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Boring? Don't blame the drivers, pleads Hamilton

NEWS STORY
24/06/2019

Even those irritating broadcasters hooked on hyperbole had to admit that the French Grand Prix only got interesting at the very end.

Indeed, as Lewis Hamilton cruised to another victory, and title, other than the technical woes of Lando Norris, the only other point of interest was Daniel Ricciardo's Dick Dastardly style moves on the Briton and Kimi Raikkonen in the final laps, and even these were to end in time penalties and demotion.

Fact is, yesterday marked Mercedes 82nd victory since the hybrid formula was introduced in 2014. Of the 108 races held under the new formula Mercedes has won 75.9% of them.

The record for consecutive wins by a team in F1 is McLaren at the start of 1988, when the Woking team won 11 races. Mercedes is currently on 10. Next week, in Austria it could well equal McLaren's record, and go on to beat it at Silverstone.

However, as TV viewing figures continue to fall and fans bemoan the lack of challenge for the Mercedes juggernaut, Lewis Hamilton has said that it is the rule makers who are to blame.

"If you say that it's boring... I totally understand it and I remember growing up watching," said the Briton. "Don't point the fingers at the drivers because we don't write the rules, we have nothing to do with the money shifting, all that kind of stuff...

"Put the pressure on the people that are at the head, who should be doing the job," he continued. "I think they are trying, but for many, many years they've made bad decisions."

It's not the first time the wold champion has criticised the sport, indeed, in the wake of comments made in Canada, when he said the sport should be more challenging, he attended a meeting with the sport's bosses in a bid to give the drivers more input.

"Do I have confidence that it's going to shift massively?" he said. "I have faith that it's going to get better, I really, really hope so and to the point that I went to Paris last week to get involved. I was in that meeting, watching all the bosses of F1. There was the FIA and all the Formula One teams, and trying to get involved in...

"I have nothing to gain by being there but if there's anything I can help... they've been making all these decisions and never once had a driver's input in that room, so if that can be the decisive point that helps shift it and the fans can get better racing, I will be proud to be a part of that."

Asked what happened at the meeting, he admitted: "What happens behind closed doors... obviously I can't say a huge amount about it, but it starts off with the fact that for the first time all the drivers are united.

"We have Alex Wurz who runs it for us because he has a little bit more time than we do and he's a great spokesman for us," he continued, "but we all sit together in a room, particularly after the drivers briefing, and we talk about the issues. Then they bring up the rule sheet and what the things... and we are basically trying to get in the door and trying to be a part of it, and for many, many years they have not wanted us in that room, which I guess is why it's never happened, because they're engineers and they're the guys that make the decisions and we're just drivers.

"But the fact is we know how the car feels and so we have good positive criticism and negative criticism that can only help influence a decision.

"You can't make a rule change about something without having all the facts behind it and what effect it will have and so...

"Anyway, so we just go in there to try and be a guide and if we can be a part of the rudder when they come up with an idea we can say actually that would feel terrible in the car and they would be like 'oh really.'

"Was it encouraging? It was encouraging that they allowed us to be there and they were really, really welcoming, which was great, and I'm hoping that they will continue to have us there, some of us drivers or a couple of us drivers each time.

"They've extended the decision of making the rules," he said of the rules package, which has been delayed until October. "I think they need to because they're nowhere near where it should be in my opinion and they've got to make some serious changes to the decisions that they've already made of how 2021 should be.

"But what I'm encouraged by is that Ross and his team are working - for the first time - on a real aero package that hopefully will have an impact on following, for example.

"But the cars going heavier is not a great thing," he admitted. "We need to get the cars lower, I think.

"People really enjoyed the speed of the cars between the early 2000s I think it was. It still needs to be Formula One, the pinnacle of sport and the fastest cars that there are around the world. So hopefully we will be part of it, hopefully we can make a real cool change and it's not only that, it's the format of the race weekend that maybe can shift a little bit for the fans, it's how we bring the fans in, it's all these things which can be better."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Le Castellet, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by sagosac, 25/06/2019 7:48

"who did blame the drivers ?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by imejl99, 25/06/2019 7:19

"Hi fellas, I believe you overcomplicated things. If I was to try to fix it with just one change, fast change, quite easily implemented relative to other ideas, it would be braking efficiency. Make brakes less efficient. We could well end up with more human less robot turn trajectory..."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Superbird70, 25/06/2019 3:20

"Maybe not 1 set of tires but only 1 tire compound per driver per race"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 24/06/2019 17:31

"What I've been saying for years somewhat echos @Lotus.E.Clan suggested. I go a bit further though.

1) Car must fit in a box of whatever arbitrary dimensions. This is more to limit teams from making cars literally too wide to be passed on some circuits than anything else.
2) Car must pass all current crash tests.
3) No limit on type of engine/PU, or fuel/energy type. Just a limit on total energy that can be on board at the start of the race; probably something equivalent to the current overall fuel limit. Define it as a max of X BTU's or KW-hrs, or whatever. Want a full battery EV? Go for it. Want a screaming V-12 running some exotic fuel? Do it. Want a complicated hybrid running pump gas or diesel? Have at it. Turbine? Be my guest.
4) No driver aids beyond what's currently allowed.
5) No coaching from the pits. They can stream all the data they like (one way only), but the driver must manage everything without assistance. Only thing they can tell the driver is to retire the car if necessary.

That's about it. No need for restrictions on minimum weight, tires, testing, budgets, wing sizes, control electronics, etc. If the cars are going "too fast" reduce the allowed amount of energy/fuel they can start the race with. If safety issues come up, add that to the crash testing that must be passed before the next season starts. "

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by nonickname, 24/06/2019 17:23

"OOOOPPPSSS Hydrogen.
Sorry"

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

6. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 24/06/2019 16:52

"Some simple changes would be enough to bring back the excitement

1. Bring back refueling, makes pit stops more thrilling
2. Points on qualifying would give back team more a chance at points and shake up the starting grid.
3. Remove side view mirrors for more passing"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by VC10-1103, 24/06/2019 16:20

"Helium is inert so how do you use it as a fuel?"

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8. Posted by nonickname, 24/06/2019 15:22

"Waiting for another 2 years for a new set of rules will mean that there will no longer be viewers for F1.
A quick rule set that will work??
My suggestions below
1 Min. weight 550kg. so some of the safety features must go. Shame. Why does a F1 driver out earn a top fighter pilot. Perhaps pilots should complain to the FIA. and ask for rubber tipped ammunition on safety grounds.
2 Min of 4 wheels,exposed.
3 Steel disks
4 2 Plane front wing .One for sponsor and one driver adjustable.
5 As above for rear wing.
6 No turning planes of any sort,anywhere.
7 Open the formula to other types of 'fuel' and give them a weight/ flow advantage. Helium would be perfect.
8 PU open to any type or form, hybrid,rotary what ever.
9 1 set of tires for the race.Replacement only for safety reasons.
10 4 mechanics on the grid,min pitstop 4 seconds...everyone gets the same, so what.

The list could go on but why waste time. Any old video on Monaco with cars slideing will show what it should look like.
Imagine F1 with the CanAm rules!! No rules at all except 4 wheels.

"

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

9. Posted by Cobra Racer, 24/06/2019 13:11

"When I hear comments from the Hulkenburg engineers in the pits such as "don't use 8th gear" because of some technical fault or the advice coming from Lewis' engineer maximizing his engine's performance, I am not surprised that F1 has, for the most part, has become boring. Eliminate the data feeds from the pits, get rid of the ridiculous power train and get back to V8 and V12 configurations. Let the drivers drive the cars, not the engineers."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by FQITW, 24/06/2019 10:59

"Talking of C4 highlights I caught the last 10 mins or so and saw DC hand over his mike and walk off after talking about rules etc.
Was that real or a stunt?"

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11. Posted by Lotus.E.Clan, 24/06/2019 8:46

"Earlier in the evening before C4 highlights started my son-in-law, who currently does PR for a mid-field F1 team, gave me 30 seconds to come up with 3 ways to make F1 more interesting.

Feeling under pressure, what I came out with was quite narrow and all centered around decoupling the drivers and constructors championships and scrapping the idea of budget caps.
1. Rip up the current construction rule book - Allow the teams more freedom to field quite different aero and power delivery concepts within a very basic rule set which defines loosely the PU (eg hybrid), the car conformation (open-wheeled) and a max and min weight. Allow proper on-track testing between race weekends.
2. All drivers to rotate through each team during the season. No driver belongs to a team - Pot luck if if the team is currently on an upward or downward development cycle. Pay follows performance.
3. Penalties for breaking construction rules hit the team champ. Penalties for breaking driver rules hit the driver champ.

Let's see how HAM copes during his turn in a Williams, and how KUB goes in a Merc. Maybe HUL will at last get a podium?

Started to watch C4 highlights but it was the same old, same old, so switched to watch uninterrupted Top Gear halfway through."

Rating: Negative (-2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

12. Posted by GordonG47, 24/06/2019 8:30

"Listen to the drivers? That's almost as unlikely as listening to the fans..."

Rating: Positive (7)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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