Niki Lauda has admitted it is possible Sunday’s championship showdown will end with a crash.
Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have endured a tense relationship all season, they actually clashed at Spa and now the 2014 world champion will be decided in Abu Dhabi.
“The chance of a collision is great,” admitted team chairman Lauda, “because it’s the final blow in the title race. We could see some very risky overtaking manoeuvres.
“But we need to just accept the risk as we are letting them go free. But certainly the risk is much higher than before,” the F1 legend added.
But Lauda also told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that he hopes the warring duo will recognise the bigger picture and keep their battle clean on Sunday.
“Every driver knows that aggression like that can quickly end his own race,” he said.
Lauda insisted, however, that it is no longer the team’s role to sit the drivers down and urge them to drive sensibly.
“We are not going to interfere,” he said.
“Fortunately there are no more third parties who can still be world champion, so now we have a showdown. Any admonition would be counterproductive.
“They should be free and able to do what they want to be world champion. I just hope we do well enough as a team to get through the race with both cars and no technical defects,” Lauda added. (GMM)