Triple world champ Lewis Hamilton blasts ‘Halo’ cockpit protection idea and changes in regulations
Barcelona: Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton blasted Formula One as ‘broken’ and ‘lacking in direction’ on Thursday as the sport’s bosses debate a range of changes to regulations.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton negotiates a turn during testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
The Mercedes star believes that tinkering with the qualifying format, which has caused splits in the paddock and amongst fans as the world championship tries to boost its appeal, is detrimental to the sport. The autosport.com website and BBC reported that when asked if Formula One is “broken, lacking direction, or in rude health?”, Hamilton replied: “I would probably say the first two you suggested.” But Hamilton then added: “I don’t want to say too much, but I do agree with the first two things you said.”
The Briton, speaking on the penultimate day of pre-season testing in Barcelona, also took aim at the new cockpit safety system, known as the ‘Halo’. The three-pointed carbon structure is placed at the front of the car and is intended to prevent more driver fatalities.
Rosberg: massive safety improvement
“Please no! This is the worst looking mod (modification) in Formula 1 history. I appreciate the quest for safety but this is Formula 1, and the way it is now is perfectly fine,” Hamilton wrote on his Instagram page. The Halo was tried on track by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday. Demands to increase driver safety have intensified following the deaths of Jules Bianchi and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson last year.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg hailed the device as a ‘massive safety improvement’. However, the father of former F1 driver Bianchi, who died after colliding with a recovery vehicle at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014, claimed the new measures don’t go far enough. “This is a step forward, but it does not solve everything,” Philippe Bianchi told Canal Plus.
“In the case of Jules it would not have changed since it was the extremely violent deceleration that we know caused the damage to his brain. “The version of this Halo system I saw this morning did not convince me and still needs to be improved.” Raikkonen used the structure on his installation lap on the third day of the second pre-season test in Barcelona before going on to set the fastest time of the winter once it was removed.
Melbourne: The people of Victoria, the home state of the Australian Grand Prix, have opposed the idea of trying a night race for the annual Formula One season opener, due to be held on March 20 here. In a national survey commissioned by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, around one-third (30 percent) of those polled were against the plan to run the F1 Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit under lights, reports Xinhua.