22 September 2014
F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Wolff keen to avoid DNFs being title decider
Mercedes' Toto Wolff has spoken of his concern that continued reliability problems with the W05 may be the deciding factor in the 2014 F1 championship battle.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has admitted that he fears unreliability being the ultimate decider between his two drivers as they fight for the F1 world championship.
The Austrian saw the momentum swing from Nico Rosberg's side of the garage in favour of Lewis Hamilton at the Singapore Grand Prix, with the German suffering his second DNF of the campaign after an electrical glitch left him without steering wheel function and unable to continue after his first pit-stop. Hamilton, meanwhile, had a largely faultless run to victory, turning a 22-point pre-race deficit into a three-point advantage with five races to run.
Wolff conceded that the continuing reliability problems were a major concern for Mercedes, particularly with the title fight boiling down to a straight fight between his two drivers.
“We have a great reliability team, a group of people who are really dedicated to quality and, considering that fact, it is even more astonishing that are continuing to have those issues,” he reflected, “I guess the whole group needs to get a grip until we stop suffering DNFs as, of course it is unacceptable.
“I think there have been four of them now and [a DNF deciding the championship] is something that would not be satisfying at all. We don't want to have the spin in there that one car let the driver down, so we need to refocus, get our heads down, keep concentrating and find out what we can do to prevent DNFs and reliability problems.”
Wolff also admitted that the sudden turnaround in the championship situation created even more pressure on Mercedes to ensure that there were no further problems/
“[Three points' difference] makes the whole situation even worse,” he confessed, “You don't want any re-evaluation because both of them are almost equal on points, both of them have almost equal chance of winning the world championship, so the only consequence keeping it very balanced and as neutral as possible.
“If we could do anything more to stop unreliability we would do it - I would break my arm again to stop the unreliability…”
With Rosberg already sidelined, Wolff admitted that there would always be doubts over the reliability of Hamilton's car, even if the driver's ability was never in question.
“When you have one car remaining, and it's your only weapon out there, you have doubts in everything,” he revealed, “Until we saw that the pit-stop was okay, that he came out two seconds behind Sebastian [Vettel] and would probably clear him, there was always a doubt.
“However, [after the safety car] Lewis was really awesome. These are the Lewis Hamilton days, the days where you recognise how great he is and what makes the difference between the superstars and the stars, between the very best and the good ones.”
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