Toto Wolff has reiterated a commitment to ensuring Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg retain equal status within the Mercedes fold following the confirmation both will stay with team until the end of 2018.
Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes announced Rosberg has put pen to paper on a two year extension for 2017 and 2018, bringing him into line with Hamilton, who is currently in the first season of his own three year contract.
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The new deal comes amidst ongoing friction between the team-mates and title rivals, an already volatile relationship that was sparked further earlier this month when Hamilton and Rosberg collided on the final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, with Mercedes backtracking on its initial threat to introduce team orders in the wake of the controversial clash - choosing instead to tweak its so-called 'Rules of Engagement' - Wolff suggests he is willing to ride out the occasional internal fracas.
“I'm never confident that we are on top of the issues. It's rock and roll - or they rock the boat - but we are conscious in that decision,” he told Sky Sports F1
. “We know that sometimes it can be a bumpier road having two number one drivers in the car that keep pushing each other. It raises the performance of the car but it gives those moments where it's about managing a difficult situation, so we are conscious about that.
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“It was never in doubt that we wanted to stay with Nico and I guess it was of interest to him to stay in the best current car.”
Indeed, Wolff maintains both Rosberg and Hamilton will continue to hold equal status within Mercedes right to the end of 2018.
“It was always very clear with the two of them that this is the philosophy that we will follow of having absolute equal material and equal opportunity. I hope it goes on until the end. It's exciting for us, it's exciting for the fans. It might make me grow some grey hair but up to now I'm doing OK!”
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