Mercedes asks Twitter to solve driver rivalry

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email

Mercedes asked its half a million Twitter followers for advice on Thursday.

(CNN) - Mercedes' Formula One team is facing a million dollar question - and it has decided to ask the audience.

After another bruising on-track encounter between its drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes is considering introducing team orders for the remaining seven races.

The team's head of motorsport Toto Wolff described Sunday's lap two clash, which effectively ended Hamilton's race and Rosberg's chance of victory, as "unacceptable."

"It has been our clear policy to let the drivers race this year, but rule number one is don't hit each other," Wolff told reporters in Spa.

"To see that kind of contact, so early in the race, is an unacceptable level of risk to be taking out on track.

"It cannot - and will not - happen again."

To make sure it doesn't, Mercedes asked its half a million Twitter followers for advice on Thursday.

"Team orders or free racing? There has been a lot of debate since Belgium - this is a chance to have your say," it asked via Twitter.

It then posted two options, one in favor of team orders and another in favor of free racing.

Fans were asked to vote on the issue by either retweeting or marking their preferred option as a favorite.

The team then announced the result of the vote after four hours of voting, revealing 92 percent of the audience wanted the drivers to be allowed to continue to race each other.

Proving just how thorny the issue of team orders is in F1, Mercedes then asked: "To those who would prefer to see team orders implemented, how would you employ them?

"To the 92 percent in favor of free racing, what sanctions would you impose for breaking the 'no contact' rule? Would you suspend a driver for a race and not maximize constructors' points? Perhaps you'd set the order at qualifying slots?"

Rosberg and Hamilton are locked in an intense rivalry for the 2014 world title.

The German is now 29 points - more than a race win - ahead of his English rival and former teenage friend.

It seems when it comes to solving the problem at Mercedes there are no easy answers, even for the team itself.

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