HAMILTON BLASTS NEW SAFETY MOD: Formula 1 champion showed his dissatisfaction on social media towards a new safety device, dubbed 'halo' after Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen tested it in Barcelona. Image: Josep Lago
Barcelona, Spain - Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton believes that tinkering with the qualifying format, which has caused splits in the paddock and amongst fans as the world championship tries to boost its appeal, is detrimental to the sport.
The autosport.com website and BBC reported that when asked if F1 is "broken, lacking direction, or in rude health?", Hamilton replied: "I would probably say the first two you suggested."
But Hamilton then added: "I don't want to say too much, but I do agree with the first two things you said."
Read: F1 safety 'halo' meets mixed response
The Briton, speaking on the penultimate day of pre-season testing in Barcelona, also took aim at the new cockpit safety system, known as the "Halo".
What do you think of the 'halo' safety device? Is this the answer to F1 safety? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts.
The three-pointed carbon structure is placed at the front of the car and is intended to prevent more driver fatalities.
Hamilton wrote on his Instagram page: "Please no! This is the worst looking mod (modification) in Formula 1 history. I appreciate the quest for safety but this is formula 1, and the way it is now is perfectly fine," Hamilton wrote on his Instagram page.
The Halo was tried on track by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday (March 3).
Demands to increase driver safety have intensified following the deaths of Jules Bianchi and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson in 2015.
Hamilton's Mercedes team mate, Nico Rosberg hailed the device as a "massive safety improvement".
Halo device "does not solve everything"
However, the father of former F1 driver Bianchi, who died after colliding with a recovery vehicle at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014, claimed the new measures don't go far enough.
Philippe Bianchi told Canal Plus: "This is a step forward, but it does not solve everything.
Read: Bianchi dies 9 months after Suzuka crash
"In the case of Jules it would not have changed since it was the extremely violent deceleration that we know caused the damage to his brain.
Bianchi added: "The version of this Halo system I saw this morning did not convince me and still needs to be improved."
Raikkonen used the structure on his installation lap on the third day of the second pre-season test in Barcelona before going on to set the fastest time of the winter once it was removed.
Raikkonen tests the new 'halo' safety device:
The Halo won't be used for the upcoming season which starts at the Australian Grand Prix on March 20, but a meeting of the F1 Commission last week approved measures aimed at introducing it for the 2017 season.
However, Rosberg was the most demonstrative voice urging for the Halo to be passed into the sport's laws.
Rosberg said: "My opinion is that it represents a big step forward in terms of safety.
"Following the fatalities we have experienced in recent years in racing that halo would have saved lives, so we absolutely need it."
However, the Halo's aesthetic appearance as well as its ability to protect drivers was criticised.
Former F1 driver and pundit Martin Brundle tweeted: "That looks even worse than I feared, in several respects."
Ferrari, though, insisted the final version of the prototype would be more visually pleasing.
A Ferrari spokesperson told Sky Sports: "This is a provisional structure made by Ferrari to test visibility.
"We think the final structure would be part of the car and hopefully will look better. Kimi said it was 'okay' in terms of visibility."