Start, Red Bull Ring, 2015

Hamilton blames clutch changes for poor start

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Start, Red Bull Ring, 2015In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says he has been making worse starts since Mercedes changed the design of their clutch.

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Hamilton blames race loss on faulty clutch (BBC)

"I did everything I was supposed to do but the clutch keeps under-performing."

Rosberg refuses to be predictable (Reuters)

"The irreverent Red Bull-owned publication was clearly taking a dig at how predictable the sport had become. 'Hamilton wins...in Spielberg, Silverstone, Monza, Singapore, Suzuka, Abu Dhabi 2015 and 2016, 17, 18, 19...,' it declared on a cover."

Kimi Raikkonen shrugs off close call with flying McLaren (ESPN)

"The wheels spun really aggressively there and I don't know what caused it, but the result is always the same."

Maldonado: Verstappen went too far (Autosport)

"You must leave some space for the other car and he was not respecting that."

Ferrari ready to supply Red Bull with engines (Motorsport)

"I think we can provide engines to any of the teams that want to race. As long as we keep control over the aerodynamic work on the car, I think there’s going to be enough distinguishing traits between us and the competition."

Overheating brake hinders Bottas charge (F1i)

"The front right one was overheating. I got through Hulkenberg again but the rest of the race was managing the brakes."

Honda 'want joy in F1' as McLaren partnership hits new low in Austria (James Allen on F1)

"Motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai says that the Honda board is firmly behind the project and everyone believes that they will challenge the pace setters in the sport. He also said that the reliability problems are 'almost fixed'."

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Comment of the day

Jenson Button, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2015Is there a deeper grievance behind the complaints about power unit penalties?

I think part of this equation is that teams and power unit manufacturers expected the second year of this new engine formula to be one of more power with at least the same reliability. For Merc and Ferrari that has pretty much been the case. Last season a Renault powered car won three races and yet this year power and reliability is down compared to the others. Obviously this engine formula improving to be more on the edge while balancing the reliability with performance. Honda has been building V6 race engines for some time successfully and is struggling and of course so is Renault.

Getting closer to Merc and still maintaining reliability can be done as Ferrari have proven. But it is not easy as Renault and Honda are proving with some embarrassment and damage to their respective reputations especially the longer it continues. I’d say the emotion is frustration over lack of performance and reliability. The penalties are a byproduct.
@Bullmello

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James Hunt and his Hesketh teams scored their first victory together in opportunistic fashion in the Dutch Grand Prix 40 years ago today. Hunt hit the front after a bold early switch to slick tyres on a drying track, and kept the Ferrari of Niki Lauda at arm’s length to the finish.

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  • 49 comments on “Hamilton blames clutch changes for poor start”

    1. This rhetoric from Mclaren and Honda about staying together and keeping morale up is getting old.

      The teams, both at Woking and Sakura should be more motivated then ever! These guys are some of the best engineers and technicians around, and engineers live to solve problems. On top of that, they are only a less than a year into the “project”, so there should be no excuse for low morale whatever the case.

      Sure, I can understand the effect that performances on track can have on the trackside personnel, but for the technical effort back at base, the teams responsible to be thriving under pressure.

      Having said all this, I tend keep looking at what Gary Anderson has been saying all along, who is taking charge of the situation? Ron and Arai-san appear to be holding each other’s hand a whole lot, but who is driving it forward? Its not entirely visible from the outside. Would Ron of a decade ago have been so docile? Well, Ron of 10 years ago would have hired Alonso! The point is, to quote Gary Anderson, someone needs to “grab the situation by the scruff of the neck”. If its not Ron, it doesnt look like it Eric Boullier either..so who is incharge?

      1. This rhetoric from Mclaren and Honda about staying together and keeping morale up is getting old.

        The teams, both at Woking and Sakura should be more motivated then ever! These guys are some of the best engineers and technicians around, and engineers live to solve problems. On top of that, they are only a less than a year into the “project”, so there should be no excuse for low morale whatever the case.

        Sure, I can understand the effect that performances on track can have on the trackside personnel, but for the technical effort back at base, the teams responsible to be thriving under pressure.

        Isn’t this exactly what they are doing? Pressing on and working until it gets better.

        Having said all this, I tend keep looking at what Gary Anderson has been saying all along, who is taking charge of the situation? Ron and Arai-san appear to be holding each other’s hand a whole lot, but who is driving it forward? Its not entirely visible from the outside. Would Ron of a decade ago have been so docile? Well, Ron of 10 years ago would have hired Alonso! The point is, to quote Gary Anderson, someone needs to “grab the situation by the scruff of the neck”. If its not Ron, it doesnt look like it Eric Boullier either..so who is incharge?

        This thing, about who is in charge, is something I’ve thought about too. Ron isn’t that important for the technical development. He is giving the team a room that they need, and that’s good. But the thing I’m not sure about is that you can’t pinpoint who is exactly in charge of the car. Honda have their chief in Arai, and that’s good. But who is the one who is the de facto Technical Director. There seem to be around 3 or 4 guys on the engineering team with somewhat similar seniority.

        1. There seem to be around 3 or 4 guys on the engineering team with somewhat similar seniority.

          A Japanese engine manufacturer with bloated, indirect and sluggish management? Who knew!

    2. Doesn’t Nico have the same clutch as you Lewis? #victimsyndrome

      1. Anyone would look insane complaining after winning by 20 secs. You complain when you lose.

      2. @fletchuk No silly a single clutch can’t be used by 2 cars at once!

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          22nd June 2015, 12:44

          lol

        2. until Quantum Clutches are developed (and then banned by FIA)

          ;)

      3. @fletchuk

        well, didn’t Nico have the same clutch as Lewis until Spain as well? In case you’ve read the article.

        1. @andrewf1 Yes Nico did have the same clutch, and we didn’t hear him saying it didn’t work correctly everytime he didn’t lead into the 1st corner. Matter of fact Hamilton is the only driver I know that always has some reason why its not his fault whenever something doesn’t work out. Funny enough when things do work out, he is quick to take the credit. Monaco is just another example, why couldn’t he man up and admit he called for the extra pit stop against the teams advice and it was the wrong thing to do. Instead we get this wishy washy ‘it was a team decision’ when the radio quite clearly shows us Hamilton overrode the team’s initial request to stay out and told them he was pitting and that was that.

          My point is that its different just saying things like ‘we win as a team and lose as a team’ as opposed to actually believing it.

          1. That was a lot of unprompted unpleasantness. Ignoring the fact that a lot of your points are wrong, and some are highly selective, you don’t seem to have anything to contribute other than ‘I don’t like Hamilton!’

            Can’t we talk about specific points rather than going to Facebook style immature generics?

          2. Actually, Rosberg did attribute two poor starts to clutch problems. The system was changed for Spain and Rosberg seems to like it better than Hamilton.

            Everything is subjective – some drivers like some bits more than others. It doesn’t mean either is intrinsically a poorer driver or ‘complaining’. If Lewis’s clutch bogged or slipped because of something he did or because it’s not performing correctly, then that is what happened.

            1. I also clearly recall that @optimaximal – I don’t really see why they can’t give ROS the one he has now, return HAM to the one he was happy with, seems a no-brainer really.

            2. @bosyber the problem there is we don’t know how developments on gearbox reliability hinge on the clutch change. The last thing Mercedes (and even Hamilton) want is to revert Car #44’s clutch then blow a gearbox 2-3 months down the line…

              Also, as we saw from RBR in 2012, even the richest, best financed teams can’t afford to split development across two cars – they need to find a development middle-ground that both drivers are comfortable with, especially if they’re both in the hunt (if Lewis was stonking Nico to the order of winning the last 4 races, there’s a chance they’d get behind him).

            3. @optimaximal those are good points, on the other hand, he was having doing that more or less until they changed the clutch, wasn’t he? As you say, some work to do to find middle-ground, especially if Ferrari does manage to show full potential of their upgrades.

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            22nd June 2015, 12:50

            I don’t want to bash Mercedes but why on earth would they modify the clutch so much? Lewis busted his balls to get pole at Austria, a track that suits Nico better.

            This guy Nico is like the windfall champion of F1. The team cannot do 1 thing wrong for him – even their pitstop yesterday was 0.4 seconds faster and they kept Lewis out for an extra lap. 3 advantages for Nico (clutch, pit, 1 lap) plus the track advantage and then the penalty advantage.

            1. @freelittlebirds here’s a tin foil hat…

              1) Yes, Lewis isn’t getting on with this new clutch, but then they likely can’t just roll it back either without risking gearbox damage – there’s a reason why they made the change.
              2) You’re basing the 0.4 seconds on the blink of an eye moment that involves multiple individuals – it’s not like there was a gun/wheel-nut failure, a bad release or other obvious fumble.
              3) The time Lewis spent out (or his slower pitstop) made no real difference – Austria is just too short a track, with an awkward pitlane entrance to compound matters, for Lewis to make up the difference. Nico had track position, so it was a no-brainer for Merc to pit him first.

              Sorry…

          4. your funny as, the reason Ham is the one complaining is he normally always start in front of Rosb, so that solves that problem right about he gets to ask first?
            but tell me do when was it before this track did you hear Ham complain this year about the clutch on starting?

          5. Totally agree,he did the same at Mclaren. Same as when he gets pole or wins he usually says ‘i could have gone faster’

        2. Yes – but the point is they both have the same spec clutch. Complaining it somehow disadvantages him is ridiculous and conveniently avoids him having to consider his own performance. As other commenters have pointed out, he’s not shy about taking credit when he wins but it’s always the teams or someone else’s fault when he doesn’t.

          1. They both had the same spec clutch before Spain when Lewis was getting awesome starts and Nico was suffering with poor starts. Incase you didn’t notice, Nico complained on numerous occasions about his clutch before Spain.

          2. But then Rosberg didn’t like the cluth and they changed it back to last years to suit him?

            Why dont your comments apply to Rosberg?

          3. Same spec is not the same device. And both drivers rely on their engineers to set up the device and ensure that it operates in coordination with the cars’ electronics. As Hamilton said, the issue here was that the rev-holding system was not working properly in conjunction with the bite-point setting system (or procedure). Generally, it’s remarkable the work these guys have to do on the formation lap, among other things, to have the car learn the gears, set the clutch point and evaluate the operation of the start system, get the brakes to a certain temp, get tires to a certain temp, and do all of this without hitting other cars. And still remaining mentally prepared to be fired down the straight like a rocket and then slam on some (cold) brakes for a tight corner in a car that is like 300lbs heavier than the last time they were in it.

          4. Yeah sure, he’s always blaming the team

            http://www.autosport…t.php/id/119329

            http://en.espn.co.uk…tory/51584.html

            http://www.gpupdate….rcent-my-fault/

            http://www.planetf1….aniel-ricciardo

            http://www.f1fanatic…t-bad-hamilton/

            http://www.crash.net…my-mistake.html

            http://www.mirror.co…n-grand-4601330

    3. Let’s not forget Ferrari has been using plenty of tokens where as Mercedes has not. The gap is smaller for now, only when Mercedes bring a similar update and ‘hupsakee‘. as we say in Belgium. Next to that the gap now is still gigantic.

      1. Ferrari need to do more “reliability” upgrades, like Mercedes.

      2. @xtwl you seem to have forgotten that Mercedes did already use more tokens for the 2015 engines than Ferrari.

        Ferrari have only matched the number after the Canada upgrade.

        Link

        1. @evered7 I thought the current standings were in favor of Mercedes? Might be wrong though.

          1. yes, you are wrong on that account @xtwl. As shown in Keiths article linked to by @evered7, Mercedes used more tokens during the winter and had only 7 left, Ferrari had 3 more left and used those for their latest engines, so now both have 7 left while Renault hasn’t used any of their yet.
            Not sure whether Honda has used some of their 9 already this year.

          2. I am not sure how many more tokens were used by Ferrari after the season started, but at the beginning of the season Ferrari had 3 more in hand than Mercedes.

            But if reports from various websites are true, Ferrari used 3 to upgrade the engine in Canada. @xtwl

            I am very much encouraged by the progress Ferrari have made this season, Kimi situation not considered.

            1. Honda used 2 tokens for Canada as well which oddly were spent on reliability upgrades after the FIA confirmed a new procedure for requesting ‘free’ reliability upgrades to ensure that they were being used for reliability purposes.

              I think Merecedes, Ferrari and Honda have 7 tokens left and Renault still have 12.

            2. @asanator Heard about the 2 tokens used by Honda but didn’t get any source for it and hence didn’t mention it.

              But I think you are right. Except for Renault every other manufacturer seems to have same # of tokens left.

    4. I wonder if Red Bull ran that cover at any time from 2010-2013?

      1. No @geemac, then they ran the inside perspective, which is very different ;)

    5. The Kimi Raikkonen shrugs off close call with flying McLaren (ESPN) link refers to the F1F forum… @keithcollantine

    6. ColdFly F1 (@)
      22nd June 2015, 7:58

      Maldonado thought Verstappen had to ‘leave some space’.
      One would hope that a free DRS boost twice every lap should be enough!

      PS – great recoveries by Maldonado on a few occasions; Kimi should have a look at that!

      1. I think Verstappen is getting a bit reckless with his driving. He went off the racing line to chop across Maldonado in one corner. Maldonado successfully avoided many potential accidents, especially the one on the straight when the Torro Rosso suddenly slowed as he got into its tow and flashing its red light. I think Maldonado has matured a great deal.

        1. Matured since when? Two races ago?

          Granted many of his DNF’s this season were due to mechanical failures, but in many of them he had already made a mistake which put him out of the points.

          I don’t know what it is about him. I never like when people bash Maldonado, but whenever I watch his on-board camera, his car is going all over the place because of mistakes (putting his wheels on the grass for example). It seems to me like he is distracted with other stuff while driving. He is obviously very quick over one lap.

          1. @vvans

            It seems to me like he is distracted with other stuff while driving.

            I think you hit the nail on the head. Driving a modern F1 car on the limit with all its management demands (engine modes, energy recovery modes, diff settings, etc) while negotiating the technical aspects of the corners (brake points, downshift points, turn-in points, etc) and simultaneously fighting with another car for a position (in which situations the car is off the usual racing line so one has to modify, on the fly and instinctively, all the previously noted technical points while still maintaining the tires at the limit) requires an immense amount of mental capacity for spatial, sensory, and situational awareness. The way Pastor drives suggests that while he is quick enough for F1, he just doesn’t have that mental reserve capacity. The one thing that can increase performance in such cases is brute rote repetition, and it is fortunate for him that his sponsors are willing to continue to underwrite his seat, because he may now finally be getting where he needs to be just on the basis of the years he has spent in F1. I think he is unwilling to give up practice time to junior drivers because on some level he knows that without adequate immediate, circuit-specific practice to develop his rhythm, he is unable to perform to the minimum level that is required.

        2. Thanks for the laugh OOliver :) Verstappen went a little bit too far ONE time with Maldonado, when he put him in the grass… otherwise, “Maldonado successfully avoided many potential accidents” – these potential accidents you talk about were all initiated purely by Maldonado’s out-of-control driving.

          1. I dunno, all this experience of getting the car sideways and pointing in the wrong direction seem to be making Maldonado pretty good at saving the car in impossible situations. Those two saves in Austria were amongst the best I’ve ever seen… :D

            1. Here’s something to get you all frothing at the mouth: Pastor may be the closest thing we have to the mighty Gilles. He, too, was quick, always on the limit and just as likely to throw the car at the scenery as to finish. And, when it comes to entertainment value, it’s hard to say who is better… :D

            2. (Frothing) GILLES WAS BETTER!

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        23rd June 2015, 3:04

        Maldonado is right – he definitely leaves lots of space for others!

    7. Looks like young Verstappen has made some friends at Lotus. First Grosjean now Maldonado. At this rate they will be offering him a seat soon. 😉

    8. So the clutch that gave Lewis his victory in Abu Dhabi in 2014 is all of a sudden the reason he lost to Nico in Austria 2015? I think we can infer a lot from Lewis’s statement, a) these clutches are a gamble and Lewis is just making excuses, b) Lewis blew it up and the clutch has no responsibility.

      1. Honestly pal!

        Check your facts. This is a new 015 clutch and gearbox. LH liked. NR did not. He stated three bad starts were the clutch.
        The springs (just so you know there is a great deal more to a racing clutch than this) were changed to last years type. LH has had bad starts. NR has not. The new gearbox clutch has sharper reactions and requires a better judgement. In other words you could infer NR has neither and LH is able to deal with the trickier but faster design!

        But no – let’s all jump on LH because he has a history of really bad starts right through his career and crap reactions. And he never says the team did a good job and always moans about how the car was crap and everyone including and particularly his team mate ruins his races… Even when the team gift him races he really did not deserve…

        Oh hold on…

        That was Nico…

        1. I think we can app appreciate the effort. But merc was pretty explicit that the current gearbox has more in common with the ’14 unit than the ’15 unit. But I guess from your statement that we can infer LH isn’t as adabtable as we have been lead to believe.

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