Lewis Hamilton has spoken out about data sharing between team-mates, with the three-time champion believing drivers should have to “find it all themselves”, and has asked his team not to share data.
Hamilton told UBS that sharing data regarding the car’s performance is acceptable, but the discussion of racing lines and braking points provides an unfair advantage, as one driver could avoid all the trial and error endured by the other in finding the perfect lap.
“I go out, do my laps, do all my homework, [and] the other guy can see everything,” Hamilton said.
“I have asked my team. I don’t want to see my team-mate’s. I don’t feel it’s fair that he brings his A-game and I should be able to study his A-game on a computer.
“For example, when we’re driving we’re picking out braking points, bumps, tyre rubber marks on the track, all these different things to help get you through the corner quickest. And the other driver probably naturally may be able to do more or less than you are.
“But because of this data they can just copy you. ‘Oh, he’s braking five metres later there, I’ll go out and I’ll try braking five metres later’. So that’s what I really dislike, because it enables them to get closer.”
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver went on to add that in the go karting world such sharing is non-existent. The data gathering is undertaken by running the kart and learning from your mistakes, and it is this primitive way of doing things that allows raw talent to shine through. In other words, you’ve either got the racing intuition or you haven’t.
“That’s what I loved about go-karting; you weren’t able to do that and that was where just your raw talent is able to shine,” he added.
In Hamilton’s opinion, this fluidity of data makes the transition into Formula One much simpler for new drivers, giving them a helping hand towards achieving competitive lap times and resulting in them simply mirroring the others’ racing line. New drivers thus enter the sport not through talent or merit, but secondary reasons like financial backing or who they know.
“I think it should be ‘you hired me because I am the best, because I’ve studied, because I’ve won every class that I’ve been in, I’ve not missed one in terms of winning’,” he said. “And you’re hiring whoever the next person is because they’ve hopefully won some things along the way as well and you’re hiring them for their ultimate skill all round.
“They should be able to go out there on their own and find it all themselves, without you. You could take a young kid from Formula 3, have them just go on a simulator and drive every single day and try and get to my lines. And eventually they’d probably get to my lines.
“He should have to discover that himself. You’ve got to find the limit yourself, that’s the whole challenge of being a racing driver. When I get in this new car, it’s seeing what the limit of it is. And if I can’t do it on my own, then I’m not good enough and I don’t deserve to be there. And there are some drivers that don’t.”