World champion 1979
Of course, the big question this year is going to be whether Ferrari will be able to challenge Mercedes. I think last year it could have done better and Sebastian made a few mistakes – he was over the top on some occasions. He seems to be a driver who is brilliant leading from the front, but maybe not so much from the middle. A lot will obviously depend on the car that Ferrari produces.
Having said that, I think Lewis did a fantastic job last year. It was his best season ever – and if he does the same this year then I will almost be able to accept all those gold chains and earrings. Then again I remember my mum saying to me, ‘Look at those Beatles, with their long hair…’ so maybe I am being old-fashioned.
I will be keeping an eye on young Max Verstappen, too – people have compared me with him, but I think I crashed more often! He has everything you need, but he has to get it into his head that you don’t win if you don’t finish. And sometimes that means coming second. He’s an exciting driver to watch, though, and that is what the sport needs at moment.
The main change I would make for this season – and think they have done it at a couple of circuits – is to enforce track limits properly. I can’t stand it when drivers cut the corner and get no penalty. They need to have proper kerbs, or rough areas of track so that if you go off you pay a time penalty. And I would bring grid girls back. I don’t know what the world has come to, banning them. For me there is nothing wrong with seeing a beautiful woman and they bring glamour to the sport.
The authorities have to stand up to Ferrari, too: call the team’s bluff on its threat to walk away from the sport. Formula 1 is bigger than one team and if it gives in to Ferrari it will be a disaster.
I would have Hamilton with Verstappen in a Mercedes. I always think it is good to have one experienced driver and one hooligan. And I’d add Toto Wolff to keep control.