Hamil­ton will not hang around if For­mula One cal­en­dar is ex­panded

Western Morning News - - Sport - BY PHILIP DUN­CAN in Sao Paulo

Lewis Hamil­ton has warned For­mula One’s own­ers that he will walk out on the sport if they go ahead with their plans to ex­pand the cal­en­dar to 25 races.

Ear­lier this week, Lib­erty Me­dia, the Amer­i­can con­glom­er­ate which runs For­mula One, an­nounced that a race on the streets of Viet­nam’s cap­i­tal city, Hanoi, will be added to the sched­ule in 2020.

Lib­erty are also keen to ex­pand their port­fo­lio in Amer­ica by adding mul­ti­ple races and re­main hope­ful of tak­ing For­mula One to Mi­ami within two sea­sons, de­spite op­po­si­tion from lo­cal groups.

The num­ber of rounds stands at 21, while next year’s cal­en­dar, de­spite pos­sess­ing the same num­ber of races, is set to run into De­cem­ber for the first time in more than half-a-cen­tury.

Hamil­ton, who this week­end be­gins his ti­tle vic­tory pa­rade at this week­end’s Brazil­ian Grand Prix and is, quite com­fort­ably, For­mula One’s most mar­ketable star, said: “I’m not go­ing to be here if it gets to 25 races, that’s for sure.

“It al­ready feels like we’re on race num­ber 25 this year, so I don’t think more races is go­ing to be a good thing.

“I’m some­one that re­ally loves rac­ing, but the sea­son is long, it takes a big com­mit­ment from all of us, and it’s a long time away from our fam­i­lies,” the English­man added.

“The sea­sons are get­ting longer and the off-time is also get­ting shorter, so from a com­peti­tor’s point of view the turn­around is short.

“You start pre­par­ing for next year as soon as the sea­son is done, so get­ting your mind tuned is very dif­fi­cult.”

To­day, the 33-year-old will re­turn to his Mercedes cock­pit for the first time since he clinched his fifth For­mula One driv­ers’ cham­pi­onship in Mex­ico a fort­night ago.

Hamil­ton, who cel­e­brated his ti­tle tri­umph by spend­ing time in Cal­i­for­nia, has failed to win a race af­ter clinch­ing the cham­pi­onship with rounds to spare.

In 2015, Nico Ros­berg won the last three races, be­fore Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Hamil­ton’s Mercedes team-mate Valt­teri Bot­tas claimed a win each last year, but Hamil­ton is keen to add to his tally of just one vic­tory at Sao Paulo’s In­ter­la­gos cir­cuit, and he also said that he will not step aside for Bot­tas, de­spite the Finn giv­ing up his vic­tory for the Bri­ton at Septem­ber’s Rus­sian Grand Prix.

“The team are not go­ing to make that call,” Hamil­ton re­vealed yes­ter­day. “I haven’t asked Valt­teri, but I don’t think he will want that. He wants to win in his own way.”

While Hamil­ton has won nine times, Bot­tas is yet to stand on the top step of the podium this year.

“I don’t know if I would be do­ing Valt­teri any favours in giv­ing him a win,” Hamil­ton added. “I don’t think he needs that, and he can do it him­self.

“It would be great for him to fin­ish on a strong note, feel bet­ter in the car and fin­ish off the year strong.”

Lewis Hamil­ton in Sao Paulo: ‘I don’t think more races is go­ing to be a good thing’NEL­SON ALMEIDA/AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.