Toto Wolff admits Mercedes F1 engines turned down in Suzuka after Hamilton failure
Nico Rosberg
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Oct 2016   |  2:59 pm GMT  |  145 comments

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has said that the team was not able to run the engines on as ‘spicy’ a setting in today’s qualifying session as they would have liked, as the team continues to analyse why Lewis Hamilton’s engine failed in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Austrian added that they will also run the engine on a slightly less high performance setting in the Japanese Grand Prix tomorrow, but added that the ‘deficit will not be as large in qualifying.’

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was gratified after qualifying third, to note how close Ferrari were to the Mercedes. His team mate Sebastian Vettel expressed similar sentiments. They will be slightly dismayed to learn that the Mercedes engine was turned down, but teams have to deliver performance within sustainable levels and that is the competition. Toto Wolff

“There is no guarantee we are safe for tomorrow,” said Wolff. “The safety measures were in place [today] to maybe not run it as spicy as we could. But we are not sure 100% that this will protect it.”

Meanwhile Mercedes’ engine department in Brixworth, England continues the process of analysing Hamilton’s Sepang failure and trying to replicate the failure of the big end bearing on another example from the batch, which failed.

Wolff stressed that Mercedes are concerned that a retirement through technical failure for either driver in these final five races can have such a large bearing on the drivers’ championship at this stage.They are understandably keen to avoid another large points swing either way through technical faults.

The Japanese Grand Prix, which will see Nico Rosberg start from pole position with Lewis Hamilton in second place for a third year running, is a potentially critical race. A win for Rosberg would guarantee that he could be champion by finishing second in all the remaining four races.

At that point only a technical failure or an incident like the startline clash with Vettel in Malaysia, could deny him the world championship. That would require Hamilton to win the final four races.

Lewis Hamilton

Minutes after Wolff spoke, in front of the same gathering, Hamilton escalated his battle with the media; the reigning world champion walked out of Mercedes’ press briefing without answering questions saying that he would not be taking part in any further such gatherings in future, as a protest against the way the media had reacted to his Snapchat episode during Thursday’s FIA press conference.

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Do F1 engines use plain or roller bearings in the big end??


Initially the statement was that the adjustment of engine set up would not affect Mercedes performance in Suzuka, but I think it did in the end. What is strange is that they felt that they could not run the old set up even for qualifying.


The extreme settings used for Q3 pole qualifying is actually the absolute most stressing and hard for the engine. E.g. one quali lap in that engine mode deteriorate the engine as much as maybe 30 laps in standard race mode does.


I don’t believe that the race setup and the qualifying setup are the same. It’s like the race setup stops at 10 whereas the qualifying set up goes to 12. They can use, say, 11 for short bursts during the race.


TG @: Then ask yourself why did they start bashing Rosberg..maybe because of Monaco mirabeau, or Spa 2014?
But the real reason lies here, supposing you were a 3 X wdc, would you not expect to be # 1 in team against your teammate who is not a champion, like Vettel or Alonso were in their teams ? So why must Hamilton subject himself to equal status ? Show me a champion that was subjected to this treatment.
If any of the above mentioned champions were at Mercs, do you think they would allow Rosberg to be on equal terms? I don’t think so. You can best believe the press and Mercedes would be behind them 100%, grovelling on how good of a champion they were, chalking up wins after wins, and no one would be talking about a borefest, but with Hamilton, not allowed, he must prove himself against Nico, year after year. That makes fans angry, it brings on a sense of unfairness, an injustice by Mercedes when compared to other past champions.


E.g. Alonso the reigning WDC got a certain debutant as teammate back in 2007 but do not recall Alonso getting any favors despite being a multiple WDC?
IMHO I think the Mercedes leadership have been quite fair and decent in managing their two very talented drivers.


What makes me angry is when teams allocate a #1 and a #2 based on the demands of one driver without the other driver having agreed. If the #2 driver signs on believing that they are equals then that’s how they should be treated.


Sure you are Toto, sure you are..


@ sars…love it hahaha


I can see HAM destroying the field in this race! I don’t agree with what he’s doing but he’s going to be out to prove a point.


I’d stick to the day job if I were you. Predicting the future is not your forte 🙂


There’s still some crow left over in the oven, just heat it up and there you have a meal fit for a king/queen!!!


That car was and still is a JET.
Turning it down will improve reliability and fuel consumption.


I’m looking for authoratative informed news and comment – perhaps I have found it


Why am I not surprised ! Given the gap came down at least 3/10. Ferrari brought updates to the turning vanes and the floor leading edge as well, tiny front wing element changes but they would only shave hundreths. Still hope Ferrari & RBR racing push them close- maybe those engines will still go pop


There is no such thing as an independent press. You all know it and I know it.
There is not one journalist who dares to write his or her’s honest opinions, and if they did, they’d  know beforehand that it would never appear in print. Those who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job.
The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, for his daily bread. You all know it and I know it, and then all this bla  bla about independent press?
They are the tools and vassals, jumping jacks of rich men behind the scenes. They are trying to sell us a story of a mediocre driver, who’s racecraft is in no doubt questionable, and trying to convince us that he deserves to be champion. Hamilton is not amused.


The real issue here is the slow death of traditional media. This is a new era and the old way of doing things is over. And with clever stroke, Lewis officially announced the end of Print Media.


I dont think Lewis is that clever! The bloke who best saw tbe future coning was Felix Dennis who sold his magazine publishing empire at the top of the market for £500m and lived life of riley on the proceeds!


Are you sure that even journalist there was from the print media? Is it possible that some were from non print media such as Sky, Fox, CNN, online magazines or maybe some even had blogs on social media like ……….well……… this one? It was after all a “press conference”, open to anyone with a media pass, not restricted to print media only.


James, I’ve held your site as the only remaining place where civil discussions about all things F1 still happened. Today you took the low road in first Titling your article about the Mercedes engine problem and then you used bait to lure in the immature “I hate Hamilton” club. I guess I had you all wrong. Congrats, you have officially lowered your own standards.


Excuse me the only thing Lowering the standards of this site is the bias of Lewis Hamilton (Ham fans). This all started when they continually posted the one sided views and continue to bash Rosberg over minor things when Rosberg is just a driver like the rest trying his best to win the championship. the funny thing is I am not even a Rosberg fan. Don’t expect people to keep quiet when you ham fans treat others unfairly.


TG. When it comes to Hamilton, are you quite sure that there isn’t any one sidedness to your own comments?


Well we know there is to yours Tim though don’t we 😉


Sarsippious. The difference between me and certain posters on this site is I am not 100% in my comments about any driver. I am a Hamilton fan yes, but I don’t believe he is faultless and have criticised him when deserved before, many people do not do this with their favourite drivers despite the fact that they are human beings and make mistakes. This brings us to the other type of commenter of which TG is very much one, the type who only seem to visit this site to have a go at Lewis. For Tg and his pals any incident involving Lewis automatically and by default becomes his fault, and if his engine blows up, that’s his fault as well! This is why I found TG’s comment complaining about bias in peoples comments so amusing, as there probably isn’t another person on here more biased than him!


TG is entitled to his opinion as are we all Tim.
There are many here that seem to have tilted views towards one driver and whilst it can get to a point where it seems like over-kill it is what it is and people will hardly change because you have the need to constantly point that out to them.
Your banging your head against a brick wall if you think that’ll change.
I agree that some go over the top and I can also see that your very tolerant of his behaviour to the point of trying to down play the criticism even when it’s clearly warranted.
The truth is often somewhere in the middle however your hardly the middle Tim and if I’m honest neither am I when it comes to Ric and Raik.
It’s called being a fan..
It is what is


Sars. I know I’m banging my head against the wall, I am well aware that nobody is going to change their mind because of anything I say, but I still think it’s important to offer up a counter argument to the never ending flow of anti Lewis comments on here. I don’t pretend to be in the middle, very very few people are, but I am not at the extreme edge either, and I think that’s important. For me, if someone is a fan of a certain driver then that is a positive thing, and I have no problem with it, I do think that if someone is a serious anti fan of a certain driver, and they only come here to post comments criticising him, then this is a negative thing, and lowers the tone of the whole site. Like I said if you have decided that Lewis is to blame, or not to blame for 100% of the incidents he is involved in, then you need to have a look at yourself, as no driver holds either of those records!
You obviously refer to the snapchat incident when saying I am tolerant of Lewis’ behaviour, maybe I am, maybe this is because I am much more focussed on what happens on track than off it, all the other stuff is of very little importance to me, and in comparison to other drivers, Lewis’ on track behaviour is of a high standard. My thoughts on Snapgate? I think it started out as a well intentioned effort from Lewis to show the fans a press conference from a drivers perspective, but he then got bored and started putting bunny ears on people. Does this matter? He was there to answer questions, and he did this, maybe it wasn’t a great idea to have his phone with him, but the level of criticism is way over the top in my view.
I will continue to waste my time pointing out the innacuracies in the bashers posts, and continue to defend Lewis from unfair criticism, it’s called being a Lewis fan, if Ric wins a few championships (and I hope he does) then you will get a taster of what it’s like!


I doubt I’ll get to that point Tim.
I idolised Senna in my youth , devouring any kind of information I could get my hands on, waiting impatiently for the next issue of Autosport and F1 racing to come out down here,even going so far as to name my daughter Ayrton ( truth). I have my daughter’s name tattooed on my chest with her birthday and 1st May, 1994 ( his death).
Compared to him my following of Ric is almost non-existent .
I personally don’t get the type of hero worship we see around here.
When you can have a kid a few years older than you jump in these cars and automatically be quick, let alone experienced heads, it hardly makes them appear superhuman.
This day and age of almost unlimited content from driver’s is changing the way we view them and in a negative way.
We used to thirst for information on them and now we can find out what they had for breakfast everyday. It’s information overkill. Everything is there for people to digest and pick apart.
Driver’s that share in that sense shouldn’t complain ( and neither their fans) when they cop some slack because of it.
Obviously times change and we have to change with them but I miss those days of a well written magazine article about your favourite driver being looked upon as an early Christmas present of epic proportions.


Sars, I certainly remember the days of having to hunt for every bit of F1 content I could find, out of interest do you still buy the mags? I don’t, not sure why and when I stopped, but I guess you either use them or lose them.
As a Senna fan you must be familiar with the feeling when your favourite driver does something you don’t like? I get this with some of the things Lewis says and does, but I don’t think this means I shouldn’t push back against the inevitable over reaction on here.
I was a big Mansell fan in those days, but will never forget how bereft I felt when Ayrton was killed, or the onboard quali footage the BBC broadcast in their memorial programme from Monaco in 89, amazing stuff.


And just so you know who the real RAINMASTER is …


I last bought one in 2014, was the 20th anniversary of Senna’s death and F1 Racing had an article about him. Before that I would occasionally buy one but few and far between.
It’s hardly worth it nowadays, especially when you can jump on JAonF1 for free and have enough information at your fingertips to comfortably get your fill.
As for the Senna-Lewis comparisons I believe apart from the amount of WDC they each have that there isn’t any to be shared.
I’m not going to delve into why I believe that’s the case because it’ll just be something else we disagree on but Senna was one of a kind, not only in his ability in a race car but also off the track.
I remember watching that race at Imola with my father and knew immediately that I had just watched him die.
I went to bed and slept restlessly until I eventually heard on the radio at 5 am that he had indeed passed away.
He was and still is the only person I’ve idiolised in my life who I couldn’t physically touch.
I took a week off school and didn’t watch another race until the beginning of 1996 when this young French-Canadian had piqued my interest enough to start viewing it again religiously.
It was never the same though and with each passing year the excitement and interest has slowly waned.
The cars aren’t as exciting, the tracks are sterile and the driver’s are manufactured and fake.
Look at who we have now compared to guys like Mansell, Senna, Berger and Alesi. Real men, driving real cars !
Why am I still here then you ask ?
Good question………


Sars, I don’t go in for the Senna/Hamilton comparisons, not a fan of comparing any drivers from different eras to be honest. Donnington is about 20 miles from my house, I really can’t remember why I didn’t go and watch THAT race in 93, but I really wished I had. Imola 94 was the last race I didn’t watch live, and the first for about 5 years. I went to a car show with my mates instead and as Imola was normally a pretty boring race I decided to catch the highlights in the evening. When I got home my Mum told me a driver had died, I thought she meant Ratzenberger the day before and didn’t believe her when she said it was Senna, the idea that he could be gone was unthinkable.
I have to say I still enjoy F1, the slightly grimy sheen of those days has been replaced with a much more glossy veneer of professionalism and can’t be replicated, which in many ways is a pity. The new cars for next year are a step in the right direction towards bringing back some of the spectacle though.


I hope your right with regards to next year.
And that lap at Donnington by Senna, where he overtook five cars in forty odd seconds is a memory I’ll never forget. The guy just had an aura and mysticism about him that I’ve never come across with any human being in my life.
My daughter is old enough now to understand where she got her name from and is extremely proud of the connection to Senna.
Certainly makes all the flak I copped worthwhile.

Here’s a link to an article written on the 20th anniversary of his death. It’s extremely well written.

Also I come across this picture of what next years car’s will look like, well from the rear anyway. If you find anything similar let us know.


The 1.8m cars have never looked right to me, surprisingly few artists impressions around of what next years cars will look like, but as long as we lose the spindly rear wings and get the “low and wide” stance back i will be happy. Lots of negative predictions around about following closely, but there will be a big increase in mechanical grip, and they are going to look fantastic at Monaco and Singapore!
P.S I have been here a long time and have defended Ayrton on several occasions, put “greatest ever lap?” into the search pane for a good example of this…


It’s a welcome change to be able to have a conversation on Senna without the foundation being a comparison to other current drivers.

I remember when I first saw the shorter and taller rear wings on these generation of cars and I just assumed I had the TV set in 16:9 ratio as they just seemed so ‘matchbox’ like to me.
It certainly appears from the artists rendition that you’ll get your wish of the shorter, wider and more aggressive looking cars in 2017 and hopefully the racing does them justice.


Well said!


Dumas, did you believe that your comment “Normal Human Being, huh? That’s a good one…..” was raising the standard of civil discussion?


Motorsport is very expensive and needs lots of media attention to justify sponsor participation. I bet none of those media get paid 1 % of Lewis pay packet and are expected to ask the questions for that 1%. Once Hamilton leaves F1 he will find he is forgotten very quickly not only by F1 but those show biz friends will no longer want to hang around a has been.


Excuse me, but the Mercedes engine story is the leading line. If I had made no mention at all of the world champion walking out of the same press gathering, don’t you think that would have been odd?

We were all literally in the same seats a few minutes after Wolff’s Q&A. If it had happened an hour later in another part of the circuit, maybe it would not have appeared in the same story, although clearly it’s a Mercedes related story.

Moderation is increasingly difficult as fans are partial and LH in particular attracts a certain type of comment. We cut out the worst of them, believe me, but we try to find balance in all things.


I understand your point and over the years reading this blog I think overall you have done a pretty good job of being fair.

The issue I have is the same one I have always had in relation to the media and LH.

Lewis is very different driver, in some ways, to any we have had before. He wears his emotions on his sleeve (from dark to frivolous), which some of the media feast on and simultaneously lambast, and he is also passionate about getting the best from his life, off the track.

My daughter has graduated in Biochemical Engineering with a 1st and loves snapchat. These contrasting activities are not mutually exclusive. Likewise Lewis: he has won 3 WDCs and still manages to have fun, jet-set and party. Many F1 fans simply can’t reconcile his lifestyle with him as a sportsman, and the media play a large part in that.


As we obviously don’t see what you moderate out it isn’t possible to comment on your experience of the fans’ postings. However, from what I see on sites less well moderated than yours non-Hamilton fans get far more vitriol poured on them by his fans than the other way around. He does seem to be particularly divisive. I have also noticed that many of his fans are not really F1 fans, they just follow Hamilton the man – the power of social media I guess. As I have said here before, it is perfectly possible to admire the driver but not the man.


Very interesting comments regarding the Merc engine

And even though respect Ham for his driving capabilities, he need to behave, after all his salary is paid by the fans. No fans-no salary.


James, we don’t always agree, as you know.
However, I’d like to say, you got it right on. The article is the core of interest at the point of time published, (after qualifying at the 2016 Japanese GP), and as even-keeled as your best.
I believe your core followers/patrons here, attentive to the facts (as they are), regardless of their driver/team favourites, are in alignment with you.
There’s yet not any other sources really coming close to your site, here.
No need to publish, (of course at your discretion), I just wanted to let you know.


I wouldn’t worry too much about that comment James. If this is the first time he’s seem opinionated comments on here then he’s not a regular reader!


I agree with DumasCat–this is below the belt stuff from you James. I expected better,


The original story made a single – factually correct – statement that Hamilton refused to take the media’s questions, which by all accounts is what happened. In what way is that ‘below the belt’?

People will be blaming the weather forecast for being biased against rain soon!


I’m a huge admirer of Hamilton’s talents in the car, but honestly he’s on a hiding to nothing with this latest nonsense. A fight with the press is one battle he can’t win. I don’t know why he thinks it’s OK to fiddle on your phone during a press conference – imagine if all the drivers turned up with their phones and were fiddling away all the time. It would rightly be thought of as absurd by any outside observer, and if it’s not OK for all of them to do it then it shouldn’t be OK for any of them to. It’s not even like this is the first time he’s done it – it’s been going on for at least a few races, and I’m surprised that he’s surprised there’s a backlash.. but Hamilton is increasingly living in his own bubble.


hamilton does what he wants and doesn’t seem to accept anyone telling him what to do..


@ Vano Well said. i agree with your summary.


In the not-too-distant future, watch Lewis get up in the conference room to start chasing pokemons. Take that! – you evil media!


Hamilton earns 40 million a year and yet still has the nerve to walk out of a press conference because he didn’t like the way the media treated him over his social media use?!

Two words Mr Hamilton.. GROW UP!


why don’t you go and earn that money and show hamilton to be grown up?


@ aveli…you’re getting in deep here. you’re confusing wealth with delusions of grandeur.


Aveli, just because someone is making a heap full of money doesn’t make him master of the universe.

I make less money than Trump but would be a better president. (Ohh, that was a cheap one)


take a good look at my post and you will not see the words ‘master of the universe’.
if you think you can make a better president, i wonder what’s stopping you..


Lewis seems to be doing a Donald. Not a good sign.


Lewis might be the best driver, but the “diva” style he’s running isn’t in my taste

Nevertheless, very interesting the turn-down on Merc and the fact that Kimi (Ferrari) is only 3/10 from Merc and not 6/10 as Ferrari used to be.

In Spain though, Pedro de la Rosa showed interesting stats regarding Ham And Ros and their times up to 20 laps on hard and medium. the RB and Ferrari counterparts can’t match the speed.


just like you have the right to your taste, he has the right to his.


There is a nice article (original in German) on the auto, motor and sport site which compares reliability of world champions. Lewis Hamilton has one of the best. It shows not only the improvements over the years but also the length his employer has gone through (and of course required due to F1 regulations) to accomplish reliability at this very high level. But as stated it will never be fail proof. Unfortunately Lewis Hamilton seems to be at the receiving end (not for the first time) and has certainly negatively influenced his chances for a forth world title. As brilliant as a driver he shows weaknesses as well and in public. But seeing him as a role model (and other top athletes) has a shortcoming. They are so focussed on one thing it indicates a psychological issue. And that makes him brilliant and obnoxious at the same time.


He had reliability issues at McLaren as well. so did Kimi when he was on form and could have beaten Schumacher but couldn’t due to reliablity. Shouldn’t be a surprise as most of the Mercedes staff are ex McLaren staff as is Paddy Lowe.


Slightly off topic, but still on engines, Honda are preparing to supply a second team, who will that be, if any?

Sorry if this appears for a second time, I got my email address wrong on the first post!


Depends on what sort of deal they are offering. Would it be a year old motor or an arrangement like Williams and FI have with Merc? If the latter then I think Redbull would be wise to bring Honda into their stable via Torro Rosso. Monitor Honda’s progress next season, with the potential of giving Redbull another supplier option for 2018. In 2018 if Redbull are kicking Mclaren’s ass and winning races or they are on par with each other (both winning) I don’t think Honda would mind either way.


The only one I can see potentially is Sauber but I’m not sure how long their contract with Ferrari lasts or if there are break clauses


Sauber are going to use 2016 Ferrari engines for next year the reason given was that they want to focus on chassis development t


I like Hamilton, and I think he does a lot for the sport, but its also a game when it comes to the whole package.

Tell you what, from now on, you just drive the car and don’t worry about the media, about the sponsors. They don’t matter at all, because all that is not important.

O sorry hold on a minute, but the media isn’t it their job also to report what they see.

Right now I get it, Hamilton only wants the good things and the rest of it can go to hell.

What he did the other day was stick to fingers up, it was not big and certainly not clever, but he is Hamilton and HE can do what ever he likes…..

Now theres the game we are now playing……..


Talking of engines, Honda are preparing themselves to supply a second team, who would that be, if anyone?




I’m fast losing respect for LH. Carrying on like a spoiled little child.
Not answering questions only punishes his team and his fans the two groups he really needs to keep onside.
I’ve now gone from being neutral to hoping LH gests beaten by Nico.


he should do as he pleases after all, no one owns him.


Hamilton feeling the pressure. Suits him to be in the media sometimes so you can’t pick and choose. That said, I hope he’s on the back pages for positive reasons after tomorrow’s race.


…and with that departure, Hamilton confirmed that his head had most definitely disappeared up his back side.


“A win for Rosberg would guarantee that he could be champion by finishing second in all the remaining four races”.
It’s not also guaranteed that Lewis is gonna win all the remaining races as no one knows what happens in the remaining races including Suzuka.
Both Nico and Lewis should focus at each race at a time and see what happens in Abu Dhabi.


This WDC isn’t even going down to AD at this rate. Hamilton’s given the journos more ammunition to pan him than ever.


Oh boy, Lewis is making things easy for Nico. He needs to concentrate only on race, now one more thing snapgate.


may be hamilton knows what he needs to do to be a three times world champion superstar.

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