Mercedes experienced one of the most toxic driver relationships in recent history when Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton fought for the title during their time together.
The two drivers were childhood friends and seemed inseparable at a younger age, but the heat of battle got to the pair who were not even on speaking terms but the end of their spell as teammates.
Hamilton refused to help Rosberg out in Abu Dhabi, backing the title contender back into the pack and famously hit his teammate in Spain when battling the German.
So far in 2022 Hamilton has worked well with new teammate George Russell, with the two British drivers even taking part in a respectful battle for the win last time out in Brazil, but team principal Toto Wolff has warned that the two drivers could clash in the future.
“They are both alpha drivers, which is good,” said Wolff when asked about his drivers.
“We don’t want a puppy in the car. We will manage this as good as we can.
“I’m sure behind closed doors there will be discussions but that’s what you expect from racing drivers. You don’t want to have a lion in the car and a puppy outside. Their characters are good, their personalities are good, we all know what we need to achieve.”
Hamilton has recently said that he is not overly bothered about finishing behind his teammate in this year’s championship, which looks set to happen, but hinted that things might be different should they be competing for a title.
Hamilton’s last teammate Valtteri Bottas was always willing to play the team game and help out the seven-time world champion where necessary, but it appears clear to Mercedes that Russell will be a lot more competitive and willing to fight Hamilton that the Finn.
Wolff has admitted that there has already been flash points between the pair behind the scenes, but has reassured fans that such arguments have been healthy and are necessary for the drivers to be at the top of their games.
“It can get heated because the competition is on and we allowed it, overarching that is always going to be the good character,” explained the Austrian.
“Nothing vicious, nothing underhand, that’s what’s happening between the two.”
Mercedes will be hoping that they can provide Hamilton and Russell with a title winning car in 2023 and dreaming of a harmonious relationship between the two for years to come.