What happens when Lewis Hamilton speaks his mind

It’s no conspiracy or big effort to undermine Lewis Hamilton but I have found a few of the press reports regarding the 3-time champion’s comments lately an interesting read. Lewis has been an outspoken critic of the HALO device as well as questioning the format changes to Qualifying.

One of the recurring commentaries in Formula 1 and from fans more importantly, is that they like when their drivers speak their mind. They feel the current brand of corporate-polished F1 has watered down the series where everything is corporate speak and homogenized with few drivers really saying what they think.

After winning three titles, perhaps you would feel like you can speak your mind a little more. I think that’s true as I’ve seen it from Alonso, Vettel, Schumacher and Hakkinen. You get a few titles under your belt, you have a little more presence in F1. Makes sense.

The first news story I read was about Lewis’s view on the HALO device. I am not aware of John Surtees being ever-present in the media and making the rounds, as it were, to speak with news outlets. I am led to believe that he was called to comment on Lewis’s disdain for the HALO device and in that, I found it to be a little acidic in nature.

Of course a man who lost his son to a flying errant wheel would be for anything that may have saved the life of his son or drivers in the future. Who could blame him for wanting more head safety in F1? I certainly don’t, his son’s death was tragic by anyone’s measure.

Regardless, Lewis’s comments weren’t directed toward Henry Surtees’ death, they were his personal opinion about how the device looked and the concern over it’s efficacy and impact on a driver’s vision. Lewis, like Nico Hulkenberg, feels that drivers know the risk involved and changing the open cockpit DNA of F1 isn’t something they like.

I think it’s is a tad heavy handed to quickly call John Surtees to refute Lewis’s comments and put Lewis in a light of not caring about the death of young Henry. That’s not fair and it’s not what Lewis was speaking about nor could anyone human know for certain that the HALO would have prevented the death of Surtees, Wilson or Bianchi.

Lewis’s comments about qualifying are his opinions and again, there have been a few allegations that no one should be bad-mouthing F1 right now. If you believe that Lewis needs to take the reaction from Surtees and others about his comments on HALO, then F1 needs to take the reaction from drivers and fans about its proposed format changes, regulations and more. It works both ways. Of qualifying, Lewis said:

“What’s most important is how the fans feel about it,” said Hamilton.

“There have been some good formats and some OK formats.

“I’ve generally enjoyed the format of the last few years.

“That’s why it doesn’t make sense to me right now, the changes that have been made, but don’t knock it until you try it.

“I’m looking forward to getting to Melbourne and trying it out, and maybe we’ll be surprised.

“It may be really exciting, or maybe it won’t. We’ll see.

“We’ll get there, see how it goes, and then immediately you’ll get comments from the fans as to whether it’s good or not.”

To be fair, AUTOSPORT, where I grabbed this quote, was not taking aim at Lewis. They were merely suggesting that Lewis’s comments are urging fans to wait until the qualifying in Australia before drawing conclusions. Other stories I’ve read aren’t so even handed though.

Lewis has found, as I mentioned in an earlier article, that when you cross one of the three holy trump cards of F1 (Safety, Cost, Sustainability), you get the backhand quickly. I say good on Lewis, speak your mind and if you don’t like a direction F1 is going, you are certainly doing nothing more than any other employed human does when they complain about changes at their office or people they work with. This is, after all, your job and office.

For press reports to grind Lewis for not endorsing the changes F1 has been making lately is a bit harsh. I haven’t spoken to too many fans who understand why the sport wants to change qualifying in the first place and like Lewis, they are all waiting to see how this plays out and how easy it will be to follow along at home.

In some ways I feel like everyone says they want drivers to be drivers and speak their minds if only to generate talking points and headlines with accompanying prose that seems shocked at the driver’s comments. Can you believe Lewis is against safety? Can you believe he’s against something that could have save Henry’s life? No wonder Schumacher stopped talking to the press and drivers rarely do these days. It may not be all buttoned-up corporate speak so much as avoiding the press reactions when they do speak their minds.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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Amy Wyatt

Well said. But this negative anti-Hamilton reporting is the norm in the UK media, while wife cheater, Button, gets a totally free pass.

Richard Piers

Where on earth, Madam, did that come from ?

Negative Camber

I wasn’t aware Jenson cheated on his wife. that’s a shame. I saw them in Austin holding hands walking downtown. Bummed. Seemed like a great couple. Feel bad for her if that’s what happened, she’s delightful.

runnah

Seems like rumors and speculation at this point.

Kjkb

Jenson and his wife are amicably separated no cheating going on

Negative Camber

Got ya, I just thought that was a bit of news I had completely missed but I would think it would have been all over had that happened. Regardless, it’s none of my business what transpired between them to be honest.

Kjkb

True it would have been all over, and it’s not my business either or anyone else other than Jenson and his wife. But unfortunately living in the public eye some people like to make gossip and story’s when there is none

Kjkb

Please get your facts in order before labeling someone a cheat

Richard Piers

Well said.

Tiago Santos

After the death of Ayrton Senna, nobody said that rising the sides of the cockpit would look ugly. Is the DNA of Formula 1 getting dead drivers?

Negative Camber

No one said the V12’s were fuel hogs when they introduced them to the sport, is the DNA of F1 V12’s? No one said that Senna’s cash to buy a ride at Toleman was outrageous, is the DNA of F1 all paying drivers? No one said grooves were bad when they used them, is the DNA of F1 grooved tires? No one said aerodynamics was bad when they put a wing on, is the DNA of F1 DRS? No one is saying that safety isn’t a concern but Lewis doesn’t think the HALO is the answer and thinks it is… Read more »

Tiago Santos

So, people and some drivers don’t like the idea of the HALO. What’s the alternative? I wan’t the risk to still exist, but not the risk of death. The risk of crah and to lose a race is enough. Maybe the HALO is not the best solution, but it’s better then have nothing. I like the idea of cars to have a canopy. But once you put a canopy, it will be almost the same thing as a WEC. I don’t even know what Lewis said, but i belive that safety is also a concern of him. If it’s the… Read more »

Negative Camber

Horner says there is a concept they’ve worked on to cover the cockpit and I think his opinion is that if you are going to do it, then do it. Cover the whole area. One of the things I think we need to be careful of (and you’re not doing it here in your comment but I’ve read it elsewhere) is that notion of Googlese meaning when quickly search F1 safety and find that Jackie Stewart faced huge opposition. Well, that’s in context with history and the sport. Any given year multiple deaths would occur back then (60’s, 70’s), we’re… Read more »

MIE

Cars with full canopies have doors. To put a door in a F1 chassis would change the stiffness of the chassis and compromise the ability to withstand the side impact test. Of course it could be designed in properly, but the car would look very different, not just a bubble on an existing car.
I thought canopies weren’t the preferred choice as in the tests conducted in firing wheels at the structure it bounced much further than the wheel does currently. So it would be more likely to bounce over the debris fencing and into any crowd.

Shocks&Awe

Motorsport is inherently risky. Different motorsports carry different amounts of risk, dictated in large measure by the type of vehicle itself. MotoGP has made huge strides in safety, but the riders still risk their lives for the sport. Hydroplane boats, sprintjets, motocross, rally, sprint cars, karting, touring cars, etc. All have risks, and some have particular risks due to the nature of the car. What Hamilton and Hulkenberg are saying, is, that they as drivers accept the nature of risk inherent in open-wheel, open-cockpit racing. It’s what they’ve chosen. And they don’t want their sport of choice to be diluted… Read more »

Shane Phillips

The HALO device only protects a driver’s head from side impacts anyway, from my understanding of what happened, the wheel that hit Henry Surtees hit him from above, so the HALO device wouldn’t have saved him anyway. The same goes for Jules Bianchi. The force he hit the truck with was so severe, even a closed off canopy would not have saved his life.

I feel John Surtees is trying to emotionally blackmail Lewis into voicing opinions that he doesn’t agree with, and that’s just unfair.

Prince Noel Ihimekpen

The problem is Hamilton gave an opinion that could be true I agree of the Halo device I think Mr Surtees misunderstood what Lewis meant. Lewis wasn’t being disrespectful towards the Surtees family. Lewis said he wants safety but the Halo device is ugly which to me is true, But the problem is people are criticising Lewis for giving an opinion but the problem is that these are they same people who criticise Lewis for not contributing to F1 now his giving opinions people are slamming him, I’m Confused is it a law for Lewis not to give opinions now.… Read more »

Paul KieferJr

So, what’s wrong with…for lack of a better term….a “motorcycle” style of windshield. It just wraps around, could be made of Plexiglas or a similar strong material and could support itself if bolted properly. That way, there’s no visibility issue and you could have it high enough to cover the head and still leave freedom to exit in an emergency situation.

Michael

I don’t think they could get the strength needed with what you are proposing. It needs to be attached at the aft location, which would bring up the driver extraction issues that have come up with other designs.

Michael

Lewis spoke his mind, good for him. I think most would agree we could use some more of that. Regarding this Halo, this appears to me to be a kneejerk reaction to some tragic accidents. Everyone has an opinion on if it would have had changed the result of any of those accidents, I say it’s not likely. Remember the first turn first lap crash when Grosjean (I think) drove overtop of everyone, just missed Alonso’s head? If a Halo had been there I think it’s quite possible it could have broken and turned into a carbon fibre spear and… Read more »

A41202813GMAIL

Maybe Bullfighting And Boxing Are More Your Thing.

ZOLDER 1982 Is Something I Do Not Want To Witness, Ever Again.

TWENTYSEVEN FOREVER !

Michael

A4120281,etc… You are welcome to have your opinion without being sarcastic. I sense you are a fan, not someone in the business. Perhaps you were at Zolder, or watched on TV. There were many bad days in racing back then, even more so a decade earlier. Don’t confuse my hope for F1 racing to remain on the riskier side of the fence with that of some blood thirsty spectator. I’ve made a living in racing for 35 years, ‪I’ve lost too many friends over those years in racing and I know the empty, silent sickness you feel at the track… Read more »

A41202813GMAIL

Yeah, But Those Friends Are Dead – You Can Not Ask Them After The Fact.

Feel Free To Ask 19 If He Would Have Liked To Have Some Extra Head Protection In HUNGARY 2009.

I Am Sure You Can Ask Him, Since You Are In The Business, And All.

By The Way, While You Are At It, Check The Canopy JACK BRABHAM ( Yes, The 3 Time WDC ) Used In MONZA 1967.

GO, 44 !

Michael

abcdefg… We disagree, let’s leave it at that. I’m curious though, what’s with all the number references? Can’t spell any of the drivers names, or are you a NASCAR boy?

Oh, and capitalizing the first letter of every word… What’s up with that?

A41202813GMAIL

A – My UserName Contains My Social Security Number,

B – If You Are An F1 Fan, You Should Know Most Of The Nowadays Drivers Numbers, Easier Than Write Their Names,

C – The Only Thing I Want From NASCAR Is For 10 To Come Into F1,

D – This Is Just The Output Of A CHROME Extension,

Fell Free To Ask More Questions.

GO, 44 !

Michael

Ok, I’ll leave you to your sandbox…

A41202813GMAIL

Who Is Being Sarcastic, Now ?

GO, 44 !

Negative Camber

Easy gents, Decorum & Civility please. Thank you.

Michael

@Negative Camber May I ask why this is directed at me? I was attempting to have a civil debate on the issue.

A41202813GMAIL

Yeah, Right !

I Am 59, By The Way.

GO, 44 !

Michael

You are the gentleman who told me to go watch boxing and bullfighting as a response to my comment, an opinion about the Halo debate. That was a schoolyard response. I’ll not be commenting on any of your silly comebacks or on anything else on this site. I’ll let that up to the wise guys. A parting thought; You mention “I Am 59″. I am not sure what that means. It could mean you are a guy driving a car with 59 on it, or maybe you are 59 years old. Wait, 59 years old? Couldn’t be could it? A… Read more »

A41202813GMAIL

Yes, That Is My Age.

What Has My Age Got To Do With The Way I Express Myself ?

You Just ASSumed I Was Younger Than You.

GO, 44 !

Negative Camber

Not directed at You, Michael, just the thread. Want to make sure we don’t go down a path we’d rather not. You’re a great member of the community Michael. Just sensed some mild taunting in this thread that was more personal than about the topic at hand.

Michael

Well, it seems difficult to have a reasonable discussion on the topic when you have a keyboard bully pounce on you for having an opinion that doesn’t line up with his own.

I’ll admit, when someone twists my tail sometimes I’ll have a go at them. That was a mistake on my part and I apologize for being dragged down to that level. It won’t happen again from my end.

A41202813GMAIL

Until The Sandbox Dig You Were OK.

After That, The Slap On The Wrist Made You Mad Because Your Feelings Got Hurt – Admit It.

GO, 44 !

Negative Camber

I think we’ve made the point. No one needs to lay on a couch and share their inner most pain here. This isn’t a competition of opinion, it’s a sharing of opinions.