Four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel says he regrets that modern drivers do not enjoy the same camaraderie as their predecessors in previous generations.
While the Grand Prix heroes of the sixties and seventies were often renowned for being close friends off-track as well as fierce rivals on it, the increasing professionalism of the sport in more recent decades means that today’s F1 drivers are not as closely-knit as they were.
It’s a state of affairs that Vettel believes is “sad”, the Ferrari driver highlighting that a shared passion for racing has become overshadowed by self-interest that makes friendships hard to cultivate.
There is not much time for the drivers to hang out, everyone puts their own interest before everything else. It is sad.
“It is different times today than it was 30 or 40 years ago, when you had a lot of things happening which naturally puts the group together,” said the German.
“Now everyone has their own life much more, looking at how busy we are at the track.
“If you look at everyone's agenda there is not much time to hang out, everyone puts their own interest before everything else. It is sad."
He added: "In the end we share a common passion, even if it is normal some of the guys you don't like.
“It is like a school class – there are some guys you like and some you don't like, but it doesn't mean you can’t hang out.
“The circumstances these days are not the same as they have been; a lot of it is very positive but some of it is not.”