Lewis Hamilton shares an idea about how F1 can set a development date for future seasons in order for teams to catch up, as Max Verstappen weighs in.
Seven time champion Hamilton has suggested a ban on Formula 1 teams being able to start early development work on following year’s cars to level the playing field. It is a bit of an ironic comment from him as he was part of the Mercedes success story from that halcyon period of 2014-2020 where he won six titles and one for Nico Rosberg in 2016.
Hamilton is part of a Mercedes team that dominated the series and won seven drivers’ titles from 2014-2020 and this came after a domination from Red Bull which we are back into. He has stated that such a case scenario would allow a team the chance to stop developing their current car, thus commence early development on their following years model.
This could then allow for success and creating a period, or periods of dominance. “It’s not aimed at any one particular person or anything,” said Hamilton to media. “It’s just obviously in my 17 years of being here, even before I got here, you see a period of time of dominance. And it continues to happen”.
“I was really fortunate to have one of those periods that Max is having now. But with the way it’s going, it will continue to happen over and over again. And I don’t think that we need that in sport. Its slightly bit by bit, by the end of the year we will catch Red Bull but only because they are really focusing on next year’s car because they are so far ahead, they don’t have to make any changes to this year’s car because they are so far ahead”.
“He is cruising at a 100 points ahead of us. I think the FIA should put a time when everyone can start developing on next years car, so August 1st is when everyone can start so no one can get an advantage on next year because that sucks. It would make more sense. Say at the start of the season, you know you have a bad car, they might say, I am not going to bother developing this car and put all the money into next years car and have the advantage itself”.
“We never started as early as them but it needs to change because that is why you have dominance for so long and they keep allowing it to happen. And with a budget cap that means spending that year’s money on the next year’s car,” summed up Hamilton. The veteran also pointed out that at the opposite end of the grid, teams with nothing to lose can also switch development early”.
The most recent scenario of this was with Honda in 2008, when the Brackley-based team sacrificed that year’s unloved RA108. Their choice led to the development of the car that eventually became the title-winning Brawn 001 in 2009. “Then there are teams that weren’t competitive,” continued Hamilton.
“So then they just didn’t bother working on that current car. If you look at Brawn, they just focused fully on the next year’s car from the beginning, and then they turned up next year and blitzed everybody. And that shouldn’t be possible, in my opinion. It’d be cool to see in the next 20 years that we don’t have huge bands of time where one team leads too far ahead, because we want to see better racing,” summed up Hamilton.
Red Bull’s Verstappen was asked about the Brit’s idea. On his way to his third F1 title, the Dutchman took it causally while noting that it is normal that people will talk about ways to slow them down. “We were not talking about that when he was winning his championships, right?,” he said.
“So I do not think we should now, that’s how Formula One works. When you have a competitive car, it is great, but at some point you have to look ahead to the year that is next…I mean it is normal that people behind us say these kind of things, they should also not forget when they were winning how it was looking and people would comment and say these kind of things,” summed up Verstappen.
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