Ex-Benetton team manager Joan Villadelprat has urged Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff to remind Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to prioritise the team, not themselves.
Tensions have been brewing between Hamilton and Russell over recent rounds, with a battle for superiority unfolding.
Whilst Hamilton has been with the Silver Arrows since 2013 and has brought them unprecedented success, Russell is eager to make his mark.
He did this from the get-go last year, where in his maiden season for Mercedes he became just the third team-mate of Hamilton’s to beat him in the Drivers’ Championship.
Hamilton was far from his best in 2022; however, he’s been much stronger this year.
As a result, the 38-year-old is comfortably ahead of Russell in the Drivers’ Championship; however, they recently collided at back-to-back events.
At the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton and Russell were battling when the 103-time race winner ran wide at Spoon, forcing both drivers off the circuit.
The at the following race in Qatar, Hamilton collided with Russell at the first corner, causing them both to spin.
Had the incident at the Qatar Grand Prix not happened, then a double podium was on the cards.
Their issues have allowed Ferrari to close to within 22 points of the Germans in the Constructors’ Championship, something Hamilton’s disqualification at the United States Grand Prix has helped.
Both incidents took place at events where Wolff wasn’t present, as he was back in Austria recovering from knee surgery.
Wolff has been urged to remember his responsibilities and to remind the drivers that they are part of a team, and that “helping each other” is the only way of getting the Silver Arrows back on top.
“It’s difficult,” Villadelprat told PlanetF1.com.
“There’s no one way, one book you can read on how to manage to have two animals in the same garage, but you need to convince them that the most important thing is to work as a team, that they can only be as good as the team is when helping each other – that’s how the team grows.
“Make the basics that everybody knows but everybody forgets: In the end, you are an employee and you will be here today and, tomorrow, you might not be there. And the team will be there.
“So that kind of mentality – think Frank Williams at Williams – the mentality of ‘Hey boys, remember that you are both working here’ has always been a big difference in England than what has been, say, at Ferrari. The drivers there are stars, they’re gods, you name it.
“As a team principal, what you need to focus is on the hundreds of people you’ve got in the factory. Not on the two drivers. You need to think about how a thousand families eat – that is your responsibility. So that takes priority in everything in your life, not the drivers.”