• Hamilton lashes out at F1 rules change plans

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    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s British driver Lewis Hamilton smiles for fans in the paddock at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona on the third test day of the Formula One Grand Prix season. AFP PHOTO

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team’s British driver Lewis Hamilton smiles for fans in the paddock at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona on the third test day of the Formula One Grand Prix season. AFP PHOTO

    BARCELONA: Defending Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has hit out at plans for a revolution in the sport’s regulations in 2017 and claimed drivers’ opinions should be more valued.

    Changes to the regulations hope to add more speed to the cars in a bid to liven up the sport after Hamilton romped to the title in the dominant Mercedes for the past two years.

    However, he claimed the change to heavier hybrid cars in recent years is the real problem with the sport rather than the lack of competition.

    “I don’t think the regulations are fine, even if there were five teams battling at the front of the grid, but I like a different kind of car,” said the Englishman.

    The deadline on when agreement must be reached for changes to be implemented for the 2017 season was pushed back to April 30 by a meeting of the F1 strategy group and commission on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

    However, a new knockout format for qualifying will be introduced ahead of the start of this season on March 20 to try and mix up the grid to provide for more exciting races.

    “I just realized that when I got to Formula One I think the car was 600 kilos and now it’s 100 kilos heavier, that is the big difference,” Hamilton said. “We don’t actually have to change the regulations much to go three seconds faster, just make the cars lighter.”

    “They are just super heavy. It is ridiculous if they are going to be even heavier. They were great at 600 kilos, nice and nimble, easier for the tires too as there were fewer tire blowouts,” he said.

    “The heavier the car, there is more force on the tires, so the tires feel worse,” he added.

    And Hamilton believes more consultation, especially with experienced drivers who have had to deal with the shifting sands of F1’s technical regulations over the past decade, would produce better solutions than those being offered at present.

    “I think the drivers should be consulted,” he said. “We have feelings about the car, we know what would be better and what is not good for the car, especially the drivers who have been driving for 10-15 years through all the changes and know which ones work and don’t work.

    “In 2008 [Hamilton’s first world title] it was a great year when we were fighting against another team and since then we’ve had some battles but we need more of that,” he said.

    “I don’t know what the answer is, but whatever decisions they’ve been making have not been right,” Hamilton added.

    AFP

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