Mercedes boss: Crash won't influence Nico Rosberg contract talks

Mercedes boss: Crash won't influence Nico Rosberg contract talks

Nico Rosberg's dramatic crash with Lewis Hamilton on the last lap of the Austrian Grand Prix will have no effect on his long-term future, his Mercedes team have insisted.

Despite protesting his innocence, Rosberg, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was deemed to be at fault by the stewards for the coming together at turn two.

Rosberg was on course to head into Sunday's British Grand Prix with a 31-point lead over Hamilton, but after he limped home in fourth following damage sustained to his front wing in the crash, and with Hamilton taking the chequered flag, the margin of his advantage is now a slender 11.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was apoplectic with his drivers in the immediate aftermath of the crash. "It was brainless," he said. "We are looking like a bunch of idiots.''

But when asked if the collision - a third between the Mercedes drivers this season - would have any bearing on Rosberg's contract talks, Wolff replied: "No. The contract is a long-term decision and it is not influenced by a race incident."

Rosberg is widely expected to sign a new deal with the team he joined in 2010, but discussions are still ongoing.

The 31-year-old German has employed the services of Gerhard Berger, the Austrian 10-time grand prix winner, to conduct the negotiations on his behalf.

Berger also believes it is unlikely that the crash - for which the overwhelming majority in the paddock believe Rosberg was to blame - will have an effect on the German's whereabouts beyond this season..

"No, I don't think so," Berger said. "I don't see the mistake on Nico's part, and I don't see the mistake by Lewis. I respect the team policy."

Wolff and Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe will explore in the coming days whether to introduce team orders from Silverstone onwards.

And Berger believes that it could be the only option to ensure Rosberg and Hamilton do not crash again.

"The only thing you can do to avoid it happening again is to stay in position on the last lap," Berger said. "From a racing point, I appreciate very much that they are hardcore, so let them go, but you need to handle it in a good way.

"If all these things happen on lap 10 or lap 20, and you try to fix it with a team order nobody would feel good.

"But when you are leading a team one-two after a flat-out race like this, and you say 'keep position in the final laps', people would have much more of an understanding."

Rosberg, who refused to accept blame for the crash, added: "Toto and Paddy are extremely competent people and that decision is in their hands.

"If they feel that team orders are the way to go, then I would accept that, and that's it. It's not in my control."

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