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Mercedes consider applying brakes to competition between their drivers

Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda are confident they can resolve the latest crisis involving Mercedes' warring drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Toto Wolff: We must tackle rivalry
Toto Wolff: We must tackle rivalry

Wolff, the executive director of the racing team, non-executive chairman Lauda and Paddy Lowe, the team's executive technical director, are the men charged with finding a resolution in the wake of the fallout from Sunday's highly-controversial Belgian Grand Prix.

In a heated post-race meeting at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit involving the trio and both drivers, Hamilton was left "gobsmacked" by Rosberg's remarks when, according to the British driver, the German said he chose not to avoid their collision to "make a point".

The incident occurred on lap two, with Hamilton suffering a puncture after being struck by the front wing of Rosberg's car as the latter failed in a bid to overtake the former. The Englishman was forced to retire later in the race due to damage sustained to his car as a result of the crash.

Rosberg, meanwhile, went on to claim second place behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and is now 29 points clear of his Mercedes team-mate in the drivers' standings.

Wolff described the incident as "unacceptable" initially and made it clear the team would act strongly, suggesting some form of punishment would be given to against Rosberg. "We have a lot of controversy about the drivers, about the team, and we're at the point we hoped we would never reach," said Wolff.

"We had a conversation at the beginning of the season that 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. At that stage they were on top of the situation - we were on top of the situation.

"Now it's come to a point, in the second half of the season, where it's getting very tight. We now need to tackle this with more intensity to make sure we stay within the boundaries, within the limits we set at the beginning of the season."

Wolff had suggested already the philosophy of allowing his drivers to compete directly on the track will almost certainly be altered for the final seven races. "We're all fans and we owe it to ourselves and everybody out there to let them race," added Wolff.

"On Sunday that philosophy ended in Mercedes losing many valuable points. We don't want to end up in Abu Dhabi [at the final race], with a season where we lost the championship, be it constructors' or drivers', because we're too much race fans.

"We've probably not hit the self-destruct button yet, but there is a lot at stake, and if you don't manage this properly now it could end up at that point. It's one thing enjoying great races and letting them fight with each other, but you could look like a fool at the end of the season if you haven't won anything."

Following the race the three-times champion Lauda stated Rosberg was at fault for the collision, even before the 29-year-old made his confession. Lauda, who has so far acted as confidante and mediator for both men, is in no doubt that Mercedes "can sort things out", despite the trust that has been shattered.

"People make mistakes. It's part of all our lives," added Lauda. "We have to analyse it properly and then we will have to see how we correct it so it never happens in that stupid way."

Unlike Wolff, however, Lauda has suggested the feuding drivers should be allowed to continue to race. "This is our policy, the same policy in which you respect each other," he said.

The FIA, motorsport's world governing body, appear unlikely to launch an investigation into the remarks made by Rosberg, since they were not recorded and Hamilton or another team official would need to come forward and made a complaint instead. However, that is not expected to happen.

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