Hamilton ‘not against’ closed cockpits

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Lewis Hamilton says he is “never against” changes that can raise F1 safety standards, including closed cockpits, as long as these don’t undermine the sport’s “fun factor”.

In the wake of Jules Bianchi’s passing from severe brain injuries, fresh calls have been made to further improve driver safety, especially in terms of head protection.

Amongst the potential evolutions, the topic of closed cockpits has surfaced once again, as it did after Felipe Massa was struck by a spring flying off Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn during the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying.

Reigning world champion Hamilton admits he keeps an open mind on the idea.

“I saw some pictures a month ago, I think it was from McLaren, and I think it looked pretty cool,” he said. “Whether or not it would work, I don’t know. As we are always talking about safety, I imagine at some stage there may be a change that teams and F1 would do.

“I’m never against any changes as long as they are positive for safety but also for racing, and also that it doesn’t take away the fun factor, the enjoyment factor.

“If it becomes couch driving, then it’s not real fun.”

Asked about how he is coping with the death of a fellow racer, the Mercedes driver confesses it has taken a toll on the F1 community.

“It’s something you never want to see in the sport. It’s really difficult to grasp the sheer magnitude of it. It’s painful to see people sad like we saw his family and close friends at the funeral. I could not say I was a close friend of Jules, I did not know him that well.

“But it’s getting hard again because I have been stood outside and every camera crew asks about him. It feels awkward to talk about it. We are here today and we are healthy, but a great, talented individual is not here with us. It’s hard to comment about it.

“But I really do believe that... he’d want us to race. If [Jules] were here, he’d be racing and going flat-out.”

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