Hakkinen tips McLaren to stay ahead of Mercedes

F1 Fanatic round-up

Sergio Perez, McLaren, Jerez, 2013In the round-up: Mika Hakkinen expects Mercedes to have a slow start to 2013.

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Hakkinen rules out Hamilton title (BBC)

“I have a strong feeling McLaren are on top form this year. Mercedes were not exactly up to the speed I expected them to be, so I don’t see them competing too much this year.”

Whitmarsh: F1′s era of excess is over (Autosport)

“In the 1980s, it was all about excess, and that was one of the allures of F1. We were in the decades of excess, but we have to grow up and realise as a sport that there comes a point where that isn’t attractive anymore.”

Keeping Track – Episode 21 – 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix (Australian Grand Prix via Podomatic)

David Coulthard defends the Australian Grand Prix following recent criticism.”

Eric Boullier Encouraged by Driver Feedback (Lotus)

“The general pace of the car looked promising with each of our drivers. Of course, lap times are not representative of the order at this early stage of the season, but to be at the front of the pack without deliberately setting out to do so is always a plus. It doesn?t mean we will be World Champions, but we know the car works well and that?s a big credit to everyone involved.”

Interview with Scuderia Ferrari F1 driver Davide Rigon (Dominik Wilde Motorsport)

“My main role is developing the car in the simulator, as well as driving at aero testing and last year I was also able to continue the development of the Formula 1 car at the Young Driver test at Magny-Cours.”

Super successful know when to pounce (FT, registration required)

“Mr Ecclestone understood that F1 team owners were engineers and former drivers, but not as wily as him: he realised how valuable the commercial rights could become, and took control in a secret auction with only one bidder ?ǣ him.”

F1 boss Ecclestone says he’s not subject to U.S. laws in bribery case (Autoweek)

“Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone says that he is not subject to U.S. laws in a formal affidavit he has submitted to the New York State Supreme Court.”

Caterham Q&A (Sky)

“We don’t say [that we will score points]. We hope – we’re keeping our fingers crossed. I think this season, when you have young drivers of limited experience you expect them to seize any form of opportunity. We are not in the points, let’s face it, unless we do a great job over the season and reach that stage later in the season. But that’s on merit; if there’s a strange race with a lot of failures then that’s something you can’t rule out.”

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Comment of the day

Roger2012 is skipping this year’s Canadian Grand Prix:

I would usually be going to Montreal, have been every years there?s been an F1 race held there since 1989 but after the last two years I’ve decided not to attend this year.

Reason I won?t be going is purely down to the DRS wing. We have always sat at the hairpin because that’s where all the best action tended to be, However the last two years there has been nothing going on there because nobody wants to complete a pass just before the DRS zone which seems to be ridiculously effective at Montreal.

I saw tons of example in 2011 and 2012 of drivers having a good run to pass into the hairpin yet backing out the pass to ensure there behind at the detection line, including when Hamilton was looking to pass Alonso late in the race where both seemed to be intentionally trying to slow down to try and be the one to get DRS, Utterly ridiculous!

Also consider that there are no grandstands down the long straight so all the DRS-ing happens where fans at the track can?t see it (not that it’s exciting to watch anyway).

I think this highlights an issue with having ‘overtaking zones’, It puts drivers off racing elsewhere round the track, especially if DRS is really effective on that track.
Roger2012

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On this day in F1

F1 teams were testing at two different tracks on this day ten years ago. While Ricardo Zonta posted the fastest time for Toyota at Paul Ricard, where McLaren were also testing, Michael Schumacher was breaking the Fiorano lap record in his F2003-GA.

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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56 comments on Hakkinen tips McLaren to stay ahead of Mercedes

  1. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 13th February 2013, 0:05

    Reason I won’t be going is purely down to the DRS wing. We have always sat at the hairpin because that’s where all the best action tended to be, However the last two years there has been nothing going on there because nobody wants to complete a pass just before the DRS zone which seems to be ridiculously effective at Montreal.

    I saw tons of example in 2011 and 2012 of drivers having a good run to pass into the hairpin yet backing out the pass to ensure there behind at the detection line, including when Hamilton was looking to pass Alonso late in the race where both seemed to be intentionally trying to slow down to try and be the one to get DRS, Utterly ridiculous!

    Another one that jumps into the “having the DRS zone in the most obvious overtaking spot is just plain stupid” boat. WELCOME !

    I remember saying that exact same thing about Hamilton in last year’s Canadian GP… it was a really sad way of winning a race but who can blame him?

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 13th February 2013, 1:04

      Hamilton most probably would have won the race even without DRS. His pace that w/e was just too much for anyone.

    • sato113 (@sato113) said on 13th February 2013, 1:20

      move the detection point to 50m before the hairpin. problem solved.

      • Bruno (@brunes) said on 13th February 2013, 8:00

        +1
        exactly what I thought….

      • Estesark (@estesark) said on 13th February 2013, 13:49

        @sato113

        That would lead to situations where a driver passes another at the hairpin and is then able to pull out a big lead down the subsequent straights with DRS while the driver behind can’t use it. Not ideal either.

        Here’s how I’d personally rephrase your comment:

        Get rid of DRS. Problem solved.

        (Longer version: get rid of DRS and improve the cars’ aerodynamics to reduce the “dirty air” effect, thus allowing cars to follow and pass one another more easily)

      • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 13th February 2013, 18:50

        DRS detection in the braking zone zone would be beneficial to the following driver.
        Ever see how they bunch up before apex?

        I see the point, though, move it back just a bit further. This way, the following driver will still want to fight in the hairpin AND get the benefit from the activation zone further down track.

    • Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 13th February 2013, 2:23

      To be honest if cars are having trouble overtaking on a circuit then it’s an issue with the circuit not with the car. The problem lies in the poor design of modern circuits and the bad job circuit managers have done of updating classic tracks to suit modern F1 cars.

      I hate processional driving as much as the next guy but DRS is not the correct solution. The circuits should be designed to be more challenging for modern F1 cars and poor driving should be punished not permitted. One way to do this would be to cover run-off areas in a material which either slows the car down or speeds up tyre degradation, as I believe they’ve done at the Circuit Paul Ricard. That would help cut down on reckless driving and help ensure skill prevails. A bit of variety in the track design would help as well, I imagine driving one Hermann Tilke track is very much the same as driving the other.

      Maybe it’s just me. But I’m hoping that DRS is only a stopgap solution to keep things interesting whilst a real solution is being worked on.

      • Kyle miller said on 13th February 2013, 2:40

        They should move the drs to before the hairpin

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th February 2013, 6:55

        To be honest if cars are having trouble overtaking on a circuit then it’s an issue with the circuit not with the car.

        I completely disagree. One of the major reasons why cars cannot pass one another is because they are travelling in the wake, or the dirty air, of the car in front. We have seen it time and time again on circuits both new and old: a driver starts closing in on the car in front at a rate that suggests he should be able to pass within a few laps, but as soon as he gets within a second of the car in front, he suddenly struggles to close the gap any further.

        The circuits should be designed to be more challenging for modern F1 cars and poor driving should be punished not permitted.

        If it were really so cut-and-dry, explain to me how “good” circuits like Spa can produce boring races, and “bad” circuits like Valencia can produce exciting ones.

        ne way to do this would be to cover run-off areas in a material which either slows the car down or speeds up tyre degradation, as I believe they’ve done at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

        Paul Ricard uses tungsten in its run-off areas, which currently costs about $50 per kilogram. It would cost tens of millions of dollars just to put enough tungsten in the run-off areas of one circuit.

        I’m hoping that DRS is only a stopgap solution to keep things interesting whilst a real solution is being worked on.

        There is a real solution: serious cuts to the levels of downforce that the cars create. Red Bull were testing in Jerez with a front wing that had six separate downforce-producing elements to it.

        What the sport needs is regulations that emphasise simplicity. Get rid of complex aerodynamics, and not only will it be easier to overtake, but the cars will be more difficult to drive, thereby creating more spectacular racing. It’s cheaper, easier and far more likely to work than expensive reconfigurations of circuits.

        • Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 13th February 2013, 8:10

          Well yes, simplifying the cars would work as well I suppose. I was arguing on the basis that circuit changes would be a good idea if you take modern day F1 cars as they are of course.

          But anyways, I still think that if we want to retain aerodynamics in the sport that circuit changes are desirable. But to respond to some of your points.

          If it were really so cut-and-dry, explain to me how “good” circuits like Spa can produce boring races, and “bad” circuits like Valencia can produce exciting ones.

          Obviously other factors can play a part in making races exiting on otherwise boring tracks. Weather conditions, unpredictable tyre degradation (particularly last year), a mistake made by a leading team which means they have to race their way through the field to regain position, marginal difference between cars, etc. This doesn’t change the fact that without these factors, boring tracks often produce boring races. As for good circuits producing boring tracks, well that’s the problem – I don’t think that many tracks are producing suitable challenges for modern day F1 cars.

          It would cost tens of millions of dollars just to put enough tungsten in the run-off areas of one circuit.

          Given the amount of money the sport spends already building and maintaining circuits, let alone other expenses, I shouldn’t think this should be too much of an issue. Besides I’m sure a more cost effective solution could be found if I bit if thought was put to it.

          But there are other things that can be done other than making run-off areas more punishing, of course, like creating more overtaking opportunities in the track layout itself.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th February 2013, 8:33

            Given the amount of money the sport spends already building and maintaining circuits, let alone other expenses, I shouldn’t think this should be too much of an issue

            No, that figure of tens of millions of dollars per circuit is just for the tungsten alone. And it is not a material that has a constant supply, either – you’d probably use up all of the available tungsten before you had finished work on half the circuits on the calendar.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th February 2013, 8:35

            But there are other things that can be done other than making run-off areas more punishing, of course, like creating more overtaking opportunities in the track layout itself.

            You do realise that Hermann Tilke’s entire design philosophy is based on creating those overtaking opportunities, right?

            I think you’ve made a mistake in assuming that “creating overtaking opportunities” can somehow be quantified and broken down into a mathematical equation that can be universally applied with the same results every time.

          • Palle (@palle) said on 13th February 2013, 21:59

            I agree with @kibblesworth that the run-off areas should be much more punishing on the lap time. Excuses as tungsten is very rare and expensive is just – well excuses. Find another way of doing it, safe, fair and efficient.
            DRS zones must be designed and used very carefully, as not to affect the races too much as has sometimes been seen. I have seen races where I was impressed with the added entertainment and added sport caused by the DRS zone, and I’ve seen races which was almost destroyed by the DRS.
            As F1 has developed I don’t see any short term possibility of going back to almost no aero-development but focus on powertrain and mechanical grip, even if more emphasis on Eco-powertrains would be beneficial for the world and transportation manufacturers.

        • Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 13th February 2013, 9:52

          Would it be possible to place a limit on the surface area of the cars’ bodywork, then leave the use of it fairly free? The intention being to allow innovation and maximise efficiency of design, but with a limit of what is absolutely possible. I might be wrong, I’ve not had time to thiink it through. Certain constraints would probably be required to restrict silliness.

    • Matty No 2 (@mattynotwo) said on 13th February 2013, 7:19

      ‘I remember saying that exact same thing about Hamilton in last year’s Canadian GP… it was a really sad way of winning a race but who can blame him?’

      It was’nt a sad way to win a race, like I said at the time ALO was 3 seconds a lap slower than HAM, that would’nt have even got ALO out of Q3. Thier was no battle to be had. ALO chose the wrong tyre strategy. Thats where any blame lies.

      It was a great way to win the race.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 13th February 2013, 15:53

        It was’nt a sad way to win a race, like I said at the time ALO was 3 seconds a lap slower than HAM, that would’nt have even got ALO out of Q3. Thier was no battle to be had. ALO chose the wrong tyre strategy

        @mattynotwo isn’t that a sad way to win a race? I mean, Hamilton ofc deserves it, but he just went past. It used to be that catching a driver was one thing, overtaking him was another. Now it’s the inverse: catching him is hard, overtaking him is easy.

        Specially if they put the DRS zones at the most obvious and blatant place.

      • BarnstableD (@barnstabled) said on 13th February 2013, 18:22

        Agreed.

    • Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 13th February 2013, 8:09

      Yes, and I still expect some Tracks will try to charge more for seats that overlook the DRS zone . . . maybe I shouldn’t have given them the idea.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 13th February 2013, 14:45

      I know this will not be popular but maybe we need to consider a combination of bigger tyres and LESS power to squander on drag inducing downforce, having less power will force the the aerodynamicists to reduce drag in order to gain top speed on the straights and bigger tyres will add drag but increase grip.

      I know it sounds crazy but I can remember F1 cars with 1.5L NA motors being great racers and entertainment, they were off course very light and very dangerous, todays cars could be lighter and still be as safe, reducing the aerodynamic advantage and re-directing all that R&D to the drivetrain would also encourage car manufacturers to return to F1.

  2. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 13th February 2013, 0:26

    Well Mr. Whitmarsh, I reckon the excessive spending hasn’t been reduced. It’s just been channeled towards the car. With all due respect, to both the drivers and the teams, if the “era of excess” is actually over, pay drivers wouldn’t be as common as they are today.

  3. What is Whitmarsh on??

    F1 is all about excess – every driver instantly becomes a worldwide celebrity racing multimillion pound cars, they deserve the highs that come with the lows of the sport. If Whitmarsh doesn’t want to be invloved in an excess category maybe he should move down to Karting or formula renault at the highest, even in GP2 you’d he exposed to glamour and need millions to compete.

    Everything associated with F1 should be glamorious, it is supposed to be a “gentlemens” sport i.e one for those with millions or billions in the bank to afford a race seat, or to run a team.

    Don’t get me wrong I am the first that thinks teams should be run as efficiently as possible but to say F1 shouldn’t show excess in the form of glitz and glamour is stupid. Mclaren make enough profit each year that the drivers, team and public deserve to see money spent in competing at the highest level; displays of extravagance from the second most succesful team in F1

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th February 2013, 1:43

      I don’t see how spending millions of dollars to shut down a city for the car launch – as McLaren did in 2007 – makes a team more competitive.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th February 2013, 7:39

      What Withmarsh is on to, is that he lauds the time of F1 NOT being about excesses any more DD42.

      Its not the thing to be in the current world, efficiency gets sponsors (or partners as they call them), lavish parties thrown get you scorn and twitter abuse.

  4. John H (@john-h) said on 13th February 2013, 1:08

    If only someone could send that COTD to Whitmarsh, Lowe, FIA, etc…

    Sometimes it baffles me that such intelligent engineers can be so stupi d when it comes to DRS.

    Luckily F1Fantics like @Roger2012 keep people like me sane.

  5. Sankalp Sharma said on 13th February 2013, 1:45

    Now who would realistically expect “McLaren to stay ahead of Mercedes”. I just don’t see that happening :/

  6. Deepak (@ideepak) said on 13th February 2013, 2:01

    It would truly be disappointing if Lewis has no real title chance at All this year. One of the reasons I watch F1 is because of Lewis.

    I am hoping Lewis can shut up all his detractors and show what he’s all about this year — it’s a given he will belittle Rosberg but to see him fight Vettel/Perez/Alonso would be something . I truly hope this season’s champ isn’t decided in Melbourne.

    • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 13th February 2013, 2:16

      Just like it was a given he’d smash Button? You may be suprised

      • Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 13th February 2013, 2:33

        @hxcas I think it’s generally accepted that Hamilton did perform better than Button did at McLaren over his three seasons they were team mates. If you factor in the points Hamilton lost because of factors that were totally out of his control (mainly reliability issues in 2012) then it becomes apparent that Hamilton was the better driver. Plus other stats make Hamilton’s superiority over the last few seasons a bit clearer:

        Stats from 2010-2012 (Hamilton vs. Button)

        Qualifying
        3.8 vs 6.0 (average qualifying position)
        44 vs 14 (teammate finishing above other where both cars completed qualifying)
        0.604s (average lap-time Hamilton was faster by)

        Race
        4.0 vs 4.4 (average finishing position)
        24 vs 13 (teammate finishing above other where both cars completed race)

        Retirements – 13 vs. 8
        Wins – 10 vs. 8
        Poles 9 vs. 1

        But who knows. Rosberg may be a better driver than many give him credit for and his familiarity with how Mercedes works can’t harm him. And Hamilton may struggle without the downforce he is used to from McLaren. So you may be right after all.

        • leadfoot (@leadfoot) said on 13th February 2013, 4:41

          That is what I’m interested to see. I am still unsure of how good Rosberg is. This year will give us the best insight yet. I know he is good but I don’t know how good.

          • Deepak (@ideepak) said on 13th February 2013, 6:20

            I honestly doubt Rosberg can stand tall against Lewis. But yes I agree it’s not impossible for Rosberg to maintain superiority.

            Has there ever been a teammate of Lewis that has outshone ? Not just f1, in gp2 …

      • Deepak (@ideepak) said on 13th February 2013, 6:23

        @hxcas

        The statistics speak for themselves, look at how many times lewis has out qualified button in 2012. Button is mind boggling slow. In some races I think he qualified .3 or .4 secs behind Hamilton !its almost like the difference between karthikeyan and de la rosa !

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th February 2013, 7:26

          yes, Hamilton was faster than Button, but for most of us, Button stood up to the challenge a lot better than expected. In the end, while Hamilton beat him in qualifying, they were more or less equally successful during their time together at McLaren.

        • in some of those races he beat lewis. There is a difference between qualy and race set up.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th February 2013, 7:00

      It would truly be disappointing if Lewis has no real title chance at All this year.

      Does anybody genuinely believe that Hamilton stands a chance at competing for the title? I mean, even he seems to think it’s out of the question – he’s talked about the way his priority this year is to turn Mercedes around start being a regular podium contender, and maybe try and get a win.

      • Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 13th February 2013, 7:44

        I think he has a chance, definitely. The field looks like it’s going to be relatively close in 2013 so drivers are going to need to display skill and, above all, consistency if they want to clinch the title. Hamilton definitely has the skill and 2012 was his most consistent season since 2008 so he’s got the qualities necessary.

        Hamilton’s understandably played down his chances, what with him being at a new team which has been unsuccessful of late. But I think the Mercedes is capable of being on the podium and if anyone can get them there it’s Hamilton.

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 13th February 2013, 8:26

        If he’s going to get a win, he needs to do it in the first part of the season. Team Brackley have never been good at developing a car as the year progresses, even in 2009 when they won both titles.

  7. Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 13th February 2013, 2:01

    Mika’s right when he says that the McLaren is probably going to be faster than the Mercedes. But I don’t think that matters so much when the field looks to be as close as it is and it certainly doesn’t rule out a driver of Hamilton’s calibre. During the last season, Alonso was proof that pace isn’t everything, especially when the difference in that pace is marginal.

    I keep saying that I think Button or Räikkönen have the best chances of winning this season, but to be honest so many drivers are capable of winning this season it’s really hard to call. Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Massa, Perez, Grosjean and Hamilton could all pull it out of the bag this season. I’m really looking forwards to seeing what happens!

  8. Scalextric (@scalextric) said on 13th February 2013, 3:24

    Anyone found a reference to our Bernie in any of the recent coverage of a certain aged pontiff retiring?

  9. What Professor Hekkinen says is the truth, or is it? Why did he not just come on out and say that the worst decision in all of sports for all time was when Lewis decided to leave the Whitmarsh team?

  10. McLaren will probably be ahead of Mercedes in 2013 too. But I don`t expect Mercedes to be far behind as this is Mercedes fourth year and their ambitions are huge. Remember Red Bull, started off in 2005, inched closer to the top year by year and was a contender in 2009..

    Mercedes has been aggressive and has picked top personell wherever they could find them. There really is no excuse for Mercedes this year and in the future if they`re not able to be among the top contenders. The Mercedes organization for 2013 is much stronger than it was in 2010, 2011 and 2012. I think they will get it right and move closer to the top.

    The only concern I have is a snneky feeling this might be a case of “do or die” for Mercedes F1. We all know the board of directors at Daimler has not been overly impressed with the results they`ve been getting for the money they have put in. It is possible that the F1 team has been given an ultimatum to perform in the near future or prepare to close shop. If that is the case I suspect the “deadline” for Mercedes F1-involvment might be the end of the 2014-season. That would explain why Mercedes have been picking up personell left right and center lately.

  11. spark (@spark) said on 15th February 2013, 11:41

    Thanks for the shout out!

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