Kimi Raikkonen says Formula One must look "stupid" to outsiders as "politics and bulls***" reaches crazy levels in the sport.
A decision this season to change F1's qualifying system to an unpopular new format -- and an inability to change it back after it flopped at the first round in Australia -- has exposed the web of politics the sport has to negotiate in order to get things done. The ineffective governance of the sport prompted an open letter from the Grand Prix Drivers Association last week, and even though Raikkonen is not a member he agrees that the current situation is embarrassing for F1.
"There is so much politics and bullshit in F1 that it is crazy sometimes," he said. "People from the outside must look at us and think 'what stupid people, what are they doing?'.
"I don't think it is good for anybody, but unfortunately it is how F1 is and it's been like that for years. Now there are bigger stories about it, but if you take ten years ago there was still politics and it's just the evolution of it."
But Raikkonen is willing to put up with the frustrations of F1 in order to be able to drive the fastest cars on the planet.
"If you want to do racing on circuits then for sure F1 is still the top level and the fastest cars. Obviously things can be improved, but if you want to look at racing on circuits, then F1 is still that way. I enjoy a lot when I did rallies and also some NASCAR stuff, but they are all so different how they are run and how the atmosphere is. Those things are different but there are good and bad things in that, nothing is perfect."
Raikkonen took two years out of F1 in 2010 and 2011 and tried his hand at rallying and NASCAR. He says drivers in other categories are just as talented but have different skillsets.
"If you take the top rally guys it is absolutely amazing what they do. If you take the top NASCAR guys it's not like we can jump in and suddenly beat them. They own the things that they do, but if they came here they would be in trouble also. It depends what you are used to and what you do, but if you just want to look at the highest level of racing at race circuits, for sure it is F1."