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Hamilton's Insights on F1's Technical Evolution

Hamilton’s Insights on F1’s Technical Evolution

01/04/2024

Reflecting on a career-highlight, Lewis Hamilton parallels 2023’s struggles to 2009, marking a formidable start and technical complexities.

Lewis Hamilton has not experienced a start to the season as challenging as this in his career, only recalling 2009 as a comparable instance. Then a driver for McLaren, he recalls it being the sole occasion his car appeared significantly problematic at the season’s outset.

“Well, 2009 is probably the last time we knew off the bat the car wasn’t particularly strong. But we understood what was happening; they had simply designed the car with insufficient downforce and set the bar too low,” Hamilton reflects, before discussing the past 24 months.

“During this period, it’s been fascinating to see the tools the team had to develop to understand the flow structures beneath the floor. It’s far more technical and complex than the previous generation of cars.”

The British driver notes the complexity of work on this generation, owing to numerous factors: “And when you see the images they can generate today, you can see where the flow structures are heading.”

“The correlation between the wind tunnel and CFD, on one hand, and the actual track and various surfaces we’ll be driving on, on the other, is very interesting and helps understand why it’s so challenging to get it right.”

“And then the stiffness of the tires, the suspension stiffness, the roll, all these different things and all these different positions you put the car in, the yaw and all these different aspects. I think we’re constantly facing a tough battle.”

90 downforce points sacrificed

The seven-time world champion commends his rivals’ ability to address the porpoising issue, which cost Mercedes dearly: “I think Red Bull solved the problem right from the first test in Bahrain last year.”

“They managed to fix it, and I think once that issue was resolved, they were able to progress from there. At the first race in 2022 or the initial tests, we had to remove about 90 downforce points from the car.”

“So, we had downforce, but we couldn’t use it because the car was moving and bouncing. Thus, we lost a massive amount of performance, and every time we tried to add more or attempted to do so, the car would bounce again.”

“It’s been extremely frustrating, I believe, for the engineers. But I think what’s inspiring is they haven’t given up. They continue to show up every day and give their best, and that’s all we can ask of them.”

Hamilton’s Insights on F1’s Technical Evolution. Hamilton’s Insights on F1’s Technical Evolution

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