'We have to go back to normal racing', says Niki Lauda, criticising the long delay at the beginning of Sunday's British Grand Prix and says over-regulation is eating into the sport's audience.
Niki Lauda on F1 regulations: ‘This over-nursing ... drives me mad’
Mercedes F1 team boss Niki Lauda on Monday slammed Formula One for being ‘over regulated’ and said Finn Kimi Raikkonen was partly to blame for his own big first lap accident in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
The three-time world champion Austrian said he could not understand Raikkonen’s driving in the accident that delayed the British Grand Prix for an hour.
And he suggested that the delay, to repair a piece of crash barrier, was too long and unnecessary – and may have cost the sport large numbers of television viewers on a day when it was competing with the Tour de France and the men’s final at Wimbledon.
“This over-nursing of F1, being over-cautious, over-controlling and over-regulating drives me mad. And this little guardrail issue is another example,” he said.
“There are too many people involved in making F1 as safe as the roads, which is wrong. They should have fixed it quickly, do something instantly and then 10-15 minutes later the race would have gone on.
“There is no way that another car would hit in the same place that guardrail. The delays we have now, nursing the guys, not crossing the white line here, being four seconds back, it is all wrong and this should be stopped.
“I have talked to Bernie [Ecclestone] about it and he fully agrees. We have to go back to normal racing.”
Raikkonen went wide onto the run-off through the Aintree kink and then lost control of his Ferrari as he rejoined the track further down the Wellington Straight.
The big impact caused barrier damage that required a one-hour repair.
Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda said Raikkonen had to accept responsibility for rejoining the track in the way that he did.
“One other criticism I have is that Kimi made a mistake,” said Lauda. “He went wide, so why does he come in balls out and then crash? Hopefully nothing happened [to hurt him], but it was unnecessary.”
Lauda added that the time that the barrier repair took was unacceptable. He suggested that the FIA should have considered a quicker temporary fix, such as a tyre barrier in front of the guardrail.
“Why then did we stop for one hour to fix one bottom guardrail? There should have been a quicker fix, and a quicker fix could mean put some tyres in front. There are other ways of doing this,” he said.
Lauda argued it was another example of F1 being too obsessed with rules and regulations at the expense of common sense.
“None of this was necessary and a lot of people watching the race must have switched to something else on their televisions,” he added. “It is not the right thing to be doing.”
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