Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Hamilton: Catalunya resurfacing a “waste of money” which has made track “easy”

2018 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton hit out at the changes to the Circuit de Catyalunya, saying its recent resufacing has removed the challenge of driving the circuit.

“I’m not quite sure why they do resurface,” said Hamilton after leading today’s session at the track, “I think it’s a waste of money in general.”

“The older the surface the more character there is in the circuit. If they smooth it out it loses the great character a track like Barcelona has.”

Sergio Perez, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
2018 F1 testing day four in pictures
As well as resurfacing the track, the circuit owners have adjusted the camber on some corners and revised kerbs. Hamilton suggested the changes were made to suit motorbike racers.

“They’ve done that in many circuits, I guess it’s maybe something to do with Moto GP or something like that. So we have that fight: Whilst I love Moto GP they hate us because we make it bumpy and we hate them because they keep getting us to have these big run-off areas and stuff.”

Catalunya is one of several older venues to be resurfaced in recent years including the Hungaroring and Interlagos. Hamilton believes the changes are robbing tracks of their character.

“I always relate it to a house,” he said. “If you go and buy a brand new house it’s got no character. If you go and buy an old house, older homes have always got more history and character. So it’s the same thing with a track. When you go to a brand new circuit it’s got no history, you don’t have the greats that have driven it in the past.”

“I like a track that’s a bit more dated in terms of surface. Drivers in drivers’ briefing are constantly complain about bumps, but you have to manoeuvre around bumps. You can brake a little bit more offline or brake afterwards, or slightly before them. Or you have to set the car up to be a little bit better in terms of ride. But that’s what the character of a circuit is. You flatten it out and it’s got bunch of corners but it’s missing something.”

Driving bumpier tracks is “harder, it’s trickier” said Hamilton. “You’re going through corners, the car starts moving a little bit more. You’re having to be a bit more responsive and I like that challenge.”

“When you smooth it out you make it easier and in all honesty this track is a lot easier. Driving it today is the easiest it’s been the whole 10 years I’ve been driving.”

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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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41 comments on “Hamilton: Catalunya resurfacing a “waste of money” which has made track “easy””

  1. Says the man easily quickest today.

    1. What does that have to with what he said?

      1. Uhm… The track is easy for Hamilton, surely not so for the rest, as Lewis was easily ahead.. hard to understand

        1. What you said makes no sense if you take context into account.

    2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      1st March 2018, 21:03

      Is that relevant to his opinion?

    3. If anything this helps his point

    4. Yes – he’s saying he wants it to be more challenging. I don’t see why that’s an issue?

      He absolutely has a point, too.

      1. he has a point, but should also make a point of driving in the fastest car for the past 4 made his life far far less challenging then the other drivers in the paddock.

        1. Should he feel guilty that his team has built the better car these past 4 years? Schumacher didn’t feel guilty

  2. I prefer a new house though

    1. @johnmilk Would that be a John new house?

      1. @keithcollantine from the amount of star wars references and the bombs that I usually drop you would assume I have read at least one of his books.

        Unfortunately I’m more of a John Oldcastle

        1. @johnmilk Nope it was an obscure F1 reference…

          1. @keithcollantine thought about the writer, being a F1 page that is my mistake

            nevertheless, care to elaborate? have absolutely no clue what you are on about

          2. @john-milk I think I know this one! For some reason, Jacques Villeneuve wasn’t licensed in a few old F1 video games, so in the games he was renamed John Newhouse.

          3. @jackysteeg ahah, they could have went with Jack Newvillage, would be a better translations of his name.
            I wonder why we wasn’t on the games

          4. Lol this is fun…JV at one point owned or co-owned a club/restaurant in Montreal called Newtown.

          5. Grand Prix 3 :D

          6. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
            2nd March 2018, 6:57

            Grand Prix World!!!!!

        2. @john-milk
          Villenueve licensed his name for his own series of games and so wasn’t included in official releases. In F1’97 he was DriverOne.

  3. Wow. He sure said a lot about it. It must be really different for him to put so much focus on this issue.

  4. Agree with Lewis. Kill off the historic tracks by making them as bland as the new bland circuits. Just so the heavier, uglier F1 limos can proceed unperturbed in the grand processional race to glory.

  5. This is one of the few times where he opens his mouth to state something that isn’t completely obvious, but has me agreeing with him 100%.
    I mean, not in the sense of “I’ve driven plenty of F1 cars on tracks before and after they were resurfaced, and boy is he right”, but in the sense that my gut feeling tells me that what he says is a heartfelt observation that just feels right.

  6. Calum Menzies
    1st March 2018, 22:04

    Sanitised and homogenised. Modern F1 to a tee.

    Changes wil be for the bikes here. Shame it ruins some nuances and little challenges parts of the previously not perfectly smooth track may have had in an F1 car.

    1. And surely the MotoGP riders would simply point out that they have as much right to request changes to the tracks as any other series? Within the last six months, we had an article on this site where the MotoGP riders had been stating that several tracks that were also used by F1 cars were now becoming so bumpy that it was making it dangerous for them to race there.

      Is it not reasonable for them to make their own requests with regards to circuit standards? Or do many here believe that F1 should simply ride roughshod over the concerns of competitors in other motorsport series and over the concerns of the circuit owners?

      1. @anon And why should I care for the MotoGP’s wishes? I’m tired of this blubbering about always seeing things from “the other side’s perspective”. Well what about my perspective? MotoGP can go to hell and use some other tracks that are not F1 for all I care! There’s enough tracks in the world so the two don’t have “to meet”. I’ll gladly let them have the Barcelona track for example. Even beyond this final nail in the coffin it’s been ruined beyond any hope of salvation in F1 terms.

        1. @montreal95, because the circuit owners are dependent on securing races from other series in order to underwrite the cost of an F1 race, such as MotoGP. Push them too hard and they’ll drop F1, leaving it in a situation where it races at those venues you so love to complain about and yet are the only venues that could underwrite the cost of a race.

          You can take that attitude if you want, but it’s an attitude that is highly likely to be self destructive in the long term.

  7. How can you not like Lewis, he loves a challenge, he wants to be challenged, I agree entirely with him, the cars should be able to cope with imperfections in the surface and the drivers should be able to adapt to them, this makes the racing more interesting for everybody, drivers, spectators, engineers, etc.

    1. there’s a lot to respect about Lewis, but he plays to the media and his image and comes across as false.
      Started in 2007 and has continued ever since.

      And I’m a Hamilton fan. I just prefer to plug my ears when he is speaking.

  8. I find what LH has said very interesting. Makes me mad they repaved.

  9. I agree. I’d love to see how Lewis would do on a bumpy IndyCar street course. Plenty of character at them.

  10. While I agree with what Lewis says, I image it must be hard for the track owners who have to listen to the views of all the categories and all the drivers & riders that use the circuits.

    F1 is just 1 of many series that race on these tracks & while the old surface, the old kerbing, chambers & runoff may have been fine for F1 it may not have been fine for other categories.

    I think the competitors & fans of various series tend to think only about there series of choice, Track owners have to think about everything that uses it & figure out how to do things that work for everything as best as possible & I’d image it’s not as simple or easy a thing to do as it may look from the outside.

    1. Should be cambers not chambers, Damn auto correct!

  11. Hamilton resurfaced his head a few years ago what a waste of money, he lost all the character his old slap head had.

    Seriously though Moto GP should go and race at other circuits to F1 or man up like TT riders.

  12. Totally agree with his line of thinking. Even just visually as a spectator you can see that character he’s talking about.

    More technically a super smooth surface helps to make the car run absolutely optimally, which means the drivers have less to catch them off guard, which in turn means less variables in terms of what happens as a spectator. A bumpy braking zone vastly increases the chances of lock ups and that’s the kind of thing that spices up the racing. Even the best drivers can get caught out if they have a lapse in concentration. A bumpy section midway through a fast corner might mean one driver let’s up on the accelerator just a touch more than another… whereas a super smooth surface and they could both blast through and not even think about it or slow down one jot. We can see the car moving around more and see the forces at work as rear wings or wing mirrors vibrate intensely.. with a smooth track there’s no energy there, nothing you can see as a spectator. It makes the racing look easy, maybe because it is easier.

    Yeah he’s right. They should be adding character IN to tracks, not flattening it out of them!

  13. halifaxf1fan
    2nd March 2018, 3:11

    But Hamilton lives in new houses!?

  14. So, why did he resurface his social media accounts?

  15. Eye of the beholder, young man buys a new house today and sales it 30 years from now because the new buyer feels it has character.

  16. Maybe……..the circuit owners have to carry out maintenance before the surface deteriorates and repair costs escalate just like any other asphalt road surface. Camber changes may also aid in more efficient drainage and therefore improved safety for F1 and others that pay the bills so that you have somewhere to race.

  17. The roads in Glasgow have been resurfaced this week with snow, camber has been affected in most corners, no run-off areas but the piles of snow at the side of the road make for decent “bumpers” (kind of like what you see in a bowling alley). Not convinced i could do a 1.19.333 round Catyalunya, but I dragged my old C-Max up the M80 like it was a Bauer ice skate, dodging lorries like a madman. I love lorries; however they hate us cos we’re still moving and we hate them for choking the entire motorway system up here.

    Anyway, enough of that, my predictions for the year are Seb for the WDC, Merc for the WCC, title goes down to Abu Drabi, Sirotkin to have Sundays as his new day off by May, McLaren to change all the Hondas in last year’s statements to Renault this year (recycling saves money Troops…), Ron Dennis issued with a restraining order after spending the first 4 entire GP weekends staring longingly at Zak Brown from his vantage point on the Grandstand roof, can’t wait for Melbourne!!

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