Villeneuve: Fan survey ‘dangerous’, what do they know?


It went unnoticed, but last week Bernie Ecclestone once again demonstrated the power he wields behind the scenes. Not one fan survey was launched, but two.

The first was from Autosport and the second was allegedly from the F1 drivers’ association (GPDA).

Interestingly, this survey was hosted by Bernie’s new propaganda outlet,

Amusingly,’s servers couldn’t handle the traffic and were down for hours following the survey’s launch.

For years the fans have had to shout from the side-lines. The, not just one poll of their opinions is commissioned but two are launched during the same weekend.

Autosport were in line to host the GPDA survey, however, someone suggested during the negotiations that should have the honour – and free publicity – from this canvassing of fan opinion. Autosport then decided to launch their own survey.

Its not surprising that on a day when ‘arse’ metaphors will abound in the courtroom of F1 opinion, that a certain French Canadian ex-F1 world champion driver has piped up on this matter.

“It is dangerous to ask the fans what they want, because a lot of modern F1 is what the fans wanted,” Jacque Villeneuve told Autosport. “Obviously it doesn’t work. It is knowing what is required which is very intricate.

“You can’t just come up with something in five seconds.

“We have a tonne more overtaking than we have ever had, but people are more bored than they ever were.

“What we are missing is a special Formula 1”.

Villeneuve believes that F1’s je ne sais quoi, should be having “a car that no-one can drive”. We assume Jacque does not mean this in a literal fashion, because that would be worthy of an #arse award.

However, F1 fans may forgive Jacques for his supercilious attitude, because he adds: “Formula 1 should stop trying to get more fans and concentrate on the fans it already has.”

“What is special is a car that only 10 guys in the world can drive properly and 10 others can survive properly in it. Like it used to be.

“It is a car that is crazy fast. F1 should be the extremes of everything.”

Oh well, J. Villeneuve’s almost guaranteed #arse status at the top, may have now been somewhat mitigated.

25 responses to “Villeneuve: Fan survey ‘dangerous’, what do they know?

  1. “What is special is a car that only 10 guys in the world can drive properly and 10 others can survive properly in it. Like it used to be’

    I love that line. There used to be a time where you could really sit back and appreciate when a driver did a mega lap or won a race (dominant car or not) because unlocking the potential of the car was nearly impossible and demanded 100% focus from the driver. It also made me appreciate when a driver like Coulthard or Rubens won a race, because you knew that they had truly ‘found the limit’ on that day.

    It’s disheartening to hear drivers say that they are driving within themselves.

    • I concur with this. In recent weeks alone we’ve had Hamilton saying he was cruising at Monaco (and Ros and Vet saying neither of them were pushing) and Button saying women could easily drive in F1 because it’s no longer so physically demanding.

      I want F1 cars to be absolute monsters (absolute monsters is the term Vettel used IIRC when he was asked what he wanted). We have lap records that are held by cars from 2004 when the aero wasn’t anywhere near what it is today.

      Today’s F1 cars are too slow, too aero dependant and given what the drivers are saying, too damn easy to drive.

      • The last driver I remember being physically exhausted was Mika Häkkinen, 1999 in Malaysia. A few of the cars in the early 2000’s were on edge and twitchy, but nothing compared to decades previous.

  2. To me track limits also play a huge part in that. Of the current tracks I like to watch Aussie and Hungarian GP onboards the most as they still contain moderate levels of grass and gravel. Run off areas are to forgiving and make tracks look bland.

  3. Had to read that title twice, thought it said Fan survey: Villeneuve ‘dangerous’ the first time 🙂

  4. Ok, so Jolly Jaques wants “It is a car that is crazy fast. F1 should be the extremes of everything.” So how about we go back a bit, no aero, thin tyres, death every race. Or perhaps we should go back to early 1990’s – every driver and car aid under the sun – active suspension, auto gearbox, ABS, great tyres, when all the driver did was steer. Or perhaps before we rush in and wreck what we have now, people think a bit before making chnages to the cars when perhaps it is the tyres and, as has been previously mentioned the circuits that are causing the problems.

    • Well… No aero would be great.

      I wouldn’t miss the damned aero wash that prevents cars from running nose to tail through fast corners.

  5. I don’t usually agree with Villeneuve, bu to an extent he is right. Has anyone really taken stock of the suggestions offered in comments (not so much here) on F1 sites?
    More tech, less tech. Fast as possible, steel brakes. Manual, lever operated gearbox. Refuelling, no stops for tyres or fuel. Budget cap, screw the cost this is the ultimate motor sport, if you can’t afford it get out. And more than not, these conflicting suggestions are coming from the same person. It’s like trying to get a consensus from a group of schizophrenics.

    • “It’s like trying to get a consensus from a group of schizophrenics.”

      Not an inappropriate way to describe democracy… 🙂

  6. “… Like it used to be…”

    Complete bollocks proffered by an #arseclown.

    It’s old, fat bastards stuck to their couch, scratching their arse, banging on about how great it was when they were a lad (cue Month Python sketch).

    WRC went down the monster-car route with the Group B regulations in the mid-80’s. To say that it didn’t go well is an understatement.

    Actually the 959, RS200, 6R4, 205T16, Delta S4 etc are better analogies than I figured because they were total monsters and are held up as markers of a seminal age for rally cars, BUT they killed and maimed far too many drivers.

    • Sorry Roger, I am the other side of that one with the rally. I thought the group B was pretty good. There is always an option for the driver to slow down if needed..but as you know,they don’t. To stand at chatsworth with a 6r4 or delta passing within inches really got your blood pumping, as fans we all are guilty for wanting to be closer and really,one foot away with no barrier was asking for trouble. The group B just needed to be better run but as you say, old ways entrenched was the real issue

        • Large run off areas? Safer barriers? Mandatory Hans Devices? Basically most of the safety rules that have already been implemented.

          What occurs to me is how difficult it is to remember the last time an F1 driver simply spun off the track due to a mistake. I don’t mean understeer off: I mean spun off.

          • Which end breaks traction first is irrelevant. How can you say understeering off the track is not a driving mistake?

            So what you really want to see is lots of driving mistakes? Preferably spins?? Because they’re better for TV??? Nice one.

        • Its just down to management of the tracks\circuit or rules. If Group B was to remain then they needed to alter the whole rally ethoes. The super stages did this to some extent but as you say, racing a total animal of a car on a dirt track can have serious concerns, however even in the land on health and safety and lawyers,the good old USA we still have Pikes peak, just look at some of the monsters that race there.

          • Go read some Group B history. The RS200 killing spectators was far from the only incident and certainly not the last.

          • @RogerD, as you pointout its a very interesting piece of motorsport history and I am very lucky to have lived in this era and witnessed first hand the group B machines couple this to the turbo F1 engines from this decade and its a horsepower nuts heaven. The sounds and smells from these machines is what got me into Motorsport,first as a fan then later a career and business. I just don’t see how the new breed of efficient machines will spark this in the next generation. Yes, I agree it was bloody dangerous but ask any driver and they all would jump back into fold(a special breed) just look at the F1 powerboats or offshore monsters, these race on a terrible surface and have some huge accidents but we never hear about banning them from comp,why we ask?..because no fans injured

  7. How about 8″ wide tires and a 4″ minimum ride height? Less grip, no ground effect–Bring Back Power Slides!

  8. Villeneuve is right, kind of. The fans are extremely divided. To which should they – FIA, FOM, teams – listen? Old school, geeks? And why listen to people who do not even care about F1? Trust me, no amount of marketing and fan polls would ever get me interested in baseball. The same works for F1 and its non-fans.

    But he is right about the need for cars which are more daring. There is something wrong in cars which take rookies only a few months to master. F1 should be a clear step above all other cars in the world, and so should there be a clear gap between the top pilots and those who were simply very good. Instead we have cars which make Rosberg look like a WDC contender after a long career filled with inexpressive results and not a single outstanding season. Yes, it’s a dig at Rosberg, who is competent and not crash prone, but nothing else.

    Anyhow, there is no point in trying get new fans if you can’t even stop the old ones from turning away.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.