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Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton believes returning to an old-school style of racing would solve Formula One’s ongoing problem with parity.
The four-time world champ and current leader in the standings said the vast separation between the top teams and the lower teams is hurting the sport. Mercedes has won all seven races this season.
F1 carved its reputation in decades of daredevil acts and used to be famed for such high-speed drama but at the Canadian Grand Prix it was deemed acceptable to fine Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel for an unsafe re-entry back onto the track stripping him of a much-needed win.
As reported last week, the Montreal crowd watched in amazement as Vettel theatrically grabbed the big No. 1 sign parked in front of race winner Hamilton’s car and moved it to where his should have been in the empty No. 2 slot. Then Vettel did the opposite with the No. 2 sign, hauling it over and dramatically plonking it in front of Hamilton’s car.
“People do continue to comment that it’s boring,” Hamilton said of the inequality between teams. “Ferrari wins for a period of time, McLaren wins for a period of time, Mercedes, Red Bull. How you stop that?
“If I had a choice, I would go back to V12, naturally-aspirated engines, manual gear boxes. I would make it harder for the drivers. Take away all these big runoff areas that you have everywhere. You should not have steering assist. Or if you have steering assist, you have to keep it low. I like having it low so it’s harder for me.”
“You should be physically exhausted after a race,” he added. “It should be so exhausting, like a marathon. I could probably do two or three races in a row, and Formula One should not be like that.”
The disparity between teams goes well beyond this year. Mercedes has won the last five F1 championships while Red Bull won the previous four.
Racing Point driver Lance Stroll echoed Hamilton’s sentiments. “Look at the NHL, the NFL, the NBA, the teams are so close,” the 20-year-old told reporters. “That’s because it’s capped properly, it’s managed properly. That allows for exciting competitions. It would be great to see the same thing in Formula One. Instead of two seconds between the field, it comes down to tenths. That would really spice things up.”
Stroll is one of the drivers usually stuck in the middle of the pack, well behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. He finished ninth in the last race.
The F1 debate continues with the French Grand Prix on Sunday.