Hamilton aims to learn from last year’s mistakes

F1 Fanatic round-up

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Barcelona, 2012

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Barcelona, 2012

In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton explains the steps he’s taken to avoid repeating the costly mistakes he made in 2011.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Lewis Hamilton does his homework as he seeks to rescale F1 heights (The Guardian)

“In Malaysia, for example, I flat-spotted a tyre which then led to me having to use the wrong set of tyres which then led to me running seventh which then led to me having a penalty with Fernando [Alonso]. It’s just trying to avoid those pitfalls.”

Ferrari: customer car could aid Italians (Autosport)

Luca di Montezemolo: “I have an idea: giving a minor team a Ferrari from the previous year and forcing them to field a young Italian. That would be fantastic…”

Vitaly Petrov has point to prove in Formula One (The Independent)

“It was a difficult winter because I was told quite late they no longer wanted me because I was quite sure before [Lotus, formerly Renault] had said they did. But my head never dropped. I always thought something would happen. I was quite clear in my mind to prepare for this year.”

Schumacher claims he is still one of the best… but is he taking the Michael? (Daily Mail)

“I was out for three years, I?m now 43 and I don?t know if I can compare myself to when I was 30.”

F1 ready to roar with no Italian in the cockpit (The Guardian)

“At least, unlike so many of his compatriots of earlier eras, [Jarno Trulli] has lived to tell the tale. But Formula One needs an Italian driver more than Italy needs another winemaker.”

Why I will never cheer for Fernando Alonso (Mag’s Musings)

“Fernando Alonso is an amazing driver. It?s because he is so talented that it makes me so angry to see him resort to such silly behaviour sometimes.”

Comment of the day

Aetost says there is more to Marussia’s problems than just their approach to design:

Everyone keeps blaming [Nick] Wirth?s all-CFD approach for Virgin?s misfortunes. Still, I fear the blame for their poor form is mostly down to money, or -more accurately- down to the complete lack of money.

Virgin made no secret of the fact that they had the smallest budget of the whole grid, and it showed.

According to Racecar, Wirth spend ??17.6m for CFD, a budget that, according to Scarbs, and I’m quoting here, is “well below other mifdield teams”. So not only did Wirth have fewer tools, the ones that he had were not good enough. Had Virgin had enough money to burn, they wouldn?t have contested the world championship with shopping carts, CFD-only or not.

So, their prospects for 2012 boil down to this: whether they have enough cash, or not. And judging by the sponsor-less MR01 and the the fact that Marussia is just a (very) small-time car manufacturer, I?m not that optimistic.

And another thing: according to an Autosport interview Pat Symonds gave a couple of months ago, the wind tunnel model for the MR01 was going to be ready by March, so it?s safe to assume that the MR01 is also an all-CFD affair.
Aetost

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On this day in F1

Sebastian Vettel got his 2010 championship campaign off to a perfect start with pole position for the season-opening race at Bahrain:

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89 comments on Hamilton aims to learn from last year’s mistakes

  1. Mike (@mike) said on 13th March 2012, 0:40

    Someone forgot to tell Luca idea idea is to help new teams enter the sport, not give Ferrari more power.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 13th March 2012, 0:42

      Actually, that’s the strongest reason not to go back to customer cars I’ve seen yet, it’d be like the days When Ferrari effectively controlled half the grid, and sadly, Luca has shown that he would take advantage of that.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 0:50

        If customer cars were to be introduced, I think things could be structured to stop one constructor from gathering too much power. That’s why I suggested the idea that a customer team could get the “basic model” of a chassis – ie the car as it was run at the first race of the previous season – and all the data used to develop it, and nothing else. They have a strong platform to start with, but they have to develop the car themselves. They get no further contact with the team they bought it from, and the whole transaction is carried out through the FIA to limit contact between the buyer and the seller. And once a team buys a chassis, there may be a set amount of time (ie two years) before they can buy another (but if they develop the chassis on their own, then they can use that as the basis to develop the next season’s car).

        • matt90 said on 13th March 2012, 1:53

          I agree, but another layer of control I would want is the teams benig limited to only use the chassis that performed worst last season (or one of the bottom 3 chassis, for example). Also, a team has to develop its own chassis after a few years in the sport. The trouble is what happens when the regualtions change.

          • Mach1 (@mach1) said on 13th March 2012, 2:15

            Maybe they should be allowed to slowly build a chassis out of the broken parts from the cars of the top teams!!!! Quick someone give me Bernies number!!!

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 2:48

            I agree, but another layer of control I would want is the teams benig limited to only use the chassis that performed worst last season (or one of the bottom 3 chassis, for example).

            Why would anyone agree to that? If that rule was in effect for 2012, then one of the chassis on offer would be the FW33 …

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 13th March 2012, 4:03

            Why wouldn’t anybody agree to that? It means they don’t have chassis good enough to jump some of the hard-working midfield without merit. It gets them used to developing the chassis still, but keeps them at the back, where they would be if they were developing their own anyway. But this method is cheaper, and a more gradual step to becoming a full constructor.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 5:08

            It means they don’t have chassis good enough to jump some of the hard-working midfield without merit.
            All you would be doing is selling them a lemon. The idea behind customer chassis is that smaller teams can get their hands on better equipment. Selling the low-ranked cars would only be a waste of time and money – no team is going to buy them because it would be easier in the long run to build their own car and develop it.

            The easiest way to do it would be to take the top six cars and offer them to the bottom six teams. The top six teams are competitive enough to build a decent car; the bottom six only need a bit of a push to get themselves started.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 13th March 2012, 11:36

            And that leaves the potential for only 6 true constructors, which to me would be very sad.

            Selling them crap chassis is a good idea, because that way it is only to help them for the first year or so. It acts as a jump-start, and quickly gets them to develop their own chassis, without immediately and unfairly putting them above some midfield teams.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 0:45

    “I have an idea: giving a minor team a Ferrari from the previous year and forcing them to field a young Italian. That would be fantastic…”

    There is a reason why there are no Italian drivers in the sport at the moment, Luca: none of them are good enough to be in Formula 1. So, who, exactly, is this idea fantastic for? The sport, which would be forced to put up with an underperforming and undertalented driver? The team, who are forced to run him because Ferrari say so? Ferrari, who have to have their name dragged through the mud because it was there bright idea to force an Italian into the sport?

    • Aetost (@aetost) said on 13th March 2012, 1:51

      Luca is being a car salesman again. Every now and then, he will come by and say “If we could run a 3rd Ferrari, we could use it to field [enter name of a prominent non-F1 driver]“. Before it was Danica Patrick, then it was Valentino Rossi, now it is The Unnamed Next Italian Superstar. More like an excuse to sell overpriced & under-performing Ferraris than a serious talent development proposition…

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th March 2012, 9:51

        Pretty much that @aetost, just look at what his answer is when asked why he didn’t bring any Italians into the sport

        Asked if Ferrari could be interested in promoting Italian drivers, di Montezemolo replied: “It’s a long story – let’s see what comes out of the Ferrari Driver Academy.
        “The real problem is that there’s no opportunity for young drivers. Let’s say I come up with three super strong Italians coming from minor formulas. What is next?

        Carefully ignoring the fact that Ferrari don’t have any promising Italians currently in the program, because that is not something Ferrari even thrives to achieve.

        Off course he is partly right that its hard to develop younger drivers without testing and a limited amount of seats in cars on the grid. But I am sure that is not something he really worries about.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 13th March 2012, 14:46

        Hey @ateost, you missed Schumacher! :P

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th March 2012, 7:40

      @prisoner-monkeys You took the words out of my mouth. You think he would respect himself and the team enough to value talent over nationality. The man is an idiot.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 8:49

        And to think that he was considered to be a beacon of common sense during the Mosley years … either things were so far gone that we were all willing to look to a madman for advice on how to be sane, or Luca has started down the slippery slope. I’m guessing the latter, since Ferrari got rid of talented people like Chris Dyer and Aldo Costa without hesitation, but they keep lunatics like Luca around. I wonder – between the F2012 underwhelming in testing, Mercedes’ desire to “annoy” the top teams, Lotus proclaiming that they’re ready to go back to the front, and Vijay Mallya stating that he won’t settle for anything less than third, perhaps we could see Ferrari slip even further down the order …

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th March 2012, 9:53

          I’d say that was the case

          things were so far gone that we were all willing to look to a madman for advice on how to be sane

          , although Luca also seems to have been blooming these kind of thoughts more since he had no real opposition to “fight” after Mosley was gone.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 0:52

    Forecast for Melbourne this week: lowering temperatures between now and Sunday, with strong southerly breezes all weekend. Intermittent rain from Thursday onwards.

    • vho (@) said on 13th March 2012, 1:32

      The forecast can be viewed here

      And if it does rain and you want to spot the rain radar, you can do it here..

    • sato113 (@sato113) said on 13th March 2012, 1:37

      oh oh! i get all excited by the (potential rain) weather forecasts. ;)

      • ivz (@ivz) said on 13th March 2012, 3:05

        Dam weather! It has been so nice up until this coming weekend. 34 here in Adelaide today, but as of tomorrow it all changes. Looks like Melbourne is getting the same rain that we will be getting a day later. If its just the odd shower, then that is not so bad. The field is going to be mixed up this weekend without rain, so with rain, who knows what to expect!

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th March 2012, 13:18

      Gah! If it stays dry for qualifying that’s all I ask. I want to know where everyone stands!

  4. Jack (@jackary) said on 13th March 2012, 0:53

    I have to say, I do agree with that post on Alonso. There’s no denying that he’s immensely talented, but his attitude stinks. He has an air of entitlement which is horribly offputting and, sadly, it means that it’s difficult to truly appreciate him for the talent he is.

    • Jay said on 13th March 2012, 2:01

      So what do you make of Michael Schumacher then?

      • Jack (@jackary) said on 13th March 2012, 2:18

        Well, first time round I think I thought of him much as I do Alonso today. His need to have a team mate who would never get in his way was a particular gripe. Now, though, I feel sorry for him, almost, and I’d be more than happy to see him on the podium, or even, with a great deal of luck, taking his 92nd win.

        • what has alonso done lately? nothing.

          its the other side of the garage that has done the most talking in the last 2 years.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 5:10

        The difference between Alonso and Schumacher is that schumacher didn’t whinge. He was utterly ruthless, but I don’t recall him complaining the way Alonso does.

        • TribalTalker (@tribaltalker) said on 13th March 2012, 10:02

          Absolutely agree on the “utterly ruthless” comment, but MS certainly did complain. Remember Spa, 1998? Schumacher saying “I wish to make a complaint” to Coulthard – lots of YouTube footage.

          Actually, that was a great race even without the DC/MS showdown; Jordan’s only win, Damon Hill’s final win, intermittently bad weather… What a show – them were t’ days.

          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Belgian_Grand_Prix)

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 10:32

            Given what happened at Spa in ’98, “I wish to make a complaint” is actually quite a gentlemanly thing to say. Schumacher might have complained about the accident, but it was a pretty legitimate grievance. And – years later – Coulthard admitted that he made a mistake by lifting off while on the racing line. So you can perhaps understand why Schumacher reacted the way he did. Unlike, say, Alonso complaining that his team-mate was not moving over when he expected him to.

          • I think a complaint in that situation was completely understandable. I don’t think that classifies as whinging.

          • TribalTalker (@tribaltalker) said on 13th March 2012, 15:09

            @toothpickbandit – you’re right of course, my bad – I meant Jordan’s FIRST win.

            @p-m – the “I wish to make a complaint” is a Python reference, of course. And I was trying to underline the difference between MS complaints (often justified, sometimes over the top) and FA complaints (often whinging and playing the “entitlement” game, sometimes thoughtful, justified and overlooked).

            As for DC admitting to his error… that’s the mark of a racer who never became a champion. Self belief is everything.

        • TimG (@timg) said on 13th March 2012, 13:22

          I seem to remember Schumacher complaining about Senna a few times during the 1992 season.

          The first was after the Brazilian GP, where the two swapped positions a number of times. Senna’s McLaren had an intermittent engine problem and Schumacher was able to pass when it cut out, but the more powerful Honda put Senna back ahead across the start/finish straight. This happened about 2-3 times before the Honda eventually died completely. After the race, Schumacher complained to the press about Senna playing games with him, not knowing there had been a mechanical fault. Senna’s response was that they should have spoken in private before Schumacher vented his spleen in public. I also seem to recall the two nearly coming to blows during a mid-season test the same year and at the French GP, but may be wrong.

          But either way, surely the undisputed champion of the F1 whinge is Nigel Mansell? Neither Alonso or Schumacher has ever, to my knowledge, sat out pre-season testing because their new car was a tight fit, demanded their team construct an entirely new, larger chassis, watched while the similarly sized reserve driver managed just fine in the old chassis and then walked away from F1 a couple of races later because they couldn’t be bothered?

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 13th March 2012, 15:00

            I think the difference between MS and FA or any other driver is that MS had the biggest effort behind him to compile record smashing numbers in the history of F1, and he has arguably been among the most if not THE most unethical on the track to boot. ie. MS has had little to complain about and it has usually been his behaviour on the track that others have found solid reasons to have issues with.

            I also blame the MS/Ferrari era of having one driver favoured so much vs. everyone else on the grid, with examples of Austria 02 of RB moving over for MS with metres to go, as a reason why the likes of FA might sometimes also feel entitled to the odd car moving out of his way. Not excusing it, and I agree FA has done some whinging, but to me as I say this pales in comparison to what others have had to complain about visa vie MS. The MS/Ferrari era set a terrible precedent of driver entitlement.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 13th March 2012, 0:58

    Luca di Montezemolo: “I have an idea: giving a minor team a Ferrari from the previous year and forcing them to field a young Italian. That would be fantastic…”

    If they keep changing the rules every year, such thing would never work properly. It’s ridiculous… Whitmarsh said it, it’d kill the midfield if the small teams can grab an old Red Bull (not a Ferrari, as they’ve been horrible lately).

  6. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 13th March 2012, 1:06

    I agree with MG 100% about Alonso. I respect his ability. I do not respect the man and for that I have a great dislike for him on and off the track. What’s even more disappointing, was I had no idea of the events listed pre-2009.

    • vho (@) said on 13th March 2012, 4:06

      I agree with MAG’s comments too, but the water has begun to flow under the bridge for me, mainly because of his ability and excitement when he’s behind the wheel. Not every champ we’ve got racing this year is a saint – but out of the the lot I would say Jenson’s the most well behaved of them. Even he too had an episode of being more of a playboy than a racer and Kimi’s lacklustre 2009 at Ferrari tainted him as being lazy and more interested in the icre-creams than the car. Nevertheless,so far it seems this year it’s going to be an awesome season with the cars being a lot closer and now with 6 world champs. Here’s hoping Kimi, Fernando and Michael have the cars to mix it with the Red Bulls and McLarens.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 13th March 2012, 5:25

        I couldn’t agree with MG more about Alonso. I firmly believe that if he could have found a way past Felipe on his own, or just sucked it up and finished second that Ferrari would have fared much better over the past season and a half. Felipe’s confidence would have been up and he could have taken more points of their rivals, and even helped Alonso win the WDC. But Alonso’s childish actions undermined him yet again. I hope Ferrari can improve and fight at the front this year, but I could care less if Alonso ever won another race, let alone another title in F1.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 10:38

          @joey-poey @vho @adam-tate

          I think part of the blame rests with Flavio Briatore. It was Briatore who held Alonso’s hand through his formative years as a Formula 1 driver, Briatore who deliberately hired inferior drivers who would not threaten Alonso, and Braitore who favoured him early on each year. When Alonso was racing for Renault in 2009, I got the distinct impression that Nelson Piquet was only there because Flav needed to run two cars – if, given the choice, he could just have the one, then I think he would have gladly run Alonso and Alonso alone.

          It was Braitore who taught Fred that whatever Alonso wants, Alonso gets, and that has showed up in Alonso’s behavior ever since.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 13th March 2012, 19:36

            I’m sure Flavio was happy to field 2 cars. After all, he wouldn’t have been able to rig Singapore without Piquet.

          • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 14th March 2012, 5:24

            Excellent point @Prisoner Monkeys
            and good one liner @US_Peter
            Your insight shows just how destructive a force Briatore has been for F1 over the past decade. Far more than the crashgate scandal, he has overinflated Alonso, damaged the careers of numerous drivers and tried to run a Formula One team like a mob boss.

  7. mighty_mouse said on 13th March 2012, 3:00

    Lewis hamilton will never learn from his own mistake. every year is the same lewis. 2011 he said he learn a lesson from 2010, but still did the same mistake as 2010 in 2011. I bet he still the same last year person this year. LOL.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th March 2012, 9:35

      I do not see it that way, mighty_mouse. In my experience everyone changes over time and it was pretty clear that Hamilton was less focused solely on F1 last year and slipped up on several occasions. Who knows, maybe he needed that year to come back stronger and get into thinking about the whole race a bit more, instead of having to rely on his team telling him what to do.

      • Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 13th March 2012, 10:12

        I agree @BasCB, there were different issues surrounding Lewis’s problems last season, and their is no reason to believe that he can’t turn around his fortunes, but although I rate Lewis highly I think Jensons experience will once again see him leading the points at McLaren. For Lewis it is make or break time in some ways, he must kerb his emotions and try to stay focussed on the WDC both on and off the track. he is in danger of becoming regarded as a wasted talent, and if he doesn’t get it together now he may look back on these years as wasted opportunities.

      • I agree that everyone is capable of change. Reputations are earned though. If Hamilton wants us to believe he is a changed man then he has to show us rather than tell us.

  8. bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th March 2012, 3:46

    Alonso is a confusing one for me. There is too much of the scandal about that man.

    Though last year I really liked the comments he made, he seemed sincere and humble and very gracious and concerned about Lewis. It was as if he knew what Lewis was going through because he had been through it himself. Makes me think there might be hope for Lewis to get his head together.

  9. Formula KID (@alexdell) said on 13th March 2012, 4:12

    Poor Hamilton, trying to HARD SAD re

  10. PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 13th March 2012, 5:45

    Mag’s Musings. That’s a new one, didn’t know our Kobayashi-cheering goldfish had a blog. :P

  11. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 13th March 2012, 5:58

    “At least, unlike so many of his compatriots of earlier eras, [Jarno Trulli] has lived to tell the tale. But Formula One needs an Italian driver more than Italy needs another winemaker.”

    I’m not sure this is correct. I don’t accept this view that “F1 must have drivers from certain countries.” The best drivers currently available have (on the whole) made it onto the 2012 grid, the fact that none of them are Italian makes no difference at all. The last time an Italian had a real impact on a race was (and I stand corrected on this) was Spa 2009 when Fisico took pole and nearly won for Force India. Italy has only managed to produce 2 drivers world champions, and if producing world champions is the criteria for having drivers in the sport, Argentina, Austria and South Africa “need” to have drivers on the grid this year too! I honestly think that F1 is no worse off for not having an Italian driver than it was for not having a French driver in 2011.

  12. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th March 2012, 7:52

    Not a fan of the new style at all, felt like I had to zoom it down to 90% straight away.

    Good to see Lewis admitting his failings. Some say the Vettel-Schumacher comparison is overplayed, but like his compatriot Vettel is re-defining what it means to be a F1 driver. The attention to detail and effort he put into the 2011 season, like visiting the Pirelli factory, was immense even by F1 standards. It think the days of being able to rely on instinctive driving are gone and Lewis needs to catch up fast in that respect.

  13. sid90 (@sid90) said on 13th March 2012, 8:48

    Holy straw-man overload, Batman!

  14. BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th March 2012, 9:30

    I wish a Happy Birthday to Armen, @starosta and Pabs, or should that be a “vsechno nejlepsi k tvem narozeniny Starosto“?

  15. vjanik said on 13th March 2012, 10:25

    Customer cars is a terrible idea. It doesnt solve anything.

    It would either have to be permanent, which would mean the top teams would just have a B team each (i doubt thats what we want). Or it would have to be temporary, which means that after the designated period the backamarkers would have to start building their own car from scratch anyway. They would be back at square one. Why not just suspend all this and leave it as it is then?

    I still believe a budget cap is a better solution. A byproduct of it could be less restrictive technical regulations and freeing up in season testing, allowing young drivers many opportunities to get used to an F1 car. It would all depend on what the team wants to spend their money on. If Ferrari want to pound round Fiorano all day, rather than spending millions on new CFD supercomputers and simulation, then go ahead. Others might take the opposite road. I think this would result in a much more varied and interesting grid.

    I think if you limit testing, engine development, etc, teams will always find other ways of spending money to find performance. This is not the right way to regulate costs. If we instead regulate costs directly by a budget cap and let the teams do whatever they want with it, then we achieve the goal and get a level playing field, and above all, great racing.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th March 2012, 10:35

      Or it would have to be temporary, which means that after the designated period the backamarkers would have to start building their own car from scratch anyway. They would be back at square one.

      Nope – a customer team could buy a chassis, develop it, and use it as the basis for the next year’s chassis the way teams already do.

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