Sebastian Vettel has turned down Nico Rosberg’s invitation to attend his engineering briefing in Malaysia.
In Australia, the rival Germans exchanged verbal blows in the press conference when Rosberg suggested he would be happy if Vettel’s Ferrari caught up. “Engineers room, debrief — I’ll be there,” Vettel grinned. “Friday, Malaysia, ok,” said Rosberg.
Rosberg duly arranged with his Mercedes bosses Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff to allow Vettel to attend the briefing, announcing the news in a major German newspaper and on his Facebook account. And in the team’s official pre-race preview, Rosberg was quoted as saying: “I’m particularly looking forward to welcoming our special guest Mr Vettel to the Friday engineering meeting.”
On the eve of the meeting, however, Vettel told the media he sniffs a PR stunt. “I got the growing impression that the story was degenerating into a PR stunt,” he was quoted at Sepang by Auto Motor und Sport. “It was all a bit staged for my taste. “I think I will better use my time on Friday to go to our briefings at Ferrari,” added Vettel, insisting the Italian team is “intelligent” enough without Mercedes’ help.
Rosberg was disappointed to hear it, dismissing the theory that it was just a stunt. “Sebastian really could have come,” he said. “Maybe there would have been two or three details that we would not have put on the table, but he could have listened to what I feel from the car and how it behaved in practice.”