The rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was something Mercedes struggled to handle during their team-up between 2013 to 2016.
Recently, during a podcast, Toto Wolff opened up about how the tables quickly turned from rivalry to animosity between the two drivers.
Toto revealed that Mercedes never understood the rivalry between Nico and Lewis as it kindled during their Karting days. “We shouldn’t be judgemental on the character side.
“I like to speak to Nico today. And I think the things he does around sustainability are really good,” Toto told F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast.
“Some things in the relationship between Nico and Lewis; we will never understand. Because it goes back many years from Go-Karting into junior Formulas.
“And how it all grew from camaraderie to rivalry to animosity is something we were spectators of,” he said. But the dynamics of what happened between them was very difficult to actually follow.”
Toto also said that their rivalry had already begun when he joined Mercedes back in 2013. By the time he could figure out what was going on, it was too late as the drivers became way too aggressive on and off the track.
Toto revealed how it was when he entered the team in 2013. “They just fell out pretty early on actually when I joined the team in 2013. And it got worse and worse and worse,” Toto said.
He also mentioned how difficult it was to manage their rivalry within the team. “It was very difficult. Because when you have so much negativity in the rooms.”
Despite being the most dominating team on the grid at that time, Toto said, “there was a lot of negativity. And that would drag the whole room down.”
“At we came to a point where we said, ‘that’s just not feasible anymore’. And we talked about it,” he said.
Lewis and Nico had multiple incidents with each other on the track, which led to a point where Mercedes implemented the team orders to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.
Although Toto said that he had a talk with both the drivers, the animosity was perennial. It was at that point that Rosberg won his first championship title and retired from Formula 1, that was when Mercedes breathed a sigh of relief.