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Silverstone boss: F1 is becoming a procession

NEWS STORY
28/04/2015

Though ticket sales for July's British Grand Prix already look set to break all records, mainly thanks to some canny deals offered to race fans, Silverstone managing director Patrick Allen fears that the sport is losing its way and in time the historic circuit could become an endangered species.

"If I can predict, before I get out of bed, that Lewis will win by four seconds, followed by Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas and Massa, and that's every race, then the product isn't good enough," he said, according to the Guardian.

"My opinion is we need a sport that's a bit more exciting than that. We mustn't lose sight of what the fans come here for, and they come here to watch their heroes in a gladiatorial sense, not a guy on a data screen. When it gets to that, we've lost the very soul of the sport.

"If the car is always about technical expertise and reliability then we might as well have the technical directors up on the podium," he added. "I don't know what the answer is but my feeling is that it's not as exciting as it could be. It's more about the technical development of the car and not about the drivers' skill.

"We need some help from the FIA and Formula One Management in terms of the rules to make it more exciting," he continued. "It is great to have the Lewis Hamilton factor. But when Lewis wins every week how long will it be before people say it is too predictable?

"The drivers themselves would say we need help with that. We need the noise back in my opinion and the whole atmosphere needs to come back to the fore. In terms of driving, it would be nice to see a bit more of a competitive edge to things. You don't see it in Formula One and I wonder if the product is right in F1 currently."

France, the country that gave Grand Prix racing its name, has long been missing from the calendar, and this year Germany has also been lost. With Monza, home of the Italian Grand Prix, under threat, Allen considered the unthinkable.

"If we start to see it slip away, for circuits like this F1 is a large chunk of our business and the whole thing starts to unravel. Rather than wondering if our contract is great I would like FIA or FOM to give us a better quality and it is up to the circuit to say 'give us a better product'.

"If we get to a point where, five, six, seven years from now the fans are dwindling away because the product isn't interesting we have a problem," he admitted. "Will it exist in the short term without any crowds? Probably. After that what starts to happen is you could see it start to die away and we shouldn't wait until we get to that situation.

"This is a heritage site so it strengthens our hand. But you can't rely on it. As you get fewer and fewer, it becomes like the World Wildlife Fund - you need to protect it."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Mugmug, 29/04/2015 12:10

"The conclusion to all the negative feedback the fans are giving is that something has to change and quickly.
Without over-complicating everything (which the FIA is famous for) let's go back 15-20 years when listening to the cars screaming at 18,000 RPM, a shower of sparks from the scuff plates and wide tires that made the cars look menacing. I seriously doubt a 17-18 year old could adapt so quickly to a car of this era. (no disrespect to Max)
My point is that someone has to be ACCOUNTABLE to the sad state of F1, and that someone is Jean Todt.
As much as anyone, I wasn't a big fan of Max, but, he sure did a better job than JT. The only thing Bernie sees is green and his ideas (except for going back to V8s) are best kept to a kindergarten's happy hour.

Personally, I prefer the times when a screaming engine would occasionally explode with a cloud of smoke, it added to the show, instead of the economy and durability runs we have now."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Will Fly, 29/04/2015 7:27

"Oh and here's a comment directed at Silverstone, I'd rather watch the Silverstone Classic than F1, it has variety of cars end engines, some very close racing, skilled drivers and variety. In addition Silverstone put on a great show over the weekend, who wouldn't want to watch Status Quo in concert after a good day's racing."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Will Fly, 29/04/2015 7:24

"If you want to watch cars being driven to their absolute limits with little money spent on Aerodynamics and unpredictable conditions, like two drivers hitting the same rock and going out of the contest then go an watch WRC. Rally Argentina was full of surprises and drama, and could have been won or lost to the last stage. In F1 if you qualify first and get through the first lap in the lead and are 'gentle' on your fuel and tyres (they don't do fuel saving and tyre conditioning in WRC) they unless your mechanics screw up your pitstops you're going to win. We might as well just make races 30 laps with 2 mandatory pitstops. F1 is now B O R I N G ! If FOM think people will keep PAYING to watch this on Pay TV then they're living in La-La land.

WAKE UP ! Give them all the fuel they can use, F1 tech doesn't make my diesel engine more economical. Get rid of complex wings, give them wider tyres and let the teams pick their own compounds for a race and lets go RACING again."

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4. Posted by Joop deBruin, 29/04/2015 1:44

"Horse feces! It's always been about the technical superiority, and ingenuity of the engineering teams! The problem these days is that the rules try to make everything so even, its just a bore and a snore! my experience goes back to 1965, long before this idiot's memory."

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5. Posted by GrahamG, 29/04/2015 1:02

"Its a gone sport, gone the way of cricket, rugby league and boxing that sold out for the quick buck of pay TV. In 2 years there will be no free to air F1, fans will desert and the whole thing will implode. I've recorded but not bothered to watch the last 3 races why? - too many rules make it impossible for anyone to catch Mercedes who have simply done a better job and are defended from any hint of innovation advantage. The day Ferrari get near a win those engines will suddenly discover another 50bhp and every time someone thinks up a cleaver idea it will be instantly banned. The formula suits the Hamiltons of this world, fast as long as they have the best car, full of excuses once they don't - just watch him start driving into people again when some real talent in a technical or driving sense comes along.
Off to watch and follow LeMans series, lots of innovation, cars with different philosophies racing closely, what's not to like. "

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6. Posted by testa rossa, 28/04/2015 21:29

"Forget a change in F1 , the oligarchs will never agree on anything. And the beggers are powerless"

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7. Posted by Ro, 28/04/2015 20:36

"F1 has just lost its appeal. Completely. How many of you can honestly say that you no longer buy Autosport ? I for one last bought it in April 2014! Even this mag is not worth the money any more. The race reports are poor and the technical blurbs are just pretty pictures.
I am so grateful for Pitpass. "

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8. Posted by scf1fan, 28/04/2015 20:29

"This discussion is getting old; particularly from people who are supposed to know better. (The solutions have certainly been talked about enough, and they have nothing to do with the engines/PUs.) There are two issues that continually come up:

1) Get rid of the wings and ground effects!! Unlike the hybrid PUs, few cars on the road use them.
2) Make the tires wear resistant enough that they don't leave bits all over the track. It's a lot harder to pass "on the marbles!"

Now generally, I don't have a lot of issues with the state of things, and I think the "racing" away from the front is quite interesting. But with the wings and marbles, there is really only one fast line around the track. And as a race goes on, when opportunities might tend to present themselves, (driver/mechanical error) it's still much too difficult to get around someone. (The following driver tries to stay 2 seconds behind so he has good air over his wings to save his tires!! How hard can they press really?)

It would be interesting to know which consumes more money over time; engines or aerodynamics? That might help make that decision."

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