a crash driver?'. He should think of his father, Keke, who was world champion with only one win.
"It must be that the drivers can switch on their brains in such a situation," he added.
"Toto and I are working on a new concept that is better for all. But this much is already clear: a new crash between the two is no longer accepted. We will tell the drivers that clearly before Silverstone."