Never one to mince his words, Jacques Villeneuve believes that Formula 1 erred by listening to fans and as a result injecting it with artificial gimmicks which have diluted the essence of the sport.
Speaking during the Autosport show, Villeneuve declared, “Where F1 went wrong was, sadly, when it started listening to the fans, because the fans complained there was not enough overtaking.”
“By listening to that, what did F1 do? Put in DRS. Because that way we’ll have a hundred overtakes in a race. But name me one overtake you remember since DRS. You don’t, because you don’t see the driver work.”
“In a motorbike race, sometimes it takes a rider ten laps to overtake another rider. But in these ten laps you see the work that goes with it. When the overtake happens, wow. All these ten laps you’re on the edge of your seat.”
“Now you aren’t. Next straight line, press a button, overtake. That’s it. You want to see a great competition. You want boxers to really hurt each other, and see who the strongest one is.”
“You don’t want them to have big gloves so they don’t hurt themselves. That’s a bit what DRS is like – let’s not take a risk, let’s press a button. It’s like overtaking on a highway. You don’t actually see proper racing because of that. You get tons of overtaking, but it’s boring. So it defeats the purpose.”
As for costs, he opined, “F1 should be too fast and too expensive. F1 has always been extreme, pushing the boundaries. It’s supposed to be too fast, too expensive, crazy. That’s not what we have.”
“You see drivers getting out of the car without even breaking a sweat because they massaged the car the whole race and drove within eight seconds of what they did in qualifying. It’s wrong,” lamented Villeneuve who was 1997 Formula 1 World Champion.