Mercedes addresses fans over Hamilton conspiracy theories

2016 F1 season

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Mercedes has published an open letter to F1 fans in response to the conspiracy theories circulated following Lewis Hamilton’s technical problems during the last two races.

Hamilton defended his team following the race, stating a swap of team members between his side of the garage and team mate Nico Rosberg’s was not related to the problems he had experienced.

“There is no ‘A’ or ‘B’ team here,” Mercedes assured its followers. “Every single member of the crew has earned their right to be counted among the elite of their trade – and have sacrificed much to do so.”

Addressing “the haters, the naysayers, the conspirators” the team declared, “if we can convince even half of you of what we really stand for, we’ll consider that a battle well won”.

Here is the team’s open letter in full.

Mercedes: A Letter to the Fans

To the fans,

We returned from Russia on Monday with mixed emotions. On the one side, filled with pride at another one-two finish – a rare achievement in the ultra-competitive world of Formula One and something to be savoured but never taken lightly. On the other, pained by a stressful weekend – both behind the wheel, on the pit wall, in the garage, back at the factories and for all of you watching at home.

We have seen a lot of frustration aired online after the mechanical issues experienced in Sochi. We share those same emotions – but for us, it goes far beyond frustration. For those watching at home, a Grand Prix weekend starts on a Thursday morning and ends on Sunday night. A bad result might hurt for a few hours afterwards – but then life moves on. For more than one thousand people at Brackley and Brixworth, however, this is our life. These men and women pour their blood, sweat and tears into racing, day in, day out – often working around the clock and spending weeks at a time away from loved ones. They do so through passion for their work, loyalty to their team-mates and a desire to be the best.

The success we have enjoyed in recent times has not come about by accident. To paraphrase Mr Toto Wolff, we have worked our a**es off to get where we are today – and we have done so as a team. The faces you see at the track are only the tip of the iceberg – but they are a perfect example of just what this represents. They don’t just perform pit-stops together. They travel, share rooms, eat meals, construct garages, build cars, re-build broken cars, kit spares and pack down tonnes of freight – together. They sweat, strain, laugh, cry, shout, scream, celebrate, and commiserate – together. And, as one of our own often says, they win and lose – together. We have the best guys and girls in the world, doing an awesome job, week in and week out – and they do it for the team. Not for one driver or the other – but for each other. There is no ‘A’ or ‘B’ team here. Every single member of the crew has earned their right to be counted among the elite of their trade – and have sacrificed much to do so.

What happened in Sochi showed the world just what a team working in unison is capable of. We were baffled and gutted by the repeat MGU-H failure on Lewis’ car in qualifying. But we kept calm, gathered our thoughts and sprung into action. It took a monumental effort from a significant number of people back in the UK and in Russia to fly spare parts out to the track, fit them to the spare Power Unit by working through the night and make sure Lewis could start from P10 on Sunday without having broken parc fermé. This made Sunday all the more stressful for each of us. But, in the end, we were relieved just to get both cars to the flag.

Shortly after his pit stop, we saw some alarming behaviour from Nico’s MGU-K. We spent a number of laps reassuring him that he had a good gap over Lewis and could ease off before the FIA gave us the all-clear to tell him to switch to a setting that would control the issue. At the wheel, Nico wouldn’t have had any inkling of the stress on the pit-wall. When he put in the fastest lap on the penultimate lap of the race, he was still in that ‘safe’ setting – demonstrating just how much pace the car had last weekend.

Not long after Nico’s issue arose, we started to see the water pressure falling on Lewis’ car. At the time, he was pushing hard to catch Nico and pull away from Kimi – posting several purple lap times in the process. Again, we needed to await confirmation from the FIA of what we could tell him via the radio. After several calls asking him to take it easy, the all-clear came to let him know that he was losing water pressure. With zero – yes, zero! – water pressure remaining for the last 16 laps, the job he did to nurse the car home and still retain second place was truly remarkable. He had to keep the car as cool as possible to avoid damaging the engine whilst also keeping Kimi at a safe distance, which was no mean feat. We genuinely aren’t sure by what miracle the car limped across the line – but we’re certainly not going to complain!

Ultimately, none of this changes the fact that we have not met our own expectations in terms of reliability so far this season. Performance-wise we are right on the money – with a points haul just two shy of what we had managed by the same stage in 2015. But there is work to be done. Our goal is not simply to be fast but bulletproof too. Not just to manage problems but to understand them, fix them and ensure they are not repeated. We are working tirelessly to do just that and will continue to do so every step of the way. But there are no guarantees. This is a mechanical sport, balancing on the knife edge of performance and endurance. You have to push the boundaries and failures can happen.

And then, there’s the bigger picture. Here we sit, picking apart a weekend of various challenges – both on and off track. But look at the result. We should not simply be grateful to see both cars crossed the line but proud and humbled after a team result which quite literally could not have been stronger, thanks to the amazing efforts of the guys and girls in the factories, in the engineering offices, on the pit wall, in the garage and, of course, in the cockpit.

So, four races down, 17 to go. And, from what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to be one heck of a rollercoaster. There will be highs and lows, good day and bad days, successes and defeats. But, through all of this, we stand united as a team – just as we always have. To those who stand with us, we thank you. And to the rest – the haters, the naysayers, the conspirators… if we can convince even half of you of what we really stand for, we’ll consider that a battle well won.

Together, #WeAreW07
Together, #WeAreTheSilverArrows

2016 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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155 comments on “Mercedes addresses fans over Hamilton conspiracy theories”

  1. Not necessary. I can’t see the point.

    1. Yep @tango, I don’t think there are that many signed up to the conspiracy, really, they just all post about it! And as @tdog says you won’t persuade them in any case.

      It’s not very long since Toto and Niki were accused of grinning when something went wrong for Nico, istr.

      1. True but perhaps the ‘hate mail’ has been far more extensive than we know.

        1. I got the feeling this was the case also

      2. @lockup Funny thing, I did accuse Toto and Niki of grinning last year when Nico failed to deliver, specially in the USGP. But i am not stupid enough to accuse the team of sabotaging one of its driver neither last year or this year.

        1. Yeah I reckon they secretly prefer Lewis @mijail. FOM seemed to have a camera dedicated to trying to catch them haha. But they’ll let it go to Nico if that’s how it plays out.

      3. Its funny how Hamilton fans will ignore the most logical explanation there is and we general racing fans have to hear about all the impractical conspiracies, luck us…

    2. They know Lewis Hamilton is a big asset, they certainly know better than us that all this issues are starting to take a toll on him and this letter was not to assure fan of anything, it was to tell Lewis “we got your back”.

      17 races is still a long way to go, if Lewis wins the next 4 races (and it’s not a longshot) it will be a tight championship again so I don’t think there’s reason to panic just yet, but if Nico manages to win again in Spain pressure on Lewis will hit the sky…

      Mercedes smartly reminded us that “as one of our own often says, they win and lose – together” and Lewis should never forget about that and fight until the last lap in Abu Dhabi.

  2. One thing I’ve learned in life is that you’ll never, ever, persuade a conspiracy theorist with logic, or anything else for that matter.

    So why even engage with them?

    1. Because he feels the 1000 strong staff does not deserve this rhetoric?

      1. @robbie You’re right, and it reads like an internal-facing morale booster as much as a rebuke to the conspiracy fools.

        I’d hate to slog my guts out in a pretty anonymous job (even one I loved) and then have thousands of Internet nitwits make public accusations of skullduggery on social media.

    2. Actually it should be read as a bit of insight from Mercedes and it puts very well the work done by the team into perspective. Well written, better to ignore why they wrote it.

    3. To add to what @robbie mentions, the letter also can be seen as a strong sign to the whole team, to everyone that might feel down from the negative comments and from the issues they faced during the weekend. As something of a thank you for all your effort @tdog

      Off course it won’t sway anyone who is crazy enough to seriously think the team would want to deliberately hold back their top driver or even want to “balance things out”. But its a positive and strong message for team spirits.

    4. As a diehard Lewis fan, this never would’ve crossed my mind. I totally agree — they never should’ve responded whatsoever. If you like Lew, it sucks, but this is F1, and things can and will go wrong.

    5. Even that Mercedes felt the need to write such a letter ‘to the public’ tells a lot about Hamilton and his fan base. Oh dear…

      1. Yes this is about Hamilton fans…….Its not about a fragile F1 car.
        This is getting bizarre.

        1. I would be willing to bet a very large sum of money that the same Hamilton fans who are complaining about this and inventing all sorts of bizarre paranoid delusional theories are the same group of mouthbreathers who followed Vettel around the European circuits a few years back and booed him on the podium just because he was winning so many races. Imagine the uproar if Hamilton got the same treatment in public by the fans last year or in 2014? I remember Nico getting booed as well when he won over Hamilton on certain occasions. The quality of your fans is usually not a reflection of the artist/athlete/celebrity…..but this is a disturbing trend.

          1. So you are telling us of how low quality fans with conspiracy theories are by making conspiracy theories on your own. How nice.

  3. I maintain that LH didn’t help matters when he tried to make it sound like there is indeed an A and a B team. Claiming the team swapped crews ‘for no apparent reason’ when I highly doubt Mercedes does anything without reason, was disingenuine imho. He then said it wasn’t the crews fault, but the damage was already done as indicated by the number of people that have jumped on the conspiracy bandwagon.

    1. @robbie The thing is, if there was an A and B team, if that was implied on his comment, basically that the same as saying in the last couple of years Rosberg was with the B team, no conspiracy theories or open letters then.

      Like I said on the bottom, all this subject is nonsense, don’t really understand why they felt the need to do this.

      If anything the letter will sparkle even more theories, because now people will say they had the need to defend themselves, so if something comes out of this it will probably backfire.

    2. I don’t think you’ve established a link between what Hamilton said and the small number of people on the bandwagon @robbie. All the headlines were like “Hamilton rubbishes conspiracy theories.”

      If you read it carefully he’s talking about his guys having a tough time. But we’re talking about people who don’t refer to evidence, after all.

      Everyone who follows the sport knows Toto did it because the garage was becoming too polarised, and that Toto and Niki luvv Lewis to bits while naughty Nico does not even have a contract :)

      1. I would suggest it is no small number of people that have jumped on the bandwagon or indeed Merc would not have published this letter.

        And I think it is undeniable that LH using the words ‘for no apparent reason’, making it sound suspicious, was always going to get some people going. I’ll say again, Mercedes doesn’t likely do anything without reason, and LH knows that, so one can reasonably ask why he would choose that wording. If LH is now claiming no conspiracy theory then it is because he himself added fuel to the fire he now has to help put out. I’ll even go so far as to say if LH hadn’t used his unfortunate choice of words, no letter would have been necessary.

        I’ll assume your last paragraph is tongue in cheek.

        1. I still don’t think you’ve established a link @robbie. It’s a ludicrous proposition that Merc keep some careless mechanics on the books so they can tweak the results by moving them around strategically. Lewis obviously was attached to his team, that’s admirable surely? They were on his side and he wanted to keep them. I don’t think you can pin a few nutcases’ lack of brain cells on him.

          Yes written with a smile, indeed :) But still, it IS Nico who doesn’t have a contract, so the bias idea is very much back-to-front.

          1. I don’t think he’s trying to make a link between the mechanics and the reliability.

          2. @lockup Not understanding your point…link? Careless mechanics? Tweak the results? All I’m saying is LH could not have helped the team’s cause by saying ‘no apparent reason’. If he was attached to his crew as you suggest why have we not heard anything about that until he decided to be too wordy publicly after Russia wrt reliability? Conspiracists were already out there. He just fed them a meal. Not helpful if you ask me. Nor is your own leaning toward some conspiracy as to why Nico hasn’t been re-signed yet, when the team has already implied it is practically a mere formality at this point.

          3. A link between what Hamilton said and the number of people on the bandwagon @robbie.

            The careless mechanics – I was just highlighting that the conspiracy theory is so absurd.

            We know Lewis was attached to his crew, and vice-versa, because that’s why Toto broke them up.

            Yeah I am kidding about Nico… a bit. It’s another reason why the conspiracy theorists are nuts. I think you’re trying a bit hard to nail Hamilton tbh, when afaics the nuttiness has an independent life all of its own.

            But on Nico’s contract, there’s always a reason why a contract hasn’t been signed, because once there are no reasons you sign it and benefit from the stability, end of questions and so on. Toto is waiting for something, and it’s not a wdc so he can pay him more.

        2. “If LH is now claiming no conspiracy theory…. ”

          Lewis Hamilton has never claimed or proposed that there is a conspiracy theory.

          You are putting words in Lewis Hamilton’s mouth. You are using the same tactics as Merc/Toto to try and discredit Lewis (Just like the media did last year — unmotivated/inconsistent/bla bla bla). Either your lazy in your rhetoric or you are intentionally being dishonest.

          1. In saying ‘now claiming no conspiracy’ I mean he used the words ‘for no apparent reason’ and then had to follow that up with not their fault, no conspiracy, because he added to conspiracy theorists suspicions by suggesting he doesn’t know why the crews got swapped, and I highly doubt Merc does anything for no apparent reason and I highly doubt LH doesn’t know what those reasons are. It’s like to me he decided to momentarily try to play the sympathy card and I find that disingenuine.

            @lockup You know TW swapped crews because LH was attached to them and visa-versa how? Even LH seems to not know the reason, so how do you?

    3. Well obviously Robbie it had to be Hamilton’s fault in the end!

      1. No just interesting wording on his part that could not have helped. If there is no conspiracy, which there isn’t, why use the phrase ‘no apparent reason’ to the public? No wonder he immediately backtracked and said it was not the crews’ fault.

        1. Have you thought that maybe Hamilton had some other reason to say that other than fuel conspiracy theories.
          You think that such wording fuel conspiracy theories because you think with conspiracy theories in mind went reading that.

          Also saying that was what made Merc write this letter isn’t really accurate since the theories started before Hamilton said such comments.

    4. Why is it always Lewis (Fans) though? Remember when we had the same discussion at McLaren? As soon as Lewis is on bis back foot these insinuations and stories start cropping up..
      Let us not forget that Lewis had perfect equipment in 2 of 4 races and he has no one but himself to blame for not winning from pole twice!

      1. Actually he has an overheated clutch and Bottas to blame for those two ‘did not win from pole’ races. Note he did get pole and given the nature of his previous wins at Bahrain, it’s pretty difficult to suggest losing the first corner meant he would lose the race! Until Bottas that is.

        The bigger issue is something I referred to in the post I made yesterday. Toto made a frankly childlike change based on poor management theory that has left the team wide open to such conspiracy theories.

        Bottom line – Toto made his bed and instead of this constant defence of that decision, perhaps should think or at least read a little more on management theory before assuming he has silos in a very small highly skilled group of expert mechanics and engineers that commit huge amounts of energy and technical ability into each weekend.

        Then all this could be avoided. Not to say avoiding said engineers whom were no doubt a little offended by such rubbish, causing issues for the rabid fans and destabilising the drivers. No matter how much LH knows it made no difference, he will given the issues so far, be unable to avoid thinking it made a possible difference.

        1. See, this post is an example of some Lewis fans who take it to far. Excuses galore.

          Lewis overheated that clutch, no one else and Nicos incidentally was fine. Bottas hit him after he’d already had a bad start and lost out to Nico.

          1. @MH erm, in AUS both drivers did their clutches no favours… As a result they were mugged by the Ferraris and in the ensuing scrabble to cover off other fast starters, nearly pitched each other into the gravel at T1.

            The Lewis/Bottas incident would have been a racing incident if the Williams driver hadn’t obviously overcommitted himself 50 metres earlier. Yes, drivers go for gaps, but the angle of the corner and the distance to Hamilton meant it was never going to be open by the time he got there and as a result, Bottas was in Hamilton’s blind spot so couldn’t turn out of it.

            The stewards saw fit to penalise Bottas and be accepted the majority of the blame.

            Nico selected the wrong gear in China on the parade lap before making *another* bad start, which basically shows there’s definitely something glitchy about their single clutch/gearbox setup at the moment and it’s affecting both drivers.

          2. Right…

            Of course Mercedes confirming they are working with the supplier to resolve the issues is all a conspiracy to hide any issues Lewis and Nico have getting off the line very time there is a restart.

            It’s actually because a Lewis fan is taking it too far?

            How you can suggest Bottas is correct in hitting him is because he was beaten off the line fairly by Nico into second place just fails me.

    5. It is called ‘entitlement’.

  4. If the reliability was the other way round there would be no conspiracy theory. Hamilton is a brilliant driver and many long standing motorsport fans appreciate his talents and to some he is their favourite driver however he does have a following from many non motorsport fans who no very little about racing and talk complete rubbish when he is being beaten. A lot of rubbish was also spouted in 2007 from Spain with a lot of non motor racing fans following Alonso.

    1. I doubt even he thinks he’s being deliberately sabotaged. However. It does suggest a growing unhappiness with the overall situation, maybe Hamilton feels a number of behind the scenes changes – staff switches, car development etc. – have adversely affected him rather than Rosberg. If so, he surely has grounds for grumbling. Nothing’s stopping him trying to win this title and moving on though. Personally I’d like to see Hamilton driving for at least one more team before he retires. Winning the title elsewhere would be special if he could achieve it.

      1. Why? He’s done it for two different teams, why does he need to do it at a third?

        1. He doesn’t need to, obviously, but it would be a special achievement; there are winners with two different teams. And then there’s Fangio (4).

    2. I don’t really buy this idea of him having “non-motorsport” fans. I don’t think you can quantify peoples opinions like that.

      Sure, I’m happy to argue there are many utter morons who like him a lot, certainly I can see that. But can I say whether they are “real” fans or not? No. How? I do not know. What makes a real fan? It is a silly idea.

    3. Utter tosh. The same condescending “Lewis is not as clever as Nico” nonsense is now being extended to Lewis’ fans – “they are non-motorsport fans” – what rubbish. You gave them a motorsport exam that they then failed? Get off that ridiculous high horse.

    4. I agree with what you’ve said. A lot of Hammy fans have only followed Lewis since 2007 or more recently and think they know everything about F1.

  5. Hamilton does right opening his mouth over the team swapping their crews around for no reason at all.

    The team is not about equality at all, Hamilton is shafted on a regular basis by their strategies.

    1. The Team that gave him TWO WC, für which he had to basically do nothing and beat no one.
      Is now sabotaging him?
      Lewis fans keep this stuff coming please!

      1. Countless times over these last few seasons whenever Rosberg fell back at the start he was given the first stop to try and get the undercut.

        Last year in Bahrain he was given this privilege and Nico even managed to nearly overtake Hamilton in the process.

        Come this season in the same situations Hamilton has been left out and not once given the opportunity to do the same.

        1. Who do you think Mercedes called to pit first in Russia ?? Get your facts straight.

          1. Bit too late by that time as Williams pitted first, where was the undercut?

        2. Damon, Mercedes (and often most other teams) give strategy preference to the leading driver *unless* there’s an obvious gain to the lower placed driver *without* directly the lead driver. They’ll inform the lead car roughly when he should stop for the most favourable strategy and he can make the decision whether he feels he needs to stop or not within the ideal pit stop window. Only if car 2 stands to gain places without harming car 1’s race (or car 1 explicitly doesn’t want to stop) will he will get first stop.

          It’s all a grand strategy game played to ensure both cars finish as high as possible without directly harming each other’s race and is likely nuanced beyond anything we can comprehend.

          1. I’m not buying it, countless times they have pitted Rosberg first putting unnecessary pressure on Hamilton. Bahrain last year is one example, Hamilton was nearly passed by Rosberg in the undercut. This year at the same venue Hamilton was well behind Nico yet still they never once gave him a chance at undercutting Kimi.

    2. To be fair i blame Hamilton for this. When he initially sign with the team maybe he didn’t knew how this will work but then he made a new contract and he didn’t put his foot down about each driver having his own strategist.

      Truth be told if Rosberg and Hamilton had their own strategist then we will be seeing a lot better racing in a year like 2015.
      Maybe Hamilton it’s fine leaving it as it is instead of risking fighting his team on it and not signing a deal since he was winning but when he got behind Rosberg and had speed but couldn’t pass because of conditions he must have seen his mistake.

      What we need is both Rosberg and Hamilton to get their own strategist so that both can have a chance to fight the other in the race. As it is now, victory is decided after the first corner at the start because the other guy can only follow even if he is a little faster and can never do anything to outsmart the other since the strategy choices are basically non existent for the second guy.

  6. What a lot of nonsense. Was the director of communications on holiday when a junior member of the team came up with this idea?

  7. Too long, didn’t read

    The all subject is nonsense, don’t think this is necessary

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      4th May 2016, 19:20

      Too long – didn’t read it either!

  8. Least necessary press release ever. Mercedes have sullied themselves by giving these ludicrous conspiracy theories the time of day. They should have just laughed them off and moved on. Real fans know there is no conspiracy and the people who believe these things won’t believe anything the team say anyway, so why bother?

    1. I don’t consider Mercedes has sullied themselves. Only made it clear that they are a family. And if real fans understand and conspiracists won’t listen then there’s no harm from the letter. The season is so young I’d be wanting to quash this now too, and not want to hear this rubbish all season long.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        4th May 2016, 17:57

        @robbie – We don’t disagree much, but I actually heartily disagree here. For me, this is an awful mistake from Mercedes.

        Whilst it speaks in broad terms, it is a direct product of twittersphere trolling, and yet, it is addressed “to the fans” and visible (here, AUTOSPORT, the team’s website) in places where only core fans would see it. The piece itself navigates a superior tone all the while failing to acknowledge that true “fans” would never make such ludicrous accusations. It is an insulting alchemy of self-assured language and abstract generalisations. It is so crude it looks to have been written and signed off by the press office intern.

        In addressing it “to the fans” before promptly seeing it circulated to the daily stomping grounds of F1’s core following, Mercedes have made it apparent they have no idea who “the fans” are. “The fans” spend hundreds, if not thousands, of their hard-earned pounds watching Mercedes compete across the world, despite Bernie’s efforts to corporatise F1, and despite this, despite the fact that “the fans” make F1 possible for Mercedes, they can still be accused of making delusional allegations. Tacitly calling trolls, “fans” is simply insulting.

    2. @geemac I disagree. While people may well still hold their opinions, at least this way people cannot accuse them of remaining silent on the matter. It was a good move just to put their stance out there just so people are aware.

      1. It’s just more fodder for conspiracy theorists. “It’s never true till it’s been officially denied” applies to such cases – Mercedes are acknowledging that the pattern of failures on Lewis’ car can be the basis for conspiracy theories.
        There’s no going back from that – imagine if Lewis’ car breaks down in Spain. Will they issue another statement?

  9. now it makes them look guilty saying nothing would have been appropriate

    1. What exactly makes them look guilty?

      1. Unnecessary denial. Woogle is right, makes me more suspicious when actually I 100% believed there was no conspiracy before! Still don’t but many people will inevitably ask why Mercedes are quite so touchy about it. Bad PR move.

  10. The most significant aspect of this letter is the hoops the team had to jump through to be able to let their drivers know about possible race-ending faults on their cars. It’s absurd they need to get permission to inform a driver that the water pressure is dangerously low.

    1. Completely agree – it’s madness.

    2. good point, it really shows the crazy principle of the current radio rules.

    3. Totally agree. Why did we not hear about this during the race? Would have added to the drama at the end of the race. If Kimi knew he would of pushed like crazy to force Lewis’s car to failure and then on to Nico. Would have been epic but FIA prevented it by banning team radio messages.

  11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    4th May 2016, 14:03

    I can’t say I appreciate this lecture from Mercedes. It reads more as the work of a trigger-happy press office than as the agreived edict of a team under fire.

    Who as these “fans” they are addressing? Those that spend hundreds of pounds and many hours on following a sport that is doing such a good job of making its core followers feel unloved? Or the partisan periphery, vieled behind social media anonymity, with limited knowledge and limited passion? Trust me, Mercedes, you have no monopoly on commitment to this sport…

    What predominantly makes this so unnecessary is the calibre of individual they are addressing: those that were spouting their nonsense about a “German for a German team” around Hungary ’14 soon went quiet when Lewis took control, and had little to complain about in 2015. Soon the trolls will be quiet once more when Lewis’ luck turns, and he will doubtless do a better job at silencing the conspiracy theorists than this strange press release.

    If the teams felt the need to respond to every deluded tweet, there would be little time left for making racing cars…

    1. But they don’t respond to every deluded tweet. But there has been a constant barrage of comments on social media about this for quite some time.

      Should the F1 community have ignored the thunderous noise from the fans about qualifying? Certainly in Mercedes’ sphere of social media, this has been just as loud.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        4th May 2016, 19:00

        @mike – But has this “barrage” come from “the fans”? Are the people likely to be checking the Mercedes AMG F1 website today likely to be the same people who made such absurd allegations? What Mercedes has done is label people who are essentially trolling as “fans”, and especially in circulating this lecture to all of the usual daily stomping grounds of the core F1 following (here, AUTOSPORT, the team’s website), they associate deluded conspiracies with the same on which F1 is dependent. Remonstrating the comments of a digitally veiled, casual periphery should not be achieved by addressing the vastly more passionate and informed core following.

        1. @william-brierty

          … I am not sure what defines a fan, but if someone is aware enough of the team to go and make complaints about perceived treatment of a driver, it probably includes them.

          I don’t think you can exclude people from “fan” status because they are saying things that you think are silly. These people are watching F1, that is self evident, which makes them fans I would think.

        2. @william-brierty “But has this “barrage” come from “the fans”?”

          I don’t know how you define a fan, but if they follow F1 enough to be angry enough to go on to a website or page about it and then post about it. I’d say there’s a fair chance that they are a fan.

        3. … I… It looked like my first post hadn’t worked, sorry.

  12. “if we can convince even half of you of what we really stand for, we’ll consider that a battle well won”

    Presumably the pro-Rosberg half ;o)

    1. And the proper racing fans who follow Hamilton not the ones who follow R and B music, The Kardashians and follow Hamilton for his celebrity status which unfortunately he appears to have quite a few of. Rosbergs car failed in this very race back in October whilst he was winning, that’s a race failure where you cannot make the points back up, Hamilton has had 2 car issues in qualifying big deal. If Torpedo Moscow had had incidents with Hamilton in the last 2 races some plonkers will think he is trying to ruin Hamiltons championship. Where the conspiracy on Vettel having an engine failure and a gearbox change? There is nothing in this but the trash element of Hamiltons fan base.

      1. I agree Mark, I was just trying to make the point that denial can be futile and a bit self-defeating.

        1. Agreed. Merc should not have dignified this by attempting to address it.

          1. Absolutely, it’s giving credence to lunatics. I wonder why they would even consider it, but then we all heard Wolf respectfully answer British Sky who put forward the conspiracy theories as a serious issue to be discussed.

            I just don’t understand why Mercedes don’t just walk away and not address this at all when it comes up, but we’ve all seen what those nutters will do in the past so maybe they afraid to be booed too? Scared of bullies? Please and placate like most victims? Time to stand up to it I say. You too Sky.

      2. Rosberg had 2 retirements last year (eyeing Wikipedia), one in Italy and the other in Russia. In Italy he got stuck behind other cars and blew his motor and in Russia he had a ‘stuck throttle’. Only one retirement in October, not two, so you are actually not telling the truth.

  13. What Mercedes PR dept. does not realized, is that whole engine saga happened because someone in the team forgot to bring spare parts for a spare engine….end of the story…
    Also Nico did not know about ANY issues with engines after the race, he was surprised by the question from journalists.

    1. Mercedes are not responsible, blame the conspiracy theorists. …. end of.

    2. @blakk76 They didn’t have the parts ready to initially ship from the UK. Don’t forget the freight leaves long before the race. It’s all complicated by Parc Ferme rules and having to race with the same spec component as entered in the event (from the start of Q1, I believe) to avoid a penalty.

      They could have stuck an older, different spec fuel pump on (don’t forget, it was upgraded as part of a token spend) but Lewis would be starting from the pit lane because of the change as a result. If he was at the back, as in China, they’d have probably taken the hit, but he was mid-field.

      1. So this means that they have brought the engine, with older fuel system, knowing that its older and different spec than current engine and replacing it will cost you 10 places penalty… genius…somebody signed this, and if that`s the overall management style of mercedes, I wonder how they won 2 titles, does that means that in ferrari its even worse?

  14. I think there’s only one sensible thing to learn from this article; there is a conspiracy and @keithcollantine is in on it.

    1. LOL! +1

  15. “Shortly after his pit stop, we saw some alarming behaviour from Nico’s MGU-K”

    Is this the first time Mercedes admitted Rosberg had problems during the race? If so, it’s kind of remarkable he won with a 25s gap while setting the fastest lap.

    1. No, Toto mentioned it in the post race interviews. It’s strange why Nico banged in the fastest lap of the race on the very last lap despite having a huge lead over a competitor who was nursing his car home, knowing of a potential serious issue with his own PU and having been informed of such.

    2. No, it was mentioned in the race review article on Sunday.

    3. when asked right after the race Nico had no clue that he had engine problems, only later this “version” came up///

  16. Was no need for them to publish anything. This isn’t a conspiracy, just karma!

  17. Why is this even a thing. Do people actually think Mercedes would pay record money for a driver only to have him loose by internal sabotage? Not a single word in that sentence makes any sense whatsoever.

    1. I have this question to ask you, not because it is a certainty, but because I feel it necessary to point out your logical conclusion (?)

      Does Mercedes lose out more by

      A. letting Lewis win almost everything, which he has shown he can do, when he has the car


      B. let Nico win, keep the championship alive longer, promote the whole equality bit, and give the TV producers more material to work with instead of Vettel mk.2

      Which one do you think is more interesting to a corporation looking to promote it’s brand? Don’t forget, Mercedes are pushing (because they have real competition …. loooolz) so it’s natural for them to have reliability issues…

      1. @xsavior Everything you say is making sense but in no way where you pointing out a flaw in my logic. Why would they pay record money in a newly refreshed contract to the presumably best driver when they dont want him to win?

        They could have Pastor Maldonado instead of Hamilton and be doing the exact same thing.

        1. @Gabriel your premise is based on an unproven assumption. Name recognition, credibility and confidence are why Lewis gets paid what he does. When it comes to professional racing, looking good and inspiring confidence are worth a lot more than a few tenths per lap. After all, if not for the sponsors and all the stupid money, how could Lewis get paid what he does?

          The answer is, Mercedes lose more money letting Lewis Hamilton win and win and win vs putting on a spectacle. Do you really think people like seeing the same guy win year after year after year? Have you been watching F1 since 2011? Have you seen what has been done to slow down RBR before 2014? If Merc don’t control their drivers, and infuse some sort of drama, Bernie might start asking Pirelli to, or maybe even Merc might loose out in the regulation fight (the real competition).

          This is made for TV, it’s not terribly real… prestige, confidence, and the ever persistent romantic appeal are always more useful allies then someone who is a risk to tv ratings and the rule set.

          1. & No, they could not use Pastor Maldonado, he does not have the confidence of the fans, he comes from a part of the world where western Europe predominantly seems to look down upon, and “everyone” sees him as a pay driver, not a real racing driver, that is why he does not make stupid bank, why he would never get paid what Lewis does, cause he does not have the ‘prestige’ nor the confidence (game) to command Lewis’ salary.

            “It’s a kind of ‘magic’.” Not unlike that illustrated in the movie – ‘The Prestige’. It’s a show, a spectacle, and indeed a sport — entertainment. If it were real competition, most of the teams wouldn’t be bending over backwards to pay to lose.

          2. *lose

  18. One does have to ask why they would do this. I don’t believe there is any kind of conspiracy at Mercedes but maybe some of their employees have started questioning things and that is the reason for the letter as I can’t imagine they would feel a need to respond to a few tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorists.

    1. “a few”

      have you seen social media lately? XD

  19. We all heard about mechanics being switched between Lewis and Nico and all conspiracy theories have this fact in mind, so simplest way to put down all those rumors-switch mechanics back…but Mercedes is not doing that and probably will not do in future…

    1. @blakk76 that would be capitulating to the loons, who continue to bleat whatever the results. The problems move to Nico = “see, look, sabotage!”. The problems stay with Lewis = “you’re still feeding him faulty equipment/setting it up wrong”.

      The only way to quash the problem is kill the air the monster breaths whilst they concentrate on fixing the problem at hand.

      1. sometimes team needs a kick in the rear to get things done…for some reason Nico didn`t had any issues with engine, MGU`s and stuff, we do not know WHAT part of it is on the mechanics that run the car in the garage, maybe it`s less than 10%, maybe 80%…but we can see, that ONE part of equation is changed within the team-mechanics, and suddenly whole things went south on Lewis…

      2. As for sabotage thing, back in the day Honda had admitted, that they supported Senna better than Prost, with special “Senna engine” sign on the boxes and stuff… not that they sabotaged Prost, or put sugar in the fuel tank, but more attention means more power,reliability and more points…

        1. Just look at Webbers ridiculous run of reliability issues with his his KERS. #2 drivers always get the screw in pro-racing, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s a matter of interest, man hours, consideration, material, team income, etc….

          The real kicker, is Merc have all the interest in the world to create drama, they also have very little competition, so becoming lazy, and excusing incompetent behaviors is acceptable, because it means very little negative return.

  20. This is why Hamilton is not worth the trouble. Mercs should dump him and get someone like Bottas. Cheaper and easier to handle.

    1. Make no mistake, I’m the first to criticize the pouty faced drama queen that is Lewis. And there is no doubt in my mind that he has contributed to the situation where other drivers certainly wouldn’t have. However, it goes without saying, that he is more than likely the single fastest driver in formula one.

      Mercedes will ride out the stupid, Lewis will win some races and most of them will move on and forget. I hope. The last thing they should do is reward the fans appealing behavior by acting rashly.

    2. You must hate it that you are not a decision-maker at Mercedes, eh? Did someone ask you to become a Lewis fan, perhaps on pain of death?
      Get a life.

    3. Don’t be ridiculous. While I agree that Lewis is a bit of spoilt princess when things aren’t going his way, there is no way any team would consider dropping him for a driver other than Vettel or Alonso.

      Even in his Mclaren days, Lewis did stir the pot quite a bit with Button at Turkey 2010, Spa 2011, etc. and on quite a few occasions he decided to feed the media with some of his delusional thoughts of what was actually going on behind closed doors. Sometimes Lewis’ should just learn to shut his trap and get on with the job instead of letting his own imagination run wild in front of the World Media. But that is in Lewis’ nature. Just like a tween girl, he’ll post every thought and every picture on social media, so it’s not surprising that he would project some random thoughts to the media.

      But let’s face it… on track, there isn’t a driver that’s better. While Mercedes might secure a WDC with even Rio Haryanto given their current level of performance, when the Mercedes actually does have serious competition from another team, it will be Lewis and not Nico that will be capable of delivering the title for them. No amount of throwing toys out of the pram can suffice for his ability to deliver over almost any other driver on the grid.

      1. 1. Rio is actually showing rather well against Wehrlein, so please don’t put him in the ‘just another slow guy who doesn’t deserve to be there’ category you seem to be implying he is a part of, its too soon to judge.

        2. I think Ricciardo is faster than Hamilton, in quali and race, and I also think he comes with a lot less baggage. :-)

  21. Mercedes can shut up the theorists by getting 2 cars through the weekend with out breaking down.
    Easy. Just DO it!

    1. A) If it was easy, they’d do it every weekend.
      B) Mercedes do everything they can to prepare the two best cars they can.

  22. This isn’t a racing team talking, it’s nouveau corporate pr – we have all these values, and team spirit, and we won’t let the blue meanies out there get us down, cause we’re always up to any challenge and we know we will be even better – isn’t that just like your ideal you?

    1. Gerulf Dösinger (@)
      4th May 2016, 20:08

      @maciek I couldn’t agree more. F1 is not just the pinnacle of Motorsport but also the pinnacle of superficial corporate identity culture.

      1. Branding …. Mooooooow.

  23. Mercedes Leadership is weak!

  24. I learned 2 things from it anyway:

    1. Nico’s fastest lap, putting the entire field, team-mate included, in their place – that was set in a safe engine mode. That’ll cheer the opposition up no end.

    2. Lewis’s water pressure issue stablised when it ran out. I guess thats logical.

    1. Putting Hamilton in his place?

      I chuckled a bit.

    2. Yeah… Stonking lap in safe mode… It is small miracle lewis made it to the end at all.

  25. I hope this all goes away and we can all go back to being normal, thinking F1 fans who love the sport and enjoy watching it. If this wasn’t such a drama, maybe we’d have less journalism about this and more about what actually happened to the cars.

    This whole thing is like Herpes, No one wants it but once it’s there it’s damn hard to get rid of.

  26. I’m embarrassed that Mercedes should have to do this at all. The internet is great in many ways, but it gives all sorts of fruitcakes a platform for their deranged views who shouldn’t be given any sort of publicity at all.

    I would have preferred it if they hadn’t used the word “haters”. That word annoys me greatly. You can’t say anything negative without some halfwit labelling you as a hater.

    1. Agreed 100% or the opposite ‘fanboy’

      Nothing irks me more than those two terms being bandied around by idiots (see above) but to find it in a Mercedes rant sheet is too much frankly.

  27. Actions speak louder than words, and Mercedes have a habit over the last 2+ years of seemingly keeping the show alive by “effectively” slowing Lewis down through reliability issues or altering the balance of the car.

    There is no claim of conspiracy on my part, that is a straw man that people use to bewilder and amuse people who are not really interested in a critical perspective.

    2014 – A spat of qualifying/reliability issues brings Nico back mid season, keeps Lewis from winning more than a few races in a row

    2015 – A balance change after the fake tire drama favored Nico, Toto is angered by Lewis mentioning it in the media.

    2016 – More qualifying issues … Nico gets away, but will he be caught … ?

    In the end it doesn’t matter if there is a conspiracy, or collusion, or anything like it, actions speak louder that words, and trends/behaviors are what they are. Feel free to argue the facts, but please pay attention to what is said, exactly, and don’t forget straw man/ad hominem arguments are a poor man’s refuge.

    1. @xsavior
      “Mercedes have a habit over the last 2+ years of seemingly keeping the show alive by “effectively” slowing Lewis down”

      That’s the conspiracy.

      1. That is your claim, one that I am not making. In the business world it doesn’t matter what your intent is, what you believe, etc… All that matters is the bottom line and what you can achieve, and Merc EFFECTIVELY limited Lewis the last two years, and it’s EFFECT was to bring the championship closer.

        please feel free to argue MY POINTS, but if you are going to rebut my comment by trying to draw your own straw man argument, please don’t waste your time.

    2. RP (@slotopen)
      4th May 2016, 19:32

      Merc has also done some ugly things, and had some bizarre things happen.

      The most telling for me was the double points finaly in 2014. Roseberg had some kind of glitch dropping him through the field. As Hamilton approached lapping him Merc ask him to retire the car, stating failure was imminent. Rosberg admirably insisted he would continue the race.

      The broadcast crew was confused, why retire a car the last race of the season?. I can only give one explication – they were concerned about a Rosberg/Hamilton collision. Either they were shaftin Rosberg and being disingenuous or they reached a seriously bizarre conclusion, that disrespected their driver.

      The water pressure thing is odd too. I simply do not believe an F1 car can finish a race with no water pressure, as was clearly stated. The obvious explanation is electronics failure. So I can only conclude the statement above is misleading. There could be strategic reasons, but the best policy would have been to say less, and not BS.

      Ultimately I think they are people, sometimes they do the wrong things, and lie when it helps. I think they want both cars to win. But we know sometimes stuff happens for ugly reasons.

      1. with respect to Lewis winning in 2014, Rosberg retiring could also be seen as a means of saving face, as in, Nico lost the title because of a mechanical failure.

        It is almost pointless to guess what Merc want, or think, the real issue, is WHAT HAS HAPPENED.

        1. in 2014 they both had 3 DNF`s with mechanical fairues…so they are equal here, what Nico never had-tech problems in quali like Lewis this year

          1. 3 DNF’s is hardly a snapshot of the reliability issues that hit Merc that year. What is consistent is Lewis poor reliability in qualifying, which not only hands an easy win to his teammate, but makes his teammate look ‘faster’. Just look at the ridiculous commentary after the last qualifying when people lauded Nico for being so fast in Q2, trying to promote the ‘confidence’, yet Lewis could not set a fast time because his car was breaking down.

            You can see the interests of the sponsors and the tube heads by the way the commentators try to jerk around or push certain agendas by the way they phrase their questions and statements. Some commentators are better than others, too many however are very obviously on their knees to their pay masters, saying what every they have to say, to remain in favor.

    3. RP (@slotopen)
      4th May 2016, 19:38

      Also the tire test in 2013. That was shady. Probably just racing, but still..

    4. 3 DNF for Nico and 3 DNF for Lewis in 2014, they had equal share of problems

      1. watch qualifying that year, all the rounds. I don’t remember Nico’s car catching on fire, also I don’t remember Nico losing a hose clip last year either.

    5. Interesting stats, don’t know what to think about the one-sidedness of these issues when you look at them over an extended period of time.

  28. This is ridiculous. Who actually believed it in the first place???

    I am outraged that some of the Ham fans are so blind and cause such upheavals. As a Rosberg fan I hope this does not effect his performance and he is not distracted by this. Just because some one else does well and another is unfortunate does not mean that there has to be some sort of conspiracy. I support Sainz over Verstappen and it is quite clear that VES is more popular than Sainz however I do not scream and shout everytime Sainz retires and VES gets points. Its just part of racing, you get unlucky sometimes.

  29. Imagine post Spain if Hamiltons engine blows, Torpedo Moscow wipes out Vettel, Merc are 2 seconds a lap faster than Ferrari but Toto says they are close… oh the news the following week, maybe elimination qualifying back for Monaco as well, Maldonado gets a Sauber seat to rescue the team financially.

  30. @keithcollantine is there a chance we can get an f1 fanatic pool, how many people believe there is this conspiracy?

    In any case. This letter just speaks volumes on quality of Mercedes team.

    They could have just been standard “no comment”, or ignore blatant insult.

    But no, they stand toggether and address the fans.

    Like I said before… I do not beleive in a conspiracy where perputrator does not have a motive to do it…

  31. Ridiculous. Absolutely unnecessary.
    It will add more fuel to the fire.

  32. The letter said.

    “With zero – yes, zero! – water pressure remaining for the last 16 laps, the job he did to nurse the car home and still retain second place was truly remarkable.”

    The only time when an engine will have zero gauge water pressure is when it’s stone cold, hard to imagine how this could occur with a hot and therefore pressurised system. The implication of Mercedes explanation is that the water pump had failed in which case the engine would have boiled in no time, even a low rated road car will not last if the coolant isn’t being circulated.

    If all the coolant had leaked out of the system causing loss of heat related pressurisation and the coolant pump was cavitating due to no fluid the engine would seize in no time.

    So what can we make of this ‘explanation’? Presumably there was some form of supporting rise in coolant temperature with the drop in coolant pressure… surely it wasn’t simply a failing pressure transducer…??

    1. We can make of it that they have multiple redundant systems and something else was cooling the engine. Lewis said himself he was running only 71% throttle down the straights to keep it from overheating.

      They have one big radiator and one small one next to intercooler right? Maybe that small one leaked.

      But for sure amazing if it ran 16 laps without water pressure…. maybe their water to air intercooler leaked? And he only lost power not cooling?

      1. I’d be surprised if there’s any system redundancy in the strictest sense of the word, but your theory about the charge cooler circulation pump having failed makes sense [I don’t actually know if they use a secondary water circuit for the charge cooler system??]. Reducing power demand would then probably bring various critical temperatures down to a survivable level without total engine failure

    2. RP (@slotopen)
      5th May 2016, 1:18

      I think they are just being plain disingenuous. Their comments can only be taken on way by the average gearhead – that coolant was not circulating, like a broken water pump.

      We can reasonably conclude there is more to this – sensor failure, more than one cooling system, zero pressure in one component, etc – but that isn’t what they said.

      They should speak plainly, or not at all. To tell fish stories feeds the conspiracy.

  33. Good that they’ve taken the pains to even address the fans however in my personal opinion…they need not even do that. There will be conspiracy theorists who are nothing but a bunch of biased fans with no real rational thinking. When they could not apply 1% of their brains to reality, you can’t expect them to do so now. Wait till one more failure and it’ll erupt again.

    P.S. I hated the fact that in UK, Sky Sports was fueling the issue…I wonder what analysis they do!

    1. Sorry for sounding a bit bitter but I am really tired of this non-sense.

  34. Didn’t Mercedes ever hear that they shouldn’t feed the tr0lls?
    I guess any publicity is good publicity, but this was slightly beneath them.

  35. Andy (@andybantam)
    4th May 2016, 20:53

    Next, Ferrari try to convince fans that chem-trails don’t exist with an open letter…

    There is no point reasoning with people that blindly believe a false conspiracy. You can try evidence, you can try facts, you can try peer reviewed studies. None of these things work. Pointless.

    It’s difficult to see what the point of this was, unless it was to inform the public that there’s more radio traffic than the FIA would have us believe.

  36. Ham’s engine troubles need to continue. Mercedes would be looking at people crying conspiracy, otherwise.

    They release a statement about the conspiracy and then the following race onwards there is no issue with Ham’s car? That doesn’t seem normal.

    The letter has basically cracked open a unwanted can of worms.

    1. the only thing it has done is shifted the focus of attention to the conspiracy theorists vs on who is responsible for the lack of reliability.

      Maybe it has something to do with the guy writing that letter? hmmmmm…..


  37. The fact that they feel the need to explain things shows how pathetic this has become. Glad I’m not a fan of any of the involved parties.

  38. This is ridiculous. There is no other word for it.

  39. Another conspiracy: Verstappen and Kvyat are swapping places from Spanish GP!

  40. This is rubbish from Mercedes. Why are they even having to justify whats going on? This is the most lame story to come out of F1 in a while

  41. Here is the sad, simple fact underlying all this conspiracy rubbish, as well as the totally unnecessary Mercedes corporate rah-rah piece: this is happening because THERE ARE ONLY TWO DRIVERS COMPETING FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, and the ENTIRETY of their mechanical, strategic, and tactical fortunes rests within the decisions made by ONE team. Mercedes team leaders are basically race control/FIA, in the odd role of having the racing world at large hold them responsible for guaranteeing a fair fight, because it is the ONLY fight, as it is clear that a Merc could basically lap the rest of the field towing the entire pit crew along on a trailer. In safe mode.

    Think about it: if there were 3 or even 2 other teams that were regularly displacing one or both Merc drivers from the podium on any given day in the absence of Merc reliability issues, if Mercedes were really having to fight for pole and race positions with other teams, none of this would have much reason to exist.

    What it is, is a sad comment on the state of competition in F1.

  42. To be honest…i stopped reading after 3rd paragraph. Uninteresting, pointless, and don’t really care if there rift. Bottom Nico is having a better season, accept and move on and enjoy the fact of new face at the sharp end instead of believe someelse has a devine right over another. No gave a shit or cry conspiracy when Nico was having mech failures or poor starts. Only wanted to say he is not good enough. I believe in Nico much the same I believed in Jenson once given the opportunity. Runaway with it Nico, sisu!!!

    1. Dang phone…many typos :)

  43. Perhaps Lewis’ side of the garage is just not as competent as Nico’s side.
    But it makes no sense for Mercedes to deliberately sabotage Lewis.

  44. I don’t like either driver or Mercedes and no i don’t believe the conspiracy stories the same as i didn’t believe them when Hammy was at Mclaren. Lewis has always been very good at stoking the fires with some of his comments and doesn’t help the situation.

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