Coulthard hits out at F1's new rules for 2009

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The Independent Online

While beleaguered Max Mosley took refuge in Jordan for the World Rally Championship round, in Barcelona David Coulthard was in the vanguard of criticism of the FIA president's new rules for 2009 in the build-up to this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

The Formula One veteran warned that reducing downforce and re-introducing slick tyres will not of itself be sufficient to improve the racing in 2009, having tested the new tyres here recently.

Interviewed by, the Scot said that while mechanical grip had become a more central factor in the car's handling, more was needed to help drivers follow other cars through corners.

"There was more mechanical grip, as you would expect, because you have more rubber in contact with the road, and you have got less aerodynamic grip," he said.

"Now, that in itself I don't believe will unleash closer racing. Because when we race in Canada or Monza with low downforce, you still suffer the effects of loss of downforce when you follow another car. So we need to gain an ability to run in dirty air before you are going to see a transformation in the racing."

World champions Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso also criticised the intended deletion of tyre warmers for 2009, saying that running tyres that were effectively cold after a pit stop would be very dangerous since their grip level would be very low. McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa said: "I nearly had a really stupid accident while testing on the cold tyres, because the grip level was so low. I was lucky not to crash the car."

In Mosley's absence, the FIA launched its EveryRace anti-racism campaign, following abuse suffered by Lewis Hamilton during the test here in early February. They agreed with Spain's Real Federacion Espanola de Automovilisimo that those involved in the incidents were "not at all representative of the thousands of people who enjoy a convivial atmosphere and the spectacle offered by motor sport," and the launch of EveryRace is intended to send a message that discrimination and prejudice can have no place in sport or society.

"I believe that motor sport, like all other sports, is about freedom of expression in the pursuit of competition and excellence. Nothing more, nothing less," Hamilton said yesterday.

He also said that he has no intention of changing his approach here after the disaster in Bahrain. "Straight after that race I knew what had gone wrong and I knew how to correct it," he said. "It is always the key, turning it around and coming back stronger.

"Obviously I won't be making the same mistake again. This weekend being here, feeling fresh after a good break from racing, and making sure we come here fresh, has been important. I feel good."

Meanwhile, Mosley was not enjoying the smoothest of rides in Jordan. He was invited to attend by Prince Feisal Al Hussein, the chairman of Jordan Motorsport, who said: "Max has been a strong friend and ally to Jordan and has supported us since we announced our bid three years ago, so we are delighted that he will be sharing this historic occasion with us."

The invitation, however, is said to have been a surprise to his brother, King Abdullah II, king of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who was not in favour of it.

Some teams are believed to have developed internal damage-limiting protocols should their personnel come into Mosley's orbit before he leaves Jordan on Friday afternoon. Some have been told not to speak with him or to establish eye contact, and some arranged clashing events rather than risk meeting him during the Royal dinner yesterday evening.