Tag Archives: Lewis Hamilton

Formula One: Do we want a clean fight?

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With an incredible nine wins a piece, Nico Rosberg & Lewis Hamilton head into the final round of the 2016 Formula One World championship knowing whichever driver takes their tenth win of the season will be crowned world champion….

….except they won’t.

After a season in which Nico Rosberg has elevated himself from the accomplished team mate to the formidable championship challenger, and the combined misfortune of half the grid seems to have fallen the way of Hamilton, simply winning on Sunday will not be enough to secure a forth world championship for the Brit. Every self respecting F1 fan will be more than aware of the finishing positions each driver must achieve relative to the other in their quest for the championship, but for the sake of clarity the simplest way of looking at things if Lewis wins, Nico must finish at least 3rd to be crowned champion.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas W07 will be remembered as one of the most dominant cars in F1 history. True, the reliability of one of the cars has been rather questionable but there has been no circuit in which the W07’s dominance has genuinely been in question. There is no reason to expect Abu Dhabi will be any different. The team and drivers can, with some confidence, expect to find themselves on the front row of the grid on Sunday.

So how will the drivers approach the race? Lewis has an incredible track record around the Yas Marina circuit and heads into the weekend on the back of three straight wins. Since Lewis’ retirement in the Malaysian Grand Prix Nico appears to have been secure enough in his championship position to not feel the need to push for outright wins accepting he does not need to win another race this season to seal the championship. Will we see a repeat of this on Sunday? Does Lewis believe the best he can do is simply get his head down and win the race and the leave the outcome of the championship to fate. Could Nico see a return of his form from earlier in the season and dominate Lewis removing any possibility for Hamilton to do anything other than accept 2nd place both in the race and the championship? Or will either driver try to change up the race to influence the result for their rival?
Knowing Lewis MAY be considering an aggressive approach, could Nico take matters into his own hands and end both his own and his team mate’s race in the first corner by simply driving into him? Nico appears to have taken on a much more aggressive approach to his racing and defending this season. Securing his championship in this manner should not be ruled out. And would anyone blame him?

Earlier this week Nico reflected on his approach to the 2016 championship and how he plans to carry that into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:
“In Brazil, after the race, I was joking that I would still be taking things one race at a time. But, the more I think about it, the more that’s actually not as crazy as it sounds. I have to treat this like any other race. Doing a good job on a Grand Prix weekend is always a challenge. Nothing in this sport is easy, so this won’t be any different and I still have to go all out for a good result.
The closer it gets, the more I’m feeling excited. It will be a big battle and hopefully the fans will get a great show to end the year.
I will give it everything to end the season with a win.”
Of course the team will publicly deplore any actions their drivers take to imped the progress of each other, but after sealing the constructors championship back in Suzuka will they really mind? Viewers of the Brazilian Grand Prix would be forgiven for thinking Max Verstappen won the race so little airtime was given to the dominant Silver Mercedes finishing ahead of him. If Mercedes want exposure, which let’s face it is one of the primary reasons they are in the sport, perhaps their drivers working to manipulate the others race result is the best way to achieve this.  Whilst they might not support any efforts either driver may take to increase pressure on his team mate, they might feel they owe their drivers the freedom to approach the conclusion of the drivers championship as they see fit.
In the build up to the Grand Prix Toto Wolff has commented:
“As a group, we now have one very important final duty this season – to give Nico and Lewis the platform they need to battle it out to the flag. Both of them have been exceptional and either one would make a worthy Champion. It’s been a gruelling year for us all, with a record-breaking calendar and the added challenge of a new regulation set to prepare for in 2017. After such a battle of endurance, the winner can say without doubt that they earned it. We are all excited to see who that will be. May the best man win.”  

So what could Lewis do in the race? In the lead up to the weekend he was quoted as saying:
“I can’t and won’t give up. You never know what might happen.
I’m approaching this weekend the same as I do every race. I want to win and I’ll give it everything to finish the season on a high.”
Assuming he is the pole man and manages to maintain this position at the start of the race with Nico in second, would he look to back his team mate into the clutches of his rivals? Ferrari will desperate to close out the season with the best possible result, and the Red Bull Racing duo will be fighting tooth and nail for supremacy as they head into the winter break. Nico won’t want any of those drivers anywhere near his car during the race and so would be unlikely to battle too hard for fear of a race ending incident. Realistically one or more of them getting past Nico is Lewis’ best chance of taking the championship.

Yes, anther factor to consider is that statistically Nico is long overdue a mechanical issue in his W07, but Lewis can’t and won’t bank on statistics finally falling his way. Any issue Nico faces could hit him as well.  I’ve read a lot of articles recently asking if Nico Rosberg is worthy champion. To my mind, if you’re leading the championship at the end of the season you are champion. Simple as that. There is no worthy or not worthy. Whoever that may be they deserve all the accolades and respect they will receive.
So what kind of race do we want to see on Sunday? I for one don’t want to see another demonstration of Mercedes dominance. We’ve seen twenty of those races already this year. I want to see tactical excellence from two drivers at the very top of their game. Ignore the team calls, ignore the critics, you have a championship to win and a championship to lose, be the master of your destiny and give us a truly historic race.

Formula One: Advantage Hamilton -Tyres Available for the Mexico GP

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Lewis Hamilton heads into the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix both in pole and with a significant strategic advantage over championship leader Nico Rosberg. In setting his fastest Q2 time with only a single set of tyres, Lewis has a fresh set of the preferred, soft compound for the race. Rosberg struggling to find optimal set up in the session elected to run twice leaving him with no unused soft compound tyres for the race.

Electing to start the race with the supersoft compounds, Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will also have a fresh set of the optimal soft tyre compound in the race. Should they leapfrog either or both of the Mercedes duo at the beginning if the race they could pose a strategic challenge to the Silver Arrows.

 

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Formula One: Stepping into a VR Future

 

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Joining Lewis Hamilton in victory at the United States Grand Prix this weekend was Datu YogaBrata. Winner of the 2016 Tata Communications F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize. Working in collaboration with Formula One Management and Mercedes AMG Petronas, Tata Communications challenges fans of the sport to rethink the way in which Formula One is consumed.

Now in its 3rd year the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize has seen over 200,000 entries from participants all over the world. This year has seen the competition focus on challenges around fan immersion through Virtual and Augmented reality technology.

Datu’s winning entry  is a live, 360-degree virtual trackside experience that transports fans to the exhilarating world of a Grand Prix. The ultra-immersive VR application is enabled by a group of roaming commentators with wearable cameras, capturing the excitement of the trackside to make fans thousands of miles away feel like they are part of the action. The application also harnesses AR, encouraging fans to collect ‘hidden stars’ at the  trackside, and enabling them to seamlessly glean additional insights on their favourite driver, team car, or anything else they see around them in the virtual Grand Prix environment.

Lewis Hamilton, one of the judges in the process commented  “It is great to be a part of the F1® Connectivity Innovation Prize and to see first-hand fans become part of the F1 action in real time, in addition to watching it on their TV or phone. The winning solution, from Datu YogaBrata gives us a glimpse of what the future of F1® could look like – and how we will be able to share so much more of our race weekend at the track with people at home. I would love it as a fan!”  

Datu YogaBrata said, “There’s no bigger or more powerful showcase for technological innovation than F1 and VR and AR will push the excitement of the sport even further. My idea aims to capitalise on that by bringing fans closer to the exciting world of F1 than ever before. I’m thrilled that the judges saw the potential of my virtual trackside experience for fans.”

Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Tata Communications, said, “We created the F1® Connectivity Innovation Prize to show the immense potential of virtual reality and other technology advancements to transform the sporting experience. These disruptive ideas from fans that are powered by data and superfast connectivity continue to inspire and excite us for the future of F1″

To see more on the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize check out this film

Formula One: Hamilton talks to the fans

A relaxed Lewis Hamilton took part in a Facebook Live event hosted by Mercedes AMG Petronas sponsor Epson earlier today. During the session Lewis took live questions from followers across social media.

Sharing insights on his favourite circuit, Macau and the Nordscheife, details on how a mistake in qualifying in Brazil 2015 cost him pole, and how he values having an input in the team look, it could be suggested the session was of higher quality than interviews conducted by professional elements of the media of late.

With the FIA calling Lewis Hamilton to the Thursday drivers press conference for the second race in succession it will be interesting to see if the media can extract a similar level of engagement.

Formula One: Lewis gets inked

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Who says current F1 drivers don’t have a sense of humour? In a promotional campaign for Mercedes AMG Petronas sponsor Epson, Lewis Hamilton demonstrates the capacity of Epson printers by getting himself covered in ink!

Whilst Lewis might not have had the best of seasons so far on track, his profile continues to grow with brands and advertisers clambering over themselves for access. Lewis’ willingness to embrace this form of campaign should be remembered when media outlets question attitude.

 

Formula One: Writing yourself out of a job

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The British written press within Formula One have worked themselves up into somewhat of an unnecessary frenzy at the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, and have left many followers of the sport asking if they have become surplus to requirements.  Following the drivers press conference on Thursday in which Lewis Hamilton spent a proportion of the session engaging with his followers on Snapchat, members of the British media took to social media to challenge the behaviour of the driver. This questioning of respect shown to them from Lewis latterly became the centre piece for many journalist’s preview for the race weekend.

Following the negative response from elements of the media Lewis Hamilton responded over social media explaining he did not intend to cause offence and that he was simply looking to refresh an element of the Grand Prix weekend.

This explanation drew further criticism from journalists who suggested the purpose of the session was not to entertain fans but to give print media the chance to pose questions to drivers.  They went on to suggest Lewis’ behaviour was a deliberate attempt to avoid challenging questions around his ability to challenge for the 2016 World Championship.

It is fair to say there may have been an element of this in Lewis’ actions, but this suggestion was met with public observation that the quality of questions asked within these sessions is so poor, they rarely generate headline news either way. Journalists then went to explain, again through social media, that the reason for poor/ no questions being asked in these sessions was because they are televised and by the time they had opportunity to document anything from the session the news would already be available through other outlets.

This justification calls into question not only the format of driver press conferences but the rationale for print media attending race events in person at all. Journalists suggesting driver briefing sessions are of no value to them because others get the news out before they can suggest their delivery method is outdated. They, along with their publishers should be looking inwardly at ways in which to present content in formats that reflect consumption models, rather than criticizing something that is out of their control.

British Newspapers coverage of a Formula One weekend typically will take the form of a race report with driver quotes. If Journalists are no longer prepared to ask questions to drivers because other outlets will publish the responses, they, and their employers would be better placed producing race reports based on TV coverage. Investigative journalism within motorsport has long been the reserve of online only outlets such as Motorsport.com.

The actions of select members of the British print media have prompted a response from Lewis which will further reduce their access and further call into question their value in being in the paddock.

With the announcement that the Motorsport Network have taken control of Autosport and Haymarket Motorsport interests, many motorsport journalists will be feeling anxious around future employment security, biting the hand that feeds you may have been the worst possible response.

Formula One: Mercedes elevate Haas in Qualifying

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The Haas F1 team achieved their best qualifying positions of the season Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez qualifying 8th and 10th respectively for the Japanese Grand Prix earlier today.

The teams elevated positions on the grid can be in part attributed to continued concerns from Mercedes Powered teams around the reliability of their power unit following Lewis Hamilton’s engine failure at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Williams F1 team, whose drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas qualifying 12th & 11th confirmed they were using an older power unit (unit 3 of the allocated 5 per season) at the request of Mercedes.

It is understood similar precautions have been taken with at both Force India and Manor Racing. The Mercedes works team also confirmed neither Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg were permitted to run power units at fully optimised levels during qualifying. Completing qualifying in at reduced performance levels may explain why the gap to Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari was less than in recent qualifying sessions.

Non Mercedes powered teams can expect  similar cautionary actions to be taken in the race tomorrow, no doubt every effort will be taken by other teams to capitalise on this opportunity and apply pressure to the power unit dominating the series.

Formula One: Mercedes confirm Formula E intentions

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Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd (MGP) and Formula E Operations Ltd have signed an agreement by which Mercedes takes an option to enter the FIA Formula E Championship in Season 5. According to the option agreement, Mercedes may choose to be one of the maximum of 12 entries to be proposed by the Championship Promoter to the FIA to enter the 2018-19 Formula E Championship.

Mercedes could take one of the two new entries that will be allocated in season five – subject to approval of the FIA – when the all-electric racing series goes from the current format of two cars per driver, to a single car for the entire event.

The current 10 teams in Formula E are all expected to continue in Season 5 and beyond, on their current format, or joining forces with other OEM’s.

Alejandro Agag said: “We are delighted to confirm that we have reserved one of our two new entries in Season 5 for MGP. Formula E wants to become the platform where car manufacturers test and develop the technologies that they will then introduce on their road cars. Having the chance to include in the future a brand like Mercedes our Championship would be a major boost to achieve that objective. Formula E is becoming an exciting mix of consolidated manufacturers like Renault, Citroen-DS, Audi, Mahindra or Jaguar, and new futuristic brands like Faraday Future, NextEV, or the likes of major component manufacturers like Schaeffler and ZF. Mercedes would be a great addition to that growing line up.”

Toto Wolff said: “We have been watching the growth of Formula E with great interest. At the current time, we are looking at all the options available in the future of motor racing, and we are very pleased with an agreement that secures us an opportunity to enter the series in Season 5. Electrification will play a major role in the future of the automotive industry. Racing has always been a technology R&D platform for industry and this will make Formula E very relevant in the future.”

As the dominant force in Formula One, committing to a future in Formula E is a bold step for Mercedes Grand Prix and a huge vote of confidence in the success of the series. The development will no doubt have been facilitated by Liberty Media, who own shareholding in both Formula One and Formula E and recently confirmed intentions for the series to work in harmony in future calendar planning, management and possible driver sharing. Could we see Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg duke out future championship challenges in Formula E?

Formula One: The Inside Story – Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas have dominated the 2016 season to date. In the first half of the season the only real threat to their dominance has been themselves. At the Spanish Grand Prix in May this year, every team’s worst nightmare came to pass. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided on the opening lap of the race immediately eliminating each other.  How do a team move on from that?

They just move on.

In this exclusive film from the UBS Formula 1 team, the Mercedes AMG Petronas team talk candidly about the direct and immediate impact the incident had on the team, and much more importantly how they refocus and move on to the Monaco Grand Prix.

It’s incredible to think that a team of 850 people are behind those two cars we see on track every other weekend. F1 is the ultimate team sport! Team members can spend as much as 200 days a year on the road, sacrificing family life and personal time for the benefit of the team. Their commitment and dedication is relentless.

For an enthusiast, such as myself, focused on the commerical side of motorsport, UBS Formula 1 provide excellent insight into the way in which the Mercedes team prepare for Monaco as a business and how the team are constantly benchmarking themselves against not only other teams on the grid, but other racing series and other sports. We get to hear from Nico Rosberg’s management team in the form of Georg Nolte, who talks through his role and how he and Nico work together in every aspect of his performance both on and off the track.

What I found most impressive about this film was the genunie sense of pride the team take in their success. They are building a legacy, every member of the team is proud be part of the Silver Arrows.

For more exclusive UBS Formula 1 content follow this link

and if the team are looking for a guest to sit in the W07 during pit stop practice in Monza or Spa, give me call!

 

 

 

 

Formula One: Likely strategy and tyres remaining for the German GP

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Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has claimed pole position for the German Grand Prix. Conditions remained warm and dry throughout the session, with track temperatures of 38 degrees centigrade at the mid-point of qualifying. Rosberg’s pole time of 1m14.363s was more than two seconds faster than the 2014 pole (1m16.540s).

The Mercedes drivers were the only ones to get through Q1 using the soft tyre only, while all the others fitted the supersoft – reckoned to be around 1.5 seconds faster on the German track. From Q2 onwards, all the drivers utilised just the supersoft tyres in qualifying and this is the compound that the top 10 will start on tomorrow. Although yesterday 1.5 seconds separated the soft and supersoft compounds, the gap today seemed to be reduced at around 1 second.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “It looks like we might be seeing a mixture of two and three stop strategies tomorrow, with the running up to now showing that there could be a few quite different approaches to the race. A lot will obviously depend on the weather, which still appears to be changeable. Mercedes handed themselves a potential advantage by saving themselves an additional set of supersofts, so it will be interesting to see if they can capitalise upon that tomorrow.”

How the tyres behaved today:
Medium: Not used during qualifying but might be used in the race as tactics will vary.
Soft: Used by the Mercedes drivers only to get through Q1: could be key to the race.
Supersoft: Around 1.5s faster than the soft on Friday; around 1 sec. gap seen in quali.

Possible race strategies and maximum laps*:
Pirelli recommends that the following numbers of laps are not exceeded on each compound:
Soft = 29 laps
Supersoft = 22 laps

On this basis, the optimal pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli are as follows:

QUICKEST
Three-stopper: three stints on supersoft + one stint on soft
SECOND-QUICKEST
Two-stopper: two stints on supersoft + one stint on soft (maximizing the stints on supersoft)
THIRD QUICKEST
Two-stopper: two stints on supersoft + one stint on soft (maximizing the single stint on soft)
SLOWEST
Two-stopper: one stint on supersoft + two stints on soft

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