The leading lights at the Mercedes team have been in the wars in recent days.
Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton was forced to pull out of the opening day of the second Formula 1 pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday after just eleven laps behind the wheel of the team’s F1W06 Hybrid.
“[He] is unwell and not able to continue driving today,” the team confirmed via its Twitter feed. It was reported that the two-time champion was struggling with a fever.
The team’s reserve driver, Pascal Wehrlein, had been loaned out the Force India team for the day, but the 20-year-old was summoned to switch cars midway through the day so the Silver Arrows could complete more on-track mileage.
Wehrlein’s reassignment was considered curious by many onlookers, given many expected Hamilton’s teammate, Nico Rosberg, would have been first call to get behind the wheel in the Briton’s place.
Rosberg, however, was also unit to drive. Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reported that Rosberg was suffering the effects of a trapped nerve in his neck and had been “advised by doctors to completely recover from the inflammation, lest the problem recurs”.
Rosberg had acquired the injury between the two test sessions and his participation was considered doubtful given the high corner loading experienced at the Spanish circuit.
Those concerns appear to be unfounded, however, as Rosberg is driving at the time of publication.
Incredibly, Rosberg and Hamilton weren’t the only key Mercedes folk to be suffering medical complaints in recent weeks.
Team boss Toto Wolff was seen hobbling around the paddock on crutches during the first pre-season test at Jerez earlier in the month.
The Austrian – who broke his collarbone in a cycling accident midway through the 2014 season – was rumoured to have fractured his knee after falling off an exercise ball!
It goes to show that the World Champions are, indeed, human after all.
Image via XPB Images