Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

McLaren aiming for fewer mistakes all round

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe says the team need to iron out mistakes at several levels of its operation.

Lewis Hamilton has drawn criticism for several high-profile errors this year.

Lowe admitted that while Hamilton needs to cut out the mistakes, he doesn’t want to compromise his racing ability: “Clearly Lewis has made mistakes. All drivers make mistakes.

“We want Lewis to make less mistakes, I guess, but equally we don’t want to stop him driving in a way that he does. He is, I think the most entertaining driver we have out there. Very, very fast, very good at getting through in the race, even if he doesn’t start from the front.

“That has allowed him to win 16 races and a world championship and we don’t want to erode that spirit. That’s what makes him what he is and that’s what makes him a driver that everybody enjoys.

“So of course he will be thinking ‘how can I make less mistakes?’ but I think that’s just a local blip.”

Lowe said the team have created problems for themselves by failing to get on pole position for any of the races so far this year.

He said: “The first thing is we haven’t delivered a car that’s been quick enough, generally, particularly in qualifying.

“Even though in the race we’ve had some of the fastest race paces, often faster than the Red Bulls, it’s been more difficult to show that and deliver from it because we’re not starting at the front. And it is easier to stay out of trouble if you start at the front, so that certainly is a factor.

“But I don’t think we should take away from what Red Bull have achieved and particularly what Sebastian [Vettel] has achieved. Their reliability rate, both mechanicall and operationally, and driver-wise in terms of incidents, has been extraordinary.

“We’ve had good years, better years than this year. If you look back to 2007 Lewis had an extraordinary run of reliability, both operational and mechanical, and unquantifiable we’ve not matched that level since then, but we work hard.”

He added the team’s new hire will help them in this respect:

“I think bringing Sam Michael into the team as sporting director will certainly be a great help to some of the operational aspects. So it involves work across the board and I don’t think it’s just a matter of ‘Lewis, don’t make so many mistakes’.”

Lowe gave further details of how Michael will work within the team:

“It won’t represent a big shift in how we balance the team, the factory and the circuit.

“Sam’s been brought in as sporting director. We did have a sporting director before, that was Dave Ryan, for the last couple of years we haven’t had one.

“It’s a recognised role, it’s one that many other teams have, so really we’re bringing in Sam to deliver better management of the performance of the cars and the drivers and the team.

“I think Sam brings some great experience from the technical side and I think that will play very well into that role, so we’re very excited about Sam coming on board. As I mentioned earlier there are things we can do to improve our operational performance and I think Sam can contribute in that area.”

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