Hamilton excited for ‘best era’ come 2021

Formula 1 could be in for the “best era of racing” in a long time come 2021, that’s according to Lewis Hamilton.

The six-time World Champion has been weighing in on Liberty Media and the FIA’s new regulations for 2021.

Not only will F1 embrace ground effect aerodynamics, making for easier passing, but financial regulations will also level the playing field between the have and the have nots.

Hamilton feels it could lead to the best racing F1 has witnessed in a years.

He told AP: “If it (the new rules) does what it says on paper, it could be the best era of racing that we have seen in a long, long time.

“And I want to be there if it is the case.

“It will be another opportunity to show my abilities.”

The Mercedes driver highlighted today’s “massive problem” in Formula 1, saying that while the cars have pace, they can’t follow.

The 2021 will be three seconds per lap slower but should lose less downforce when following another car.

“We got these great cars with great power and grip, but you can’t get close enough in the races,” he added.

“That means less excitement for all of you.

“That means we have to have a DRS (drag reduction system), which is a band-aid for the poor characteristics of the current regulations.”

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Brawn: F1 will crash and burn without a cost cap

Formula 1 is in desperate need of a budget cap with Ross Brawn saying the sport will “crash and burn” unless someone pulls the teams into line.

Liberty Media will do just that in 2021.

F1’s owners, together with the FIA and the teams, have agreed to implement a $175 million per season budget cap.

That will cover everything relating to the car except customer engine deals, which are capped at just short of $16.5m per year.

What it doesn’t include is drivers’ salaries, bonuses, the wages of the team’s top-three employees and their travel costs, marketing and F1 entry fees.

Brawn, though, feels it is a big step in the right direction.

He told Sportsmail: “F1 is a victim of its own success.

“If you win, it is so valuable in terms of the rewards it brings, therefore you can justify increasing the budgets to succeed because the rewards are so high.

“Suddenly you can’t afford to fail and you have to keep ploughing money in.

“You’d imagine budgets would stabilise at some point but they haven’t. I have seen budgets escalate on a yearly basis.

“It takes an economic crisis for those things to be redressed but we don’t want to wait for an economic crisis.

“I don’t see what the options are, if we throw it open again Formula One will crash and burn, it will be a victim of its own success.”

And although Brawn acknowledges it won’t be easy to police, the F1 sporting boss is confident that the penalties that await teams who don’t adhere to it will be a sufficient deterrant.

“We have a big challenge to make sure it is applied fairly but there is no alternative, we have to grow through the challenge of making the cost cap work,” he continued.

“If a team in the last three races had a lot of crashes you’d have some sympathy for that situation.

“If a team turned up to the last race with a big upgrade there could be no sympathy, so there has to be some flavour put into that.

“Then there will be degrees of transgression, until ultimately you could say there has been fraud where a team has purposely tried to deceive you and hide that expenditure.

“That would obviously be the major category. It is up to the FIA as the regulatory body what the punishment is but there is a proper process now.

“Teams have been advised like any transgression, if your car is illegal, this will have teeth. It has to otherwise it will get played strategically. The teams are so competitive.”

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Leclerc: Race pace not as bad as it looks

Although Ferrari are losing out in grands prix compared to their qualifying pace, Charles Leclerc insists it is not as “bad as it looks”.

Ferrari have claimed six pole positions since Formula 1 returned from the summer break but only three race wins.

The Scuderia were widely condemned by the Italian media and other pundits when they bagged back-to-back 1-2s on the Japanese and Mexican GP grids and yet only put one car on the podium. And neither was for the win.

Leclerc, though, says it is not all down to a lack of race pace.

Rather he feels Ferrari have tripped up in other avenues while admitting that even he hasn’t done a perfect job every Sunday.

“I believe on my side, I’ve not been perfect,” Leclerc admitted to RaceFans.

“Especially in the race, I’ve got a lot of improvements to make on my side.

“In Mexico, I learned quite a lot.

“From the outside, it is difficult to see but from the driver’s side of things, I tried a lot of things during the race.

“We’ve been unlucky on some races, Sochi could have been another win but we could not control the failure of Seb, which created a Virtual Safety Car.

“So there have been a few missed opportunities, but I don’t think it has been as bad as it looks.”

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Hamilton expects ‘drivers switching’ for 2021

Lewis Hamilton reckons the 2021 grid could look a lot different to next season’s with drivers switching teams ahead of the implementation of the new regulations.

Formula 1 is making big changes for 2021 with new financial, sporting and technical rules coming into play.

This led many of the top drivers such as Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen only committing to their current teams until the end of 2020.

Hamilton predicts there will be a few changes after that.

“In this next year we must see drivers switching, there is a lot going on that is happening in the background, each driver talking to certain teams,” he told Reuters.

As for next season the six-time World Champion is expecting a tougher challenge from Ferrari and most notably Charles Leclerc.

The Brit believes Leclerc along with Verstappen are “champions of the future.

“I think both have really fair, aggressive driving styles, which is great.

“In terms of who is going to win, well hopefully I’m still here to try to stop them.

“I think Ferrari has the better chance of providing a car that can fight for the World title in the short term.”

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Sainz was doing doughnuts before he was three

Carlos Sainz has shared a video of him doing doughnuts in a motorised toy car as a child, saying he wasn’t even three at the time.

The video is from the late 1990s, at which point Sainz’s father Carlos Sainz Sr was competing as a rally driver.

He came home one day to see his son performing what has become a form of celebration in racing – the doughnut.

The Spaniard said that nobody, especially not his dad, had taught him how to do them and that the racing ability just came naturally to him.

And with his 100th Formula 1 grand prix coming up in Brazil, Sainz’s belief sure seems to ring true.

“My dad had just returned from a rally and he saw me doing these doughnuts. I was not even three,” he told Yahoo! Sport.

“He said ‘Who the hell has taught this guy to do doughnuts?’ because he hadn’t taught me how to do that. Probably the most impressive thing from that video is not that I was doing the doughnuts but that I was doing them without anyone having taught me.

“There is clearly this gene inside me or this thing inside me that I’ve always had in my blood. I don’t know, but since very little I’ve always wanted to be in racing cars, and that was without knowing who my dad was and what he was doing for a living.

“I had no idea at two or three years of age that my dad was a rally driver and he was doing doughnuts around the world.

“It’s something within me since I was very little. When I jumped in a go-kart at three or four, with my friends, I was super fast without anyone really teaching me.

“It’s one of those things that you’re just meant to be. It’s the way it has worked for me.”

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McLaren’s reliability has been a ‘weak spot’ in 2019

McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes the team have made great strides forward in 2019, but reliability remains their “weak spot”.

The Woking outfit look set to land P4 in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of Renault with two races to go, but the current margin of 38 points could have been far greater if it wasn’t for several notable reliability issues.

Lando Norris has suffered the worst of it – The 20-year-old retired from P5 at the Belgian GP on the last lap with Carlos Sainz’s DNF making it a double retirement, while Norris was again cost a strong haul of points in Mexico by a wheel problem at his pit stop.

So looking to the future, the clear area of improvement for McLaren in Brown’s eyes is reliability.

“Our pit stops, we were seventh, eighth best pit stops last year, this year we’re kind of sitting around third,” Brown told Crash.net.

“Launches, we were floating around first, second best, we were sixth, seventh best.

“If you look at the race team fitness if you want to call it that, you see a clear moving forward of not just a better race car and drivers doing really well, but pit stops are getting better, launches are getting better, and then we need to work on reliability.

“That has probably been our weak spot this year.”

But perhaps the biggest positive for Brown has been the performances of both Sainz and Norris, as well as the relationship they have developed in their first season together.

“I’m very pleased with both drivers, I think everyone is impressed with how they have raced,” he said.

“Lando in particular has not made the level of rookie mistakes that you would expect.

“If you look at Leclerc, his first year, he’s had one incident in Spain, which was kind of a racing incident, so he’s driven extremely maturely, which I think is very impressive for a driver of his age.

“He’s been very fast, the drivers are I think 9-9 in qualifying, which is exactly what you want.

“Make no mistake about it, while they get on very well, they’re extremely competitive with each other, but in a very healthy way, so I’m really pleased with our driver line-up and their pace.”

Sainz joined McLaren for the 2019 campaign after a season and a bit with Renault, and the Spaniard said that for him, McLaren was “love at first sight”.

“What sold me on McLaren was, first of all, the connection with Zak and how much this team wanted me to join,” he told Yahoo! Sport.

“As a driver, it’s very important to feel at home and feel that the team wants you. I’ve always felt at McLaren it was pretty much love at first sight since we started talking.

“It was very important for me, after the Renault and Red Bull periods where I never felt fully at home, that I went to a team that wanted me and that I could show my talent, so that was a big, big part of it.

“Then when I saw the restructuring going on inside McLaren, I realised how realistic they were about their chances, and how honest they were about why they had been so poor in recent years.

“I also saw a team in the making and wanting to move forward, which is exactly what I needed at the time.”

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Chadwick only wants to enter F1 ‘on merit’

Inaugural W Series champ Jamie Chadwick wants to race in F1 but only on merit, and concedes that at this moment she’s not yet ready.

21-year-old Chadwick won this year’s W Series, beating 19 ladies to the title.

But while the all-women series put her name on the global map, Chadwick’s dream is to go up against the lads in the premier class: Formula 1.

She, however, admits she’s not yet up to the task.

“I want to be there on merit,” she explained to AFP.

“I don’t care if someone pays for me to be in Formula 1 tomorrow, I won’t do it as I am not there on merit yet.

“I know if I jumped into an F1 seat tomorrow I would not do women in motorsport justice and I feel morally loyal to that.”

The last time a woman competed in Formula 1 was back in 1976 when Italy’s Lella Lombardi lined up on the Austrian GP grid.

Chadwick added: “If I have the opportunity, which I believe I do after this year, to race at all levels and I am successful in all of them then I deserve a seat.

“If am not then I do not deserve a seat but so long as I have had the opportunity I cannot say I did not have the best shot at it.”

Chadwick, who will defend her W Series title this season, is currently linked with the Williams team have signed as their development driver.

The Williams deal, unlikely others put on the table, comes at no cost to the Brit.

“I was so lucky the Williams thing came about,” she said.

“I told them that I could not pay for anything.

“I don’t think F1 teams should benefit from young drivers constantly being given false hope and led in all sorts of directions throughout their career.”

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