Mercedes AMG Petronas have won both the Constructor’s and Driver’s championships in Formula 1 by a comfortable margin. Despite the results, the season was not without drama.
Toto Wolff has warned of a driver lineup change if the drama continues because it could end up effecting both sides of the garage which would be disastrous for the team. He is not treating his drivers harshly by issuing this warning. I feel that he’s not being harsh enough with the two drivers. The two drivers can do their jobs, get the team the results that it wants, and be on the same team without tearing it apart.
The mistakes that lead to the current situation with the Mercedes drivers start at the very beginning.
The Mercedes drivers are not being managed correctly. Nico has not been an angel this season but Lewis’s behavior will tear the team apart eventually and will cost Toto his job. Nico can be managed. Lewis cannot.
First of all, a code of conduct should have been used from the first day with the two drivers. The code of conduct should’ve had harsh, clear consequences for any violations of it. Toto Wolff needed to be a disciplinarian right from the start with the extremely competitive drivers that he has.
At some point, if Toto may have to choose between keeping Lewis or Nico because he wasn’t a disciplinarian from the beginning.
If he chooses Lewis, it’s like making a deal with the devil. He’ll win races but all of the on track and off drama will mean that Toto Wolff will eventually fall on the sword and the team’s continued success will be jeopardized.
On the other hand, Nico would be steady driver with little risk and the team would stay intact. The team could continue to work with him in developing his race craft. Mercedes should have Nico work with a sports performance professional to help him overcome so of the issues that may be effecting his on track performance.
If a change in the driver lineup had to be made at Mercedes, I would like to see Bottas get the seat. In the right car, he would deliver the results and very little drama.
Pascal Wehrlein is too immature for a full time Formula 1 seat at Mercedes. He may be ready in a couple of years.
If both drivers are kept, they need to learn how to lose graciously in public. They can show a tantrum in private if needed but not in public.
I firmly believe that Lewis’s accident in Monaco was a foreshadowing of something to come. He will eventually end up seriously hurt or dead if Toto Wolff doesn’t lay some ground rules. Lewis’s dip in results is because of his off track activities and a bit of a loss of focus at the end of the season.
If he chooses Nico, he will get a driver that he can work with minus the behavior and off track issues. He may not win as many races as Lewis but he can be coached on how to lose graciously in public. There will probably be few distractions within the team also.
I really think that if Mercedes let go of Lewis and put a promising young driver (Pascal Wehrlein isn’t the answer because he’s still too immature) along side Nico until Mercedes can sign Max Verstappen that it would be the best. I would love to see Mick Schumacher driving for Mercedes in Formula 1 in the future.
It’s evident that Lewis’s behavior and arrogance is starting to tear the team apart and, if it continues, the team will digress very quickly and Ferrari will be right there to pounce.
Lewis is a younger version of Fernando Alonso…drama in the car and drama outside of the car. Lewis had to leave McLaren because he put his car’s telemetry on social media which is a no no. I think that this could happen at Mercedes if he doesn’t get what he wants or if Mercedes clamp down on Lewis’s off track activities.
Lewis is drinking and partying openly to flaunt that he can. He’s also using the partying and alcohol to mask his unhappiness with his current situation as well as probably using the partying and alcohol to self medicate until he can find a way out of the unhappy situation. People turn to partying and alcohol as a way to escape unhappy situations.
Lewis is also staying up late on race weekends writing music because he already has one foot out the door as far as Formula 1 is concerned. He may or may not see out his contact at Mercedes but he’s already turning his attention elsewhere looking for fulfillment.
One of the reasons that Lewis is starting to turn his attention elsewhere may be the issue of Mercedes not letting Lewis and Nico race head to head because it is not something Stuttgart wants in addition to Mercedes not having any real competition on track this season. Mercedes know what would happen to the cars and possibly the drivers of they were ever allowed to race each other. The rivalry and tension would play out fully on rack. The end result of the on-track battle between Lewis and Nico wouldn’t be pretty for Mercedes.
Mercedes management has been weak and inconsistent from the beginning. They should have used a strong hand with the drivers from the beginning and had a strong consistent plan, philosophy, and message from the start. It should have been made crystal clear that Mercedes interest come first and not the drivers’s interest. The team is always first.
Lewis is not a team player. He only looks out for his interests. Everything that he does is for his benefit somehow or to make him look good publicly. Like I said previously, the partying and drinking is being done to show that he can do it. In the end, it all for show. It’s very obvious. All of the social media posts have a “look at me, look at me, look at my opulent lifestyle” tone to them. Every event in a person’s life shouldn’t be treated as a photo opportunity. It’s like he needs constant attention and validation in order to get through his day.
One of the things that Mercedes management needs to realize is that all of the mistakes at the beginning have led to the problems now and it will cost Toto Wolff his job at some point.
I cringe at some of the decisions Toto has made because I knew that things would end up this way. He needs to be much stricter with Lewis and Nico in the future if he wants to maintain order within the team, try and maintain a productive and successful balance in the team, and be viewed as the team’s leader.