Mercedes was close to retiring Nico Rosberg's car from the Australian Grand Prix due to rising brake temperatures, the team has revealed.
Rosberg won the opening round of the season by eight seconds from team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the victory was not straightforward for car No.6, with a brake issue on the front right and a tyre issue on rear left.
"It was so far unconventional that we suffered some little dramas as well, we had a problem on Nico's car with brake calliper temperatures which kept creeping up, almost to the stage where we thought about retiring the car and that was two thirds into the race," Wolff said. "Then it stabilised at the maximum value and then it started to creep down again very slowly and recovered, so at a certain stage it was very difficult for the team to handle.
"Then 15 laps from the end our calculations showed that the tyre wouldn't last. Around five laps to the end the left rear could have fallen off the cliff, the temperatures kept dropping and dropping and dropping every single lap. Like our tyre guy said five laps to the end that's it, and you couldn't tell stop them or tell them to go slower because that would have made the tyre temperatures fall even more."
Wolff said the tyre issue was even more difficult to deal with as new restrictions on radio traffic prevented the team from telling Rosberg what was going on.
"It was really difficult because we couldn't tell him to look after the left rear and it's difficult because after all these years you are used to transmitting all these different messages to the drivers and optimise the car to make it survive. That lack of communication is definitely going to lead into situations where the engineer is no longer in control." Rosberg was relieved the issue did not prove terminal.
"Yes the brakes got a bit hot because there was some rubber that got into the brake cooling ducts, so it was critical and difficult to manage, it was on the edge and on the limits of having to retire the car even, but everything worked out so I'm happy, it worked out perfectly," Rosberg said. "It's been a great weekend and a great start to the season, an awesome car they've given us.
"It's phenomenal how we've stepped up our game again and Ferrari is close, they were a big threat in the race, very quick at times so we need to be careful and keep pushing, but at the moment we are the fastest car."