Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has implemented a new code of conduct with regard to team orders for drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Wolff was forced to act following events that unfolded during the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of last month when Hamilton was surprisingly told to allow Rosberg by.
Running third and fourth at the time, and with 20 laps remaining, the differing strategies of the duo forced the pit wall crew at Mercedes into what non-executive chairman Niki Lauda later described as “a panic”.
Starting from pole position, early crashes and safety car periods had resulted in Mercedes opting for an aggressive three-stop plan with Rosberg in a bid to ensure he took the chequered flag.
Starting from the pit lane and last on track at the end of lap one, those same crashes and safety cars played its part in propelling Hamilton into a fight for a podium, so two stops was preferred.
Hamilton, however, declined to let Rosberg past when told to do so, citing the fact the German was never close enough to make an overtaking manoeuvre.
The duo eventually finished third and fourth in the race, allowing Hamilton to close the gap on a disgruntled Rosberg in the drivers’ standings to 11 points.
In clearing the air with both men, Wolff maintains the drivers will continue to be free to race over the closing eight grands prix but with a new directive should circumstances arise.
Wolff said: “We will augment our team agreement before the season that the driver behind must clearly show he is faster before a passing manoeuvre can be instructed.”
Wolff appreciates if Hamilton had lost momentum in pulling to one side for Rosberg it would have compromised his chances of a strong result.
“No one should have to go off the gas,” added Wolff.
“Our drivers are allowed to freely compete against each other for the rest of the season when it comes to the victory.”