Bernie Ecclestone, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain, 2015

Hamilton tells Ecclestone Mercedes aren’t making F1 boring

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton responds to Bernie Ecclestone’s complaint about Mercedes making F1 ‘boring’ by pointing out many other teams have dominated before.

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Ferrari called Red Bull’s engine demands “offensive”, but perhaps they’re not in a position to criticise:

What I find more offensive than a team believing it should be able to buy competitive equipment if it has the money, is a team which believes it has a right to an exclusive veto over rule changes which might affect it negatively. A team which also believes that they deserve a far bigger slice of the sport’s revenues, even when they consistently underperform compared to their rivals, simply because of the brand name on the cars.

That is what I find offensive, Ferrari.
@Mazdachris

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Jaguar Formula E car, 2015
Jaguar Formula E car, 2015

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  • 81 comments on “Hamilton tells Ecclestone Mercedes aren’t making F1 boring”

    1. Dennis should totally get Heidfeld in the McLaren for 2017. That boys got potential. Does anyone have a link for that interview.

      1. Nah I don’t think he’ll be race winner material. Maybe he can score a few podiums in his F1 career but nothing more than that. I heard a young boy called Lewis Hamilton is definitely one to watch for the future!

        1. he’s still a bit too young, though. that Ayrton fellow, however…

      2. I haven’t seen the video with that interview but if true, this points to a serious health issue involving the loss of memory; prime candidate would be Alzheimer as Dennis is also in the age where this becomes more common.

        1. @mike-dee @william-brierty @kingshark Here’s the video. In fairness he only stumbled over Vandoorne’s surname briefly. The Heidfeld thing is pretty funny though (obviously he confused him with Nyck De Vries).

          1. #fail

            OK, De Vries isn’t exactly looking at an imminent F1 debut, but when you have junior driver scoring the kind of results Vandoorne has been managing for three years now, two aged, apathetic champions and marked need for a new team leader in the near future, “Vandoorne” would be a name on the tip of my tongue. Not to mention the fact that the Belgian has a better junior win rate than Hamilton managed. Maybe Stoffel is being overlooked because he failed to introduce himself at an awards ceremony…

          2. Thanks, doesn’t seem as bad as it sounded in the article. So no Alzheimer luckily!

          3. That video does indeed look not as bad as reading about it in the article felt. Still not something “typically Ron Dennis”, I would recon. Not getting along at all with the girl from Die Antwoord´s “Ugly Boy” music-video (Cara Delevigne) however is very Ron Dennis ;)

          4. Yeah, that video doesn’t quite fit with the impression I had from the article.

      3. Ron is stuck in 1998, no wonder McLaren is a shambles.

    2. Dominance is a relative term. Just to say someone ‘dominated’ does not mean their level was the same as ‘dominant’ Mercedes. Because very often it was not. Even though Hamilton wish they did.

      1. “When Renault was leading”, they won less races than Mclaren in 2005 and less than Ferrari in 2006.

      2. A lot of people fail to differentiate between winning and dominating.

        In 2005 and 2006, Renault won just 44% of the races. Mercedes has won 84% in the last two years. This is second only to Ferrari’s score in 2002. Red Bull, who also ‘dominated’ as per the claims of some, never won more than 68% of the races (in 2013), and had only 35% in 2012 – the lowest of any World Title winning constructor since the start of the century.

        1. @cashnotclass, the percentage of wins is affected by the fact that nobody other than Ferrari have managed to step up to challenge Mercedes this year. In years gone by there would be several competitive teams. I think that restrictions on testing and finances probably have the biggest role in this. At the moment if you have s significant advantage it hard for others to catch you up, probably more so than at any other point in the history of the sport.

          1. It’s not really affected so much as it is the result of the situation you describe. But it is what it is; Mercedes has been utterly dominant. To compare the current situation to years in which others have merely won as though the current situation isn’t unique isn’t very convincing. Seasons like this, even if it’s “only twice in a row” as Hamilton says, are extremely rare in F1’s history. Yet we’ve now had two in two years. Ecclestone is right to point out many find it boring.

        2. Arguably Mercedes dominance is the result of letting their drivers race. Ferrari, and to a lesser extent Red Bull, has a #1 driver and another who was made to give way. In the case of Ferrari they even broke an engine seal to ensure that their #2 started behind their #1. When one Mercedes driver has had technical problems in the last two years their other driver has more often been in a position to win.

          1. @ians

            When one Mercedes driver has had technical problems in the last two years their other driver has more often been in a position to win

            This is exactly the point, it is shows that it is the cars level of dominance. Nothing to do with No. 1 and 2 drivers!

            We will see if Mercedes still give the drivers equal preference when only one of their drivers is in the championship battle against another team towards the end of season as was the case in the Ferrari situation you mention.

    3. the Buxton article was a really sad read: Ron should always be remembered as one of the greats, but time waits for no man, I suppose… :/

      1. A very interesting read as well. However, it states one point with which I disagree: It states Ron Dennis hasn´t changed, while enumerating quotes that prove he has, the one being brought here (right beneath the link) being the most obvious. The old Ronspeak, while often misleading, was always factually correct, and he certainly wouldn´t have forgotten about his promising junior driver… or any driver under his contract. If that interview and that quote really happened as presented in that article, that´s an alarm sign, and I fear that alarm would be about health issues.

    4. Lewis doesn’t seem to understand that today’s public is more saturated with thrills as in the past, and it’s time the fossil brains in F1 are starting to recognize that, what used to work, doesn’t work any more…it’s time to start living in the new reality.

      1. So, like NASCAR then?

      2. And he is perfectly right when he says that the head poncho talking only negative about the sport clearly is not helping at all. He is right to say that F1 should learn from other sports in how to better bring the sport / entertainment to the fans.

      3. Unfortunately, Mercedes are making F1 boring. I previously always went with the concept that it’s the other teams’ fault for not being good enough.

        The problem is that these days, it’s not the other teams’ fault. Mercedes have the best engine and the Mercedes team have the best version of it so they will always win unless something odd happens.

        Ferrari have the second best engine and the Ferrari team have the best version of it so they will come 3rd in every race unless something odd happens.

        What was BY FAR the most common result this year? Merc Merc Ferrari.

        1. @petebaldwin

          Mercedes have the best engine and the Mercedes team have the best version of it so they will always win unless something odd happens.

          Mercedes ‘dominance’ is about far more than just the engine, They also have an exceptionally good chassis thats very efficient aerodynamically.

          Yes they have the best engine but I don’t believe there advantage is solely down to the engine & I don’t even believe there engine has the performance advantage over the next best (Ferrari) that many fans like to claim.

        2. Are you saying Mercedes should throw some races? They win by doing the best job and you can’t seriously want them to gift the other guys some undeserved wins. In any case their contract with Bernie means they will now get an extra 150 million for those two championships. No other team has that performance incentive in their contract. Bernie is getting what he paid for. If he had paid all the teams the same money in his 2014-2020 contracts we might have more equal racing.

    5. Button has very good points, lots of travel can burn people out rather quickly. Loneliness can creep in from traveling alone so much, and being away from home can start to make one feel their life is hollow. My own segment of the industry is far from Formula One, I can empathize their feelings behind a longer schedule, it definitely take its toll on the people every weekend.

      1. I like JB but I have nothing but scorn for his whinging. Especially concerning the schedule. A grade 6 student could make a smarter route around the world, with less travel time (not that JB flies business class with the public lol, so it’s way worse for personnel and press) and less costs. Frankly will a multimillionaire with the best job in the world cries that he’s not getting enough time off and there are plenty of off weeks and a ridiculously outdated summer break I have zero sympathy. Not only are they well paid and can afford to fly to any climate they like during the down time and offseason but there is a queue of people ready to do it so move on if you don’t like.

        Further more, JB chose to work for that nutter Ron and the ridiculous amount of commitments that come with working for MTC. He choose to continue in this life and with full knowledge of what was expected. Get over it or move on.

        1. A grade 6 student could make a smarter route around the world…

          …and the ridiculous calendar is Jenson’s fault how?

          1. It’s not his fault but he chose to continue in F1. That’s his decision.

            Your query is moot.

        2. You’d have a point if only the drivers were moving around. In fact the drivers have it easy.

          The mechanics have to arrive sooner to the GP and leave later, they are out of home what, half the year at least? The more packed the schedule is, the less chances they have to go home for a couple of days, at least.

          And yes, there are many jobs that involve similar conditions. It doesn’t mean the team personnel won’t burn out, which is Button’s point.

          And actually, Button says he’s fine with more races. You’d know if you had read the article.
          ‘“For me it is fine because I love racing and I wish there was another race next weekend,” said Button’

        3. There is so much more to it than that, but unless you’ve gone out and traveled for Motorsports, it won’t make sense. So with that, enjoy being a spectator in whatever capacity you see fit.

        4. Clearly you didn’t read the article. He’s not talking about him having issues, but the mechanics and the team. Let me make it simple for you:

          For me it is fine because I love racing and I wish there was another race next weekend,” said Button, who will take his grand prix career into a 17th season in 2016. “I fly in on a Thursday to the European races and leave on a Sunday night, whereas the mechanics work such long hours and they spend so much time away from home that 21 races is going to be tough.

          “I think it is difficult for any mechanic or engineer to have a relationship right now, for those guys it is not going to be easy. I just hope that it doesn’t grow in terms of races for 2017 because I think it will be too much.”

      2. Yes, but all of them knew what they signed for, and they are paid top money for what i think is their dream job, damnit it would be mine as a mechanic… If they cant cope with that , i think there is a LOT of people more than happy to do it..for 21 ,22 or even 23 races a year..
        I think the only real problem in all this its the finacial side for the teams

        1. But when you sign on expecting 19 races you accept that and know the circumstances. Increasing that to 21 is quite a lot with 6 back to backs. These are people too. I’d imagine they are already on the brink and especially with the talk we could end up having 22 or 23 races soon.
          JB says in the article that it could lead to many guys quitting the race team, maybe bigger teams have to look to having back up race teams for some of the fly aways.

    6. I want to sympathize with Mehri but I can’t. If his problem is that other drivers are Bringing more money than him, then if he got the seat because of money this year (which is implied by saying it’s more expensive this year), isn’t he complaining about the same thing he’s just done to other drivers?

      1. Mehri always maintained he paid nothing for that seat, which is why he was OK with the fact Rossi (who did) replaced him a few times.

        1. @hahostolze – People’s issues with pay drivers is that they don’t deserve to be in F1. Interesting if you look at the comments a year ago when Will Stevens got the Manor seat when you consider that he comfortably beat Mehri this year.

          1. @petebaldwin It wasn’t that comfortable, and with all the factors involved, we really can’t say one way or the other if Stevens really had a better season. What we can say is that Mehri has had a significantly better and more impressive career so far, so the point stands.

          2. @petebaldwin Not hard to beat someone who has one hand tied behind their back. Technically, Merhi beat Rossi, who also beat Stevens. Only Magnussen was behind him (DNS), but Magnussen also outpaced him by 0.75s in Q when they were team-mates in FR3.5.

            @mike Merhi was probably only given expenses for travelling to each race.

        2. Ah, then I misunderstood. But to be honest, I find that surprising.

        3. @hahostolze I thought the quote was ‘Mehri was *paid* nothing for his seat’, as in ‘he’s bringing money but not receiving a wage’.

      1. Hehe, good find

        1. Not really, if you think about it.

      2. What is it you think he should do?

        1. @lockup – What should he do? Not moan about it when he’s losing but say it’s great when he’s winning. That’s what.

          I like the following quote:
          “It’s not depressing. It’s nothing new. I look at Sebastian’s laps on the on-board camera and it doesn’t appear as though he is on the limit like some other drivers. When you have that much in hand it makes it that much easier to do so.

          And this coming from the guy who just won the Drivers Championship having made 3 overtaking manoeuvres all season!!!!!

          1. That’s a different subject @petebaldwin and the quote did not come from someone who just won the Drivers Championship it came in 2013. The accusation of hypocrisy is about having said he didn’t want to be that dominant but now being dominant. But what should he do? As in DO. Slow down? Sabotage his car? Resign and go to Williams? Explain the hypocrisy please, in terms of how he ought to not be dominant. You think he should celebrate his successes, after all.

          2. @petebaldwin Agree. This is the most prolonged team dominance in F1 history – 2.5 years (0.5 for Red Bull, 2 for Mercedes). The difference is, in the past, such dominance could be caught quickly through development.

            However, this time there are strict limits on engine development. They’ve now been loosened slightly, and now only Honda wants to keep the MGU-H (which is ironically their shortcoming – but they want to make it work).

            1. Honda are stubborn they just want to show they can do it and be given a chance to show this. If the MGU-H is removed they will forever be known to be incapable of making it work.

            2. @Iestyn Davies You seem to be the voice of reason here at F1fanatic, and it is appreciated!

      3. I can see why someone saying in 2013 they don’t want to be as dominant as Vettel and saying in 2015 they hope Ferrari catches them and gives them a challenge can be interpreted as hypocrisy. By someone who doesn’t know what ‘hypocrisy’ means, that is.

      4. Such a hypocrite!

        How? Seriously. He says in the article you linked:

        “I don’t want to be that far ahead. I want to be able to fight with him [Vettel], or whoever.”

        and in the article from the round-up, when asked “Do you feel inspired by a strong rival in your team or would you rather be the only one?” he says:

        “It’s great, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being pushed helps you to get stronger, that’s what I feel. Both of us can be happy to have a team like Mercedes giving us the opportunity to race on such a level.”

        He is saying the same thing. See also:

        “In Formula One we had the situation that five drivers of five different teams could win the race and that’s exactly how it should be

        Now show me where he says that he doesn’t want to fight against anyone. Or that he wants to be leading out in front with no competition. Or anything that, you know, makes him a hypocrite. Maybe you just don’t understand what the word hypocrite means? It is certainly not “finding oneself in a situation one previously said they were against”. At best it is ironic but even then there is an ocean more competition between Hamilton and Rosberg than there was between Vettel and Webber 2011-2013. Though it wasn’t as competitive as I would have liked, in most races in 2015 you didn’t know going in who was actually going to win.

        1. “In Formula One we had the situation that five drivers of five different teams could win the race and that’s exactly how it should be”

          I always found it ludicrous how people like him and Alonso whined about Red Bull being “dominant” in that 2012 season he referenced, on the basis of 4 wins in a row for Vettel. The Mclaren won 3 in a row from pole immediately before that but no-one complained.

    7. ColdFly F1 (@)
      16th December 2015, 7:07

      I’ve been critical of some of Hamilton’s media escapades earlier this year, and there will always be people who dissect his comments and find parts to criticise.
      But I for one actually like the Hamilton in this interview (maybe except for the 1st answer).

      1. As a longtime critic of HAM’s mediation, I really think that he hit the nail on the head this time.

        1. But Bernie is an old fish in a small barrel, isn’t he?

    8. So Ron Dennis cannot remember Stoffel Vandoorne’s name – says a lot really. McLaren’s management of their drivers has been truly abysmal since Hamilton left in 2013. The manner in which Ron has attempted to justify his failed battle with the sponsors in 2014 to keep Magnussen in the car (as Ron and the team wanted) by claiming that Kevin “failed to meet targets” is utterly unsporting and dishonorable.

      1. @william-brierty I thought (and could be wrong) but Ron’s comment of failing to meet targets was the reason why they dropped him as reserve driver in 2015 and not why he was dropped as a race driver at the end of 2014?

      2. @william-brierty Doesn’t bode well for 2017, does it?!

      3. Keven Mag met the standards, but Ron did not.

    9. That Formula E picture doesn’t make me think ‘Jaguar’. Bit of a traditionalist when it comes to what colour I think their cars should be…

      1. @neilosjames I agree to a certain extent Neil, but part of Jaguar’s problems leading up to Tata’s ownership of them was that they were stuck in the past a bit. Tata has at least injected money into R&D and got them thinking outside the box more. Perhaps the non-traditional choice of colours is an attempt to show the Jaguar have evolved?

        1. @tonyyeb I guess it’s more that Jaguar is synonymous with the UK and Green (specifically Racing Green) is the UK Racing Colour, thus the expectation for it to continue?

          Don’t forget that despite most of its money coming from TATA, JLR is still run as a UK-centric business, with most of the design & strategic work, along with a good amount of the manufacturing, still done in country.

          1. @optimaximal I guess so, but then also I think they may be trying to limit the comparisons to the F1 project perhaps?

          2. @optimaximal, are they really that synonymous with “British Racing Green”? After all, some of their more famous wins at Le Mans were from cars entered by “Ecurie Ecosse”, and therefore were painted navy blue, whilst their later Group C cars competed under a wide range of liveries, ranging from pure white to the “Silk Cut” livery that is now off limits due to restrictions on tobacco advertising.

            1. It’s not so much Jaguar are associated with British Racing Green, more that UK motor racing in general is associated with that colour; IIRC, both Vanwall and BRM used the same colour.

    10. “There was the interview with Danish television that he asked to start again after forgetting the name of the team’s young GP2 stand out Stoffel Vandoorne. They couldn’t of course. They were live. And so Ron compounded his error by talking up their other young prospect, Nick. Nick Heidfeld.”

      I haven’t laughed this hard in weeks.

      1. @kingshark Which will come first, a title sponsor, or the next McLaren junior (be it Stoffel or Nick/Nyck!) in the car?! Bearing in mind that Santander are still a sponsor, but don’t want to be on the car and simply use the drivers..

    11. Sorry Lewis, Mercedes is making F1 boring.

      Last year Mercedes won all of the races except three, and this year they won all the races except three – and of all those wins, only three drivers took thsoe victories. Barring anything dramatic it was fair to say most of the races – particularly at the front were a bit of a forgone conclusion.

      In 2012 which wasn’t that long ago really, we had seven different drivers taking wins in the first seven races – that’s more different winners than we’ve had across the last two years. That year, Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Williams all took race victories compared to just four in the last two years. Even if 2012 is a bit of a stand-out year, it shows that’s possible, and how barren the last two years have been in terms of variety. And all that, in a period of ‘domination’ by Red Bull, which tends to suggest their ‘domination’ was nowhere near as absolute as this one.

      Mercedes have the best car, and the best engine – and the way the rules are structured seem to favour powerful teams keeping an advantage rather than helping weaker teams catch up, so the gap stays the same or at worse gets larger. They certainly should be lauded for such an achievement as last year’s and this year’s car have to be among the finest F1 cars ever constructed… but it sure makes for dull viewing. Especially when long-time fans are starting to get switched off.

      1. “Sorry Lewis, Mercedes is making F1 boring.”

        No, they’re not.

        Did Federra make Tennis boring?, does Messi make football boring?, does Rossi make MotoGP boring? What about Taylor and Darts, Hendry and snooker, Woods and Golf?

        Mercedes are making it boring for you, because you dont like Mercedes.

        In other sports when someone dominates, people usually just admire their ability. Not in F1 though, if a team makes an awesome car or a driver owns his teammate, its a snooze fest

        1. In other sports when someone dominates, people usually just admire their ability. Not in F1 though, if a team makes an awesome car or a driver owns his teammate, its a snooze fest

          Yep, just like with Schumacher & Vettel. They and Hamilton make it boring apparently. Although 2000, 2003, 2010, 2012 and 2014 went to the final or penultimate rounds.

      2. Mercedes is making F1 boring.

        No there not, The lack of close racing & reliance on artificial gimmicks like DRS & crap high degredation tyres that force drivers to drive slowly all race is whats making F1 boring!

        I sat through the Mclaren dominance of 1988 where they won all but 1 race & scored all but 1 pole position & never once found that season boring because there was a lot of real racing going on to be watched.
        The biggest problem today is that there’s no racing, its all boring DRS-ing & drivers driving around slowly managing there tyres for fear of starting the thermal degredation cycle & its that which is making f1 dull not Mercedes doing there job.

      3. Sorry Lewis, Mercedes is making F1 boring.

        Isn’t it the job of the TV commentators and producers and such like to make an F1 race interesting? I guess one could argue that part of the boredom is caused by the predictability factor, but that happened when Ferrari were winning every race too, and there weren’t accusations of Ferrari making F1 boring then, so why now? My observation was the TV broadcaster spent most of their time following what is happening away from the two leading cars.
        As far as I can tell Mercedes don’t have any technology that no one else is entitled to, so every other engine manufacturer can do what Mercedes have done. F1 is a fuel restricted motor racing series, so Mercedes got extra their power by having better fuel efficiency than the others, and if they can do it, then so can everyone else. The problem with fuel efficiency power gains is it easier for those behind to catch up than it is for those in front to stay ahead.

        1. @drycrust

          and there weren’t accusations of Ferrari making F1 boring then

          There definitely was – especially when they made Barrichello pull over to let Schumacher win, which is not something you can accuse Mercedes of doing anything like.

          1. @keithcollantine : My thanks for correcting me.
            Regarding the Schumacher – first – Barrichello – second situation, I totally agree with you. In fact I think the use of team orders and such like sort of lessens Schumacher’s triumphs because it gives them the feeling of being contrived. At least with Mercedes you get the impression that who wins is decided on the track and not beforehand.

            1. @drycrust I’m not so sure, some seem quite certain Mercedes is trying to purposefully hurt (Insert driver name here).

      4. What else would you have Mercedes do? They were contracted to compete under a set of rules and offered a huge pot of money to win two championships. They have done what Bernie asked them to do and all they have to do now is show up for the next 5 years to collect the money.

        Of course they will continue to compete for wins, and I for one would not want them to do anything else. Mercedes dominance is the fault of the other teams and the other engine vendors. Bernie insisted on seven year contracts and only Ferrari looks likely to come close in that time.

      5. I am not a big Mercedes fan, but they are hardly making the sport boring. They are making the other teams look bad, surely, but is not this the prerogative of any team that does better than it’s competitor’s? Lotus, Williams, Mclaren, Ferrari, and Red Bull have all had turns as leaders of the pack, and another team someday may soon do the same. I love F1, but hate the politics. May the best team win!

      6. You know things are dire when the tyre-lotto of 2012 sounds like a good idea.

    12. And Will Buxton learnt a precious lesson:

      Never. NEVER. Trust anything F1-related published in spanish media.

      Not even once.

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