Reigning F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has suggested that the emphasis on safety in the modern-day top flight has to some extent detracted from the fun and spectacle of the sport – suggesting that donuts and flag-waving at the end of races would add significantly to the entertainment factor.
He may have finished a lowly 16th in front of his adoring home supporters in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone three weeks ago, but McLaren-Mercedes' nine-time grand prix-winner nonetheless delighted his throngs of fans after the chequered flag had fallen in performing a series of smoke-generating tyre burnouts – an action that is against the official FIA rules due to safety concerns, though one to which the governing body elected to turn a blind eye on this occasion.
Such celebrations, however, are commonplace in other series – particularly in grand prix racing's hugely popular two-wheeled equivalent MotoGP and across the Pond in the United States in IndyCars and NASCAR – and Hamilton reckons their formal ratification and even encouragement in F1 would do much to give something back to the spectators who have found themselves increasingly marginalised in recent years.
“They give even more back to the fans with what they do after a race,” the 24-year-old told British newspaper the Daily Mirror
on the subject of MotoGP stars, adding of his Silverstone post-race flourish that he had been impressed by 'the number of people who came up to me afterwards and said 'that was incredible'.
“It wasn't unsafe for anyone, so why shouldn't we be allowed to do it? If you want to want to celebrate a win you should be able to. When Nigel Mansell picked up Ayrton Senna on the side of his Williams (in 1991), that was fantastic. It makes it fun and exciting.
“I'd love to do the flag-waving too. Whether they would allow me is a different matter – safety has taken over a lot of things.”