Wolff: Dropping either Hamilton or Rosberg a last resort for Mercedes


Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff has said that dropping either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg would be a “worst case” for the German team, and he doubts that their intra-team relationship would ever be bad enough to warrant such drastic action.

The media has been rife with speculation about possible action following the collision between the two drivers at the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago. When trying to overtake Hamilton, Rosberg made contact with his teammate, leaving the Briton with a puncture.

Hamilton eventually had to retire from the race, causing him to drop a further 18 points back in the race for the world championship behind Rosberg, who went on to finish in second place. The gap now stands at 29 points at the top.

Following a meeting with the team, Rosberg apologized to Hamilton for causing the incident, and both drivers were told in no uncertain terms that a repeat incident would not be tolerated.

Last night, in an interview with the BBC, Wolff admitted that if the two drivers could not work together, the team “would have to take decisions and take the consequences of having a different line-up.”

When asked about his comments in today’s FIA press conference, Wolff made clear that this was only a worst case scenario for Mercedes, and he cannot foresee a situation where the team would have to make a change.

“Obviously at this stage, we are very happy with the line-up, with the two drivers,” he explained. “We have always said that.

“We trust them, and we had a very good discussion with the two of them, a very clear discussion. We’ve always said that this [collision] shouldn’t happen. I think at that stage of the season it was important to re-emphasize that.

“My statement about what would if we couldn’t get on top of it? This is a very very worst case.

“I don’t think we will ever get to that.”

Internal rivalries have famously caused some big splits in Formula 1 over the years. Fernando Alonso walked away from McLaren at the end of 2007 following a tough year alongside Hamilton, but most famously, Alain Prost left McLaren following the arrival of Ayrton Senna. Their rivalry ended in two on-track crashes at championship-deciding races, and was chronicled in the 2010 film Senna.

Of course, the Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry is nowhere near this level yet, but it is creating a great storyline for the 2014 F1 season.

You can watch the latest fight for supremacy between Rosberg and Hamilton on NBCSN tomorrow in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix, live from 8am ET.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.