Mercedes says they still aren’t sure what the cause of Lewis Hamilton’s engine failure in the Malaysian Grand Prix is and the cynical side of me suggests that even if they did know, would they tell the public? If I were a team boss and there may be a weak link or vulnerability in our engineering or program, I’m not sure I would broadcast that to the world.
The fact is, Mercedes is letting Lewis down with the technical issues and failures he’s had over the course of this season. Regardless of Lewis’s reaction to these setbacks, Mercedes is the least common denominator in the failure chain unless Lewis is doing something that stresses or promotes a lack of car sympathy.
To be honest, I’m not sure anyone has ever suggested that he is or even whispered the concept and nor have I seen anything from the sidelines that would suggest he is being too hard on his kit but there is that possibility and Red Bull’s Helmut Marko suggested that it was the pressure they were applying to Lewis that made his car fail as he was pushing it too hard. Sounds good in the press but I’m not buying it hook, line and sinker because I believe Mercedes has pace and power in reserve. Toto Wolff said:
“We are doing everything we can to ensure that it is first understood and then contained for the remainder of the season.
“As it stands, despite the failure of this engine, Lewis now has the same stock of power units as Nico for the remaining five races – including used power units which he can fit for free practice sessions.
“So, hopefully there will be no further impact to his programme.”
“There is no rational explanation or pattern in these failures. If there were, we would resolve it.”
Exploiting the loophole in the engine change penalty rules in Belgium now has been reduced to the same remaining resources for both drivers which negated much of the penalty incurred at the Belgian Grand Prix. That’s not doing Lewis any favors and there is no doubt he isn’t happy about it, I wouldn’t be either. He finished third at Spa and limited the damage but imagine if he didn’t have to take that penalty at all…where would he have finished?
While #TeamLH are leveling conspiracy at Mercedes, I’m not a fan of that idea even if Lewis was vague on who may be preventing him from winning in the press. Too many people involved in the program for silly sabotage shenanigans. I’m also not beyond the concept that drivers have internal fans and other employees that may, over time, become less enthusiastic about a particular driver. That can be down to just personalities etc. IF a certain person seems less than apoplectic over Lewis’s mechanical issues within Mercedes, maybe they aren’t Lewis’s biggest fan for whatever reason. Still, sabotaging a car is a stretch even if you consider the Nigel Stepney/Ferrari white powder saga.
The point is, Lewis is delivering on track. Of that fact, there is very little question and Mercedes needs to deliver off track as well. Same goes for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, Renault and Jolyon Palmer, Williams and Valtteri Bottas, McLaren and Fernando Alonso. Technical issues happen but for Mercedes, they are rare and happening too often for Lewis in 2016. The cycle does ebb and flow like that though and there is a history to show that it does in Formula 1.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT