Daniel Ricciardo thinks Formula One is still too much about who has the fastest car rather than who has the most natural talent.
Ricciardo has been at Red Bull for four seasons but, despite claiming five impressive wins in that time, the team has not delivered a car of championship-winning potential in the V6 turbo era. The Australian is considered one of the most talented drivers on the current grid and looks set to be a major player in next year's driver market as he enters the final year of his existing contract with the former world champions.
Having been unable to compete for a title so far in his career, Ricciardo thinks F1 needs to change what is the more important factor in being competitive.
"Lewis [Hamilton] has won three of the last four championships, but if he was in a midfield team, he wouldn't have three of the last four championships," Ricciardo said. "The car is a big part of it, but you need to be a good driver to get the equipment to the top. You need both. It's still a bit more dominant with the car than the driver -- I'd say maybe 75 percent to 25 percent.
"If we make it a bit more equal by bringing the driver in a bit more and taking the equipment out, then that would be better. A 50/50 would be something more realistic in the near future, and hopefully that's the case.
"Even from Lewis to the guy that's coming last, maybe the lap time says 3.0s, but the driver is maximum 1.0s. We are all a lot closer than that, and it would be great if we could all stay within 1.0s with the equipment because then the racing would be pretty fun."
Earlier this year, Ricciardo told ESPN that he wants to battle Hamilton in equal machinery while the four-time world champion is in his prime. With Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas also out of contract next season, and Hamilton expected to sign an extension, Ricciardo is already being linked to a switch to the German manufacturer.
Despite his thoughts on Hamilton's current situation at Mercedes, he respects the way the Englishman consistently performs at a high level.
"Lewis, even if with the best material, he still had pressure and expectation, and he's had that since he started F1 ten years ago. I think he's always been on a very high level, and he's also got a lot of other distractions in his life, and can still perform when it counts. I respect him and take my hat off to him -- as a driver, he is very competitive."