F1 ‘outdated and must entertain more’ – Hamilton

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says Formula One needs a shake-up.

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Should McLaren have a Toro Rosso of their own?

In my opinion McLaren need some sort of B-team for their [young driver] programme to work properly. It’s fine to a degree now while they’re trailing in the middle, but when they’re back at the front, putting inexperienced drivers in isn’t the best thing. Verstappen had a year of being a rookie further back, clearly a good thing.

Magnussen didn’t seem to be ready for the top seat when he drove in 2014.

I don’t mean necessarily having two F1 teams, but using smaller teams (Sauber, previously Manor) like Ferrari and Mercedes is a good idea. That way when, say, Button retired, Vandoorne would have already had a year of experience.

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Keith Collantine
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60 comments on “F1 ‘outdated and must entertain more’ – Hamilton”

  1. How come Bottas hasn’t driven a Mercedes yet? He’ll be driving a ’17 in a few weeks but surely he should have

  2. I suspected McLaren was going to go orange and graphite, as white is already used by a couple of teams, after that teaser I think it became clear that it was going to be orange but we knew McLaren were not going to go full orange. Many red/orange helmets on the grid for 2017, Romain, Ocon, Hamilton, Vandoorne there’s more to come surely, Raikkonen for instances.

  3. Like Hamilton I hope the engineers, designers and drivers are wrong about the new formula making it harder for a following car to get close enough to pass the car ahead, but that requires unbridled optimism and a great deal of faith in bigger tyres and floors. I’m trying, really I am.

    1. @hohum

      I’m sure those designers and engineers know a lot more than I do, but it wouldn’t be a first for real world results to differ from expectations. Until we see all the cars on new race spec tyres, driven competitively, we don’t really know what the situation is.
      With luck, it’ll all come together nicely and give us some decent racing, I’m not holding my breath, but I’m still holding out some hope that it will be better than what we’ve had for the last few years, even if it’s not the direction I would have taken with the new rules.

      1. Thanks @beneboy, my glass is half full again.

  4. I dont know all helmet suppliers but if I were to rate them

    Arai – Sainz

    Schuberth – Alonso

    Bell – Kimi

  5. Great to see Lewis speaking up. Here’s what I had to say on another thread, hopefully relevant here as Lewis’s comments are linked in the roundup:

    I agree with all of what he says here, in particular the sound. If I remember correctly, opinions were quite evenly split on this site when a poll was done regarding what people think of the sound of this generation of engine, but I am still of the opinion that perhaps a lot of the people who voted have not heard the cars live at the circuit.

    My hope is that within a few years we will be back to mind-blowing live F1. I have memories from many years ago firmly stuck in my mind of how F1 used to be. The sound of Mika Hakkinen’s V10 as he braked into the bus stop at Spa, the noise on the overrun was awe-inspiring, literally scary to behold. The scream of the Ferrari V12 into the Parabolica at Monza. These are things that are a great loss with the noise currently not worthy of what the spectacle should be. I have attended only one GP in this turbo era, after around 35 GP weekends in the ‘old days’. The only real memory I have of the Barcelona GP weekend 2014 was how much it all cost!

    1. They sound like great memories I’m sure. A part of me wants it to go back to the V10’s or V12’s, or even V8’s but i couldn’t see them doing that. I love what the engineers have done with these engines, they are seriously a masterpiece which somewhat doesn’t get appreciated unless you really delve into it and see the details or are a F1 fanatic. In saying that I’m not sure the average punter really cares about what the teams have done with the engines, they just want them to be loud, angry and fast! I really think that is what most of the spectators come to watch F1 for and maybe why numbers are down with attendance in certain countries. Having been at the Melbourne GP, 2014 and 2015, It really is a bit awkward watching with most people saying “Is that it? they sound like hairdryers”. In saying that I’m neither here nor there, but to here a V10 scream as your entering the circuit, really created an atmosphere like no-other. Over to you F1

    2. @paulguitar, seeing as how you identify with a musical instrument I guess you are a very aural type of person and I can understand your preference for the higher and broader range of frequencies generated by the extra cylinders and higher peak RPM of the V10/V12 engines of yore, I too can appreciate a sweet engine note but it is nowhere near the top of my list of priorities for good racing and the V8 era had some horrible (but very loud) exhaust noises as designers became dependent on exhaust gas to generate or maintain laminar flow over/around the aero elements, very few people complained about that because it came gradually and was still earsplittingly loud, the turbo engines however were an abrupt change in both volume and frequency and with Bernie as the cheerleader for the old engines decrying the new sound many people felt they had lost something valuable. I think the sound of F1 engines is merely a part of F1 and a part that must change with the technology of the times, the lower volume must be a good thing overall from a hearing loss point of view as well as a local objection to racing point of view, and I am always amazed at how much better the cars sound on amateur video than they do on official FOM broadcasts.

    3. Lewis is 100% right about the sound, I know someone here linked this before.
      Turn it up to 11 and dream.

      1. @budchekov, really ? that gets pretty tedious after a while, but thanks for the link as I then found the mid 80s Lotus V6 turbo clip which unsurprisingly sounded very similar to todays V6 turbos, I don’t remember fans revolting against the turbos then, probably because they gradually displaced the V8s and 12s and were clearly more powerful.

        1. Exactly @hohum. Why shouldn’t we be happy to see them achieve such an incredible amount of power (more than we had with NA engines, maybe) and do it with smaller engines, using less energy is amazing.

          And yes, it is a different feel when you are live at the track not to feel the rumbling at the other side of town, feel/hear them start and get away on the other side of the track. That was awesome.

          But when I last visited a race, after a while I found we walked off a bit further when the support series turned up their engines, and we didn’t enjoy that as much. Why? Becaus it quickly became tedious not to be able to talk with my friends about what was going on (earplugs to protect your ear, and you couldn’t even hear anything anyway), instead of what F1 now offers where you can talk about how you see them coming, what you see happening before your own eyes, and you can even follow the commentary a bit so that you have a clue what is going on!

          On TV it is the job of FOM and the TV stations to give us good sound. You never heard anything close to what one can hear on track (it would probably not be allowed to protect listeners), and FOM seemed to do a great job of presenting us Bernies agenda (about the engine noise) and give us an even more deluted version of the sound than what you get live. But it still sounded far better than the farting we had had with the exhaust blowing.

    4. @paulguitar
      Why would they go back to old engines ?
      Put aside if fans like them or not, why would the FIA, manufacturers and big teams want to get rid of the hybrids ?
      It’s only the smaller teams who complain about them, and that’s a cost issue, if they got more money out of Liberty, or a cost cap on engines, they’d be happy with them too.
      If anything, I can see the electric parts of the power units becoming more important in the future, with manufacturers trying to get more power recovery and new methods of harvesting energy as new technologies are developed.

    5. Sound is a problem, because the race is c***.

      If we have good races, and drivers fighting for positions, I find it hard to believe that people will have a problem with it

    6. Sound is a problem, because the race is poor.

      If we have good races, and drivers fighting for positions all the time, I find it hard to believe that people will have a problem with it.

      1. ExcitedAbout17
        23rd February 2017, 8:52

        And yes I’ve been at many races pre and post hybrid introduction (I even lived next to Albert Park).
        The old sound by itself was much better pre 2014, but ….. 1) 90+% of people around you were wearing ear protection; 2) you could not hear the other sounds the car make (especially the braking and the tyres fighting centrifugal forces).
        The excitement of the screaming sound might have scaled down, but we got a lot in return.
        The only bit we’re missing now is some real racing at the front, which has nothing to do with the pitch of the engines.

      2. How can sound be a problem when you are watching a race on the TV or on your computer? The sound will have been compressed, massaged, filtered, and balanced so it fits into the broadcast medium limitations. Certainly a V10 engine at full throttle would sound different from a V6 Hybrid at full throttle at the race track, but by the time it gets to your home the broadcast people will make sure the sound will have exactly the same loudness to within a one or two dB.

    7. I don’t miss the sound of the V8. I like the fact that you now can hear more besides the engine. Even through the tele you can hear the audience and type squeel. Also, just think of the energy that was lost through the exhaust in those days. I even like the “older” exhaust when the turbo was new, it was even less noice at the start.
      And of all the different V8s out there I must claim that the F1 one is unpleasant compared to ferraris V8 on their street cars and the rumble of a Mercedes AMG tuned V8. I can agree that the V10/V12 of earlier F1 cars could sometime create a nice sound. But I don’t miss them. I wouldn’t mind loosing the flow and fuel regulations. That way they would start to use the full allowed rpm, now they stay below 12000 rpm instead of 15000 that the current rules allow since they need to save fuel. Some remapping of the engine would be needed as well to create a different engine curve but I’m sure they could squeez some more power from that increadible V6.

        1. As I’ve said before I get the jaw dropping effect of the screaming F1 cars, like happens with fighter jets too. I’ve been to Montreal for the screamers…not been to a race in the current format. But it is definitely only one aspect of the show, as F1 grew up without the screamers. I think this is a case of missing something because it is gone, but it wasn’t even always there. Just as many seem to be finding positives in the quieter sound than are finding negatives, and I don’t see them turning back, although weren’t they trying to make them a little louder for this year anyway?

  6. @beneboy,@hohum

    Appreciate your thoughts, good points made. However, just watch/listen to the link kindly posted above by @budchekov

    Can we not make that happen again? Does that not stir your souls? We can keep hybrid tech and still have mega sounds, just need to lose the turbos.

    1. @paulguitar, each to their own, see my response to budC above.

      1. My feelings align with what @hohum and @bascb say above @paulguitar; anyway, the V8’s F1 moved to after V10 were high pitched noise, but not very interesting, while V12 won’t be back out of performance and practicality. And the farting exhaust blowing phase was terrible, even if one could call it intriguing and clever.

    2. @paulguitar

      Does that not stir your souls?


      1. @optimaximal

        That’s astonishing to me, but as hohum says, each to his/her own.

        Out of curiosity, have you been to races live in both pre and post turbo engine layouts?

        1. @paulguitar I went to Silverstone in 2002 (V10-era) but i’m not rich enough to go at the moment. I’ve followed F1 pretty religiously since 1991 and have investigated the previous Turbo era enough.

          I prepared a larger reply to your earlier statement but the shear ignorance of the ‘lets keep the ERS but drop the Turbos’ statement just meant I couldn’t write a comment that wouldn’t be insulting.

          I just understand the need for the sport to move with the times, to maintain the continued support of manufacturers and to continue to push the technological envelope, rather than sit back and reminisce about the time when you had to wear ear defenders if you wanted to leave a motorsport venue with your hearing intact whilst 22 cars all raced around with the same scratchy bum-note.

          1. @Optimaximal. “I prepared a larger reply to your earlier statement but the shear ignorance of the ‘lets keep the ERS but drop the Turbos’ statement just meant I couldn’t write a comment that wouldn’t be insulting.” No, please! Don’t deprive us of being able to read such a gentlemanly piece of literature!

            @paulguitar +1 I would give anything to have the roaring operatic sound of a V8 or a V12 back again. I have been to two GPs since they introduce these lawnmower engines. I left broken hearted that the F1 I loved was gone.

          2. @optimaximal

            Excuse my ‘shear’ (sic) ignorance, I am no engineer, I am a musician, but if you feel it possible to condescend all the way down to me to briefly explain why it is not possible to have N/A engines but retain hybrid tech, that is something that would genuinely interest me, if you can do it without insulting me?


            I feel just the same way. F1 with the current farty sounding engines is not F1 at all really, at east in a live situation.

    3. Again each to their own regarding sound and personally I’ve never seen F1 in the flesh, but as an example I went to see the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park and stood on the outside of Clay Hill where you are about 2 meters from the passing bikes.
      Yes the sound was massive, but painfully loud is not my thing. I needed earplugs which defeats the point. (I’m a sound engineer too, so I don’t really want to hammer my ears!)

      But… no1 the feel of those bikes passing by. Each one a kick in the stomach! That was immense. That to me guess far more impression of power and aggression. I loved it. That’s the adrenaline that I’m after.

      Second, I love the smell. Again probably not to everyonesay taste, but the wiff of petrol and burnine rubber really heightens the senses.

      1. @beneboy @hohum @eurobrun @optimaximal @paulguitar @bosyber

        I have been to both pre & post new engine races, even turbo and aspirated in the 80’s & 90’s as a kid, and it depends what you are looking for.

        One of the greatest F1 experiences in pre-2014 was seeing/hearing the cars first come out the pits in FP1 and clutch in, rev up and it would LITTERALLY shake your rib cage. It was great! But two hours of rib shuttering gets you down, you also have that 5 second comment that takes 3 minutes to relay to your mates in between cars – “I think Pastor is about to pit” takes 6 laps waiting for the gap, and in the meantime he crashed :)

        On the other hand you don’t want to see the best cars in the world sound like Mr Bean’s 3 wheeler- the loud sounds actually dilute the many conversations in the crowd from the once a year “F1 Expert” that spouts incorrect statements and think he is Murray Walker ! But to have a chat about the race DURING the race is pretty good too.

        I have a devil of an idea, cant we get the noise somewhere in between??

        1. Well said @evilhomer, something in between would be good. On TV that might be achievable by just putting the mic in a better location, on track they’ll have to work at that.

  7. I agree with CoTD.

    Mclaren need to have a B-Team, lets call it B-Team Lite. Surely, they wont be able to afford a Torro Rosso-esque operation, but a team that they would have some leverage on.

    The likes of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari have some leverage over their B-Teams due to the technical and financial clout they can wield. Mclaren arent in that position and at this point. It will only become an option if and when Honda supply other teams.

    However, this may not be as straightforward. Honda has its own Motorsport programme and may want to place one of their drivers in that B-Team.

    1. ExcitedAbout17
      23rd February 2017, 8:56

      Manor would have been perfect. Especially if they had used them to test the reliability of the Honda PU’s.

      1. Except Manor wanted too much money to be saved. They were offered a respectable amount of money mid last season and again during the administration period which was refused.

        Currently McLaren don’t have the level of sponsorship to run a 2nd team and for what reason anyway? It’s not like it’s common place across the teams.

        It could be said that Mercedes should have saved Manor, they used it for their young drivers last season, but they didn’t (and have much deeper pockets than most other teams.

  8. Sound is important, but the tricky question is where to find the balance.
    These major manufacturers’ involvement are an essential part of F1’s appeal. One would imagine with those old V8s or V10s, the grid would eventually be filled with Crossworth and a few Ferrari engines. F1 got it’s worldwide recognition in the 2000s partly due to those major manufacturers(BMW, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault…) being involved in it.

    Why did WEC gain such popularity in recent years? I’d argue that’s mainly due to Audi, Porsche, Toyota & Nissan getting involved in LMP1. These companies don’t only come with cash to burn for R&D, they also of have decades of history and pedigree in various form of Motorsport. This do give a top-tier Motorsport a certain legitimacy and brand-value.

  9. This season is going to be defined by tyres as it always has and I’m concerned by Hamilton’s comment that the tyres aren’t as grippy as expected. If that is the case it isn’t going to give us the promised spectacle of high cornering speeds. It may well give us overtaking by default as drivers struggle for grip but that is not what it is supposed to be about.

    1. “It may well give us overtaking by default as drivers struggle for grip but that is not what it is supposed to be about.”

      Sigh*… it’s not about that either?

      First there wasn’t enough overtaking, so they came up with drs, but people didn’t like it because easier passing isn’t what it’s supposed to be about. Then the cars were too easy to drive, so they simplified the clutches to make the starts harder, but when some drivers got tripped up by it people didn’t like it, because that’s not what it’s supposed to be about. Then the drivers were being spoon fed too much information, so they put in radio comms restrictions, but when some drivers were caught out by not knowing how to fix problems while driving, people didn’t like it because that’s not what it’s supposed to be about.

      If you ask me, the biggest mistake F1 ever made was letting the fans tell it what they want. It’s clear that fans don’t have a clue what that is.

  10. Let’s face it, even if the new rules do make overtaking harder, we’ll just get to enjoy a season of pre-drs-esque racing. I for one am all for this, because as has been mentioned before, overtaking does not necessarily equal excitement, and the thrill of the hunt was always the draw for me during the first 20-odd years I watched F1! So I’m totally thrilled by the new cars/rules, bring it on.

  11. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    23rd February 2017, 8:38

    Negativity really is contagious. Even when we (society) are faced with positives we look for the negatives in them. Just think, the new season is beckoning, car unveiled every day this week, they look awesome, testing coming soon which means Ted’s corner etc and a new regime in F1 making all the right noises. There’s a lot more to be positive about in F1 right now than for a long long time. Can’t wait to see these beasts hit the track!

    1. I wish I could agree. The only F1 car that’s looked good to me so far is the Mercedes, which means it’s likely to be even more of a walkover for them than 2016 was, Bottas is unlikely to come up to speed fast enough to challenge Hamilton, Ted’s corner is still pay-to-view and therefore out of my reach (my gym’s stopped taking Sky due to the price and is likely to stop taking BT soon for the same reason), the regime is mostly making the wrong noises, my second-favourite team’s stopped existing and the mounting court issues keep reminding me that the series is in deeper trouble than it wishes to admit.

      Hate to be a Jeremiah, but I’m struggling to find much to be positive about this time around. Am hoping the excitement factor gets going at some point before the first race, but at the moment it feels more like I’m having to support F1 out of duty rather than choosing to support F1 out of enjoyment.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        23rd February 2017, 19:17

        @alianora-la-canta I can fully understand and appreciate your points and there are a lot of things I would like to change but ultimately I get like a little kid this time of year ha. Ross Brawn is someone I believe in to turn the series around where required and all sport near as damn it is pay to air in the UK now so I just accept the cost for the great coverage.

        1. In the long run, you’re probably right. Ross Brawn knows what he’s doing – notably, he’s one of the grandees to have made the least noise over a rather noisy winter. (I can’t afford the cost, which makes it more difficult to accept… …but maybe 2018/2019/2020 will be the new “good old days”?)

          1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
            24th February 2017, 20:40

            @alianora-la-canta Yeah it’s disgusting honest fans get priced out of watching their sports so I feel for you there. I’m much the same with Moto GP now, I would love to watch it but refuse to pay for BT Sport as well. Yes fingers crossed but it will no doubt take a fair few years to get back to glory days. I just hope Red Bull (or anyone) cam challenge Merc because that instantly would make the season twice as good as the last 3.

  12. ExcitedAbout17
    23rd February 2017, 8:42

    Mrs MEP should have been concerned (or at least awake) when FIA obtained the 1%; not now they’re selling it!
    If they would have asked questions then, and stopped the collusion, I’m sure the FIA would have taken a more independent stance on many things.

    PS the government (rule makers to the extreme) take higher percentages themselves through VAT and other taxes!

    1. Dodds *was* awake and raised it at the time. She’s been quite active in the area as she is the elected represents most of the teams in Motorsport Valley.

      A quick google of ‘Anneliese Dodds F1’ shows pushes for investigations reaching back to 2014… The EU is just a huge monolithic supranational government – it doesn’t make snap movements or decisions.

    2. Annalise Dodds MEP only got elected in May 2014, so she couldn’t exactly have brought up the topic in Parliament six months earlier… (As @optimaximal has noted, she’s been arguing the anti-FIA case ever since).

      At the time, the sale was only meant to take effect if F1 floated – and a condition of the floatation was that the FIA would waive its right of veto. This would have removed any possible conflict of interest… …had that stayed the arrangement. However, a very quiet loophole got used for the FIA to buy the shares despite a lack of floatation. So quiet that I’m not sure that anyone in the EU Parliament was aware it had occurred. Since the floatation doesn’t appear to have been time-limited, the FIA would still have lost the right of veto had a floatation occurred, but not before.

      So it was only because F1 was sold before it was floated that any conflict of interest arose… …and until the sale was approved by the EU, Annalise Dodds was probably expecting her protests against various elements of the FIA’s activities to have resulted in any necessary modifications being made. It is only because this conflict emerged (from a loophole neither she nor the other MEPs appears aware was invoked) that it became apparent that this had not occurred, hence the protest on this specific point appearing now.

      The government does not have a conflict of interest in any specific company through the taxation system, as it uses general criteria to determine the “share” taken, and applies it to every single company. (I appreciate any system with variable taxes could create such a conflict, but there is an entire genre of books which explores that possibility better than I can). If the FIA had taken a 1% share in every promoter of motorsports races, it might have been able to use a similar argument, but it doesn’t so it can’t even try that one. (I doubt it would prevail in court, as courts are apt to assume states have certain priviledges unavailable to private enterprise, where granting such rights would lead to mass breaches of things like anti-competition law).

  13. @Strontium As the most dominant GP2 champion ever, as a Eurocup Formula Renault champion, as a multiple race winner in super competitive fields in FR3.5 and Super Formula and as debutant points-scorer in F1 in Bahrain, I somehow don’t think McLaren are concerned by Vandoorne’s inexperience. He is a plug ‘n’ play superstar who should have been in the car for two seasons already.

  14. The new Mercedes is out and it is stunning! Super agressive, very sculpted, wonderful. No shark fin on the morning run but will be using it this afternoon and (apparently) in Barcelona testing. The livery is awful though, the have used the weird bioluminescent turquoise in spades, it really is revolting. But no accounting for taste ;-)

  15. More noise about the engine noise. The simple fact is, if the racing is good, no one will care about engine noise. The rise in popularity of the WEC proves this.

    LMP1 cars whisper and whistle their way through races, but the Porsches, Toyotas (and sadly no longer) Audi’s often race each other wheel to wheel. Because of this fans don’t give two hoots that the cars make hardly any noise or have huge billboard like sharkfins (which people seem to have taken a dislike to in F1 this year).

    1. The sharkfins were more accepted in WEC due to their presence being on safety grounds (to prevent flipping) and the “before” and “after” being amply demonstrated at the time. If that’s the motive in F1, it’s not been advertised particularly well.

      As for the noise, there are lots of noisy GT cars to provide the bass to the LMP1’s treble and LMP2 mid-frequency howls, giving a breadth of sound F1 couldn’t do no matter which single-layout engine format it tried. I’ve not been to a F1 race to judge that soundscape, so will leave that to someone who has to avoid comparing apples and oranges.

      1. @alianora-la-canta

        If that’s the motive in F1, it’s not been advertised particularly well.

        F1 in a nutshell!

  16. “…You’d get a lot of opinions but, a bit like our government, it might go the wrong way.”
    Well, it would appear that Lewis would have voted “Remain” had he lived in the U.K., which, of course, he does not as he chooses to live in Monaco to avoid paying 40% of his £30,000,000 annual income to HMRC.

  17. Apparently STR had to cancel a filming day yesterday after only six laps, because the brand new Renault had some unfixable ERS problem. Encouraging.

    1. @hahostolze do you have a link to an article (tweet?) somewhere, good to know about, though sad to hear, I certainly hope they get that sorted well before the end of testing.

      1. https://twitter.com/f1talks/status/834747673878155264
        Not sure it means anything, an ERS problem may well be more compatibility than anything else, but considering all Renault’s talk it is slightly ironic.

  18. Mallya, it’s time to go home and face the music. If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’ll have nothing to worry about, and if you really are a crook then own up to it. I’m sure that you can afford a decent lawyer if you would just pawn some of your ugly jewelry and watches.

    1. No, stay in the UK, we need Force India cars on the grid.

      1. Now that Bernie’s gone, it is a good time to clean house. If Mallya is not corrupt, he will stay. I imagine that a buyer for Force India could be found if he ends up in jail.

        1. it’s more than simply being corrupt or not.

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