Five-time drivers’ champion Lewis Hamilton believes Formula 1 should have more variety in terms of the way it races on specific tracks, including changing race formats.
At the Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton won from pole position despite Mercedes making the wrong tire choice and leaving him having to defend from Max Verstappen for the majority of the race (pictured above). With discussions at an advanced stage regarding the 2021 sporting and technical regulations, as well as new commercial agreements, Hamilton believes fundamental changes need considering across a variety of aspects within F1 to make it more entertaining.
“In my personal opinion if you look over the last 12 years and beyond that, they always shift and change the regulations for the car, trying to improve costs, trying to improve overtaking and I think in general the decisions have not been great in all those years,” Hamilton said. “You’ve got Liberty that’s taken over now and you still have the same issues — people are not so excited, you still have that separation between all the top wealthier teams and the lower teams.
“I think there’s more to it than just changing the regulations of the car. That continues to be a fundamental issue but there’s also the entertainment aspect. If you look, every weekend is the same four days for 21 weekends in a year and that format’s never changed, so I think there’s also the entertainment aspect of it that probably has to shift, to suit different tracks.
“You’ve got Monaco on which you can’t overtake — maybe you have two races there; I don’t have the answers for it but I think that element also needs to have a real look because the fans are the reason that we continue to be able to do what we do. I see that while there’s a lot of people here (in Canada), there are races where there are not big attendances, promotion is perhaps not always the best in some places.”
In terms of the cars themselves, Hamilton wants to see the sport remove a number of driver aids and make it even more of a physical challenge to drive the cars on the limit.
“People do continue to comment that it’s boring…. Ferrari wins for a period of time, McLaren wins for a period of time, Mercedes, Red Bull. How you stop that, that is definitely a part of the regulations but I think on a more global scale, there need to be some more changes even outside of the regulations in my opinion.
“I think Ross (Brawn) and that (F1 management team) are hopefully thinking about that for 2021 but ultimately … if I had the choice I would go back to V12s, naturally aspirated engines. I would have manual gearboxes, I’d make it harder for the drivers, take away all these big run-off areas that you have everywhere, should not have steering assistance or even if you do have steering assistance you’ve got to have it low. I like having it low so it’s harder for me.
“You should be just so physically exhausted after the race, to the point (that it’s) like a marathon. Sometimes you do these races and you can get up and, I could do a race — I could probably do two or three races in a row. Formula 1 should not be like that.
“Also it’s a man’s sport, you know, and a lot of youngsters come in and it’s quite easy for them to get straight into it. I do think it should be the most physically challenging and probably why a lot of us drivers are able to go on for a long period in time is because we can handle it.”