Lewis Hamilton said on Wednesday that Formula One was “outdated” as he urged grand prix racing’s new owners to lead a revival of the sport’s fortunes.
Three-times world champion Hamilton’s comments came on the eve of his Mercedes team’s launch of their new car for the 2017 season.
They were also broadcast on the same day that his former team, McLaren, announced they had signed another promising British teenager with a view to developing his career just as they had done with Hamilton.
Bernie Ecclestone’s time as the colourful ringmaster of the Grand Prix circuit was effectively finished last month when US-based Liberty Media completed its takeover of motorsport’s most prestigious brand in a deal valued at about $8 billion.
“I don’t feel Formula One is winning, and it hasn’t been for a long time,” Hamilton told BBC Radio Five Live. “That is to do with rule changes and not engaging the fans enough.
“There still is a great following in Formula One and I am excited for the new owners coming in and I hope they do something new.
“Formula One is a bit outdated in the sense of, if you look at other sports, they are further ahead in the entertainment factor. Formula One is really catching up and they have a lot of catching up to do.”
There have long been calls for more entertainment in Formula One, with many arguing the dominance of Mercedes — who’ve won 51 of the last 59 Grand Prix, with Hamilton pipped to the world title last year by now retired team-mate Nico Rosberg — is bad for the sport.
And Hamilton said Wednesday that technical changes caused by wider, bigger and faster cars could actually decrease rather than increase the amount of overtaking that Formula One fans so enjoy.
“My engineers say it’s going to be a lot harder to overtake this year,” Hamilton added. “I really hope that the engineers, who are the smartest guys, are wrong. I hope that the spectacle is greater and the most competitive that it’s ever been and if it is, then I look forward to being a part of that.”