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Thread: F1 2018

  1. #151
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    They need to ban racing at tracks where they test all off season at (barca).

  2. #152
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    Testing or not, track has been impossible to pass on for the most.
    a n t i l a g . c o m

  3. #153
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    http://syriamsa.com/english/motor-ra...on-of-victory/



    lol... this gets better... the worldwide conspiro
    team sports can go to hell. I'm never going to rely on some weak minded MufaF@#$ to help me win a game. Ill win it myself. George Leeman.

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  7. #155
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    From autosport plus

    During the Honda years, everyone at McLaren seemed to believe that all of its problems were down to the engine and that once it had changed to Renault things would be different.

    But it was clear from 2015-17 that there were also problems on the chassis side, and now the engine change has been made it's become very obvious some shortcomings remain.

    Some asked why I was so critical of McLaren during the Honda period, and those clear shortcomings were the reason - after all, it's a team I worked for during my career so I want to see it perform as it should.

    The car is a better package than it was, but again McLaren has its problems and is still not as quick as it should be on the straights.

    You have to ask if it is making a mistake in not balancing up the demands of the chassis with that of the engine.

    This raises some questions about the decision making and the objectives set technically, because there is nowhere to hide when running the same engine package as Red Bull and the Renault works team. And it is clear that the start of this season has led McLaren to take a long, hard look at itself.

    Zak Brown, who recently became the F1 team's CEO, talks about the need for accountability in the technical department. Sorting this can't fail to improve its development path, and if there wasn't already accountability in all departments then the company is not very well-run.



    McLaren has long since believed that a 'flat' structure, with Tim Goss (recently departed as part of a restructure), Peter Prodromou and Matt Morris at the top, is better than a pyramid structure. But that will never work.

    You do need someone to steer the ship, to be accountable and to ensure all the resources - both financial and people - are used to the maximum. And they need to be strong enough to make the decisions that ensure the company has that direction. More importantly, they need to be strong enough to hold up their hands if they are going in the wrong direction and the development path needs to be altered.

    It's positive that McLaren seems to be moving in this direction, even if it has taken too long. But getting a new structure in place is no easy task. There are few people out there with the vision, the skills and the experience to qualify as a technical director or a chief technical officer.

    Yes, there are new people coming up who might be able to do that, but McLaren cannot afford to take a risk on an unknown in the situation it is in.

    If there wasn't already accountability in all departments then the company is not very well-run
    This means it could take a while to get the right person in, which is a problem given McLaren still wants to close on the frontrunners even while going through this.

    Another thing that is holding back McLaren is that its equipment is not quite as state of the art as it was a decade ago.

    The McLaren Technology Centre was built around its windtunnnel, which is now a bit outdated. That's why McLaren uses the Toyota Motorsport windtunnel in Germany.

    The current F1 cars have very high levels of downforce, and with the outwash front wing endplates it's vital that the windtunnel's internal cross section is big enough not to influence the airflow. Trying to make small developments of these components that are trying to influence the airflow outside of the tyres will be impossible if the windtunnel isn't right in this aspect.



    The driver-in-the-loop simulator is good, but it's just not as cutting edge as some of its rivals even though McLaren was once the pioneer in this area. These things can lead you down the wrong path very easily.

    McLaren is fortunate in that it has some very wealthy shareholders, but they didn't get rich by not knowing how to look after their cash. Their pockets are only so deep, so business plans must be in place to show there is a road to recovery, otherwise enthusiasm may just diminish - especially given the financial implications of the split with Honda and taking on Renault engines.

    With a major change in the technical regulations due for 2021, perhaps it does make sense for McLaren to prioritise investing time into getting its structure in place in preparation for that challenge. Given the aerodynamic rules are being modified a little next year in an attempt to improve overtaking, the team of people researching that change needs to be in place very soon.

    But you don't create and hone a new car out of a block of modelling foam, you start from a concept and that concept needs to have the development potential built into it and the confidence that research time will bring rewards in terms of lap time.

    McLaren is not the ground-breaking, standard-setting team it once was. It has to be considered just another team and it has no God-given right to success. You have to work on it, and take a few punches on the chin. But most teams go through this kind of challenge at one time or another and it's how you handle those blows that makes the difference. Every punch cannot force you to change how you work, or else you will never get up there.



    Change for change's sake is not positive. It's like a dam with a hole in it - you don't knock it down completely and start again because your new one will probably have a hole somewhere else. So it's about plugging the holes until you fix the leak, that way you will move forward.

    It's positive that McLaren has realised there were weaknesses beyond Honda and that it is addressing them. What matters now is that the decisions made on the technical structure are the right ones. If they are, then McLaren can start making progress towards the front again. If not, it could end up going round in circles.

    The problem started earlier than the Honda years, and a look back to the years since McLaren's last championship success with Lewis Hamilton in 2008 tracks that decline.

    McLaren has shown over the years it is not very good with new, up and coming drivers. It's not a team to go to to learn your trade
    Below, I've taken the team's constructors' championship position and, to compensate for the fact the points system changed, presented points scored as a percentage of the maximum. So, if McLaren had finished one-two in every race, that would be a 100% points score.

    In 1988, McLaren won 15 out of 16 races, with a points return of 78%. A decade later, in 1998, it won nine out of 16 races with a points return of 61%. That shows how dominant the team was at times during the Ron Dennis era. But during those two particular seasons, it had great individual technical leadership in Gordon Murray and then Adrian Newey. The stats for the last decade are very different.

    2008
    2nd in constructors' championship
    Points: 47%

    This was not a bad season, with Hamilton winning the drivers' championship (just) and McLaren second in the constructors' championship. The team was very driven at this point and didn't hang around on making decisions, such as replacing Fernando Alonso - who should have been its championship shot in 2007 had new boy Hamilton not turned up and shocked them all.



    2009
    3rd in constructors' championship
    Points: 23%

    McLaren missed the boat with the comprehensive aerodynamic rule change of 2009. Yes, the double diffuser introduced by Brawn, Williams and Toyota at the start of the season compounded its problems, but there were lots of other details McLaren missed. This showed that even then there wasn't anyone forward-thinking enough in the technical department.

    During this period, McLaren earned the handle of being one of the best teams at in-season development. That's a positive, but it is all relative to the start point. If it is near the front of the field, then that development will take you right into the mix. If not, no matter how good you are at improving, you are playing catch-up.

    2010
    2nd in constructors' championship
    Points: 56%

    A good driver line-up - as Heikki Kovalainen was replaced by Jenson Button to create a pairing of the last two world champions - showed McLaren's true vision for success and it paid off on many occasions in 2010.

    It battled hard with Red Bull, which was coming of age under Newey's technical leadership. But the absence of a Newey of its own meant McLaren had to go in a different direction with its technical organisation.

    This explains the flat technical structure, with everyone having to justify everything to everyone else in that arrangement as opposed to having someone like Newey at the very top, steering the ship.

    2011
    2nd in constructors' championship
    Points: 61%

    Again, a decent year with the same strong driver line-up. McLaren held onto second in the championship and increased its points percentage, but the Red Bull domination was in full swing so there was not a lot that could be done to stop that.



    Still there were problems. Remember, this was the year when McLaren ran the 'octopus' exhaust pre-season and struggled badly with reliability before the executive decision was made to scrap it for one based on Red Bull's concept. This worked well, although it was a case of having to make a change to correct a mistake.

    2012
    3rd in constructors' championship
    Points: 44%

    McLaren could have won the championship in 2012, but things had started to drop away, with far too many mistakes being made by the trackside team.

    One of the biggest mistakes was letting Hamilton get away at the end of the season, a decision that followed him losing victory in Singapore to a gearbox problem.

    Love him or hate him, he's a very quick driver who can drive a car with a variation of balances, meaning the set-up is not critical. Yes, to get to his ultimate level everything has to be right, but that ability to dig deep and get the results is crucial for keeping motivation in a team.

    2013
    5th in constructors' championship
    Points: 15%

    Replacing Hamilton with Sergio Perez was always going to be a gamble and on occasions he rose to the challenge. But the car was not good enough and it was around this time that there started to be a bit of a breakdown in the internal management.

    Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh seemed to be wanting to head in different directions and when that happens you need to nail your flag to one mast or the other.

    Perez also suffered from this internal implosion, and as McLaren has shown over the years it is not very good with new up and coming drivers. Its forte is the hardened professional and it's not a team to go to to learn your trade - unless perhaps you are a driver of Hamilton's level.



    2014
    5th in constructors' championship
    Points: 22%

    The first year of the hybrid engines and McLaren's last year using the Mercedes power unit. This wasn't a good year for McLaren. Williams - as a customer using the same Mercedes engine - finished third in the constructors' championship, with the other customer, Force India, not far behind McLaren.

    Much more was expected of McLaren and it was clear there were still some technical limitations heading into the Honda era, even though moves were made behind the scenes to address this.

    2015
    9th in constructors' championship
    Points: 3%

    McLaren rightly felt that to take on the big boys it needed to become a fully-fledged works team again. The only way to do that was to part company with Mercedes, and on paper Honda made a lot of sense.

    It was a tough 2015, but it was a season of investment in the new relationship. During that season I never really got the impression that McLaren realised how much of a disadvantage it had given Honda with its 'size zero' aero treatment.

    Basically, when an engine company is coming into a formula with such a complicated power unit package you need to give it room to manoeuvre and the packaging restrictions that McLaren imposed meant Honda's hands were tied.

    Because of this, I don't think that McLaren or Honda really took their problems by the scruff of the neck and they both hoped that normal developments would overcome them.

    2016
    6th constructors' championship
    Points: 8%

    Progress was made as the season went on, but still McLaren felt it was a long way behind on the power unit front. Instead of just knuckling down and getting on with it, it seemed to adopt an attitude of embarrassing Honda on any occasion possible.



    Alonso sitting on a deck chair in Brazil after a problem with his power unit really would not have gone down well with the powers that be in Japan. To get the message across to the Japanese it needs to be done factually and behind closed doors. Again, I never saw the management style that I felt would achieve that - the problems weren't all down to Honda.

    McLaren had a variety of problems of its own and I also don't think it ran the car with the optimum set-up for what was obviously a slightly down-on-power engine. Instead, it was always talking about how it had such a great chassis.

    Well, I'm not surprised McLaren thought that. Running extra downforce and with lower torque outputs than others meant that the car was quick in corners but bog slow down the straights.

    2017
    9th in constructors' championship
    Points: 3%

    McLaren thought this would be the year when the McLaren-Honda package would take a step forward, but it didn't. If anything, both reliability and performance went backwards.

    The change from Button to Stoffel Vandoorne didn't help - Vandoorne was another new kid on the block thrown in at the deep end and he lost his confidence. By mid-season he was back on the pace, but still he had no real reference for what a good package should be like. Everything was in Alonso's hands and again he felt abusing Honda was the best way forward.

    McLaren lost confidence in Honda as early as pre-season testing, and began focusing on finding a way out of the agreement with Honda. That was achieved late in the season with a switch to Renault for 2018.

    So, three years' investment in building a relationship to potentially put McLaren on a footing that would allow it to take on the works teams of Mercedes and Ferrari went down the pan.

    Honda has to take on some of the responsibility for these three years of frustration, but McLaren is not without blame as well. McLaren never really joined the club of working with a company that was struggling to catch up with the pacesetters and seemed to adopt a blame culture - always pointing the finger at Honda.

    This year, McLaren is fifth in the constructors' championship at present, with 19% of the available points. It's an improvement, but there's a long way to go to get near the big three teams.

    And, as our look at the previous 10 years proves, there are plenty of problems still to be solved before McLaren can deliver on that objective.
    a n t i l a g . c o m

  8. #156
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    Monaco


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  10. #157
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    Thoroughly entertaining quali session

  11. #158
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    Nobody posted about Dan winning?

    Jesus, burn the servers, it's all over.
    a n t i l a g . c o m

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  13. #159
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    And Will Power won the Indy 500!
    Great weekend of international Aussie success at season highlight events!
    Quote Originally Posted by Phyber View Post
    Might be repost? Few fingers in asses lately

  14. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ View Post
    Nobody posted about Dan winning?

    Jesus, burn the servers, it's all over.
    given up syria MSA
    team sports can go to hell. I'm never going to rely on some weak minded MufaF@#$ to help me win a game. Ill win it myself. George Leeman.

  15. #161
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    Monaco has always been shit for overtaking but that Dan can win with 160hp of MGU-K missing (20km/h slower on the main straight) and basically no rear brakes tells you something.

    Just wish they would put something over the team radio's that wasn't either Stroll or Hamilton sooking.

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  17. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmanvan View Post
    given up syria MSA
    http://syriamsa.com/wp-content/themes/site.php redirects every 3 seconds... the fuck?

  18. #163
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    gg been hapening for 3 weeks now.... ZFG apparently..... .... you have to copy paste any thing or put some text in quick reply window... that doesn't always work ....
    team sports can go to hell. I'm never going to rely on some weak minded MufaF@#$ to help me win a game. Ill win it myself. George Leeman.

  19. #164
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    possible to migrate everything to another forum/website, clean cut with no adds and bullshit rules?

  20. #165
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    Tried to post about Dans win - Syria MSA overlord says NO..

    The once mighty ANTILAG has fallen.....

  21. #166
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    Red Bull to Honda next year.....
    a n t i l a g . c o m

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  23. #167
    Quote Originally Posted by dmanvan View Post
    gg been hapening for 3 weeks now.... ZFG apparently..... .... you have to copy paste any thing or put some text in quick reply window... that doesn't always work ....
    Not ZFG, just not a simple fix. It's being worked on and will be resolved shortly.
    [ALM] X5M Daily
    Empire Performance - Mitsubishi Evo 6 Tarmac Rally Car.

  24. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brockas View Post
    Not ZFG, just not a simple fix. It's being worked on and will be resolved shortly.
    ... finally.. job well done then ... I'll smash a few ads tonight for ya to help overcome your deficit...

    Can't believe managed to stay away from this place for like a month , that's supposed to break habits .....lol......... then tonight what do you know..... habit broken and back again......


    On an F1 related note. was expecting France to be a bit of a dud given all the talk before hand about track etc.. then it turns into a decent watch with more overtakes than expected......


    And Brockas , 'there are 3 things in life that will burn your money faster than you can keep up, Women (more specifically 'a woman'), Cars (performance , vintage, specialty, 4Wds) and Websites (usually owned by not you but your IT support and your ext IT event).......

    I can't believe I'm about to click on a Navy ad.....
    team sports can go to hell. I'm never going to rely on some weak minded MufaF@#$ to help me win a game. Ill win it myself. George Leeman.

  25. #169
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    Ended up being a decent race - even without Seb cutting his way through the field there was plenty of racing.

    Watching McLaren and Williams struggle is depressing.
    a n t i l a g . c o m

  26. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ View Post
    Ended up being a decent race - even without Seb cutting his way through the field there was plenty of racing.

    Watching McLaren and Williams struggle is depressing.
    New regs cannot come soon enough.

    Who are McLaren going to sign next year if Alonso leaves. Not Ricciardo. Who, with any experience, would want to go there? Kimi?

  27. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by djr81 View Post
    New regs cannot come soon enough.

    Who are McLaren going to sign next year if Alonso leaves. Not Ricciardo. Who, with any experience, would want to go there? Kimi?
    lol Kimi. McLaren needs Ricciardo more than Ricciardo needs McLaren in their current state.

  28. #172
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    Secrets of Hamilton's speed revealed
    His all-time Formula 1 pole-record and stellar win rate speak for themselves. But what exactly is it that makes Lewis Hamilton so breathtakingly fast? F1 Racing speaks to those who've worked most closely with him to unravel the secrets of his speed


    This article first appeared in F1 Racing magazine - the world's best-selling F1 magazine.
    Subscribe to F1 Racing today



    The beauty and wonder of watching Lewis Hamilton express his talent in a Formula 1 car never fades. And it takes multiple forms.

    In qualifying, Hamilton sets off on a lap. He might already be fastest. He might not. Sometimes the scale of the unfolding achievement dawns immediately, as it did when he demonstrated his awe-inspiring turn-in speed at the first corner of Albert Park this year.

    Sometimes, though, it has to wait: a sector time suddenly resetting the boundaries of the possible; perhaps one corner where somehow he makes up chunks of time on his rivals.

    Then there are the wet races. The track tricky. Conditions changing. Rain falling. And Hamilton does something that shouldn't be possible.

    Just as he did at Silverstone in 2016, gaining three seconds on team-mate Nico Rosberg in second place in the first six corners of the race.

    But however it happens, the question remains the same: how does he do it?



    Let's start at the beginning - at Rye House Circuit in Hertfordshire, to be precise, where Hamilton first tried his hand at karting at the age of eight. For Sam Michael, who worked with Hamilton at McLaren in 2011 and '12 as sporting director, starting young and practising a lot is a "first-order explanation" for the skills Lewis displays in a Formula 1 car now.

    "A lot of things that differentiate one F1 driver from another are in the subconscious, not the conscious," Michael notes. "Their reaction times, their feeling of the throttle. There is so much going on that you enter a state where people term it 'not thinking'.

    "A lot of things that differentiate one F1 driver from another are in the subconscious, not the conscious"
    Sam Michael
    "If you asked Lewis: 'Are you thinking about your hand-eye co-ordination when you're oversteering?' The answer would be: 'No way.' You can't think of that. It is all happening in milliseconds in the subconscious. It is all down to training and habits."

    What Michael is referring to is what might be called the '10,000 hours rule', expounded by writer Malcolm Gladwell, which states that for an individual to become world-class at any activity, 10,000 hours' practice are required. There is great debate on this subject, however, especially as to the degree of natural talent - inherent physical and mental ability - required to excel.



    For former F1 driver Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren's test and reserve driver in 2007, hence someone who gained a unique insight into the talent of both Hamilton and his team-mate and fierce rival Fernando Alonso, lots of practice at a young age is "necessary but not sufficient" to attain skills at this level.

    "You need to dedicate 10,000 hours, yes," de la Rosa agrees, "but nowadays all drivers started when they were five or six years old. So you also need an underlying extreme talent. You won't know if it's there until the guy is 15 or 16, but you have to work on it during those ten critical years, from five to 15, because I think this is when all the talent develops.

    "I always say driving is like speaking a language. Some of my friends in Spain moved here when they were 15 or 16. They are German. Now they are 50-year olds and they still speak Spanish with a terrible German accent. That's exactly what happens when you are driving.

    "You have to drive a lot as a kid, or there will always be some things that are not perfect, no matter how much talent you have. At the end of the day, it is pure, natural talent in both Fernando and Lewis. They are actually very similar."

    So how does that talent manifest itself in Hamilton? According to Michael: "If you look at slow drivers versus fast drivers - which is another way of saying, 'why is Lewis so fast?' - you look at extremes, and whenever you look at a driver who is a second quicker than his team-mate, it is almost all in the braking and entry. It is when they are trying to cope with the limit of grip and the car is moving a lot. Once you get to the apex, a lot of drivers could probably go full throttle. There is a bit in high speed, of course, but that is not on every track."



    The observation is echoed by Hamilton's former Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg: "Lewis is extremely good at braking," he says. "He's a very good instinctive driver, who has an abundance of natural talent. Braking is one of those places where you need to have the most reactive speed because it is such a short and extreme moment where split seconds count.

    "Whether you have understeer or oversteer, it's all quite slow and easy to correct. But to brake and be on the limit and to control your front locking - if you have the speed of reaction in your brain to adapt and make changes along the way, it's a big advantage over a rival. And Lewis's instinct is amazing."

    "Hamilton is different because he is able to brake as late as anyone but he's still able to make the corner"
    Pedro de la Rosa
    De la Rosa adds: "Lewis's braking is fantastic, yes. But it is actually his entry speed that is different. He can carry a lot more speed than any other driver into the corner. It is not necessarily braking, it is where you back off the brake and throw the car into the corner that he is able to slide the car on entry with incredible control. That's what makes him special.

    "It is not the fact that he brakes later, because that would be too simplistic. Anyone can brake late, but then they might go straight or not make the apex.

    "Hamilton is different because he is able to brake as late as anyone but he's still able to make the corner, and that's because he has the ability to slide the car on entry, which is the most difficult thing in any single-seater, to slide the car front and rear, just drift it in. And he's very special on the corners where you have to brake and turn - more so, in fact, than on the pure high-speed turns where you back off a bit on entry without brakes.



    "He is especially quick on circuits where you do not have a lot of downforce, like Monza or Canada, where you brake very late from very high speed. He is able to load the front tyres, slide the rear and rotate the car into the corner. And how he does it? It's just pure feeling on the front and rear tyres. He knows how to modulate the brakes when the front tyre is just slipping, on the edge of losing grip. I think he doesn't really know how he does it. It's just pure feeling of front and rear tyre slip.

    "When the tyre is giving up, on the edge of losing grip, he knows how to back off a bit on the brake, just a little, so it grips again, and then when it grips again he knows how to brake again. It's just micromanagement of the brakes. It's even difficult to see on the data. It just stands out that he is able to carry more speed into the corner.

    "You don't really know how he does it because the differences in the brake pressure are minimal. Otherwise, other drivers would copy him, but it's not possible."

    Sam Michael drills down even further. "Every racing car when it gets to the limit is going to oversteer on entry," he says. "So to drive that car on the limit, it is an essential requirement for any racing driver to be able to cope with oversteer.

    "The first thing is, 'I can feel the car moving and it is starting to oversteer and I react to it.' That process is related to the brain and inner ear. Everyone has a different set of sensors inside their head. Some of those you are born with and I also think they are exercised.



    "It all comes back to the amount of time he has spent training and feeling. But his inner ear and brain have an ability to react to that oversteer quicker than anyone else. He is detecting the onset of yaw. If he can do that even two or three milliseconds before anybody else, he has an advantage there. In just a few milliseconds, he has to decide: 'Is this more oversteer than the tyres can cope with?'

    "If it is, compared with the last lap, then it's: 'Might I be able to get away with it? No, I'd better come back three per cent on the throttle, or maybe a bit more on the brakes, or the steering wheel.' He's probably assessing four or five different outputs in the space of a millisecond."

    "His inner ear and brain have an ability to react to that oversteer quicker than anyone else"
    Sam Michael
    There is, however, a downside to this way of driving, as de la Rosa explains: "The difficulty he has with the tyres is all related to tyre temperature. Because of his driving style, being so late on the brakes and carrying so much speed into the corner, he actually generates more temperature than any other driver would do on the surface of the tyres.

    "He is suffering thermal degradation because he is quicker on entries. His natural ability tells him to attack as much as he can because he has the ability to do so. Other drivers try that and they spin, or miss the apex, or they just would not be as consistent. But he does it naturally."



    This appears to have particular relevance to this season, and the struggles Hamilton was experiencing in some of the early races.

    "The Pirelli compounds are generally very sensitive in terms of thermal degradation," 
de la Rosa explains, "so the moment you are sliding, you have less grip. This year, even more so, because they are softer compounds and Pirelli have pushed the working range lower again, which means the peak grip is happening at lower temperatures, which is penalising Lewis just a bit more. He might get away with it in qualifying but then in the race he will have to control his driving style a bit.

    "On the other hand, he is normally able to switch on any type of tyre when other drivers cannot. You see him do it sometimes in the wet when the tyres don't get up to temperature; he is still up there. Or sometimes when the intermediate tyres take two or three laps to get switched on and he is just bang-on coming out of the pitlane. Or when he is always happier with a harder compound than any other driver.

    "And that's exactly because he is generating so much more tyre temperature on entry. Lewis has to control his natural instincts to not degrade the tyres thermally."

    Generally, though, Hamilton's supreme ability puts him at an advantage that very few of his rivals can overcome.



    "Where Lewis is incredibly strong is on learning new tracks, or adapting to new scenarios and changing conditions," de la Rosa says. "This is incredible."

    He demonstrate that with a story about preparations for the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009.

    "Gary Paffett [fellow McLaren test driver] and I were preparing the simulator for a couple of days, one day each. We set some lap times, which were pretty much evenly matched. It took us, like, half a day to set those lap times.

    "I remember Lewis arriving. He sat in the car in the simulator and he said to me, first question: 'Is the first corner left or right?' He didn't even know the track. He hadn't looked at the track map, I don't think. He just arrived and wanted to learn it in the simulator.

    "After just three laps, he matched our lap times. After three laps. It had taken us lots of runs and fiddling with set-ups and stuff to get to a competitive lap time and in just three laps he was right there, without even knowing which way the first corner went."

    "In just three laps he was right there, without even knowing which way the first corner went"
    Pedro de la Rosa
    He concludes: "Lewis is massively talented - but he has had to work at it. So it's not fair to say he has an incredible talent and he is just lucky. No, he has worked very hard since he was a kid with his father, travelling and racing. He obviously has been deeply inside himself looking for more performance.

    "But if he didn't have this natural talent, he wouldn't have been Lewis Hamilton. It is a mixture. But as a driver, I always think, 'I wish I had this natural talent.' Sometimes these guys don't realise how fortunate they are."
    a n t i l a g . c o m

  29. #173
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    any ideas as to why so many engine/gearbox failures last night? so many DNFs

  30. #174
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    Straight, brake, straight, brake, straight brake, straight, some twisties, straight, two right turns.

    Repeat.

    Lots of full throttle perhaps?
    a n t i l a g . c o m

  31. #175
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    Article from Autosport plus. The crazy old man makes some good points.


    Has F1 sanitised its soul?
    The argument about what Formula 1 should be seems to divide people these days, particularly when it comes to safety devices such as the halo and the track limits debate. But one world champion is unequivocal about just what has gone wrong


    Are you saying," I asked Niki Lauda, "that we've made Formula 1 too safe?" "Yes," said Lauda. "100%. 100%..."

    In this day and age, I suggested, most people would argue that you cannot make it too safe.

    "I know," Niki replied, "but it's developed so quickly in this direction, and this drives me crazy. In my time, when somebody went straight on into the guardrail, we'd go to the organisers and get it changed, fine, but now we're making all these changes - and without accidents!"

    Is it an Austrian thing, or a generation thing - or maybe a bit of both? Whatever, Lauda - like Gerhard Berger - grew up long before political correctness began sinking its talons into free speech, and if I have always savoured their company, it is not least because they say what they think. That wasn't unusual in 1972, when I first met Niki, and a chat in Montreal confirmed that he hasn't changed a whit.

    It began with my asking Lauda for his thoughts on the state of Formula 1 - and its future. He hesitated before answering: "I have to think how to say this...

    "The whole world is changing in a lot of ways - safety first, everyone suing each other... you know what I'm trying to say? Unfortunately Formula 1 seems to be going the same way, and at the same pace - which is wrong. One is normal life, and the other is extreme - the best people in the world driving to the limit - and if the rules for both develop in the same way, then you destroy the spectacle of Formula 1.

    "Today everything is driven more and more by lawyers, which I think is stupid - and Formula 1 is following so quickly that, for example, we end up with this ******* halo. And in the race it seems like everything that happens is immediately 'under investigation', to be decided by stewards: if you say now, 'What has to be changed?', I say we have to stop this - immediately.

    "For me, the big problem is that the FIA is here for road safety, which it always has been, and is also in charge of the rules of Formula 1 - but whereas in the past the two were clearly defined, and separate, now it all comes together, and this was triggered by the Bianchi accident, because the FIA was worried about being sued by his family.



    "That accident had nothing to do with Formula 1's fundamental safety, but what it did was trigger much more quickly the situation we have now, which is that no-one takes decisions any more without thinking, 'What is the legal consequence of this?' If you do this with Formula 1, my view is that you're going to kill it, and nothing confirms what I'm saying more than the introduction of the halo - which would not have helped poor Bianchi. How do we stop that sort of thing, in this legally-driven world? I don't know...

    "The Liberty people are American, and they seem to be good at marketing, but they don't know the DNA of Formula 1 right from the beginning. Now they work closely with the FIA because they need guidance to understand the sport, and my worry is where we're going to end up.

    "Liberty should say, 'This has to be a spectacle, has to be this and that to bring it back to what it was - and still be acceptably safe'. The way things are coming together now, I'm pessimistic that the DNA of Formula 1 will be completely destroyed. What do people want to see?

    "The way things are coming together now, I'm pessimistic that the DNA of Formula 1 will be completely destroyed"
    Niki Lauda
    "I think they want to see extremes, like in the past, but this is all going to be stopped."

    As Niki paused for breath, I mentioned something Ken Tyrrell said to me 30 or so years ago: "Of course we have to work for safety - but at the same time we need to be careful we don't finish up with something no-one wants to watch any more..."

    "Absolutely right," Lauda said. "Everything has gone in completely the wrong direction - there's a thin line, and we've gone over it: we need to bring it back to that line, where you have safety, but also you still race properly.

    "Look at MotoGP: at the race in Austria I spoke to [Marc] Marquez about how those guys live - they really fight with their machines, and you can see it! That's why the spectacle is so exciting for the fans, but in Formula 1 the halo took all that away - at least before you could see the drivers' helmets, so you knew who you were watching! My suggestion would be to bring the cars back to normal, with open cockpits, so you can see what the drivers are doing."

    While I may agree with Lauda on the subject of halos - it was a pleasure at Indianapolis again to see single-seaters without the things - the fact is that they have been introduced, and it is surely inconceivable that any FIA president would ever turn back the clock, and remove them.



    "Yes, I know," Niki agreed. "Like I said, the world is going in that direction - but I say again, look at MotoGP, where this guy Carmelo Ezpeleta [the head of Dorna, the commercial rights holder] basically runs it his own way, by his rules: if they get one team that's too quick, he takes a decision on what to do to close up the field again, and he doesn't talk to Honda or Yamaha about it - he just does it. He runs the business himself - he's not affected by all this safety and security bullshit. Unless a circuit is crazy, he doesn't do anything on safety - it is the way it is. Even though the world changes, he's been able to keep the sport as attractive as it always was - so why are we not able to do that?

    "What I'm saying is that the DNA of motorcycle racing has not changed - actually it's getting better and better. So why are we affected, and they are not? For me, the bikes are much more dangerous than the cars - that's what Marquez said to me, and he's right. Basically motorcycle racing is the same sport it has always been, and the fans love that about it - but our sport has changed, and this is the mistake."

    As one close to Bernie Ecclestone throughout his life in motor racing, how does Lauda feel about Formula 1's new American owners?

    "Well, I must say that when Liberty took over, I thought it would have been logical for them to keep Bernie as an adviser for maybe a couple of years, but it didn't happen. The thing is, though, that Formula 1 is driven so much by politics these days that even when Bernie was here eventually he couldn't take decisions any more - he was fighting the Formula 1 Commission, voting rights, this and that, backwards and forwards...

    "Not even Bernie could stop it, and now, with the Americans coming in, it will accelerate, and that's my worry. In terms of marketing, Liberty is doing a good job, but I'm pessimistic about racing itself, the basis of what we're trying to sell, because of this combination of the FIA and Liberty: it's a fact that Americans are very legally driven, and from the point of view of the core business, I'm worried.

    "In my opinion we need to reset the whole sport. We need to say there's no more Formula 1 Commission, no more F1 Strategy Group and all this shit - reset the whole thing from the start. Honestly, I think this is the only way - let the FIA do what they do, and let Liberty do the marketing and bring the money in, but set up a system like Dorna in MotoGP, and start again."

    In terms of TV figures, for some years now Formula 1 - like every other major racing series on earth - has been in decline, and in our branch of the sport, I suggested to Lauda, some of that must be attributed to the long domination of Mercedes - his team. He didn't disagree.

    "For sure it's boring if Mercedes wins every championship - when it's like that, you lose people, and that's normal. Having said that, this year we're back to a more competitive situation, with three teams fighting, and I hope people are starting to come back, but the thing is, they're coming back after a period of Mercedes domination - it doesn't mean that there are more people coming to Formula 1. This is the catch - we're not getting more people because the spectacle is not good enough."



    There has been endless debate about the next Formula 1, to be introduced in 2021, and I suggested that the inclusion of Ross Brawn in the Liberty triumvirate was surely a cause for optimism - if anyone knows Formula 1, after all, it is surely he.

    "Yes, there's no question about that, and Ross has been very good at his job - but does he know what the future of Formula 1 should be? He knows the existing situation - which is getting slowed down by all these rules - but I think the future does not need only Ross. There's a technical group working on the next Formula 1, with people like Pat Symonds, but I think it needs some new - maybe young - brains as well, which, combined with their experience, can come up with a better package."

    Very well, I said, if you had the power to decide how Formula 1 should be in 2021, what needs to change?

    "We need to get back to cars that look normal - and we need to make sure they can overtake each other. And then - for me this is the most important thing - the drivers should have total freedom to drive: no restrictions. If we live in a world of 'stewards' investigations', in the minds of these guys you slow them down: 'If I try to pass, and I hit him, I'll get penalised...' All these stupid rules have to disappear - these guys are the best, so let them race, as they did in the past.

    "The difference between now and then is that in the past Formula 1 was really dangerous"
    Niki Lauda
    "The difference between now and then is that in the past Formula 1 was really dangerous. Of course you can't bring that back, but we have to get back to normal circuits, where the edge of the road is the edge of the road, and if you go over it you spin or crash. And also, if you pass somebody, you have to be sure to do it properly, because then you will get the respect back. If you have those things, you will see an exciting race: today, with all this runoff shit, someone goes off, and he loses three seconds, and comes back! This is all wrong - the circuits are wrongly designed, and there is no longer any respect between drivers."

    Lauda, as you can see, had a lot to get off his chest: with that done, we moved on to life at Mercedes, starting with the renewal of Lewis Hamilton's contract. Late last year Toto Wolff said negotiations would soon be complete, and then that everything would be settled by the time of Melbourne. Still, though, there has been no announcement.

    "Basically," said Niki, "the important things are the salary and the length of the contract, and this is all agreed. Now, though, we argue forever about how many off-track days Lewis has to do, how long these days are, what the sponsors require... These things have to be done - for both sides - but it's not really an issue. As you say, a Melbourne deadline was put on it, but it should never have had a deadline, because when that passed of course it led to all this media speculation."



    Another question about Hamilton. Throughout his Formula 1 career, at McLaren and now Mercedes, he has had these mysterious 'off weekends', and I wondered if Lauda had any explanation for them. Like everyone at Mercedes, Niki is fiercely defensive of Lewis.

    "Well... no driver is perfect. They're on and off, there's no question about it, and normally you're talking about one or two tenths. When Lewis is at a medium level, you see it in his face, but usually he manages to find a way out of it, and comes back to his best. I think this happens when you've been driving in Formula 1 for such a long time - for me it's a normal human reaction, and I remember weekends like that when I was driving.

    "All in all, I think the combination of Hamilton and Bottas couldn't be better. Valtteri is doing a very good job, especially this year. He's a very quiet person, but I can tell you, if he wants to say something, he says it - if the Finn gets upset, he tells you! And that's good. He works extremely hard, and this year his performance is perfect, I think."

    That seemed to suggest that Mercedes will be unchanged for 2019 and beyond, which in turn perhaps means that Daniel Ricciardo, for all the speculation about a move from Red Bull, will in the end have no alternative but to stay put.

    "Actually," said Lauda, "I think Ricciardo is in a very good position. Red Bull are paying Verstappen a lot of money - and if I'm the other driver there, after winning China and Monaco, I go to Helmut Marko and say, 'I know what my friend gets...' Red Bull always said, 'Stupid Mercedes - they pay Hamilton a fortune, they pay Rosberg a fortune, and if you combine the two, the whole budget is gone!' But now I think we're cheaper than what they're going to have to pay Verstappen and Ricciardo. If you're world champion, for marketing reasons of course you're worth more money, but I think that, for what he has done, Verstappen is extremely well paid, and Ricciardo should say, 'I want to stay - but give me the same as the little kid'.

    "If you ask me today, the logic is that Ricciardo has to stay where he is: we're happy with Hamilton and Bottas, and I don't believe Ferrari are really pushing for him - after the season Vettel had with Ricciardo at Red Bull a few years ago, I don't think he would want him there..."

    If Montreal was less diverting than we might have anticipated, Paul Ricard went somewhat the other way. While it was never in doubt that Hamilton, replete with new Mercedes engine, would score his 44th victory with the team, there was plenty going on behind him, and not surprisingly, after 10 years away, everyone rejoiced at the return of the French Grand Prix.



    When the race first ventured to Ricard in 1971, the venue - ritzy for its time - was well received, but the track itself left the drivers cold, and that was no surprise, given that in the recent past the French Grand Prix had been run at classic road circuits like Rouen les Essarts and Clermont-Ferrand. That was another time, though: at the weekend one commentator described Ricard as 'iconic', so there we are.

    While some perhaps care for the abrasive blue and red stripes that festoon the enormous runoff areas at post-modern Ricard, I confess that Montreal is rather more to my taste. As Lauda said, "The edge of the road should be the edge of the road", and at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve it emphatically is. Unlike Ricard, it also has a safe pit exit lane.

    Montreal has ever been a haven of Ferrari fans, and they rejoiced in Vettel's victory
    Villeneuve is inevitably on many a mind over the weekend of Montreal, and this year it was particularly so, for this was the 40th anniversary of the circuit's first Canadian Grand Prix, which he won. In the airport, touchingly, there were banners and mats everywhere: 'Salut Gilles. 40 Ans.'

    If the race was dull, a highlight of the day was a lap, by Jacques Villeneuve, in a Ferrari 312T3 like the one his father drove to victory in 1978. Beforehand I asked Jacques if he were going to give the car a blast, but he said no, sadly, it was to be a slow lap of honour, nothing more. At least, though, the bark of the flat-12 reminded us of how a Formula 1 engine can sound.

    Montreal has ever been a haven of Ferrari fans, and they rejoiced in Vettel's victory. Vettel is one of few contemporary drivers with an awareness of his sport's history, and over the weekend was appropriately respectful of Gilles: "He was, after all, Ferrari's favourite driver..."



    So he was and, as I thought of him, I remembered one of our last conversations, at Rio three months before he died.

    "The crowd is losing out," he said, "and that's really bad. For one thing, everyone loves to see cars sliding, but you can't slide these cars, because it loses you time. And for another, overtaking is really hard because the braking zone has disappeared.

    "If we went round the corner 20mph slower, the public wouldn't even see it - and if the cars were visibly at the limit, sliding, they would love it. Of course the aerodynamicists don't like the idea of reducing downforce, but I'm sorry, the public don't come to see aerodynamic brilliance - they come to see a spectacle, not to watch cars that look like they're on rails..."

    People talk about how much closer the world championship is this year, and - in terms of Mercedes facing serious competition for the first time in five years - that's true, but it doesn't mean we're getting wheel-to-wheel duels between Hamilton and Vettel, and until the 'aero' rules are radically changed that will likely remain the way of it.

    It was 50 years ago this month that a wing was first seen on a Formula 1 car, Chris Amon's Ferrari taking pole at Spa by four seconds! "Actually," Amon said, "I did similar times with and without it - it was a tiny thing, and didn't make a huge difference to the grip, but it certainly made the car feel more stable, and I can remember thinking, 'Now what can of worms are we opening here?'"
    a n t i l a g . c o m

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