Sports

No longer a winning Formula

Hamilton says F1 is 'outdated' and urges new owners to up the entertainment factor

Lewis Hamilton has accused Formula 1 of being "outdated" and has called on its new owners to breathe fresh life into the sport.

Hamilton, who is set to start his 11th season in Formula 1, joined forces with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas yesterday to unveil the car which they hope will continue to be the dominant force on the grid.

But, on the eve of the launch at Silverstone, the 32-year-old Briton believes Formula 1 must improve and has accused it of falling behind its sporting rivals.

Bernie Ecclestone was deposed as F1's long-time ruler last month, following American giants Liberty Media's £6.4-billion (S$11.3b) purchase of the sport.

"I don't feel Formula 1 is winning and it hasn't been for a long time," said Hamilton in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.

"That is to do with rule changes and not engaging the fans enough. There still is a great following in Formula 1 and I am excited for the new owners coming in, and I hope they do something new.

"Formula 1 is a bit outdated in the sense of, if you look at other sports, they are further ahead in the entertainment factor.

"Formula 1 is really catching up and they have a lot of catching up to do."

The sport has undergone a radical overhaul of its technical regulations over the winter in a bid to spice up the show.

The cars will be wider, bigger and faster this season with lap times expected to tumble by up to five seconds a lap.

But, Hamilton, whose Mercedes team have won 51 of the last 59 grands prix, fears the new rules could have a detrimental effect on the racing.

"My engineers say it's going to be a lot harder to overtake this year," Hamilton said.

"If we see overtaking is worse, it's going to be worse for the fans and the spectacle will be worse so I'm hoping that's not the case.

NO CHANGE IN MECHANICS

"I really hope that the engineers, who are the smartest guys, are wrong. I hope that the spectacle is greater and the most competitive that it's ever been and if it is, then I look forward to being a part of that."

Hamilton's Mercedes team, meanwhile, will not change his mechanics for the new campaign.

His world championship-winning crew was dismantled at the end of 2015 with five members - including his No. 1 mechanic - switching from his side of the garage to Nico Rosberg's and vice-versa.

The move unsettled Hamilton and he claimed it had a psychological effect on his title defence. Rosberg beat him to the title by five points despite winning fewer grands prix.

But Mercedes confirmed to Press Association Sport on Wednesday that Hamilton will have the same crew for the season which gets underway in Melbourne on March 26.

The Briton has also unveiled his new helmet design for the new season. More than 8,000 fans entered the competition to design the helmet, with the winning entrant coming from Brazil. - PA SPORT

Formula 1