At the race at Imola, during the Emilia Romagna GP Mercedes F1 reached the record-braking 7th consecutive F1 constructors championship. During the upcoming weekend in Turkey, Lewis Hamilton can match the seven titles record of Michael Schumacher. Mercedes has been dominating the sport since the beginning of the hybrid era in 2014, and they established themselves as a team with a strong company-culture since Toto Wolff took the place of team principal in 2013, a team looking after the employees and effectively reaching the tops of the sport. Wolff always ensured both of the drivers as well received fair and equal treatment and sought to avoid any potential conflict between them, especially with Hamilton’s existing partnership with Bottas for the past few years.
Toto Wolff has revealed that he sought advice from four-time world champion Alain Prost soon after he took over the steer at Mercedes, in order to avoid issues like the ones between Prost and Senna during their stint at McLaren in late 1980s, a heated rivalry known by many F1 fans around the planet.
As he said: “We have always been very transparent with each other. At the beginning of my stint with Mercedes, I remember a discussion with Alain Prost. I said to him, ‘what went wrong between you and Senna?’. He said that sometimes, we didn’t know whether we had the support of the team or not. There was always politics involved. Now I don’t know if that is true because I was not part of that, and certainly they had a great era. But we don’t play politics. We play politics outside, but we don’t play any politics inside. I would never permit it.”
Wolff added: “Transparency, being honest with each other, blaming the problem and not the person, and empowering are the values that are of utmost importance to us. That’s why it’s a good place, a fun place, but it’s also a pushing place.”
Mercedes never really experienced driver related issues like the ones in McLaren back in the day. Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost raced against each other as teammates for two seasons, in 1988 and 1989, with the latter ending in a crash between them that decided the title at Suzuka in favour of Prost. The last time Mercedes had a little headed partnership between the drivers ended up in 2016 with the exit of Nico Rosberg. The partnership between Hamilton and Bottas has been pretty much smooth from the beginning, with Bottas mostly assisting Hamilton during the races.