Lewis Hamilton: F1 governance must change after ‘ugh’ French Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has revealed he is unimpressed with how Formula One is being run and says its governance must change.

Speaking after his dominant victory at the French Grand Prix, Hamilton said Formula One teams – who have their own vested interests – should not be allowed to frame the sport’s regulations after he was present for discussions over new plans for 2021.

Hamilton won at Paul Ricard from pole, untroubled after the first corner for his sixth victory this season. He leads the world championship by 36 points from his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and after an uninspiring race to watch, was at pains to point out that the poor spectacle was not down to the drivers but rather the regulations.

He attended a meeting in Paris last week where F1 management, the teams and the FIA considered new rules set for 2021. Previously drivers have not been involved in the process and, having seen it in action, Hamilton did not believe the system was fit for purpose.

“From how it’s set up, just from watching when I was there, it’s not good. Really not good,” he said. “They won’t like me saying that.”

His central complaint is one that has dogged the sport for some time: that teams should not be involved in shaping F1’s future.

“Ultimately the FIA are the governing body and they need to make all the decisions,” he said. “The teams shouldn’t be involved in that because the teams all want to do something for themselves. That’s natural, they’re competitive. Same in football, if all the teams sat in a room and said the sport should be like this, they would push and pull for their own benefit.

“But if you get a central group of people telling us, like the FIA for example, that their sole job is to make the sport great again, hiring individuals or whatever, then they should have the power. They should make the decisions.”

Hamilton attended the meeting after discussions within the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, and with its president, Alex Wurz. He said there was a consensus that F1 needed to change and that drivers should be involved in the process.

“I really enjoy driving, my work ethic, my team, I continue to love that,” he said. “But I empathise with fans watching and thinking ‘ugh’ about a race like Sunday. I race my heart out but it might not be so exciting to watch, I empathise with that so I committed to going to the meeting.”

Hamilton has five world championships and has been in F1 since 2007. He is 34 and may race for several more years but insisted he wanted to ensure he left the sport in good health when he retired.

“If I look at my legacy, I’d love to be able to look back and say I was a part of helping that positive change for the fans that are watching F1,” he said. “That would be a cool thing to be a part of, not just as a driver and the titles but someone who actually cared about the sport.”

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