RESULTS: Japanese Grand Prix – Free practice results (2)
Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe has rubbished the notion that Lewis Hamilton's title hopes are being sabotaged in some way from within the team, saying the engineers couldn't ever knowingly cause the failures that he has suffered.
Hamilton has repeatedly expressed frustration at the way his car has being caught up in a series of technical issues – most dramatically with an engine failure whilst leading the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend – compared with Nico Rosberg's largely reliable sister machine.
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Raising talk of there being underhand reasons for the problems, Mercedes has sought to play down the wayward 'conspiracy theories', while Hamilton too has also been dismissive of the notion.
Indeed, Lowe says 'anyone with an ounce of intelligence' can see Mercedes hasn't been intervening and even if there was a motivation to do so, it would be impossible to simply create a 'big end failure' as occurred in Sepang.
“Anyone with an ounce of intelligence analysing this situation would realise the prospect of us designing a system that would cause a big-end bearing to fail at that precise point in a race… If we were that good we would win everything and control everything at every point. We've had other failures in the year which were unfortunate.
“If we were good enough to arrange such sabotage we wouldn't have any failures. I think it's a very, very tough business, Formula One, the engineering is operating right at the boundary of performance and therefore things do go wrong. The complexity is incredible and so 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 we might give better equipment to one driver over another.
“If we've invented something that makes our car quicker of course we want it in both cars because we want to win the race. So we never hold back or would even contemplate it, even if we could engineer it, which we couldn't, so I think anyone intelligent can work all of that out.”
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Lowe goes on to say that it is simply 'coincidence' that Hamilton has suffered the lion's share of the technical issues but that the failures hurt the team as wellI
“We all know that you can throw three double-sixes in a row, that is possible statistically. But 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's something that none of us can understand how things can turn out that way. But it is just the way the dice has been thrown, things do go wrong, we do understand and it just turns out by pure coincidence that has occurred repeatedly on Lewis' car.
“We're gutted about it and we just wish luck wouldn't fall that way, and understandable that Lewis was – as we all were feeling after that blow-up – [thinking] 'how can that have happened again?' 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.
“I was very happy for Lewis that he was able to recover his points back up to a level of competition with Nico… So it was a real blow, but we very quickly decided to become rational and accept these things happen, then you move on and look to the future.”
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