Hamilton thinks restrictions should be put in place to stop early development of future F1 cars

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Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, ahead of the Austrian GP, has opened a debate over when Formula 1 teams should start developing the following year’s car. A call fairly directed to Red Bull, who this year is dominating the season unchallenged, having won all eight races so far.

Already having a competitive car, which in some ways seems unbeatable, it is logical to think that Red Bull will dedicate itself to next year’s project as soon as possible, having nothing to gain in 2023 with the advantage they have.

Regarding these circumstances, Hamilton suggested to Sky Sports F1 at the Red Bull Ring a restriction on when teams can start developing their car for the following season.

“I think the FIA should probably put a time when everyone is allowed to start developing on the car next year so that no one can get an advantage because that sucks.”

What we are now witnessing with the Red Bull team and their driver Max Verstappen, surely reminds you of the Mercedes domination from 2014 to 2020, winning eight consecutive constructors’ titles.

Aware of having experienced a similar situation in the past, the British driver continues: “We never started as early as them. That’s why I’m saying it needs to change because that’s why you have dominance for so long.”

His words were then communicated to Verstappen and has replied to Hamilton’s suggestions:

“Life is unfair as well so… it’s not only in Formula 1. A lot of things are unfair in life so we just have to deal with it.

“We weren’t talking about that when he was winning his championships, right? So I don’t think we should now.

“It’s normal of course [that] people behind us say these kinds of things, but they should also not forget when they were winning how it was looking.”

The back and forth then continued, with a reply from the Mercedes driver in his written media session remarking on his position and line of thought:

“Yeah but it wasn’t – it’s not like aimed at any one particular person or anything. It’s just that obviously in my 17 years of being here… before even I got here, you would see periods of dominance.

“It continues to happen. I think as a sport, we do at some stage – I was really fortunate to have one of those periods that Max is having now but with the way it’s going, it will continue to happen over and over again.

“And I don’t think we need that in the sport. Just from my personal experience, when you’re so far ahead, you’re 100 points ahead, you don’t really need to do a lot more development on your car, so you can start earlier on your next car.

“With the budget cap that means spending that year’s car money on next year’s car, but if everyone had a cut-off, a time, everyone knew that it could then start – whatever date it is, October, probably too late, but August 1 [for example], something like that, that nobody has a head start and it’s a real race in that short space of time for the future car.

“I don’t know, maybe that would help everyone be more level and closer the following year.”

Hamilton admits that in the past Mercedes has benefited from starting to develop the car and engine early. Indeed they got a big jump on the rest in 2014 as they had started working on the huge regulation change before anyone else.

For the Brit it’s all about ensuring greater fairness between the teams and better racing action, limiting the dominance of a single team and putting everyone on the same level.

“I might be wrong but something’s got to change because if you continue having- when we were winning world championships we could start earlier than everybody else.

“Then there are teams that weren’t competitive so then they didn’t bother working on that current car… you look at Brawn [in 2009], they just focused fully on next year’s car from the beginning and then they turned up next year and blitzed everybody.

“And that shouldn’t be possible, in my opinion. It’s not for me to judge but it would be cool to see in the next 20 years that if we don’t have huge bands of time where one team can be too far ahead.

“We want to see better racing.”