Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff claims that letting Formula One drivers call their own strategies would result in them losing “every single race”.
Wolff’s comments come after Lewis Hamilton asked for greater freedom in that area in the wake of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Seeking an alternative to find a way past team-mate Nico Rosberg, the Briton had urged his squad to change plans during the race, but to no avail.
“The driver in the car being emotional is understandable,” Wolff said about Hamilton’s request. “We hired guard dogs and we don't want to have any puppies – we want them to be guard dogs. Sometimes it is a bit more intense but it is OK.”
The head of Mercedes-Benz motorsport then adds that the double world champions will not alter their policy, arguing that drivers “don’t have the complete picture” while in the heat of action.
“We are going to keep one strategist. If the driver in the car starts to determine strategy then he is going to lose every single race because that is not an instinct-driven decision.
“Your instinct might be right sometimes but if you are not having the full set of data you are going to get the majority of your races wrong so that is why we are going to keep it as it is.”
While Wolff says he understands fans feeling short-changed by the situation, he also points out that, unlike other outfits, Mercedes has always let its drivers race on equal terms.
“We could have done it like some teams have in the past of having a clear number one and a clear number two, and the number two wouldn't come close to the other one.
“So we have changed that and sometimes it is difficult for us to manage letting the two fight each other and now you can even say, let's take it one step further and let the strategists play against each other but this is not where we want to go to.
“Controversy within the team is detrimental and we have kept the team together, not only the drivers, the travelling team in Brackley and Brixworth because the team comes first.
“From a fan’s standpoint, I can understand [their frustration], but from a team’s standpoint I will give a boring answer that we are not going to change it.”
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