There was off-track interest ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest as a result of the Mercedes AMG Petronas 'team-building' exercise that involved a dozen or so of the team’s engineers who went for a 40-mile cycle ride and managed to have a high-speed pile-up as they hurtled along beside the Danube near Vienna.
The result of this was that seven of them ended up in hospital with a variety of injuries including broken ribs, dislocated shoulders and, in one case, a nasty gash after the gentleman in question avoided the crash and then toppled over, forgetting that he had toe-clamps and head-butted a tree. The worst injuries were reserved for team boss Toto Wolff, who broke a wrist, elbow, shoulder and collar bone.
The incident was caused when the team’s MD Paddy Lowe lost control of his bike in front of the peleton. In the end, however, it proved to be a great exercise in team creation as colleagues under fire bond together best.
Fortunately the team's race drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, were not there, as Wolff admitted that making a phone call to Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche telling him that his stars were out of action as the result of a team-building exercise might have been rather difficult, particularly as the team does not have a test and reserve driver these days.
The word is that it may soon get a number of them as there is a plan to create a new Mercedes Junior Team along the same lines as the celebrated concept in the 1990s which involved Michael Schumacher, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger, although that was actually a copy of the BMW Junior in the 1970s which helped to develop the careers of Manfred Winkelhock, Marc Surer and Eddie Cheever.
It's reputed that the team will probably include 16-year-old Max Verstappen, who is doing great things at the moment in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Van Amersfoort Racing. The youngster is a rookie in the series this year but in recent weeks has racked up seven wins and is closing in on championship leader Esteban Ocon, a 17-year-old Frenchman who drives for Prema Powerteam and is also a rookie in the series.
He has eight wins to his name but has been overshadowed recently by Verstappen. With 21 races having been run so far this season, the championship has been dominated by the pair.