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New rules meant worse racing, says Hamilton

NEWS STORY
30/12/2017

While FOM patted itself on the back in terms of its (corrected) race attendance figures, and we wait with baited breath for the TV viewership numbers, the most significant stats of 2017 actually came from Pirelli, which revealed that overtaking this year was around 50% down on 2016.

While the new regulations meant faster, more aggressive looking cars, failure to deal with the age old problem of aerodynamics meant that once again - unless you were an Australian in a Red Bull - overtaking was pretty much out of the question.

Despite securing his fourth title, Lewis Hamilton remains frustrated.

Asked what the much-hyped new cars of 2017 brought to racing, he tells BBC Sport: "They brought exactly what I expected... worse racing.

"I didn't really have an expectation," he adds, when asked if the cars came up to expectations in terms of driving them. "But they've been a big step in the right direction, much more enjoyable. Another step like this would be good... and bring some of the noise back.

"There's some great qualities but we need to put better bits in. For example, following this year has been worse, naturally.

They know the issues," he continues, referring to the sport's powers that be, "and I think they should utilise us and speak to us. Some of these guys - every guy, most likely - that's on the board haven't driven an F1 car and don't know why it's so hard to get past. But they're also very smart and know stuff we don't."

Asked what it's like to drive the current cars at the limit, he admits: "It's difficult to describe. It's like trying to describe how you felt when the baby came out.

"The exciting thing is being on the limit," he adds. "It's getting out there and discovering the limit faster than everyone else and then when you get to that limit, playing with the limit. Then balancing on the edge. Controlling it. I love that."

Like many fans, Hamilton rues the reliance on aero grip over mechanical, lamenting the fact that contemporary tyres do not allow the sort of drifting that many grew up on.

"The tyres are not so forgiving," he says. "Back then, there was a lot less aero grip, more mechanical. Which I think is what we need.

"It's like karting," he adds. "With karting you don't have degradation. And with all the aero on the cars, you get that slide, and you often can't get the heat out of the tyre afterwards. The key is to keep temperatures down, minimise wheel-spin. Any slip you have, it feels good but you know it's going to affect you two corners later."

Finally, asked about track limits, he replies: "The FIA have done an amazing job but they've really got to stop with these run-off areas. You shouldn't be able to cut a corner like you see.

"What I love about the olden days... of course you don't want to crash, but if you go wide, you've got to lose time. But now you can approach a corner knowing that if you go in 5% too much you can go wide and come back on. I don't love that.

"Other tracks I used to love were Oulton Park and Donington Park. Donington - the Old Hairpin was a nightmare. You have to come off the brakes and run the speed in, use the downforce. Then up the hill and the second right-hander before the back straight. You can't even see the white line. There is a white line and then gravel and the gravel sucks you off... oh man.

"Finding the limit there, that corner is way harder than all the corners in F1. That's the sort of corner F1 is missing. If we had that back in F1, it would bring another level to the challenge."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by husoi, 03/01/2018 8:58

"I agree with LH regarding the rules. For the run off issue I would use (I can't really believe that I'm saying this...) an idea from Bernie E. and use the water as a deterrent, would add as nice features and will keep drivers away from them as the devil from the cross. Why not flood the run off areas? This will make the driver loose grip when there, the splash will be great for fans and if deep enough will stop the car better than the old gravel if well designed."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 31/12/2017 10:12

"Usual stuff, everyone knows whats wrong, but will it ever get fixed?"

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