FREE THE ARTIST: Former F1 driver Alex Zanardi believes that the sport should free the 'artist' within the drivers. Image: AFP / Chris Graythen
London - Formula 1 must liberate the drivers if it wants to improve the on-track spectacle.
That is the view of former driver Alex Zanardi, who said restrictive rules and over-zealous stewards are damaging the sport.
A boring sport
Zanardi was quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: "F1 today? A bit too boring. Now it is stewards who have delusions of being the stars.
"Everyone remembers me for the (Indycar) pass I made on the limit at the corkscrew at Laguna Seca in 1996. But today, such a move would be impossible (in F1). It would be immediately punished by the race director."
"The rules have changed and so have the cars. In the 90s, the tyres and the power really put on display the ability of the drivers."
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In contrast, he says that while today there are "many talented performers" in F1, "those of my generation were real artists of the steering wheel".
Zanardi said: "But today they are punished so severely for overtaking or driving even vaguely riskily, making the drivers afraid of penalties and having the will to risk something.
"The show suffers as a result.”