I'm DLing old races through newsgroups, but then you see what you miss. On a radio item today, they say you love the most the things you learn around 13-14 years old. Be it sports, heroes, the like. Well, it seems that was 1994-1995 for me. Guess who I'll miss now.;)
Just watching old footage:
Spain 1996: 4 secs/lap faster.
Monaco 1997: astronomical lead
Spa: In 1997 he gained 10+seconds in one lap on Villeneuve. Neither driver spinned or had a problem.
Hungary 1998. The Dutch commentator was not paying real attention, but the string of fastest laps after his second stop was just great. But it brings out the problem with current day F1. The ability to do a tactical change with fuel or tires. When you bolt 2012 Pirelli's on that Ferrari, they would be rolling off after 2 laps.
Older onboards are much more violent. You see drivers being tossed around while riding the car. You hear the engine screaming its innards out (and usually, those innards GOT out...). You also hear quite a different note per car. Be it onboard or onscreen. The difference between wide and small cars is also notable. I like the wide fat cars, not those racing toothpics.
Maybe something stupid I miss as well, but with the standard ECU, almost everyone has nearly the same dashboard/steering wheel nowadays. The old Benettons had a km/h digital dial and oil temp? The Ferrari's had a whole LCD screen. There is some nice footage of Schumacher (stick shift) chasing Alesi (semi-auto shift) around Monaco. Each car was easily recognisable, even without colors, due to the cockpit design.
With all those years, there is one constant though. The race editor missing most of the duels.
I also miss a real champion... and perhaps a bit of a riot.