Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Hamilton ‘amused’ Red Bull pushed for ‘quali mode’ ban

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he found it “amusing” Red Bull urged the FIA to stop teams using ‘quali modes’ on their engines.

The FIA has issued a new technical directive ahead of this weekend’s race which prevents them from changing the power modes on their engines between qualifying and the race.

Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko has been quoted saying the team lobbied for the new restriction to be introduced.

“I find it kind of amusing,” said Hamilton. “because the FIA said that it was so they could manage everyone’s usage of the engine, or something like that, and then Red Bull came and said ‘we were the ones pushing for it’. So there’s completely different reasons why they did it.”

Mercedes’s engine is believed by some to have the most powerful ‘quali mode’. Hamilton said the fact they are being outlawed is “a compliment, at the end of the day.”

“Hopefully the guys back in the factory are looking at is as a compliment that they’ve done just a fantastic job with the engine. We will continue to work and improve with the situation that we’re given. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”

The ban on switching between modes will mean drivers have less to do at the wheel, Hamilton said.

“I like, personally, being able to control when you use some of the life of the engine and when you save it. That’s kind of been a strength of mine in terms of saving engine mileage through the year, making the engine last longer.

“If they take that away it means we have to worry less about switching over to anything else.”

He suspects Mercedes will have “better race pace” as a result of the rules change, though they will “naturally we’ll lose a little bit” of performance in qualifying.

“Everyone’s potentially going to lose something but maybe some more than others. No one particularly knows, I think. But I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for us.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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50 comments on “Hamilton ‘amused’ Red Bull pushed for ‘quali mode’ ban”

  1. It will be a spectacular fail for Honda, who will be overtaken by Renault without even a hint of doubt.

    1. And of course no one will even remotely touch Mercedes

      1. How come some many annoying ‘I know it all/better’ comments are preceded by your name? @DAllein

        1. Coventry Climax
          4th September 2020, 9:50

          Can we please not comment on each other in this way? Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. Ignore it, if you will.
          These personal ‘fights’ are as infectuous as Covid19, and they’re certainly as destructive to the overall atmosphere.

    2. You should know it was Renault that invested a lot in a quali mode.
      But as always, your predictions are almost a guarantee for the opposite.

    3. If Honda had a mega mode i think they will use the mode in the whole race then maybe with the technical 5% marge and then let see how long the engine last.

  2. It’s going to be amusing I think, like the 2017 aero Helmut wanted was amusingly worse for him as well :)

    1. Indeed!
      It will be hilarious!

    2. We have saying in Marathi to describe outcome of Marko’s decisions: माकडाच्या हाती कोलीत(makadachya hati kolit) meaning A burning torch in the hands of a monkey.

      1. XD great expression!

      2. Lol @chaitanya, tho I do admire Helmut in many ways even while sniggering at his desperate hopings. But Honda are doing well I think, hopefully one day Red Bull can stop giving out the power excuse.

      3. In this time and place that’s a potential very explosive expression.

        1. Why? What are you implying?

  3. It’s an interesting take in regards to having less to do in the car…. I would have thought protecting your engine at points in the race would still be relevant and instead of flicking a switch and then driving like normal, you’ll have to adapt your driving a bit… I’d say that’s more responsibility and will separate the good from the bad more than following instructions to flick a switch.

    In regards to the attempts to slow Mercedes down being a compliment – it is. It’s also an opportunity to show how good they are rather than saying “well we nailed that one set of rules and then stayed out in front because no-one else could catch up.” I’d certainly be more impressed to see Mercedes adapt and remain as far in front as they are now rather than seeing them simply win race after race with no challenge.

    1. They’ve been adapting since 2014 – even across a major aerodynamic rule change. Absolute machine of an organisation. I do wish that the other teams were doing a better job of it though so Merc could be challenged on track.

      1. they do an amazing job, but they also have the biggest budget so in the end they should

        1. 2nd biggest no?

          Either way Ferrari have as near as damn it the same and look at them.

          It’s not all about budget (just ask Brawn GP), yes it’s a HUGE part of it, but Merc are a frightening well organised team superglued to the play book.

          1. To be fair that Brawn car had a huge budget to develop initially and then nothing for in season development once Honda had left.

        2. @anunaki Ferrari has a bigger budget. Red Bull don’t have to pay for the engine. They have a bigger budget to spend on the car itself.

          So no, budget wise there really is no reason for Mercedes to be beating them.

          1. I would say even more bosyber (@bosyber) WELL SAID

  4. It seems that FIA is being guided where to look regarding power units. Ferrari’s tips, maybe?
    First the drawings on ERS units, looks like there’s some kind of new sensors on their way.
    Now the ban on engine parameters change. It’s being called the ban on party mode, but it is much more than that. Whatever parameters are set for qualifying must be also used on Sunday and can’t be changed during the race. That should hurt everyone somewhere.

    1. An engineer went from Ferrari to Mercedes, and made some suggestions, which Merc thought to be against the rules.

      1. That was in 2017 when Lorenzo Sassi moved to Mercedes and it wasn’t about the fuel flow trick, it was about the ERS deployment.

  5. I should be a fan of the Red Bull F1 team. I live 20 miles from their base so that effectively makes them my home team.

    I just can’t bring myself to do so because I just can’t stand the way they operate.

    If they’re not whinging about something or other that isn’t quite to their liking, they’re slinging mud. And don’t get me started on how they treat their number two drivers.

    I feel that Helmut Marko is a very negative presence not only in the team but in F1 in general.

    1. @gardenfella absolutely agree. No morality in that team whatsoever. If CH is prepared to cheat on his heavily pregnant wife with a Spice Girl, what does that say for his moralistic values to our sport? Watching car launches by Ferrari, or watching LEC run his car through the streets of Maranello illustrates the finesse, historical romanticism, and class of the marque. Red Bull can not ever replicate this, rather they’d tow David Guetta in and treat the thing like they’re in a Romford nightclub. They’re vulgar and offensive, as is their number one driver.

      1. Christian Horner did that? do tell…

        1. @nickthegreek yeah, it’s legit. There’s plenty about it online. Quote from the nearest Daily Mail article:

          “But behind this happy picture lies a very upsetting domestic drama. For the head of the Red Bull team and heir to Bernie Ecclestone’s throne has cast aside his long-term partner, Beverley Allen, who only gave birth to his daughter, Olivia, six months ago, in favour of the former Spice Girl”

          What kind of “man” leaves his six month old baby? Remember this every time he proffers an opinion.

          1. wow! they looked like a nice family in Drive to Survive 2, guess it was just a facade or shot earlier…

          2. @anon I could easily be wrong, but this comment doesn’t seem to fit your regular style. It might be better if you used your login to post comments.

    2. Red Bull is using the same strategy Ferrari used in 1996-2006 when Schumacher was here. Nº 1 driver gets all the attention and new parts first, a team manager that knows and uses all the tricks that he can (including annoying other teams, technical hideouts and loopholes, and trying to change rules in their favour). They used that same strategy when the pair Vettel-Webber was rocking (but Webber has way more quality and balls than Albon). They tried slightly different strategy with Ricciardo, more equality between the drivers but I think Horner and Marko were unimpressed and decided to go with the “all for the nº1” strategy again. Probably Ricciardo knew this and this was the reason to leave.

      I’m not a fan of this type of making the things, but I have to admit that it works and it’s legit. The type of morality you are talking is not a thing in F1 since at least 30-40 years now. Todt was no more “moral” than Marko and there you have it, President of the FIA

      1. Schumacher wasn’t outqualifed by a teammates at Benetton for about four seasons. Schumacher smashed his teammates fair and square.

        Verstappen is no different in that he’s that much better than his teammates.

        Bottas is clear number two driver was forced to give up a win for Hamilton in Russia. Still hasn’t repaid Bottas.

        Wolff even call him the best wingman in the game.

  6. Statements like this I always wonder. Is it Hamilton just trying to answer a question that there’s really not much to say about? Or is it mind games of some sort? Politics?

    I wonder in particular whether there’s something to be gained by claiming it won’t ultimately be effective in slowing them down. perhaps there are things still being decided that they hope to influence?

    1. Its just him answering a question

    2. @slotopen Well it’s rather sad that Red Bull try to win through such underhanded tricks. So he probably asked a question, but he’s right to be bemused by such unsportsmanlike behavior.

      1. Which underhanded tricks?
        Losing the possibilty to minutely manage Honda’s less reliable engine, is an underhanded trick?

          1. Seemed like you were suggesting that…

  7. The FIA has issued a new technical directive ahead of this weekend’s race which prevents them from changing the power modes on their engines between qualifying and the race.

    Hopefully we’ll get to see this technical directive.

  8. This is a quote made by Russell to MotorSport, if correct it will not be an ant-climax as I previously said but an own goal by RB.

    “So this will only help them even more during the race. The whole idea of trying to slow them down is actually going to go completely the opposite way.

    “It is only going to enhance their performance.”

    Williams’ pace has taken an upturn this year, as it has managed to escape the Q1 dropzone on multiple occasions – an achievement it failed to grasp in 2019.

    Russell believes the new technical directive will cost Williams a couple of tenths in qualifying, but thinks it will be able to benefit during the grand prix.

    “On a Saturday it’ll probably compromise us a tenth or two,” Russell admitted. “We expected to also compromise the other manufacturers a tenth or so.

    “So we are probably a net tenth down on a Saturday. But on Sunday we are definitely up by a big margin.

    “What Mercedes have done to improve the engine, to allow us to run a very high engine mode for the whole race is really impressive. It is going to be fine on the Sundays.”

    1. If the qualy mode gives you only one or two tens, then why use it if you have a ~1 sec margin from the next car?

      In that case there is no reason for Mercedes to use it anyway. Unless it help you to run away in the first laps and then change the power unit to a low power but more reliable setup.

      I am expecting to see what will happen during next GPs. I do not think we will have a clear picture inmediately, but surely Mercedes will try to bluff a little bit. They should have qualy advantage accordingly to Russel.

      1. n that case there is no reason for Mercedes to use it anyway. Unless it help you to run away in the first laps and then change the power unit to a low power but more reliable setup.

        I think that and restarts is the more valuable use for it. It’s clear how often they use it in qualy.

        1. *It’s unclear how often they use it in qualy.

    2. What Mercedes have done to improve the engine, to allow us to run a very high engine mode for the whole race is really impressive. It is going to be fine on the Sundays.

      While that isn’t what I predicted, that is more or less what I’d expect from Mercedes HPP. As I said some time ago, I’m guessing the FIA will be happy if 6 of the 10 cars in Q3 are Mercedes powered, and they’ll be even happier next year when 8 of the 10 cars have a Mercedes engine inside.

  9. I wouldn’t be surprised if the main lobbying was done back around 2014,5,6 when it was apparent their previous PU supplier had no intention of developing a Qualy mode.

    For me, there is still absolutely no justification for this mid season technical directive and it’s nothing more than an overt attempt to reduce the advantage of Mercedes in qualifying. I really do fear for the future of F1 if this sort of in season attempt at balancing continues.

    1. In season changes to the TD are as old as F1…

  10. F1……..
    Nero (FIA) continues to Fiddle,
    (Continuous & relentless rule changes, mid season too.)
    While Rome (F1 Fan base & Commercial sponsors despair & dwindle.) Burns.
    If anyone one wants single marque, single specification motor racing.
    Go ahead & watch any of the single formula racing,
    F1 was & should be the peak of all technical & the innovative Pinnacle of Motor Racing.

  11. “I find it kind of amusing,” said Hamilton. “because the FIA said that it was so they could manage everyone’s usage of the engine, or something like that, and then Red Bull came and said ‘we were the ones pushing for it’.

    Hahaha. Lewis got a point there. I too think Marko only saying that just to annoyed Toto. Just like Toto annoyed Marko by saying Mercedes is gonna be faster. When actually no one knew how this directive is going to turn out.

  12. If Mercedes only use their Quali mode in Q3, as seem the case, then their performances up to that point would be the farest indication of their engine performance. The worry is for those other teams using Quali modes before Q3.

  13. Hamilton predictably managed to put some self-praise into this story as well. He just can’t help himself..

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