The ongoing reliability problems at Mercedes have given the team a lot of cause for concern, and team boss Toto Wolff insists that everything is being done that could be done to address the issues.
Mercedes has a group of engineers focussed on improving reliability, and Wolff has faith in their ability.
“We have a great reliability team,” he said. “This is a group of people who are really dedicated to quality, and I’m really proud of their department. Considering that fact it’s even more astonishing that we keep continuing to have those issues.
“If we could make anything more to stop the DNFs, we would do it, I would break my arm again in order to stop the reliability issues! We just have to get on top of the problems.”
Inevitably Mercedes is concerned about how the eventual championship will be perceived, especially if one of the drivers suffers another critical retirement.
“We don’t want to have the spin in there that the championship was decided because one car let the driver down, so we need to refocus, and keep our heads down, and keep concentrating and finding out what we can, what the utmost is which can be done to prevent DNFs and reliability problems.”
Regarding his pep talk with Rosberg he said: “I told him that I was sorry for having let him down. We are doing this in both directions, you need to be just open and have that philosophy in the team that whoever f***s up, you need to take that on you, and he was OK. But there’s not a lot you can do in that moment. It was just important as a team member you shouldn’t be over the moon following the other car that’s in the lead, and one breaks down, you don’t want to have that. You want to balance that.”
Rosberg’s problem in Singapore could not be solved by changing steering wheels.
“It looks like it was a broken loom within the steering column, a loom that was within the duty cycle, it was not something which was going towards the end of its life cycle. It just shut the whole thing down. The only thing which functioned was the gearchange, and then the radio came back. There was no hybrid energy any more.
“When we called him in we changed the steering wheel, tried to get it going, but it wouldn’t. The only way of getting it going would have been to put first gear and high revs, and this is when I said stop. We didn’t want to have a jack flying out of the rear of the car and hurting somebody.”
“The whole thing is going out of the car, it’s going with us to the UK tonight, and we are trying to analyse it in a really forensic way to try to understand where our problems started and why it appeared when he went in the car and was just about to leave the garage.”