The fall in Formula 1's television viewing figures by 50 million in 2013 prompted many doom mongers to suggest the end was nigh for grand prix racing. Such a huge drop-off in interest, at a time when F1 is crying out for more fans and bigger sponsors, was viewed as a warning sign for the extent of the trouble it was in.
The move to pay-TV channels, in a bid to chase the only networks that could afford the huge rights fees F1 demands, has not unsurprisingly led to a dramatic cut in audiences - already weakened by Red Bull dominance and less-than-spectacular racing.
That the audience in France dropped by 17 million in 2013 when F1 moved to pay TV shows the dangers the sport faces in chasing the big-money deals.
To continue reading this feature, subscribe to Autosport Plus today.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
- Your Autosport Plus subscription includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from a monthly or yearly membership.