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."

shares
comments
Gene Pays Tribute to Minardi
Previous article

Gene Pays Tribute to Minardi

Next article

Ask Nigel: November 22

Ask Nigel: November 22
Load comments
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021