DISAPPOINTED DRIVER: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was forced to retire from the 2014 Singapore GP on Sept 21 due to failed components and reliability issues. Image: AFP / Tim Chong
SINGAPORE, Malaysia - Mercedes has pledged to do all it can to prevent poor reliability deciding the destiny of this year's Formula 1 Drivers' championship.
This followed the finding that a broken wiring loom forced Nico Rosberg to retire from Sunday's (Sept 21) 2014 Singapore F1 GP that was won by his team mate Lewis Hamilton.
The win and Rosberg’s no-points-scored retirement put Briton Hamilton three points ahead of Rosberg in the championship with five races remaining.
Despite Hamilton's latest success the Mercedes team says it is deeply concerned that component failures can wreck one of the most thrilling title duels in recent times.
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff explained: "We don't want to have the spin that the championship was decided because one car let the driver down. We have to prevent that and we will do all we can to do so.
"Right now we need to re-focus, get our heads down, keep concentrating and work out what we can do to prevent DNFs (Did Not Finishes) and reliability problems."
The broking wiring in Rosberg's car on Sunday meant he could not start the race from second place on the grid, alongside Hamilton, and was forced to retire after 14 laps. He described it as “his toughest day of the year” and “very frustrating” as he watched Hamilton secure victory and the points leadership for the first time since May (2014).
Rosberg had problems before his car took to the track ahead of the race; no controls on the steering wheel - including gears and clutch - worked as he tried to get it out of the garage. Wolff said: "It looks like a broken loom in the steering column, which was within the duty cycle and not towards the end of its life. It just shut the whole thing down."
The failed parts were being sent back to the team’s HQ in England for a full analysis.
Rosberg said: "None of the steering-wheel functions worked. I had no hybrid power, no drag reduction system," he explained. "The gear paddles sort of worked - which was strange - but they would always upshift two gears at a time, so I had no fourth or sixth gear.
"It was just all over the place and that's why I was slow. My brake balance was completely in the wrong place and I couldn't brake properly because I couldn't change that. Everything was out.”It was the team's fourth mechanical retirement this season, the total shared equally two-two between the two drivers, but Hamilton has suffered other problems.
Technical boss Paddy Lowe added: "It's been my worry all year. I have a feeling that it's reasonably even in terms of how we've let them down. Let's hope this is the last time."
Wolff apologised to Rosberg, who stayed with the team for its post-race celebration, but struggled to enjoy Hamilton's win with the same vim he might have enjoyed over his own.Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
Wolff summed up the situation: "They need to get a grip. This takes time and we will do it."