‘No team orders’ is too simplistic a headline in the intricate world of formula one.
“We are going to try and avoid such measures,” German Rosberg said, while chairman Niki Lauda added: “They can race against each other”.
But when also asked on Friday if ‘conversations’ about team orders have taken place behind closed doors in Melbourne, team director Toto Wolff admitted: “Yes, we had those conversations, and I think it’s important to have those conversations.”
Wolff said Hamilton and Rosberg are not only fast but “very intelligent”.
“They treat each other in a very fair way. We went through some scenarios and I think we’re in a good place,” he added.
So what exactly does that mean?
Last year, Rosberg was unhappy when he was ordered to stay in third place behind Hamilton in Malaysia.
“We got caught out by surprise last year,” Wolff said at Albert Park, “and we don’t want this to happen again. It’s just very good discussions we’ve had.”
So, Wolff suggested to Germany’s Bild newspaper that the pair will not necessarily have a free hand to go wheel-to-wheel in Melbourne.
“Their first opponents are not their teammates, but everyone else,” he said.
“We have explained to them how to respond in more than two dozen scenarios, for example if one of them is ahead but suddenly has a fuel problem. They have to be clear what to do.”