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At least Todt and Briatore are getting the message

NEWS STORY
26/05/2006

Sharing the 'stage' at the press conference on Thursday, Ferrari's Jean Todt and Renault's Flavio Briatore, finally appeared to agree on something... that Formula One needs to be more entertaining and less reliant on technology.

At a time when some teams, in particular the manufacturers, are fearful that the sport is being 'dumbed down', and that proposed rule changes could lead to Formula One being dubbed another one-make series, Todt and Briatore both agree that the sport must rediscover the 'wow factor'.

Their comments come two weeks after the Spanish Grand Prix, which, although a master-class in terms of Fernando Alonso's performance, was without doubt one of the most boring processional races in living memory. Though in the eyes of many F1 fans, including Pitpass, it has plenty of competition.

"Formula One, in my opinion, does not need as its first priority technical challenge," said Todt. "It needs show, it needs people fighting on the track. And very often, the more technology you have, the less opportunity you give to the drivers to fight on the track."

Briatore, however, took the opportunity to have a dig at some of his team's rivals.

"Everybody talks about technology and fighting for technology," said the Italian, "but it's the people who have never won a race, or its a team that won a race eight or nine years ago. If somebody needs to talk about technology, then it is Renault and Ferrari.

"I believe like Jean says that we need real racing. What we need is overtaking, we need people enthusiastic to watch Formula One."

Strong words, bravely spoken, but none of this is news to the many millions of fans who have been echoing similar sentiments for longer than they care to remember.

In 2005, the FIA ran a fan survey and the overwhelming response from fans was that they wanted more action on track, namely, more overtaking. However, back in 1999, (Pitpass editor) Chris Balfe furnished Bernie Ecclestone with the results of his own survey in which 22.8 percent of the 1,778 race fans polled, said that if there was one change they could make to F1 it would be to see more overtaking. Meanwhile, 36.9 percent said that the issue which concerned them most regarding F1 was the lack of overtaking.

Then again, a staggering 85.2 percent of those polled said they didn't feel that the F1 'establishment' was interested in their opinion.

Seven years on, and a couple of prominent F1 insiders finally appear to be getting the message. What chance the rest of them?

To check out the results of the 1999 survey, which polled up to 2000 Formula One fans, click here

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