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F1 Japanese GP: Mercedes engines less ‘spicy’ after Sepang blow

Toto Wolff says the question marks about Lewis Hamilton's Sepang power unit failure is forcing it run its engine less 'spicy' in Japan.
RESULTS: Japanese Grand Prix – Qualifying results

Toto Wolff has admitted Mercedes is running its engines with less potency in for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix as a precaution following Lewis Hamilton's power unit failure.

Though the dramatic blow for Hamilton just 16 laps shy of a potentially win has been identified as a 'big-end failure' preceded by a sudden lack of oil pressure, Mercedes is yet to understand why it occurred.

With the Suzuka event coming directly after Malaysia, Mercedes has chosen to play caution with its engines this weekend so as to prevent further reliability issues becoming a factor in the title battle between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

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“We have put certain safety measures in place to maybe not run it as 'spicy' as we could. But we don't know as a fact that this is going to affect the engine more. It has an effect on the lap time in the race though the race lap time deficit is not as large as the qualifying deficit.

Despite this, Rosberg and Hamilton still locked out the front row in Suzuka, though Wolff admits the reliability question marks are its 'worst case' as it tries to eliminate its influence from the title battle between its drivers.

“What we had in Malaysia is somehow the worst case for us because we don't want to interfere in the drivers' championship with the cars stopping. It is still something we try to avoid as much as we can and within a week you are not able to properly assess all the root causes of the problem.

“We tried to contain it with several measures which I can't really comment, just to pre-empt your question but it doesn't give us ultimate guarantee or relief that we are safe tomorrow. It is not an easy situation.”

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