Pirelli on Thursday moved to dismiss a conspiracy theory about Mercedes’ mysterious loss of performance last week in Singapore. Lewis Hamilton’s sudden slump had tongues wagging in the paddock, with most seasoned observers agreeing that it was – at the very least – strange.
“In all my time in formula one I have never seen a team suddenly lose one and a half seconds (per lap) in one race,” said McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso. “Probably the mystery will never be solved, but that’s formula one”.
One theory is that Mercedes simply had to ‘turn down’ its new engine specification, amid reliability concerns, but Lewis Hamilton denied that in Japan. “I don’t believe the conspiracy theories,” said the reigning world champion. “We think we just needed to do a better job on the technical side in a few areas.”
As for the engine ‘turn down’ speculation, teammate Nico Rosberg insisted: “Our update is a development focused on next year and we are pleased with the progress.”
Finally, tyre supplier Pirelli hit back at the wildest conspiracy theory – that it deliberately gave Mercedes a harder tyre specification as payback for the Monza tyre pressure saga. The Italian company declared on Thursday that a complex ‘barcode’ system, operated in conjunction with the FIA, guarantees equality for all the F1 teams. “Deciding which tyres are allocated to which teams, or when they are used, is a job taken care of entirely by the FIA once the tyres have left the factory,” said boss Paul Hembery. “It is just another way that impartiality can be ensured among all the teams, which has always been a huge priority for us as exclusive tyre supplier.”