Former F1 driver Emmanuele Pirro, who was the driver expert on the panel of FIA stewards at the Belgian Grand Prix, has said that the decision not to investigate the Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collision took them very little time to reach.
Speaking to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, Pirro, 52, said, “We needed less than 10 seconds to decide that the contact was innocuous and not worth pursuing. It was something venial that had unfortunate consequences, but the contact came in a few millimetres, in other words neither of the two cars had sudden movements.
“There was no intention, perhaps Rosberg was a little cunning and clever to try it, but in the end the main problem was what happened within the team. The contact between Alonso and Vettel on the final lap, for example, was much clearer, but there again there was no investigation.”
Pressed on his view that there was nothing intentional about it, given that Hamilton has said since that Rosberg did it ‘on purpose”, Pirro said, ” How can you say that a driver does something like this on purpose? Rosberg did not have a chance to pass and usually in such situations, it’s you who crashes and loses. But if he wasn’t happy, it’s because of the little bit of sporting cunning.”
Hamilton’s former team mate at McLaren, Jenson Button, has backed his fellow countryman, saying that Rosberg was definitely at fault, “I am sure Nico would look at it and say ‘I don’t know what was I thinking'”, said Button.
Mercedes was due to hold a thorough debrief meeting at the team’s Brackley headquarters yesterday to go through the incident in detail and decide on the next course of action.
Team boss Toto Wolff has said that this debrief would yield a set of rules by which the drivers must conduct themselves for the remainder of the championship and indicated that this will include team orders in certain situations, to ensure that the team secures the best possible result from every race from now on. A clear 1-2 was on the cards at Spa, instead of which the team scored just 18 points for Rosberg’s second place.
Speaking in Spa on Sunday about the debrief meeting in prospect, Wolff said, “What we have to do is see it as a matter of principle, what has happened, and take the consequences and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“We had the conversation before, at the beginning of the season. It was an absolute no-go to crash into each other.
“We’ve had mega-exciting races where they were fighting fair and square with great excitement for all of us. And at that stage they were on top of the situation and we were on top of the situation.
“And now it’s come to a point, in the second half of the season, where it’s getting very tight, and probably we need to tackle that with more intensity to make sure we stay within the boundaries we’ve set at the beginning of the season.”