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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
23.06.2017 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
23.06.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
23.06.2017 - Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
23.06.2017 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-17
23.06.2017 - Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
23.06.2017 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and his father
23.06.2017 - Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
22.06.2017 - The steering wheel of Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
22.06.2017 -Mercedes AMG F1 W08 steering wheel.
22.06.2017 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
22.06.2017 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
22.06.2017 - Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 and Guenther Steiner (ITA) Haas F1 Team Prinicipal
22.06.2017 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team VF-17
22.06.2017 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
22.06.2017 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32

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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.

Dave - Unregistered

March 18, 2008 12:51 PM

I sense that some of you guys are relatively young and have not lived through an era when drivers being killed was a regular occurence.This is the era JYS excelled in and also made himself unpopular for pushing for safer conditions.His stand was responsible for the safety improvements and drivers surviving.I can remember the death of Senna as though it were yesterday and remember the numbness that affected even people who were not fans of the sport.Having attended two race meetings where drivers died in my view is not something I would wish to see again.He is correct in wishing to see LH involved and as a fanI am disappointed he is not.JYS seeking publicity is utter garbage!!

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