'Transparency suffering' due to title fight - Wolff
Toto Wolff says transparency is becoming an issue on either side of the Mercedes garage but has warned its drivers he does expect it to escalate any further.
Mercedes was unable to maximise its first laps during Q3 in Austria, giving Williams the opportunity to lock out the front row, though Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton ultimately recovered to record a one-two. The team's aura of invincibility faded slightly in the last two race weekends and Wolff believes this is reason enough for both sides of the garage to put their competitiveness aside and remain open with its information.
"Our first priority must be to let the two compete against each other," Wolff said. "They are on such a close level and we don't want to interfere from the outside and manipulate it in one or the other direction. So the playing field must be kept equal, that's for sure.
"Nevertheless, [on Saturday] the team had a bit of a moment. After FP3 we weren't in good shape and the atmosphere wasn't like in the races before. We see that it's getting very competitive, that transparency is suffering a little bit and we need to make sure that this is not detrimental to the team. We need the knowledge of the whole group in working together in the zone, the drivers and the engineers on both side of the garage.
"This is the spirit we want to maintain, it's not about winning the next couple of races, but hopefully staying competitive the next couple of years. Therefore every race we need to learn and we can only learn if we're having an open and transparent way of working with each other."
Wolff believes the drivers and their respective engineers will understand the need to see the bigger picture as well as their own duel for the title.
"Transparency is all about exchanging views and what the car does and learning from each other. We obviously have to look very carefully at it, but we don't want to keep the lap which is the lap which is showing how capable the car is until the final qualifying because we need to understand where we can improve the car. That is one of the examples.
"We don't want to see - and I'm not saying this has happened - any sandbagging and aborted laps when we need to learn about the car. It's hugely competitive, it's not just the drivers but two crews who are part of one team. They are very competitive as well. For the drivers the main agenda is winning the drivers' championship, whereas our agenda is winning the constructors' championships and making sure one of the drivers wins the drivers' championship."