The circumstances surrounding Nico Rosberg’s mysterious retirement at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix have only become more confusing after Mercedes confirmed that it was caused by his car being contaminated by a “foreign substance.”
Analysis of the German’s steering column, which is where all of the problems were caused on Sunday, have revealed that a residue of a material that was used in pre-event servicing had been found inside the device. This then caused a short-circuit, which wreaked havoc with Rosberg’s ability to start the car. Not only did he have to start the race from the pit-lane, he also encountered huge issues trying to change gear. He ultimately retired from the race.
It’s even been revealed that the issue had probably been laying dormant inside the steering column since 2008. Mercedes have had the steering wheel in their possession since then, and the substance is only used in servicing at the factory before the cars are shipped.
Mercedes have since released a statement on the issue that contained the results of their investigation.
“Forensic analysis has revealed that the steering column electronic circuits were contaminated with a foreign substance. This occurred during our normal pre-event servicing procedures at the factory and the substance found is used as part of our standard servicing procedure. The contamination was not visible and did not manifest itself until Sunday as Nico went to the grid, although the steering column was used throughout the weekend and the car fired up as normal on Sunday morning. Nico could not command the clutch nor change engine settings. The car was ultimately retired because it was unsafe to execute a pit stop without command of the clutch. Fresh parts will be used at the forthcoming races.”
Because of this issue, Rosberg was unable to compete against his main rival for the Formula One world championship, Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton went on to easily claim victory, and many experts inside the sport now believe that the English racer will steam ahead of Rosberg. Not only is Hamilton regarded as the more aggressive and faster driver, but he also has the experience of competing for the championship after his 2008 triumph with McLaren.
Rosberg has also started to show cracks in his performances over recent races, and he will be looking to stem this tide of poor driving when he reaches Suzuka, Japan, next weekend. He is currently 3 points adrift of Hamilton, with five races left to go.
[Image via Total Motorsport]