He was also credited with saving the life of Niki Lauda by pulling him out of a burning car following a horrific accident that left the German scarred for the rest of his life, and was rewarded with a gold Rolex from Lauda once he returned to racing six weeks after his accident.
Now, speaking at the Minardi Day event in Italy, Merzario told Gazzetta that he no longer enjoys F1.
"I don't like Formula 1 nowadays, not because the drivers are not good enough, but because it all has become too easy.
"There are a lot of electronic parts of the car which make the driver's job easy, they don't struggle as we used to and that's where you lose the good part of motorsport.
"Don't get me wrong, the best driver will still emerge, win and make a difference."
F1 "isn't dangerous anymore"
Thankfully, since Merzario's day and the Lauda's accident, the sport has become a much safer place with new technologies, innovations and regulations in place to help to keep the drivers safe.
The new halo device on the cars introduced in 2018, for example, almost certainly saved Lewis Hamilton's life when Max Verstappen's car landed on top of his at the 2021 Monza GP, while Romain Grosjean was able to escape his ablaze car at the 2020 Bahrain GP with only minor burns.
Merzario thinks that this has made the sport easier for drivers.
"Even though the tracks are entirely different, I think it's for the driver's safety and the teams who will spend less money to fix their cars if they drive in 'easier' tracks," he said.
"I understand that because nowadays if you crash an F1 car, you will lose millions of euros; in the 70s, it was very cheap. The sport isn't dangerous anymore."
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