Lauda: F1 has lost its risk factor

Date published: June 16 2015

Niki Lauda is the latest to call on Formula 1 to regain its risk factor, saying "it must again be about real men driving, not young men who play only with the buttons on the steering wheel".

The sport is going through a difficult period with many feeling it no longer challenges drivers mentally or physically while fans have also lost interest as they feel the sport is not exciting.

2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen added his voice to calls for change last week as he felt the sport needs to be "a little more dangerous".

"I'm sure something must be done to make it more exciting for people to watch and also to really see the speed and to make it a little more dangerous," the Finn said.

"It is part of the game. We don't want anybody hurt but it does make it more exciting."

Three-time World Champion Lauda, who is the current Mercedes non-executive chairman, echoed those calls as he believes F1 has become too easy.

"There is too much control, too many rules and no more characters. I'm not saying that we should neglect safety, but if the cars were faster, the thrill for the drivers and the spectators would automatically increase," he told Germany's Bild am Sonntag.

"The most important thing is the cars must again be difficult to drive.

"When I switched from Formula 2 to Formula 1, I crapped in my pants.

"It must again be about real men driving, not young men who play only with the buttons on the steering wheel.

"Only drivers with the highest driving skills, and I emphasise driving skills, should be in Formula 1.

"We cannot turn back the clock, but a driver must again have the car in his hands, not driving as now by pushing buttons.

"The highest limits and the risk factor have been lost."