Lewis Hamilton vows to quit Formula One if calendar is increased to 25 races
Lewis Hamilton has told Formula One’s bosses that he would ‘most likely’ retire if the calendar expanded to 25 races.
The new five-times world champion was speaking after this week’s confirmation that Vietnam will be added from 2020 – a 3.46-mile, 22-corner street circuit in Hanoi.
Formula One owners Liberty Media want to increase the roster from the current 21 to 25, though establishing new venues in America have proved more difficult than they believed, with even the cherished idea of Miami in danger of impaling itself on the spike of resident disquiet.
Lewis Hamilton has threatened to quit Formula One if the competition calendar hits 25 races
Formula One have confirmed the Vietnam Grand Prix will be added to the calendar from 2020
The number of rounds stands at 21, while next year’s calendar, despite possessing the same number of races, is set to run into December for the first time in more than half-a-century.
But Hamilton, who this weekend begins his title victory parade in Brazil and is, quite comfortably, F1’s most marketable star, said: ‘I am not going to be here if it gets to 25 races, that’s for sure.
‘It already feels like we are on race number 25 this year, so I don’t think more races is going to be a good thing.
‘I am someone that really loves racing, but the season is long, it takes a big commitment from all of us, and it is a long time away from our families.
Hamilton will return to the Mercedes cockpit on Friday for the first time since winning the title
|June 23||France||Le Castellet|
|July 14||Great Britain||Silverstone|
|October 27||Mexico||Mexico City|
|November 17||Brazil||Sao Paulo|
|December 1||Abu Dhabi||Yas Marina|
|*Not including Vietnam and Miami GPs scheduled for 2020|
‘The seasons are getting longer, and the off-time is getting shorter, so from a competitor’s point of view the turnaround is short. You start preparing for next year as soon as the season is so done, so getting your mind tuned is very difficult.’
The 33-year-old will on Friday return to his Mercedes cockpit for the first time since he clinched his fifth championship in Mexico a fortnight ago.
The British driver, who celebrated his title triumph in California, has failed to win a race after clinching the championship with rounds to spare.
In 2015, Nico Rosberg won the last three races, before Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas claimed a win each last year.
But Hamilton is keen to add to his tally of just one victory at the Interlagos circuit, and suggested he will not step aside for Bottas, despite the Finn giving up his victory for the Briton at September’s Russian Grand Prix.
With two races to go of the season, Hamilton is keen to add to his number of race wins in Brazil
The Briton also dismissed suggestions that he will step aside for team-mate Valterri Bottas
‘The team are not going to make that call,’ Hamilton added. ‘I haven’t asked Valtteri, but I don’t think he will want that. He wants to win in his own way.’
While Hamilton has won nine times, Bottas is yet to stand on the top step of the podium this year.
‘I don’t know if I would be doing Valtteri any favours in giving him a win,’ he added. ‘I don’t think he needs that, and he can do it himself.
‘It would be great for him to finish on a strong note, feel better in the car and finish off the year strong.’