1997 Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks the sport is trying too hard to be what it is not when it should embrace its “stupid” and “crazy” identity.
F1 is currently going through a rough patch amidst declining TV viewing figures, fans’ lack of interest, and overall negativity.
To address these issues, the sport’s governing body, the FIA, has asked for an aggressive blueprint and new regulations.
Villeneuve, who remains involved in the series as a TV pundit, feels it has strayed too far from its true nature.
“F1 tries to be everything, and that's wrong,” he told CNN. “It tries to be an endurance car, it's some form of hybrid… and hybrid technology weighs around 100 kilos and that's four seconds a lap of weight. It's not F1, it's not extreme, it doesn't make sense.
“F1 has to be out there, extreme, unattainable, stupid, crazy: that's what it's always been. It's a laboratory where the sky's the limit.
“There are a lot of things that are making F1 a lot less appealing to the public. A bunch of things like DRS.”
Villeneuve last raced in the top flight with BMW-Sauber in 2006. Since then, the Canadian has competed at Le Mans, in NASCAR, V8 Supercars, Rallycross, and most recently entered the up-and-coming Formula E championship with Venturi.
The former Williams F1 champion explains that his latest motorsport venture has received a mixed reaction among fans.
“Some think it's great. Others don't want to hear about electric and see me as a traitor.
“Formula E is not here to replace F1. That's not the goal and it shouldn't be. Formula E and Formula One are two separate worlds.
“If I was jumping out of Formula One and straight into Formula E then maybe I'd be disappointed, I don't know.
“You should never compare an electrical car with a push-to-the-limit fuel engine car, that's not the point.”