Mark Webber believes that modern-day Formula 1 is not demanding enough on drivers, keeping them in their comfort zone and creating a lack of depth in the field.
Webber walked away from F1 at the end of the 2013 season to race for Porsche’s revived LMP1 team in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Australian driver enjoyed an 11-year career in F1, finishing third in the drivers’ championship on three occasions with Red Bull.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live in the UK as part of a promotional tour for his new book, Webber hit out at the current grid for lacking depth in the bottom half of the field.
“These guys are on a phenomenal level but the depth has never been weaker,” Webber said.
“We need to get the caliber that we have at the front of the grid. We need more depth and the cars to be faster.
“If you go from the top ten back, there are a lot of pay drivers. This is not good.
“The drivers want cars that are more demanding. It’s a bit like being an F-18 fighter pilot but flying for British Airways. They’re within their comfort zone, pacing races.”
Webber believes that F1 should always remain the pinnacle of motorsport and the most demanding series, but that it has lost ground on other championships in recent years.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “F1 should be the pinnacle. It should be by far the fastest through the corners, physical on the drivers and things where the drivers are the gladiators again.
“The car needs to be something the fans have never seen anything like before. There are so many categories which are close to them now.”