Mercedes F1 technical chief Paddy Lowe admits that the team has been frustrated by this year’s reliability problems, which struck again in the Abu Dhabi GP and cost the team the chance to end the year with yet another one-two finish.
“It wasn’t the ideal race for us, as we would have liked a one-two,” he told this writer. “We came into the race with a target of a one-two, and we told Nico that, even if it had meant Lewis had won the championship anyway.
“There was a failure in the cooling system for the hybrid systems, and that was the thing that caused everything to fall apart around it. That was the core of the problem, and it cascaded into a number of other issues. Everything is linked together – the turbo isn’t working very well, and so on. Different things were coming in and out.
“I think if we stand back and analyse the season as a whole we weren’t as reliable as we should have been, but actually the unreliability fell quite equitably in the end. But overall, great to win the race itself. It takes us to 16 wins, and it was great for Lewis.”
Summarising the team’s phenomenal 2014 campaign he said: “I think it’s been the most fantastic season, and we just wanted to finish it in a nice way, and that’s what’s been done. Of course Nico won’t particularly feel like that, but he’s been an absolutely fantastic sport, very respectful to Lewis and the team. Great credit to him for that, I think it must be quite difficult for him. He won the inaugural pole position trophy, and that’s no mean feat.
“This last part of the season they have both driven exceptionally well. It’s the closing part, where you’re under pressure, that really counts, and it’s most difficult to keep it together. Both of them have shown themselves to be capable World Champions, and that gives promise to Nico for the future.
“You can’t take anything for granted over the winter in F1. We just have to do our best and see where we turn up next year.”