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 Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Prime

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

Formula 1
Apr 22, 2021
How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021 Prime

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for 2021

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Prime

How "overwhelming" McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Prime

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments.

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Prime

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Prime

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021