Formula 1: Bono’s voice is Hamilton’s peace | sports

Bono and Hamilton celebrate the triumph in Portugal.
Bono and Hamilton celebrate the triumph in Portugal.JOSE SENA GOULAO (Reuters)

Since Liberty Media acquired the exploitation rights of the Formula 1 World Championship, at the end of the summer of 2016, the company has given the contest a thousand and one laps to try to bring the viewer the most emotional aspect of a capable discipline to put the nerves to the surface. Between changes in format, regulations and aesthetics, one of the aspects that has been most exploited in recent years has been the exposure of radio communications between the pilots and the technicians and executives who guide them, either from the wall. or from the workshop. Of all those voices, the most recognizable is undoubtedly Peter Bonnington’s, and not just because his nickname, Bono, matches that of the U2 frontman.

Bono is Lewis Hamilton’s track engineer, and this Sunday his role will be decisive in the goal of the Briton to add a new champion title, the eighth of his service record, a figure that would take him a step beyond the place that He currently occupies, alongside Michael Schumacher, with whom Bonnington also worked on the Kaiser’s return to F1 (2010). In Abu Dhabi, where Hamilton and Max Verstappen will face the last showdown of the season tied on points (369.5), this 56-year-old British engineer must exploit that quality that has led him to become the trusted man of the Mercedes rider : its ability to reassure or activate you depending on the needs of each moment.

The proliferation of radio messages that are crossed when cars are on the track explains the popularization of phrases such as “Ok Lewis, It’s Hammertime (Well Lewis, it’s Hammer Time) ”, which is the order that tells the current champion that he must seek the limit, without conserving; or “Get in there, Lewis! (This has been one of the good ones!), With which they have celebrated most of the 82 victories that they accumulate as an inseparable couple in the star’s team.

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“Bono is fantastic in management, because during races there is a lot of fuss on the wall. They bombard him with the information they think he has to give me, and he is in charge of filtering it. That does it wonderfully. He is very calm, he is always serene and that helps me a lot ”, compliments Hamilton. “Bono and Lewis are more than just a driver and his track engineer. They have been together since Lewis arrived at Mercedes (2013), and they have forged a relationship that transcends the circuits ”, a Mercedes technician tells EL PAÍS. In recent years, one of the hobbies that Stevenage has had the most has been motorcycling, to the point of spending a day with Valentino Rossi, in Cheste, in which he was able to get on the MotoGP M1 of Il Dottore. It is common for Hamilton and a group of colleagues to rent the Almería or Jerez circuit, to get fed up with riding Superbike bikes. One of them is Bonnington. “Peter is untouchable because Lewis wants him to. In the past there has been some other element that has not finished curdling with it, and after a short time it disappeared from the scene ”, adds this qualified voice.

“The key to Bono is the peace that he manages to transmit to Lewis, in the most stressful moments. And, above all, the ability it has to select the messages that it sends them ”, adds this source from Mercedes. “You have to bear in mind that Bono receives an infinite amount of information, and it is he who is in charge of giving the pilot what he thinks he needs. That is not easy, because there are pilots who may think that they are deceiving them. Lewis, no; He always sees an ally in Bono, and that is great ”, this direct testimony continues.

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Contrary to what you might think, due to the popularity it has acquired in recent years, Bonnington is not one of those elements that are so abundant in the world. paddock and who seeks to climb at all costs. He made his F1 debut with Jordan, in 2000, before joining BAR Honda, which in 2009 became Brawn GP, ​​which, in turn, sold the shed to Mercedes in the return of the Stuttgart constructor to the great circus, in 2010. In all this time he has not moved from Brackley, where the working group is very solid and the group of engineers is very strong. In addition to the six titles at Mercedes – which could be seven – alongside Hamilton, Bono’s record also includes the one that Jenson Button won in 2009 as one of his performance engineers.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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