Formula 1 must reinvent itself says McLaren chief Ron Dennis

Formula 1 teams need to change as much as the sport to ensure grand prix racing remains popular, believes McLaren chief Ron Dennis

Formula 1 must reinvent itself says McLaren chief Ron Dennis

Amid increased efforts to try to turn around declining audiences, Dennis reckons teams have to share the responsibility for adapting better to what fans really want.

"I think Formula 1 teams need to reinvent themselves," said Dennis, who returned to the F1 frontline as McLaren's Group CEO earlier this year.

"You can't wait for other people to do it, so we're doing it our way - and hopefully we can constructively contribute to the future of Formula 1. Because we have to change.

"The model we've got is just the model we've evolved over the years, and evolution is not always a good way to move forward. We can either embrace change and use it, or ignore it at one's peril."

OPINION: F1 needs a marketing department

Dennis suggested that teams need to get a better understanding of why some venues struggled to attract spectators this year, as well as properly comprehend the trends of television audiences.

"If you analyse television, it is somewhere between 40 and 45 per cent down on everything," he said.

"Formula 1 has held its own much better than many other sports, but actually numbers are down. So we need to analyse why and then do something that's based on the facts.

"How can we go to Silverstone and Austria and it be absolutely full, and then we go to Germany and it's half full? There must be a reason. We can all guess, but that's not very scientific.

"We've really got to understand why these things happen. Is it ticket prices? Is it national heroes etc? Whatever it is, we have to address it, and my view is to start from changing McLaren."

F1 NEEDS CHANGE

Dennis believes that changes to grand prix racing should go deeper than some have suggested - and thinks that the successful reinventions of sports like golf, cricket and yachting are examples that F1 should heed.

"Look at how they created one day cricket, look at the America's Cup - it was phenomenally boring once," he said.

Are the teams holding F1 back?

"We cannot just be egotistical and think all we have to do is televise the race.

"We absolutely need more data on the screen and we need to have deeper levels of engagement with younger people.

"F1 should not just be about the race itself: we have to be everything.

"The race is a little bit like a trapeze act at the end of a circus show. Everybody anticipates that there is going to be a crescendo which is the trapeze act.

"We are not doing a quality enough job on all the other acts and the process by which we build up to the grand prix itself.

"Could we make the grand prix better? Yes."

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