Ahead of this weekend’s opening race in Melbourne it’s being claimed F1 is nothing more than an elaborate game show with the cars controlled behind the scenes in much the same way as a child’s Scalextric set is.

A former sport insider now turned whistleblower makes the sensational claim that rather than drivers demonstrating phenomenal levels of bravery, skill and excellence, all cars are in fact guided round the track by ‘special invisible slots’ concealed just beneath the track surface.

The one time pit-lane technician who wants to remain anonymous said: ‘It’s a farce! Even before the first race is run the outcome of the season has already been finalised. Each round is simply a moneymaking exercise in flogging tickets and TV advertising rights.’

‘But, believe me, it’s only just some guys behind the scenes running the cars around the track using modified slot-racing hand throttles.’

‘The whole thing has become nothing but a mindlessly boring procession. I’d sooner go up the park and watch the football. At least it’s more exciting and holds my interest for longer.’

‘F1 these days is rubbish. The Grid Girls were the only reason I stuck with it but now they’ve been binned off I’m out!’

However the sport has been quick to hit back with its supremo Chase Carey saying: ‘F1 is an amazing sport it always has been. These allegations are nonsense. We generate billions around the world, most of which pays for our fabulous salaries, our many other perks and our fantastically privileged lifestyles.’