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Wolff: Radio clampdown will intensify Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry

07 Mar 2016

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport chief Toto Wolff expects to see an even more ‘intense’ battle between his two drivers in 2016, thanks to tougher restrictions on team-to-driver radio communication.

The changes stem from stricter enforcement of regulations requiring each driver to drive his car ‘alone and unaided’, and mean that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will play a greater role in the outcome of Grands Prix.

“There is much less information and data being provided to the drivers during the races - on engine modes, on tyres and strategies,” Wolff told F1.com.

“So the natural outcome of these regulation changes is that it will be again much more down to the drivers to take decisions.”

“That means that the direct competition between the two is guaranteed and will be more intense.”

Though Hamilton was the clear victor in last year’s title fight, Rosberg came on strong in the closing stages of the season, taking six successive pole positions and winning the final three races.

That prompted speculation of a very close intra-team battle to come for 2016, though Wolff is keen to stress that the interests of Mercedes will still come first.

“Of course this is still a team and neither we nor the drivers will opt for a decision which could jeopardize the team’s reputation or the team’s performance,” he added.