Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2016

Hamilton failures a “freaky coincidence” – Wolff

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff says it is a “freaky coincidence” that Lewis Hamilton has suffered the majority of the team’s reliability problems so far this year.

“I just have no words for what happened to Lewis,” said Wolff. “We feel his pain.”

“This is a mechanical sport, with so much technology, but sometimes you get blindsided by situations with no rational explanation. It’s a freaky coincidence as to why he has suffered the majority of the engine problems this year – like the odds of throwing red six times in a row in the casino.”

“But we take a forensic approach to our work in how we build the engines and how we analyse the failures. We always have done and we will do so again. Our guys will get to the bottom of what happened and learn from it.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2016
Malaysian Grand Prix in pictures
After the race Hamilton suggested ‘something didn’t feel right’ because he had suffered so many problems this year. But Wolff praised his driver’s conduct.

“We let him down today and we are beating up ourselves about it. And you know, if you’re leading the race, about to get back in the championship lead and then your engine blows up… then every answer is allowed in front of a TV camera. It’s completely understandable.”

But instead of venting frustration, he came back to the garage and shook the hand of every team member. We talked in a small group and we were all really down. Then he stood in front of the team and found the words to lift everybody and help us recover quickly for Japan. This is what the great drivers do, the true Champions, and I must express my respect for how he conducted himself today.”

Wolff also praised Nico Rosberg’s recovery drive after being hit by Sebastian Vettel on the first lap.

“You can look at the first corner two ways: he was unlucky to be hit by Sebastian but at the same time lucky the car did not sustain more damage. Then, he did a brilliant recovery drive back to third place with no mistakes.”

However Wolff was strongly critical of the stewards’ decision to penalise Rosberg for his collision with Kimi Raikkonen.

“I don’t want it to be our focus and it didn’t ultimately cost him any places,” said Wolff. “But it was a complete nonsense.”

“We all decided that we wanted to see racing and that, if no driver was clearly at fault, then we should let them race. Then you get this. But it’s for others to comment and not my main priority right now.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 51 comments on “Hamilton failures a “freaky coincidence” – Wolff”

    1. im glad he doesn’t have to worry about honest competition. He would be failing miserably. Lolz. Oh yeah, we lost half of our yields today, just like we lost half of them many times before, … But I guess it’s just a freaky coincidence. Lolz.

      Lewis might be in the clown car this year, but anyone with half a brain can see who the real clowns are, Toto & Lauda trying to come up with excuses race after race. At least hes using new material, the both cars rhetoric is getting about old, maybe not as old as the conspiracy haters though. George W Bush “Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories …” #FishInABarrel #RealEntertainment

    2. if coincidence continues, then it can’t be coincidence.

      1. 100% Correct. Now way too far beyond any coincidence. Outrageous closer to the real truth. The ancient scrote lauda was captured ive on tv at the beginning of the season voicing his support for NR over & above LH to win the 2016 Driver’s Title.
        8, YES 8, Mercedes engines on the grid for 2016. LH’s engines only, fail this often?
        Now wait & watch for the cock & bull story behind this latest F1 result fixing fiasco by Mercedes.

        Ferrari definitely for LH 2017!

        1. 100% dumb

      2. Coincidence can continue indefinitely. It’s understandable that a driver feels that way in the circumstances but for us objectively on the outside it doesn’t make any sense to think they sabotage engines, especially in front of Petronas. The team don’t care who wins anyway. Family Guy or the rock star, it’s all good.

        1. Your comment makes ZERO sense. “Coincedences” that continue indefinitely are called “constant”. Something you might have learned as an 8th grader in high school.

          1. Coincidences are not constants @trevor. A constant is always there to be observed. Coincidences are two or things that coincide. If they are always seen together we may infer causality, but generally we call them that because we don’t have a reason to link them.

            So coincidences can continue an indefinite number of times while we look for an explanation, and while we don’t have an explanation it’s called coincidence. Especially when the events are in fact mostly different. The probability of a failure is the same after a blowup as before, if it’s random, so a run of bad luck can continue indefinitely, while still being luck. Of course we look for an explanation, but in this case it’s quite credible that there isn’t one.

            1. there is another word better than coincidence… it is called correlation… if it was happening to Ros, in similar/same ways, they would be correlated… it is only happening to Ham, and consistently… if you correlate that ham and failures in mercedes engines, you come up to a conspiracy… because it is just too much random events happening to one person!

              I will just spill it here, bcoz conspiracy!

              Someone in Ham’s side of the garage/or entering his garage, is loosening some screws just enough… Ros getting way too much consistent engine whole year long, i would call this coincidence…

      3. Your remark maken no sense.

      4. @eggry @mysticus and trevor also. I think you all need to review you math seriously. True randomness has no rule, not even the false assumption that if it happens more than one time to one individual then it can’t be a coincidence.

        1. what you say is true, but it just became too consistent that all the engine failures happened to one person’s car all year long… it almost became predictable!

          it also almost looks like Ros’ car looks indestructible!

          i think out of courtesy, next race, Ros’ car will develop a freak “out of the blue” fault to mitigate the issue and level the floor to ease the tension… otherwise, there will be a big rumble in the jungle… make my word :)

    3. Hard luck. But Vettel won the title after the Korean blow up in 2010. It’s not over yet for Hamilton.

      1. and Hamilton got lucky on last lap of 2008. luck is just that – luck.

        1. He got lucky because he overtook a driver with dry tires on a wet track??? Wow.

          1. He was lucky Glock was in that situation and that the rain started to fall when it did and not 60 seconds later.

            Nobody is saying he wasn’t deserving of that championship, but he was also lucky just like F1 drivers often are @kbdavies

            1. He wasn’t lucky. He was ahead of Glock before he pitted for the right tyre choice and then repassed him because, lo and behold, he was on the right tyres. That’s not luck.

            2. Lucky? He was before Glock before it started to rain. And he was before Glock before the finish line. The only reason Glock was before him was because Glock gambled and it didnt pay off. Has nothing to do with luck. Very funny definition of luck.

            3. @strontium No,he was lucky in Hungary.

            4. Supposing Glock’s gamble did pay off, and Hamilton’s decision to pit didn’t? Obviously they made the right call, but Hamilton was still fortunate enough that it did pay off.

            5. “Supposing Glock’s gamble did pay off, and Hamilton’s decision to pit didn’t? Obviously they made the right call, but Hamilton was still fortunate enough that it did pay off.”

              That’s not how luck works. You’re not lucky when you do the right thing and the right outcome occurs from it. Glock would have been lucky if his gamble had paid off, that doesn’t mean Hamilton is lucky it didn’t.

              Put it this way: If I leave my house with plenty of time to get to work and then I get to work on time nobody would be saying “Boy he was lucky!”
              If I go to the cinema with the right money for a cinema ticket, get there and buy a ticket that’s not luck. I’m not lucky because the cinema didnt increase the price if tickets in the time it took me to get there.

    4. Well I don’t think it’s a coincidence I think that Wolff and the whole of the team wants that German to win. And how come none of the other cars that runs Mercedes engines have had the same problem then. Bit suspect to me and Wolff only held his head in his hands because of construcers championship.

      1. Why would the Mercedes team want to sacrifice the chance to win the constructors championship on their main sponsor’s home turf, which obviously would be a great publicity opportunity for the team, simply to favour one driver over another? The idea that a team would sabotage itself to help one of their drivers just doesn’t make sense. Mercedes won’t sell cars if they are constantly seen breaking down, as a car company they would never even entertain the notion of making one of their cars break down deliberately, as it makes absolutely zero sense. What’s happened to Lewis is extremely unlucky and there has got to be a reason behind it, but to think the team would deliberately make his car blow up to favour Nico is honestly pretty preposterous.

        1. Barbara Williams
          4th October 2016, 23:30

          Well said f1alex. Completely agree.

      2. You can’t make this stuff up. Right? All the sudden no brake problems too.

    5. I think Mercedes would like Rosberg to win, for the simple and elegant reason that it allows them to boast of having built a car that helped both their drivers win WDCs. It would be excellent for marketing. After all, brand Mercedes is much larger than brand Hamilton or brand Rosberg.

      I will not subscribe to any conspiracy for the same reason – the negative fallout of a conspiracy (if one existed and came to light) would be damning from a marketing/media standpoint.

      Mercedes have been squeaky clean thus far in both word (clear and forthright communications from Toto Wolff) and deed (free to race), so I’d say they’re innocent until proven guilty.

      1. “I will not subscribe to any conspiracy for the same reason – the negative fallout of a conspiracy (if one existed and came to light) would be damning from a marketing/media standpoint.”
        That’s a very good point. Even if we assume that Rosberg’s championship would be better for Mercedes than Hamilton’s, the marketing advantage is very small. But think about what would happen if there was an engine conspiracy against Hamilton and it came to light – the negative publicity would be devastating not to mention that Mercedes would either be banned from the sport or fined heavily. There is no way they would take such a risk.

        Someone might point out to crashgate in 2009. But the situation was completely different – Renault was thinking about pulling out of the sport because they had no success any more and if Renault pulled out their executives would’ve lost their jobs. So even though crashgate was absolutely immoral, it could be argued that it made sense (at least for some people) to take such a risk. In this case, the reward for a conspiracy would be significantly less if anything.

    6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      2nd October 2016, 17:34

      Well that’s not acceptable because statistically speaking it’s extremely improbable that Lewis’s engines would suffer so many failures – like he said there are 8 cars running those engines and he’s been affected more than anyone. He’s their champion so if anything you’d expect the opposite.

      1. But not impossible, so it is all well within range.

        1. I dare say its statistically provable if you take samples from the last two years. We will just forget about all the qualifying reliability issues Lewis had in 2014 that brought Nico back in to play.

        2. It is well within range that out ouf 43 Engines, it is only 6 Engines of Hamilton that have problems? Strange definition of range

          1. well, yes. I you calculate the odds, it’s >0%. so it’s within range.

      2. Each time a Merc engine fails begins a brand new 1 in 8 chance for all the Merc drivers. Conspire and theorize all you want, but if Hamilton has the latest engine failure then he still has a 1 in 8 chance of having the next ad infinitum.

        There is never a moment when Hamilton’s statistical probability is changed due to having a larger number of issues. 1 in 8. Always.

        1. “There is never a moment when Hamilton’s statistical probability is changed due to having a larger number of issues. 1 in 8. Always”

          That sounds pretty ignorant to me, forgive me for being terribly blunt, but ignoring facts and evidence doesn’t make ones’ case. But I guess the last 3 years never happened and 1/8 is as good as gold.

      3. @freelittlebirds Lauda’s car was impressively reliable in 1985

        McLaren wanted a French guy to be champion for once.

    7. I can’t help but recall those times of Kimi and McLaren Mercedes MP4-20. One of the fastest ever, also with high rate of mechanical problems. Nowadays Mercedes can be grateful that nobody is near enough behind their domination. Back then, they lost both championships to Renault and Fernando due to those problems.

      If the engines and its parts come from one production unit, Lewis must be having a cursed luck. But the suggestion of sabotage is ridiculous.

    8. Wolff calls the penalty nonsense, but other drivers have got drive throughs for less.
      At the same time, it would not be F1 without, a none-penalty, penalty.

      1. I think the penalty was justified. While Rosberg did need to overtake Raikkonen, there were other places he could have done it. Some people believe it was a great pass, but I don’t see how a great pass includes hitting the car you are passing. A great pass should be accomplished without hitting the car you are passing.
        Really, this incident is a blight on what would otherwise have been a great piece of driving, because he was last on the track and finished third. This was definitely a world champion worthy piece of driving, which is why this incident is so disappointing, because it spoils a great piece of race car driving.

    9. “Freaky” a typo?

    10. In CERN (the world’s most powerful particle accelerator) earlier this year there was an emerging statistical correlation which indicated that new particles had been detected. About a hundred papers were published speculating on what these new particles were, how it affected the standard model and so on.

      But over many more runs of the experiment, these statistical correlations faded away. No new particles, no new papers, no new funding…

      Why mention it? Statistical correlations aren’t really useful without many thousands of examples. Hamilton’s engine woes don’t have much statistical strength. We don’t need to invoke conspiracies, over-driving, gods or anything else.

      Chance is strange and people are stranger. When we roll good dice a few times in a row, it’s nice. When we keep getting disappointing rolls, the dice must be loaded… surely “I deserve better luck than this”? And we remember the bad dice more. Suspicion is a survival trait – better to be suspicious than eaten by a tiger.

      1. actually when you make a statistical proof, it has more to do with the claim than the number of samples. You can prove something where N=30. The devil is in the details about making such a claim though, and the controls/details would need to be quite explicit/well defined.

        you are principally wrong on two points, you failed to really address why those scientists would have needed lots of samples, nor does your generalized claim about statistical correlations requiring thousands of samples stand up to any real scrutiny.

        Statistics and proving stuff has a lot to do with the claim, and the controls, vs sample size.

        Chance really isn’t strange, people are fairly predictable, I challenge you to observe how you moved from a poor basis claim (probably an honest mistake, but probably lacking any real experience) to the refutation about sample size and claims being made on behalf of the Merc issue, and how you close your position with a generalized theme about getting eaten by a tiger.

        We are creatures of habits, fairly adept at detecting patterns, just gotta be able to admit our own biases/sins is all. You know a great book to read is a standard discrete mathematics textbook. I think you would like it.

        1. @xsavior You sure do know a lot bro.

    11. Well at least the hacks on the side lines won’t be calling into question Hamiltion’s ability as a driver… last race they were quick to point out the margin by which Rosberg secured pole, without addressing the car and its setup. Just saying.

    12. To all who are believing the consipacy theories: can someone explain to me how that would work exactly? I mean, who would be responsible for such a decision? Wolff? Lauda? One of the engineers screwing him over? Do they give Hamilton worse parts (which means that they are specifically asking a subsidiary to make a broken part)? And how can you make an engine blow up after something like 40 laps, given we’ve seen earlier in the season (Baku) that in the end it’s Hamilton who’s responsible for switching engine modes?

      1. has Mercedes even made a statement as to the reason why his engine failed, or are we all supposed to believe it was a problem with someone’s right foot.

        I challenge you to understand why Lewis Hamilton’s engine blew up at Singapore, before stating he should have changed engine modes. For all we know, Lewis could have had some bad fuel that finally made it to the injectors almost half way through the race, managed to get past any filters, etc..

        We don’t know why his engine blew, do we? Before screaming conspiracy, get the facts straight :) Cheers.

        1. *Blew up at Sepang, …

    13. This happens in F1. Engines blow randomly. Sad for Hamilton.

      1. And I will close by saying, I think the word luck is the most over used politically correct band aid used to help cover any real inquiry, when it comes to quieting up drivers after a race.

    14. Can I tell you what is a Freaky coincidence? That Wolff says it’s a Freaky coincidence, given the quote that exists on a certain NASCAR driver’s car. And I’m not going to say anything else because, you know, I care about all you people in the world who haven’t watched the NASCAR race but are still planning on it. I’m with you.

    15. Wolff in sheeps clothing.

      No other words.

    16. A very sober assessment to lay the foundation for an internal investigation and one is certainly necessary. As it was a new power unit, a batch fault cannot be ruled out and the other new unit HAM still has in his pool after the Spa replenishment could also have a faulty ICE. The Spa replenishment could turn out to be a poisoned chalice. Nothing much can be changed this season without potentially crippling penalties.

    Comments are closed.