Wolff: Hamilton and Rosberg on ‘final warning’

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff says that the recent revision of the team’s rules of engagement with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg acts as a “final warning” following their on-track clash in Austria.

Hamilton and Rosberg collided on the final lap of the race last weekend at the Red Bull Ring when battling for the lead of the race.

Rosberg was deemed to have caused the clash by the race stewards, but Wolff called the incident “brainless” and said that the team may invoke team orders to prevent a repeat in the future.

Mercedes issued a statement on Thursday confirming that it would not be using team orders for the time being, but that new deterrents had been discussed with Hamilton and Rosberg.

Wolff expanded on this statement when talking with the media at Silverstone on Thursday, saying that it acted as a last warning for both drivers.

“We’ve had a warning, and this is the final warning,” Wolff said.

“It is a scenario none of us want to be in. They are wired in a certain way, and that’s exactly why they drive for Mercedes.

“But there have been three accidents in five races, and that situation somehow needs containment.

“It’s clear for both drivers that we go through a tough time when we lose points when the cars collide. And that was acknowledged.

“If you have a yellow card, will it change your way of tackling it or not? Because you know what happens with a second yellow.”

Wolff spoke of the importance of letting his drivers race, not wanting to deny F1 of one of its most entertaining on-track rivalries in recent times.

In a couple of years we might look back and say Rosberg-Hamilton was one of the best battles. I am aware of that and I don’t want to over-manage it,” Wolff said.

“We want them to be race drivers, they are the stars of the show. We don’t want to belittle them in public, which is why I am reluctant to share in public the possible sanctions for them.

“We don’t want to have them go around like puppies, but equally let us not have three shunts in five races. Let’s get that ratio in a place that is acceptable for the team. Three in five is not a good one.

“If it was mission impossible, that would mean we didn’t see any clean racing out there. But there is clean racing out there.

“The great racing is hard racing, trying to pass and outsmart the competitor without contact. I believe, especially considering the skill set of those two, that clean racing is possible and achievable.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.