Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits that the team doesn’t know why its drivers struggled to find performance in Singapore – but says he hopes that the issue was specific to the street track.
Lewis Hamilton retired with an engine problem having run fourth, and his position was inherited by team mate Nico Rosberg, who was far behind the podium finishers.
“I am always pessimistic side,” said Wolff. “But I don’t believe that you lose car performance from one weekend to another like we did, and someone else found 1.5 seconds. We spoke to the drivers, the degradation was massive and unexplainable from us.
“We also need to stay calm as this is a very specific circuit, very specific the way the tyre operates compare to other circuits. We have Suzuka in one week, the car is the same, we haven’t lost performance of the car. We need a methodical approach.
“You need to find the right balance, you cannot write it off and say that was a one-off, and on the other side you cannot say you are terrified, that would be panic mode and completely inappropriate and wrong. It is about analysing. We believe this is a circuit specific problem on tyres where we didn’t get grip, this is how you explain the gaps, and we have to show that in Suzuka unless we have that very heavy rain forecast for Saturday/Sunday.”
Wolff admits that Ferrari’s performance has picked up lately.
“We have already seen that already in Monza when they bought the new engine, they continued to develop the car but we should not fall into depression. Remember Spa they had a very difficult weekend, and a car not good enough for a podium. We must stay focused and aware that we are a very solid team and solid car and solid engine.”