The seven-time Formula 1 World Champion has announced that he will be changing his name in order to incorporate his mother’s surname.
The change in his name will not be ready in time for the start of the 2022 Formula 1 Grand Prix season which begins in Bahrain this weekend, Sunday 20 March, but will likely be finalised soon after.
The 37-year-old British driver has said that he will include ‘Larbalestier’ as a middle name - his mother’s surname - in order to have both names continue.
After announcing this decision, Hamilton said: “I am really proud of my family’s name. My mum’s name is Larbalestier and I’m just about to put that in my name.
“I don’t really fully understand the whole idea of why, when people get married, the woman loses her name.
“I really want her name to continue on with the Hamilton name.”
The Mercedes driver is back for his 16th season in the sport despite a two month social media hiatus which fuelled rumours of retirement.
The end of the 2021 Championship saw Max Verstappen win his first ever Championship in one of the most controversial endings seen in Formula 1 history.
As a result, the FIA has announced new regulations for the Race Directors (including a new race director).
After the final preseason testing event in Bahrain, Mercedes were far from quickest and Hamilton strongly objected to the suggestion that his team was holding back power in order surprise the rest of the grid when the season kicks off this weekend, but admitted to the team’s distinct lack of speed:
“I’m sure everyone can figure that out - we are not the quickest at the moment. Ferrari look to be the quickest, then perhaps Red Bull, and then maybe us or maybe McLaren, I don’t know. But we’re currently not at the top.”
Not only will 2022 see new regulations off the track but dramatic changes have been made for the story to change on the track as well.
The first seismic change has been for a cap in each team’s spending for car development. There has long been huge discrepancies in what the top teams are able to spend on their development, while the teams lower in the pecking order have fewer resources.
The change in regulations will hopefully provide closer races by ensuring less of a disparity between the bigger and smaller teams.
Lewis Hamilton will also have a new teammate this year after Valtteri Bottas moved to Alfa Romeo.
Former Williams driver George Russell will move into the available Mercedes spot and offer Hamilton younger and fresher competition as the 37-year-old prepares to fight for his eight championship.
This is not the only change in drivers for the 2022 season. Guanyu Zhou will become the first Chinese driver in Formula 1 as he takes the second seat available at Alfa Romeo.
Kevin Magnussen and Alex Albon have also made returns to Formula 1. Albon has taken the place made available by George Russell at Williams, while Danish driver Magnussen returned to the paddock just last week after Haas ended their contract with Nikita Mazepin.
The new season of Formula 1 will kick off this weekend with practice on Friday 18 March, concluding with the race on Sunday 20 March 2022.
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