Mercedes play down suggestion of line-up change

Fri Sep 5, 2014 1:44pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MONZA Italy (Reuters) - Mercedes would consider dropping one of their title-chasing Formula One drivers only in a "very, very worst case" scenario that is unlikely to happen, motorsport head Toto Wolff said on Friday.

The Austrian was clarifying comments made in a BBC radio interview when asked what might happen if the pairing of championship leader Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton proved too hot to handle.

The two team mates and Mercedes are the talk of Formula One after Rosberg, who leads Hamilton by 29 points with seven races remaining, hit Hamilton's car at the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Speaking at the Italian Grand Prix, Wolff said the context was "what would happen if we could not get on top of the situation.

"We are very happy with the line-up of the two drivers and we've always said that. We trust them and we had a very good discussion with the two of them, a very clear discussion," he added.

"My statements were about what would happen if we couldn't get on top of it and this is something obviously which is a very, very worst case vision and I don't think that we were ever going to get there."

Speaking to the BBC earlier in the week, Wolff had said that "We would have to take decisions and take the consequences of having a different line-up" if the pair continued to clash.

A study by London City University's Cass Business School revealed this week that having "two top drivers competing in the same team had a detrimental effect on their individual performance".   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One Executive Director (Business) Toto Wolff smiles during a news conference after the second practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone