Lewis Hamilton has stated his intention to make sure he is involved in developing and testing the 2010 McLaren car, which we imagine will be the MP4-25, in hopes that the Woking-based team will get it right next time around.
In an interview with The Guardian, Hamilton said he had taken some time off during the development of this year’s car, which cannot match the performance of its predecessor as it struggles for downforce and tyre grip.
He told the paper that he will definitely be taking part in off-season testing: “Last year I don’t know whether it would have made such a huge difference, and it was good to have the break as I’d had two years flat out with not really much in between.
“So I took that bit of time off, not particularly anticipating such a bad season and knowing what was coming up. But going into next year, I want to have as much involvement as possible because at the end of the day I’m the one that’s going to be in the car.”
He said that his contribution to the development process would be feeding back information from the drivers’ perspective: “With the aerodynamics they have all the input there, but from me, I just raise questions that perhaps they had not thought about.
“I make sure I’m clear on what they are doing, with the controls, the steering wheel, seat position and pedals, and what I want as a driver in the car, what they need to give me.
“Sometimes you are given a car and sometimes it’s good and you just drive it, and then sometimes you get in a car and you just can’t do anything with it because you don’t feel comfortable.
“So it’s about giving them the information they need. We have to make sure we work on that, that we understand what we need and then build around that.”
Hamilton has also called for drivers to escape censure for celebrations in front of fans, after doing a couple of unauthorised donuts for the crowds at Silverstone.
He told Autosport: “Look at MotoGP, it is one of the most exciting races to watch because in the end they give even more back to the fans.
“It was my home grand prix and they have stood by me through thick and thin and I think it was incredible the support I had. It was beyond me – I didn’t know I was going to have that much support still, even though I was all the way back there.
“Even at the end of the race they were still up supporting me and cheering me, even though it was a disastrous race really. It was great fun, you know.”
He said that drivers did burn-outs and donuts in demonstrations without damaging the car. “As long as you treat it right and do it properly you won’t damage the car. I don’t think it was unsafe for anyone so why shouldn’t we be allowed to do it?
“I don’t know what else we can do. I think if you want to do it in celebration of your win, you should be allowed to. It shouldn’t be restricted.
“Look back at years ago when Nigel stopped and picked Ayrton up, that was fantastic. That was awesome. Not that I want to stop and get on the side of someone else – but it could be fun!”
However, as wiser heads including Martin Whitmarsh have pointed out, in an era of economy and limited engines, driver exuberance is probably not going to win out, no matter how engaging it appears on track.