Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Retro-style cars not the right direction for F1 – Hamilton

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says F1 should not try to ‘turn back the clock’ with the technology of its cars.

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What they say

Hamilton was asked whether F1 could follow the example of the classic DTM cars featured in a recent Mercedes video.

Probably not. It’s highly unlikely. I mean if you look at the car manufacturers, the way they’re progressing, it’s all about technology and evolution so we’re definitely not going backwards, I would say.

I don’t even know if that’s a good thing anyway to go backwards. There’s so many elements that can that we can extract more out of this sport to make it better. And that’s what everyone’s working towards.

I think the most interesting time that’s coming is 2021 and it’s if they’ve got it right or got it wrong it’s a bit like the whole Brexit thing or the thing that’s going on in the States. Who knows if it’s going to go right or wrong then we’ll find out when we get there.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Will the ingenuity of F1 designers inevitably defeat attempts to improve the racing?

It only takes one brilliant Adrian Newey idea to break down the entire house of cards.

It’s a noble effort, but these engineers get paid the big bucks to find loopholes nobody thought about before, and there are what, at least 30, 40 amazingly overqualified aero engineers in F1 (if you assume 3-4 per team), pitted against a few on the FIA’s side.

I am cautious about the move as well, because they have this idea of a design in their head that the teams will follow, but we saw with the step noses (2012) and the (insert dirty word here) noses (2014) that performance trumps aesthetics every time, there will be another idea that wasn’t intended with the new rules that will break our hearts.

And the fact that they are asking input from the teams themselves regarding this, is going to hurt more than it will help. If Newey stumbles upon something amazing in terms of performance but also an increase in dirty air (say resulting in 30% loss of downforce instead of the projected 10% maximum) – within the rules – he sure as hell ain’t going to reveal it before Melbourne 2021.
Dewald Nel (@Ho3n3r)

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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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34 comments on “Retro-style cars not the right direction for F1 – Hamilton”

  1. @keithcollantine – re. your tweet, this is what I’ve seen: https://f1i.com/news/351590-esteban-ocon-set-to-join-daniel-ricciardo-at-renault.html

    It references an Auto Bild report, but I didn’t see a link to it

      1. Cheers Keith, it slipped my mind you’d already covered this.

  2. The tweet from Haas’ Ryan Long had me wondering why he was working during the summer shutdown. A follow-up tweet set me straight: “I don’t make the car go faster, so I’m in the clear (along with accounting, HR, etc.)”

    1. @phylyp I wondered the same thing. It does make you think – how does the FIA police the summer shutdown, if at all? Is it just an honesty system? I presume they’re not sending people around to F1 team factories to ensure engineers, designers and aerodynamicists aren’t working when they shouldn’t be.

      You’d imagine the teams giving “summer homework” to all employees that do make the car go faster. There’s nothing stopping engineers thinking about how to solve problems on their car in their personal time.

      1. @tomcat173 – In the case of Haas, Williams, etc. I’m sure the chassis and aero folks will be permitted to work through the summer break, since they don’t make the car go faster ;)

        Humour apart, I would guess that the FIA just rely on teams to adhere to the norm. I don’t think any team would be keen on having someone blow the whistle on them because they cut into someone’s summer vacation. Teams would also be fine with the idea, because like you said, the designers might either mull things over in their spare time (or totally switch off, come back re-energized) and find an idea to pursue.

  3. Nice one Jonesy, tell it like it is.

    1. Very true what Jones said. We need more decisions based on drivers perspective than on these silly rule books. The less over regulations the better. Common sense should prevail, not these “gained advantage “ arguments.

      1. Yeah, You gotta love AJ…and Sir Frank too, reading the replies in the comments section: by Ancient1
        Recall a video of him testing a Williams. he came back into the pits & told Sir Frank the suspension was too hard & he felt like his @$$ was on the bitumen. SF told him to sit on his wallet.


        1. @aaaa, mind you, today he’d probably be called “a moaner” because, to be frank, he was quite a moaner back in the day – particularly during his comeback, where he has a habit of blaming the car when it looked an awful lot more like he was the problem (given how frequently his team mates kept beating him).

      2. Gained advantage is not taken into account in most penalties anyway. They already have the power to say if something is a racing incident. At least these days the time penalties are an option, there was a time when any penalty meant a drive through which destroyed a drivers race and that was in the good old days…

      3. F1oSaurus (@)
        23rd August 2019, 22:16

        @mmertens And then the next thing we get is “OMG, the stewarding is so inconsistent. We should always have the same penalties on similar violations of the rules” … rinse … repeat

  4. Hamilton is right about retro cars…

    People want to see drivers physically defeated after a race because that tickles their nostalgia bone… but they were hard to drive because power steering wasn’t around…

    This brings us to today, where people try to turn back time by getting rid of power steering so the drivers are tired again?

    Um, no. You can’t turn back time, and deliberately NOT running power steering, to tickle some fans nostalgia bone is a suckers game. This is 2019, you can’t turn back time for some stupid attempt at nostalgia….

    Yet we hear the cry’s for the cars to be more difficult to drive every day in these comment sections… SIGH

    1. Xcm I think you have drawn a totally wrong conclusion to what Hamilton said.

      1. No he hasn’t, he has got it spot on. Listen to the commentary each weekend & you’ll hear everything he said being repeated.

        The question asked to Hamilton implies that for racing to be better, should we be looking to cars similar to how they were back in the 80-90’s.

        1. KGN11 I have not seen any comments saying F1 should go full retro. Yes the odd call for V10s but that’s about it. Driver aids should always be kept to a minimum, no I do not advocate the removal of power steering or brakes, nor have I seen anyone else ask for it.
          I wouldn’t mind the ‘old’ manual transmissions back with some heel and toeing and rev matching, as the manufactures are well down the path for Rd cars with dual clutch tech.
          Xcm is exaggerating as I think you are.

          1. Compared to today’s F1, ‘retro’ cars were not just harder to drive because of lack of power steering. The point about making cars harder to drive is about less time spent conserving everything all at once, being moreso like passengers there to monitor the tires’ states, the fuel, the components etc all with conservation in mind. It is about engineers telling drivers from the pits how to drive their cars and at what speed, rather than in previous gens so much more of that being just up to the driver based on how things feel at the time. Nowadays a driver can simply ask his crew what he needs to do in order to treat the tires better or get them into a window. Drivers generally are neither physically nor mentally taxed as much as in previous gens when more was on their shoulders to drive the car without continuous up to the second input as to what exactly was going on with the car. The cars were less refined, unruly beasts in the past, and with better tires could be thrown around more, which these days would ruin one’s tires quickly if that was tried. Drs has made drivers lives much easier too.

    2. Hamilton is answering to a question that isn’t relevant to the new rules, just something related to something that he did with Toto with old Mercedes DTM cars.

      It appears as though the headline is to place that quote as if he was talking specifically about 2021’s rules, while in fact he is just looking forward to that change

    3. No need to ditch power steering, but I see nothing wrong with going back to purely ICE-powered machines. What’s wrong with 1.6l engines cranking out 1000+hp with ground effects? Trying to be green in motorsports is silly, and hybrid tech isn’t the future either. FE has electric covered so F1 should embrace ICE over the next decade while it is still relevant. ICE-only power plants would help to make the F1 cars smaller too – they’ve been far too long and wide since the dawn of the hybrid era.

    4. The whole discussion is one big pick’n’mix of often contrary points within the same opinion. There are so many different things at play that to say cars should go “retro” is quite possibly a roundabout way of saying cars should be easier to drive. When is retro? If we go back to say, 1993…guess what, many, many cars had more electrickery on them than now in terms of driver aids – including fully automatic gearchanging on the up AND downshift as accidentally revealed by Philippe Alliot when he was McLaren tester that year, if memory serves, as well as active suspension, traction control, launch control, complex yaw control gubbins and the like.

      We can discount this era for argument’s sake, and go back to arguably the toughest aero cars ever seen – in the 1981-2 seasons…the vast majority of the difficulty in driving those was down to poor understanding of ground effect, and how to isolate its downsides from the driver (who was pretty much told to get on with it), so what do we do, have collective amnesia and just forget the last 40 years of development in chassis, aero and suspension development? Push for Lotus 88 twin chassis cars? Make the tyres fatter to allow for the lack of suspension compliance engendered by ground effect necessities?

      Again, let’s discount that, and go even further back. Would the likes of Lewis Hamilton be tired after racing a 420bhp Lotus 49 clone for 90 minutes? I think not. The big problem in F1 and it has always been THE biggest issue IMO, is the lionising of past drivers. It is easy to forget that the progress on the mechanical side has been more than likely matched or exceeded on the human side…do people not remember MSC finishing races in his crazy fast F2004 without a bead of sweat on him? What about when he did the same thing 10 years earlier in the arguably cruder mid 1990s cars? There is also a school of thought that says that Senna, had he lived, would have been hopelessly outmatched by newer generation drives such as MSC over the medium term, purely because of the massive step up in personal fitness both mental and bodily…and that is between two drivers separated by a mere decade, let alone comparing any modern driver to Fangio, Moss et al.

      TLDR: You really can never go back, for better or for worse.

  5. Reading between the inferences seems like Seb could be a natural for broadcasting – doesn’t have a crazed fan twitter feed.

    I fully support Seb’s choice to not participate in the trillion dollar online madness that is social media.

  6. disagree, with hamilton, slightly. sure a modern car with steel brakes or no power steering doesn’t make sense but IMO the best thing f1 could do for 2021 is re-introduce the 1970 rule book & say go for it, but with modern technology.

    1. And you’d still have Mercedes out front because they’d spend the most.

      Leave the past where it belongs and look to the future.

  7. COTD …. right on the mark.

  8. At the moment, his twitter-account description reads
    ‘Formula 1 Driver @MercedesAMGF1’ and the same with the Instagram-account description.

    I wouldn’t be against an engine-development freeze although overall I wouldn’t care a lot, either way. It’d save some costs nevertheless, and since the PUs have converged quite a lot, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

    The COTD is spot on, that’s indeed something that could happen, or at least could be attempted.

    The QnA of Guenther Steiner is also quite good.

  9. Does anybody know when the whole Rich Energy saga will reignite?

    1. There are no cans! NO CANS of RICH!

  10. The cotd makes a good comment about the complexity of the rules. It is not just about the technical aspect but about aesthetics as well. This makes the job of ross brawn more difficult because he needs to produce designs that not just work well and fulfill the technical goals but also prevent teams from creating a double diffusers while at the same time produce a nice looking car.

    1. @socksolid Fair comment. Personally I don’t share cotd’s paranoia about a ‘stepped nose’ type of abnormality nor a design idea that is going to make one team’s cars make such a wake that trailing cars lose 30% of downforce rather than the lesser amount they’re aiming for.

      For me this pending new era in 2021 has a whole different feel to it than when BE had handed all the power to the top four teams who then dictated the direction the cars went. I think there is a different way going on, and it is coming not just from all teams input but from Brawn’s separate and unprecedented work.

      So no I don’t expect any drastic surprises in designs that will make a vast difference from one car to the next. I think the cars are going to be so well designed to create close racing that any attempt within the rules is not going to change that back to cars that can’t follow each other without great performance loss.

      1. Agreed and Brawn is literally the best person to have behind this having been on both sides of the fence. I’m sure that should someone suggest something like double diffusers, like he did before the 2009 season, that the FIA wouldn’t ignore it this time either and legislate it.

  11. Re COTD there is always the chance of course that the brilliant aero engineer who finds a loophole in the post 2021 rules might be from Renault, Haas or Racing Point.

    We could find we have a 2009 situation. Who knows.

  12. Vettels stance on social media keeps him sane, if he watched sky sports he would have never given that interview in maranello.
    Lee mckenzie, most motorsport journalists turn into crazed fans, potato potato.

  13. Seb is bang on.

    The best decision my wife and I made was to give up social media a few years back. We haven’t missed anything important and we get to genuinely enjoy time in each others company and in the company of our friends and family because we aren’t distracted by beeping phones. It’s fab. Practically all social media posts fall into one of three categories (a) advertising (b) “hey, I want you to think my life looks amazing so you feel rubbish about yourself” and (c) utter nonsense…you just don’t need it.

    And to those who say “I need it to keep in touch with friends and family”…no you don’t. We’ve got friends and family right across the globe and we keep in touch just with them fine. Text messages, emails, phone numbers, skype etc are all you need to keep in touch.

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