Bernie Ecclestone has risked triggering speculation about FIA president Jean Todt's future.
In an interview with Germany's Die Welt, the F1 chief executive looked ruefully back on the infamous era alongside Todt's predecessor Max Mosley.
Ecclestone, who turns 81 on Friday, admitted recently he does not always see eye-to-eye with Frenchman Todt.
"It's a shame these days how democratic Formula One is now. Max and I were able to solve issues and problems in most cases very quickly, a few days or weeks, where now we sometimes need years.
"That (the past era) benefitted everyone -- the teams, the audience, everybody," said Ecclestone.
Referring then to Todt, he said: "I think he went into the job not knowing what to expect. Max helped Jean to become president.
"But I suspect that if he was true to himself and he could choose again between the presidency and Ferrari, he would return to Maranello," added the Briton.
Fascinatingly, Ecclestone's comments coincided with Todt telling the Italian-language goalcity.com: "I am still in love with Ferrari.
"The 'Rosso' will always have a special place in my heart."
Max and I were able to solve issues and problems in most cases very quickly
Ecclestone agrees that - operationally - F1's past is better than its present.
"It's tempting to talk about the good old days," he said. "Maybe it wasn't like that really but I get the impression that it was much, much better than it is now.
"I tell you: if Max wanted to be re-elected as president, he would go through with ease. He is supported by 90 per cent of the teams."