ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX – Qualifying results
Toto Wolff says he will not accept the notion that the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship will have been won or lost because of reliability issues for either driver.
Nico Rosberg – who starts the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from second place - needs only a third place finish in the F1 finale to assure himself of the title. With Rosberg expected to complete that result provided he races to form, it is feared only a technical problem could scupper him now.
Even so, should Rosberg go ahead and win the title, it comes in a season that has seen Lewis Hamilton suffer the lion's share of the niggling technical issues leading up to a catastrophic engine failure during the Malaysian Grand Prix.
With Hamilton unable to hide his frustration about the issues which he feels has ultimately cost him the title, Wolff says he doesn't want this year's title battle to be tainted by the idea that blemishes in Mercedes' otherwise excellent reliability ultimately decided the championship, insisting it is simply an element of the sport.
“I will not consider what people say who don't understand what the sport it all about. It is a mechanical sport. It is not tennis where you can change racquet if it breaks or football, it is a mechanical sport. This team has given the drivers the best car for the past three years, cars which have won them races and won them championships. This is something the drivers honour and everyone else who deems themselves to be a fan should honour.
“In the last three years we have had moments when the car wasn't reliable like any other race car out there. There have been failures on cars which have cost both drivers points, I remember Abu Dhabi 2014 being a very painful experience for Nico.
DOWN TO THE WIRE: The most dramatic F1 title showdowns of all time!
“The same year, Lewis had his problems. This year, what is particularly traumatising is Lewis's failure in Malaysia when he was in the lead and then the engine went which was something that came out of nowhere and is something that is still very much a part of us.
“But it is what it is. It is a mechanical sport and that can happen. The one who is going to have more points tomorrow night is the worthy world champion.”
Indeed, Wolff says the team hasn't changed its development processes in the wake of Hamilton's engine failure because it doesn't want to 'trigger more problems'
“The reliability programme that we have kicked off a while ago is designed to prevent or at least minimise these events. We continue to learn and develop everything.
“If we were to change the programme massively it would mean we would change process and structure and there is a risk of triggering more problems down the line which we haven't considered because we wanted to be extra diligent.
“I think here you need to stick to your processes and trust that what you've done is the right way forward. Having said that there is no guarantee for it to go smoothly. It is something which is clearly to be avoided, would be very negative, but we can only try to follow our processes.
What it would take for Lewis Hamilton to win the 2016 F1 title
HAMILTON CLAIMS THE TITLE IF…
- Hamilton wins the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and Rosberg finishes 4th or lower
- Hamilton finishes second and Rosberg finishes 7th or lower
- Hamilton finishes 3rd and Rosberg finishes 9th or lower
- Hamilton finishes anywhere inside the top 3 and Rosberg fails to score
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst