Lewis Hamilton: Formula 1 broken and lacking direction

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has been testing his Mercedes in Barcelona

World champion Lewis Hamilton believes Formula 1 is broken as it struggles to finalise rules for the next two years.

The Mercedes ace was asked by reporters if the sport was fundamentally broken, lacking direction or in rude health.

The 31-year-old Briton, world champion three times, said: "Probably the first two you suggested. I don't want to say too much but I agree with those."

McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso added that indecision over qualifying regulations for 2016 was "sad".

F1 testing: How is Lewis Hamilton faring?

Hamilton also questioned the new 'halo' safety system that was trialled on Thursday's penultimate day of winter testing in Barcelona.

The system is designed to protect drivers from impact and debris, but Hamilton used social media to call itexternal-link "the worst F1 modification in history".

In the earlier news conference, he added he was "dying" to be able to drive a car from 30 years ago, which he said he finds much more appealing.

He also sees no need to change qualifying, a reference to attempts by F1's bosses to introduce a new elimination-style system for this year.

Hamilton said: "It was fine, it was OK. Why confuse people even more? Even we don't understand what is going on."

Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone said a new qualifying format would be delayed until the fifth race of the season

Timing system excuses labelled 'pathetic'

F1 bosses agreed last week to introduce a qualifying system that would see the slowest car eliminated at 90-second intervals through three stages of qualifying.

But the following day, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was keen on the new format, said he had been told there was not sufficient time to amend the sport's timing system before the season starts in Australia on 18 March.

The teams, who were asked to analyse the new proposal to check it had no flaws, have proposed a revised system that retains the elimination format for the first two parts of qualifying but reverts to a straight fight between eight drivers for the top places on the grid.

This idea will be discussed at the FIA World Council on Friday.

Senior figures have also questioned why the timing software and television graphics cannot be amended in time, with one senior figure telling BBC Sport that the explanation given was "pathetic".

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso is in favour of a return to a one-lap qualifying

We want simplicity in the rules - Alonso

Bosses have also had to extend a deadline to finalise new rules for 2017 aimed at making the cars faster and more dramatic-looking.

Alonso said the lack of clarity did not portray F1 in a good light.

"I am sad for the sport," said the two-time champion. "If I were a sportsman from another sport, I will look at Formula 1 a little bit surprised about that."

The 34-year-old Spaniard added there were "too many changes" and complained that "the complexity of the rules for the spectator is quite high".

He said: "All my friends here in Spain want to switch on the television and watch battles, big cars, big tyres, big noise and enjoy the race like they do with other sports. We want simplicity in the rules."