Formula 1 has lost its way with over-complicated rules that have left fans 'confused' and are robbing the sport of the spectacle it so needs to deliver, claims former team boss Flavio Briatore.
At a time when the F1 product is back under the spotlight following the arrival of Liberty Media as a shareholder, Briatore is adamant that change is needed to resurrect the sport's appeal.
Speaking before the confirmation of the Liberty deal that includes the arrival of Chase Carey as new F1 chairman, Briatore delivered a downcast assessment on the state of affairs.
"Where is Formula 1 going? I still do not understand," said Briatore. "We are complicating things and we need to return to the basic concept of grand prix races. That should be all.
"There are too many rules, and too many restrictions. People are confused.
"Just look at Monza and how many people there were outside the paddock waiting for the drivers. Once there were thousands of them, but now there are just a few hundred."
Racing is key
Briatore thinks that too much focus has been taken on framing rules, and that has detracted from what should be the focus of attention, better battles out on track.
"Simply lets talk racing: to have drivers that perform with less technology and deliver a better show."
He added: "Racing needs to have simple rules: who is behind tries to pass those in front and the man who is in the lead must not be overtaken. Everything else is a waste.
"Now you must not exceed the white line, otherwise you will get a penalty.
"Plus if there is an engine problem you should not punish the drivers – at most the points should be taken away from the constructor. What reason had Hamilton to start from the back at Spa because of a new power unit? Lewis is a racing driver, and must be able to think only about driving.
"If those on the inside do not understand things, then just think about the audience at home. Formula 1 has to have the best drivers in the world, and it has to challenge them with very similar cars. People are not interested in anything else."
Sort our rules
Briatore thinks that a new approach is needed to regulating the sport, so that things are made easier for both competitors and fans to understand.
"It would be enough to simplify the rules," he said. "We don't talk about the races anymore, but bureaucracy, rules and penalties. We never saw anything like this in the past.
"There are meetings every three days, only to decide when they will meet the next time. Just think of all those private planes moving from Lausanne to go to Monza, to Florence or Paris.
"There is a great deal of travel and they cannot even decide on the mineral water brand that they must put on the table when they come together.
"What have the Strategy Group and the F1 Commission produced so far? Nothing. In fact, they have made it more confusing. It is impossible to come to an agreement with 20 different people."
Additional reporting by Franco Nugnes