Mario Andretti has counted himself out of the constant criticism of modern formula one.
The F1 legend and 1978 world champion raced in the glorious era between the late 60s and the early 80s, but he stops short of saying it was F1’s best period.
“There will always be those who say ‘The old days were the best’, the Italian-American, now 75, told the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais.
“But I always prefer to look forward. The glorious days of F1 are now. I enjoy the great popularity around the world and the technology on the limit,” he said.
“In those (earlier) years we saw some amazing icons and some great drivers, but I like how everything has progressed. I’d give anything to be 30 years younger and a driver now,” Andretti added.
He also said to talk down the ‘heroes’ of today’s F1 grid is wrong.
“The champions today would be champions in the other decades,” said Andretti. “And vice versa. The only difference is that we had less safe circuits and cars.”
However, Andretti also backs F1’s planned next moves, possibly including bigger and grippier tyres and at least 1000 horse power.
“Any driver will tell you that he wants more power,” he said. “And the fans would love to see faster cars too — fans are very important and we must not forget it.
“Now they are talking about making them (the cars) more difficult to handle and it would create interest and show up the drivers who have more talent,” he added.