Former Red Bull driver Mark Webber believes Formula 1 has already gone “too far” with fan access and that the series is in danger of “trivialising” drivers.
F1 has often been criticised for being too closed off to fans, but, after his debut in the World Endurance Championship, Fernando Alonso said that the access fans have in the WEC would not work in F1 as it would cause drivers to “hide even more”.
Webber, who won the WEC with Porsche in 2015 and is a regular fixture on Channel 4’s F1 coverage, sided with Alonso.
He told Motorsport.com: “You’ve got to be very careful because the drivers still need to be heroes and something that’s still a little bit hard to touch and feel.
“We might have gone a bit too far with that in terms of access and social media. We’ve got to be careful we don’t trivialise their profession.
“Roger Federer is not doing any interviews before Wimbledon. Access has absolutely got to be kept an eye on.”
Webber, who won nine grand prix, was speaking at the Goodwood Festival of Speed as Porsche celebrated its 70th anniversary.
When asked what F1 could learn from the sold-out, 150,000-spectator event, Webber said: “I think just fast decisions, the openness, the genuineness, the demographic too of families – we’ve got kids, we’ve got granddad here, mum and dad.
“There’s something for everyone: a bit of fireworks, a bit of motocross. You’ve got to have that diversity.”
“The Duke of Richmond [who owns the Goodwood estate] is before his time on that thinking.
“It’s the best [event] in the world and I don’t know who’s second, but it’s a long, long way behind.
“In society now, it’s hard to get permissions for all these things. [The Duke] can make decisions, he’s very proactive, dynamic and this is what society misses now.”