LOOKING AHEAD: Hamilton
A BRAND new outlook to go with a brand new car was how Lewis Hamilton described his approach to the 2012 Formula One season as the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 was unveiled.
Hamilton, 27, told the Voice of Sport that he had “got his mind right,” after the ups and well reported downs of last season, which saw him finish fifth in the final standings and 43 points behind team-mate Jenson Button.
Genuinely inspired by the work that had gone into producing this season’s effort to wrestle the championship title away from the Red Bull team, Hamilton said:
“It's great to be here again after a great winter, and just seeing the hard work that's gone into building this car is, you know, it's very inspiring, and I think the car is probably the most refined-looking car we've had for some time now, so very excited to get back into it.”
Pointing out the changes in this year’s MP4-27, he added: “Obviously we've changed the sidepods, we had the L-shaped sidepods last year.
“The front of the car is generally the same. Obviously the nose dips down a little bit different to last year; we've changed our wing mirrors a little bit, so hopefully we'll be able to see a lot better, which is something that I was pushing hard for.”
He added: “Then, particularly the back of the car is a lot neater than it was last year. It's much, much tighter. So they've focused very much on making it as snug as possible at the back to improve aerodynamics, and, yes, it's just completely refined.
“Obviously the wing is a little bit better in terms of dropping drag, and we've tried our best to improve the rear floor, especially with no blown diffuser this year it's going to be very tricky for us.
“We'll lose a lot of down force without the blown diffuser. When we were on power last year, and when we were off power, we had an incredible amount of down force just coming from the back floor with the exhaust blowing just by the spat and we don't have that this year, so that's really the biggest loss for us, and we are trying to regain it in all other ways.
“But I think the guys have done a fantastic job, and it’s a lot trickier to drive the way it is right now, but as we get into the season I think we'll slowly begin to improve and find out where that down force can come from."
TEAM WORK: Hamilton with Button as the new car is unveiled
Asked what he had taken most from the previous year’s endeavours, the Stevenage-born racer said that it was an ability to clear his mind and focus on the task at hand which he had developed that would best serve him this season.
There are six world champions competing on the grid this year, a factor Hamilton said was “good.”
Typically, relishing the challenge posed by putting the best amongst the best, Hamilton said as long as there weren’t too many former champions wanting to get back in the fold, this season should be another great spectacle for the fans.
He said: “Obviously we love to have the competition. I think it's great to have so many great drivers out there. I hope that there's not too many more world champions that will be added to it. I think there are definitely enough world champions.
“But I think that's great for the fans, I think it's great for the sport, and hopefully we will be able to put on a great show for everyone.
“But I think for us, we are massively motivated for this year and coming in very fresh. I think generally when the car looks good, it generally is good, so hopefully that reflects on the circuit.”
Button, 32, reiterated his desire to remain number one driver at McLaren, declaring: “Winning the title for me is everything.”
Button acknowledged that once a driver had tasted what it was like to win the championship title, nothing else mattered. Indeed he pledged to “drive fast, go hard or go home.”