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Hill, Mercedes in Twitter spat over F1 exit threats

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Hill, Mercedes in Twitter spat over F1 exit threats
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Mar 25, 2018, 4:48 AM

A declaration that Mercedes and Ferrari should break away from Formula 1 has led to a Twitter spat between Damon Hill and the title-winning Silver Arrows squad.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Damon Hill, Sky TV, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes-Benz Ambassador and Simon Lazenby, Sky TV
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 passes Ferrari SF-71H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF-71H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Damon Hill, Sky TV, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes-Benz Ambassador and Simon Lazenby, Sky TV
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF-71H
Damon Hill

The 1996 world champion took to Twitter to urge the sport's two big teams to make good on threats to form a breakaway series, complaining that "massive industrial complexes are ruining the sport" and adding that "the FIA have lost grip of F1."

The tweet sparked a response from Mercedes, suggesting that Hill wasn't complaining when he was winning "with top of the line Renault-power", which led to Hill pointing out that he was in fact driving for a Williams squad considered "disgusting garagiste upstarts".

 

Expanding on his thoughts over the 'industrial complexes' from the two biggest teams, Hill told Motorsport.com that Mercedes and Ferrari were not longer treating Formula 1 as a sport.

"Ferrari and Mercedes are acting in concert to try and create conditions under which they would stay in the sport," said Hill.

"Well, if you would have accused them of working together in the past they would have denied it, but now here they are paired up nicely to try and get conditions under which they would continue to stay at the front of the pack.

"Now, my argument is that it's a sport that should be trying to create at least the opportunity for all of the competitors to have a reasonable chance of competing.

"That's always been a difficult problem for out sport, because it rewards the dominant disproportionately."

Hill added that the threats from Mercedes and Ferrari to walk away from F1 are little more than political posturing, and that the FIA should stand its ground.

"Look, I just think it's a negotiation tactic," he added.

"Would they be prepared to compete in a championship where they wouldn't have such favourable conditions? Where they had conditions that were more equal?

"If they're not prepared to do that, maybe they shouldn't be here.

"They could blow every team out of the water. The industrial manufacturer complex idea I was using is because they gave far more resources than any Formula 1 team could possible imagine unless they are another manufacturer. So if you're going to bring such enormous resources, someone has to set the rules.

"Someone has to at least say 'okay we can't let that go on, we have to bring into play some sort of boundary'.

"That's the FIA's job, and they don't have the power to do it because it was relinquished."

"Ultimately I'm coming from this position: Drivers have careers too, and this is the pinnacle of our sport. That's what we continue to say and that's what drivers set their goals at. Globally, its presenting itself as the Everest.

"So you can't lock out 99 per cent of the competition. You have to find a way to open it up. And I know it's an impossible task, because there's only a few people who could ever be competitive. But at least there needs to be an attempt to broaden the base of the pyramid a little bit."

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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