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Drivers reaffirm 2017 rules fears

NEWS STORY
28/04/2016

Drivers fear new rules will continue to see the sport head in the wrong direction.

F1's 'windbags', the drivers, raised their head again today, a number of them expressing fears that new rules planned for 2017 will see the sport continue to head in the wrong direction, thus further alienating the fans.

The 'windbags' title was bestowed on the drivers by Bernie Ecclestone following their open letter to the sport's powers-that-be calling for an overhaul of F1's "obsolete" and "ill-structured" rule-making process.

The F1 supremo subsequently referred to them as windbags, an English expression that refers to one who talks a lot, but says little of importance.

The drivers revelled in his comment, Nico Rosberg accompanying his picture of the infamous pre-Chinese GP drivers' dinner with the hashtag #windbagsunited, and only yesterday tweeting a picture of a number of drivers en route to Sochi, proclaiming their flight to be "Air Windbags".

Ahead of this weekend's proposed final agreement of the new rules for 2017, the drivers have once again expressed their fears.

"I have to be careful with what I say but it is not great," Lewis Hamilton told reporters. "You hope that the engineers who know what's going to happen, just like they knew with the (failed new) qualifying, I hope they are proven wrong. If they aren't, then we're stuck in that period for three years and for the fans, it doesn't get any better. But those guys who made the decision have to live with it."

As if to prove a point, he referred to the canopy device which Red Bull intends running during FP1 tomorrow.

"If they're going to do this, close the cockpit like a fighter jet," he said. "Don't half-arse it. Go one way or the other. That screen looks so bad. It looks like a bloody riot shield. You've got this cool, elegant futuristic F1 car, and you've got a riot shield sitting on top of it."

Speaking at the official press conference, teammate Nico Rosberg echoed Hamilton's fears in terms of the proposed rule changes.

"Our opinion was that it's not the right direction to go," he said, "and we were hoping that they would definitely re-look into it and just make sure from a technical point of view to double check.

"Now this is the way it is, so now all we can do is accept it and make the most of it and hope that there are going to be some surprises. Maybe we're going to love the cars and enjoy driving them even more than we are now. Maybe all the grip is going to feel great or whatever. Now it's just accept it and make the most of it.

"We've been trying to get more involved," he said of the GPDA's increasing presence, "and actually it's moving in the right direction because the FIA is asking us more things now. They want to hear our opinion, asking us for get-togethers and so the process is going well, I think, and with time, let's see where it goes.

"We will try to be more and more involved because I think we can really give something additional to the direction of the sport, because we know a lot of things about what should be good for the sport, because we're driving the cars in the end."

"We don't have any ulterior motives," insisted Jenson Button, "we just want the sport to be in as good a shape as it possibly can. I read so many messages about the sport and there are very negative comments, more negative than positive. It's tough to read."

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1. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 29/04/2016 15:01

"Ah, I see that Toto has given the drivers a thorough briefing so that they toe the team line."

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