Wednesday’s testing session in Barcelona was overshadowed by talk of a new look to qualifying, which will be made this season, and more complicated technical changes that will come into effect in 2017.
None of the decision makers who met in Geneva on Tuesday, and who want to make the cars faster, spoke with Hamilton, who has been one of the most important figures in F1 for a decade and has won three world championships.
Hamilton said: “I don’t agree with the changes that have been made over many years and I do think the drivers should be consulted more. We do know what doesn’t feel good and what to improve.
“Some of these drivers have been in the cars for 10-15 years and been through all these different rule changes and know which ones work and which ones don’t.
“In terms of regulation changes, it is something we are not really much part of but those that have been implemented just now are nothing to do with us.”
Nor did Hamilton seem much impressed by the change to qualifying, with drivers to be eliminated one by one. “I don’t feel like it is going to change much,” he said. “I hope it does, and surprises us, but generally the format is the same.”
Hamilton sounded as if he was more interested in making changes to testing as Mercedes once again dominated preparations for the season. He and Nico Rosberg, after agreeing to split the day between them, pounded out 162 laps, and Hamilton drove 88 of them in the afternoon session.
“They are long days,” he said. “It’s not that it’s boring but it’s tedious going round and round and round. It’s not like a race where you’re competing and you have strategy and you’re fighting against the clock. Testing is not the most exciting, for sure. It never has been.”
Ferrari produced the quickest times on the first two days of testing but on Wednesday it was the turn of Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg to top the time sheet.
Bernie Ecclestone has undergone a transformation a few days after describing F1 as the worst it had ever been, saying he would not buy tickets for his family to watch races.
Despite the fact the F1 commission and strategy group meetings in Geneva were largely a fudge, with a final decision on the most important changes postponed for another two months, Ecclestone, the F1 chief executive, said: “I think now I’m a bit more confident we are going to see some good racing.” Even Paul the Apostle did not change this quickly.
Referring to his earlier remarks, Ecclestone added: “What people needed was a bit of a shake-up. I seem to be the only person that has thought we should do something in Formula One, to wake everybody up a little bit. And maybe that’s what’s happened. I wasn’t talking down the sport at all, quite the opposite. I was trying to sort of explain that unless we did something that’s the way we’d be going.”
Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal who wanted more radical changes introduced, swallowed his disappointment: “We’ve made a step in the right direction. The worst of all things would have been no change but it would be a great shame if that was not fully realised through this regulation change.”
Horner is fully behind the change to qualifying. “It could create a bit more randomness for the grid on Sunday, without artificially inverting grids,” he said.
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