Hamilton lets some off steam in NASCAR Chevy
McLaren
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Jun 2011   |  3:22 pm GMT  |  135 comments

The Mobil 1 seat swap footage is now out, with various content from Watkins Glen in upstate New York. Lewis Hamilton, fresh from his nightmare weekend in Montreal, was driving Tony Stewart’s Chevrolet Impala, while Stewart climbed into the cockpit of the McLaren MP4-23, the car from 2008, Hamilton’s title winning year.

Despite some fairly mixed weather, the pair seem to have enjoyed experiencing each others’ machinery on the long course at “The Glen”, which is a 3.4-mile road course.

There is a deeper strategic play going on here. The seat swap is quite timely and is part of the F1 teams attempt to get a deeper understanding of how to market itself in the USA ahead of next year’s US Grand Prix at Austin. We had a lively discussion on this subject at the FOTA Fans Forum in Montreal, with McLaren’s marketing guru John Allert explaining that, “The best way for us to show people what F1 is about is to get the cars out and about across the US and Canada. We need to give people the experience that gives people the tingles on the back of the neck. It’s a sport that’s very difficult to appreciate only on TV. Seen up close, heard and smelt, it’s extraordinary.”

Ferrari sent its head of communications Luca Colajanni to Kansas the weekend before Montreal to attend the NASCAR race and he had a series of meetings with teams and NASCAR officials to take a deeper dive into the US racing scene and come up with some ideas for how F1 can connect better than it has in the past.

“It was a very different experience to what I am used to, but I saw 70,000 passionate fans, ‘ said Colajanni. “I cannot understand why we can’t reach the same level of interest as NASCAR in the US. We have such beautiful cars, but it’s up to us. We have to do it this time.”

Renault team principal Eric Boullier meanwhile, revealed that the team has begun an in depth strategic review of how to market the sport and the team in the USA.

Having tried and failed a few times in the USA, it’s clear that this time the teams and trying to find a more sophisticated and coherent plan.

You can see the rest of the video content at Car Swap Video

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1

Any chance you could do a feature on how Brembo make the brakes? “Shooting ions at a carbon husk” or something, and taking 6 months to produce one pad. (This is from the SpeedTV commentary) Sounds absolutely intriguing!

2

THat’s a great shout. I’ll get onto them. Thanks

3

One think I think is missed that makes Nascar and other series so appealing in the U.S. is fan access. F1 needs to lose its elitist attitude and make all aspects of the sport more accessible to the fans. Nascar has done this…F1 has not.

I live in the U.S. and i’m not a Nascar fan. Although I dont get it, you cant argue with sold out races every weekend.

4

I’ve been attending races on and off since I was a kid… Dad was doctor at ‘The Glenn.’ I don’t think it’s all that complicated… 1) There is NO American in the sport let alone competitive with the best… 2) F1 prides itself on its inacessibility…. Indy did well with its pit walks and driver signings, which were not the norm as a whole 3) Americans LOVE racing not processions … 1 driver has won all but 2 of the races… 4) F1 treats the sponsors better then the fans… In America, no fans means no sport. 5) No American corp sponsors NOR factory involvement from American auto manufacturers

5

if you simply want fans to show up at the race, i think there are a number of tracks in the usa that can pull a crowd.

but if the goal is to build a television audience then the primary issue is the scheduling.

most of the races occur in the middle of the night/early morning for americans, which is workable with dvr for diehard fans, but you can’t get large numbers like that. and delayed broadcasts are unfeasible in an internet world.

you’d really have to go out of your way and schedule the whole series around a north american initiative.

have races that are unfeasible to air live in NA banked together at the start of the year. then try to move to late start/night start euro races, and finish the year with a NA run of 3 to 5 tracks.

even better if you can some how scheme a way so that those NA races occur after the end of the NASCAR season, so that NASCAR fans are in racing withdrawal and may be more willing to watch.

or they may be better off focusing on non nascar markets in more progressive areas like the northeast, big areas like NY and CA, or making canada or mexico a major focus.

also, buying off a major NASCAR driver to enter a key F1 team would be a huge move. jeff gordon would have been ideal 15 years ago, jimmie johnson is probably too old to transition also. but wait for the right guy and steal one of their stars.

6

Yeah, that crossover would be a big draw to F-1. Unfortunately most of the drivers who are household names in Nascar are too old, or too committed contracturaly to make such a move; and why risk one’s reputation. Not to mentione that they are two significantly different disciplines when it comes to driving. A.J. Allmendinger could do it I think, since he had some time and success in Champ Car, but he’s not the name or the brand that Johnson, Gordon, Stewart or Earnhart are so he might not be as big a draw, and he’d probably have to pay to play whereas he’s making good money in Nascar and can go home every week.

7

The vid with Hamilton was great, no doubt Lewis does good things for the promotion of F1 in the US.

Some have noted that USF1 should have a Brad Pitt factor – that is not a bad idea, get the celebs involved, it couldn’t hurt.

The timezone factor is a big one, living in Australia we have a similar problem most of the time, I have an idea that would be great. Imagine if you could tune in at a convenient time each Monday afternoon and watch an unbeliveable F1 delayed telecast. I’m not talking about a replay of the live feed, I’m thinking of a replay (in realtime), but with the hindsight of 12 hours editing time. It would be like a F1.com race edit on steroids, every single highlight, every little mis-step, every drivers outburst (perfectly bleeped ofcourse) would be shown, it would be 3 hours of NON STOP ACTION and drama. I for one would tune in for a replay like this, and I think many Americans would too!

8

USF1 needed a “Warren Buffet” factor, i.e., much more capitol than they had. And a “Ross Brawn factor,’ meaning a principle/owner who knew his business. But I agree that a few more F-1 related programs would be good. In particular it would help so that new fans would get to know the drivers, teams and tech. Right now in the US we have the race and we have a recap of the previous weeks race. All good but when you look at Nascar coverage it is ten times as much.

9

James how many times has F1 been to the U.S and what kinds of reports, “into why it failed” have been done?

Surely they would have learnt from passed mistakes.

If you can make it successful in China/ Australia, then you should be able to make a go of it in the U.S.

10

How do China and Australia compare?

11

I think USA might be a bit more like Australia than China.

China = Money for it, but not exactly a hit with the fans

Australia = Lots of pressure on Government to spend less money and does it really provide value for money BUT heaps of people go, even at the rediculos prices. Lots of support.

12

Surely there are no real comparisons. The US as a whole has no real need for F1, and the fans are a minority.

It is unique in the sense that the teams need a race in the US far more than the US needs a race there.

Places like China and Bahrain etc need F1 to give them an oppurtunity to be present themselves on the world stage. The US already has that luxury.

F1 is the small fish in a big pond over there, and i many in F1 have become lazy in their marketing strategies as they’ve been courted rabidly by up and coming nations for a while now.

13

That this event occurred at Watkins Glen is ironic. The truth is, F1 never firmly ESTABLISHED itself here until it began racing at The Glen. The truth is, F1 has never RECOVERED here since Bernie took the race away from The Glen.

Notice how enthusiastic Lewis was about the track. And he’s right; they don’t make ’em like that anymore. NASCAR races there. Indycar races there, and on the full length GP circuit. So does the SCCA, GrandAm and I think ALMS as well. In other words, everyone except F1. Go back to The Glen.

What Bernie did here – chasing the glamour of New Money with a series of Frankly Boring Street Races (Dallas, Phoenix, Detroit) – prefigured his globe trotting New Government Money New Boring Venue approach of the last decade.

14

Having said all this, this event is EXACTLY the kind of thing F1 needs more of to expand its fan base here. And it’s appropriate, because McLaren has a storied history at The Glen, and from the CanAm even more than F1. I’d love to see the same thing happen at Indy (on the oval), or Laguna Seca or Road America, where McLaren also has a rich history. It would be awesome to see Lewis take this car around Indy, and then get some laps on Johnny Rutherford’s M16 USAC racer, currently sitting in the Speedway Museum. And, of course, going through the Corkscrew at Laguna would be epic.

For all the flaws they may have – at various times, both have been called immature and arrogant – Stewart and Hamilton seem to be two of a kind. Smoke is known for being willing to drive any car, anytime, anywhere. And Lewis goes up a couple notches in my book for taking this on. I’m not sure many others in the F1 paddock would willingly do it, and he clearly enjoyed himself.

Hey! Bernie! They just showed an F1 car going fast at The Glen and looking thoroughly at home doing it. TAKE THE USGP BACK TO THE GLEN, ASAP! FOTA, if you guys are reading this, make that happen.

15

It’s “Chevy.”

16

In a way it’s good to see this cross promotional stuff. It let’s both the drivers and the fans see how skilled each driver is in their own field. So thanks for the article James.

On the US f1 market, I can think of a few things not mentioned here yet.

+ Night/Evening Races – Qatar and Singapore have proven they can be done safely and the drivers aren’t apprehensive about the few that have been staged at night so far. Shifting a few specific races to a Saturday Night in the european summer at those races expected to be the hottest would benefit all attending and give the US some more time friendly starts.

+ Place coverage back on Free-to-air TV. This is a big issue for middle US, I would think (I’ve certainly heard US friends from other forums report this as a problem…) – I’m so glad Australia still has in on free-to-air, as I certainly can’t add pay tv to my monthly budget, so it would lose me as a fan. And in the interim, all US people can watch via the web through Aus’s one.com.au feed – they get to see our ‘neville’s’ host it, but they do chat with your good self James (best pre race report currently on TV anywhere, by the way everyone…), and get to here the (world version) BBC feed from a great couple of former F1 drivers and informed, intelligent & Job-aware Pit stalkers.

+ Get a knowledgeable & personally affable US Pit reporter on the BBC world feed that the US audience can connect to – I felt watching the Australian Le Mans race feed from SpeedTV recently was something I could connect to due to Leigh Diffy on commentary. Leigh has also a good repore with the guys in the box and the guys in the Pits, and it made it easy to watch – more so than say 4 or 5 guys with French or German accents.

17

*And WHY teams like McLaren and Williams are special…

18

Although, F1 will never be the biggest sport in America, I’m sure a decent fist of it can be made if they get the marketing right (and most importantly, the track is decent of course)!

The trouble is, as has been pointed out before, F1 hasn’t been great at marketing itself. In fact only in the last couple of years – with items such as James’ professional, in depth and digital media linked site, tools like twitter and also the BBCs excellent coverage (including the Forum and podcast) – have I personally started to feel able to get more closely connected to the sport.

But from a marketing point of view they need to really push the boat out with the US. I’m 100% no marketing person with no idea about costings and logistics, but here’s a couple of ideas I had:

– getting the culture of F1 across to Americans. First focus on the people already interested in motorsport. So why not at events like NASCAR, pay to show clips of classic, historic F1 moments on the big screens at the circuits before the main race and inbetween supporting races? Make 90 second shorts detailing amazing events, like championship showdowns and races such as Spa ’98, for example. Give them short snappy tasters of the sport at its best.

– advertising in sport and commercials are huge in America, and it’s important to get the drivers’ faces and teams well recognised. So in the build up to the US race, they should saturate commercials during sports events with quick 15-20s adverts about a particular driver or team or classic circuit. E.g. “BANG” LEWIS HAMILTON!: give his background/achievements, his best (and worst) moments, etc. Maybe with some crazy dramatic music and graphics!!! I hate to say it, but Americans love the exaggeration of Wrestling, so maybe really play up each driver’s perceived character, Lewis: aggressive, best overtaker, Jenson: smooth, happy-go-lucky, Fernando: talented but this-town-ain’t-big-enough-for-the-both-of-us! type, Mark, Aussie grit, Sebastian: the fast kid and ‘pretender to the throne’, Michael: the old hand… And teams like McLaren and Williams are special (they should already know of Ferrari)!

I dunno, my mind’s going off on one a bit! But my point is Americans like everything big and brash and dramatic. F1 has a lot of what Americans would like, but it’s all hidden under the surface! I took a non-motorsport fan to see Senna and he loved it for the drama beneath the sports surface of 20+ cars circulating what could be any old track in any country (exception Monaco) to a non fan. F1 should focus on marketing its culture and drama as well as positive events such as getting the cars out on track to the public over there. Costly marketing for sure, but if they want to make money they’ve got to be willing to spend some too!

19

This, + 10,000.

20

Some good points, thanks

21

Having lived over in North America for a couple of years, I was always interested about what people thought of formula1. Its pretty simple answer they just don’t get it. To get my mates to watch formula 1 was hard as most of them think its like NASCAR before they watch a race. n The most common answer is i don’t want to watch cars go around in circles for the next few hours. After explaining formula 1 to them and getting them to watch a race most of my buddy’s said it was pretty cool but I don’t think most of them would watch a race again. They don’t see motor racing as something well to do people got involved in. Its for the Billy Bobs double barreled people of this world and not for anyone else. There is no glamour in motor racing in North America and the only way people will start to watch it is if Brad Pitt hosts the formula 1 event and all the stars come to the show. Also they don’t really get the history of F1 etc. etc. Maybe the Senna film will stir some emotion and get people interested in the event. Who knows i hope its a success Ill be heading to Austin to watch the first race that is for sure.

22

I’m glad to see FOM is doing more to promote the sport in the United States. I think Tony George did a good job of promoting the USGP at the time, but I think George was more interested in promoting IMS than Formula One. The ticket sales were good at Indy so the interest for Formula One is there, but I think if FOM and FOTA want to make going back in the US worth their while long term, they’ll have to do some work on building a new fan base themselves, rather than expect Tavo or the Austin chamber of commerce to do it all.

23

“It’s a sport that’s very difficult to appreciate only on TV. Seen up close, heard and smelt, it’s extraordinary.”

It’s funny that Allert is saying that in reference to F1, as it’s a statement I would say applies even more strongly to NASCAR. I’ve known many motorsports enthusiasts who like to look down their noses at NASCAR…until they actually go to a race and then they’re hooked. The cars may look crude and be technoligically quite primitive (although they do some interesting things aerodynamically), but there are a myriad of setup options and tactical challenges that make it a real thinking driver’s game.

There’s a purity to oval racing that really appeals to me. Driving flat out for lap after lap after lap, three or four corners that have to be taken with the most minute precision, and adapting to changes in the car, tyres and track on a lap by lap basis, all while you’re right on the limit. And that’s before you’ve even got involved with other cars!

The first step has to be having a successful and exciting USGP to go with Canada, but I don’t think American teams and drivers are necessary. It seems like the bulk of the IRL field is from overseas these days and it doesn’t seem to matter too much.

I think the biggest problem F1 faces in America is the different nature of the racing audiences. We’re all fine with the glamour, the parties, the carefully managed team branding and images. Rail thin, pretty-boy drivers with supermodel girlfriends, driving exotic space age cars that need constant coddling: keep this hot, make sure that stays cool, change to this engine map, use that KERS harvest setting, etc etc. And an endless list of driver excuses: “I couldn’t find a good balance, I couldn’t get the tyres working, the tyres were graining, my water bottle stopped working, the traffic slowed me down, the team’s strategy was wrong and so on, ad nauseum.

Your average American racing fan, particularly a NASCAR fan (and forgive me if I’m stereotyping too much) likes a driver to look like a real man, be married to the prom queen, bring a huge trailer to races and kick back with a couple of beers after a race. He wants to see him jump into a two ton car that’s basically part brick, part jelly mould and hammer round a track at 200mph all afternoon without saying a word while it bakes him alive and incinerates his backside and feet in the process. When the car starts to get loose or his tyres degrade too fast, he talks to his crew chief and together they deal with it.

That, for me, is the biggest problem facing Formula 1 in the States. We worship F1 drivers as exotic, superhuman creatures capable of feats we can barely comprehend. America likes its drivers to be real men who they can relate to, who fight it out with one other using only a combination of balls, skill and cunning. That’s why drivers like Alan Jones and Nigel Mansell went down so well over there.

F1 could certainly boost it’s popularity in the States, but I feel like the target market they cater to in the rest of the World just doesn’t exist over there to the same extent. F1 might become a curiosity that NASCAR and IRL fans dip into, much like an F1 fan might casually follow the IRL or DTM, but I don’t see it progressing much beyond that without a major change in ideology and image.

24

Hi Kenny,

I have to agree with you. I am both and F1 and a NASCAR fan (and DTM and BTCC) and I find the constant changes to the car setup during a Sprint Cup race fascinating. There is so much that can be gained by the driver giving good feedback to his crew chief on what his car is doing at that point on the track.

That being said my favorite tracks are Watkins Glen and Sonoma so maybe I prefer road courses to ovals.

Ironically the reason I started watching NASCAR was through F1 when I followed Montoya’s move into the series. It’s just a shame it’s so hard to get the full Sprint Cup races here in the UK – but I manage 😉

25

Thanks, Kenny. Well thought.

26

I have to say I went to Pocono to watch a NASCAR race and it didn’t do much for me. I quite liked oval racing when I did IndyCar in 1994, but NASCAR has a relentless flow about it which gets rather monotonous after a while. I’m open minded though and should maybe try a bit harder next time to ‘get it’

27

All of these are good points, especially the general anti-glam nature of racing here. The biggest two races – the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 – have always been exceptions to that rule; they are unique events. And It isn’t just NASCAR. USAC and NHRA have that too.

Oval racing and drag racing are not easy to do well, but they are enduringly popular here because they are elemental forms of racing that are easy to relate to: Everyone understands a foot race or a horse race – the 100 yard dash, the runners’ explosive start and a rush to the finish line; who gets there first wins. Just like a drag race. Or the Kentucky Derby: The pack fires out of the starting gate, bunches and thins with thundering sound and blazing colors; who gets around the oval fastest wins.

Here, even the non-racing fan here immediately recognizes these parallels, even if they don’t articulate it. The ancient Greeks with their Olympic foot races and the ancient Romans with their chariot races would recognize it too. What was the Circus Maximus but an oval speedway? Different kind of chariot, but the idea was the same.

James, did you ever get to any NHRA, USAC or World of Outlaws races when you were here? And have you ever had a chat with Sam Collins of Racecar Engineering? He’s a huge NASCAR fan and has written some very interesting stuff on the technology and tactics of the sport.

28

Every race fan should attend an NHRA weekend…there is nothing like it…great fun. F1 should look at the way they do business for some ideas on fan involvement.

29

They should definitely take a look at NHRA far as fan involvement, there is nothing like an NHRA weekend…great fun.

30

Went to short track at Indy for sprint races, loved that. Never seen NHRA. Not met Sam Collins, no.

31

On aside, Hamilton and McLaren were able to step foot on one of British motor sport’s greatest venues. Colin Chapman and his Team Lotus’ first win was here in 1961 with Innes Ireland’s only win. Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, and James Hunt also won here.

If you noticed during the broadcast, as this was Fox Sports/Speed, the standard Fox Sports motorsport graphics package was used (it’s used on domestic graphics during F1 races). The standard used since 2001 in NASCAR’s Cup level with the car numbers replaced by the graphic as shown on the car has now become standard in US motorsport; ESPN adopted it for NASCAR Nationwide in 2007 and INDYCAR (wing plate numbers, US Broadcasts only) in 2011, Speed adopted the system for the NASCAR Camping World Trucks in 2008, MotoGP in 2010, and F1 this season (although the car colour background is replaced by the driver’s nationality flag on the starting grid, it’s easy to see Vettel’s #1, Alonso’s #5, et al). The Fox/Speed version is based on the main Fox Sports package used where the graphic and player’s name is in team colours, henceforth the Day-Glo red on Lewis Hamilton’s graphic.

Some circuits have adopted new colour scoring pylons using the car number graphics instead of just a number or initials.

The hardest graphic to decipher, IMO, with the Fox system is MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, whose #1 as shown on Speed is faithful to the “JL” plate.

By doing this, the graphics artists that work on liveries are now pressured to design art that melds into the car, since the number graphics are shown on US television.

As for promotions, NASCAR does a “Winner’s Circle” policy where teams who won the most the previous year are asked to participate with the circuits to promote ticket sales. Austin has the advantage of being close to Mexico where Sergio Perez could easily bring a home base up the Rio Grande.

The other issue, while not as well-mentioned, is how natural terrain courses and seating are designed. Most tracks feature just one “main” grandstand, on the pit straight, and the rest is spectator mounds with camping permitted. Typically, the American road racing spectator is likely to camp out and make it a weekend camping on the mounds, with much of the circuit viewable or a large-screen nearby, and no grandstands interfering. Miller Motorsports Park (Superbike) is an example of this design. This is why Tilke’s idea of a Stadium at Hockenheim style section doesn’t work.

32

F1 has plenty of fans in the USA, what are you all on about? When at Indy more people attended than MANY European races can muster! And most people flew in or drove across the country to a location that is not easy to get to! It is a LONG way from both coasts, just as Austin will be. But Austin is a more upmarket town and that suits Bernie.

Now why did it not get bigger in the USA? Well gifting the race win (MS) and only a handful of teams racing when the tires were not up to snuff is the big issues and Bernie and FIA have that all within thier power to fix. MS treated the US spectators as a joke and so did many of the teams. Why would Renault worry when they dont sell cars in the USA? They will now Infiniti is on the Red Bulls! Sure Speed can do a lot better with TV coverage,and when Fox has the rights not broadcasting live is just stupid! Those of us that get up all hours the rest of the year are not well served, we are the fan base! The crowd that went to Indy was not as large as they get for the 500. Big deal, it would be if they had treated the people that did turn up with the respect of staging a race and ensuring the winner won! So it is not the number 1 form of racing in the US Market. Not going to be either. But that does not mean that there are no fans here and it is a tiny market! It is big despite the stupidity done here in the past. Imagine what it could have been if it was treated with the respect it is due! People will pay the price IF you deliver the product! But Bernie, the FIA and the teams failed to deliver, so it is amazing they still have the opertunity to come back at all!

33

Hope all parties involved learned from the mistakes the last time around at Indianapolis. There were plenty made and they came from all directions. The circuit wasn’t anything to write home about but it was the scene of some pretty fair racing (as well as one infamous non-race). I haven’t figured out who tried to shake-down who, but it seems big money played a role in killing it. Maybe, with the world economy in the toilet, the money isn’t as big (at least to F1 standards) and this version of US F1 will have a fighting chance.

34

I think something awesome to do would be one of those F1 vs racecar vs roadcar demos like mclaren used to do at silverstone for the US we could have a Nascar cup car vs a corvette ZR-1 vs an F1 car around the new Austin track, I think that would be huge and would give the average fan an idea of just how fast an f1 car is. Most people I talk to when I try to explain why in love F1 so much just don’t understand. Most people thinl of those giant airplan wings teenagers put on their honda civics when i talk about downforce, then I show them one f those old mclaren vids. and suddenly everyone is just bagfle at how quick the F1 car ia. It would be a pretty cool PR event and they could probably even get the local news to show it. Till then people will Continue thinking Indy and f1 are the same and it’ll die off again like Indianapolis did, then my city council will pat themselves on the back saying “I told you so” while they crucify Tavo Hellmund

35

Thanks for that

36

They also do the same thing in Melbourne with a McLaren, V8 Supercar and roadcar – always gets the crowd’s attention. Could do a similar thing at the NASCAR roadcourse rounds this year at Watkins Glen and Sears point (think they still go there)to whet the appetite for Austin in 2012.

37

With all the money the teams collectively have budgeted for promotion and advertising, imagine if for this coming year only they united in a group campaign to let the US know who they are and what’s coming to Austin. If the average sports fan was hit 2-3 times a day with some kind of F1 video or sound clip, people would begin to talk about them and ask the “racing guy” in the office some questions. Maybe for one month they could run a series of 2-minute ads to lay a solid foundation of knowledge.

There are plenty of race fans here, they just need to know what’s different about these cars. Plenty of hi-tech fans, too, who would be intrigued by all the design and development that springs from these cars.

This time around, a widespread effort of introduction and education might just establish F1 on the racing scene once and for all. Make that the focus…

Imagine if the demand was so great that supply-and-demand made the ticket prices look reasonable!

Naah. Sorry, I got carried away…

38

Wonderful clip, thanks James. Re marketing, makes me wonder how it’d be if there was a Nascar event of any sort mixed in with the Friday and Saturday F1. Or even a few of these swaps like in this video. Delightful to see the boyish enthusiasm Tony and Lewis had for this, just plain cowboy fun for each.

39

It’s probably been mentioned but, just wondering how James and others see the latest Hamilton link to Red Bull. Would you say it’s typical story-hunting nonsense?

40

He’s downplayed it, but there’s a game at play here. I can’t see it personally, but you never know in F1.

41

IMO he is trying to put pressure on McLaren with 2 goals :

– push them harder to deliver, but knowing how competitive are the McLaren guys they don’t need much pushing

– obtain a better contract (financially) and it is not about money as much as about allowing Hamilton much more control on his image and less involvement with the team’s sponsors.

If he really wanted to move to RBR, the contacts would’ve been as discrete as possible. I understand in this case, he didn’t hide at all to meet Horner.

42

I was there! After six or so years of following F1, I finally got to see a real F1 car on the move. Incredible! The sight and sound of Hamilton blasting down the straight for the first time was an amazing sensation.

It was so great being there that the SPEED coverage was awful by comparison. All they did on the show was talk talk talk. To see Hamilton drift – yes, drift! – the stock car around the final corner was just awesome.

Stewart and Hamilton both seemed – sincerely – to love the Watkins Glen track. Hamilton’s own words were something like “They don’t make them like this anymore.” And that, I think, is part of the problem. If the Austin track is as boring and predictable as most of the other new tracks in F1, the spectacle is handicapped from the beginning. Look to The Glen! 🙂

43

Glad to hear you go to see an F1 car, an F1 car at full pace is a sight and sound to behold. TV doesn’t do F1 cars justice. I think most people get a bit of shock when they first hear one because they’re so incredibly loud and brake so incredibly late.

44

Laguna Seca???

45

Very interesting watch, I thought it may have got Lewis thinking about Nascar but he sounds like he still has unfinished business in F1 for many years to come yet. Its got me thinking about the latest Red Bull rumours and my theory is this. Any thoughts?

Remember back to 2007 when Mclaren had to make a decision as to which driver was the best to lead them into the next few years. They chose Lewis Hamilton over Fernando Alonso, Alonso did kind of make the choice for them but at that point they had the youngest hot property on the grid with his whole career ahead of him. A man they could build the team around.

Fast forward to 2011 and Mclaren, now under Martin Whitmarsh are taking a big gamble on the future of the team, on the one hand they still have arguably the fastest driver in F1 who given the right tools will deliver multiple world titles.

On the other hand they have a very good, solid driver in the other car. However this driver doesnt have the outright speed of a Vettel or Alonso and is always a couple of tenths behind his teammate. Add to that the fact that he probably has 3-4 years left of his career as opposed to another 10 years for Lewis. Who would you choose to build your team around?

Martin Whitmarsh could be about to make the most grave error so far of his reign as Mclaren boss by letting the future of the team sign for their nearest rivals all because he prefers his solid, nice smiling and non threatening other driver.

The point is Jenson Button should in no way be the future of Mclaren, by doing that Whitmarsh will be throwing away the driver who really should have been the man to take Mclaren into the next 10 years.

Personally I think Lewis will sign for Red Bull because he fundamentally looks like he is unhappy and no longer wanted by Mclaren, ironically a little like Alonso did after a few months in the team.

46

Are you a reporter for the Sun or something?

47

WHen did MW choose JB? Nobody made any choices, and Im sure McLaren will do everything in their power to keep Lewis. You’re just making stuff up…

48

Why the hell would Red Bull want Lewis Hamilton? They’re already at the top of their game with Vettel for God’s sake. Hamilton’s already got the car to win with, he just needs his brain re-wired.

49

Honestly?

To get F1 in the US I would try and get the kids involved. Get a cgi/real life race going on between Lightning McQueen and Michael Schumacher (who appeared as a Ferrari 360 in the original Cars film).

50

he was an F430

Lewis is in Cars 2 as well

51

I thought he was a 360 because of the smaller air intakes on the front.

52

The audio wasnt that great, did he actually lap faster than Tony?

53

Lewis was 7 seconds a lap faster in the tintop.

54

Tony was also 8 seconds faster than Lewis in a F-1. It was just the weather creating havoc with the lap times.

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