Nico Rosberg has conceded that the current F1 regulations 'take quite a bit of enjoyment away' from driving, as he longs for a return to an era of 'big tyres and less downforce', when racing at the highest level was more about gladiatorial prowess than surgical precision.
Whilst conceding that he 'would like to see electric F1 cars...with big power', Rosberg has confessed to the sport's official website that 'if the safety standards back then were as they are today, then I would go back to the early eighties' – albeit acknowledging that 'with their actual standards, it would simply be too dangerous'.
Still, the son of the man who unexpectedly snatched title glory in 1982 in a normally-aspirated Williams-Cosworth up against the might of the turbocharged army reflects that he would have loved to have had the opportunity to race the kind of cars that his father once did.
“I would probably want to drive the car that Alain Prost won the championship with,” revealed the Mercedes Grand Prix star. “It was one of the most sophisticated cars. Hey, wait a minute – maybe not. Maybe the 1,000bhp cars of 1985 with the big tyres and less downforce – [like] the one that my dad drove at Williams.
“The cars now have such low grip and such high downforce in relation. Today you have to drive these tyres so carefully, have to brake so carefully into the corners – that's not the way I really like it. It takes quite a bit of enjoyment away. It's no longer full-attack and braking hard – you're more of a racing surgeon these days!”
Rating both Michael Schumacher and double F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen as ideal team-mates – 'he was a great talent and racing him would be cool', he says of the Finn – Rosberg added that it would be 'awesome' to see Juan-Manuel Fangio pitted against Jim Clark and that his dream dinner party guests would include the Argentine legend as well as Enzo Ferrari, Bernie Ecclestone and Ayrton Senna.
The 25-year-old admits that if he could revive any iconic but moribund team from the past, it would be Tyrrell, and out of the former venues on the calendar, he would reinstate Kyalami in South Africa. And his favourite current circuit? “Malaysia – true, the climate is really demanding with the high humidity, but the track makes up for all that sweating.”
Rosberg goes on to design his perfect new F1 street circuit in New York – 'that would be absolutely and ultimately cool', he reasons, '[with] the start corner at Central Park South and Fifth Avenue, the paddock in Central Park...and the pond would make a nice pool for a workout!' – whilst his favourite bespoke layout would doubtless be a popular one...
“I would pick Turns Eight and Nine from Malaysia, from Monaco the top Casino Corner where you go left at the top of the hill, then Eau Rouge from Spa and the triple-left in Turkey,” he muses. “That would be quite some track!”