« We have broken the essential impetus of combativity »

In a lengthy interview with RTBF, broadcast last week between the São Paulo and Qatar Grands Prix, Jacky Ickx delivered with some emotion his point of view as a former driver on the duel which today opposes Max Verstappen to Lewis Hamilton. The Belgian notably recalled that F1 lived « an exceptional moment in terms of competition of men, men going to victory or seeking victory ».

Six-time winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but also victorious eight times in Formula 1, Jacky Ickx however tempers this enthusiasm due to a form of frustration which affects him concerning the fights on the track. In a period when the maneuver between the two title contenders has made a lot of talk to Interlagos, he deplores a discipline that has become too regulated in his eyes.

« Personally, I am frustrated with Formula 1, and in particular with the current rules of what should be, for me, philosophically speaking, a fight. », he pleads. « It is a battle between men who take a risk freely. And they are men who fight at 300 km / h and more. The progress of the events is arbitrated by people certainly of good will but who, in my opinion. eyes, maybe I’m wrong but, aside from one of them at every race, are people who have never driven racing cars. « 

« I am not sure that we can, in terms of event, course of the race, in the name of heightened safety, treat the car race as a traffic accident. We have broken the essential momentum of the race. combativeness and the very nature of this sport and these pilots, by a succession of penalties and fines. « 

Does fantasy still exist in Formula 1?

Jacky Ickx

What Jacky Ickx considers to be excess rigidity also affects him beyond the track since he is one of those who does not understand the exemplary sanctions that have been taken in Brazil for the offenses of Max Verstappen in the parc fermé and of Lewis Hamilton in the lap of honor.

« I find it astounding that we dare to penalize a fine of $ 50,000, dare to put this on for putting our finger on the wing of our opponent’s car », he sighs. « I find it mind-boggling that you dare to put Hamilton $ 25,000, if that’s true, for unbuckling his belt before coming back to the pit to carry the Brazilian flag in honor of Senna. There is something there. that doesn’t work, there isn’t the joy of victory. There are only constraints which, for me, are inexplicable.  »

« Why is there such success today in MotoGP? There is still freedom, there are men who appreciate each other, who are happy to see each other, who have taken the risk of falling, who are not afraid to wait for the presentation of the trophies. Because sometimes it lasts, but what enthusiasm for the public! What enthusiasm to see the champions who are not afraid of burn-out with their machine, who are not afraid to do wheelies, who are not afraid to stop here and there. I suffer to see myself so far removed from the pleasure of this communion with the public. No public, no race. same public that has its supporters, which is the very basis of our sport. […] Valentino [Rossi] it’s 25 years of happiness, what, enthusiasm, fantasy. Does fantasy still exist in Formula 1? « 

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