OCTOBER 6, 2016
Wolff rejects Hamilton's offer to skip sessions
Toto Wolff has rejected Lewis Hamilton's claim that the British driver might sit out practice sessions in the remainder of 2016.
Bitterly disappointed with the latest engine failure that cost him victory in Malaysia, Hamilton said he is prepared to sit out sessions over the course of the remaining five races so that he has reliability when it matters on Sundays.
Indeed, the bulk of Mercedes' engine troubles in 2016 have been aboard Hamilton's car, but team figures have dismissed claims of deliberate sabotage.
"We've asked ourselves 'How is this possible?' but there is no rational explanation or pattern in these failures," team boss Wolff said ahead of the Japanese grand prix.
"If there were, we would resolve it."
Mercedes has at least found the cause of the problem last Sunday - a bearing failure - and has issued updated operating instructions to customers Williams, Force India and Manor ahead of the Suzuka weekend.
But as for Hamilton's suggestion that he might sit out sessions, Wolff told the German newspaper Bild: "That would bring us no benefit.
"In fact it is only a disadvantage because we would be missing data for the race."
Wolff admits Malaysia was a "massive blow" to Hamilton's championship chances, but fellow team boss Paddy Lowe says the pair are at least equal on the engine front.
"Lewis now has the same stock of power units as Nico for the remaining five races -- including used power units which he can fit for free practice sessions.
"So hopefully there will be no further impact to his programme," Lowe added.