Lewis Hamilton could be fighting losing battle after FIA's 'punishment' remark

Lewis Hamilton has called upon the FIA to ‘make the right decisions’ to ensure fans do not stop watching the sport after Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s dominant year. Verstappen has already been crowned world champion for a third straight year following his success in Qatar last time out, and the Dutchman is set to break several long-standing records – with Red Bull’s ‘rocketship’ RB19 car proving to be in a league of its own.

Verstappen has been in imperious form on the track once again this year and has already sealed this season’s F1 world championship after getting his hands on the 2021 and 2022 titles. His success in 2023 is set to reach new territory of F1 dominance, however, as he prepares to equal his record of 15 wins in a season with five races still to go.

As a seven-time world champion, Mercedes star Hamilton knows what damage having one driver dominating can do to the sport’s overall popularity with fans. And the Briton is keen to ensure that the FIA are maximising their efforts to help cars stay race close to each other to keep fans engaged in the sport, after attracting a new audience with Drive to Survive.

“I think, within our sport, we have to continue to work on making sure we’re having close racing because I think you’ve seen the social engagement drop a huge amount this year being that,” he said.

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“It’s obviously heavily impacted on competition. People want to see that. So, we have to make sure that we’re making the right decisions, or the governing body is making the right decisions, to keep us close and great racing right to the end.

“We need more grandstands. I don’t know whether we need to lower the cost but maybe, I don’t know.”

Hamilton has previously stated that it is on the other nine teams to play catch up, rather than hurt the team that is dominating. But his latest plea is likely to fall on deaf ears if FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s comments are anything to go by.

The F1 supremo has said he is ‘open’ to hearing ideas on how to improve the sport, with the F1 Sprint an example of how the sport has made changes to its format.

But the Emirati has already expressed his reluctance to amend the regulations simply to try and limit Red Bull’s dominance.

“It (F1 domination) has happened so many times – just look at [Lewis] Hamilton and [Michael] Schumacher,” Ben Sulayem said before the weekend. “It’s a bit harsh and not right to punish success.

“I’m open for suggestions if you think that there is a way to be fair and to be democratic, and not to just punish Max and his team or any other team.

“But I’m stuck like you. There’s no way that the FIA will punish success, and it (one driver dominance) has happened before twice in my time.”