Formula 1 does not "have much time left" to sort out its problems and start making itself more popular, warns Niki Lauda.
In a deliberately provocative issue of the in-house Red Bulletin magazine published at the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday, which featured a cover entitled 'What's Wrong with F1?', Lauda made clear that there were some big issues that needed to be sorted.
Although conceding that not everything was bad with grand prix racing, he said that action was needed urgently.
"What happens in [the] future, Formula 1 has to focus on its clients/fans," said Lauda.
"The world would keep on turning even if there was no Formula 1, which is why we have to focus on what interests the consumer and what they want.
"The drivers are much too nice nowadays, too. None of them has any quirks now and they all make sure they never put a foot wrong.
"People want to see real men who make mistakes and say things they shouldn't.
"There's not much time left, so I hope we'll be able to make all these changes as quickly as possible so that people will still have every motivation either to come to the races themselves or to watch them on TV."
Regulations to blame
While Lauda says fans should be happier that the engines are louder this year, he says that regulations are to blame for a lot of F1's woes.
"Formula 1 has basically been regulated to death down the years," he said. "Everyone sticks their oar in.
"The drivers can't go beyond certain limits. The over-regulation is no good for any sport.
"All these superfluous regulations need to be released, which doesn't mean that Formula 1 should become unsafe, obviously."