Toto Wolff says another collision between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg could result in the imposition of team orders or even race bans.
With the silver-clad duo first and second on the grid at Silverstone, Mercedes chief Wolff would not divulge what deterrents have been put in place to prevent a recurrence of an Austrian GP-style crash.
But he did not deny that team orders or even one of the drivers being suspended are among the options.
“Such things are not the ideal scenario, of course,” Wolff told German television RTL.
“But the two of them have a great responsibility to this brand Mercedes, for our team spirit and our partners and sponsors, and for all of the Mercedes employees around the world.
“If all of this work is thrown away with a collision, then at some point there has to be a sanction. It must come to an end,” he added.
When asked specifically if a race ban is among the options, he confirmed: “Yes, that may be a consequence.”
However, world champion Hamilton said after securing pole in front of his home crowd on Saturday that he will race Rosberg to the first corner as usual.
“Of course what we have been told will be at the back of our minds for sure, but that does not mean that we can’t continue to drive hard as we have done,” he said.
Rosberg agreed: “Yeah, we’re still battling out there. It’s just a small modification to how — but that’s it.”
However, even racing purist and Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda is warning the duo to be very careful.
“There is always the option to get off the throttle,” he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. “Whoever wants to be world champion needs to have points.
“I would prefer to lose one or two places than to fly off the track,” Lauda added.