Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has stressed the importance of Formula 1's manufacturer rivals putting their competitive battles to one side in order to help the sport grow and become stronger.

Mercedes has seen its rivalry with Ferrari reach a new height in 2017 as they battle for both F1 championships, with tension brewing over a change in oil burn rules that come into force for the Italian Grand Prix.

While teams have been known to act in self-interest in the past and refuse to make concessions that may have aided F1 as a whole, Wolff stressed the importance of working together at a time when the sport is looking to forge a fresh path and define its future under new owners Liberty Media.

"I’m not going to let the sport ruin a respect that I have for a personality off-track. I like the analogy to rugby: that you can be fierce and tough competitors and trying to punch each other during the match and win with all the necessary emotions, but you’re still able to have a beer afterwards," Wolff said.

"This is the attitude that we’ve had over the years: that we can be fierce competitors and we wouldn’t want to have a coffee during the race with each other.

"But it’s necessary. We are all stakeholders in this giant platform. And if this giant platform is successful, it makes the teams successful and it makes the sport successful and we are all benefitting from this.

"I think in the past – not only in the past, still today – there are individuals that are very narrow-mindedly focused on Formula 1 as is there was nothing else besides it. And the truth is that there are many interests that we share besides the fierce competition on track.

"And Formula 1 is at a crucial point with new shareholders, with new management. We all want the sport to do well and it is necessary that we are capable to sit around a table and discuss the sport, and be able to take our Ferrari or Mercedes or Sauber head off and say what in this particular situation is important for us to understand in terms of doing good for the sport.

"And this is the discussion we are having regularly, and this is influencing our relationship."


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