Coulthard Slams F1 Rule Changes

David Coulthard has criticised the rule changes introduced in Formula One over the last couple of years and said the new regulations 'handicap' success unjustly

Coulthard Slams F1 Rule Changes

Coulthard was contacted by FIA president Max Mosley last week after he and 18 other F1 drivers have signed a letter to the FIA in support of the Michelin teams that have elected not to race at the US Grand Prix due to safety reasons.

As revealed by Autosport-Atlas, the telephone conversation stirred controversy among some of Coulthard's rivals, with drivers saying the call was perceived as threatening and inappropriate.

But whatever the tone, it did not seem to deter Coulthard from speaking his mind and meeting with British journalists yesterday, ahead of the British Grand Prix this weekend, the Scot extended his criticism against the rules introduced by the FIA recently - primarily the new qualifying and engine penalty rules.

Drivers lose 10 grid places if they change engines during the weekend, as engines are meant to last for two full Grand Prix weekends. Furthermore, the order for qualifying runs is determined by the previous race's results, meaning drivers are 'punished' for a retirement with a compromised starting position on the next race's grid.

"All these rules - qualifying, single laps and ten-place penalties - are not designed to wreck races, but the consequence is that they do," Coulthard said yesterday.

"If you go out early in one race, you have to start early in qualifying for the next. That means you have a bad qualifying, because physically you just cannot go quicker than someone else who has an equal lap later in the session because the track is in a better condition.

"So it is a handicapped F1 system we have. You are handicapped if you have an engine failure, even if it is no fault of the driver, and then the crowd are deprived of what may be a fantastic race, as they were in France."

Coulthard's former McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen lost 10 grid places in the French Grand Prix because his engine blew during Friday's practice. The Finn seemed the fastest driver in the race, however, but could do no better than finishing second, having started from 13th.

And the Red Bull Racing driver says the root of all these changes was to slow down Ferrari and Michael Schumacher, after the Italian team and the German driver have dominated Formula One for half a decade.

"This was done because Ferrari were dominating," Coulthard said. "It was wrong to do it for that reason, just because one person is doing the job and others are not. We should applaud success not handicap it.

"All this shaking the grid up artificially. Why? Ultimately cream rises to the top during the year and shaking the grid up only allows other lesser people on the grid to influence the outcome of what could be a great World Championship."

Coulthard and the rest of the drivers are set to meet FIA president Mosley at Silverstone, on Friday afternoon, to discuss the recent events at Indianapolis and their aftermath. The meeting is set to be held behind closed doors.

"We have a scheduled meeting at Silverstone on Friday with the FIA president unless he finds something else in his diary," Coulthard said. "We very much look forward to discussing a range of safety issues and obviously one of the topics will be Indianapolis."

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