Lewis Hamilton has expressed his concern over the expansion of the Formula One calendar after the announcement of a race in Vietnam in 2020. The newly crowned world champion, who took his fifth title at the last round in Mexico, also said he had no plans to concede a victory to his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
On Wednesday Formula One confirmed a new grand prix in Hanoi, which will be a street race. This season is the second time the F1 calendar has been at its longest, with a total of 21 races. The sport’s owner Liberty Media has expressed a desire to expand it further and the Dutch media have reported that a race at Zandvoort is increasingly likely.
However Hamilton does not find the prospect attractive. “I am not going to be here if it gets to 25 races, that’s for sure,” he said. “It already feels like we are on race 25 this year, so I don’t think that’s a good thing. I think 18 was probably the best back in the day.
“I’m someone who really loves racing but the season is long. It’s a lot of commitment for all of us and a lot of time away from families, and the seasons are getting longer and the off time is getting shorter.
“All I can do is speak is for myself. The turnaround is so short, you start preparing for your next season often as soon as the season is done. Getting your mind turned. That’s very difficult. Then you have to find a way of switching off and recovering at the same time.”
With the drivers’ title secured, Mercedes have yet to clinch the constructors’ championship and Ferrari must outscore them by 13 points in Brazil to take the fight to the final race. The team will be focused on maximising their points but Hamilton dismissed suggestions he would gift Bottas a victory at Interlagos.
The Finn, who has yet to win this year, gave up almost certain victory to Hamilton at the Russian Grand Prix under team orders but Hamilton was insistent that Mercedes would not use them in Bottas’s favour in Brazil. “The team are not going to make that call,” he said.
“It’s not something I’ve asked Valtteri if he wants but I don’t think he’s going to want that. He’s going to want to win it in his own way. So I don’t know if I’ll be doing him any favours in the sense of giving him a win, I don’t think he needs that I think he thinks he can do it himself.”