Button hopes drivers consulted over F1 future

Jun.12 (GMM) Jenson Button hopes drivers are consulted as formula one steps into a more exciting future.

Acknowledging some of the problems with the rules and the current generation of cars, F1 intends to slash 5-6 seconds from average laptimes from 2017.

2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen admitted that would be “nice”.

“I’m sure something has to be done to make it more exciting for people to watch and also to really see the speed and make it a little bit more dangerous,” the Finn said in an interview with French broadcaster Canal Plus.

F1 legend Nigel Mansell, the 1992 title winner, agrees that the direction the sport has taken has removed some of the “magic” of the past.

“We need a bit of magic,” the 61-year-old is quoted by Express newspaper. “Let the drivers drive and race the cars like we used to.”

The concerned group of current drivers recently commissioned an online global fan survey, and director Sebastian Vettel said this week the results will be fed back to the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone.

As for whether the drivers are being directly consulted as to the shape of the eventual rules revolution for 2017, Jenson Button said: “Not yet but I’m sure we will be.

“I think we’ve got a lot to give, a lot of opinions about how to make the sport better for us but also for everyone else.

“I think there’s a lot that can be done,” Button, F1’s most experienced active driver, added. “With the experience that we have of driving different cars and putting ourselves in different situations, we can help out.”

He acknowledged, however, that the 2017 revolution will have its limits, particularly as the current turbo V6 ‘power unit’ era is locked in for now.

“For me, the best years from a driver’s point of view was 2004,” said Button. “We had V10 engines, three litre, 900hp, they revved to 21,000rpm, we had a tyre war. It was great — but times change.

“The costs and everything have to be taken into account and I don’t really know where that puts us for the future,” the McLaren-Honda driver added.

Monisha Kaltenborn, the boss and co-owner of the struggling independent team Sauber, agrees that costs are an issue.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that the current proposals, involving widening the cars and tyres, reducing weight and increasing downforce “could cost EUR 10 million extra”, Kaltenborn said.

The motivation to spice up the sport, however, is high.

“To say that (Bernie) Ecclestone, myself and the rest of the teams are happy with the development of the sport over the last four or five years would be wrong,” Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne is quoted by Spain’s El Confidencial.

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