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Merc give rivals equal shot at title.

Byline: MOTORSPORT Mark Bryans

MERCEDES will "redouble" their efforts to improve reliability and give their drivers an equal shot at the Formula One World Championship, according to executive technical director Paddy Lowe.

Lewis Hamilton heads into the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka this weekend just three points clear of team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg - with the competition between the pair likely to run until the season's climax in Abu Dhabi. Rosberg was forced to retire from the Singapore Grand Prix after residue caused a shortcircuit, with the German parking in the garage after several unsuccessful laps at the back of the field. That was Mercedes' fifth retirement in a season where they have had the fastest car at almost every grand prix, with Hamilton not finishing three races to Rosberg's two.

World champion in 2008, Hamilton took full advantage of Rosberg's woes in Singapore to pick up back-to-back victories and move to the top of the standings, albeit by a slender margin.

The Brit has said he wants a "straight battle" against his team-mate on the track to decide the title, rather than the championship being determined by whose car holds up best and Lowe has stressed that everyone at Mercedes is working towards improving technical difficulties.

"Credit must go to the team in terms of the strategy (in Singapore) - which was bold but absolutely the right call," he said.

"It demanded a lot from Lewis in terms of his performance in the final phase of the race - but as always he delivered faultlessly.

"On the other side of the garage, it was very disappointing to have lost Nico's car in Singapore.

"This was down to the failure of a part, which we have been running faultlessly since its introduction six years ago, and so demonstrates the challenge of ensuring reliability in a modern Formula One car. Clearly, this is an area in which we need to perform a lot better in the future. Reliability is something we have been working on intensively over the past 12 months and we will redouble our efforts moving forwards. Now, we look ahead to Suzuka."

Meanwhile, Mercedes' head of motorsport, Toto Wolff, has suggested there is a remote possibility Hamilton and Rosberg will not be the team's pairing for the 2015 season.

Both remain under contract but, after a fractious year in which both have had issues with one another, Wolff said: "You have to hold something back because exceptional circumstances can always arise. In life, nothing is ever 100 per cent for sure.''

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:9SING
Date:Oct 2, 2014
Words:422
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