Toto Wolff says he has no fears of a similar breakdown in team-mate rivalries as seen between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton with the arrival of new Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.
The Mercedes chief had to continually manage a fractious relationship between Hamilton and Rosberg during their time as team-mates which was stagnated by a number of high-profile clashes, most notably in the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix when the pair collided and crashed out together on the opening lap.
After Rosberg's shock retirement just days after clinching last year's F1 world title, Wolff endured an intense winter period aiming to find the German's successor and has selected Valtteri Bottas who he sees as someone who can 'fill Nico's shoes'.
Regarding the inter-team rivalry ready to be sparked between Hamilton and Bottas, the Mercedes boss is confident the pair's mutual respect and working relationship will remain intact.
“I think the balance between Valtteri and Lewis works,” Wolff said. “They are two very different personalities and for us it was important to fill Nico's shoes. Nico had a certain role within the team and Valtteri fits into that.
We believe the interaction and dynamics between the two drivers is going to work well. They respect each other and so far from what I have seen Valtteri has settled in well.”
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Wolff has conceded it was a tricky process to find Rosberg's replacement and there was no extra time off for any of the Mercedes crew in preparation for the 2017 technical regulation overhaul, a new driver plus the departure of Paddy Lowe.
“This year there wasn't any holidays after we came back from Abu Dhabi with Nico retiring,” he said. “There was not really time to relax and recharge the batteries, so it has been seamless going into 2017.
“The driver question was a difficult one, as was Paddy Lowe going, so to make the team stronger for the future you need to carefully evaluate which steps to take. This is why everyday was important this winter.”
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