Gerhard Berger has accused Mercedes GP of stage-managing its own result at the Belgian Grand Prix in order to give Michael Schumacher a more memorable 20th anniversary race.
Despite team orders being legalised for 2011, the Austrian has slammed Mercedes team management for effectively ordering Nico Rosberg to back off and give Schumacher a chance to pass for fifth place, which made the seven-time world champion 'best of the rest' behind the leading Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari runners. More incredibly, Schumacher had had to come from the very back of the grid after losing a wheel before setting a time in qualifying, confirming his love affair with the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
Rosberg, who was told to ease off and conserve fuel in the closing laps, eventually finished sixth overall, taking the flag just over a second behind his team-mate.
"It should have been a race and not a commercial shoot," Berger fumed during an interview with Servus TV
, "In the circumstances, it was totally wrong for Mercedes to do such strategies. They should be putting more thought into making a winning car."
The Brackley-based German team is currently 'best of the rest' in the constructors' championship but, despite Rosberg claiming the lead from row three in Belgium - and sitting seventh overall behind the Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari pairings in the drivers' standings - has already started work on its 2012 machine after admitting disappointment with the WO2.