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Hamilton says 2009 F1 title looks wide open

December 02, 2008 10:36 IST

New regulations will leave next year's Formula One title battle wide open, according to McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton [Images].

"I've already had a close look at the new car and the engineers have explained the philosophy behind it and just how different things will be next year," the 23-year-old said in a team press release on Monday.

"I've been watching testing with a lot of interest, I think the new cars will make next year's championship wide open and I'm really looking forward to tackling the new regulations," he added.

The 2009 cars have major aerodynamic changes and will also be using slick tyres instead of the grooved ones of recent years.

The season, which starts in Australia [Images] on March 29, will also see the introduction of KERS systems designed to convert the heat energy generated by the cars' brakes into short bursts of additional power.

Hamilton, who last month became the sport's youngest champion after beating Ferrari's [Images] Brazilian Felipe Massa [Images] by a single point, said he had no plans to return to the racetrack before January.

Instead, he will limber up with a team training camp at the Kuortane Sports Institute in western Finland before returning to Britain to perform a demonstration run in his McLaren at London's [Images] Wembley Stadium as part of the December 14 Race of Champions event.

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

"Brazil [Images] already seems a long time ago and I'm now focussing 100 percent on 2009," he added.

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

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Formula One: The Complete Coverage

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