Lewis Hamilton’s Chinese Grand Prix weekend was just made a little more difficult now that he’ll face a 5-space grid penalty for a gearbox change heading into this weekend.
His teammate, Nico Rosberg, will be looking to continue his streak of two wins, five out of the last five grands prix, by taking advantage of Hamilton’s misfortune and maximizing points this weekend.
Further down the grid, McLaren are please that Fernando Alonso has been cleared to participate in the Chinese Grand Prix having passed medical tests. The Spaniard was still recovering from a cracked rib incurred in his crash in Australia and while his replacement driver, Stoffel Vandoorne, did a great job delivering the team’s only points this season, Alonso will be keen to get back in the car.
I have had a theory for awhile, that Lewis literally needs opposition and a massive challenge to bring out his best. With corporate training, I have seen high-producers subconsciously allow situations to become critical in order to have a challenge to overcome and produce beyond expectation. For sure, the gearbox has nothing to do with mental perspective, but perhaps this is one reason why Lewis is so mercurial and performs at such a high level when pressure is on, be it mechanical, odd-chance or self-induced?
Or, as a cynic might think, a lot of artificial roadblocks are being put in place because a fourth year of Lewis Hamilton disappearing in the distance would be the nail in F1s coffin?
Oooh, the championship battle we’ve all been hoping for is heating up! and JUST IN TIME!!!!
Well, I’m not a cynic, but they’re out there…
To be fair, there was a bit of a gap between Hamilton’s first championship and the last two. It isn’t quite at the level of Vettel or Schumacher championship runs (yet).
Can someone explain to me why penalties are given for all gearbox changes? I can understand if a new box is installed with different ratios, but if its simply replacing a box damaged in an accident (an accident that wasn’t Hamilton’s fault either) with a new one that has exactly the same ratios, where is the advantage warranting a loss of 5 places on the grid? Also, is there a reason why there can’t be a set allotment of gearbox changes allowed during the season, the same as there is with engines?
Gearbox ratios have been fixed for the season since the I introduction of the hybrid turbo power units in 2014. Long life gearboxes were introduced many years ago as a cost savings measure (from memory this was before the number of engines was limited). As part of the wonderful inconsistency within F1 regulations, the gearbox rules are that each gearbox must least for six consecutive race weekends. The only way it can be changed earlier without penalty is if the car either doesn’t start or doesn’t finish the previous race. With modern sequential gearboxes, there is limited opportunity for a… Read more »
The reason is thAt without some restraint we would have gearboxes and engines that were engineered to last one race, or maybe for one quali.
So you have to build something durable