Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has no doubt a DNF for either Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen over the remainder of the season would wreck either of their hopes of landing the F1 title.
Hamilton, who is aiming for a record-breaking eighth championship, holds a slender two-point lead over Verstappen who has his sights set on landing his first crown.
With seven races remaining, and with the destiny of the title too close to call, both drivers and teams are reaching a crucial stage of the campaign where neither can afford a race-ending crash or reliability issue.
Hamilton's situation is particularly precarious as he has only two power units to see him through the season in contrast to Verstappen who took a fresh system for the recent Russian Grand Prix.
"Reliability versus performance is always the fine line you need to get right," said Wolff.
"A DNF is a no-go for the championship. Neither us nor our competitors can afford a zero-points race weekend."
Mercedes head into this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix with a 30-point cushion over Red Bull, but even that is too perilous for Wolff who feels both championships will go down to the wire.
Asked whether the gap was too close for comfort, he replied: "Neither driver nor team can have any comfort in the current situation.
"There is no gap in terms of points, and I think this is going to go very long."
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