Toto Wolff says Mercedes will 'take action' to prevent Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's relationship deteriorating again after the latter upped the criticism of his team-mate for their opening lap clash during the United States Grand Prix.
Hamilton led from the start after making contact with Rosberg as they rounded first corner at a slippery Circuit of the Americas, the German running wide and slipping as low as fifth before eventually fighting back to lead at one stage.
Going on to lose the win – and his slim hopes of remaining in the title battle – after running off with eight laps to go and handing the initiative to Hamilton, an upset Rosberg nonetheless made his feelings felt in the press conference when he described the three-time champion as 'extremely aggressive'.
A view he would maintain in the hours after the race, Wolff admits he is concerned the famously strained relationship is worsening, twelve months after several flashpoints caused public rifts between the pair in the heat of title battle.
“If we don't take any action it has the potential,” he said when asked whether he saw a similar scenario unfolding as it did in Spa 2014. “Lewis came on the radio and said it [the contact] wasn't on purpose. I think it's something that we are going to talk about in a couple of days but this is the moment to celebrate a world champion who deserves to be a world champion and once the emotions have cooled down we will discuss.
“It is a crucial moment now to make sure the race and this incident don't release consequences within the team and splitting the two sides of the garage.”
When asked whether he though Rosberg would begin treating Hamilton differently in competition, Wolff admits to concerns, saying 'the danger is for sure imminent'.
Hamilton and Rosberg famously fell out at the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix, when Rosberg refused to back out of an attempted pass, making contact with Hamilton hard enough to put him out of the race.