May 12, 2018 / 6:21 PM / 15 days ago

Motor racing - Don't keep us in dark on rule changes, say Hamilton

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Formula One title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel found common ground on Saturday in agreeing that drivers should have a say in rule changes.

Formula One F1 - Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 12, 2018 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates pole position with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in third position after qualifying REUTERS/Albert Gea

The two quadruple world champions told reporters at the Spanish Grand Prix that those behind the wheel were often the last to know what was being planned by the technical people.

The sport’s governing body last week announced changes to the cars’ front and rear wings and front brake ducts for the 2019 season.

The modifications, to make it easier for drivers to follow and overtake, are expected to make cars a second and a half slower per lap.

“Is that a fact?,” asked Ferrari’s Vettel when being asked about the changes at a post-qualifying news conference.

“That’s what they said, yeah, something like that,” said Hamilton, sitting alongside after securing pole position for Mercedes.

“Really?” replied the German, indicating it was news to him.

Hamilton, who leads the championship by four points over Vettel, felt slowing down the cars would not make racing any better and said drivers just wanted to go faster and push the limits.

“It’s incredible the technology we have and what we’re doing with it. We should be at least as fast as we are this year but just making racing better. In my personal opinion,” he said.

Vettel said drivers could offer useful insights.

“I mean, we are drivers, not to say that we know everything — we don’t know anything about engineering the car — but we know how the cars feel, how to drive the cars and their limitations to overtake,” added the German. “But we’re not really asked.”

Hamilton agreed. “We should make the decisions,” he said.

NO IDEA

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who has a reputation as one of Formula One’s most exciting overtakers, agreed drivers should be consulted.

“I have no idea what they’ve changed,” said the Red Bull driver. “I actually heard something maybe yesterday that they’ve already agreed on some aerodynamic rules.

“I’m not trying to be funny but I genuinely have no idea what they’re doing or what they’ve changed or what they’ve decided.

“I think regardless, we shouldn’t have to ask, ‘Oh, can you involve us’. We should be involved because we’re the ones driving. We’re not engineers but at the end of the day we’re the ones that know what’s going on in a racing situation.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Neville Dalton

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