Mercedes: Nico Rosberg almost had to retire from F1 Australian GP

nico rosberg

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has revealed Nico Rosberg came close to retiring from the Australian Grand Prix and being denied his 15th career win in Formula 1.

Rosberg finished eight seconds clear of reigning champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton at Melbourne’s Albert Park, but an overheating right-front brake caliper and a problem with the left-rear tyre almost proved costly.

“It was unconventional in that we suffered some little dramas,” said Wolff, referring to the fact Rosberg and Hamilton dropped to third and sixth respectively at the start, and the race was red-flagged after the first pitstops due to a huge crash involving Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez.

“We had a problem on Nico’s car with brake caliper temperatures which kept creeping up almost to a stage where we thought about retiring the car.

“That was two thirds into the race. We caught some debris in the caliper, but then it stabilised and started to creep down again very slowly and recover.

“At a certain stage it was very difficult for the team to handle.

“And then 15 laps from the end our calculations showed the tyres wouldn’t last, that five laps from the end the left-rear could fall off the cliff.

Ferrari was confident of victory before red flag

“The temperatures kept dropping and dropping every single lap, and our tyre guy said ‘Five laps from the end, that’s it!’

“We lost a lot of grip on the rear left, but it’s just one of four tyres and he made it survive to the end.”

Wolff has confirmed this season’s ban on radio transmissions only added to the complications with regard to both issues.

“It was really difficult because we couldn’t tell him to look after the left rear,” added Wolff.

“And he didn’t know about the brake temperatures. We couldn’t tell him.

“After all these years of transmitting all this information to the drivers to optimise the car, make it survive, that lack of communication is definitely going to lead to situations which are beyond the engineers’ control.”

Rosberg added: “The brakes got a bit hot because there was rubber that got into the brake cooling duct.

“It was critical and difficult to manage in the car, but everything worked out, so I’m happy.”


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