8 April 2016
Hamilton: We should be pushing flat-out
Lewis Hamilton has urged those involved in shaping F1's future to give more thought to improving the racing and not just looking for more speed and better looking cars...
Lewis Hamilton has repeated his claim that F1 rulemakers need to consider their future options carefully in order to ensure that the category remains at the pinnacle of motorsport.
The reigning world champion has embarked on a something of a fan-centric crusade over the past couple of years, making a point of praising and thanking those that turn out at each round before, more recently, becoming quite vocal about the future direction of F1.
Harking back to memories of his karting days, it is clear that Hamilton would rather bring wheel-to-wheel racing to the top flight rather than outright speed, and he reminded the powers-that-be of that several times around the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.
Speaking in the build-up to round two of the 2016 season, the Mercedes driver insisted that, while it was not up to the drivers to make future regulation decisions, he was concerned about the direction the sport appeared to be headed in.
The three-time F1 world champion has often spoken of his belief that the cars should be harder and more physical to drive, while being less reliant on aerodynamics and electronic driver aids. To that end, his view is that the plans for the revised 2017 regulations could actually take F1 in the wrong direction when it comes to promoting 'the show'.
Draft regulations for 2017, which could yet be suspended as the various parties struggle to agree on a consensus package, initially seem to be giving the cars more aggressive looks and a five-second gain in lap time, but through the aero tweaks that Hamilton fears will further affects the ability to 'race'.
"Personally, I think we need more mechanical grip and less aero wake coming off the back of the cars so we can get close and overtake," the Briton said prior to a Bahrain race that provided excitement behind the top two as Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen made good their escape at the front of the field, “Give us five seconds' worth of lap time from aero and nothing will change - we'll just be driving faster."
Asked after the race - in which he again had to come from the bottom end of the top ten to claim a podium - whether F1 would be better off keeping the current regulations for 2017, Hamilton admitted that changes were necessary, but again said that his preference would be for more demanding conditions and more battling on track.
"Was it an exciting race to watch?" he asked, "It is not for me to decide [the rules]. Things could be better. We should be pushing flat-out the whole race.
"If the car is damaged, that is different, but we should be pushing the whole race. I guarantee Nico wasn't pushing from lap ten and, 15 laps to the end, Kimi wasn't pushing either. We should all be a lot closer - there shouldn't be an 80secs gap between first and seventh. We should be within 10-15secs so you can't afford to slip up…"
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