The Mercedes drivers’ charge for victory in Melbourne will be unfettered by ‘team orders’.
16 years ago, McLaren enraged the spectators at Albert Park, having arrived for the 1998 season opener with its totally dominant car.
Now, the similarly-silver Mercedes cars are the class of the early 2014 field, but Nico Rosberg insists there will be no McLaren-style controversy this time.
“Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard had a deal in place in whichever driver got to the opening corner first would be allowed to win the race,” he wrote in a column for the Daily Mail newspaper.
So when Hakkinen ran into mid-race trouble, Coulthard pulled over on the straight to let him back into the lead.
“I wouldn’t like that,” German Rosberg added, “and I don’t think the team would either, so we are going to try and avoid such measures.”
Team chairman Niki Lauda agrees that Rosberg and his teammate Lewis Hamilton will be free to race throughout the 2014 championship.
“They can race against each other and collect as many points as possible for the team,” he told Germany’s Sport1.
There have already been some signs of strain between the silver-clad duo, but Briton Hamilton insists he and Rosberg will cope with a heightened rivalry in 2014.
“Nico and I have known each other since we were 13,” he is quoted in Melbourne by the Mirror. “We’ve raced and won and lost championships together.
“We will remain professional,” he insisted.
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