Wolff reveals Prost advice on avoiding teammate conflicts

Toto Wolff says a conversation with four-time world champion Alain Prost shortly after taking the helm of Mercedes... The post Wolff reveals Prost advice on avoiding teammate conflicts appeared first on F1i.com.

Wolff reveals Prost advice on avoiding teammate conflicts

Toto Wolff says a conversation with four-time world champion Alain Prost shortly after taking the helm of Mercedes in F1 taught him what he needed to know to avoid a detrimental inner-team rivalry between his drivers.

Mercedes has dominated F1 since the advent of the hybrid era in the sport in 2014, showcasing year in and year out its technological and operational excellence.

But Wolff has always valued his team's integrity, sportsmanship and a culture of transparency whether in the outfit's garage on race weekend or on the floors of Brackely and Brixworth factories.

However, the Austrian had to deal in the past with the intense rivalry at Mercedes that marked the relationship - or lack of - between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, while the six-time world champion's current partnership with Valtteri Bottas has been a drama-free affair.

But Wolff was given early on a few pointers from Prost on how to avoid a destructive open conflict or feud like the one the Frenchman endured with Ayrton Senna at McLaren in the late 1980s.

"We have always been very transparent with each other," Wolff said.

"At the beginning of my stint with Mercedes, I remember a discussion with Alain Prost. I said to him, ‘what went wrong between you and Senna?’

"He said that sometimes, we didn’t know whether we had the support of the team or not. There was always politics involved.

"Now I don’t know if that is true because I was not part of that, and certainly they had a great era.

"But we don’t play politics. We play politics outside, but we don’t play any politics inside. I would never permit it.

"Transparency, being honest with each other, blaming the problem and not the person, and empowering are the values that are of utmost importance to us.

"That’s why it’s a good place, a fun place, but it’s also a pushing place."

Hamilton's quest for transparency, and subsequently for peace and calm at Mercedes, is why Max Verstappen "is not an option" for the German squad, at least not as long as Hamilton will be sitting on the other side of the garage.

"Max is not an option for Mercedes," Wolff told ORF.

"We will never understand exactly what happened in the relationship between Nico and Lewis at the time.

"It goes back a long time, precisely to their karting days and junior classes.

"We have seen how their friendship turned into rivalry and then hostility. That dynamic between them was very difficult to understand.

"It started when I joined the team in 2013 and it got worse and worse from there. It was a very difficult situation to deal with.

"During team meetings there was a very negative energy in the air. At some point it was no longer acceptable and we talked about it. But the hostility among the drivers remained.

"Max’s presence would create an unnecessary ‘star wars’. Fortunately, with Valtteri all this has not presented itself."

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Russell ready to 'fight back' in Turkey after Imola setback

George Russell says he will get back in the saddle this weekend in Turkey "feeling stronger" and ready... The post Russell ready to 'fight back' in Turkey after Imola setback appeared first on F1i.com.

Russell ready to 'fight back' in Turkey after Imola setback

George Russell says he will get back in the saddle this weekend in Turkey "feeling stronger" and ready to fight back after his painful crash at the Emilia Romagna GP.

Russell emerged unscathed from his damaged Williams after crashing behind the safety car at Imola while he was on the verge of securing his first top-ten finish.

But the clumsy mishap cast a gloomy shadow over the young Briton's spirit in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

However, Russell has since repaired his psyche and heads to Istanbul ready to resume his quest for points with Williams.

"I am excited to get back racing in Turkey, and for the challenge of driving at a new circuit," said the 22-year-old.

"It has been good to have a week off to reflect on what happened at Imola and learn from my mistake.

"The recent performance from the car has been really encouraging and I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.

"Overall, I am feeling stronger and prepared to fight back this weekend."

On the subject of Williams' progress of late, Dave Robson, the team's Head of Vehicle Performance, says a return to a normal three-day weekend will be beneficial

"We return to the normal weekend format for this event, which will give us a chance to explore more setup options than we were able to do in Imola," Robson explained.

"Work will be centred around understanding the track surface and the tyre behaviour and this will enable us to pick a set-up that sensibly balances the qualifying and race requirements.

"Over recent weeks we have experimented with this trade and were able to make some good progress in both Portugal and Imola.

"George and Nicholas [Latifi] both showed good pace during the race in Imola and but for a small error, we would’ve finished inside the top 10.

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