Lewis Hamilton has outlined his vision for Formula 1’s future, saying the sport should be harder for emerging drivers and more “physically demanding” – although British teenager Lando Norris disagrees.
Hamilton, who admits he could remain in F1 for another five years, has spoken passionately about the changes he would like to see – one of which would be making the cars and races more difficult to drive.
“You should be just so physically exhausted after the race,” Hamilton, who started his F1 career as a 22-year-old in 2007, said ahead of the Canadian GP. “It should be just so exhausting like a marathon.
“Sometimes you do these races, and I could probably do two or three races in a row. Formula 1 should not be like that.
“A lot of youngsters come in and it’s quite easy for them to get straight into it. I think it should be the most physically-challenging [sport].”
Hamilton made his comments when sat alongside Norris in the Montreal press conference, but the McLaren driver – the youngest on the grid this year at 19 – dismissed the five-time world champion’s claims.
Norris believed Hamilton was aiming the remarks at himself, along with fellow rookies George Russell, 21, and Alex Albon, 23.
“It must be projected at me, George, Alex, because we’re the younger people coming into Formula 1,” said Norris. “I’m not suffering as maybe he would have wanted us to do.
“I don’t know why he would say it now and not when he first started. It’s much harder now than when he started in Formula 1.”
Hamilton also described F1 as a “man’s sport”, but later told Sky F1: “What I meant was that it’s a man’s and a woman’s sport – what I was referring to was it’s a man’s sport rather than a boy’s sport.
“I think Formula 1, having 17 and 18-year-olds coming in, you’re a kid at that age and it’s supposed to be a grown man’s sport, or a grown woman’s sport. We definitely need to have more women in the sport in all areas.”
Hamilton focuses on F1 ‘entertainment’
There are set to be huge changes to F1 once the new regulations, which will be signed off this year, begin in 2021.
But Hamilton, whose Mercedes contract expires at the end of 2020, says the sport needs more than just different cars.
“In my personal opinion, if you look at the last 12 years – and even beyond that – they always shift and change the regulations for the car,” Hamilton said.
“Trying to improve costs, trying to improve overtaking… I think in general the decisions have not been great in all of those years.
“I think there’s more to it than just changing the regulations of the car – that continues to be a fundamental issue.”
As well as harder-to-drive cars, Hamilton suggested alterations to race-weekend formats.
“There’s also an entertainment aspect,” he added. “Every weekend is the same four days, 21 weekends in a year.
“I think also the entertainment aspect of it has to probably shift to suit different tracks. You’ve got Monaco where you can’t overtake… maybe you have two races there?