Looking back to the measures used against Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton says it is in the best interests of the sport to slow down dominant teams as Red Bull march on undefeated in F1 2023.
13 rounds of the season have come and gone, all of them producing a Red Bull win, while with victory at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen can set a new F1 outright record of 10 wins in a row.
Red Bull and Verstappen then have very much taken over from where Mercedes and Hamilton left off when it comes to F1 domination, taking that level to even greater heights.
Lewis Hamilton backs FIA intervention to make F1 more competitive
When speaking to media, including PlanetF1.com, ahead of the Italian GP, Hamilton was reminded of some of the measures used during Mercedes’ times of dominance to impact the pecking order, including banning the DAS [Dual Axis Steering] system and qualifying engine modes.
And while Hamilton says such measures were tough on the engineers who worked hard for these advantages, in the grand scheme of things they were positive for Formula 1.
The FIA took its biggest steps yet towards engineering a more level grid with the introduction of a budget cap, a sliding scale on permitted R&D time and ground effect challengers designed to make following and overtaking easier.
It was recently announced meanwhile that a fresh technical directive will come into force after the Italian Grand Prix, targeting teams who the FIA feel are using illegal trickery when it comes to flexible wing elements.
“I don’t know what’s been proposed, I’ve not heard anything, but we’ve experienced lots of changes which were put in place to slow us down over the years and I think it was better for the sport,” Hamilton stated.
“It created, and if you look at 2020 for example, our qualifying pace was amazing, where they took away our qualifying mode for example, brought us closer in qualifying.
“And on one side the engineers just did an incredible job and they deserved that, because they earned that on merit, but I think from a racing fan [point of view], we want to see all of us a lot closer.
“I think actually what you’re seeing behind the Red Bulls, we’ve seen quite a good championship this year, between the Ferraris, Aston’s, and all the teams are looking a lot closer than ever before. So in some ways, the rule change has worked, in others, there’s still some work that needs to be done.
“If you look at some of the teams, they’re all [cost] capped, but some teams don’t have the same resources in terms of whether it’s windtunnel, whether it’s stuff that’s at the factory that the bigger teams had because they had loads of money to throw at it a long, long time ago, and they can’t catch up now.
“So there’s always work to do, but I think the sport has done a great job and I do hope for the fans in future we don’t see Mercedes dominate for 10 years or Ferrari dominate for 10 years or any other team, because I think that’s not in the best interest of what us drivers want or what fans want or what the teams want.
“We want close competition and I hope that gets better and better.”
Verstappen is now well on his way to a third World Championship title in as many seasons, boasting a lead of 138 points at the head of the Drivers’ standings going into the Italian Grand Prix.
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