Lowe rubbishes talk of conspiracy


Coming just a week after Lewis Hamilton's high profile failure at Sepang, which allowed teammate Nico Rosberg to further open his championship lead, it was natural that Paddy Lowe would be one of the most sought after panellists at today's official FIA press conference.

As the spotlight fell on the Mercedes technical director he took the opportunity to dismiss talk of a conspiracy against the British driver once and for all.

When it was suggested that Hamilton had "hinted" that his car had been sabotaged, and whether, bearing in mind all the available data and telemetry, such an act was even possible, Lowe began by saying that the British driver had never made any such suggestion.

"I can't agree with you that the driver hinted there was sabotage," he said. "Lewis has been very clear, certainly with us, that that's completely out of the question.

"I think anybody with an ounce of intelligence analysing the situation would realize that the prospect of us designing a system that would cause a big end to fail at that precise point in the race... if we were that good we would win everything and control everything at every point," he continued.

"We've had other failures in the year that are very unfortunate and if we were good enough to arrange such sabotage we wouldn't have any failures.

"It's a very tough business Formula One. The engineering is operating right at the boundary of performance and things do go wrong. The complexity is incredible and trying to engineer something to happen on purpose on a car... it's similar to when people say to us 'you favour one driver over another' and the idea that we might give better equipment to one driver or another. If we've invented something that makes our car quicker of course we want it on both cars, because we want to win the race. We never hold back or would ever even contemplate it, even if we could engineer it, which we couldn't. Anyone intelligent could work that out.

"The thing you have to bear in mind is that we're all very rational people, certainly in the engineering area and we all know that you can throw three double-sixes in a row. That is possible, statistically - and yet when you see it done, emotionally you feel 'how did that happen'.

"We have got a little bit of that scenario with Lewis. We have eight power units out there running around and, with the exception of one failure, they have all fallen to Lewis this year on his power unit and that is something that none of us can really understand, how things could turn out that way. But it is just the way the dice has been thrown.

"Things do go wrong. We understand that and it just so happens that, by pure coincidence, that has occurred repeatedly on Lewis' car. We're gutted about it. We just wish luck wouldn't fall that way.

"Personally, I was only just getting over the idea of the consecutive failures he had in qualifying earlier in the year where already you felt the statistics had fallen very, very unfairly, and I was very happy for Lewis that he managed to recover his points back up to a place of level competition with Nico.

"So, you know, it was a real blow. But we quickly try to become rational and just accept that these things happen and then you move on and look to the future."

Asked, as has been suggested by Red Bull's Helmut Marko, if the failure was due to Hamilton pushing too hard in the middle of the race, Lowe said: "Lewis had a failure one of his big end bearings, at a very low mileage actually, a little over 600km, because he had three new engines from Belgium, when he took all the penalties. This was the second of those to be used properly.

"It was a very young failure for that bearing and not at all typical of the model," he continued. "And we were operating it within completely normal bounds. There were no parameters out of their normal range.

"So, no, he wasn't pushing particularly hard, he was running in a normal race state at that part of the race, so totally unexpected for that reason.

"We are trying to analyse why the bearing failed. We don't understand it precisely. It's very difficult on these occasions, you don't often see it - the box of bits you get back from an engine blow-up. It's very difficult to analyse that forensically and arrive at a root cause. But we've taken a number of precautionary changes across all eight power units that are on the grid to try to reduce the stress on that bearing."

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Published: 07/10/2016
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