F1 »

Stewart: We are on the slate to have a big shunt.

Sir Jackie Stewart has slammed Lewis Hamilton for being 'complacent' in his attitude towards safety in Formula 1, warning that somebody will be killed in the new traction control-less era unless the protection of the sport's competitors is moved higher up the agenda.

The three-time world drivers' champion was a vociferous campaigner for safety back in his day, and was at the vanguard of a movement that dramatically cut the death count in F1 in the 1960s and 1970s. Prior to Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna's deaths at Imola in 1994, the previous fatality in the sport had been eight years earlier when Elio de Angelis was killed during testing at Paul Ricard.

Following dramatic shunts for both Timo Glock and David Coulthard in the Australian Grand Prix at the weekend, however, Stewart spoke out to express his concerns.

Just six drivers saw the chequered flag Down Under at the end of a chaotic and tumultuous race, as car after car spun off as the ban on driver aids – most prominently traction control and electronic engine braking – led to increased rear wheel-spinning and took a hefty toll.

“Somebody is going to get killed,” the 68-year-old insisted in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “It has been 13 years and eleven months since the death of Ayrton Senna. It's like an air crash – you can't go on without something going wrong somewhere, and somebody will die. There will be even more accidents now traction control is gone, [and] it is going to be a big shock to this fraternity.”

The Scot pulled the curtain down on his own career in the top flight following the death of his close friend and Tyrrell team-mate François Cevert during practice for the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen in 1973, and he stressed the importance for Melbourne winner Hamilton to join the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA).

A number of current drivers – amongst them Jenson Button and Mark Webber – have similarly criticised the McLaren-Mercedes ace's decision to shun the GPDA, who meet regularly at races to discuss safety issues. Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher was a director of the organisation, though defending title-holder Kimi Raikkonen, like Hamilton, is not a member.

“It is wrong and complacent of Lewis not to be in the GPDA,” Stewart underlined. “I'm surprised and disappointed that [he] has not yet joined. Hamilton has been ill-advised. The one thing you have to have among the competitors is good communication.

“Apart from that you are treated as a group on issues. In my day that was a very important element of getting things done. The GPDA did an immense amount of good.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/22, Jackie Stewart (SCO), Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 16-18/3/ 2007,
Jackie Stewart (SCO), Canadian F1 Grand Prix, Montreal, 8th-10th, June 2007
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23 1st, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 14-16th, March, 2008
John Watson driving the McLaren MP4B at the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix, Las Vegas
2014 FIA European F3 champion Esteban Ocon is to test with Lotus F1
12.10.2014- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, the start
12.10.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
12.10.2014- Vitaly Mutko (RUS) Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 celebrates Manufactor title of Mercedes with the team
12.10.2014- Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
12.10.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014-  Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 with a fan
12.10.2014- Fabiana Flosi (BRA)
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Nathan - Unregistered

March 18, 2008 10:44 AM

I think Jackie is somewhat correct in saying that Lewis should join the GPDA. Was a bit surprised when I heard he turned them down - as arguably F1's new biggest star it's important to have him there.

© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.