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Hamilton hits out at rule changes

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton believes spectators will suffer from the recent rule changes

By Andrew Benson

World champion Lewis Hamilton has criticised proposed changes unveiled by Formula 1 organisers this week.

Governing body the FIA wants the world title go to the driver with most wins - a plan it has now shelved - and to see huge cost cuts in 2010.

"It's a shame what's happening to F1," said McLaren driver Hamilton.

"It's hard to believe these recent decisions will improve things for the trackside spectators and TV viewers, who should always be our priority."

Hamilton was speaking before a protest by the F1 teams association (Fota) prompted the FIA to defer the introduction of its 'winner takes all' system.

He said the FIA should pay more heed to the wishes of the teams, who for the first time in F1's history are presenting a united front in trying to improve the sport.

The FIA's vision for the future of F1 is at odds with that of the teams.

Hamilton, speaking in a statement issued by McLaren, added: "Whatever the points system, I know that all F1 drivers will always race our hearts out.

The teams, drivers, sponsors and fans are all working together for the good of our sport - now we just need the governing bodies to listen to us and help us

Lewis Hamilton

"For the first time in recent years we have the teams, drivers, sponsors and fans all working together for the good of our sport - now we just need the governing bodies to listen to us and help us.

"F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and that's what we all love about it; we should all be working together to maintain that."

BBC Sport understands Hamilton's remarks are aimed at the decision to impose an optional £30m budget cap in 2010 as much as at any change to the points system.

The 24-year-old would have lost last year's world title if a wins-based system had been in place as Ferrari driver Felipe Massa won one more race.

The budget-cap idea for 2010 was proposed by FIA president Max Mosley and approved by his organisation's world council on Tuesday.

Teams can choose to operate under the budget cap, but have more technical freedom to develop their cars and engines.

Alternatively, they can continue to spend what they want but operate under this year's more restrictive regulations.

Fota expressed "disappointment and concern" with the financial changes.

Fota is implacably opposed to the £30m budget cap.

The teams are committed to budget cuts, which they accept are necessary because of the global financial crisis.

They have already promised to impose its own 50% cut for 2010, bringing the budget of a competitive team down to about £140-150m - a reduction it considers to be sufficient.

They want F1 to continue to limit costs; to improve the spectacle for the TV audience and spectators, to develop new environmental initiatives; to increase the transfer of those technologies to road cars and to maintain and improve safety.

Because of the complexity involved, the teams are particularly concerned by Mosley's suggestion that the FIA would alter the rules governing the cost-capped cars to ensure they remain competitive with the ones operating with bigger budgets.

"We will make sure these advantages [of a bigger budget] do no more than balance the disadvantages the cost-capped teams will have because of their very restricted budgets," Mosley said in a statement.

"We will balance the median performances by adjusting the cost-capped cars should this prove necessary."

Mosley insists that his proposals do not hinder technical innovation.

"These rules will encourage clever engineering - success will come to the teams with the best ideas, not only the teams with the most money," he said.

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see also
F1 in disarray over scoring plan
20 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Briatore concerned by budget rule
18 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
F1 change 'could improve racing'
19 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
GP wins will decide world title
17 Mar 09 |  Formula 1

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