Ross Brawn has revealed that extremely critical comments from the drivers regarding the raceability of F1 cars forced the sport into its radical new redesign for this year.
F1 begins a new era in just a few weeks' time following a dramatic overhaul of the aerodynamic regulations aimed at delivering closer racing and increased chances of overtaking.
The project began shortly after Liberty Media's takeover of F1 in early 2017 and the appointment of Brawn as managing director motorsports and his formation of a group targeted with the task of improving the on-track spectacle.
That led to a consultation process with the drivers, many of whom had competed in numerous other categories, and a damning verdict on the state of F1 cars.
It was discovered a car two lengths behind a rival would "lose half of its aerodynamic downforce", according to Brawn, a figure that has been cut to just 10 to 15 per cent with the new cars.
Asked in an interview with The New York Times at the end of last season whether he was surprised at the figures, Brawn replied: "Quite frankly no.
"It's not only the way the airflow goes around the car, it's the criticality of the design of the car.
"If you look at the modern Formula 1 car, just behind the front wheels, around the front wing, it has an awful lot of complex aerodynamic shapes. They're designed to work in free air.
"As soon as they get disturbed airflow from a car in front, they just stop functioning, so I wasn't altogether surprised when I saw how much the performance dropped off."
The findings were exacerbated further by the comments from the F1 drivers.
He added: "In interviewing drivers about this issue when we first started, we spoke to a lot of drivers who'd raced other formulae or sports cars or other forms of racing car and they all said Formula 1 cars are dreadful.
"We spoke to drivers who were racing sports cars or had come up through Formula 2, and they all said the same.
"They said that once they hit Formula 1, they were driving a car where they couldn't get near to the car in front without feeling that loss of performance, something they hadn't experienced in other formulae.
"So we knew there was a challenge there, an issue there that we needed to fix."