Lewis Hamilton has called for Formula 1 to impose a cut-off point on car development to prevent one team dominating the championship.Max Verstappen, whose team have won all bar one of the last 19 races, has rejected his rival’s suggestion.
Hamilton said his proposal was “not aimed at any one particular person or anything.” He won six world championships in a seven-year spell from 2014 to 2020, during which time Mercedes was consistently the team to beat. Over the first three of those years they won 51 out of 59 races.
That kind of sustained success could be disrupted if F1 introduced a rule which prevented teams from beginning development on their cars before a certain point in the year, said Hamilton.
“In my 17 years of being here, before even I got here, you see a period, a time of dominance and it continues to happen,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “I was really fortunate to have one of those periods, Max is having that now – but with the way it’s going, it will continue to happen over and over again. And I don’t think that we need that in the sport.”
When one team starts a season in a strong position they are able to begin development of their next car earlier in the year and carry their advantage from championship to championship, said Hamilton.
“In my personal experience when you are so far ahead, if you’re 100 points ahead, you don’t really need to do a lot more development in your car so you can start earlier on your next car. With the budget cap, that means spending that year’s money on the next year’s car.
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“But if everyone had a time [limit], if everyone knew that we can start on whatever date it is – October is way too late, probably, but [say] August 1st – then no one has a head start and then it’s a real race in that short space of time for the future car.
“Maybe that would help everyone be more closer in the following year. But I might be wrong.”
Hamilton believes “something’s got to change” to prevent individual teams dominating F1 as others have before Red Bull in recent years.
“When we were winning world championships we could start earlier than everybody else. And then there are teams that weren’t competitive, so then they just didn’t bother working on that current car.
“If you look at Brawn, they just focused fully on the next year’s car from the beginning and then they turned up next year and blitzed everybody. And that shouldn’t be possible, in my opinion. That’s for you to judge.
“But it’d be cool to see in the next 20 years that we don’t have huge bands of time where one team lead too far ahead, because we want to see better racing.”
However Verstappen had little time for Hamilton’s suggestion of imposing a cut-off date on teams’ car development. “Life is unfair as well so it’s not only in Formula 1,” he said. “A lot of things in life are unfair so we just have to deal with it.”
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