Jody Scheckter, the 1979 F1 World Champion, has blasted some of the “ridiculous” and “really rubbish” rules in place in the sport today.
Scheckter memorably won the title with Ferrari in 1979, standing as the Scuderia’s last World Champion for 21 years before Michael Schumacher embarked upon his dominant spell at the turn of the century.
The South African, now 73, continues to follow the sport to this day but has been left alienated by some of the harsh rules in modern F1, with the penalty system a particular source of irritation.
F1 World Champion frustrated by penalty protocol
With each car limited to a certain number of engines and gearboxes per season, grid penalties have become increasingly commonplace in F1.
The situation arguably hit a new low at the second round of the 2023 season in Saudi Arabia, where Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc incurred a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding his component pool after suffering an engine failure at the opening race in Bahrain.
Scheckter has admitted such incidents test his patience, claiming the double jeopardy element is unfair on drivers.
He told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I follow the races and must say I really enjoy it too, even if some of the rules are really rubbish.
“However, that’s how the world works today. You are no longer allowed to do this and you are no longer allowed to do that.
“The penalty system they have for drivers is ridiculous. You experience a crash, have to replace the gearbox and then you get a penalty.
“But you’ve already had that penalty by crashing and a gearbox that you had to throw away. So why do they have to put you further back on the grid as well?
“Other than that, of course you can have a good or not so good race, but it’s always going to be an interesting sport.”
Scheckter’s comments come after he expressed his admiration for reigning three-time World Champion Max Verstappen, claiming the Red Bull star is a superior driver to anyone he faced during his career – despite partnering the legendary Gilles Villeneuve at Ferrari.
He explained: “I believe he is really very good, one of the best of all time.
“If you think about [Lewis] Hamilton, a great driver, [but] he was still beaten [to the title] by one of his team-mates.
“It’s impressive to see that none of Max’s team-mates seem to come close. Red Bull made a fantastic car, but it is Verstappen who manages to get everything out of it, especially when you look at [Sergio] Perez’s performance with the same car.
“It is Verstappen in every situation – including the very complicated ones – who manages to [come out on top].
“He has a vision of the race where he sees everything, including what is happening behind him with the strategies.”
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