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Mercedes: Poor reliability must not decide the title

22 Sep 2014

Mercedes have to tackle the reliability issues which have blighted their otherwise dominant Formula One campaign, says head of Mercedes-Benz motorsport Toto Wolff, who does not want to see a car failure determine who wins the 2014 drivers’ crown.

On Sunday in Singapore Nico Rosberg ceded the lead of the championship to victorious team mate Lewis Hamilton after his race hopes were ended by a broken wiring loom. Hamilton - who has also been beset by various technical woes during the season - now heads Rosberg by just three points at the top of the standings.

"It would not be satisfying at all to have the championship decided because one car let the driver down,” Wolff told the Mercedes team's website. “We need to refocus, get our heads down and keep concentrating on preventing these reliability problems reoccurring.

"It's something we need to get on top of - we have a missile of a car but, in terms of reliability, we are having issues. We have a great group of people in our reliability team who are dedicated to quality. We're very proud of the structures they are putting into place - and that's what makes it even more astonishing that we keep having these issues.

"These things take time to get a grip on - but we will not stop until we stop suffering these DNFs. If we could do anything more to prevent further retirements we would be doing it - I would break my arm again to make it happen!"

Wolff, who recently broke his arm in a cycling accident, praised Rosberg's attitude in the wake of his retirement at Marina Bay, with the German remaining philosophical despite the 'agony' of his exit.

"I said sorry to Nico for having let him down,” added Wolff. “As a driver it's a bitter blow having lost so many valuable points, so it doesn't really help them what you say in that moment - but as a team you need to apologise when you have messed up.

"Nico was very professional, very calm, and that's something I'm very proud of. One of his strengths is even when disaster strikes he is able to hold his head up high and support the team during the race."

With five rounds of the season remaining, Rosberg has 238 points to Hamilton’s 241, while Mercedes lead the constructors' championship on 479 points, 174 clear of nearest rivals Red Bull.