Hamilton's 2021 fears allayed?


It's no secret that in the last couple of years a number of high-profile drivers have admitted that they are concerned at the direction in which the sport is heading.

Indeed, with a major overhaul of the sport in 2021 it is understood that a number of drivers are waiting to see how the sport might look before deciding their futures.

The drivers have long expressed a desire for less weight and aero rules that make it easier to follow the car ahead, but in recent times some have also started echoing their teams' thoughts in terms of prize money and budget caps, in a bid to level the playing field.

While Sebastian Vettel is not likely to see the return of V12s, only last week a number of high-profile drivers, most notably Lewis Hamilton expressed shock at the proposal for reversed grids and the like.

Indeed, Hamilton, whose previous comments had led to the Grand Prix Drivers' Association being invited to a number of meetings at which the rules were being discussed, last week claimed that their views were being ignored.

In the face of the increasing negativity finding its way into the media, Chase Carey and Ross Brawn met up with the drivers in Sochi in a bid to allay their fears.

Making clear that such ideas as reverse grids and qualifying races were still in the experimental stage, the pair were keen to point out that such innovation is common in other sports - though not usually in a bid to manufacture the result.

"I think it's been a huge step for us to be involved, it's a big step for all the drivers to be united and I think we're building a new and better relationship with the FIA, the GPDA and the FIA communicating and I think they've been quite open," said Hamilton when asked about the meeting with Brawn and Carey.

"I think there are things that we ask about and they are like 'we can't change it now' but there's no such thing as can't for an engineer.

"There's lots of things that can be improved but the thing they did show us is that the amount that you lose behind a car today... what their simulations say that we will lose in terms of downforce behind the new car... I think it looks great, so I'm working as hard as I can to make sure I can stay around for then and get to drive those newer cars.

"Naturally we don't want the cars to be slower either," he added, "I think they said they're two or three seconds off so hopefully we can push that forward but some things like weight, we don't want the car to get heavier but it is going in that direction. But I know they're working really hard at it."

"It's a good start that we are closer to them and they are actually sharing the ideas with us," added Valtteri Bottas, "and I think we have a pretty good understanding when it comes to driving and racing and we're always happy to give our opinion and I think we have the best understanding what makes us happy and what makes the racing better.

"It means happier fans and so on so for sure it's nice to be involved and hope that that really continues."

"We are all united for the same goals," said Charles Leclerc. "I think our ideas are clear, what we want and it's important that we are involved because we just feel things that sometimes on the data doesn't look the same way. It's a good step."

"They might want to do some experiments, but they didn't say they are going to do a Saturday race," said Max Verstappen, according to Motorsport.com. "But I think it's good they come to us and just explain it very well.

"That's what the meeting was basically about, not 'we're going to do this and this'," he added. "These are the ideas, we're coming to you guys now to explain what is happening or is maybe happening, just to let you guys know we're really trying our best to make it better.

"As drivers, we really feel what is going on in the car or what it's lacking. So, I think it would be good if we could be more involved in it."

"We as drivers are beginning to get together a bit more," said Kevin Magnussen, without a hint of irony, "and actually take an interest in the future of the sport, together, which is really good to see.

"I just think we have a certain amount of expertise and we have a very specific way of looking at things," he continued, "and we're the only ones who really have that view, because a lot of these other guys in the decision-making have never driven a race car.

"So I think it's good and I think it was very good to see Ross and Chase come and open up to us, and kind of give and get some feedback. And I think hopefully there'll be more of that in the future, and hopefully they will use us drivers are a bit more and have us influence a bit more.

"It's free, they don't have to pay us, they can just come and get our opinion, and I think together as a unit we have some level of expertise that you wouldn't ignore."

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Published: 01/10/2019
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