Good inter-team relationship key for Hamilton at Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton has stressed the importance of a good working relationship with your teammate as the Formula One world casts its opinion on Ferrari’s decision to sign Kimi Raikkonen for 2014.

Raikkonen will work alongside Fernando Alonso at the team, with Hamilton having partnered the Spaniard during his debut season at McLaren in 2007. Hamilton’s pace came as a surprise to many, particularly Alonso who believed that the team was favoring the British driver. As a result, Alonso left after just one season and returned to Renault. Speaking from experience, Hamilton believes that it is key to get on with your teammate.

“I think always in whatever team you’re in – whether it’s football or basketball – you’ve got to have that good communication and you’ve got to help create good ambience in the team, and that’s largely to do with people like Ross but also the two drivers make quite a big impact on that,” Hamilton said in response to NBC Sports’ question about inter-team relations. “It’s good that me and Nico get along well, I think the energy we send out to the team and the atmosphere that we help create really levels the team and gives them that positive energy.”

Hamilton admitted that there is always a desire to beat your teammate, but he affirmed that the collective effort at Mercedes must always come first.

“We’ve got two great drivers. They get on well, they know their stuff, and they’re on it. We don’t have that battle internally from my side of the garage to his. Obviously deep down inside everyone want to beat the other, but we don’t make it a personal thing. At the end of the day, we want to win for the team.”

Hamilton is chasing his second victory in Singapore this weekend, having won the race back in 2009 for McLaren.

Schmidt Peterson hires IndyCar’s first female lead engineer, will work with Hinchcliffe

Photo courtesy Audi Sport
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Leena Gade, who helped lead Audi to three wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has joined Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as lead engineer for the No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda of driver James Hinchcliffe.

“I’m really honored that I’ve got a chance to come across and work in INDYCAR,” Gade said in a team media release. “When I was a kid, I used to watch Indy car (racing), especially when Nigel Mansell first came over (in 1993), and I followed it quite a lot.

“During my sports car days, it was a little less so, until I had friends come across to the U.S. to work in it like Piers (Phillips, SPM’s general manager).

“I’m quite honored to be given the chance. It is going to be something completely different to anything I’ve ever done before, so it’s a big learning curve, but it’s a challenge that I’m really relishing, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Gade, who grew up in India and is from Great Britain, is one of the most recognized engineers in all forms of international motorsports. She becomes the first female lead engineer in Verizon IndyCar Series history.

She’s also the second female lead engineer in Indy racing history, joining Diane Holl, who served as engineer for Adrian Fernandez, Tony Kanaan (Tasman Motorsports) and Richie Hearn (Della Penna Motorsports) in CART from 1996-2000.

Gade, who holds engineering degrees from the University of Manchester in England, has engineered cars in several race series and for several manufacturers, including F1, BMW, A1 Grand Prix, GT racing, Jaguar, Audi and most recently with Bentley Motorsport.

She became the first female race engineer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011, and followed that up with another Le Mans win in 2012, as well as being part of the World Endurance Championship drivers and manufacturers titles in the same year.

Also in 2012, she was named FIA WEC “Man of the Year” and was awarded the C&R Racing Women in Technology award from the Lyn St. James Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation.

Her team also won Le Mans for a third time in 2014.

“There was significant interest in Leena amongst the international motorsports community, so we’re really excited that she sees where we’re taking SPM, believes in what we’re doing and that she is now a part of our organization,” Piers Phillips said. “ I’ve known Leena for quite some time now and I’ve worked alongside her, so I knew the credit she’s been given is well deserved. We’re very much looking forward to throwing her into the deep end and seeing her add to the team’s success.”

Gade and Hinchcliffe go into the deep end that Phillips referenced when they take part in a team test Jan. 24 at Sebring International Raceway, the first time the pair will work together.