Mercedes feels "weight" of responsibility to keep title fight fair

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that his team has an extra "weight on its shoulders" to ensure that any strategy calls it is forced to make to win the Mexican GP do not impact too much the drivers' title battle.

The Brackley-based team is facing intense pressure from rivals Red Bull in Mexico, and there could be a situation in the race where Mercedes is forced to give one of its drivers a better strategy if it is not to sacrifice the victory.

Such a situation could have huge implications in the title battle, with Lewis Hamilton effectively needing to win the final three races of the campaign to give himself a good chance of claiming glory.

Wolff said he was well aware of how delicate things could get, and how big a controversy there could be if Mercedes has to favour one driver over another to hold off Red Bull.

"We have quite a big responsibility towards the two [drivers]," he said. "We want to win the race, but sending them on two different strategies, not knowing which one is the right one, can potentially have an outcome that needs an explanation.

"We have had it in the past years that we were asked questions about why we sent driver A on this strategy and driver B on this other strategy, when it was clear one was the better one.

"If we would split the strategies, it is a) to defend the win and b) because we simply don't know which one is the better one.

"So, yes, there is responsibility, and there is weight on our shoulders in trying to get it right and be as neutral and balanced as possible in our decisions."

The strategy call in Mexico could be especially difficult because the low-grip nature of the circuit, and the fact tyres are needing more than one lap to get up to operating temperatures, means there is no guaranteed undercut.

That could create a situation where the Mercedes duo elect to extend their stints as long as possible to ensure that there is no chance older rubber is quicker than new tyres.

Wolff said at the moment it was too difficult to make any firm predictions about which way things were going to go.

"We have seen situations in the past where it is not completely clear which tyre is going to last, or if graining or blistering is going to happen or when, or how much the tyres need management to take them further," he said.

"We have had that all through the season and in previous seasons. The same is for here. The track temperatures have a big influence on performance and behaviour of the tyre, so that is pretty much one of the major variables before every race which you need to get right.

"It involves a lot of data, lot of algorithms, a lot of common sense and we have been okay so far getting it right most often. But there is no guarantee that it is going to be like this ever."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Mexican GP
Track Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Nico Rosberg
Teams Mercedes
Article type Breaking news