Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2021

Domenicali sure Hamilton will return to fight for eighth F1 title

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says he has no doubt Lewis Hamilton will

In brief

Hamilton will return – Domenicali

Speaking at the awarding of the Bandini Trophy in Brisighella, Domenicali said he is sure seven-times world champion Hamilton will not turn his back on F1 following the acrimonious conclusion to this year’s world championship.

“I’m sure he will recharge his batteries and come back with even more desire than before to win the eighth world title,” Domenicali told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Horner to extend Red Bull stay

Red Bull motorsport Helmut Marko revealed team principal Christian Horner is extending his contract to run the team. Horner, the longest-serving active team principal, took charge at the Milton Keynes squad in 2005, and is set to remain there until at least 2026.

Formula E’s new qualifying puts emphasis back on performance

Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James said that he believes the series’ new qualifying format – which largely does away with groups and super pole in favour of a head-to-head style challenge – will allow drivers and teams to better showcase their machinery and skills.

“I think there will be a greater emphasis on performance once more, which is what we all wanted to see this season,” said James. “While we may be well underway with preparations, obviously, you never know how things are going to pan out until you’ve tried them. But still, I feel very optimistic. It’s going to be a step in the right direction.”

Giuliano Alesi not involved in firecracker incident – management

Super Formula Lights driver Giuliano Alesi’s management have issued a statement saying he was not involved in an incident that led his father, Jean Alesi, to be questioned by police in Avignon, France.

“On the night of December 19th, Jean Alesi placed firecrackers in his sister’s acquaintance’s office, breaking the windows,” the statement clarifies. “Jean Alesi had planned to apologise for the incident the following day, but before he could do so, the police visited the office of his brother José Alesi, the owner of the car, who, unaware of the incident, went to the police to discuss the matter.”

The former Ferrari F1 driver apologised for the incident, the statement added.

Ferrari junior Camara steps up to Italian F4

Ferrari Driver Academy driver Rafael Camara will race in Italy’s Formula 4 series in 2022, after winning the WSK Super Master Series and WSK Champions Cup in 2021. Camara will make his car racing debut with Prema.

Ben Sulayem joins condemnation of Latifi abuse

The new FIA president has joined the criticism of the abuse Williams driver Nicholas Latifi received over his crash which triggered the controversial end to the 2021 F1 season. “I strongly condemn these unacceptable threats and I give my full support to Nicholas Latifi,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

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Comment of the day

MaxAttack considers which 2020 rookie has shown the best of their potential.

Yuki came in to very little fanfare (and plenty of “here comes another Inoue/Japanese pay driver”) up against a very solid driver on a great trajectory in Gasly. He quickly showed he can find the speed in the car and was candid in the open season about coming out the gates too quick in qualifying and crashing. It’s plain to see he worked on this as his qualifying performances became middling for quite a few races until the back end of the season where we began to see him build the speed up again.

In races he has been remarkably solid for a rookie and showed more plainly than Gasly that the AT was a car with distinct strengths and weaknesses – I think they really struggled managing tyres at a lot of tracks, something that will always work against a rookie. He has shown he can mount a stout defence against a superior car and he can also make moves and overtake, provided Lance Stroll is looking in his mirrors.

Mick Schumacher on the other hand has come in to a massive fanfare and huge anticipation and is heavily backed – his seat being safer than Yuki’s with Honda on the way out goes without saying in my opinion. It’s hard to see what Mick proved up against the lamest of ducks in Mazepin but he showed he can bang wheel rims together and is capable of putting a decent lap in. However in such a dog of a car in a throwaway season it’s hard to hand any kind of accolade into that garage.

Against stiffer competition, doing much more serious/important racing (for points), Tsunoda is clearly rookie of the year any way I can cut it. A legitimate talent who deserves backing and certainly one of the most promising Japanese drivers to enter the sport.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Bascb, Olliekart, Bosyber, Curmudgeon and Pat Ruadh!

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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32 comments on “Domenicali sure Hamilton will return to fight for eighth F1 title”

  1. Not in entire agreement with COTD (as commented in original thread)

    1. I’m not sure if I agree with the CotD, but it is very well argued/written.
      Happy that comments like this make it to CotD.

  2. Re: COTD, let’s see how much has changed since the Mosley era of FIA… if this is where the bar is set then Mohammed Ben Sulayem should be careful not to trip on it.

    1. Correction, I meant the Social media post, not COTD

  3. I would think Hamilton is not so easily broken by a dud decision. Also F1 need him back as (sorry Verstappen fans) he is the most famous and popular driver on the grid with Ricciardo arguably coming in second in popularity. The issue is the ongoing working relationship between Merc and Massi, how will that play out?

    1. As far as popularity concerns, max is number 1 in the most recent poll.
      The amount of interest he created saved a totally boring f1.
      I agree ricciardo is very populair too, as was Kimi. Authentic characters always attract people.
      Lewis has a lot of followers, a common misconception is thinking they are his ” friends”. Nevertheless a driver with a lot of influence and a example for many.

  4. The drivers work very hard throughout the season only to find that race has been manipulated by the FIA officials.

  5. LH is a crybaby. Attention seeking LH is letting this play out in the media to get sympathy votes. The only reason he will return is for everyone to show him the love and beg for him to stay.

  6. Hamilton needs to move away from Mercedes. There’s nothing left he can really achieve, one title more, one title less, it will be just another “because of the most dominant team in the history” narrative. If he had won this year he could at least continue his year after year winning streak but now things changed. Anyway the only profitable option for him is transition to Ferrari. That modern Alesi-Berger pair doesn’t look promising, rumours say the feeling between Scuderia and Leclerc isn’t that romantic anymore. I can see Hamilton already secretly negotiating with them.

    1. If Leclerc and Sainz are Alesi and Berger then there’s no hope for the next generation since Norris and Russell are no better. We should try cloning Lewis, make him ageless and put him in all the seats for the rest of time.

      1. Alesi and Berger were fast enough (especially when young) but sometimes it just doesn’t work. I don’t know why, it’s the mystery. Regarding Norris… I like the guy, somehow reminds me of Jim Clark. Yeah, he lost with Russell in F2. At early age Frentzen was also considered faster than Schumacher, but look how it ended. Don’t know about Russell but I think that in the end Norris can achieve much more than Leclerc.

        1. Jeffrey Powell
          23rd December 2021, 6:38

          Lando. reminds you of Jim Clark hey! Game over Max.say goodbye to pole positions Ha Ha.

          1. I mean in terms of personality. There’s a book about Jim written by Eric Dymock. Clark was a shy indecisive introvert (but sometimes could act like an as****le as well) that deep inside doubted his own racing skills, thought he isn’t as good as others. It took time for him to gain self-confidence. Of course his dominance was possible thanks to Lotus and Colin Chapman, but it was just perfect symbiosis.

        2. I can think of no driver past or present that is similar to Clark (maybe Prost until Senna turned out to be even faster). Norris has more of a Damon Hill vibe.

          1. My comment about Clark and Norris similarities (in terms of personality) is under investigation, hope it will appear later.

            Prost? Nah, he was more like Jackie Stewart. I mean if Prost was Professor and Lauda was Computer then Stewart has to be Nobel Winner of Racing Science: drive safely, win effectively, quit when necessary.

    2. I disagree with you on all those points. While not as in your face (mostly because social media was less of a thing) there was still that poor argument floating around Schumacher. I was never a fan of his but can’t deny he was damn good and Hamilton will be accepted the same way eventually by those refusing to see him as such for whatever their reason is.
      Alesi and Berger were both very good drivers but the Ferrari they had was rubbish. Leclerc and Sainz are a great pairing very much capable of challenging at the front.

    3. Doesn’t matter. One of the more impressive stats about Hamilton is that he’s got at least one pole position and race win every season he’s competed in F1. And GP2. And F3.

      Many people insist this is only because he’s always been in an over-powered car, or because he was the “most prepared rookie” in F1 history (I think Lance Stroll has that title these days). The McLaren cars in the 2009-2013 era were… questionable at best. The 2012 car was the only real contender for the championship, but Button couldn’t get it to perform.

      Hamilton’s detractors will always find a way to rationalize his accomplishments.

      To me, it’s not just his records that are impressive, it’s that he’s been consistently at the top in 4 major eras of car design. He’s an incredibly adaptable driver.

  7. Interesting take on the Rookie of the Year in the COTD. I for one wouldn’t say Yuki arrived to very little fanfare – maybe I inhabit complete different online spaces from the COTD author. So many people were hyping him up as the next big thing as far as I could see. On the other hand, I saw quite a number of people saying Mick was in just because of his name while denigrating his F2 championship performance as no more than a fluke. So interesting to see this different perspective one year on.

    Regarding their actual performance, I think any attempt to compare them is a proper fool’s errand but if I were to stick my neck out, I’d say Yuki underperformed more given the quality of equipment he had at his disposal. The Haas must have been the worst possible car for a rookie in years. But the relative performance against their teammates is unfair given Mazepin is nowhere near Gasly. Still, I’d give it to Mick since smashing your teammate is the primary goal for any driver.

    1. Yeah, I’m not sure what Mick was meant to achieve in that Haas other than handily beating Mazepin. There were some flashes of competitiveness from Mick, such as his drive in Hungary. I was also a bit surprised he was fighting for position with Latifi in Abu Dhabi given the performance difference between those two cars, and we know how that one turned out.

      1. @red-andy He also managed to keep Russell behind early in the race & outright beat Latifi in Portugal, for instance.

  8. Of course, he’ll continue as per his two-year commitment announced in Austria.
    The likelihood of him quitting over Masi’s manipulation is extremely low anyway.

    1. @jerejj
      The commitment he signed is about racing with Mercedes and even if he retires he cannot go anywhere in that period but technically speaking he still can retire. Rosberg extended his contract for two more years in Mercedes in July 2016 and that didn’t stop him from retiring 3 months later.

  9. If Hamilton stops he is taking the beat down harder then expected. Hope he doesn’t since he’s driving at a very high level and I want to know how good Russell really is.

  10. I don’t think Lewis would ever resign, not on his prime. Lewis need F1 just like F1 need Lewis. They both need the world exposure. Lewis can’t do a Rosberg because he had no family to turn to as justification and he can’t be as highly regarded celebrity without a seat at the main stage. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I don’t like hypocrisy of celebrities, I believe that a biggest advantage of him against Max mentally. Lewis had far knowledge and experiences on how to manage his sanity, unlike Max how surround himself with racing environment and nothing else.

    So yes, Domenicali was right.

  11. I too doubt Hamilton will quit over this. If my understanding of his mindset it correct, all this will do is make him more hungry and eager to win number 8. Apparently the Italian version of Motorsport.com are reporting that he’s told Mercedes he isn’t planning on quitting.

    I’ve had a quick look at the regulations for that new Formula E qualifying format, and the best way to describe it is probably “odd”. Like, I admire their attempts to change things and test new things out; they’re probably the best of the major FIA series to do these tests and trials (FE reverse grid sprint races anyone?), so I don’t dislike the thinking behind it. But they’ve essentially tried to make qualifying into a knockout tournament like you might see in a football tournament. I just think it’ll be too difficult to follow and understand, especially for a casual fan.

    1. I’d like to see a knockout qualifying format where, instead of competing to set a lap time, the “duel” is a head-to-head one- or two-lap race between the two drivers. Most of them would probably be pretty one-sided but you’d definitely get the occasional thriller.

      1. Thats just what F1 needs more gimmicks, how is Joe 6 pack supposed to follow F1 with all its convoluted ‘whoever goes fastest in quali’ starts first when we can have ‘Battle Pole(tm)’ with added fanboost..

  12. The one thing Masi should have introduced is the format top ten shootout format used in Supercars.
    Each of the top ten gets two laps – an outlap and a flying lap – with no one else on the track, no tricks, no tows, nothing but the driver, the car, and the track.
    The order in which they go could be randomised or based on their Q2 timings, in reverse.

  13. That Alesi thing is strange?
    still r.i.p Alboreto!

  14. Looking like an FIA own goal, the questionable application of rules on the final lap may end up with the only Black driver in F1 ever leaving the sport.

  15. I’m sure it’s in the back of Lewis’ mind too that any year he has had a proper battle for the championship he has lost it. Unless Mercedes can give him a car with a clear advantage and an inferior team mate, I fear he is gone.

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