Lewis Hamilton says more improvement is needed from Mercedes after taking his first pole position for the team last weekend.
Hamilton went on to score his second consecutive podium finish which put him fourth in the drivers’ championship standings, 12 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel.
Three races into his Mercedes career, Hamilton says he is getting used to his surroundings: “With each race, I am becoming more settled in the team and more comfortable in my car, and we were very happy with the pole and podium finish.”
“There are some areas where we need to improve to close that gap to the fastest cars and we’re working hard to identify and develop those.”
However he was cautious about the team’s prospects for this weekend’s race: “There’s a limit to what we can do before Bahrain but I’ll be talking to my engineers before we arrive at the circuit and seeing where we can improve in the short term.”
Team principal Ross Brawn said it was a sign of how much the team had progressed that they felt disappointed with third place in China:
“The performances so far have been pleasing and perhaps even beyond our pre-season expectations however there is work to be done,” said Brawn.
“We have two main areas to focus on; we must improve the reliability and we have to lift our performance to find that extra couple of tenths to our fastest competitors. And of course, that’s a moving target to make the challenge even tougher.”
“We’ve had a taste of success already this season and the slight feeling of disappointment with third place in China is our motivation,” he added.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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