MARCH 4, 2016

Senior F1 drivers slam broken sport

World champion drivers on Thursday slammed the current direction of formula one.

Ferrari surprised the F1 world at the Barcelona test when Kimi Raikkonen emerged from the pits with a carbon mock-up of the 'halo' cockpit protection solution.

When asked about the visibility, the 2007 world champion answered: "It was a little bit limited in the front but there was surprisingly little difference."

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, however, couldn't believe his eyes.

"At lunch I saw some pictures of it," said the Mercedes driver, dramatically covering his face with his hand in mock despair. "What more can I say?"

He added on Instagram: "This is the worst looking mod in formula one history.

"I appreciate the quest for safety but this is formula one, and the way it is now is perfectly fine."

Plenty of others were also horrified, with about 75 per cent surveyed by Auto Motor und Sport, Blick and even Nico Rosberg's fans on social media opposed to the solution.

"For me it looks horrible," agreed Nico Hulkenberg, adding his plea to F1 authorities: "Don't do it."

Even some engineers are not impressed, as Force India's Andy Green told Auto Motor und Sport: "What happens if a part hits the upper element and is deflected onto the driver's chest?"

Hamilton's teammate Rosberg, however, made clear in capital letters on Twitter that he is 'ALL FOR IT', while the late Jules Bianchi's father Philippe suggested the solution does not even go far enough.

"This is a step forward," he told Canal Plus, "but it does not solve everything.

"The FIA wished to act after Jules' and Justin (Wilson)'s accidents, but it must go further," Bianchi's father added.

Hulkenberg, however, said that some danger in F1 is "sexy", and Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat agrees.

"There are many different opinions but formula one, for me, is for open cockpit cars," he is quoted by the Russian source Sportbox.

"I have pursued a career in racing in part because it's dangerous, and I'm willing to take that risk. That is my opinion," Kvyat added.

And that is not all. Many drivers despair about overly-quiet cars that are slower than a decade ago, while they were only consulted about the controversial change to qualifying for 2016 after the decision was taken.

"The drivers are generally in favour of leaving the old system alone," Jolyon Palmer admitted after a meeting on Wednesday with Charlie Whiting.

Asked if F1 is broken, directionless or healthy, Mercedes' Hamilton answered on Thursday: "I don't want to say too much, but I agree with the first two."

Another senior driver, two-time champion Fernando Alonso, described the plight of F1 today as "sad".

"When in one week we change the qualifying format three times, or pretend to change as no one has officialised anything, I don't think it's right," he said.

Kvyat concluded: "Even we don't understand what's going on -- imagine the people watching on TV!"