Cable tip-off an example of "super spy" Hamilton's focus

Keeping a close eye on what rival teams are up to is part of the game in Formula 1.

Cable tip-off an example of "super spy" Hamilton's focus

It's why teams spend money on spy photographers to capture close-ups of other cars, and why there are rules limiting what techniques and technology – like 3D camera scans – are actually allowed.

While teams try their best to keep their own designs secret – which is why you often see mechanics blocking off sections of the cars from rival teams on the grid or in the garages – there is one part of the race weekend where things are more open.

In parc ferme after the race, the cars are held in an open space prior to post-event inspections, and there is little teams can do to keep prying eyes away.

Although there is a gentleman's agreement that teams do not take close-up spy shots of cars there, there is nothing stopping drivers walking right up to the cars to take a peek themselves.

Several times Sebastian Vettel has been witnessed checking out the fine details of a Mercedes, even pushing down on car parts on occasions, and Lewis Hamilton also is known to have a good eye for spotting things.

While you would think that any information a driver gives back to his team from this moment is of minimal use, actually there can sometimes be priceless details that can push a team to work on something better for their own car.

One of Mercedes' former engineers has now lifted the lid on what type of feedback a driver like Hamilton can give – and offered a fascinating example that highlights the world champion's attention to the smallest of details.

Philipp Brandle worked on Hamilton's car until the end of 2019 and, during a recent appearance on ServusTV over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, he was full of praise for the insight that Hamilton often gave the team.

"Lewis is a super spy", said Brandle. "He looks at everything very closely.

"For example, there was once a moment prior to the podium room where the drivers were having a drink. He noticed that another racing suit had fewer cables. The point was that you can save weight, because really every detail counts in Formula 1.

"So he gave us the feedback that the other team had a shorter wiring harness, and a smaller plug.

"And really everything, how you can somehow save just one gramme, is important. He looks at details like that, and that's what we implemented."

Read Also:

Former F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg said that drivers felt a responsibility to keep an eye on anything of interest they spotted on rival cars in those parc ferme moments.

"You gather information," he told ServusTV. "You look at how it's solved on the car and then you pass that on to your engineers. And of course you hope that they can do something with it and make your car faster."

shares
comments

Related video

Why the FIA has got tough on F1 car inspections

Previous article

Why the FIA has got tough on F1 car inspections

Next article

Vettel should have taken a year off in 2021 - Marko

Vettel should have taken a year off in 2021 - Marko
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021