Nico Rosberg has admitted culpability for the collision that wrecked Lewis Hamilton’s Belgian Grand Prix chances and prevented a potential one-two finish for Mercedes at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend.
The admission came following a meeting today of the driver with team boss Toto Wolff and technical director Paddy Lowe.
A team statement read: “Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton met today in the boardroom of Mercedes AMG Petronas headquarters in Brackley to discuss the events of the Belgian Grand Prix.
“During this meeting, Nico acknowledged his responsibility for the contact that occurred on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix and apologised for this error of judgement.
The statement added that Rosberg has been punished for the transgression. “Suitable disciplinary measures have been taken for the incident,” the team said.
No details were given of what those disciplinary measure are but they will not include anything that might compromise the team’s on-track performance, such as a race suspension for the championship leader.
“Lewis and Nico understand and accept the team’s number one rule: there must be no contact between the team’s cars on track” the statement added. “They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship.
The team did, however, insist that it had been “made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated. But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them.”
The row over the lap two incident between the two has garnered huge attention over the past five days, with Mercedes themselves taking to social media to gauge public opinion with the tweet: “Would you suspend a driver for a race and not maximise constructors’ points? Perhaps you’d set the order at quali slots?” and also asking “To those who would prefer to see team orders implemented, how would you employ them?” As one might expect opinion was as split as it has been on this forum.
Subsequently both drivers issued statements. Hamilton said that, “Nico and I accept that we have both made mistakes and I feel it would be wrong to point fingers and say which one is worse than the other. ”
He added: “Today, Toto and Paddy told us clearly how we must race against each other from now on in a fair and respectful manner.
“The fans want to see a clean fight until the end of the season and that’s what we want to give them.
“It’s going to be a tough road from here but Championships have been won from much further back than I am now.
“And I promise you that I will be giving everything and more to win this for my team, for my family and for my fans.”
Rosberg meanwhile issued a statement in which he said, “I wish to go a step further and describe it as an error of judgement on my part. The number one rule for us as team-mates is that we must not collide but that is exactly what happened.
“For that error of judgement, I apologise to Lewis and the team. I also want to say sorry to the fans who were deprived of our battle for the lead in Belgium…
“I look forward to concluding the season with hard, fair competition on and off track right up to the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi.”
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