F1 Raceweek: Hamilton visit to Whiting 'regrettable', teams back Halo call


Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe feels it was "regrettable" that Lewis Hamilton sought to seek clarification from the FIA on Nico Rosberg's pole-winning lap in Hungary last week, without consulting his team.

Reigning world champion Hamilton triumphed at the Hungaroring to overtake team-mate Rosberg at the top of the drivers' standings.

However, there was controversy following the qualifying session, as Rosberg was investigated for possible speeding while yellow flags were in force.

The stewards' inquiry - which ultimately saw Rosberg cleared to start from the front of the grid - followed a visit from Hamilton to race director Charlie Whiting.

Speaking at Friday's news conference ahead of the German Grand Prix, Lowe said: It's my understanding that Lewis did go and see Charlie but it wasn't in any way to seek a review of Nico's lap - it was for his own understanding of what should be done in the future, how that should work for him in the future.

"I think that was regrettable. Personally, he should have kept to advice from the team and we can obtain that from Charlie as necessary.

"But I don't think there was any harm done. It was just a misjudgement from that point of view."

The decision to delay the introduction of a cockpit safety device was a predictable hot topic for the team representatives addressing the media.

On Thursday, Formula One's strategy group voted against bringing in the Halo system next season, instead announcing head protection will be compulsory from 2018 onwards.

Manor engineering consultant Pat Fry, formerly of Ferrari, said: "A lot of research has gone into it over the years. I think we started looking at it in 2013 or something like that, but I think you have got to find the right solution and I think it is just that little bit too early, isn't it, to try to rush something through this year."

That view was echoed by the other team representatives in the room, with Otmar Szafnauer, the chief operating officer of Force India, adding: "The more we test, the more we learn and the better the solution is going to be."

With the representatives of all teams agreed on Halo, Ferrari senior performance engineer Jock Clear was invited to comment on the departure of technical director James Allison.

Clear said: "Obviously, [the departure of] someone of his calibre is not going to go unnoticed. So the team is going to have to work pretty hard to support everybody and cover those gaps.

"In that respect, Mattia [Binotto, Ferrari's new chief technical officer] is going to need help from everybody. We're going to have to pull together.

"I know everybody is committed to pulling together and covering any of those areas where James was very, very strong. He will be missed, but that's the challenge for us."

Red Bull chief engineer Paul Monaghan hailed the development of 18-year-old Max Verstappen, who sits sixth in the drivers' championship.

"Max's feedback is, I would say, very good; for someone of his age it's particularly good," said Monaghan. "He's got a very bright future. He's a very talented young man."

Meanwhile, Matt Morris, McLaren's director of engineering, believes "common sense has prevailed" in the relaxing of radio rules - another decision announced on Thursday.

"I think basically the decision that was made yesterday was the right decision," said Morris.