Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Tech analysis: How Hamilton resolved his start issues


As the title battle heads to the season finale Mercedes is doing its level best to put Hamilton on the same footing as Rosberg, with the current champion making alterations to his steering wheel to improve his starts.

Hamilton may have breathed a sigh of relief when he realised the Brazilian GP was getting underway behind the safety car, with standing starts one of the Briton's Achilles heels this year.

The FIA's insistence that drivers only use a single paddle to operate the clutch at starts was primarily aimed at reducing the level of engineering that was going into the start procedure.

However, this also added an extra layer of jeopardy, with a good or bad start now firmly in the driver's hands.

Hamilton's terrible start at Suzuka that saw him lose six places off the grid was the final straw for the Briton, who subsequently spent several hours in the simulator back at Brackley trying to come up with new solutions with the engineers.

They plumbed for a hardware solution that has seen both the up-shift and clutch paddle shapes and lengths on his steering wheel amended.

Lewis Hamilton steering wheel, back view
Lewis Hamilton steering wheel, back view

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The shape of the up-shift paddle has been revised slightly, increasing the distance between it and the clutch paddle (left arrow), whilst the previously flat surface of the clutch paddle (right arrow) has been exchanged for an elongated triangular wedge.

These changes may seem minor on the surface but tactility and ergonomy are huge factors in the individualization of each drivers working environment.

Subtle changes can be found between each driver's controls and cockpit configurations, with teammates often sporting differences as we can see in the video above, showing just how different Rosberg and Hamilton's steering wheels are.

The lack of standing start in Brazil means that focus now switches to the season finale in Abu Dhabi, where the changes could end up being a decisive factor in the fight for the drivers championship.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Brazilian GP
Track Autódromo José Carlos Pace
Article type Analysis
Topic Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis