F1 has ‘got to a safe place’ – Hamilton

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton insists there is no problem with F1’s safety standards following criticism of the Baku City Circuit.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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36 comments on “F1 has ‘got to a safe place’ – Hamilton”

  1. ColdFly F1 (@)
    27th June 2016, 0:07

    Thank you.

    1. Thank YOU @coldfly!

    2. @coldfly It nearly made me spit my coffee out. Absolutely brilliant.

  2. Would I be right in thinking that makes Austria, Baku, Hungary, Malaysia, and Monaco all resurfaced this year? Is that a new record?

    Does anybody know, out of curiosity when a track is resurfaced, do they always put the same type of surface down (compared with the previous surface). Some types are obviously a lot smoother than others, at different tracks.

    1. I’m not sure to be honest maybe Keith could confirm but if we look at what they have done to Brazil I would say not, the work they did on the track before last seasons race made a difference compared with years before, although I think that was also down to the fact they also smoothed some of the bumps out as well.

      I doubt they could lay the same type of tarmac with the same characteristics down though even if they tried. Maybe a close match if they really wanted to?

    2. @strontium I believe the mandate now is that all tracks must have locally sourced materials (bitumen, aggregates and other stuff) in their asphalt make-up, making each track fundamentally unique, although older tracks won’t have subscribed to these rules.

      I guess the key one to look at is the track differences between Silverstone’s new and old sections.

    3. I think the composition is different for each track, but I’m not sure if a resurfacing is always a good thing. I mean there are some cases when it is absolutely neccessary, but it can take away a lot of the uniqueness of the track. For example I’m not sure about the hungaroring, it used to have a lot of bumps, and different type of surface from T1-T13 and a another type from the middle of the last corner, which provided more grip at the exit. As a result the drivers made a real difference. Now that the whole track is resurfaced I can only hope the racing will be better, and the circuit haven’t lost its soul.

      1. the new asphalt composition of one track is likely a lot more similar to what another track is also re-surfacing with due to ISO standards. slight local variance of ingredients aside, they are all now using the same ‘formula’ to begin with. and, which is different than what was laid down before.

    4. petebaldwin (@)
      27th June 2016, 10:04

      Staggeringly dull record though isn’t it!? :D

  3. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    27th June 2016, 3:24

    Does McLaren know something none of us know? They keep boasting they will be the ones who will replace Mercedes at the top the following years (I assume they refer to the moment when the rules change next year). But I think it’s sooooooooo early to count the chickens yet. It’s so repetitive, as their motto “We are not repeating history, we are making history” (indeed they made history as having the worst season ever last year). I would rather see them climb silently, at their pace, than aiming to surpass Mercedes. It looks so akward to me that they say no team is making progress respect to Mercedes. I would find those words more believable coming from Red Bull and not from McLaren-Honda right now.

    1. They know no one is interested in sponsoring, driving for, engineering or buying merchandise for a team that says “We think we can be back in the number 4 position real soon, and if one of the other teams has a bad year maybe even third. And who knows maybe we’ll get lucky and start getting 2nd place again” that’s what they know.

    2. There is one reason, and one reason only, Honda.

      The Mercedes engine is the leader, and both Ferrari and Renault have headhunted personnel to get the ip on the design of the Merc engine, eventually all 3 power units will come to a similar performance level, this is because culturally there is little difference between the designers in the UK, France, and Italy. Japan’s culture however is very insular, Honda engineers won’t sell out “Japan” by taking design ideas to Renault or Ferrari Like Merc employees/subsidiaries happily did. I does offer the chance that Honda will be able to create a power inbalance like Mercedes did earlier on….. but it will require a lot of work.

      1. How would Honda go about that? They’ve literally been playing catch up copying solutions from other teams since they entered the sport. They’re not doing anything revolutionary, and the things they’ve tried differently to the others have been the cause of their failures. Make no mistake, Honda won’t be catching the top teams next year, and neither will McLaren. The best they can hope for is to jump ahead of Force India and Williams, and try to get a sniff of the tail end of the Merc/Ferrari/RBR battle.

        This constant “we’ve got a great chassis” “we’ll be the next dominant team” “we’re best placed for next year” is all just PR talk to try lure sponsors. Mclaren have been severely lacking in the sponsor department for years now, and it’s because they’ve consistently over-promised and under-delivered. Their Honda engine is currently only ahead of the 2015 Ferrari engine in the Torro Rosso, and their chassis is behind Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Torro Rosso, and probably Force India too.

        1. Actually Mike they haven’t been copying the others since they entered, McLaren begged them to do so, but they refused, it is 100% Japanese, and there is plenty of room for improvement, it will just take ALOT of work and money and very clever people. Honda has to maybe get more work done sure and maybe more young Japanese engineers, but when it is done the others won’t be so quick to catchup.

    3. I fear Mclaren are about to become a second Ferrari with the catchphrase “Next year we will win…”

      Given that Mclarens problems largely comes from the PU side of the regulations, which are staying mainly stable and the mass change is to the aero, the 2017 regulations doesn’t look like it is the golden bullet for Mclaren that it could be to Red Bull for example.

      Time will tell, but of course this could all be mute and Mercedes could once again build a fantastic car that is the class of the field. Seems that in all the attempts to hype 2017 that some of the media forget that bit. The line that somebody will catch Mercedes isn’t even close to being a certainty. Time will tell, Mclaren would serve themselves better though if they simply shut up, keep quiet and over deliver rather than constantly under delivering what they promise.

  4. MG421982 (@)
    27th June 2016, 5:59

    I think ALO spent too much in the 2nd part of the grid and the smoke coming from the competition must have affected him.

    1. Yes!

  5. While many people will scoff at any “McLaren will come back” remarks, there actually some basis on that:

    1. They old established team which not really hamstringed by money problem like, say, Force India or even Williams. They also have the top level facilities to design and build the car.

    2. In F1, it’s very possible to come from zero to hero in virtually 1 season and vice versa. And a major rule shakeup in 2017 is giving big opportunity for this to happen.

    3. They can afford to put lot of resource to develop next year car this season because their position in WDC virtually uncontested. (too slow to fight STR, Force India, and Williams, relatively safe in front of Sauber, Haas, Renault, and Manor). Granted Haas is only 2 points below them but Haas seems to left behind now after great debut.

    4. Honda engine has satisfactory improvement. They not the “GP2” engine like last year, a bit above 2015 Ferrari spec on STR and a bit below 2016 Renault v2, at least on average performance.

    5. Finally they get some talents back in the garage after leaking out more than titanic in late 2000s.

    Of course there still some big elephant in the room that they need to clear:

    1. Honda engine while much better this year, is still behind the competition, especially on reliability. They still need to make more improvement than the rest for next year just to be on equal term.

    2. The chassis development also need more trick than just “size zero” concept.

    3. Maintaining their 2 WDC motivation from lot of distraction. No, I don’t believe either of Alonso or Button is slower than the young guns (Magnussen, Vandoorne, or the next internet darling). Talent like Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton, or Vettel (which worthy enough to be put on top team seat early) only shows up once or twice every decade and we already have Verstappen recently.

    4. Extend that motivation to the team. Their pit crew job is sub par for last few years, pretty much showing the team is not that excited to give their best anymore.

    1. Some good points made explaining their view of why it will be them first beating Mercedes to a championship.

      I just hope they start delivering next year so that we get more of a competition!

    2. @sonicslv It’s really very simple though. If McLaren think they can then there is no reason Ferrari or Red Bull couldn’t either, and they are already much closer so it’s very likely they will get there sooner too. McLaren is very much on its way to be a second Williams, just a tad richer.

      1. @xtwl If that the case then no reason for Ferrari, Williams, McLaren and all teams who ever dominate F1 ever thrown to midfield and finally “gone” like Lotus or Renault. As I said, one of McLaren advantage is they can focus on next year car early, unlike others who actually still have to fight for position in WCC. If Brawn and Mercedes could suddenly dominate, why McLaren can’t? I’m not saying McLaren will be top team / dominating next year for certain, but they also not for certain will still be in mid-tier.

        1. @sonicslv Because they have the worst engine by far, and not even close to the best chassis. They are nowhere and that just doesn’t change overnight. They have been working non-stop since end of 2013 and have produced nothing but terrible cars. Honda was wrong to choose McLaren for their return, they should have taken on Red Bull had they wanted because with them you can at least rely on a good chassis.

          McLaren is always praised for being good in developing their car yet they haven’t done it once since 2009. Speaking of 2009 and your comments on Brawn, totally different set of circumstances. I’m pretty sure McLaren is in F1 for the long haul, but they’re going to be in the midfield for quite some time too.

          1. @xtwl Every dominating team comes from different set of circumstances. Anything can happen and it doesn’t take miracle in F1 to do that, just some clever engineering, which luckily is aplenty within F1 teams. In 80’s Honda engine also doesn’t become the best right away. For all we know, Honda insistence on not using their own layout might comes from greater plan and it could finally come to fruition next year. McLaren and Honda is in position when they have nothing to lose and it is their best advantage compared to other top teams. Meanwhile, Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, Williams, and Force India will have lot of consideration if they want to try something new because the risk of failure.

          2. Are you serious? If Red Bull had taken Honda right now Honda will be getting out of the sport after being called a dozen names and having Red Bull slandering them from frustration.
            Many said Mclaren will do the same if Honda doesn’t make a better engine after the first year(since Red Bull completely threw their toys our of the pram after the first race of a second year that Renault seemed to be behind Merc) and yet we see that Mclaren has spend half the season now and they haven’t got into a big fight with Honda and yelling they want a better supplier etc or trying to force Honda to do what they like by putting pressure threw the media etc.

      2. What makes you think they’ll never be back on top again @xtwl ?

    3. They haven’t build a good chassis since 2013 and they still have the worse engine on the grid. My money is still on Force India to beat them next year.

      1. Their chassis was terrible in 2013 Patrick. Their last proper top tier chassis was 2012, when they arguably had the best car except for woeful reliability. Since then they just got worse.

        2013 they dropped behind the Mercedes factory team, and the drivers regularly struggled to get to grips with their cars. The poor chassis was evident by the apparent difficulty finding decent set ups.

        2014 they had the class leading Mercedes engine, so should have at worst been second behind Merc with the budget they have, but they got pummeled by Williams, who operate on a fraction of their budget.

        2015 Honda come in, after waiting an extra year to get their heads around the engine regs, and give them time to properly develop their engine. Despite this, the engine turns out to be laughably under powered and unreliable, and of all the talk of having an amazing chassis, Mclaren still couldn’t finish ahead of anyone but Manor on merit.

        2016 the Honda engine has significantly better reliability and power, but other teams have made almost an equally large step on the engine front. Mclarens “super chassis” still not able to legitimately compete with the top five or so teams at chassis sensitive circuits.

        Next year I expect one of three teams to win: Mercedes, Red Bull, or Ferrari. Mclaren will be lucky to beat Force India next year, despite having a metric **** ton more cash.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          27th June 2016, 13:34

          To be fair, in 2013 their car was poor however in 2014 Mercedes weren’t sharing any information with them about the engine, in 2015 they had a brand new Honda engine which failed to finish most races and in 2016 they are having less technical issues but are still off the pace.

          Doesn’t mean I think they’ll be competitive in the next few years but for 2014-2016, they were never going to stand a chance. If you strapped a Mercedes power unit to a GP2 car, I’d expect it to beat any F1 car with a 2015 Honda in the back!

        2. 2014 Mclaren had a Merc engine but it wasn’t performing as good as the Williams one or the Force India one. Also Mclaren was basically a few development steps away in terms of software.
          Mercedes was keeping them in distance by not giving them the best software for the engine and giving them less detail about how to perfect what they had. Also Mclaren was using Mobil instead of Petronas fuel and the engine was made in cooperation with Petronas fuel so they were losing HP from there too. Mobil wasn’t working with Merc, they were simply trying to do the best they could with the data they had to make their fuel work as good as possible with the engine they were given and that data was very limited in Mclaren’s case.

      2. @paeschli There is no evidence that they haven’t built a good chassis since then. There is plenty of evidence that the package is no good though. RB are similar. I think that they may have the best chassis this year and may have done also in 2014 (not 2015), but who would know. Such is the performance difference in engines. Look at RB in Baku. I think their chassis is probably the best in the field, but the engine isn’t. As a result, they trimmed everything back for speed and it worked. In qualifying anyway. Then the race came along and their tyres were shot in 3 laps. McLaren’s chassis may be awesome, but seriously compromised in the same way that RB had to do to theirs at Baku.

        McLaren are a laughing stock, but it might only take the removed engine tokens for that to change. The engine gets more power and they can start delivering more downforce to the chassis. The drivers rate the chassis this year despite it being trimmed out. They might be lying, but McLaren have the resources to make me think it is true.

        I personally think RB are most likely to usurp the crown. Following that, it might be McLaren. Ferrari don’t seen to be making the right choices right now but who knows. I could certainly see a situation next year where McLaren were in the top 4 if not the top 3. It’s not inconceivable that they go top 2 as well. Look at what Merc did. Also rans to miles in front in one foul swoop. However, maybe Force India will do a Brawn next year. You can’t say it isn’t possible, however unlikely it might be. People who don’t think McLaren will be back in the big 4 next year need only to look at the budgets of the teams. McLaren spends about 4 times what Williams do. On the law of probabilities, they will be back in the 4 next year.

        1. @mickharrold Exactly. McLaren is not some team strapped for cash that just hoping to survive next season, nor a team whose bosses doesn’t know how F1 works and just throws money and demand heads if it not working (I think Ferrari has this problem). We witnessing the worst 3 season of the whole McLaren F1 history and people starts saying like they will be backmarker forever. They have at least same – if not tad better – chance as the other top team to topple Mercedes next year.

      3. @paeschli About engines, Ferrari need 2 year to make good engine and in 3rd year they already looked like compromising some reliability for extra performance. Renault need 3.5 year (2016v2 spec) to make an engine that finally said competitive enough although we still need more time to see if its true. Honda is only on 2nd year and they build pretty competitive engine while still unreliable. I say Honda progress is about the same as Ferrari and still better than Renault. Of course that alone is not good enough because they need extra 1 year R&D to catch up, but Honda engineers is not slouching either.

  6. 2014 was turning point for Mercedes, maybe 2017 will be for McLaren. But honestly this frequent boasting must be really annoying for Honda. If they can’t backup with performance, they’ll loose face which the McLaren boys don’t understand what Japanese culture follows. Japanese take their word seriously.

    1. Frequent boasting is a term you are using, but within the team it may be thought of as positivity and confidence. And as if the ‘McLaren boys’ don’t understand what they need to of Japanese culture.

      The new cars and tires for 2017 will be something of a zeroing of the scales, so there is no reason teams shouldn’t talk confidently of nailing their package next year. If Honda can take advantage of the opening up of engine work, there’s no reason McLaren can’t find themselves back in or near the top 3. If the majority of fans are about to get their way (a big if) then there will be 6 teams within a hair of the leaders.

    2. @illusive

      2009 was really the turning point for team Brackley. If Honda hadn’t have pulled out leaving them with a major brain drain in all likelihood they could have still been a top flight team in ’10, ’11 & ’12. They were already on an upward curve in 2013 and best prepared for the rule change in 2014.

      Red Bull missed a trick with the double diffuser in ’09 and were allied to the wrong power unit manufacturer in ’14. McLaren had the best power unit for both of those rule change years, and built sub standard chassis each time.

      No the team which has consistently shown the best preparation for rule changes in Brackley, were it not for the loss of Honda money and the time taken to rebuild under Mercedes I think we would have been looking at a period of domination that would put Ferrari to shame. My money is still on them for ’17, I don’t think the shrink in their advantage this year is purely diminishing returns or true gains from the competitors, I think they already have an eye on next year with a safe margin for this year.

    3. Japanese take their word seriously? May i remind you all the air talk from the previous Honda guy last year? Do you remember him talking about wins and podiums by the middle of the 2015 season and saying the ICE is as powerful as the Ferrari one and all that good talk?

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