Former champion Niki Lauda has added his voice to the chorus of F1 drivers and teams urging the FIA and FOM to introduce regulations that will make the cars more of a challenge to drive.
Several drivers, particularly the more experienced in the field, have aired their misgivings about the current formula of the sport, bemoaning the overall pace relative to a decade ago, while the most recent Canadian Grand Prix – often considered a highlight of the season for race action – was notable for the focus paid to fuel and brake conservation, rather than flat-out racing.
Though plans are in place to increase the speed of the F1 cars by 5 to 6 seconds with aerodynamic tweaks, Lauda admits something needs to be done to the way a car is driven to ensure the sport is considered the pinnacle in terms of speed and skill.
"The most important thing, they must be again difficult to drive,” he told Bild
. "When I switched from the Formula 2 to Formula 1, I crapped in my pants! It must again feature real men and not young men who play only to buttons on the steering wheel. Only drivers with the highest driving skills – and I emphasise driving skills – should be in F1.”
Though Lauda insists F1 shouldn't compromise on safety in the pursuit of a more challenging F1, he believes more can be done to place more emphasis on the driver.
“Dangerous no, but riskier. I'm not saying that the safety should be neglected, but at the moment, if the cars are faster, the thrill for drivers and spectators increases straight away.
“One cannot turn back time, but the driver must again have the clutch in hand, rather than just pressing a button. The highest limit and the risk factor have been lost."
Lauda's words come after Kimi Raikkonen said he backed a more 'dangerous' F1 more akin to the days when he started his F1 career.