(Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team)
Former Formula One world champion turned Circuit of the Americas 'Sheriff' Mario Andretti believes that the sport needs to 'loosen up'. Speaking to the Guardian newspaper ahead of this weekend's United States Grand Prix in Austin Texas Andretti who won the championship with the Lotus team in 1978 said:
'Formula One should loosen up a bit. I think they've gone slightly overboard with the technical side of the engine, And we saw in Sochi [the previous race in Russia], teams backing off for fuel reasons, just to make it to the end.'
Andretti would like to see team's invite a driver from the host country to drive in the race alongside their regular race drivers in a third car. For example this weekend in the United States he said that it would be great to see a team like Mercedes groom a well known American driver in testing and then give them a run at the United States Grand Prix.
He believes that the sport needs to come up with unique ways of increasing the interest in the sport. Andretti is not the first person to suggest this as Infiniti Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said earlier this season that he would like to the sport become more fan friendly with team's opening the doors to offer garage or paddock tours to the public as a way of enabling greater team and fan interaction.
The sport offers pit-lane walkabouts over the course of Grand Prix weekend's but it is believed that instead of teams having cordons up in-front of the garages at selected times over the course of a race weekend fans could be given the opportunity to take part in paddock tours.
It would be a fantastic way of opening up the sport and increasing its popularity.
© Ben Johnston 2014