Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve fears for F1's future
|By Glenn Freeman||Thursday, February 13th 2014, 16:21 GMT|
Jacques Villeneuve has hit out at the direction Formula 1 is heading, stating that he fears for the sport's future based on the rule changes made in recent years.
Speaking at the reveal of his 2014 World Rallycross programme, the 1997 world champion told AUTOSPORT that he is worried F1 is becoming too artificial because it is "trying to cater to the wrong people".
"I'm worried about the state of F1, I just hope I'm wrong," said Villeneuve, who still attends grands prix as a TV pundit.
"I don't understand what they are trying to do. I don't understand the concept.
"Formula 1 is not epic anymore, the drivers are not heroes. The problem is that the changes are being made in an artificial way and that doesn't work.
"It may be fun for six months, but after that everyone gets bored, and once you start going artificial you have to do it more and more to the point where it's not even real racing anymore."
While Villeneuve highlighted some of the changes for 2014 as concerning, he added that previous additions to the sport such as DRS - introduced in 2011 - were signs that Formula 1 is heading in the wrong direction.
"With the engine regulations, everything is so restrictive that it's not Formula 1 anymore, there's nothing special about it," he added.
"Conserving fuel is fine, and it was great in the past. The problem is that the drivers don't have to do it. It's all done electronically.
"You sit there and it saves fuel for you, and that defeats the purpose.
"The epic has been taken out of F1. The overtaking happens because you press a button, not because you make a special move."
CATERING TO THE WRONG PEOPLE
Villeneuve, who started 163 GPs from 1996-2006, believes that it is ill-judged for F1 to target a different type of fan and try to promote an environmentally-friendly image.
"They are trying to cater to the wrong people," he said. "They are trying to cater to the 'greens', but F1 is not green so there is no point even trying.
"It gives a good image to governments and parliaments but it's not F1.
"And they want to cater to the younger fans that don't have an attention span, and just want an overtake every two seconds even if it is a terrible one, because they don't understand it.
"I'm a purist and I love the sport. I loved the 60s and 70s, when the fans even enjoyed the races where only four cars finished and they were two laps apart.
"You respected what the drivers had done, what they had achieved.
"They are making a lot of decisions that in the long run are not helping F1."