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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen sent title warning by FIA - 'More cars in the mix'

Daily Express logo Daily Express 21/01/2022 Liam Llewellyn

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been sent a stark warning by the FIA. The pair dominated the 2021 F1 season and finished over 160 points ahead of third place Valterri Bottas as they battled tooth and nail throughout the entire campaign.

Regulation changes have been made to the cars ahead of the new season, such as improvements to the aerodynamics of the car.

Now the FIA's Head of Single Seater Technical Matters, Nikolas Tombazis, argues that other teams such as Alfa Romeo and Haas would provide more of a threat to the top dogs this season.

"It is difficult to expect it to be more exciting than [2021] because that is a very high point of reference," said Tombazis, quoted by Autosport.

"But I think once there's a bit of convergence, I think there will be more cars in the mix and I think that would be positive."

Very few F1 seasons have played out in the same manner as 2021, as Verstappen won an astounding ten races and only just edged out Hamilton for the title.

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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton © GETTY Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton

However, as enthralling as the title race turned out to be in 2021, Tombazis thinks a more even playing field next year would be of great benefit to the sport.

"When I was looking at some old championships, I read recently we once had 11 winners in a year and you could win a championship with a few wins," he added.

"I'm not saying we will get to that point, but of course I think to have more variability would be good.

"Also to have people who can genuinely follow closer for longer periods and not overheat the tyres, and still be able to fight for prolonged periods, I think that would be quite exciting."

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Since the controversial conclusion of the season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw Hamilton denied a record eighth F1 title, he has remained silent and no longer follows anyone on Instagram.

With two months to go from the start of the new campaign, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has admitted the Brit is still reeling over last month's result.

He told Auto Motor und Sport: "It's very deep. Lewis, I and the whole team are disillusioned. We love this sport because it's honest. The stopwatch never lies.

"But if we break the fundamental principle of fairness and the stopwatch is no longer relevant, then you doubt this sport. That all your work, blood, sweat and tears can be taken away from you.

Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix © GETTY Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

"It's going to take a long time to digest. I don't think we'll ever get over that, especially Lewis as a driver. At least we can try together with the FIA to do better in the future."

Wolff and Mercedes want clarity over F1's regulations ahead of the new campaign to ensure the events of the last season's final race do not happen again as he added: "I expect actions and not just words. In a sport that's supposed to be a sport, we can't freestyle like that with the set of rules.

"Before the start of the new season, there must be clarity about the rules so that every driver, team and fan knows what is allowed and what is not.

"In the end, we provide entertainment, but no decision should break the rules for the sake of the show."

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