Lewis Hamilton believes having wider, heavier cars from 2022 is the wrong approach for F1 to take in the sport’s upcoming regulation changes.
The seven-time World Champion has said he preferred driving lighter cars when he started in the sport, and that any move towards bigger, slower machinery is a backwards step for Formula 1 as a whole.
Hamilton feels the move is all the more strange given F1’s drive to improve sustainability. The Brit is a strong voice in the battle to try and prevent climate change, and owns X44 Racing – who compete in the new Extreme E series, which McLaren have confirmed they will be entering from next season onwards.
The F1 cars of 2022 will see their minimum weight increased to 790kg – almost 100kg heavier than at the start of the turbo hybrid era in 2014.
Including a full tank of fuel, the car’s overall weight will add up to around 900kg at the start of a race. The Mercedes driver says the extra required energy moving through the car’s parts will only add to the sport’s carbon footprint.
“I don’t understand why we go heavier, particularly when there’s all this talk about being more sustainable and the sport going in that direction,” Hamilton said, quoted by MotorsportWeek.
“By going heavier and heavier and heavier, you are using more and more energy. So that’s not really going in the right direction or the right thought process.”
Hamilton began racing during the refuelling era in Formula 1, which saw the cars weigh around a third less than what will be taking to the track in 2022.
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Although there will have been a natural increase in weight and size as a result of having a larger fuel tank that holds over 100kg of fuel at the start of a race, Hamilton feels that cars that are too heavy will hinder the quality of racing on show.
“Lighter cars were more nimble and nowhere near as big, and so racing and manoeuvring the car was better,” he added.
“On the tracks we are going to they are getting wider, like [Baku], but like Monaco was always relatively impossible to pass but now the car is so big that it’s too big for the track.
“As I said, as we get heavier and heavier, that’s more energy we’ve got to dissipate, bigger brakes, more brake dust and more fuel to get you to the location and so on, so I don’t fully understand it.”