Alesi: Technology is taking over F1

Formula 1's senior statesman Jean Alesi has declared the category is now more about man than machine, according to an exclusive interview with Autosport's sister publication Motoring News

Alesi: Technology is taking over F1

The 36-year-old Frenchman has spent the last 12 years in F1 and, although he still loves the sport, he feels the driver's input is not as important as it used to be.

"I'm really sad that there is a lot less space for the driver now," he said. "We're often asked: how much of the impact is the cars and how much the drivers? I don't want to say the driver is not important any more, but it is close. Sometimes I drive the car and cannot do anything. Because after one lap you understand your level, and that's it for the weekend. It was absolutely not like that in 1989."

Alesi, who took the sport's breath away with his fourth placed finish on his debut in the 1989 French GP in an under-powered Tyrrell, believes it is harder for a young driver to impress F1 team bosses, unless they are given opportunities by the big teams.

"These days a driver cannot come in and do what I did," he added. "If he's jumping into a Ferrari or McLaren, then maybe, but not in a BAR or Jordan. Still, the best drivers make it to Formula 1 and I don't see a worse level now than in the past."

Alesi also believes that the demands on young drivers from outside the cockpit are a massive distraction, and this has taken the fun factor out of the sport.

"Back then [in his early days] we could plan to do something after qualifying. I'd get together with friends and we'd watch a movie in the city or play football or golf. But F1 costs so much money now that when you sell space on a car, you also sell driver appearances and availability. We're here to work, and that is tough for a young driver."

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