GPUpdate pre-season feelings: Derek Daly

GPUpdate pre-season feelings: Derek Daly

9 March 2012 – With the 2012 Formula 1 campaign fast approaching, a range of the sport's biggest questions are about to be answered. Derek Daly discusses some of these talking points exclusively with GPUpdate.net to form the latest of our pre-season insights.

We have six World Champions on the grid this year and it is going to be pretty exciting - how much are you looking forward to it?

I always love the start of F1 seasons because there are so many intriguing questions and so many different story lines. I am curious on multiple levels, one of them being can Kimi Räikkönen come back and be successful? Can Mercedes win? Can Schumacher still win? That’s still a big story that a lot of people follow. Will Mark Webber stay in the shadows? Can he drive like we all believe he can or believed or could prior to being team-mate of Vettel (laughs)? There’s so many great storylines! How will di Resta go against Hülkenberg? Is di Resta about to take another step forward and be a legitimate contender for a Ferrari, McLaren or Mercedes seat in the future? There’s just so many great storylines.

Toro Rosso dumps both of their drivers…almost a savage move but it shows that there’s no sentiment, no room for emotion attachment - it’s pure business. You do it or you don’t…and maybe at the World Championship level that is the way it should be. So I just love the storylines, I love to watch them unfold because, without a doubt, F1 has more human drama storylines I believe than any other sport in the world.

In the UK we have a split television deal for this year. Sky Sports is broadcasting all races live but on a pay-per-view package whereas the BBC is only showing ten of them on free-to-air. Could that damage F1 in the UK over the next few years?
My opinion is that the UK will get used to it very quickly. It’s new, it’s different, but here in America we have always had pay-per-view cable television for F1 and people don’t know any better -you have to buy a special sports package which has Speed TV. So for the UK it’s different and people won’t like it but they’ll get used to it pretty quickly.

From a British perspective, Lewis Hamilton was up and down in 2011 for all sorts of reasons. Do you think he is now capable of putting all of that behind and returning to his old self this year?

Yes, he is capable. I believe he will only get better. His challenge will be: can he become disciplined enough to concentrate more on setup of the racing car rather than driving a racing car as fast as he can drive it? We now know he didn’t learn that discipline the early years in the junior formulae because he lived on his pure speed, a bit like Juan Pablo Montoya did and like Kimi Räikkönen does.

Now that he is at the very top, he has to learn the discipline of car setup to make sure he goes to the line with a car that is actually fast enough…and then put his speed skills to work. He is now matched with a driver (Jenson Button) who is really, really fast and has setup skills. It is actually the perfect team situation for McLaren, to have a really good setup guy and a really good instant reflex guy, but they both need different support. So Lewis’ support system needs to drill the discipline into him: how can we make this car faster Lewis? Forget driving it fast, we know that is a given, but how can we make it fast and make it last on the quirky tyres which we now use?

Last year Hamilton seemed to be affected by relationship problems and all of these things we were hearing in the press. Based on what you experienced during your own career, can such personal problems affect what you are doing on the track?
Yeah, I believe it does. In 1982 I had a lot of personal problems off the track and I believe it affected my performance on-track. Elite athletes need strong environment management - and that is away from the race track as well as on a race weekend.

Michael Schumacher has not had a podium finish since rejoining F1 in 2010. Being realistic, what is the most Michael should be expecting to achieve if the car is quick this year?
Michael’s days of realistically challenging someone like a Vettel, I believe, are over. A race could fall his way…Vettel falls out, the Mercedes is pretty good, Rosberg has trouble…and he could win a race. But, as a genuine front-running threat on a regular basis, I think those days are over for Michael. I think elite athletes have a window. He is still exceptionally good but I don’t believe, when you have had a lay off for three years, you can emotionally pull yourself to the level you need to be.

I believe, with world-class athletes, there is a certain momentum and success that follows that gives confidence, that gives more success, that gives more momentum…and when you get to the top of the tree I think it takes so much, mentally and emotionally, to put yourself there. I don’t think elite athletes can drop off and then ever push to that level again. It’s a bit like Pirelli tyres: when they’re brand-new you can get to the ultimate speed, but once they cure you can never quite get there again. I believe elite athletes are the same.

In motor racing there is obviously a car involved whereas in tennis, athletics and football they know it can only be the athlete who is under-performing. Do you think the car can almost disguise that, so it is harder to tell whether it is the car under-performing or the driver?
No…because in this case I believe that, if you put Schumacher into the Red Bull car, he would not match Vettel. It’s a natural maturing process (laughs)!

We mentioned Kimi Räikkönen earlier. Do you think he can still cut it after two years? Also, does the motivation factor still come into it?

I’ll be surprised if he cuts it again, unless he’s had a renewing of the mind and he genuinely drives himself harder than he has driven himself before…and I don’t know whether he has that ability or that desire. I believe Formula 1 is at a higher level than it was when he left. I am unconvinced that he will personally drive himself as hard as he will need to drive to run with a Vettel; he is a driver that does not possess the setup discipline to work through developing a racing car.

He is going to need a lot of support from his team-mate and from the team to make sure he has a car which is good enough. I don’t know how technically accurate Romain Grosjean is; he can’t be that technically accurate because he is too new…

…however, as Romain has mentioned, he already has one year of Pirelli tyres under his belt from GP2. Do you think Kimi has a reason to be nervous about Grosjean out-pacing him from time to time?

It will probably happen, certainly in the first half of the season. But, overall, when you look at the complete picture of the season, the questions which will be asked and then answers are: can he drive himself further than he has ever done before? That is doubtful. Can he get the technical support around him? Remember, that needs an accurate technical driver as a team-mate and a lot of that comes with experience - we know that’s not there.

So I’ll be surprised if Kimi is ultimately successful. We know he is one of the fastest drivers who ever drove a Formula 1 car. That is no longer good enough. Formula 1 is much more specialised in recent years than it was two or three years ago. The windows of how to get the speed and maximise it are now much smaller.

If you could predict one name for the Champions, driver and constructor this year, who would you be going for?
(Laughs) One driver and one team to become World Champion...(pause)…Vettel and Button! And I have to go Red Bull and McLaren! If you think about it, there are so many incredible storylines it is almost impossible! McLaren could have a disaster car...or Vettel could spin and break his wrist in testing and suddenly he is gone for the first three races. Anything could happen.


Derek Daly was speaking exclusively with GPUpdate.net in Indianapolis


Next time: Mark Blundell, former F1 driver and recent television pundit

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Wednesday 16 August 2017

  2. 17:22

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  3. Saavedra gets SPM seat for next two rounds 17:17

    Saavedra gets SPM seat for next two rounds

    Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) has announced that Sebastián Saavedra will pilot the No. 7 Honda for the next two rounds of…

    Indy
  4. Iannone urges patience for Suzuki gains 16:12

    Iannone urges patience for Suzuki gains

    Andrea Iannone says Suzuki "learned so much" across back-to-back events in the Czech Republic and Austria, but has urged the…

    MotoGP
  5. Video: F1 2017 game 'Born to Be Wild' trailer 14:24

    Video: F1 2017 game 'Born to Be Wild' trailer

    Watch the latest trailer for Codemasters' new video game, F1 2017, to be released on August 25.

    F1
  6. Vandoorne making 'big steps' at every race 12:19

    Vandoorne making 'big steps' at every race

    Stoffel Vandoorne feels that he is making "big steps" forward at every Grand Prix following a difficult start to his first…

    F1
  7. Video: Mansell's Williams FW14B on track 11:02

    Video: Mansell's Williams FW14B on track

    25 years ago today, Nigel Mansell claimed the 1992 world title with the revolutionary Williams FW14B. Karun Chandhok recently…

    F1
  8. Rabat's title-winning Moto2 bike stolen 10:28

    Rabat's title-winning Moto2 bike stolen

    Tito Rabat's title-winning Moto2 bike was stolen from Marc VDS' base in Belgium on Wednesday, the team has revealed, as it seeks…

    MotoGP
  9. Montoya gets sports car deal with Penske 10:05

    Montoya gets sports car deal with Penske

    Juan Pablo Montoya will return to full-time competition in 2018, after signing a deal to race for Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech…

    Misc
  10. Bourdais given 'all clear' for IndyCar return 09:41

    Bourdais given 'all clear' for IndyCar return

    Sébastien Bourdais has been given the "all clear" to return to IndyCar action following a final check-up with medical chiefs in…

    Indy
  11. Mid-season review: Renault's steady progress 09:02

    Mid-season review: Renault's steady progress

    GPUpdate.net continues its mid-season review by reflecting on Renault's slow and steady progress since its full-time return…

    F1
  12. Video: Sounds of Williams' 40 years in F1 05:42

    Video: Sounds of Williams' 40 years in F1

    Williams has released a spine-tingling film of the various sounds from its 40 years in Formula 1.

    F1
  13. Tuesday 15 August 2017

  14. Video: McLaren's Woking Grand Prix 'plan' 16:22

    Video: McLaren's Woking Grand Prix 'plan'

    McLaren presents a tongue-in-cheek plan to add a Woking Grand Prix to the Formula 1 calendar.

    F1
  15. In photos: Formula 1 drivers' summer breaks 15:02

    In photos: Formula 1 drivers' summer breaks

    Formula 1 broke up for summer earlier this month, following an intense first half of the season, but what has the grid been up…

    F1
  16. Video: Formula 1 fans go behind-the-scenes 14:12

    Video: Formula 1 fans go behind-the-scenes

    Watch as Mercedes competition winners get a behind-the-scenes experience at this year's British GP.

    F1
  17. Kallio: Top 10 finish 'like a victory' for KTM 12:54

    Kallio: Top 10 finish 'like a victory' for KTM

    KTM test rider Mika Kallio labelled his top 10 finish as "like a victory" for the manufacturer as he displayed encouraging pace…

    MotoGP
  18. Stroll expected 'adversity' in rookie season 11:40

    Stroll expected 'adversity' in rookie season

    Williams rookie Lance Stroll says he braced himself for moments of "adversity" when he stepped up to Formula 1 and is pleased…

    F1
  19. Dovizioso: Marginal gains behind title tilt 10:38

    Dovizioso: Marginal gains behind title tilt

    Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso says "tiny" gains in several areas are behind his emergence as a title contender in MotoGP, following…

    MotoGP
  20. Redding to show 'full potential' with Aprilia 09:31

    Redding to show 'full potential' with Aprilia

    Scott Redding says he expects to show his "full potential" when he makes the switch to Aprilia for the 2018 season, having…

    MotoGP
  21. Mid-season review: Haas avoids 2017 slump 08:52

    Mid-season review: Haas avoids 2017 slump

    GPUpdate.net's mid-season review series continues with Haas, which has made gradual gains in its sophomore season, following the…

    F1
  22. Video: Importance of teamwork in motorsport 05:36

    Video: Importance of teamwork in motorsport

    SAFEisFAST highlights the importance of teamwork in motorsport with the Castrol Honda WTCC team.

    Misc
  23. Monday 14 August 2017

  24. Video: F1 2017 wet-weather gameplay at Spa 16:32

    Video: F1 2017 wet-weather gameplay at Spa

    Watch a 50% distance wet race at Spa-Francorchamps in Codemasters' new video game, F1 2017.

    F1
  25. Lorenzo: Austria my best race yet with Ducati 15:42

    Lorenzo: Austria my best race yet with Ducati

    Jorge Lorenzo labelled the Austrian Grand Prix as his best race since he joined Ducati at the start of the season, having spent…

    MotoGP
  26. Aprilia backs Lowes to 'express his talent' 14:59

    Aprilia backs Lowes to 'express his talent'

    Aprilia boss Romano Albesiano has backed Sam Lowes to "express his talent" again in the future, following confirmation that the…

    MotoGP
  27. Räikkönen adamant he still 'has the speed' 14:20

    Räikkönen adamant he still 'has the speed'

    Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen insists that he still "has the speed" to compete at the front of the Formula 1 field, despite a mixed…

    F1
  28. Aprilia announces Redding for 2018 season 13:26

    Aprilia announces Redding for 2018 season

    Aprilia has officially announced that Scott Redding will join the team for the 2018 season. Aprilia boss Romano Albesiano had…

    MotoGP
  29. Video: World's Fastest Gamer qualifiers - #1 11:02

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer qualifiers - #1

    Watch the first round of World's Fastest Gamer qualifiers at Silverstone. Virtual racers are competing for the ultimate job in…

    Misc
  30. Yamaha pair pin deficit on rear tyre issues 10:24

    Yamaha pair pin deficit on rear tyre issues

    Yamaha riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi pointed to rear tyre wear as a crucial limiting factor after the duo slumped…

    MotoGP
  31. Mid-season review: STR inches towards goal 08:44

    Mid-season review: STR inches towards goal

    GPUpdate.net resumes its 2017 mid-season Formula 1 review series by taking a look at Toro Rosso's campaign, as the Faenza-based…

    F1
  32. Video: IndyCar 2018 aero kit safety features 05:42

    Video: IndyCar 2018 aero kit safety features

    IndyCar technical guru Jon Beekhuis explains the enhanced safety features of next year's universal aero kits.

    Indy
  33. 04:06

    MotoGP standings after Austrian Grand Prix

    MotoGP
  34. Sunday 13 August 2017

  35. Márquez was 'on the limit' in Austria fight 17:25

    Márquez was 'on the limit' in Austria fight

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez says he was "on the limit" and "decided to go all-in" during his frenetic battle with Ducati…

    MotoGP
  36. Aprilia 'close' to deal with Redding for 2018 16:04

    Aprilia 'close' to deal with Redding for 2018

    Aprilia Racing Manager Romano Albesiano has indicated that the team is close to completing a deal with Scott Redding for the…

    MotoGP
  37. 15:29

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday in Spielberg

    MotoGP
  38. Dovizioso was braced for Márquez lunge 14:51

    Dovizioso was braced for Márquez lunge

    Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso says he knew Repsol Honda rival Marc Márquez would attempt to wrestle away the lead at the final…

    MotoGP
  39. 14:26

    In full: 2017 Austrian Grand Prix results

    MotoGP
  40. Dovizioso beats Márquez in epic Austrian GP 13:45

    Dovizioso beats Márquez in epic Austrian GP

    Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso prevailed over reigning World Champion Marc Márquez in a sensational race-long battle for honours at…

    MotoGP
  41. 12:30

    Starting grid for the Austrian Grand Prix

    MotoGP
  42. Viñales: Yamaha losing out on acceleration 09:12

    Viñales: Yamaha losing out on acceleration

    Maverick Viñales feels that Yamaha is losing out under acceleration at the Austrian Grand Prix, as he prepares to start the…

    MotoGP
  43. Schmidt, Aleshin mutually agree to split 07:52

    Schmidt, Aleshin mutually agree to split

    Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has announced that Mikhail Aleshin will not compete for the team in IndyCar across the remainder of…

    Indy
  44. Video: Jorge Lorenzo's Austrian GP helmet 05:54

    Video: Jorge Lorenzo's Austrian GP helmet

    Take a look at the revised helmet livery which will be sported by Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo at the Austrian Grand Prix.

    MotoGP
more news