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Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Hamilton welcomes new regulations

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton became F1's youngest world champion in November

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton believes new regulations will leave the 2009 title race wide open.

The 23-year-old Briton said he was "looking forward to tackling" the changes to next year's cars.

These include the return of slick tyres, major aerodynamic alterations, and energy recovery systems.

"I've had a close look at the new car and the engineers have explained the philosophy behind it. I am watching testing with interest," he said.

The new developments include a switch to slick tyres from the grooved ones of recent years, and the introduction of the kinetic energy recovery system (Kers), which stores energy recovered from the rear axle during braking and converts it to supply a brief power boost.

Brazil already seems a long time ago and I'm now focusing 100% on 2009

Lewis Hamilton
Teams are currently in winter testing, working out how best to deploy the new technology.

McLaren's Pat Fry, chief engineer on the Woking-based team's MP4-24 car for 2009, recently said the alterations for the new season would create "the potential for upset and the normal pecking order to be different".

Hamilton will not return to testing until January, once he has taken part in a team training camp in Finland.

He will limber up at the Kuortane Sports Institute, in western Finland, before performing a demonstration run in his McLaren at London's Wembley Stadium as part of the Race of Champions event on 14 December.

Hamilton is hot favourite to lift the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award later that day.

"Finland is when it (the training) all starts again in earnest," said Hamilton, whose Finnish team-mate Heikki Kovalainen will be testing again in Spain and Portugal this month after the camp in his home country.

"Brazil already seems a long time ago and I'm now focusing 100% on 2009," added Hamilton.

"Before Christmas, I plan to take a holiday and return fresh and positive to kick-start our winter test programme with the MP4-24."

Hamilton became the youngest F1 world champion in history in November, beating Ferrari's Felipe Massa to the title by a single point.

F1 is once again set for upheaval between seasons, with boss Bernie Ecclestone recently outlining more proposals to change the sport.

Ecclestone is keen to introduce a new scoring system alongside developments in aerodynamics and technology.

He wants the old points system scrapped in favour of gold, silver and bronze medals for the first three drivers to finish each race.

Ecclestone's plans would reward the driver who wins the most races with the world title - but would have seen Hamilton miss out to Felipe Massa this year.

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see also
F1 boss plans scoring revolution
26 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton to race Hoy at Wembley
18 Nov 08 |  Motorsport
F1 teams to reduce engine costs
09 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Last-gasp Hamilton takes F1 crown
02 Nov 08 |  Formula One
F1 teams agree cost-cutting deal
21 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Mosley urges F1 cost & fuel cuts
04 Jul 08 |  Formula One

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