Lewis Hamilton has accused Formula One of being “outdated” and has called on its new owners to breathe fresh life into the sport.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 One, will join forces with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas today 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 said he believes Formula One 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 £6.4billion purchase of the sport.
“I don’t feel Formula One is winning, and it hasn’t been for a long time,” said Hamilton. “That is to do with rule changes and not engaging the fans enough.
“There still is a great following in Formula One and I am excited for the new owners coming in and I hope they do something new.
“Formula One is a bit outdated in the sense of, if you look at other sports, they are further ahead in the entertainment factor. Formula One 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 added.
“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. 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.”
Force India unveiled their 2017 car at Silverstone yesterday and have vowed to break into Formula One’s elite.
The British-based team punched well above their weight last season and finished behind only Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. And, despite operating on a vastly inferior budget to their main competitors, Vijay Mallya, the Indian businessman and co-owner of Force India, has set his sights high following their best-ever finish last year.
“I said from the beginning that as much as people may say that there is this huge barrier of breaking into the top three, I see no reason why we can’t,” Mallya said.
“We will dream big. We will set our sights high and we are going to go for it.
“I can’t remember being more excited ahead of a new season. The car looks aggressive and purposeful, and is the result of a huge effort behind the scenes over the last 12 months.”
Mexican driver Sergio Perez and Frenchman Esteban Ocon, who joins the team from now-defunct Manor following Nico Hulkenberg’s move to Renault, took the wraps off their new car. t is lower, wider and heavier to reflect the radical overhaul of the rulebook.
Perez said: “You simply want to get out on track and experience your new car. We’ve had an incredible amount of success in the last three years and I want this fourth year to be even better.
Highly-rated 20-year-old Ocon added; “I’ve got to aim to score points at every race That’s the level of this team and I will be disappointed if we don’t start the season with some good results. It’s not going to be easy and the teams around us are going to be strong, but we’ve got to aim high.”