Reporters – 22/11/2020

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Lewis Hamilton has equalled Michael Schumacher on seven titles, while that is a big achievement its not the one he is most proud off. This year amongst the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, the Englishman has found his voice which he is prouder of

Hamilton prouder of promoting equality this year

Lewis Hamilton says he is “much prouder” of the work he has done to promote equality this year than the prospect of winning a seventh title. The Englishman will equal Michael Schumacher’s seven titles if team-mate Valtteri Bottas does not outscore him by more than seven points.

If the Finn wins, Hamilton can still clinch the championship with second place as long as Bottas does not set the fastest lap, which earns a point.

Hamilton said, “The drivers’ title doesn’t necessarily impact people’s lives. Trying to improve conditions for people around the world – equal human rights – that’s the most important thing to me.” He says he would be incredibly proud to do that.

But said winning the title would also send a message to kids that you have to dream bigger than you think you can dream and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t go for that.

As always in the past few years, Hamilton said he hadn’t thought about the prospect of a seventh title, and was “just focused on trying to do a good job, just taking it one race at a time, trying to do the best we can as a team, not thinking about anything else.”

He added: “I have learned not to add pressure that’s unnecessary. I have four races to battle for those points so I don’t put it all onto one weekend, one day.”

Hamilton says he needs to approach it exactly as I have in the past but accepts that it will hit him eventually as he hasn’t thought about winning a seventh title.

Hamilton hasn’t begun contract negotiations with Mercedes for 2021, however, gave the strongest indications yet that he would continue to race on next year. Saying “The numbers and the figures and the titles and all that stuff perhaps appears to mean more from the outside.”

“I remember watching Michael get seven and thinking: ‘Wow.’ But when you’re in it, it’s different. We’re going to continue to fight for more championships, continue to try to improve and continue to race and do what we love doing.”

Asked about the negotiations he said, “hadn’t got all the answers to what I want to do yet”.

 

Radio broadcasts are often a key part of any coverage of the sport, giving fans and journalists important of understanding the race. However recent messages have placed drivers under increase criticism over swearing and offensive remarks. So should they be dropped from broadcasts?

Grosjean doesn’t like radio message broadcast

Romain Grosjean says that he does not like that all radio messages in F1 can be broadcast on TV following two recent incidents involving drivers’ comments.

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris have both been criticised for their comments made about Lance Stroll during the Portuguese Grand Prix weekend. Norris apologised after swearing at Stroll following a crash in the race, while Verstappen said it was “not correct” for him to use offensive language that led to condemnation from the Mongolian government.

All team radio between the cars and the pit wall is broadcast via F1’s streaming service, F1 TV, and is often also played on broadcasts and circulated on social media after the race.

Asked by Motorsport.com, the chairman of the GPDA questioned whether the open radio broadcasts made it more difficult for drivers to speak their minds, Grosjean questioned if all messages should be published.

He said “First things first, why is it broadcasted? The cockpit and the radio to your team is your own environment, and I don’t like radio messaging being broadcasted.”

“Imagine if you were broadcasting what’s going on the football pitch? I think it is more fruity and colourful. You can’t always speak your mind. You need to respect people. We’re not perfect at it, and I’m not. I’m far from being perfect at it.”

Grosjean says people need to be aware that drivers are driving at around 330kmh, pushing to the limit and knowing that there is a risk involved.

Norris has also apologies for comments made about Lewis Hamilton in the wake of his record-breaking ninety second Grand Prix victory in Portugal, saying the Mercedes driver only had two other cars to beat.

It led to some questions about the freedom F1 drivers had when making comments, with Grosjean acknowledging it was not possible to be completely honest.

 

Lewis Hamilton became the most successful driver in the history of F1 with victory in Istanbul allowing him to equal Michael Schumacher. Peter Bonnington or Bono, is in a unique position to compare both drivers as he engineered both drivers so how does Hamilton keep delivering?

Bono gives insight into Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington has given a rare interview to Sky Sports giving a fascinating insight into their working relationship and the newly-crowned seven-time world champion’s desire and ability to keep improving.

Bonnington has been the seven-times champions race engineer since 2013, together they have built a relationship which has allowed Hamilton to secure six titles in the last seven years.

‘Bono’, among many other duties, is the voice heard over the radio in discussion Hamilton during race weekends, making famous messages such as ‘HammerTime’ and ‘Get in there, Lewis’ in what has become one of F1’s most famous – and successful – double acts.

Reflecting on Hamilton’s latest win at Istanbul Park, Bonnington said the 35-year-old kept on surprising him. He said, “Back then [in 2013] he wasn’t quite as polished as he is now. Now, today, just wow. Performances like today, the strength that he has just shines through.”

“Nobody could not be surprised by that performance. We know he has it in him but when he delivers you think ‘wow, I didn’t see that coming! I’m optimistic but I didn’t see it happening just like that. By mid-race, once we were on the inters we were settled into a pace, it felt like he had it fully under control.”

Bonnington is the only person apart from F1 motorsport managing director Ross Brawn, to work with both of the sports seven-times champions. Speaking about the two he said, “Michael’s years gave me such a learning ground – wow, it was a very steep learning curve – but moving on with Lewis, even then I still didn’t feel like I was probably worthy of dealing already a world champ.”

 

Imola returned to the calendar at the start of November, where George Russell was on course for his first points in his F1 career. However, he crashed during the closing stages, robbing him off a chance to get off the list of drivers who haven’t scored points.

Russell “sorry” for crashing at Imola

George Russell says he is “so sorry” for crashing behind the safety car during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. The Williams driver looked on course for his first points in F1 running tenth with twelve laps to go when he crashed into the wall at Acque Minerali.

Russell has yet to score a point from his thirty-four race starts, with Williams facing there first pointless season in the team’s history. Russell said, after clambering out of his crashed car “Gutting, to be honest. I don’t really know what to say.”

“I was working as hard as I could to keep the tyres working, I was pushing as hard as I could throughout the race and it’s probably the most on-the-limit I’ve ever been throughout the whole of the race.”

“I think it was really showing and we were in such a good position. Obviously, I just went over the limit under the Safety Car and as soon as I lost the car it was already too late and I was in the wall. Really sorry for the team and unacceptable from my side really.”

Going into the weekend in an interview with Sky Sports, two times champion Fernando Alonso described Russell as a young driver to watch for the future, explained: “I was accelerating and changing gear at the same time and just with cold tyres. This sometimes happen with cold tyres and it was my job to try and work them as hard as I can to keep Kimi [Raikkonen] and Sebastian [Vettel] behind on new hot fresh tyres.”

After the race, Russell wrote on Instagram, “I’ll never forget this day, this mistake. I’ll learn from it, be stronger for it. I’m so sorry, to the whole team. No excuses.”

That prompted Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean, two of F1’s most senior drivers, to send their support to the 22-year-old.

Hamilton wrote “George, you were giving it your all. It’s ok to make mistakes and it’s ok to feel the pain. I’ve made more than I can remember. You’re great bud. Keep your head up and keep pushing, on to the next one.”

Grosjean, who himself crashed behind the Safety Car in Baku in 2018, wrote: “Man, I know the feeling. Will take some time to forget it, but what you do is mega. Keep pushing.”

 

Next year the calendar will feature twenty three races, adding one new race to the original 2020 calendar. But already the eyes are on the twenty-fourth…

F1 targeting twenty-four races

Outgoing Formula One CEO Chase Carey says the sport is targeting a calendar of twenty-four races “in the next few years,” with some events rotating. Earlier this month a daft 2021 calendar listed twenty-three races with the calendar adding one new race from the original 2020 calendar.

There has been a common feeling between drivers, teams and the media of how tough an expanded calendar will be for mechanics and other travelling crew members.

However, Carey says that the long term plan is to extend the schedule even further, with the new or revived races added this year on the list of possible candidates.

Carey told investors in a virtual meeting, “Looking beyond 2021, we continue to feel great about the excitement from locations around the world in hosting F1. Many locations we raced at this year expressed great interest in new races and other countries have stronger than ever interest.

“We expect to move to a 24-race calendar in the next few years, and will probably rotate a few races so we will be able to accommodate a few new partners. But they will be limited as long-term partnerships continue to be our priority.”

Carey says despite the challenges this year caused by the pandemic the sport will be operating close to normal next year. He also says that relationships with promoters have been strengthened, with a close to normal experience planned for 2021.

He says the sport has proven it can travel safely and operate in a way which it can manage the virus.

Carey, who hands his job to Stefano Domenicali in January, believes that the sport will be in a healthy state in the coming years. Saying, “We have successfully weathered the challenges of the virus in 2020. We are planning for a world that begins to move forward in 2021, and have been clear with all our partners as it relates to those expectations.”

He says that the regulation changes in 2022 will help to create a healthier business model to broaden the appeal of the sport.

 

That’s all from this edition of Reporters, goodbye

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.