Andretti supports modern F1 direction

Mario Andretti
© XPB 

Formula One has more than its fair share of critics, but former world champion Mario Andretti says that the modern era of the sport should be counted as being among its best.

The 75-year-old also gave a thumbs-up to the direction the sport is headed and said that things will only get better with some of the changes being planned.

"There will always be traditional people who will say, 'The old days were the best' but I always prefer to look forward," the racing icon told Spain's El Pais newspaper.

"The glory days of Formula One are now," he insisted. "It's enjoying greater popularity around the world, and the technology is right on the limit.

"I like how it has progressed. I'd give anything to be 30 years younger and be a driver today," he added.

That's not to say that he didn't have a few suggestions for today's Formula One top brass.

"As any former driver will tell you, it would be wonderful to have more power. The drivers always want more power. And the fans would love the cars go faster.

"In 1980 engines produced a tune that was like opera music, but the need to optimise the efficiency of engines by manufacturers has led to these hybrid drives," Andretti explained. "Now they are talking about them more difficult to handle and it creates interest and more difference to those who have no talent."

However Andretti was keen to emphasise that the technology wasn't the only thing, and putting on a good show for the fans was equally as important.

"I also believe that the Formula One needs to try and be more friendly to the press, and have autograph sessions on Thursdays," he added, referring to a common practice in American motorsports series like NASCAR and IndyCar. "Fans are very important, do not forget."

Andretti added that he thought the drivers of his era would have stood up well in their prime compared to today's drivers, despite the changes in technology and driving style.

"Champions today would be champions in other decades and vice versa," he said. "It would be great if we could put both generations on the grid, but unfortunately that can't happen."

Mercedes still digging for F1 power unit gold

Force India winter diary part five - Car build

Key dates for the 2016 F1 season

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter