Domenicali surprised Hamilton no longer F1 fans' favourite

F1 boss Stefano Domenicali says he was surprised to see that Lewis Hamilton is no longer the sport's... The post Domenicali surprised Hamilton no longer F1 fans' favourite appeared first on F1i.com.

Domenicali surprised Hamilton no longer F1 fans' favourite

F1 boss Stefano Domenicali says he was surprised to see that Lewis Hamilton is no longer the sport's most popular driver, but the Italian is also encouraged by the interest generated by F1's younger generation.

F1 released last week the results of a global survey conducted by Motorsport Network in partnership with the sport and Nielsen Sports, with over 167,000 votes tallied up from 187 different countries.

Current world championship leader Max Verstappen clocked in as Grand Prix racing's most popular driver with 14.4% of the fans, while McLaren's Lando Norris came in second, just narrowly ahead of Hamilton.

The seven-time world champion had received the majority of the votes cast back in 2017, when the previous survey was undertaken.

But this time around, Hamilton came up short by 1.9% relative to Verstappen, and Domenicali admitted to being somewhat surprised by the result.

"Well, I have to say, yes, in a way," said the Italian.

"But on the other hand, if you think about the demographic of the people that are more involved in these kind of [votes], I think that you understand why Lando has a great audience, in that respect.

"It's more connected to the fact that he has an approach with them that is fresh, in a way that is more close to the people that are following that. That is my personal view."

  • Read also: Verstappen tops global fan vote for most popular F1 driver

Domenicali reckons that Norris' popularity, which positively reflected on his team in the survey, with McLaren voted F1's most popular outfit, was a clear sign that the sport's future is in good hands when it comes to its strong contingent of young drivers.

"I don't want to give a bigger magnitude than what it is, but for sure it's a sign that, as I always said, we don't have a problem with the drivers for the future," Domenicali said.

"We have an incredible group of young, very talented and very good drivers that is of value for Formula 1."

The survey also reflected an inflow into F1's fan base of a slightly younger demographic, with the average voting age falling from 36 to 32, a change partly induced by the success of Netflix's Drive to Survive series according to Domenicali.

"For sure, Drive to Survive had a big impact, mainly on the ones that were not really so avid fans of Formula 1," commented F1's chief executive officer.

"They saw different narratives with regards to that sport. For sure, it had a positive impact."

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Source : F1 i More   

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Mercedes: One DNF in final races would be 'catastrophic'

Mercedes will continue to weigh its performance versus the reliability of its power unit in the final five... The post Mercedes: One DNF in final races would be 'catastrophic' appeared first on F1i.com.

Mercedes: One DNF in final races would be 'catastrophic'

Mercedes will continue to weigh its performance versus the reliability of its power unit in the final five races of 2021 but admits that one retirement would be "catastrophic" for its title chances against Red Bull.

Ahead of last weekend's US Grand Prix in Austin, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff revealed that the Brackley squad was concerned with the reliability issues impacting its power unit.

Wolff said the problems were "not trivial" for the German manufacturer which supplied fresh hardware to Valtteri Bottas and to two customer teams at the Circuit of the Americas.

In Mercedes' US Grand Prix video debrief on YouTube, chief strategist James Vowles explained why the team had replaced Bottas' Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and how it is trying to prevent a failure that would likely spell the end of the team's 2021 title fight against rival Red Bull.

©Mercedes

"We're balancing performance versus reliability to the end of the season," said explained the Mercedes engineer.

"One failure to finish a race, be it because of a chassis or power unit fault, would be catastrophic for the championship. And as a result of that, we are managing that in the best way possible to the end of the year.

"In the case of Valtteri, that meant taking one further ICE to make sure we had absolutely the best compromise.

"As to whether it improved his performance, yes, a small amount but it is more about the balance across the remainder of the season than one event.

"So, this change, as painful as it was during the Austin Grand Prix, will actually pay dividends across the next few races."

  • Read also: Red Bull fears impact of Mercedes suspension in upcoming races

While an engine failure for title contender Lewis Hamilton would indeed likely be disastrous, a grid drop sanction in the wake of an engine replacement could prove just as ruinous for the Briton in his battle against Max Verstappen.

As Mercedes monitors its reliability concerns, it hasn't ruled out adding another unit to Hamilton's pool of hardware.

"I can’t say whether we will be taking one and what the percentage is, but obviously the risk is still there," admitted Wolff in Austin.

"What is difficult to evaluate is do you want to pre-empt the situation and take another penalty and take the hit or do you want to really run it and possibly risk a DNF, and that is a discussion that is happening as we speak, and we haven’t come to the right answers yet."

The championship will resume next week in Mexico City, a track that on paper should favour Red Bull which trails Mercedes in the Constructors' standings by 23 points while Verstappen leads the drivers' championship by 12 points from Hamilton.

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The post Mercedes: One DNF in final races would be 'catastrophic' appeared first on F1i.com.

Source : F1 i More   

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