Lauda: Drivers are no longer taking risks like we did
Niki Lauda thinks Formula 1 needs to learn lessons from its recent past, balancing safety against safeguarding “the DNA” of the sport by eliminating the element of risk.
The F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman told Servus TV that after a few difficult and less popular years for the pinnacle of motor sport, “We are now back on the road to the right direction. But it will take a while until people really believe it again.”
Not only that, the former triple world champion thinks F1 needs to be “careful” about its next steps.
“This ridiculous Halo system is one example, because the development is not finished for me,” said Lauda, referring to F1’s apparent determination to introduce it in 2017. “We have to get the FIA to decide only things that make sense.”
“For me, the increased safety has changed everything. The drivers today are no longer taking the risks that Helmut (Marko) and I did to succeed.
“In spite of all the dangers, we were all alone. The joy of driving and the fear of a potentially fatal accident predominated,” he added. “Today, all of that is blurred.
“Clearly it is better that we see fewer accidents, but we also have a very different generation of drivers, with few real characters.”
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko agrees, saying that F1 has gone from an extreme sport to a more sanitised one.
“A skier lives considerably more dangerously than a racing driver,” he said. “But the risk has always been a part of the fascination of motor sports.
“The sport has become more safe, and that’s right, but if it is excessive, that magnetic draw is lost. You cannot take away every single risk,” added Marko.