“When I stepped up from Formula 2 to Formula 1, I shat my pants,” Lauda told Bild.
“It must be for men to drive, not just youngsters who can play with the buttons on the steering wheel.
“Only drivers with the best driving skill, and I mean real driving skill, should be in Formula 1.”
He added: “There is too much control, too many rules, and no characters left.
“The engineers and constructors must be given freedom. What is important, however, they must be harder to drive.”
“We can’t turn back the wheel. The drivers need to have their hand on the clutch, and not just drive by buttons, like now.
“The top limit and the risk factor have been lost.”
The Austrian reckons the risk factor has been lost from Formula 1, and that it should be brought back without compromising on safety.
“Dangerous, no. But riskier. I’m not saying that safety should be neglected,” he added.
“But at the moment, if the cars were faster, then the thrill for both the drivers and the spectators would automatically be better. In that way, we have to go back.
“Any type of manipulation is the worst thing you can do to a sport.
“I mean artificial elements, like reverse grids or adding weight to cars, like Bernie Ecclestone has suggested. It can’t happen.”