Three-time world champion Niki Lauda has questioned Formula One’s over obsession with rules following the long red flag period at the British Grand Prix.
Lauda cited the time taken for repairs to be carried out to the guardrail that was damaged in Kimi Raikkonen’s first lap shunt during Sunday’s race, as an example of the sports unnecessary need to stick to the rule book, which he believes in this case cost TV viewers.
Raikkonen crashed out heavily at the entry to the Wellington Straight, damaging the barrier, causing the race to be red flagged for almost an hour.
Lauda insists that a quicker solution could have been found to solve the problem, rather than the long stoppage that was needed to repair the barrier.
“Why then did we stop for one hour to fix one bottom guardrail?” questioned Lauda. “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.
“None of this was necessary and a lot of people watching the race must have switched to something else on their televisions. “It is not the right thing to be doing.”
“This over nursing of F1, being over cautious, over-controlling and over regulating drives me mad, and this little guardrail issue is another example.
“There are too many people involved in making F1 as safe as the roads, which is wrong,” he added. “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,” he added. “We have to go back to normal racing.”
Lauda also questioned Kimi Raikkonen’s choice to rejoin the track at high speed following his off, which led to his heavy accident on the opening lap.
“One criticism I have is that Kimi made a mistake,” said the Austrian. “He went wide, so why does he come in balls out and then crash?
“Hopefully nothing happened [to hurt him], but it was unnecessary.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic