Mercedes chief Toto Wolff demands clarity over team orders

German manufacturer reacts after Lewis Hamilton failed to let team-mate Nico Rosberg past at the Hungarian GP

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The Independent Online

Toto Wolff, the Mercedes executive director, has implemented a new code of conduct regarding team orders for their drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Wolff was forced to act following events at the Hungarian Grand Prix last month when Hamilton was told to let Rosberg overtake him.

With the drivers running third and fourth at the time, and with 20 laps of the race left, their differing strategies forced the pit wall crew at Mercedes into what non-executive chairman Niki Lauda described as “a panic”.

With Rosberg in pole position, early crashes and safety car periods had resulted in Mercedes opting for an aggressive three-stop plan. But with Hamilton starting from the pit lane and last on track at the end of lap one, the delays propelled him into a fight for a podium place, so two stops was preferred.

However, he declined to let Rosberg past when told to do so, citing the fact the German was never close enough to make an overtaking manoeuvre. The team-mates eventually finished third and fourth, allowing Hamilton to close the gap on Rosberg in the drivers’ standings to 11 points.

Wolff told German newspaper Bild the drivers would be free to race in the remaining eight grands prix, but said: “We will augment our team agreement that the driver behind must clearly show he is faster before a passing manoeuvre can be instructed.

“No one should have to go off the gas. Our drivers are allowed to freely compete for the rest of the season when it comes to the victory.”