Lauda critical of qualifying

Three-times Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda made a rare appearance on the grid at the French Grand Prix and came away with some typically blunt remarks about the current state of Formula 1. High on his agenda was the entertainment value - or lack of it - of the new qualifying regime, and corporate influences within the sport.

Lauda critical of qualifying

"I was originally in favour of single lap qualifying because, when it was presented on television with split times and so-on, so it was easy to understand," Lauda told The Sun newspaper. "But the fans see a single car coming by for a few seconds and, if there's no leader-board showing what is happening, they haven't got a clue."

Lauda understands better than most how important TV is to the popularity of the sport, but he is critical of an over-emphasis, as he sees it, on corporate needs.

"When I was at Jaguar all the team owners ever talked about was the impact of the television ratings," he said. "They seem to forget that races take place because they are set up by an individual promoter and that spectators pay for them.

"Now nothing happens on a Sunday until two o'clock," he added. "The warm-up used to help to build the tension for the race but that no-longer takes place."

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