JV: F1 went wrong when it listened to the fans

Date published: January 16 2017

Jacques Villeneuve believes Formula 1 lost its way when it “started listening to the fans”, adding that there is “no respect” amongst today’s drivers.

With fans bemoaning the lack of overtaking in Formula 1, the sport took steps in 2011 to increase the number of passes by introducing the Drag Reduction System.

DRS, however, goes against a lot of the purist feel Formula 1 should be.

Villeneuve is not a fan of it and says listening to the fans has steered F1 astray.

“Where F1 went wrong was, sadly, when it started listening to the fans, because the fans complained there was not enough overtaking,” he said on stage at Autosport International.

“By listening to that, what did F1 do? Put in DRS. Because that way we’ll have a hundred overtakes in a race. But name me one overtake you remember since DRS. You don’t, because you don’t see the driver work.

“In a motorbike race, sometimes it takes a rider 10 laps to overtake another rider. But in these 10 laps you see the work that goes with it. When the overtake happens, wow. All these 10 laps you’re on the edge of your seat.

“Now you aren’t; next straight line, press a button, overtake. That’s it.”

The 1997 World Champion added that DRS has ruined the racing and it is no longer a “proper” battle to make up positions.

“You want to see a great competition,” he added. “You want boxers to really hurt each other, and see who the strongest one is.

“You don’t want them to have big gloves so they don’t hurt themselves.

“That’s a bit what DRS is like – let’s not take a risk, let’s press a button. It’s like overtaking on a highway.

“You don’t actually see proper racing because of that. You get tons of overtaking, but it’s boring. So it defeats the purpose.”

“F1 should be too fast and too expensive.”

The former Williams man also hit out the sport’s drivers, saying there is no respect amongst the drivers because the too safe.

“Because the cars were dangerous and it was difficult to overtake there was a lot more respect between drivers.

“You never saw drivers weave down a straight line. You never saw a driver brake on the inside of the track, he would keep line, brake on outside and try and brake later.

“It was clean and respectful. They banged into each other but there were mistakes. Now, you see a video game, where drivers think they are inside a video game.

“There is no respect. What is respect? It’s not even in their dictionary. Everything is fine – you can’t get hurt.”