LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 16- Lewis Hamilton says the prospect of 2017’s rules overhaul shuffling F1’s pecking order means he and Mercedes have to make the most of this season, as he bids for a fourth world title.
F1 teams are preparing for the biggest changes to aerodynamic regulations in recent years with next season heralding cars which will be faster, look more aggressive and run on more durable tyres.
Mercedes have dominated the sport since the last big rules overhaul in 2014, when the V6 hybrid engines were introduced, and one of Hamilton or team-mate Nico Rosberg look certain to end this season as world champion, with the team on course for a Constructors’ Championship hat-trick.
Hamilton leads the standings by 19 points ahead of next week’s season restart at Spa and says he will make sure he savours the remainder of 2016.
“That definitely is a very good possibility [of the pack being shuffled] but that puts even more emphasis on making sure that we utilise this,” he said.
“If it is the last year I want to make sure that I maximise on it so there’s no short cuts and there’s no rest really during the year.
“But you’ve got to enjoy it as well. It’s my 31st year in my life but it’s my ninth year [in F1]. And I’m enjoying driving more than ever so it’s really important to enjoy it because it’s going quick.”
Hamilton has contrasting experiences of the effects of big regulation changes.
After winning his first title with McLaren in 2008, his title defence was all but over before it had properly begun as the Woking team slipped down the order as Brawn and Red Bull emerged as the sport’s new pacesetters following a revamp of aero rules for 2009.
Brawn, then under the Honda name, and Red Bull had finished the previous season in ninth and seventh positions in the Constructors’ Championship respectively.
Five years later and Hamilton was at Mercedes as the Brackley team usurped four-time champions Red Bull after the current hybrid engine formula was introduced.
Teams have shifted their development focus onto the 2017 cars at different points of this season and Hamilton added: “Next year is going to be interesting.
“I think we’ve got a great team and we’ll continue it but it’s a race of who started first and maybe someone started first and hasn’t done a good enough job.
“Hopefully we’ve started in similar times and I hope we are still in the battle, I’m sure we will.”
-By Sky Sports–