Kimi Raikkonen has aired his frustration at the way he feels Formula 1 has veered from the priority of driving to the sheer politics of the sport, saying he thinks fans probably watch and think 'what stupid people'.
On the day F1 enters yet more talks to discuss another potential qualifying format having repeatedly failed to agree on several aspects of the sport in recent months, Ferrari driver Raikkonen has added himself to the chorus of drivers who feel the politics has become overbearing.
Indeed, though Raikkonen – who tried NASCAR and competed in the World Rally Championship for a time - says politics has always been a factor in F1, the 2007 world champion feels it is more pronounced now and it is having the effect of diverting too much attention from the actual racing.
“For sure in other racing the other stuff is nicer, because there is so much politics and bullshit in F1 that it is crazy sometimes. People from the outside must look at us and think 'what stupid people, what are they doing?'. I don't think it is good for anybody, but unfortunately it is how F1 is and it's been like that for years.
“Now there are bigger stories about it, but if you take ten years ago there was still politics and it's just the evolution of it, but if you want to do racing on circuits then for sure F1 is still the top level and the fastest cars. Obviously things can be improved, but if you want to look at racing on circuits, then F1 is still that way.
“I enjoy a lot when I did rallies and also some NASCAR stuff, but they are all so different how they are run and how the atmosphere is. Those things are different but there are good and bad things in that, nothing is perfect.
Despite his experience in other forms of motorsport, Raikkonen still maintains F1 is the pinnacle of circuit racing, even if it is no guarantee it makes them better than rally drivers or NASCAR drivers in their particular discipline.
“If you take the top rally guys it is absolutely amazing what they do, if you take the top NASCAR guys it's not like we can jump in and suddenly beat them. They own the things that they do, but if they came here they would be in trouble also. It depends what you are used to and what you do, but if you just want to look at the highest level of racing at race circuits, for sure it is F1..”