Nigel Mansell CBE praised F1's modern safety standards, insisting drivers racing back in his day faced a massive 'downside' if something went wrong.
The 31-time Grand Prix winner and 1992 world champion unsurprisingly drew the crowds this weekend in Birmingham at the 2018 Autosport International show.
Speaking to broadcaster ITV, Mansell compared his period in F1 with the current times, and acknowledged that Grand Prix racing had undergone quite a transformation in terms of safety.
"We had a flat out career where we had to look in the mirror some mornings and say, were we willing to put it on the line to try and get that extra half a second to try and get on the front row of the grid or win a race," he said.
"But the downside for us back then was that if we got it wrong, we could kill ourselves.
"The psyche is different now because run-off areas and the safety standards in Formula 1 are immeasurably, a zillion times better."
Mansell spent two full days immersed with the fans at Birmingham's NEC, signing autographs and taking to the show's main stage to recount anecdotes about his racing career.
"It's such a pleasant surprise to come back," said Mansell.
"I mean I grew up around here, so it's like coming back home, even hearing the voices and the twang. People are so generous and supportive."