Mercedes Wants to Avoid Team Orders if Possible

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the team is not happy with their need to use team orders in the Bahrain GP, and wants to avoid their use in the future.

Wherein Ferrari has made it apparent that they’re hedging their bets on Sebastian Vettel as their star driver for the 2017 season, Mercedes has attempted to adhere to their time-tested policy of allowing both of their drivers an equal opportunity to win, they’ve had to breach their policy during their last stint in Bahrain as Valtteri Bottas was issued a team ordered to let Lewis Hamilton pass – at the reasoning that Hamilton’s tires were in a much better state and that he had a high chance of catching Vettel.

Großer Preis von Bahrain 2017, Sonntag - Wolfgang Wilhelm

Unfortunately, the call either came to late or was made redundant by Vettel’s incredible pace at Bahrain where he took another win for Scuderia Ferrari. Now, reflecting back on the call, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has said that it was a decision that he hopes he can avoid in the future:

“We don’t like this at all. We haven’t done this in the last year and we want to avoid it as good as we can and even [in Bahrain] we tried to avoid it as good as we can, it is just a moment of realization that if you don’t react, you’re going to lose the race, then you have to make that call.

It’s not what we have done in the last couple of years, but the situation is different now so we need a proper analysis of what it means and where we are. But as I said, we’d like to give both equal opportunities at the start of the race – we owe it to them – and then you see what we’ve done in the race we’ve made a call because we felt it was the only possibility to win the race.” – Toto Wolff

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - APRIL 16: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H leads Valtteri Bottas driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO8 and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO8 on track  during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 16, 2017 in Bahrain, Bahrain.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – APRIL 16: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H leads Valtteri Bottas driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO8 and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO8 on track during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on April 16, 2017 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Wolff’s admittance of his displeasure with team orders seems to fly in the face of what many think makes a top-performing racing team. Surely a team principal of such a high caliber would be the driving force behind the team’s success, but Wolff’s been at the game long enough to know that the best you can do for your chances of winning is to give your drivers the best package you can and then step back to let them do what they do best: race.

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