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Hamilton: FIA still need to do more to regain my trust

Lewis Hamilton has admitted it will take some time for him to rebuild his trust in the FIA, after admitting that he "lost faith in the system" last year.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2nd position, on the podium

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2nd position, on the podium

Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Speaking in public for the first time since the controversial Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi where he lost the world title after a late race safety car call by race director Michael Masi, Hamilton spoke about how his love of the sport had been hurt by the events.

And although he denied that he ever came close to considering retirement, he admitted that things had been hard for him to process.

“Of course at the end of seasons you think and the question is whether you're willing to commit the time and the effort that it takes to be a world champion,” he said.

“I think a lot of people underestimate what it takes to be a world champion. And there are so many moving parts. It's not just turning up and driving the car.

“The question is, do you want to sacrifice the time? Do you believe that you can continue to punch at the weight that you're punching? So that's a normal kind of mental process for me.

“But of course, this one was compounded by a significant factor. And I think ultimately, with a sport that I've loved my whole life, there was a moment where I kind of obviously lost a little bit of faith within the system.

“But I'm generally a very determined person. And I like to think to myself like whilst moments like this might define careers, I refuse to let this define mine. And so I'm focused on being the best I can be and coming back stronger.”

Mercedes W13

Mercedes W13

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

Asked by Autosport if the changes the FIA had announced this week – including replacing Masi and creating a virtual race control support system – were enough to bring his faith back, Hamilton said he wanted to see more.

“I put faith and trust alongside each other,” he said. “And so trust can obviously be lost in the blink of an eye or the flick of a finger.

“But to earn trust is something that is built over a long period of time. So, whilst I didn’t see that coming, this first announcement at the launch yesterday is perhaps a first step of that. But that doesn’t necessarily change everything just yet.

“We have to see actual action and I think it will take a bit of time. But I’m not really focused necessarily on that area at the moment. I’m just putting absolutely every ounce of my energy and time into making sure that I’m the best you’ve ever seen.”

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Hamilton suggested that key for him was seeing that the FIA delivered on the consistency in its decision that many felt was lacking in 2021.

“Whilst we can't change the past, and nothing will ever really be able to change the way and how I felt at the time, and how I feel about the situation, it is good to see that the FIA are taking steps to make improvements,” he said.

“I think accountability is key. And we have to use this moment to make sure that this never happens to anybody else in the sport ever again.

“Even everything that's been said by the FIA, we welcome that. But we have to make sure that we keep a close eye on it and make sure that that we actually are seeing those changes, and rules are applied fairly and accurately and consistently.”

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