Mercedes has issued an open letter to fans in response to wild conspiracy theories claiming that the squad is favouring Nico Rosberg over Lewis Hamilton this season.
The reigning world champion team has been subject to widespread criticism on social media which has led to the operation publishing a lengthy letter on its website.
Mercedes’ reaction has arrived after reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton slipped 43 points adrift of rival Rosberg having been hampered by mechanical problems in qualifying and the race at Sochi.
The Brit also suffered misfortune in the opening two races in Australia and Bahrain which has contributed to the difficult start to his title defence.
Amid Hamilton’s struggles, Rosberg has swept to a prefect start winning all four races.
In a bid to clarify the team’s reliability concerns, the letter details the work going on behind the scenes to address issues, while reiterating that both drivers are treated equally.
“We have seen a lot of frustration aired online after the mechanical issues experienced in Sochi. We share those same emotions – but for us, it goes far beyond frustration,”the letter stated.
“A bad result might hurt for a few hours afterwards but then life moves on. For more than one thousand people at Brackley and Brixworth, however, this is our life.
“They sweat, strain, laugh, cry, shout, scream, celebrate, and commiserate – together. And, as one of our own often says, they win and lose – together.
“We have the best guys and girls in the world, doing an awesome job, week in and week out – and they do it for the team.
“Not for one driver or the other – but for each other.
“There is no ‘A’ or ‘B’ team here. Every single member of the crew has earned their right to be counted among the elite of their trade – and have sacrificed much to do so.
“Performance-wise we are right on the money – with a points haul just two shy of what we had managed by the same stage in 2015. But there is work to be done.
“Our goal is not simply to be fast but bulletproof too.
“Not just to manage problems but to understand them, fix them and ensure they are not repeated.
“We are working tirelessly to do just that and will continue to do so every step of the way. But there are no guarantees.
“This is a mechanical sport, balancing on the knife edge of performance and endurance. You have to push the boundaries and failures can happen.
“To those who stand with us, we thank you.
“And to the rest – the haters, the naysayers, the conspirators – if we can convince even half of you of what we really stand for, we’ll consider that a battle well won.”
Mercedes heads to Barcelona for the fifth round of the world championship from May 13-15.