Lewis Hamilton's impassioned plea for Formula 1 change

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton spoke out about the state of F1 over the Australian Grand Prix weekend, before the Grand Prix Drivers' Association released its own statement on behalf of the entire grid

Lewis Hamilton's impassioned plea for Formula 1 change

While Hamilton is not a member of the GPDA he confirmed when addressing the media in Bahrain on Thursday that the drivers' body had his full support.

It was part of an impassioned outpouring from the three-time world champion, who made clear that he feels the need to voice his feelings due to his love for motor racing all the way back to his days in karts.

Here, in Hamilton's own words, are his feelings on the state of Formula 1 in 2016:

I'm not a member of the GPDA. I was for some years then I opted out. But I was in the meeting when we all sat and collectively stood together. We all stand together as drivers. There are occasionally issues where a united front is necessary and that was one of them.

Our objective is not to be the decision-makers, we don't want to be the decision-makers. We're the only ones out there who can help you guys know what more is needed in order to make racing fun.

All us drivers are doing what we do today because we love cars, we love racing, we love wheel-to-wheel. We nearly all started in karting and aspired to be like the greats in the past.

When you're now driving and you're not being challenged in the way you should be challenged, whether it be physically or mentally, by the car, and the decisions that have been taken for the rules are taking it in the wrong direction, we can't just stand still and let it happen.

People have fallen out of love with the sport, and ultimately that will lead to maybe you guys also and also for us and we don't want that, because it has the opportunity to be the greatest sport in the world, which is what it should be.

I don't have all the answers. There's a lot of things that can be improved. At the end of the last race I spoke about how the cars can be better. For me it's about the car, and how we interact with the fans, how we engage with the fans more, which I try to do on social media.

I miss go-karting. Today I had an interview which was great, it was about 2000 when I was in karts. It was some of the best racing I've ever had, with Nico [Rosberg] and other drivers. It was the wheel-to-wheel racing that excited me, and it's hard to have that today.

In the last race, it's not that I can't overtake a Toro Rosso, it's because it's like you have 100 dollars and you have to spend it over 40 laps. If I spend 90 of it trying to overtake that car then I'm not going to get to the end of the race.

People don't care - people want to see me race to the end. They want to see me sweat my nuts off and make a fantastic manoeuvre.

I'm not in the GPDA for personal reasons. But when there's a really critical thing - safety or something really important - I'm there. Such as the last race where they wanted us to stand together for our love of this sport.

I told them, 'if there's something you really need me for, let me know, and I'll be there, and hopefully I'll agree with you and I'll stand with you'.

You see small things changing over time, but I don't really know, it's too early days to say whether it's really going to make much difference. I don't want to judge it now and then find things don't change. Ultimately our point is just that we want to make racing better.

People who are watching the race don't know all these different control switches, they just want to see wheel-to-wheel racing. And they want to see battles, they want to see smoke coming out of the back of the car. When you get a lock-up and see a bit of smoke, that's exciting.

One of the best races was 2014 here [Bahrain]. But in order to have that race we had to have a second and half difference in tyres - that was the only way [Rosberg] could get close to me.

That shows there's something fundamentally wrong. How can we get round that to make it more like that race? Because that was one of the most exciting I've had in Formula 1. I want that every weekend.

I want there to be times when you don't win but you've had that race at least. It's the most satisfying feeling when you've come from the back and battled through. That's definitely a better feeling that starting from pole and winning.

Hamilton's comments are an edited selection taken from his responses in his regular pre-event media session with journalists ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

shares
comments
Carlos Sainz Jr says there is nothing to clarify with Max Verstappen
Previous article

Carlos Sainz Jr says there is nothing to clarify with Max Verstappen

Next article

Jenson Button hopes McLaren F1 rookie Stoffel Vandoorne learns quickly

Jenson Button hopes McLaren F1 rookie Stoffel Vandoorne learns quickly
Load comments
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021