Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks the only thing wrong with modern Formula 1 is that the current drivers are too boring. The Canadian is still pushing hard to make a return to action next year, with talks with several teams ongoing, and he thinks current grand prix racing is lacking the characters that it enjoyed even a few years ago.
"There is a huge lack of excitement," said Villeneuve, who flew in for a visit to last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix. "They are all lovey-dovey. They are all best friends. There are no gladiators. When I watch sport I want to see battle, I want to see gladiators going at it.
"I am not saying they should kill each other, that is not the point, but they should want to outperform the others in a mean way. That has to be driving you, and it doesn't seem to be driving anyone out there. It is amazing."
Villeneuve believes his chances of returning to F1 are not helped by the fact that many young drivers have good sponsorship budgets behind them, but he thinks his experience could help him in the end. Although he feels that his chances of getting a drive are better than they were a month ago, he also made it clear that reports at the weekend he had signed an F1 deal were wide of the mark.
"It is not good when there is stuff like that written, because it is not 'definitely'. And, when it doesn't happen, you then look like an idiot. So, I am not really in favor of this extreme positiveness unless it is real.
"There are possibilities, but there are a lot of drivers out there wanting to get in, and it seems that teams are much more desperate to get money than they were in the past. For some reason, although times are harder, every other driver seems to have money. That is really interesting."
Speaking about the value of experience, he added: "It is the experienced guys who are running at the front – with [Sebastian] Vettel there once in a while as well.
"The way the cars, the regulations, have evolved it seems that experience has become paramount again, as is the way the driver works with his engineers. All the teams that relied on young blood seem to have gone backwards and are having a very difficult time getting up to speed. You cannot rely on the electronics anymore. Teams cannot say to a drive, 'shut up and drive'. That just doesn't work any more."
Villeneuve also offered some outspoken remarks about the Renault race-fixing scandal.
When asked if he felt F1 drivers had lost power these days – as proved by the fact Piquet agreed to a deliberate accident to help his teammate – Villeneuve said: "That is not a driver losing his power. That is just a driver being weak, young and a total idiot. And proving that he should never have been part of Formula 1. It is very simple."