Mercedes to decide if team orders needed for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
Team management to debate ahead of British GP whether they have no choice but to impose "unpopular" team orders on Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg after Austria clash
By James Galloway in Austria
Last Updated: 04/07/16 9:12am
Mercedes will decide ahead of this weekend's British GP whether they impose some form of team orders to ensure Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg do not collide again.
Team boss Toto Wolff admitted "everything was going to be on the table" after his drivers crashed for the second time in five races on the final lap in Austria - with the "unpopular" spectre of team orders one consideration for Mercedes' management.
The Brackley team have allowed Hamilton and Rosberg to race freely over the past three seasons but Wolff says they may now have to intervene if the team-mates and title rivals cannot battle cleanly.
"Barcelona I was much more at ease with it because we had had 30 races without any collision and it was clear that it was eventually going to happen," said Wolff, in reference to the first-lap crash between Hamilton and Rosberg at May's Spanish GP.
"It wiped out both cars and in my naive thinking I thought: 'Okay, they've learnt the lesson, now they saw what the consequences are it's not going to happen anymore.' Here we go, it happens again.
"So the only consequence is to look at all the options available on the table and one option is to freeze the order at a certain stage in a race, which is unpopular, which makes me puke myself, because I'd like to see them race. But if the racing is not possible without contact then that's the consequence."
With the British GP following hot on the heels of Austria, Wolff says Mercedes will discuss the matter "in the next couple of days".
"We will make a decision irrespective of what they [the drivers] say," added Wolff. "It's the core race team that's going to make the decision - and it could go in either direction.
"The outcome is we need to avoid contact with the two cars, whatever it is. Everything is going to be on the table."
Asked if he thought his warring drivers would obey team orders, an adamant Wolff replied: "Yes, in capital letters."
The stewards found Rosberg at fault for the collision, handing the championship leader a 10-second time penalty and adding two penalty points to his race licence.
Speaking before the decision was made public, Wolff said he had "my own personal opinion" but declined to publicly apportion blame.
"I don't think it's really black and white," he said. "Nico was with a car that was handicapped trying to brake late and not on the line that was probably the normal line. Lewis came from the outside and this is where the first contact was made. So what I'm saying is it takes two to make contact."
Wolff added: "I don't want to attribute any blame because every time you watch the video and view onboards there is new information. You can't really say who is more to blame than the other.
"I have my own personal opinion - I'm not going to express it here - but as a matter of fact that [the collision] needs to be avoided."
Don't miss the F1 Report: Austrian GP review on Sky Sports F1 at 8.30pm on Wednesday as Stoffel Vandoorne and Jaime Alguersuari join Marc Priestley in the studio.