Formula 1 would like Lewis Hamilton to race ‘forever’, but is also excited by the challenge he faces from young drivers, according to chairman and CEO Chase Carey.
Hamilton wrapped up a sixth drivers’ championship in 2019, leaving him just one short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven. Hamilton is also just seven short of the German’s win record, and Carey said while the reigning champion is a huge asset to F1 as a superstar who transcends the sport, he also sees exciting potential in the younger generation such as Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc who are now fighting against him.
“I hope Lewis races forever!” Carey said. “He’s obviously an incredible champion, his success speaks for itself, and sport’s built on heroes. He’s a hero second to none in our sport, we hope he races forever – he probably won’t – but he has some challenges ahead of him and we’d like to see him tackle those.
“But this year in particular, we’ve got an incredible array of young talent. Certainly I don’t have the tenure Jean (Todt, FIA president) and others do, but the breadth and depth of the talent coming into the sport… As Max has been racing a few years we forget how young he is, but whether it’s Max, Charles, Lando (Norris), we have an incredible future for those drivers, and I hope they get a chance to battle for Lewis.”
Carey also believes that the new FIA ladder that creates a clear path through Formula 3 and Formula 2 to F1 will further help to promote young talent.
“It’s why we work so hard to create a proper pyramid for Formula 3 and Formula 2. When we came in there was GP2, Formula 3, GP3 – we had sort of fragmented, not well coordinated races feeding into Formula 1.
“We tried to create a proper pyramid. We want to try and strengthen that pyramid and make sure it provides opportunity for drivers to emerge, become champions and continue to compete, but [also] for young drivers to get into it. I can’t think of a year that has a more exciting breadth and depth of young drivers coming into this sport.”