3 time World Champion Niki Lauda thinks fans will lose their interest if the GP circus falls into a safety craze.
The Austrian, who had a hard crash in 1976 on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring, which almost cost him his life, warns in the YouTube interview with Graham Bensinger: “We must not try to make the Formula 1 completely safe.”
“Formula One drivers should be the best drivers in the world. That’s what people want to see. And if you see accidents, it’s not always bad! Spectators like to see crashes, because they show where the limits lie. I think we just have to make sure that the driver can get back on the road again. ”
“If we go too far with the safety efforts, Formula One itself will be destroyed,” emphasises Lauda, who himself had driven during a far more dangerous era of racing.
“Today’s drivers take their wives, children and dogs to the track so they can watch the race live, because there is no more danger. We were always traveling alone, basically we simply did not want our wife to drive with us to the race and bring us home in a coffin” muses the Austrian.
“But that was a different time and thanks to God the Formula 1 has become much safer so that this risk almost no longer exists. I think that’s good for the sport”
“The drivers today are on the road with the same speed and power as we were back then, it was just more dangerous for us. Dangers are always at the limit and you have to be one of the best drivers in the world to be able to reach the limit in these cars.”
When asked if he’d rather have raced during his over today’s, the Mercedes man quickly made clear his opinion:
“I would not have burnt my ear, I would not have hurt myself at all, and I would have earned 50 times more money!”
The last time Niki Lauda drove an F1 car closer to today’s formula was back in the 2000’s when he was in charge of the fledgling Jaguar F1 team. Jaguar was born from Jackie Stewart’s (a pivotal figure in motorsport safety) Stewart Grand Prix and when onto become the Red Bull Racing team we have today.
Here’s how he got on…