Ecclestone Seeks Changes to Liven Up F1

Bernie Ecclestone has called for action to liven up Formula One and prevent television viewers from switching off.

Ecclestone Seeks Changes to Liven Up F1

Bernie Ecclestone has called for action to liven up Formula One and prevent television viewers from switching off.

"We have to shape up, we haven't got a very good act at the moment," the sport's supremo told Britain's ITV television in an interview to be broadcast before Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis.

Ecclestone said racing had become processional with the Ferrari-dominated Belgian Grand Prix, usually one of the thrilling dates on the calendar, "reduced to a straightforward drive to the shops".

The Italian team, World Champions for the fourth season in a row, have finished one-two in the last three races and are likely to do it again on Sunday.

ITV's Formula One website said that in the interview, Ecclestone suggested banning electronic 'driver aids', cutting aerodynamic downforce and even reducing all teams to a single tyre supplier in future.

Ecclestone's comments came as Ferrari prepared their cars for a race likely to bring them a 14th win in 16 outings this season. Michael Schumacher secured the Championship more than two months ago, faster than any driver in Grand Prix history, and has won a record 10 times in 2002 but the television ratings have been on the slide since he won the title.

ITV's coverage of the last Italian Grand Prix saw an average audience of 2.7 million in Britain, down from 3.0 million the previous year. At Indianapolis, ticket sales are also expected to be down on last year, with 140,000 to 150,000 compared to 2001's 175,000 and more than 200,000 the year before.

Open Battle

Formula One fans yearning for an open battle between the Ferrari drivers, in a season that has seen uproar over the contrived finish in Austria in May, were given no assurances before Saturday's qualifying.

Schumacher, who has led practice on both Friday and Saturday, said that he hoped they could have a 'free' battle since another victory for him would also guarantee Barrichello second place in the standings.

"If I would win this race, then it would automatically mean for him a second, which means that - maybe Jean can say more about this - we can race free," he said on Friday, referring to Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt.

But Todt was cautious as ever.

"Definitely if Michael is winning this race, then Rubens would be second and we will achieve the result. But I mean, there are many other cases which can happen. So once we see what is happening in qualifying, we will decide what is in the best interest for Ferrari."

Todt has said repeatedly that no team can stay dominant forever and Ferrari intend to enjoy their moment and make it last as long as possible. McLaren boss Ron Dennis, whose team won a record 15 races in the 1988 season, said Ferrari's rivals were also contributing to making the team look good.

"I think Jean and his colleagues have obviously done an incredibly good job and I take some comfort from the fact that I think our team has done a pretty poor job," he said.

"So I think we make them actually look better not than they are but they certainly look better because of our own efforts not being as they should be."

shares
comments
Practice 4: Schumacher stays on top

Previous article

Practice 4: Schumacher stays on top

Next article

Qualifying: Schu heads Ferrari one-two

Qualifying: Schu heads Ferrari one-two
Load comments
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021