sport news F1 boss Stefano Domenicali urges Lewis Hamilton to continue striving for world ... trends now

sport news F1 boss Stefano Domenicali urges Lewis Hamilton to continue striving for world ... trends now
sport news F1 boss Stefano Domenicali urges Lewis Hamilton to continue striving for world ... trends now

sport news F1 boss Stefano Domenicali urges Lewis Hamilton to continue striving for world ... trends now

Stefano Domenicali does the job Bernie Ecclestone made famous. That is to say he is Formula One chief executive, its head honcho.

And he wants it known that, as was the case with his predecessor: ‘The buck stops with me.’

Those five words contained an implicit rebuke to the sport’s highly paid drivers, some of whom criticised the new sprint format introduced in Azerbaijan last month.

World champion Max Verstappen even threatened to quit if such a schedule persisted – Saturday given over to sprint qualifying followed by the sprint race – claiming the sport’s DNA was being violated. Others spoke out against some very American razzmatazz on the pre-race grid in Miami a fortnight ago.

‘I don’t want a society in which people cannot say what they want,’ the Italian tells Mail Sport in his most forthright interview since taking over from the moustachioed Chase Carey two years ago. ‘But drivers sometimes need to remember that they are part of a broader picture. We don’t need to be selfish.

F1 boss Stefano Domenicali has hit back following criticism of the new sprint format introduced in Azerbaijan last month

F1 boss Stefano Domenicali has hit back following criticism of the new sprint format introduced in Azerbaijan last month

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen threatened to quit if such a schedule persisted

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen threatened to quit if such a schedule persisted

‘They are part of this sport and this business, and it grows because we are thinking bigger. Sometimes being out of our comfort zone is not easy, but we cannot be lazy or complacent – just as we can review some of the specifics of the sprint weekend format at the end of the season once we have tried it out on the intended six occasions. We won’t have sprints every weekend, either.

‘But we have a new audience and need to provide value for money every session, not let everyone drive around in circles for the sole benefit of engineers and drivers.’

As for losing Marauding Max, wouldn’t that be a blow to the show?

‘I discussed the issues with Max (before the last race in Miami). He said he loved the sport and what he was doing. He is world champion and is fighting for a third title. He was born in a car. I would say he is likely to stay longer than me. It’s not a problem.’

Domenicali demonstrated authority over his £2billion-a-year business last week when he briskly called off what would have been today’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in Imola in response to the near-apocalyptic flooding in the region of his birth.

He had travelled out to northern Italy on Tuesday to assess the destruction at first hand soon after the red-alert warning was sounded, staying with his parents and hearing the rain tip down on the family house as he tried to sleep that night.

Next morning he called together the relevant parties and cancelled the event, forfeiting £15million-plus in hosting fees.

The situation was especially emotional for him because, as a boy, Domenicali worked on the car parks at Imola, directing the likes of Ecclestone to their reserved places, and studied for a business administration degree in Bologna, capital city of

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