Lewis Hamilton proposes FIA rule change to end Red Bull dominance

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, follows Max Verstappen, Red Bull. Canada, June 2023.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, following Max Verstappen, Red Bull. Canada, June 2023.

Lewis Hamilton proposed a date of August 1 as the earliest that teams could start shifting focus to their challenger for the following season, which he feels would be bad news for Red Bull.

Teams do face restrictions on their spending per season under the Formula 1 budget cap which has been in operation since 2021, though there is no rule within that stating that a team must spend all of that allotted budget on their challenger for that campaign.

And this now is being evidenced by Red Bull, who having made an all-conquering start to F1 2023 with eight wins from eight, are already casting an eye to their RB20 for 2024, according to team boss Christian Horner.

Lewis Hamilton suggests development start date rule

Red Bull have very much picked up where they left off in 2022 with their unchallenged dominance of the current campaign, and already boast a lead of 154 points over Hamilton’s Mercedes team, their closest challenger, in the Constructors’ Championship.

But with this Red Bull dominance and how it may end proving to be a hot topic for debate currently in Formula 1, Hamilton suggests the FIA can go a long way to bringing Red Bull back within reach by taking this option to start work for next season this early off the table.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: “I think the FIA should probably put a time when everyone is allowed to start developing for the next year’s car.

“So August 1, that’s when everybody can start, so that no one can get an advantage from the next year. Because that sucks.

“Say for example you start the season and you know you have a bad car, you could just say actually I’m not going to bother with developing this car, I’ll put all this money into next year’s car and have an advantage.”

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Not a Red Bull-specific concern for Lewis Hamilton

Before Red Bull and Max Verstappen ascended to their current position as Formula 1’s dominant force, it was Hamilton and his Mercedes team schooling the field.

Between 2014-21, Mercedes won eight Constructors’ Championship titles in a row and seven Drivers’ crowns, six of those going the way of Hamilton, who tied Michael Schumacher with his tally of seven World titles overall, while also smashing various records like most F1 wins, pole positions and podiums.

Hamilton though says his theory covers the Mercedes era of dominance and examples before that, saying the FIA failing to control when a team can start working on next years’ car is allowing such dominant spells to keep cropping up.

“Yeah, we never started as early as them,” Hamilton responded when put to him that he went through a similar situation with Mercedes.

“But it is, and that’s what I’m saying, it needs to change, because that’s why you have dominance for so long if they keep allowing it to happen.

“When Ferrari were ahead, that’s the same thing happened there, when Red Bull were ahead with Seb [Vettel] back in the day, they could start earlier and so they were always ahead.”

Hamilton is now without a victory in Formula 1 since he took the chequered flag back at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Read more: Lewis Hamilton hits out at weak Red Bull penalty for cost cap breach