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So Mercedes are in a situation in which their drivers are trying to beat the other one into the ground; and they refuse to hand out any team orders. This stance continues into the rest of the season, and once again raises the question of whether having two number one drivers is a good idea for teams such as Mercedes.

On the one hand, it looks the obvious solution. The periods of dominance enjoyed by Red Bull and Ferrari were characterised by one of their drivers being much the stronger, either contractually guaranteed as a number 1 or just more proficient at using the contemporary regulations. Both of these teams guaranteed both titles with ease for a number of consecutive years, even when their advantage was narrowed. Ferrari at their most dominant even secured second in the championship. The perfect situation?

But does a tree in a forest make a noise if no-one is hearing it? Put yourself in the position of Petronas, or Monster, or Blackberry; paying to be on the side of a Formula One car. They will want the attention of the globe to be on their logos during F1 races, watched by as many people as possible. Mercedes' policy seems to give them a better chance of achieving this than does the Red Bull policy.

Because the squabble between Hamilton and Rosberg means that Mercedes in 2014 are on the screen quite often, either battling at the front or fighting through the field. And the whole fight is generating headlines (with more pictures of the two drivers in sponsored race suits) and presumably interest. Red Bull have had races where their self-sponsor was barely seen because the FOM understandably never showed Vettel; admittedly, the choice of a suitably dead beat team-mate planted him into midfield battles the car shouldn't have been in. :p

So, are Mercedes playing a cleverer game than we assumed regarding sponsorship. They're getting the exposure of title fighters rather than title strollers. They're on the TV more. What's the point of being plastered on the side of a car so successful no-one sees it?
If the WDC is one of your objectives, you need a strong no.1 and a supporting driver. If it isn't you want the best drivers. Downfall of that is that they will take points off eachother and it means you can get on the short end in the WDC.

Currently Mercedes is lucky that their car is so much faster than the rest, otherwise other drivers would be in the mix for the WDC. Actually Ricciardo almost is already.
The golden rule of marketing: No publicity is bad publicity. Formula One would be bankrupt were it not for the fact that it generates so much bad publicity. The crash in Belgium gave Mercedes and F1 a huge boost, when all around were shouting that Merc and F1 had just flushed itself down the toilet it ascended from the ashes to the howls of derision.
What a wonderful thing is the Yang and the Ying.
A quick look at the history of F1 should be enough for anyone to understand what makes for good marketing in F1. Two strong drivers fighting for the title is one thing but when they're team mates it adds an even more interesting dynamic. Prost v Lauda, Piquet v Mansell or Prost v Senna are still talked about today even by fans who were too young to see it live. Compare that to Schumachers reputation after Austria 02 or Vettels multi 21 moment. When the strongest drivers in the field go without challenge in the long term it can damage not only the reputation of the driver but that of the team. In pure marketing terms it pays to let your drivers go for it.

Red Bull face an interesting challenge though. If Hamilton and Rosberg are kicking lumps out of each other at the head of the field people see Mercedes and think I want to drive a car made by the team that do that. For Red Bull no one thinks "Wow, Vettel and Webber had a bun fight, think I'll go and see how much mechanical and aerodynamic brilliance they've poured into a high caffine energy drink!". Success on the track doesn't directly translate to success in marketing. It's far easier for disgruntled fans to not buy a can of Red Bull if they think the team are favouring one driver over the other than it is for some one to say "Right, that's it. Rosberg is getting special treatment, I'm not going to buy a Mercedes"
I think this accident is a wake-up call for Mercedes. They can't afford to lose more points, so they will probably turn down Rosberg's engine in the next races until Hamilton is close again in the championship. By then Ricciardo won't be a threat anymore, so the Mercedes drivers can fight each other again.
Turning down Rosbergs' engine would be a really stupid move imo. RBR is close enoigh as it is, it'll only risk them losing more ppints.
In Monza they may get away with it.
Maybe the most prudent option is to simply split strategies. As Monza is likely a 1-stop race, it means that Hamilton should start on softs, while Rosberg should start on hards. If they are quick enough in Q2, that may well be a possibility.
If Rosberg qualifies on hards, maybe he only gets p4. Passing will be harder as well, so it will seriously comprimise him, and the team. They'd be really stupid of they do that. If they do, and Hamilton has a dnf and Ricciardo wins again, I'd be laughing my ass off.
If it isn't going to rumble on and on they need to draw a line under it now and move on. Nothing can prevent the drivers from dwelling on the events of Spa but any further action would be pretty pointless. Everyone will be watching Mercedes now.

Just imagine what will happen if Hamilton or Rosberg find themselves out of position on a different strategy for example, and the other car is all over the back of his team mate. How will the team treat situations like this going forward ??
I seem to recall two team mates going at it hammer and tongs in 2007 and someone else slipping through to take the drivers Championship. Perhaps a case of deja vu all over again for L Hamilton esq? That would make me chuckle.

edit: or even 1986.
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If Mercedes can solve their reliability gremlins, which is far from a certainty, they will get on with things unfettered. We've already seen what can happen when Hamilton's car holds together during qualifying.
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