Reporters – 23/08/2020

Features Reporters

Lando Norris has been one of the stand out performers of the new generation of British drivers. Ahead of his home race he spoke about why he believes that self-criticism is a good thing for him…

Norris believes his self-criticism is good

Lando Norris says that his self-critical nature is behind the starring performances with which he has started the new Formula One season. The Bristolian heading into a home double-header says his progress was down to work on his weaknesses over the winter.

The McLaren driver is currently fourth in the driver’s championship behind the two Mercedes drivers and Max Verstappen, he owes his position to strong performances in the opening two races of the season at the Red Bull Ring.

Norris told BBC News, “I have the ability to be harsh on myself and in a lot of scenarios it’s good I am able to realise that. It makes me work hard that I am not happy with the job I have done. I had to work on my weaknesses, also my mentality and how I acted at the race track.

“I’m still having fun and enjoying myself and having laughs but at the same time dedicating more time to focus on the important thing, which is the racing and the driving, and just to be a bit more serious when I’ve got to be.”

Before the start of the pandemic, Norris says he spent a lot of time at McLaren trying to improve his weaknesses and the rewarding thing has been seeing the progress he has made. But he hopes that this season can be a step towards becoming the best F1 driver he can be.

During the lockdown in the UK, Norris became one of the stars of social media and recently a picture of him stripping down his McLaren following the Hungarian Grands Prix went viral. However, says that this wasn’t new for him and he has done it before.

Adding it something he has done before and since karting which he has always enjoyed. Saying, “I loved taking things apart as a kid. I enjoy it. It’s quite cool – to go and take apart an F1 car and work with the mechanics is good fun.”

“It’s good for the team that we’re working together and I’m helping them. It makes their job easier. It wasn’t just because we’ve done three weeks in a row; it’s more just helping them and enjoying it.”

In Hungary, Norris suffered bruising which was the result of being exposed to the violent forces of an F1 car after four months enforced absence because of lockdown.

But he says he was “much better” in Hungary and he “should be fine come Silverstone”. He says he is looking forward to his home race but that it will be “weird” experiencing the British and Anniversary Grands Prix without spectators.

 

As Coronavirus surges in Brazil causing the cancelation of this years race, the promoter Tamas Rohonyi warned that the race could be lost permanently. Why does he believe only Interlagos can hold the race viably  

Brazilian promoter warns of permanent loss

Brazilian Grand Prix promoter Tamas Rohonyi warns that the country’s motorsport future will suffer if the event is permanently lost from the Formula One’s calendar schedule.

This year’s race was due to be the final one at Interlagos and has been a fixture on the calendar since 1973, has been cancelled due to Coronavirus. F1 CEO Chase Carey is hoping to move the race to a new venue in Rio, but no progress has been made on finalising a deal or on the construction of the circuit.

However, the circuit has still yet to be given planning permission and the land is protected. Rohonyi says that unless a new deal can be concluded to keep the race at Interlagos, the country’s racing scene could suffer long-term damage.

He told Motorsport.com, “A lot of people depend on this, not only in F1 but all the other categories. I like to believe it’s an important venue if only because of the tradition we have here. Brazilian drivers have won eight times the World Championship.”

“Frankly, I spoke to the president of the Brazilian ASN, and he said to me, ‘If you lose the race, Brazilian motor racing will be dead for the next 40 years.’ Because all these kids who drive karts, they hope one day to go F1. But they will stop.”

A Brazilian driver has not started a race since Felipe Massa retired from F1 at the end of 2017.

 

Tyre failures at the British Grand Prix didn’t stop Lewis Hamilton having one of the most dramatic wins of his career. The win was more remarkable when Mercedes revealed how fast he was going….

Hamilton still managed 143 mph despite tyre failure

Mercedes say that Lewis Hamilton still clocked a mighty 230 km/h – 143mph, down Silverstone’s long Hangar Straight despite the left-front tyre being almost destroyed.

As the six-time champion began his final lap with a thirty-second lead his tyre failed as he approached the entry to the pit lane. Hamilton then faced a difficult challenge of managing the tyre failure as Max Verstappen tried to close in.

Pirelli, F1’s tyre suppliers, has launched an investigation into the cause of the three punctures late in the race after Hamilton’s team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz suffered the same fates.

It is believed that the manufacturer’s investigation will centre on tyre wear at the end of long stints on the hard compound and the possibility of track debris also playing a role after several incidents during the race.

But there will be concerns going into this weekends race about the softer tyres to mix up the action. F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn, Hamilton’s first-team boss at Mercedes, on Monday described the Englishman’s driving on the final lap as “mind-blowing”.

Brawn in his post-race column said “No front left tyre on the car and he still took Copse and Stowe corners at more than 130km/h. He reached 230km/h on the straight with only three wheels, and a front left tyre flailing around – absolutely mind-blowing.”

“He judged it to perfection to win the race by a few seconds and a brilliant example of the amazing talents and bravery of Lewis” Arguably the race could be one of the best and most memorable wins of his career despite the dramatic final lap.

Hamilton told Sky Sports, “I nearly didn’t make it through the next two corners – particularly Turn Seven – and, rather than panicking, I was ‘okay, how do I get this thing home?’”

“I only have half a lap or whatever it is to get back. How can to get back? Am I going to lose this race? All these questions starting going and you’re like ‘no, keep going, keep up the power and keep up the speed’.” He then said that he tried to accelerate as the tyres deflated and hold onto the lead of the race.

He did manage to and take his seventh win at his home Grand Prix

 

So as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes appear to be marching towards a seventh world title, teammate Valtteri Bottas feels that his hopes are slipping away. Bottas was unlucky in two of the last three races allowing Hamilton to march towards a title… what does he need to do to stop that?

“championship drifting away” – Bottas

Valtteri Bottas says he can already “see the championship drifting away” after Lewis Hamilton’s latest crushing victory at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Finn was hoping to build towards his first title, however, has only one race to Hamilton’s four.

In Sunday’s race, Bottas could only manage third behind Max Verstappen in the same Mercedes car. That means Verstappen is currently Hamilton’s closest championship rival, with Bottas, whose campaign has unravelled after winning the season-opener in Austria, and is forty-three points behind his in-form team-mate.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Bottas said “It’s far from ideal. And I have no clue what the points difference is, but it’s way too big and I can see again the championship drifting away.”

Bottas’ race was dented by a disappointing start when he slipped from second on the grid to fourth after Turn One. From there, he couldn’t get back ahead of Verstappen, while Hamilton won by more than 24 seconds.

It was another difficult race as his championship hopes slipped further away after struggling at Silverstone. He added, “I had a good start in the first race and in every single race this season the pace has been there. In qualifying has led to signs of tensions between team and driver.

At the second Silverstone race, Vettel questioned Ferrari’s race strategy over team radio, telling his engineer “you’ve messed up”. While at the Spanish Grand Prix he chastised the team again when there was a misunderstanding over whether he would attempt a one-stop strategy or a two-stop.

Vettel used a one-stop strategy which required him to nurse his tyres to the end of the race, but when he initially suggested the idea his engineer told him to push ahead of a second pit stop. Vettel said following the race people should not draw conclusions about his relationship with the team from the heated radio exchange.

In his press conference, he said, “I think it’s normal to communicate. I think it’s very weird for you to judge because you don’t get all the radio transmissions.

“I think it’s very difficult for you to know what is being said and to get the full picture. I think it was nothing else outstanding today. It’s a lot about managing the tyre here and as I said we did the decision and we took to it.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto added: “I think that communicating is important, with the drivers, something that we decided together with the drivers that we should be open as we can. Sometimes questioning doesn’t mean that it’s a misunderstanding.”

Binotto believes that it is right we question ourselves by communicating, but still thinks they have made the right decisions in because we are communicating.

 

Its an age-old debate ‘who is the fastest driver in the history of F1?’ with algorithms in the spotlight can it provide answers or add to this debate?

Senna fastest driver ever says study

A study by Formula One study that used “machine learning” and “cloud technology” has ranked Ayrton Senna as the fastest driver of all time ahead of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

The study aims to compare drivers across four decades to name the fastest based on pure qualifying speed alone.

The research by sponsor Amazon Web Services, which also provides the in-race tyre updates that are often mocked by fans on social media, claims to have used machine learning to create “a cross-era, objective, complex, data-driven ranking of driver speed”.

The list is set to be controversial as it doesn’t include several world champions from the era, including Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Mika Häkkinen and Kimi Raikkonen, but does feature Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, who spent large proportions of their careers at midfield teams.

The details of how the results were reached are not provided by F1, but the system claims to use a matrix of data to compare teammates against each other through the era and then link that to other teammates during a driver’s career.

The press release said, “By comparing teammates in qualifying sessions, the machine learning-based tool focuses on a driver’s performance output, building a network of teammates across the time-range, all interlinked, and therefore comparable.”

“By comparing lap times between teammates only, the Fastest Driver algorithm effectively normalises for car and the team performance. Overall, this builds up a picture of how drivers from different generations compare, by analysing the purest indication of raw speed — the qualifying lap.”

 

And that’s all from Reporters, we will be back on 20th September.

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.