Even in the 1980s and ’90s there was ‘The Rat Pack’ consisting of Damon Hill, Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and numerous other British drivers.
These days, however, such socialising appears to be almost non-existent, according to Stewart.
“Chris Amon was one of our best friends, Jochen Rindt was one of my best friends ever and Francois [Cevert] and everybody else.
“We had great relationships in those days. That’s what’s missing [now], the comradery.”
One of the loudest voices in F1 when it comes to improving the safety of the cars and race venues, Stewart quickly added: “And that’s not looking back with memory lane and trying to say it was better then than it is now, it wasn’t better then.
“It was nothing close to – today is fantastic. The death factor was hideous, so we couldn’t be saying it was great fun. Some of the time it wasn’t but the relationships were definitely much [better]. It was a wonderful relationship.”
At the turn of the year, it is likely most F1 fans would have agreed with Stewart’s comments concerning the lack of comradery between modern drivers.
But the lockdown period has shown that many of the drivers do enjoy the kind of strong relationships enjoyed by Stewart and his peers.
When racing returns, it will be a shame if the corporate and closed environment of the F1 paddock again shields these relationships from the public eye.