During the build up to this Grand Prix in Monaco, Toto Wolff took part in the Classic Mille Miglia with Mercedes director of engineering Aldo Costa.
Rather amusingly, it is reported that the passionate Italian spectators heckled the pair whilst they drove a classic Mercedes-Benz SL 300 from 1952. “Costa, you have to go back to Maranello!” and “Forza Ferrari, this year we are going to get the title.” was reputed to have been repeatedly directed at the Mercedes F1 pair.
In between driving and fending off the heckling crowd, the Austrian team boss for Mercedes AMG F1 revealed how he summed up his drivers in the last few years to Luigi Perna of the Italian publication, Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Nico Rosberg had a fundamental role to play in vehicle development. His head worked like an engineer. He and Lewis didn’t just mutually challenge each other. If one of the two did not find the optimal set-up, he could always rely on the fact that he had the set-up of the other as a reserve solution. “
Speaking about the current line-up, Wolff had this to say:
“With Valtteri Bottas, we have found the best possible substitute for Nico. The dynamics in the team have changed completely. With Lewis and Nico, we have gone through different phases – from friendship to rivalry to hostility and snobbishness. Between Valtteri and Lewis, on the other hand, there is zero controversy. They respect each other and look forward to a good result of the other. I think Lewis has changed last winter. He became a true team player from a loner. “
If true, perhaps this change is a shame? After all who would deny Nico Rosberg at Monaco 2014 ‘accidentally’ parking his car – causing yellow flags and ruining Lewis’s shot at pole wasn’t an interesting team dynamic?