Nico Rosberg’s early retirement from the Singapore GP last weekend was caused by his car being contaminated by a “foreign substance”, according to a statement from Mercedes F1 team.
It said that, following analysis of Rosberg’s steering column, a residue of a material used in pre-event servicing was discovered which caused a short-circuit that led to the clutch and engine setting problems encountered both before and during the race.
The statement also said that the contamination was not visible and did not affect the car until race day. The problematic substance is used in servicing at the factory before the cars are shipped to races.
“The contamination was not visible and did not manifest itself until Sunday as Nico went to the grid.
“The result was an intermittent short circuit in the electronic circuits meaning @nico_rosberg could not command clutch or engine settings.
“Fresh parts will be used at the forthcoming races. Our hard work on reliability processes will continue at the same intensive level.
“To clarify, the contaminant was a substance used in normal pre-event servicing of the component. #NotAConspiracy :)”
The next race of the season will be the Japanese Grand Prix on October 5.