World champion Lewis Hamilton has joined the growing number of critics of the new rules to be introduced to Formula One this season.
McLaren ace Hamilton had kept his council until Friday while he tested in Spain, but his reaction to the changes, which will see the 2009 champion decided by race wins and caps put on team spending, was outspoken. “I think it’s a shame what’s happening to Formula One,” he told Press Association. “It’s hard to believe these recent decisions will improve things for the trackside spectators and TV viewers, who should always be our number-one priority, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. “Whatever the points system, I know all Formula One drivers will always race our hearts out.” Under the new rules Hamilton would have finished second in last year’s championship to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who had one more race win. Points will still be used to break a tie between drivers with the same number of wins and for the constructors’ championship. World governing body FIA rushed through the new rule changes on Tuesday, taking Formula One teams by surprise. From next year they will be forced to choose between freedom to spend, but keeping to the current technical regulation, or ability to innovate, but with a £30 million cap on their spending. Hamilton added: “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. “Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport and that’s what we all love about it. We should all be working together to maintain that.” Ferrari president Luca di Montzemolo has also been highly critical and feels the new regulations run “the risk of turning on its head the very essence of Formula One and the principles that make it one of the most popular and appealing sports.” Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher wrote on his personal Web site that the changes were “astonishing” while Renault star and two-time champion Fernando Alonso has also been critical. The first race of the Formula One season is in Australia on March 29 with teams completing their final preparations at testing in Jerez this week.