Mercedes punish Rosberg

2014-08-29 19:51
Nico Rosberg (AFP)

London - The Mercedes Formula One team disciplined Nico Rosberg on Friday after he accepted "responsibility" for a crash with teammate Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix, a statement said.

The action was announced after a clear-the-air encounter between the arch-rival team-mates at the boardroom of the Mercedes racing headquarters in Brackley, near London.

"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," said a statement.

"Suitable disciplinary measures have been taken for the incident."

Rosberg clipped Hamilton's car on lap two of Sunday's race. The Briton suffered a puncture which effectively ended his chances of winning. He retired before the end and is now 29 points behind Rosberg with seven races to go.

Hamilton reacted with fury after the crash which took bitterness between the British and German drivers to a new peak. Team leaders Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe were at Friday's meeting with Hamilton and Rosberg.

The International Automobile Federation has said however that it will not take measures against Rosberg.

Mercedes did not say what action it has taken, but it did say both would remain in contention for the 2014 world title.

"Mercedes-Benz remains committed to hard, fair racing because this is the right way to win world championships. It is good for the team, for the fans and for Formula One," said the statement.

"Lewis and Nico understand and accept the team's number one rule: there must be no contact between the team's cars on track.

"It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated. But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them.

"They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship."

After a team meeting at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the aftermath of their most explosive and controversial clash of a dramatic season, Hamilton said Rosberg had said he hit him 'to prove a point'.

"It looked quite clear to me, but we just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose."

Rosberg, 29, later denied he had made the confession.

"All I can say is that my view of the events are very different," Rosberg said in a blog comment released Tuesday.

Rosberg finished second in the race and was jeered by some fans when he was on the podium.

Both drivers have said they face a difficult preparation for the next race, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on September 7.

Hamilton indicated on Monday that he no longer trusts his Mercedes team-mate in their future on-track duels.

"Well, when you're out there you have to trust the people to think with their heads and don't do things deliberately," said Hamilton.

"I don't really know how to approach the next race, but all I know is that I've got to push, I've got a long way to come back from it," he added.

Mercedes is worried that the Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry could boil over and cost them the constructor and drivers' titles.

Wolff has already said that Mercedes would re-introduce strict team orders to avoid any repeat incidents that gift victories to their rivals.

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