Five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has threatened to quit Formula One if organisers keep adding races to an already congested calendar.
Hamilton secured his latest drivers’ title with a fourth-placed finish in Mexico last time out, the 19th stop of the 2018 campaign.
Brazil and the United Arab Emirates are the final two races of the season, the latter coming on November 25, eight months after the curtain-raiser in Melbourne.
But the 33-year-old says if the organiser were to add a further four races to the calendar, he will walk away from the sport:
“I am not going to be here if it gets to 25 races, that’s for sure.”
The 2019 schedule also has 21 races but will run from mid-March to early December, while owner Liberty Media is keen to add further grands prix.
In 2020, the first Vietnam Grand Prix will take place, while there have been suggestions an extra race in the United States – in Miami – could be added.
Hamilton is not a fan, though, and has suggested he would leave the sport should further additions be made.
“It already feels like 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,” he added.
“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.”
Kimi Raikkonen sends warning to Lewis Hamilton
Kimi Raikkonen congratulated Lewis Hamilton on his fifth world title, but warned him that Ferrari are going all out to stop Mercedes completing a Formula One championship double at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Sauber-bound Finn conceded that Ferrari are not in a strong position – they trail Mercedes by 55 points in the constructors’ standings with two races to go – but made it clear they will not be giving up.
“Obviously, we’re not in a good position, but we’re still in it and we’ll do our best… We’re trying to win,” he told reporters.
Raikkonen, who famously won the drivers’ title for Ferrari in Brazil in 2007, said that Hamilton deserved to win this year’s crown and rejected the idea that his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel had lost it through team and individual errors.
“For sure he won it,” he said. “Whoever has the most points has won it. In the end, if you ask 10 people, they all have different views how it’s been won or lost.
“It makes no difference… He won it. Fair play and congratulations to him.”
He added that it was more important for the team to succeed in the constructors’ championship.
“There’s a drivers’ championship, but if you go to any team they’re probably going to say this is more important for them — the constructors’ championship more than the drivers.
“That’s what we’re trying to do… and we’ll see in two races’ time.”