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Lewis Hamilton calls for F1 weekend format to be shaken up

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Lewis Hamilton believes that new Formula 1 owner Liberty Media should look at shaking up the format of race weekends as part of its planned changes for the series.

Liberty completed its takeover of F1 in January, with American executive Chase Carey becoming its new CEO and chairman.

Carey will work alongside commercial chief Sean Bratches and sporting manager Ross Brawn to develop and expand F1, with new ideas set to be discussed in the coming months.

Brawn recently raised the idea of reviving non-championship races as a way to test out new ideas and formats, with the latter being of particular interest to three-time world champion Hamilton.

“I think a new format is definitely needed for Formula 1. Thursday to Sunday has been the same for the last 11 years,” Hamilton told reporters in Barcelona earlier this week.

“I think the way these cars are, with the continued direction and design they go which makes it difficult for us to overtake and then people complain that we don’t overtake, we’ve got to come up with some unique and different races. Maybe every other race there’s going to be a different scenario.

“When you go to Monaco, you can’t keep just doing the same race format because no-one can overtake there. Maybe they need to spice it up, do something different. Maybe have a sprint race. I don’t know.

“But Monaco race should be different to the others. There’s lots of ideas, but I’m not going to share them.”

Liberty’s F1 bosses are set to meet with the team chiefs in the next couple of weeks to discuss possible new ideas for the sport.

F1 race weekends have remained largely the same since 2006, with three practice sessions being followed by a three-stage qualifying and a race lasting between 90 minutes and two hours.

Attempts were made to tweak qualifying at the start of 2016, only for the quickfire elimination format to come under heavy criticism and be scrapped after just two runnings.

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.