Hamilton calls for FIA ‘equalisation mechanism’

Lewis Hamilton holds the record of seven F1 driver titles alongside Michael Schumacher who many consider the greatest ever driver the sport has seen.

During the British driver run of six titles with Mercedes, they produced three of the top six most dominant cars in F1 history. The best measure of this is the race winning percentage by the team.



F1 dominant cars a problem

McLaren’s 1988 MP4/4 is the most dominant F1 car in history given that Prost and Senna combined claimed 15 of the 16 races on offer that season. This is a winning rate of 93.8%.

The next most dominant car ironically was one Hamilton drove but failed to win the drivers’ championship with that year. In 2016 Mercedes produced the W07 which won 19 from 21 races (90.5%) but it was Lewis’ team mate Nico Rosberg who clinched the prize of the year’s best driver.

Mercedes other top six dominant F1 cars of all time were the W05 (2014) and the W06 (2015) which Hamilton drove to his second and third world titles,. The first being just a year following his move from McLaren.

Red Bull are clearly running away with this season’s championship, and a debate has begun in the F1 media as to whether the team can win every race on the 2023 calendar.



McLaren record almost unbeatable

To beat the dominance of the McLaren MP4/4 Verstappen and Perez will need to clock up 21 wins across the 22 events remaining on the calendar for this season.

If they fall short by one race win, they will fractionally eclipse the record of Mercedes best year when Rosberg claimed the drivers’ championship.

So in the context of recent history, the all conquering performance of the current RB19 is not shocking and has been seen on three other occasion in the past decade.

However, the concern for Formula One is the recent trend and that in the past ten years if all continues well for Red Bull four of the top six most dominant cars in F1 history will have been produced.

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Hamilton calls for Red Bull restrictions

Apart from the top category of the World Endurance Championship which has been dominated for long periods of time by Audi, then Toyota and then Porsche, having one team’s car so far ahead of the field is unusual in the majority of global motorsport.

Ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton has questioned the current FIA regulations which allow teams to begin work on next years car whenever they choose. The British driver believes Red Bull are so far ahead this year already that they can now turn their attention to their 2024 car without fear of being caught in either of this seasons championships.

“I think the FIA should probably put a time when everyone is allowed to start developing next year’s car,” the Mercedes’ driver told Sky F1.

“So August 1, that’s when everybody can start so then no one can get an advantage on the next year, because that sucks. It would make more sense.”



Verstappen claims Hamilton ‘sour grapes’

Verstappen immediately defended the status quo given it was the same for the rest of the field when Hamilton was racking up six titles in seven years between 2014-2020.

“We weren’t talking about that when he was winning his Championships, right?” said the Dutch champion.

“So I don’t think we should now. That’s how Formula One works. When you have a competitive car it’s great, but at one point you also have to look ahead to the next year.”

While Verstappen is correct that Mercedes were afforded the same advantage with their all dominant cars during this era, however in a slightly embarrassing fashion for the Red Bull driver the Daily Express found that Christian Horner during that period had expressed a similar concern to Hamilton.

Allison: Hamilton wrong about driving position



Horner previously questioned Merc dominance

“Is it healthy to have a situation like this?,” Horner questioned at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix.

“The FIA, within the rules, have an equalisation mechanism and that needs to be looked at. Take nothing away from Mercedes, they have done a super job.

“They have a good car, a fantastic engine and two very good drivers. The problem is that the gap is so big that you end up with three-tier racing and that is not healthy for Formula One.”

Hamilton last year suffered his first season in F1 without a single race win since his rookie year back in 2007 and it is now 18 months since his last race victory in Saudi Arabia back in 2021.

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Hamilton: Mercedes should focus on 2024

When asked whether a win is possible for him this year, Lewis replied: 

“I don’t know. I mean I’m trying to win a race, as I said I really have no idea. Depends where the car goes. I think hopefully we will get close but I can’t predict what Aston are going to do, what Ferrari are going to do, where Red Bull are going to be. But I hope so.

Hamilton goes on to reveal he would trade race wis in 2023 for a car capable of competing for the championship in 2024.

“I also hope we don’t focus too much on winning the race this year. I care less to win a race this year and more to win the championship next year.”

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FIA regs fail to stop dominence

The FIA have sought to level the playing fired in recent years with the introduction of a handicap system of aerodynamic testing time together with the cost cap which prevents teams simply outspending the rest.

Yet Hamilton is correct in that Red Bull even with their reduced aero testing time penalty for a ‘’minor breach’ of the cost cap in 2021 need less development time for this years car and can focus on delivering the RB20 – capable of delivering a possible fourth drivers’ championship for their star driver Max Verstappen.

Given the new FIA regulations have failed to stop the multi-season dominance of an F1 team, it may be time for them to consider a proposition similar to the one Lewis Hamilton suggests,

The problem with Hamilton’s idea is that given the regulation changes from 2022-2025 are small where one year’s car finishes and the next seasons challenger begins is a very blurred line.

READ MORE: Tsunoda criticises Red Bull management

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