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VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 09: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes and Valentino Rossi of Italy and Yamaha Factory Racing swapped their respective helmets at the end of the #LH44VR46 test at Ricardo Tormo circuit of Valencia on December 09, 2019 in Valencia, Spain. Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi swapped their respective machinery in an unprecedented test between two motorsport icons. (Photo by Guido De Bortoli/Getty Images for Monster Energy)

Hamilton: ‘epic’ having F1 and MotoGP on ‘same weekend’

Speaking after the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton said he thinks Liberty ‘can do a great job’ with their newest acquisition

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Big MotoGP fan, Lewis Hamilton is excited by the prospect of joint race weekends for the two championships.

Lewis Hamilton Valentino Rossi F1 MotoGP
Valentino Rossi (#46) and Lewis Hamilton (#44) riding the 2019 Yamaha YZR-M1 at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit of Valencia in 2019. (Image Credit: Guido De Bortoli/Getty Images for Monster Energy)

Earlier this month, it was announced that Liberty Media would take over MotoGP. It was a £3.6bn deal for 86% ownership of Dorna Sports, the current MotoGP rights holder.

Liberty Media bought Formula One back in 2017. Since then, the sport has seen a massive rise in viewership. In particular, the younger viewers, the American audience, and the female fanbase have grown significantly in the past six years. Liberty will be hoping for the same upward trajectory for MotoGP viewership.

Separate or shared events?

So, should Liberty keep MotoGP a separate event, or combine events with Formula One over a race weekend? Liberty initially said that the championships would be treated separately as their own individual entities.

As reported by The Race, Liberty Media CEO, Greg Maffei explained:

“We are going to not treat these as a bundle or try to bring them together to market, these are both separate properties.”

However, that contradicts the sentiment shared by Dorna Sporting Director, Carlos Ezpeleta. He said his organisation was “not ruling out” the possibility of sharing race weekends between the MotoGP and F1 championships in the future.

Hamilton loves MotoGP

As reported by Autosport/Motorsport.com, Hamilton was full of praise for Liberty Media. Speaking after the last F1 race in Suzuka, he said:

“I think Liberty has done an amazing job with Formula 1, obviously the value of the thing [rising since 2017]”

The Brit believes that Liberty could have similar success with MotoGP.

Hamilton and Valentino Rossi swapped machinery at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Spain in 2019. Hamilton rode Rossi’s 2019 Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1 bike. While Rossi drove Hamilton’s Mercedes-AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+, in which the Brit had won the 2017 F1 World Drivers’ Title.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 09: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes riding the 2019 Yamaha YZR-M and Valentino Rossi of Italy and Yamaha Factory Racing at the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ during the #LH44VR46 test at Ricardo Tormo circuit of Valencia on December 09, 2019 in Valencia, Spain. Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi swapped their respective machinery in an unprecedented test between two motorsport icons. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari/Getty Images for Monster Energy)
Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi swap machinery in Spain, 2019. (Image Credit: Mirco Lazzari/Getty Images for Monster Energy)

Both drivers have great respect for each other. After the machinery swap, seven-time F1 world champion, Hamilton said: “It’s so awesome to see a legend like Valentino in the car. I’m excited for him, for discovering the car for the first time.”

Nine-time motorcycle racing world champion, Rossi added: “I was a big fan of Lewis’ before but now I am even more. We had a fantastic day where the two top classes of motorsports not only met but worked together. I felt like a real F1 driver for a day. I didn’t want the day to end.”

Following the new of Liberty’s MotoGP acquisition, Hamilton joked that this machinery swapping could continue. He said:

“maybe I could do a race in MotoGP and race a Formula 1 car on the same weekend – that would be really cool”

Although, he did later admit that he knows it would be “impossible” to do that.

Lewis Hamilton Valentino Rossi F1 MotoGP
Lewis Hamilton riding the 2019 Yamaha YZR-M and Valentino Rossi at the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ during the #LH44VR46 test at Ricardo Tormo Circuit of Valencia in 2019. (Image Credit: @fiagirly on Twitter)
Would a shared weekend work?

Ultimately, combining both championships across one weekend of racing would only work at larger venue circuits. Therefore, it is unlikely to happen in the short term. There are currently some bigger circuits used by both championships – for example, the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

However, in 2021 the MotoGP riders heavily criticized the track, deeming the circuit unsafe. This was because of the asphalt’s condition – the circuit is known for its bumpiness. The track had been resurfaced in places following criticism in 2019. But, according to the MotoGP riders, the circuit’s condition only worsened. The circuit was still being branded a “disaster” by MotoGP riders as recently as 2023.

Red Bull, sponsor of the MotoGP Grand Prix of The Americas, praised the circuit ahead of the race in Austin later today (8 pm UK time):

Therefore, if future MotoGP and F1 race weekends were to be amalgamated, it would be vital for Liberty to select the best venue for both championships. It would need to benefit the riders, drivers, and fans alike.

Featured Image Credit: Guido De Bortoli/Getty Images for Monster Energy

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