Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Hamilton predicts fewer pit stops and less overtaking

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton suspects F1 races will be less exciting in 2017.

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How can anyone possibly fault this reasoning:

First day of testing, and I’m going with my prediction. Which is based on the theory that I shared in the live feed.

Ferrari world champions, here’s why:

The Nokia 3310 was originally launched in the year 2000, which coincidentally matches the first year of Ferrari dominance.

Fast forward to 2017 and a new Nokia 3310 reached the market, with a new modern design. Coincidence? I don’t think so
João Leite (@Johnmilk)

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  • 88 comments on “Hamilton predicts fewer pit stops and less overtaking”

    1. *Reads title*

      Hurray.

      1. If Max can’t overtake then I get really worried.

    2. Less degradation… Fewer pit stops… That does say a lot about their longevity, but what about Pirelli’s calendar selection? Couldn’t Pirelli choose softer compounds that have less life to increase # of stops? I’ll bet such optimization to the compound selection will be something that happens mid-season, should the races become ‘less exciting’.

      1. Pirelli calendar? I thought this was an F1 site.

      2. @tweak

        Couldn’t Pirelli choose softer compounds that have less life to increase # of stops?

        But then we’re back to protecting the tyres in order to get the best track position.

        There’s NO SOLUTION to this problem that doesn’t harm the racing.

        1. Radically decrease downforce.

          1. “Radically decrease downforce.” fixes many things IMO.

            Less wings means less dirty air, cars can follow more easily

            Stickier tyres and less wings means more differential between straight speed and (slower) corner speed, cars can out-break.

            But this issue is tricky. Push hard with one more stop. Save tyres and save a stop. Should be doable with the right tyre choice though.

        2. A couple more tire suppliers?

        3. @optimaximal at least they’ve changed the thermal deg aspect of the tyres, so hopefully that would help if softer compounds were used @tweak

          1. Let’s just see them racing together and then we’ll all know more. If the product isn’t perfect that’s no surprise right? But I still say these cars can be tweeked for less aero, and the likes of Brawn knows it. Let’s give him the 3 years he said it could take to really get into the right groove, and call this year one, and revel in the real tires and wider nicer cars for now…and just see. And evolve it…like always happens. Everyone knows the only real answer is mechanical grip greater than aero. These cars are a great jumping off point.

            1. I agree, fans seem to know the solution. But not long ago the powers that be were gunning for grooved tyres and massive wings!

        4. There is a solution that I’ve been voicing all along. Just have durable tires and mandate the number of pitstops. One cannot be done less than, say 7 laps apart unless there’s a puncture. Mandate 2 or 3 stops per race, that’s it!!!!!

          1. Congratulations, that’d combine all the worst aspect into one horrific nightmare.

        5. So all tyre configurations have their pros and cons? Go figure!

      3. if they only scrapped the mandatory tyre rule and gave back some freedom to the teams.

        with these new tyres (which I think are one of the best things in the new era) and that horrendous rule, what they managed to do was to put all the teams in only two strategies. They will either be on the soft compound first and harder second or the other way around.

        I want to see Checo go from start to end in one set of tyres!!!

        And btw, less overtaking isn’t necessary a bad thing, we have a lot of overtakes now because the cars are always in different strategies with high difference in pace, it doesn’t even feel like an overtake, just a moving roundabout. By having people in the same circumstances, we might have less overtake, but we surely will have better battles.

        1. Your last paragraph is a “bulls-eye” inside a “Bingo!” wrapped in a “This”.

        2. The only way Leyton House got a second in 1990 was through no stops. The almost greatest underdog performance in F1 history would have been ruined with compulsory stops. So no to that idea thanks very much.

          What about single element wings? Less prone to turbulence, less cost. Want to run more downforce? Big wing angles and lots of drag. Scarbs? Would that work?

        3. @johnmilk You may be right about the strategy aspect I fear, but durable tires and no pitstops may also be boring. However, if the drivers have to choose their preferred tire compound before qualifying (as in the past), then we might see some very interesting battles between drivers on different tire compounds and possibly even some Leyton House-like performances.

    3. We’d better hope Bottas is more like Kimi in the silver car than Heikki in the silver car. Looking like it’s going to be a LONG season.

    4. Less degredation, Less pit stops = So what?

      I personally want to see less degredation, I hated the high degredation philosophy & am glad to hopefully finally see the back of one contrived gimmick.

      And less pit stops, I’d rather they ditch the mandatory stop to use both compounds, Give everyone all 3 compounds that are at the track & let them do what they want & run as many or as few stops as they want. Lets have drivers doing no-stop races & some doing 1 or more, Give them real options again rather than the contrived forced stops & strategies we have had since 1994.

      1. I could go with that, I don’t like it when a team develops a car that’s easy on the tyres, but still have to make a stop at races where they could manage the entire race on a single set. It may have been rare since Pirelli were told to make high deg tyres, but if some teams are able to make these new tyres last a full race distance at some circuits, they should be able to do it.

      2. Keith Crossley
        28th February 2017, 2:45

        Since there’s no “Like” button: I “Like” this comment. Really – give teams options. The more constrictive the regs then the worse the racing is.

        1. ExcitedAbout17
          28th February 2017, 9:02

          ‘Like button’?
          Wasn’t that a FB feature, the social site we used when Brawn GP won?

      3. The problem with giving teams free choice of tyres without the mandatory ‘two-compound’ rule is that the teams simply run simulations 24/7 to figure it out and just end up running the exact same strategy across the field.

        What that does is take strategy out of play and put the onus on car performance. We’d end up with everybody simply finishing in team order apart from reliability and driver error. The current move to less deg (=less pitstops=less tyre live variability on track at any given moment in the race) is already a step towards this (putting the main factor in the races on car performance=processional races).

        1. @jeffreyj But then why can’t they optimize their strategies with the two-compound rule? That should basically be the same optimization problem. Even then, in the race things like track position, pitstops of other drivers and possible traffic determine the optimal strategy. Drivers are usually saving their tires to obtain the required strategical flexibility.
          At least last year’s new tire rules did improve the racing, so less restrictive tire rules may be a good thing.

          1. @f1infigures partly because the top 10 needs to start on their Q2 tyres (which of course you could keep in your prefered scenario) and part because of what you say: track position, traffic etc.

            However, last year you had 2 to 4 pitstops to play around with variability. If it’s only a choice between a 1 or a 2 stop it’s not much of a choice (see Monaco or Russia for example).

            1. @jeffreyj In the past few seasons most 1-stop races have indeed been rather boring, as there was virtually no strategic variation. With more pitstops that’s not so much of a problem, especially with 3 instead of 2 available tire compounds. Actually, if a race is in between a 1- and a 2-stop strategy, the optimal strategy may depend on driving style and car setup (like in Canada last year), which is quite interesting. The 1-stop races are the real problem and in that case I’d love to see more strategic freedom so drivers can try to complete the whole race distance without stopping.

    5. Top speeds don’t seem to have fallen significantly, do they? Last year they did something like 335 there.

      1. When Autosport was following day 2 of the Barcelona test last year, the fastest at the speed trap was 346.1 by Nasr on the Sauber (entry at 21:24):

        https://www.autosport.com/live/commentary/id/1900575/formula-1-testing-2016-barcelona-second-f1-test-day-2

        The qualifying speed trap shows the max speed through there was about 341km/h.

        I now these values are likely not maximums, and speeds at the traps probably don’t have a linear relationship circuit to circuit, but from preliminary data the maximum speed has fallen by about 3.5 – 4.5%.

      2. I don’t expect top speeds will fall much, if at all, with the further engine developments and lower rear wing.

      3. @albedo top speed is supposed to decrease this year due to the higher drag

      4. @albedo, if you’re talking about the speed trap figures from yesterday, that was taken at the start-finish line, not at the end of the straight – you need to be a bit careful with your comparison.

        If you want a fairer comparison, you should either compare the speed at the start-finish line – which I believe was around 290kph last year – or you should compare the speed at the end of the straight (figures for that have now been released, suggesting that the cars were hitting a top speed between 325-330kph).

        1. No, he’s talking about top speeds at the end of the straight. Look at the tweet by the official F1 account, the figure given there is 330 kph, so that definitely rules out the start/finish line.

          1. ExcitedAbout17
            28th February 2017, 9:22

            I think @albedo raises a really good point.
            I would have expected a bigger drop, and RBR did not get beyond the 325 last year.

    6. I hope I am not the only one who is not a fan of these un-raceable boats. Hopefully Ross Brawn can come in and completely re-write the regulations from the ground up.

      1. Yeah for sure but I do think they’re already on the right path. They can take these cars while they’ve added mechanical and ground effect grip, and tweek away at the aero for a better grip ratio favouring mechanical, and see where that leads them. Re-write from the ground up? Don’t know about that, and I think they need to stand pat with this new chapter for a bit from the expenditure standpoint so…just lose some aero.

    7. It’s really exciting right now and will be for the first few races at least so that’s what should be focused on. All that really matters is if there’s a contest, the cars weren’t particularly any more raceable last year but the rivalry kept people tuning in. Sure it would be nice for more on-track action but it’s pretty clear these cars aren’t designed for that so repeating it over and over isn’t really helping anything.

      I think he’s just channeling his old mate Bernie. Can’t be positive and talk up the sport, that’d make things too easy.

      1. I’m confused, I think you have your definition of positive wrong. Being positive isn’t lying to falsly trump of the sport, if a report asks drivers what they think the new cars will do based on previous cars, and they say more of the same how is that bad? It’s a realistic look so people aren’t shocked when it turns out to be true, if it doesn’t as was said “he could be wrong”. The point is people who ask for this sugar coated reality so they can turn around and be mad at the sport when all the warning signs were there for them not to, is on them. Easiest thing to do is ignore all f1 news.

        1. How could a definition of positive be wrong?

          He could totally say this upcoming year is going to be really exciting because of the aero developments and the closeness between the teams that could bring (which it will be for many of us) without lying or sugar coating anything.

          Why would I ignore all F1 news just because I don’t think focusing on negatives promotes the sport well? That’s silly…

          1. What negatives, stating a reality isn’t a negative, thus your idea of what is negative and positive are not right, they are warped ideals based on what is sugar coated by media or people close to the subject you’re viewing. In regards to this I don’t see how Hamilton, is stating a negative to help his old buddy Bernie. When other drivers like Massa said the same thing, where they love the car think they’re cool more fun to drive, but fear the show isn’t going to get any better because of the increase in downforce and how bad it becomes when following a car ahead.

            Thus more DRS reliance, and as Hamilton said, since tires are stronger, drivers can’t rely on degradation to set up a late chase and pass in a race.

            Ricciardo wasn’t impressed by the new package and said while it seemed faster it wasn’t massive or wowing, but he suspects that it will get faster over time, so we’ll see. Each driver gives a hint of hope for the viewers while giving a real answer just so people realize that if you’re going to watch this season don’t be surprised but at least enjoy the new cars and changes.

            I rather see realistic answer than, half truths of hope only to be let down by Russia because it will never come to be. So not it’s not silly for me to say if you don’t like what your seeing perhaps ignore it, it is silly to claim drivers saying things like this is negative, because they don’t mesh with your hopes and wants.

      2. Well firstly he said he loved the look of the new cars, so he’s not being entirely negative about them. Second, what he said about overtaking and pit stops can’t be argued with since many have been saying the same all along. Now regarding his pessimism about these things, yes he could be saying all good things so the headlines would look good. But what will that do? what about the feedback? He is the one who drives it and his feedback is the most important. If you know there’s a problem and hesitate to raise it then how would it be solved? Fans commentating here can’t have a voice or say in how the sport would take shape. Whereas, the drivers can have a bigger voice and influence on the rules. So it is important that he expresses what he thinks about it and we should not think of it as moaning or anything else.

    8. Hamilton will dominate period. Vettle will initially stay close but will disappear has the Ferrari flounders with nit picky things. Bottas will play the subordinate role and follow his master. Everybody else are just moving chicanes. Welcome to 2017 and finally we have great looking cars again. Oh for the days when Grand Prix cars just had an engine. GO LEWIS

      1. BT52, “Oh for the days when Grand Prix cars just had an engine.”? I think that you need a little more than “just an engine” to get anywhere…

        1. I think BT52 means just engines, as opposed to these complicated power units

          1. And by “period” he just means a lady’s period?

    9. If only we had a tyre that had more degradation and a smaller operating window…………….. ;)

      1. No thank you. Solve it another way than that.

        1. @robbie The smiley wink was a clue as to the jocular nature of the comment…..

          I was attempting humour to demonstrate the sometimes fickle knee jerk reactions of fans…..

          1. @mach1 Lol, sorry, saw the smiley wink and thought you might have been implying they should have stayed with the boots they’ve had in recent years. Glad it’s otherwise.

      2. Then we can have RandomF1 again with Pastor winning races. Yay!

    10. It is clear that the current tire sizes are the right size as I realize that it took so short time to get used to them. Almost emidiatle they look normal. Other changes will take some time to get used to. Other changes in the past took long time to get used to (for example the step-nose, the thumb-nose, the smaller back wing, the grooved tires, and so on) but this return to larger wheels just feel normal and I really have to think about them in order just to remember how they looked last year.

      I still think that maybe it is time to increase the rim sizes. That way it allowes for bigger breakes. Under current sizes the suspension travel is half in the tyres alone and with bigger rims you can use the normal suspension to take over from the tyres giving grater control of car setup. I’m guessing that the race for lower tyre preassure to some degrees will disappear.

      During the winter I have re-watched the 2009 season and I can now report that the talk about tyres was as prominent as under last years regulation. It is just something that the commentators love to talk about. I’m guessing that this years regulation will see the same level of tyre-talk from the commentators as earlier.

      I watch F1 from different sources as I can get the chance, mostly Sky (and BBC when they are allowed) but also some American and Swedish and I’m sorry to say that Sky is in some respects the worst of them all. I will explain. They are so focused on rumors and drama and sometimes ignores what is happening on track just so they can talk about the latest gossip. It is like they are discussing a soap opera.
      They are worst during the long stints during FP2. (About 40 minutes in) In contrast, the Swedish commentators gives a running account on lap times and number of laps on the current tyres. They makes, what is normally, the dullest part of the race weekend interesting. And looking at the budget the Swedish production compared to Sky (it usually is just two commentators sitting in a sound studio in Sweden looking on the F1 feed supplied to them) makes me sad.
      One other thing that has changed over the years is that the commentators feel that they need to talk nonstop, if you look at broadcasts from the 80s and 90s the commentators would shut up if they didn’t have anything to say and just let us look and listen.
      Ok, grumpiness off and looking forward to this season.

      1. Interesting comment on the difference between uk and others. I wish i could pretend to be surprised but i believe britons love gossip more than anyone else ;)

        1. @pyon there’s plenty of brits who dislike gossip, but sadly we are drowned out a lot of the time ;)

      2. “Sky is in some respects the worst of them all. I will explain. They are so focused on rumors and drama and sometimes ignores what is happening on track just so they can talk about the latest gossip. It is like they are discussing a soap opera.”

        @celebmir this is exactly what annoys me so much. Almosy everything that comes out of David Croft’s (and Brundle’s) mouth now is just drivel, most of which is sensationalist stirring.

        I’ve watched American and Australian commentary every now and again, and while theirs might not be as sophisticated in many ways, you can tell they love what they’re watching and they always focus on what is actually happening.

        1. And then, there’s Johnny; the only thing coming out of his mouth is either what Damon Hill or Martin said five minutes earlier, or complete nonsense. That said, Johnny is a truly nice guy. I met him in the Stewart Grand Prix paddock years ago.

      3. After Lewis Hamilton retires the Sky F1 commentators will have nothing to talk about: complete silence.

      4. I blame Test Match Special, the commentators had 5 days to fill, so would often ramble on about all sorts of random topics, and it’s one of the most addictive things you’ll ever listen to.
        Other sports commentators think they can do the same, but it ends up being annoying when they spend half of an hour long session talking about something other than what’s happening on track.

        1. Any chance the commentary has been as you folks are complaining about because of the two horse from one team dominance? Maybe they have to talk about other things when otherwise it has pretty much been expected a Merc will win…while conserving everything…pacing around slowly…F1 needing change that is now afoot.

          1. Even though there is something in what you say other commentators in Sweden for example still have something to say and find battles lower down that they lift up. During the last years there have been many races that you seldom see the leader at all. There is always interesting battles going on throughout the race. All commentators have a tendency to focus on their countrymen. This is nothing bad in itself since their audience want to know. But it may be a little out of bounds to discuss the drivers whifes and private problems during a race. If the driver themselves chooses to discuss this outside their role as a driver, fine, that is ok. But for commentators to dig up all kind of gossip and discuss that during a race when they are supposed to engage their audience in the race seems to me as inappropriate. One other thing that the Sky commentators like is to create rivalry between drivers that may be nothing but they want it to be, just to create drama. Like between Lewis and Rosberg. Of course their is rivalry but I’m sure that neither Lewis or Rosberg thinks about it nearly as much as Sky makes you believe.

    11. F1 just can’t help itself; step 1, fix the tyres so drivers can push more and attack more. Step 2, bigger wings for more downforce (but only in clean air) making it harder for a car to follow closely.
      Like I said before, I’m going to lose weight twice as fast by doing 2 diets at once, diet 1, only eat raw vegetables. Diet 2, eat as much chocolate as I like but no carbs. by combining the 2 I’m sure to lose weight big time.

    12. @Johnmilk

      I love your COTD. To add to that, the Nokia 3310 was just released at MWC in Barcelona yesterday! The exact same time and place when pre season testing has started! Is that coincidence?? I don’t think so!

      1. ahah, thanks, and thank you Keith for the COTD

        @todfod the pieces fit perfectly. We might as well confirm the illuminati and aliens.

        It does amazes me the amount of useless information that my brain has stored. But hey, COTD!!

    13. Mclaren is 25 km/h slower than the front runners in the speed traps. Wow.

      1. And Sauber are almost as bad!

        ;)

        1. This was expecting (at least for me)

      2. @todfod
        Yeah, well, they hardly did any running, so that’s not a surprise. In fact, this is a completely meaningless statistic that only reflects the fact that Alonso didn’t get to drive a single lap anywhere near full throttle. Once they get their car to work properly, the gap will probably be reduced to a completely insignificant value.

        1. Don’t count on it. They were 15 to 20 km/h down on the straights in 2015, and Honda is more than capable of repeating that atrocity.

    14. Can someone please explain in 2-3 sentences the benefit of the shark fin from an aerodynamic perspective? Seems like it’d create a small force in the opposite direction you’d want in a turn.

      1. When the car is moving forward, the airflow comes from the sides of the engine cover and gets more accurately projected on the rear wing with the help of the shark fin. It’s just a guess though, I could be wrong.

      2. @chaddy it helps with controlling the effects of airflow and how they manipulate yaw, which is the axis in which a car spins around when on it’s wheels. They try to cause less rotation and keep the car planted.

      3. @chaddy exactly what @todfod said

        if you don’t have the shark fin the rounded shape of the engine cover would create vortexes. You might have heard around here about dirty air, this dirty air is less “dense” (which also explains slipstreaming), so it does not generate as much energy as clean air. The shark fin prevents the creation of dirty air and feeds the rear wing with a linear flow, which is able to generate more energy in contact with it, hence creating more downforce

        1. And allowing cars to follow better?… Keep the shark fins, sign the petition!!

          I thought it was more to do with stability through high speed corners as magillagorilla refers to though.

          1. @john-h it also has the effect @magillagorilla mentions, but I don’t think it is the main cause to have a sharkfin, the size of the cars already help in reducing rotation and create stability in the corners

            In theory it will give more downforce in the rear axel, and therefore better grip andtraction, but I don’t think it has a big effect on the ability of cars following each-other better. I believe the main problem with this is at the front, where the sensible front wings cannot work properly in dirty air and the car becomes less stable. There are two ways to solve this in my opinion, you either take away most of the downforce at the front, and they will all struggle both in clean and dirty air, or the downforce at the front should come from other sort of devices that aren’t as dependent of clean air as the wings that we have now.

            I do like to see the cars right on the limit in fast corners, therefore I don’t mind the focus on aerodynamics, but my knowledge of it isn’t the best, so I’m not the person to propose or discuss a solution that will maintain that focus while improving the ability of cars following each other.

            We still haven’t seen racing this year, so they might have improved that aspect, considering there is also quite a lot more of mechanical grip available

      4. The shark fin also helps with oversteering, as the sudden push of wind from the side will brake it a bit. Craig Scarborough has an excellent walk-trough here: https://drivetribe.com/p/fFRt-VZaRTGoLN_ejMVSSQ

        1. @losd Great link, thanks. Horner has also said the benefit of the fin is minimal enough that he thinks they all should get rid of them from the aesthetic’s standpoint, but says for 2018.

    15. I saw somewhere the speeds through the high speed turn 9 (can’t seem to remember the link now), but there Ferrari was fastest which is quite a surprise.

    16. Re – Hamilton’s comments…

      Would it be ok if I said, “he told you so?”

      When the new regs Where announced, he said this from the get go! Read comments here & all over saying the same thing, “he should just shut up and drive the car, what does he know”

      But I guess a guy who has had so much success in the sport hasn’t got the intelligence to fully understand what he’s talking about.

      1. I’m not sure many said ‘he should shut up and drive the car’ in this case. Might have been more your perception that one. Look, I like Hamilton too but I think most commenters have been pretty supportive of Hamilton speaking his mind about the state of F1 lately.

        1. No it’s not my perception.

          1. You have ignored that LH has also said it is his estimation, and that he could be wrong. He also could be right, and he doesn’t have a monopoly on that opinion as others have suggested it too. But in the world of Kgn11 only certain selections of LH’s words matter, are to be taken as gospel, and any disagreement with them is met with over-the-top venom.

    17. Reading over the article on Sainz and just noticed myself kind of in a daze looking at the pictures of the Toro Rosso. I realized that the car really is spectacular. At first I thought it looked ok, top 2 or 3 for me, but after seeing it on track its absolutely fantastic, definitely the number 1 car design and livery.

    18. I wish the F1 could place the lap time charts and the speed trap board results on their website, or if they are in an easy to find place.

    19. Re “What I don’t understand is how the others did 120-150 laps, the top teams.”
      I think part of the reason why those teams did 120 laps is because they wanted to do 120+ laps with good times. Maybe they did have some of the problems other teams had, like faulty sensors, problems with their chassis, or whatever (and in reality it is probable they did have some problems), but if they did then whatever those problems were, they weren’t considered sufficiently important to stop them testing.
      One can’t help but suspect that a team that has a problem with a sensor or chassis or such like and can still complete 120+ consistently top time laps is on their way to being a tough competitor to beat.

    20. Totally going with COTD. Can’t argue with that logic.

    21. Hammy’s new lid looks sweet.

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