"Formula 1 needs to change" - how Lewis Hamilton would re-write the F1 rulebook
The question of how to make Formula 1 more exciting is a hot topic these days across the board - with the men in power, the teams and fans of the s...
The question of how to make Formula 1 more exciting is a hot topic these days across the board - with the men in power, the teams and fans of the sport often at odds about what needs to be done to improve the show.
As the 2015 championship wound up with three races to spare and Lewis Hamilton cruised to his third world title, the British driver regularly found himself fielding questions regarding potential improvements to F1.
So, whether you love him or loathe him, here we have collated Hamilton’s suggestions for spicing up the action to attract new fans and drivers, as well keeping the sport appealing to its long-time followers.
Shortly before he secured the 2015 title with victory at the US Grand Prix, Hamilton was asked to give his thoughts on the upcoming regulation changes that will come into force for the 2017 season.
In his response, the 31-year-old explained that he wanted to see F1 cars be designed so they are able to follow each other closely to create exciting races that are more similar to go-karting.
He said: “I think it does need to change. I've not really looked at the changes they're proposing, to be honest, but it needs to be [different]. For example, with the DRS, it doesn't feel organic, natural racing.
“Whatever changes they make, I want to see closer racing, wheel-to-wheel racing. It needs to be like go-karting was.
“We need to make Formula 1 a bit more like that somehow. It needs to be a lot different to what it was in the last 20 years.
Learn from NASCAR
Hamilton attended the NASCAR season finale in Homestead and on his return to the F1 paddock at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he expressed his desire to compete in the series one day, as well as stating his belief that the sport can learn from the most popular form of motor racing in the USA.
To do this he said the spectacle of F1 could be improved by getting fans closer to the stars in the paddock, as they are in NASCAR or the DTM.
He said: “There were definitely some things that for sure they do a lot better than us. Or, whether it's a lot better [I don’t know] but there were for sure things that we could learn from them.
“It was a great show, a great spectacle, particularly for the fans. A bit like DTM, the fans get very, very close to the garages in the background and to the drivers. Otherwise it was a really cool event. I hope I get to do one one day."
Classic tracks and Tilkedromes
The Mercedes driver was among a number of drivers in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pre-race press conference to be asked if they lamented the loss of “classic” F1 venues, such as Imola and Magny-Cours, in favour of big money races in new regions.
Hamilton explained that he favoured a balance of new and old circuits, but said keeping those tracks with historic value to the sport was vital.
He said: “It would be kind of good to keep the balance of the real classic circuits rather than just a bunch of new circuits because the new circuits are generally not as good as the old circuits," he said.
“They don't carry the same history or heritage and I think it's important that we keep really close to the heritage of Formula 1 which is those old, historic circuits.
Engage new fans and drivers
One of the more interesting questions Hamilton and others in the pre-race US Grand Prix press conference were asked, was how to get more urban black fans and prospective drivers from the US interested in motorsport.
Hamilton explained that the main factor that limited motorsport’s appeal to many people was its inaccessibility compared to basketball or American football, but the world champion did suggest that a partnership with the NFL or NBA leagues could help attract more people to F1.
He said: “Maybe Formula 1 can start to engage more with the NFL or with the other sports. The brands that you have here in the States, and start to engage with them.
“I don't know if I've ever seen an NBA player come [although] I've had a friend come once. Otherwise it's never really been anyone from those sports, different kind of sports come and try to see what Formula 1's about to maybe bring some attention to it."
Verstappen: Another year learning right thing for me
F1 manufacturers should not fear radical rules overhaul