Mercedes committed to equality between drivers - Lauda
Niki Lauda insists Mercedes is committed to giving its drivers equal equipment despite a run of reliability issues for Lewis Hamilton this year.
At the last two grands prix, Hamilton has qualified out of position due to reliability issues and at Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix had to fight from last place to get ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg and finish on the podium. During the race, Hamilton and Rosberg were forced on to alternative strategies, which also caused controversy when Hamilton ignored orders to let his team-mate past on track when Rosberg was on fresher and faster tyres.
Lauda said the team has done everything to ensure both drivers get identical equipment, but that the reliability issues must be fixed to allow Rosberg and Hamilton to compete on a level playing field.
"Both guys from day one have the same car and everything is equal," he said. "There were eight Mercedes engines here [among the factory team and the customer teams] and Lewis' has failed. It's not a question of Lewis v Nico, unfortunately one of the eight engines failed and it was Lewis'.
"These engines should not fail and we are going to fix them, but there is nothing [unfair] here, we want both to have the same material and they can race each other the way they want. It is important, therefore, that Lewis said 'No, I'm racing my team-mate anyway'. He did the right thing."
Head of Mercedes motorsport Toto Wolff agrees the team must focus on the cars' reliability in the second half of the season.
"Reliability is our main concern," he said. "We had some issues on Lewis' car again, some fuel pressure problems again that need to be analysed. We will push flat out and try to understand why this is happening. At the moment we are trying to fix problems, and when you try to fix problems you are chasing and you can't really catch up. We need to calm down now, analyse everything and come pack with more power after the summer break."