Toto Wolff says he stands by his warning towards Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg that one will be forced to leave Mercedes if relations between the two team-mates don't improve in 2016.
Though there have arguably been fewer flashpoints in Hamilton and Rosberg's occasionally rocky relationship in 2015 compared with a fractious 2014 campaign, relations dwindled again during the latter rounds following a coming together between the pair during the United States Grand Prix, for which Rosberg described as 'too much'.
With crunch talks taking place behind closed doors in the wake of the Austin spat, though Wolff is confident Hamilton and Wolff can overcome their bad blood for the sake of the team, he maintains he is still prepared to drop one of them if relations begin to take their toll on the Mercedes team as a whole.
"Lewis and Nico know very well what was meant," Wolff told Sky Sports F1
. "The spirit within the team is essential. It makes us who we are and what we are. If there was animosity within the team that would be to the detriment of the team and if we were to recognise that we were unable to contain the competition then we would have to look at how we have set up the driver line-up for the future."
Despite this, Wolff is still keen for his drivers to tussle with one another on track, so long as it doesn't boil over into harming Mercedes.
“We love the racing on track and we think that the controversy and the racing should be hard," he continued. "It's good for the team because it pushes us forward and keeps us out of the complacency zone. We opted for two drivers who could win the world championship. Because they are very competitive it is important to make sure it doesn't spill over into the team and cause controversy in the garage. This is one team and we move forward together."