Formula 1 'shooting itself in the foot' - Eric Boullier

Formula 1 is "shooting itself in the foot" by focusing on its negative aspects and not promoting its virtues to win new fans, according to McLaren racing director Eric Boullier

Formula 1 'shooting itself in the foot' - Eric Boullier

The sport has suffered a crisis of confidence this season, following criticism of its new hybrid engines by some of F1's key players and worries over declining TV audiences.

Are the teams holding F1 back?

Boullier believes F1 should be working harder to engage with fans and promote the quality of racing produced by the new regulations for 2014.

"We are shooting ourselves in the foot at the moment, with everyone criticising, but we have great racing almost every weekend," Boullier told AUTOSPORT.

"We have more countries interested in hosting grands prix and we should be pushing and supporting these changes because it's great to see F1 going to new countries.

"F1 should be engaging more with the fans and engaging more with new technologies."

POPULARITY PROBLEM

F1 is gravely concerned by what it sees as an emerging popularity crisis.

Fears over declining trackside and TV audiences have led the sport's commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone to set up a popularity working group.

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda believes the blame for any drop in circuit attendance should be laid firmly at the door of individual race promoters.

"Promoters need to look at Spielberg," said the triple world champion.

"Red Bull is a professional organization and sold 80,000 tickets [for June's Austrian GP] in three days over radio advertising and through [the] internet.

"There are new ways of selling tickets and promoters have to think [about] what they can offer to the fans over the weekend.

"Why was [the British GP at] Silverstone successful? There were legend parades, there was more racing, the whole weekend was a different thing.

"This has to happen in some places where the promotion is not good enough."

F1 NEEDS NEW MEDIA

Ecclestone provoked furore earlier this year when he dismissed the need for F1 to engage with new media in order to increase its audience.

Mercedes commercial boss Toto Wolff has argued directly with him over this and reckons F1 needs to work out how to make new media commercially successful, rather than simply sticking to the old way of doing things.

"You can see a certain stagnation of TV audiences, [but] we can see huge increases in the digital world," explained Wolff.

"I understand the problem that you can't upset the main customers [TV stations] and dream about huge social media audiences if you can't monetise social media.

"This is clearly a knot which we have to cut.

"In my opinion the market will be completely different 10 years into the future."

F1 HAS GROWN 'STERILE'

Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn reckons F1 has lost touch with its fanbase and needs to do more to establish an emotional connection with the public.

"We are becoming so secluded in our world we can no longer create emotion in the fan," she told AUTOSPORT.

"We're going in that direction where we're going so sterile we cannot reach out.

"The fan is losing interest to understand why someone is out [of a race] because they pressed the wrong knob, or this part of this unit didn't work.

"People cannot equate to it anymore. It's not exciting. If you simplify things you can create that emotion.

"We're not connecting. It has to be achieved by making the rules much more simple."

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