Hamilton again hints at retirement from F1 – World champion driver Lewis Hamilton hinted he may retire from Formula One. All season he has struggled with the new style ground force car Mercedes have developed and is regularly beaten by new te4am mate George Russell in the race and qualifying.
Following practice at the 2022 Canadian GP, Lewis was caught off guard before he realised the cameras were rolling saying to a team colleague, “Man. This car is so bad”.
During the following interview a downbeat Hamilton appears to have given up on the W13
“Nothing you do to this car seems to work,” he lamented.
“For me it was a disaster. It’s like the car is getting worse its more and more unhappy the more we do to it. I think this is the car for the year”
“We’ll just have to tough it out and build a better car for next year”
Martin Brundle of Sky F1 has repeatedly claimed the Mercedes W13 has huge untapped potential, but has somewhat changed his tune after hearing the team’s technical director talk about the car.
“It’s looking more and more like they can’t sort this 2022 Mercedes,” Brundle said on commentary. “It’s too much of a knife edge setup”.
Lewis Hamilton has excelled at the Montreal Gilles Villeneuve circuit taking 6 poles and 7 wins in his career, however Lewis revealed driving the W13 means “this is not the Montreal I know”.
“One touch of the kerb and the thing goes flying, you know, its so stiff – and here you need to to able to use the kerbs.”
When asked about the new ‘ground effect’ F1 car design regulations Hamilton does not believe the FIA will change them any time soon and he surprisingly hints if the regulations are unchanged it may se him retire from the sport.
“I imagine we are going to get this fixed by the end of next year at least, so hopefully that is not something that is going to deter me from racing longer.
Hamilton believes that porpoising is an unforeseen consequence of the new regulations, and is pushing for a long term solution. This however will require unanimous agreement:
“I think they looked at a lot of stuff but they didn’t anticipate this coming.
“We need to get together with all the teams, the FIA needs to work with all the teams to progress forwards and when it is on safety grounds, that means everyone needs to move.”
Yet blunt talking Alpha Tauri boss, Franz Tost, disagrees with Hamilton.
“When this new regulation was created it was clear from the very beginning onwards that these cars will not be easy to drive,” said the Austrian.
“Why? Because this floor with kind of a venturi [principle] makes it necessary that the car’s set up quite stiff, that the cars are quite close to the surface and that the front and the rear ride height is quite low. At least you gain a lot of performance if the car is set up as low as possible and as hard as possible.”
Tost also dismisses the drivers’ repeated complaints about the handling of the cars stating, “These are Formula 1 cars, this is not a Rolls-Royce, and drivers should be aware about this.”
If the cars are too stiff or it’s too difficult for them [the drivers], maybe they should stay at home in the living room, sitting in the chair, and then they can do the races in TV or where, I don’t know,” adds the Alpha Tauri boss.
It appears Lewis Hamilton is prepared to take Franz Tests advice and retire from Formula One unless the FIA change the ‘ground effect’ design regulations by the end of his contract in 2023.
The ground effect F1 car designs were brought in to make it easier for a following car to drive closely and overtake without destroying the tyres.
The negative air pressure under the car provides mechanical grip meaning the aerodynamics on top of the car have been simplified to reduce the dirty air vortices that previously made following another car so difficult.
It is unlikely the FIA and Formula One will change direction on this design until the new regulations and engines arrive in 2026.