Hamilton calls for fewer F1 races

British driver Lewis Hamilton, who wrapped up his fifth drivers' title in Mexico a fortnight ago, on a scooter at Sao Paulo's Interlagos racetrack. Mercedes will seal the constructors' championship for the fifth year running in tomorrow's Brazilian G
British driver Lewis Hamilton, who wrapped up his fifth drivers' title in Mexico a fortnight ago, on a scooter at Sao Paulo's Interlagos racetrack. Mercedes will seal the constructors' championship for the fifth year running in tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix, providing Ferrari do not score 13 points more than them.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SAO PAULO • Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton feels Formula One risks having too many races and should go back to a shorter season.

Speaking on Thursday ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, and a day after F1 confirmed Vietnam will join the calendar in April 2020, the Mercedes driver told reporters that he would prefer fewer rounds.

This season has 21 races, as does next year, but the sport's owner, Liberty Media, has been in talks regarding a street race in Miami and a return to Zandvoort in the Netherlands - the coastal circuit held its last F1 race in 1985.

"It already feels like we are on race 25 this year, so I don't think that's a good thing personally," said Hamilton. "Eighteen was probably the best back in the day.

"I'm someone who really loves racing but the season is long.

"It's a lot of commitment for all of us and a lot of time away from families, and the seasons are getting longer and the off time is getting shorter."

Next season will end in December, the latest finish since 1963, but Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain do not as yet have contracts beyond then.

  • 2019 F1 CALENDAR

  • March 17: Australia, Melbourne

    March 31: Bahrain, Sakhir

    April 14: China, Shanghai

    April 28: Azerbaijan, Baku

    May 12: Spain, Barcelona

    May 26: Monaco

    June 9: Canada, Montreal

    June 23: France, Le Castellet

    June 30: Austria, Spielberg

    July 14: Britain, Silverstone

    July 28: Germany, Hockenheim

    Aug 4: Hungary, Budapest

    Sept 1: Belgium, Spa

    Sept 8: Italy, Monza

    Sept 22: Singapore

    Sept 29: Russia, Sochi

    Oct 13: Japan, Suzuka

    Oct 27: Mexico, Mexico City

    Nov 3: United States, Austin

    Nov 17: Brazil, Sao Paulo

    Dec 1: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina

    SOURCE: FORMULA1.COM

Hamilton leads a busy lifestyle, but prides himself on having the right balance between his racing and other interests, particularly in fashion and music.

The Briton said, however, that it was still tough to find time to switch off and recover.

"The turnaround is so short, you start preparing for your next season often as soon as the season is done," he added. "It's most likely I'm not going to be here when it gets to 25, that's for sure."

The 33-year-old also revealed he had no intention to hand any wins to teammate Valtteri Bottas despite already having the championship sewn up with nine victories in 19 races.

After tomorrow's penultimate race at Interlagos, the season will close with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Nov 25.

The Finn, who has dutifully obeyed team orders and endured bad luck while leading, has yet to triumph this term, but Hamilton felt he had to take the chequered flag on his own merits.

"We have such huge respect for each other, it's the greatest partnership in terms of respect and teamwork from drivers that has ever existed in F1 probably," he said.

"(But) I don't think he is going to want that, he is going to win one on his own, in his own way."

Mercedes can seal the constructors' championship in Brazil for the fifth year in a row, providing Ferrari do not score 13 points more than them, and that will be the team's preoccupation.

Hamilton has won only once before in Brazil, in 2016, but he is determined to end up on the winners' podium this weekend, saying: "We still have to win the constructors' title, so the focus remains absolutely the same. There's a lot of work to do, even at this point of the year."

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2018, with the headline 'Hamilton calls for fewer F1 races'. Print Edition | Subscribe