Two former F1 drivers have lamented the current state of the sport. 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve and F1 veteran Gerhard Berger think changes at the very heart of formula one are now necessary.
“F1 tries to be everything,” Villeneuve, now a Formula E driver, told CNN.
“And that’s wrong. It tries to be an endurance car – it’s some form of hybrid – and hybrid technology weighs around 100 kilos and that’s four seconds a lap of weight.
“It’s not F1, it’s not extreme, it doesn’t make sense,” the French Canadian declared.
“F1 has to be out there, extreme, unattainable, stupid, crazy — that’s what it’s always been. It’s a laboratory where the sky’s the limit.
“There are a lot of things that are making F1 a lot less appealing to the public. A bunch of things like DRS,” said Villeneuve, now 44.
He concludes that F1 needs to “go back to its roots”, and Austrian Berger agrees.
“Today,” said the former McLaren and Ferrari driver, “the viewer is confronted with a bunch of rules and words that he does not understand.
“Every Sunday there is something new,” Berger told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
“DRS, KERS, token, ultra-soft tyres … no one in the world knows what a ‘token’ is. But formula one talks about it every day.
“People are at work all week and for two hours they want to be entertained with a grand prix. So if Bernie (Ecclestone) and Jean (Todt) are not able to keep this nonsense from the spectators, they must not be surprised when no one is interested anymore,” Berger charged.
The 56-year-old said that, to solve the problem, F1 needs someone to stand up and take clear control of the sport.
“In reality I sometimes fall asleep in front of the television now,” said Berger. “Because after one lap you know who will win the race.
“What it needs is a neutral body who represents the fans and the sport, and takes the final decisions. In these democratic votes by the teams, there are way too many bad compromises,” he insisted.
“If Bernie and Jean have sold their power, they need someone capable and financially independent, with the sport in his blood and the necessary power to direct from above.
“Then everyone can decide if they want to be in or not. That was the old system,” said Berger, “and it worked. That’s what we have to go back to.”