F1 Raceweek: Rosberg urges chiefs to not 'turn back time on safety'

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Bernie Ecclestone's comments about wanting to make Formula One more entertaning and less safe were top of the agenda at Thursday's news conference ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix.

The F1 chief suggested building walls around corners on circuits in an attempt to make the sport more exciting, but many of his detractors believes it would only serve to make events more dangerous.

Ecclestone also said that Fernando Alonso's crash and his ability to walk free unhurt in March's Australian Grand Prix was like "showbiz", insisting that is what people want to see.

The drivers gathered in Mexico were less enthusiastic, however, with Mercedes' world championship leader Nico Rosberg the first to answer.

He said: "My opinion is that there is 10 other areas which we should look at, if we want to make the sport even better than it is, before we start looking at turning back time on safety.

"That would be my view on that."

Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz echoed Rosberg's call for safety to be paramount, though he was not the only driver to suggest that perhaps there could be changes implemented to make things more difficult.

"Safety comes first, but there could be more challenges for drivers," he added. "I'm convinced we could use some devices to make things a bit more challenging.

"At the moment it's too easy to miss a braking point and there's no penalty."

Sergio Perez of Force India is one of two Mexicans racing this weekend alongside Esteban Gutierrez and he was also quick to back up Rosberg, while also agreeing with Sainz's hunger for more of a challenge.

"I certainly agree with Nico," he said. "I think there's so many more areas where we can improve the sport before starting to put the safety in risk and I definitely think we can definitely make the circuits a bit more challenging for the drivers.

"Not necessarily with walls, but making the drivers pay for a mistake. If you go off having a gravel trap and losing time, that kind of things I think is good for the sport because it forces the drivers not to make any mistakes."

The 2017 season was also a hot topic at the media conference, with numerous drivers in the position where they are considering their futures - Sauber's Gutierrez going as far as setting a two-week deadline for himself.

"I've been very clear in the media; I want to wait [to make a decision about staying]," he said. "We have other options that we are considering strongly.

"It's important to choose something soon - we can't afford to wait until the end of the season and things may fall between the cracks. The deadline is in two weeks."

Gutierrez's Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson finds himself in a similar position, with the Swede also looking at a move for next season.

"All drivers who don't have a contract for 2017 are looking at the empty Force India seat," Ericsson said. "It's an option, but Sauber is exciting too."

Esteban Ocon, with just six starts under his belt for Manor, is playing his cards a little closer to his chest, though.

"Already I'm really happy to make progress with the team," he added. "We've done a strong job; it's not easy to arrive halfway through season

"They [Manor] are managing my career. I focus on the remaining races and we see how it goes. If you do a strong job there will always be opportunities."