Lewis Hamilton fears Formula One fans are falling out of love with the sport and has urged his fellow drivers not to “stand still and let it happen”.
Hamilton’s plea comes after the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) published an open letter blasting the “obsolete and ill-structured” decision-making process which they deem to be harming the sport.
The almost unprecedented attack on Formula One’s powerbrokers - notably Jean Todt, the FIA president, and the sport’s chief executive Bernie Ecclestone both here in Bahrain this weekend - has been building for some time.
The drivers have grown frustrated with the now engine-dominated formula, gimmicks, such as double points for the series finale in 2014, and the proposed technical regulations for next season - aimed at making the cars faster and more-aggressive looking.
The seemingly-doomed qualifying format - which flopped so spectacularly on its debut in Melbourne, yet remains in place for the second round of the championship - is another of their more recent bugbears.
Hamilton has long been critical of the current state of the sport, but he is now more outspoken than ever. The Briton, in his 10th season in the sport, speaks as a triple world champion, but also as a fan.
“I think our objective is not to be the decision makers,” the 31-year-old explained in Bahrain. “We don’t want to be the decision makers.
“People are falling out of love with the sport and ultimately it will lead to you guys and also for us. I don’t want that. It has the opportunity to be the greatest sport in the world.”
“The reason behind the letter is to show that we care,” Jenson Button, who along with Sebastian Vettel signed off the powerful note on behalf of the GPDA.
Button, now the most experienced driver on the grid, added: “We are very passionate about the sport. As kids we grew up loving watching Formula One and dreaming of being in a Formula One car and racing against the best drivers in the world.
“We are very emotional about our decisions, which sometimes isn’t the best - but I do think you need emotion when it comes to the way the sport should work.
“We are are not putting out a statement to show how strong we are as drivers. That’s not the aim - and most of us don’t care about that - we are putting out a statement because we think we can help and make it a better sport for the fans, for us, and for the whole of Formula One.
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