Belfast Telegraph

Next F1 chief shouldn't come from within our sport: Hamilton

 

Crunch time: Lewis Hamilton wants positive change in F1
Crunch time: Lewis Hamilton wants positive change in F1

By Philip Duncan

Lewis Hamilton has called for Formula One's next chief to come from outside of the sport, ruling his own boss out from taking the job for potentially being "biased" towards Mercedes.

Hamilton was deeply critical of how the sport is being run, describing it as a "mess" following his latest victory in a drab French Grand Prix.

The futures of Liberty Media's American duo - F1 chief executive Chase Carey, and the sport's commercial boss Sean Bratches - are unclear. Jean Todt, who rejuvenated Ferrari and oversaw Michael Schumacher's run of dominance at the turn of the century, is serving what could be his final term as FIA president.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is thought to be under consideration by Liberty to lead F1 from 2021. The Austrian is this year on course to take the all-conquering Silver Arrows to an unprecedented sixth straight drivers' and constructors' double.

But Hamilton, who has credited Wolff for much of his recent success, said: "While I don't believe there is a better manager than Toto within Formula One, we as humans can be biased.

"You have got Jean Todt. I know Jean is level but he was with the red team for so long. Surely when he wakes up and there is a red shirt or a silver shirt, he goes for the red one.

"Just like when I see the No.6 (Nico Rosberg's former race number) or the No.44, (Hamilton's race number) I go for 44.

"Toto has been Mercedes through and through for such a long period of time.

"It would be best to get someone from outside who is neutral and doesn't know about Ferrari for instance."

Hamilton's remarks arrived against the backdrop of a fans' backlash following Sunday's race which the Briton dominated from start to finish. The world champion has won six of the eight rounds this year. His Mercedes team are unbeaten.

The 34-year-old was in Paris last week for an emergency summit among the sport's stakeholders. The meeting was called to determine how F1 will look when the current Concorde Agreement expires in 18 months.

It was decided the terms of the new arrangement will be delayed until October, with the 10 teams failing to reach consensus.

But Hamilton believes both F1 and the FIA, motorsport's governing body, should take the decision-making process out of the teams' hands.

"The way it is set up, just from watching when I was there in Paris, is not good," added Hamilton. "The FIA are the governing body and they need to be making all the decisions. The teams shouldn't be involved in that.

"The teams all want something for themselves.

"But if you have a central group of people, like the FIA, their sole job with Liberty is to make the sport great again. They should just have the power, and they should make the decisions."

However, Hamilton has raised doubts over the 2021 proposals. He said the cars should be lighter and more nimble, ensuring drivers can push to the limit.

The Briton added: "They are talking about cars being heavier and that baffles me. The cars are already 130kg heavier than when I first got into the sport.

"That would be worse for the brakes and the car. We would have to save more fuel.

"I have got to realise the position and responsibility I have as the (current) driver who has won the most World Championships.

"I have been here a long time and for my legacy I would love to look back and say I was a part of helping that positive change for the fans.

"I don't want to be a driver who just won titles, but one who actually cared about the sport."

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