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Wolff: Hamilton engine failures not linked

NEWS STORY
03/10/2016

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits team cannot find a link between Lewis Hamilton's engine failures.

Following his magnificent effort in qualifying on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton looked all set to convert it to a win on Sunday, and at the same time close the gap to championship leader, and teammate, Nico Rosberg.

Then, without any warning, on Lap 40, smoke and flames poured from the rear of the Briton's car; "No... no... he moaned in pained frustration"

Speaking in the moments after his retirement, as his teammate, who had dropped to the back of the field after being hit by Sebastian Vettel at the start, cruised to a podium finish and another 15 points, Hamilton appeared to point the finger at his team.

However, the 'someone high up' he was referring to when he talked of things going against him, wasn't a Mercedes plot rather a reference to God's will.

Nonetheless the Briton had kicked off a media frenzy, and in no time at all Hamilton was trending on Twitter as fans aired their frustration, anger and suspicions.

While Hamilton subsequently reaffirmed his total faith in Mercedes, the German team began a forensic analysis, keen to placate the driver, the media and fans that foul play is not an issue.

Earlier this year, as the Briton suffered a string of MGU-H issues, Wolff took the unusual step of issuing an open letter to fans assuring them that there was no conspiracy. However their frustration was compounded when in Belgium Hamilton had to take a string of grid penalties in order to replace the engine components which had let him down in the first place.

Keen to play down any thought of a conspiracy, Wolff has said the various failures are not linked, that there is no identifiable pattern to them.

"It's interesting, as most of the failures were not linked to each other," he said, according to Motorsport.com. "They were different failures, and it was failures that were either in the supply chain, or they were material problems, or assembly problems or just a mistake in the design or fatigue, below the mileage where it should have been. There's no pattern in those failures that we can identify.

While some have said that the common link is the driver himself and that Hamilton might simply be pushing too hard, Wolff admitted that at the time of the failure the Briton was indeed 'giving it laldy', as some might say.

"He was flat out, we needed to build the 23-second gap to allow a free pitstop," said the Austrian. "Red Bull did everything right, pitting Verstappen when they did. They had two cars to play the gamble with the virtual safety car period, and then there was the risk at the end that they would leave one out on the hard to try to make the one-stop, which would've been extremely difficult.

"They still could have tried it with one of the two, and pit the other one. So we were trying to extend our stint and it was going in the right direction because we were building that gap. But just before it was enough, just before we were about to pit him, the engine blew up.

"It is a mechanical sport, and these things happen," he concluded. "I remember in 2014 when Nico had the failure at the start of the last race, and it's frustrating that it comes at the crucial moment in the championship and we are letting him down this year. It's him this year.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Pavlo, 05/10/2016 8:57

"Oh, come on, stop repeating this noncence about Lewis having all 3 fails of 43 engines. Just check Monza 2015, please. Or Singapore 2014 - it was not ICE so what? Rosberg still got technical failure and DNF and Lewis won the race. Or if the year is unlucky for Lewis, then the previous years don't count?
And if you compare Mercedes with other cars, they are incredibly reliable, so while the team should of course take it serious and investigate, I honestly don't see a reason for fans to worry or complain."

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Jonno, 04/10/2016 18:27

"Okay Tonto, publish the reason for the engine failure. You know what caused the failure by now. Put up or shut up.

"

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3. Posted by Kico28n, 04/10/2016 14:27

"Gosh Spindoctor! You & your Hamilton Fan friends are savage! Thanks for the detailed forensic analysis although as someone who has been following F1 closely since the late 70's it's fair to say I have a reasonable grasp on what it is all about. Actually, I didn't say "it was" but "perhaps". Certainly a far more reasonable explanation than the tin foil hat conspiracy theory which the logistics of defy belief, but make a good Hamilton induced media beat up. Keeps him & F1 in the headlines - Bernie must love it! Truth be known I believe it is just down to pure bad luck, it can & did happen, regardless of the odds. Why is that so hard for you all (& Lewis) to accept? An incredibly talented driver Mr Hamilton may be, but has always lacked humility & grace (when things don't go his way). Clearly I am old school as they are important character qualities that don't seem to matter to the newer generations. PS: No you are not the only F1 fan who loathes the tyre management. I am with you on that one."

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4. Posted by Spindoctor, 04/10/2016 11:28

"@Kicko28n
What on earth can "...perhaps his driving style isn't as sympathetic as others .." mean?
Are you suggesting that Lewis usually beats Nico on the (increasingly rare) occasions when his car works properly because Nico is being more "sympathetic"?

Some people seem to assume that LH is just some kind of "Jock" who jumps in a great car, drives it flat-out without any input into the development and set-up, then "breaks" the tyres, engines etc. because of his lack of "sympathy" (read 'ignorance') for\of the technology.
A small clue as to LH's driving style and technical nous might be gleaned by looking at the fuel-consumption comparisons between him & Nico & other drivers. When these were regularly shown during races LH was usually one of the more economical drivers: hardly a sign of over-aggressive use of the car & engine.....

Similar comments are made regarding his use of tyres, yet historically LH's tyre management (all other things being equal) is on par with most other drivers. This aspect of modern F1 is perhaps the most complex compromise. It is mainly influenced not by driving style, but by car design (particularly aero) & set-up. There is tyre management in all motor sport, but only in F1 does it appear to be so dominant.
Am I the only F1 fan who finds the constant need for "tyre-management" at the expense of racing to be one of its least attractive features?
"

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5. Posted by hussainahm, 04/10/2016 7:36

"Perhaps now Mercedes will turn down their engines in the remaining races to ensure they can reach the finish line, and in that way we will see Red Bull and Ferrari fighting them more often."

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6. Posted by telstar, 04/10/2016 7:24

"The shame is on Mercedes, while holding on to their Constructors Championship, they let their own champion down in the defence of his title. We want to see Hamilton and Rosberg challenging each other on track not preventing Hamilton with mechanical problems so that Rosberg can win unchallenged. Mercedes has made this year's championship hollow and a shamble."

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7. Posted by Hjdpjvt, 04/10/2016 6:31

"Kico28n:
Looking at just engines;
could you provide us with your calculation on the probability of 3 failures for one individual,
versus zero for anyone else, out of a total of 43?
Additionally, you may want to take a look at this tabulation of failures for L.H.
"Hamilton's title challenge going up in flames and it's nothing but bad luck"
http://www.straitstimes.com/sport/formula-one/hamiltons-going-up-in-flames-and-its-nothing-but-tough-luck
.
Since you are pointing fingers also; if L.H.'s driving style does not meet you expectations, instead, how
about canvassing Mercedes to start building a better mouse trap?"

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8. Posted by Kico28n, 04/10/2016 0:48

"Ridiculous fan boy comments bfairey & Hjdpjvt..... This is motorsport & these things happen. Lewis has just been unlucky or perhaps his driving style isn't as sympathetic as others - who really knows. But to suggest a conspiracy is quite pathetic actually. You Hamilton fan's always seem to need someone to blame. Grow up & just enjoy the racing. It is what it is. "

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9. Posted by Hjdpjvt, 03/10/2016 22:52

""Keen to play down any thought of a conspiracy, Wolff has said the various failures are not linked,
that there is no identifiable pattern to them".
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------'No identifiable pattern....' so how does he know the failures are not linked?
"Sleeping dogs"... cannot be allowed to lie forever: otherwise they will eventually begin to STINK!
Whatever tricks Mercedes may have up their sleeves; game over!
If they win the constructors championship, and L.H. loses, the brand will be tarnished.
For example: in one of my neighbourhood households;
the husband is on his 8th. Merc, while the wife is on her 6th.
They too are looking for ANSWERS !!!
Need more proof?
Google - '2015 (Full Year) German Luxury Car Sales Worldwide and in China'"

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10. Posted by bfairey, 03/10/2016 22:24

"Problem with the supply chain, the material or the assy. Which is it ? and why doesn't it happen to his partner
or the other users of MB equipment?"

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