Today's formula one drivers have no personality, no charisma and "no idea", according to triple world champion and grand prix great Niki Lauda.

Today's formula one drivers have no personality, no charisma and "no idea", according to triple world champion and grand prix great Niki Lauda.

For the occasion of his sixtieth birthday this weekend, the Austrian winner of 25 grands prix was interviewed at length by the news magazine Profil.

Perhaps most famous for his 1976 Nurburgring crash that left his face severely burned, Lauda was asked to compare his era with that of the modern world championship, won last year by 23-year-old Lewis Hamilton.

"Back then, death was always an option. Today's chaps have no idea," Lauda said in an advance excerpt of the interview published by Austrian Times.

"They drive go-karts until they turn 18 and then start their formula one career. They know nothing apart from accelerating and handling the steering wheel.

"They haven't got a chance to develop a personality. The only kind of charisma someone like Lewis Hamilton has is his (pop singer girlfriend) Ms Scherzinger."

As is evident from the blunt nature of his conversations, Lauda confirms that he still has the same number of friends today as in the past -- none.

"That is absolutely true," he said. "There were no doubts about that while I was active, anyway -- everyone was ready to roll over someone else's head to win.

"You have to be a loner to have success in motorsports," Lauda added.

 

Be part of something big