Lewis Hamilton has accused Formula One of being “outdated” and has called on its new owners to breathe fresh life into the sport.
Hamilton, who is set to start his 11th season in Formula One, will join forces with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas on Thursday to unveil the car which they hope will continue to be the dominant force on the grid.
But on the eve of tomorrow’s launch at Silverstone, the 32-year-old Briton believes Formula One must improve and has accused it of falling behind its sporting rivals. Bernie Ecclestone was deposed as F1’s long-time ruler last month following American giants Liberty Media’s £6.4billion purchase of the sport.
“I don’t feel Formula One is winning, and it hasn’t been for a long time,” said Hamilton in an interview with BBC Radio 5 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“Formula One is a bit outdated in the sense of, if you look at other sports, they are further ahead in the entertainment factor.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.”
The sport has undergone a radical overhaul of its technical regulations over the winter in a bid to spice up the show.
The cars will be wider, bigger and faster this season with lap times expected to tumble by up to five seconds a lap. But Hamilton, whose Mercedes team have won 51 of the last 59 grands prix, fears the new rules could have a detrimental effect on the racing.
“My engineers say it’s going to be a lot harder to overtake this year,” Hamilton added. “If we see overtaking is worse, it’s going to be worse for the fans, and the spectacle will be worse so I’m hoping that’s not the case.
“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.”
Hamilton’s Mercedes team meanwhile, will not change his mechanics for the new campaign. His world championship-winning crew was dismantled at the end of 2015 with five members – including his number one mechanic – switching from his side of the garage to Nico Rosberg’s and vice-versa.
The move unsettled Hamilton and he claimed it had a psychological effect on his title defence. Rosberg beat him to the title by five points despite winning fewer grands prix.
But Mercedes confirmed to Press Association Sport on Wednesday that Hamilton will have the same crew for the season which gets under way in Melbourne on March 26.
The Briton has also unveiled his new helmet design for the forthcoming year. More than 8,000 fans entered the competition with the winning entrant coming from Brazil.