Nico Rosberg’s potentially championship-changing retirement from last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix was caused by ‘a foreign contaminant’ which destroyed the electrical circuits in his steering column, the Mercedes F1 team has confirmed.

The World Championship leader had a nightmare race day, struggling with an alleged stomach upset before the race, only to find his car refusing to get off the line on the formation lap after his team detected an electrical issue on his car.

Forced to start from the pit lane, Rosberg ran well off the pace and hobbled along to his first pit stop, at which point his car became jammed in neutral and he was forced to retire from the race.

With teammate Lewis Hamilton taking a comfortable victory, the result saw Rosberg lose his lead of the Drivers’ Championship to the Englishman for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix in May. The pair are separated by just three points heading into the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix.

Having originally diagnosed the fault as a wiring loom failure, the Mercedes team subsequently performed a detailed post mortem of Rosberg’s race and confirmed via a series of tweets that his DNF was a result of the “steering column electronic circuits [being] contaminated with a foreign substance.” 

“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 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.”

It closed with the below Tweet:


The championship battle will resume between Hamilton and Rosberg at the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix, which takes place on October 3-5.

Image via XPB Images

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.