Lewis Hamilton says he is saddened by McLaren and Williams’ struggles and hopes there is “light at the end of the tunnel” for Formula One’s fallen giants.
The two teams have claimed 36 drivers’ and constructors’ world titles between them but neither outfit has won an F1 race since 2012 and at last weekend’s Russian GP were the slowest two qualifiers among F1’s 10 entrants.
McLaren are sixth in the Constructors’ Championship after an improvement up the order this year, but Williams sit 10th and look set to finish at the foot of the standings for the first time in their illustrious history.
Hamilton began his career at McLaren, winning his first world title in 2008, and asked about their ongoing plight said: “I’ve never hidden the fact that it’s sad to see, naturally, just as it is sad to see a team that I grew up watching like Williams not be there.
“It is crazy to think we’ve got Williams right at the back of the field who once had Nigel Mansell in the car and Damon Hill, winning championships. And McLaren, who were really the founding family for me, also having a struggle for a long period of time.
“I really just hope there is light at the end of the tunnel for them.
“I hope that 2021, whatever is decided with Liberty, I hope that helps and that they do a good job in that decision-making process and that potentially helps.”
McLaren and Williams remain behind only Ferrari for all-time F1 wins and titles, but Hamilton says continuing to maintain success is a big challenge.
“As I get older and understand business more and people like Toto [Wolff] and how they run an organisation, it becomes a lot clearer for me how things can also go wrong – as it once did for example with this team, with different figureheads at the top, different structure and all those different things,” he added.
“Business anywhere is not easy to get right.”