Although many speak glowingly of the Alain Prost versus Ayrton Senna era in F1, Fernando Alonso believes it was the 2000s where the sport really shone.
Formula 1 racing in the 1980s and early 1990s is often spoken about as the sport’s golden era.
It was the days when Prost and Senna raced wheel-to-wheel with their battles the stuff of legends.
Alonso, though, feels it wasn’t all that.
“Formula 1 at that time, it was very boring,” he told Autosport.
“If you see a race now from ’85, ’88 or ’92, you will sleep through the race because it was two McLarens, the fourth guy was lapped and there was 25 seconds between each car.
“There were 10 cars DNF because the reliability was so-so.
“Television figures, spectators are going down [now], like it was in these boring years in the ’80s where Senna, Prost and these people were saving fuel, saving tyres and things like that, so it’s exactly the same boring as it was at that time.”
In fact the McLaren driver reckons it was in the early 2000s when Formula 1 hit its actual peak.
The sport not only embraced new manufacturers but also new countries while viewing figures were on the up.
“I think Formula 1 grew up a lot,” Alonso said of that period.
“A lot of manufacturers came into Formula 1 in the 2000s – BMW, Toyota, and there were many people coming.
“Television figures and the spectators were at the maximum.
“We opened Formula 1 to new countries – we raced in Korea, we raced in India, we raced in Singapore, two races in Spain – and that was the maximum.
“And we didn’t understand that situation, probably. The costs were very high, technology was very high, some manufacturers pulled out.”
This season Formula 1 is hoping to regain some of its past glory as the sport welcomes new technical regulations aimed at increasing lap times by up to five seconds per lap.
With wider tyres and wings and more downforce, Alonso believes the new cars will once again be exciting to drive.
“I think this will make that excitement of driving and this joy of driving, because we’ll feel the grip and we can push in the corners,” he said.