Over the last few seasons Mercedes started to poach personnel from other teams. Nobody was safe and using conservative estimates the team now employs more designers than other teams have employed in their whole history. This is in part because apparently most things are done by committee in Brackley and partly following the old tried and tested Bayern München motto if we employ him, the opposition can’t. Unfortunately their shopping list apparently did not include press officers as they leave their PR work to the two least qualified individuals – Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff.
The two alumni of the Christian Horner School of How to Run a Team Like an Idiot have failed spectacularly at keeping their two squabbling drivers in line. Red Bull had their Waterloo at the Malaysian Grand Prix last year, Mercedes is having it – well every weekend really. Both Nico and Lewis have at various stages disobeyed what they were told to do by the pit wall brigade. Lewis most memorably did so in public as recently as Hungary.
So what did tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee do? They followed their idol Christian’s example, did nothing and let the drivers run roughshod over them. Obviously both Wolff and Lauda at some point realized that they were looking like idiots and tried to correct that. And boy did they make a monkey’s breakfast of that!
Our Chief Editor explained it at length in the last podcast. With the shambolic handling of the Spa incident Mercedes have opened the doors for all sorts of conspiracy theories just by making each and every mistake imaginable. They let Lewis get away with publicly duping the team after Hungary, but pilloried Rosberg for what was essentially a clumsy racing incident. Of course that’s going to raise suspicion about double standards being applied, because that is exactly what was done.
Not only have the Britney brigade been left scratching their heads about how it was okay to embarrass the team live on TV, but a racing incident the likes of which have happened countless times before, warrants a tribunal session at Brackley and a punishment. A secret punishment at that. Apparently it was not fit for minors, or are there any other reasons for not saying what it was?
Of course the reason became obvious when TJ13 heard from two independent sources within the Mercedes team confirming – that part of the punishment was that Nico was ordered to throw a race win on purpose, which he did at Monza. In some parts of the world that is called race manipulation, but since Pat & Flav’s creative timing of a safety car in Singapore 2008 that’s not exactly been a new feature in F1. Of course going public to say: Nico caused a loss of eighteen points to Lewis at Spa. We expect him to relinquish positions when possible to give those points back. would have made far too much sense. It is always better to do so in secret and lying about it in public.
You’d think that’s enough idiocy to last a lifetime, but Nikki and Toto are far more ambitious than that and mucked up the Singapore race too. It had all the ingredients of a classic, when their two drivers were separated by a mere 0.007 seconds after qualifying, but somehow they managed to break Nico’s car. If that was through negligence, accident or deliberate tampering doesn’t matter anymore as due to prior events all three of those are in the realm of possibility.
For a globally active brand like Mercedes, cars that suffer spontaneous combustion in qualifying or break catastrophically by being stationary in parc fermé is bad news. Nobody wants to park his S class in the driveway, only to find out the next morning that their prized possession has turned into a two ton paperweight or is actually on fire.
Most people capable of coherent thought – hell even Christian Horner for that matter – would have apologized to the driver for effing up and started a thorough investigation. But that would make far too much sense for the headless chicken brigade from Brackley. Instead they knee-jerked a lame excuse of a broken wire and released a lot of hot air about how car failures should not decide the championship. Why? Lewis has suffered pain in the nether regions three times already, Nico two times and if you’re manipulating results a la Monza, what sort of bleeping difference does an exploding motor make?
But wait, that’s not all. Toto and Nikki had another kneeslapper up their sleeve. Five days of ‘forensic examination’ later, they found out that Nico’s car died due to an invisible foreign substance, which three hours later was upgraded to an invisible substance routinely used in maintenance of steering columns. I’m surprised it wasn’t hostile pixie dust.
This new spin on things begs some questions. If that magic potion is routinely used in maintenance, wouldn’t the fact that it caused a catastrophic failure mean it was applied in the wrong way? Wouldn’t that mean someone effed up massively? And if Nico was required to give the points back to Lewis, does that apply to the team as well? And how come you’re doing maintenance work with alchemistic substances (you somehow can’t manage to tell us its name) in parc bloody fermé?
It’s pretty obvious that the bow & tie brigade at Brackley has completely lost the plot. They have a favourite outcome, don’t tell anybody what it is and are utterly inept at stage-managing said outcome. What they are currently doing quite masterfully however is damaging the name Daimler-Benz.