Toto Wolff says conflict can always be expected between two drivers with equal status within a team, insisting Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's sporadic fallouts haven't had a detrimental effect on Mercedes.
Since Mercedes became the dominant force in F1 with the change in the regulations from 2014, Hamilton and Rosberg's rivalry has occasionally boiled over into conflict, most recently in the United States after the German complained Hamilton – who clinched the title on that day – was too aggressive at the start of the race.
With Wolff likening that particular spat to that of Spa-Francorchamps a year earlier, the Mercedes F1 boss said discussions had taken place behind closed doors to clear the air, even if Hamilton dismissed the necessity of them at the time.
With neither driver giving much away about the talks in the aftermath, Wolff played down the state of the relationship, saying it is symptomatic of having a team with no defined No.1 and No.2 status driver.0
“I think the relationship is okay. It is as good as it can be when you've got two drivers competing, being as close as they are in the same car, for the world championship. You cannot expect them to be best friends.
“We've had our ups and downs but, in general, it wasn't detrimental for the team, it was respectful and when you decide consciously to have a line-up with two drivers with equal status, it's clear that it sometimes needs balancing out but we'd rather do that than have a number one and number two.”
Hamilton achieved his third career world title with three races to spare, though Rosberg has won the last two events in Mexico and Brazil leading up to the Abu Dhabi finale.