Lauda wants difficult cars, skilled drivers and more risk

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Former triple World Champion and Mercedes F1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda believes the FIA and FOM must restore Formula 1's past brilliance with more challenging cars to drive and an emphasis on driver skills and talent.

Lauda echoed the view expressed recently by Kimi Raikkonen, who backed a 'riskier' F1, insisting the sport needs an element of danger in order to bring back its past glory, while cars should also be faster to increase the thrill for both drivers and spectators.

They must be again difficult to drive,” the Austrian told German paper Bild. "When I switched from the F2 to F1, I crapped in my pants! It must again feature real men and not young men who play only with buttons on the steering wheel. Only drivers with the highest driving skills – and I emphasise driving skills – should be in F1.”

While encouraging risk, Lauda was also measured in his view, underlining the fact that any regulation change defined to elevate F1's level of performance could not compromise safety standards.

“Dangerous no, but riskier. I'm not saying that the safety should be neglected, but at the moment, if the cars are faster, the thrill for drivers and spectators increases straight away."

Heavily criticized lately for its lack of flamboyance and excessive technological complexity by fans worldwide, many within its own community have called for a major overhaul of the sport in all departments, with a focus on skills, prowess and flat-out racing.

“One cannot turn back time," Lauda concluded, "but the driver must again have the clutch in hand, rather than just pressing a button. The highest limit and the risk factor have been lost."

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