Formula 1 warned fan input is essential in spectacle changes

Formula 1 is making a mistake in pushing forward with radical rule changes to try to boost the spectacle before it knows fully what fans want, reckons Pirelli's Paul Hembery

Formula 1 warned fan input is essential in spectacle changes

There have been suggestions that F1's quest to appease its critics, with efforts such as the 'trumpet' exhaust trialled by Mercedes, is leaving it open to mockery.

Although separate discussions to boost the visual spectacle - with proposals including the return of sparks, vapour trails and glowing brake discs - have good intentions, Hembery thinks the sport is going about changes the wrong way.

"When you are in business, the first thing you do is try to understand your customer," said Hembery, speaking before the Mercedes exhaust test.

"I think it is very dangerous for a sport like F1 to invent rules, regulations and ideas without extensively understanding what the customer expects from it.

OPINION: F1 risks creating Frankenstein's monster

"It is the fans we need to appeal to. What do they want to see? What do they expect to see?

"Do they expect a WWF version of motorsport? Or do they expect a technology race? Those are the two extremes - what is it that the public expects from the pinnacle of motorsport? Once you understand that, they you can start.

"At the moment, you risk putting the cart before the horse in trying to solve the problem without actually knowing what the problem is."

COST A FACTOR IN CHANGE TOO

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams thinks changes need careful consideration from a costs perspective too.

She believes that making bold steps to try to rekindle excitement from the past could have negative impacts.

"It is really dangerous to just think up an idea and think that might be good," she said.

"You do not know the cost implication for teams, you don't know whether it is going to work or not as you have not done analysis.

"It is important that rather than just have knee-jerk reactions to perceived problems in F1, and reacting too quickly before you let people settle into an opinion about it as people don't naturally like change, that you let them settle.

"The proposals we are looking at now demonstrate that there is a clear will by everyone running this sport to improve it.

"F1 is great, don't get me wrong, but I think you can always improve the show for fans and to ensure your sponsors are still engaged by it.

"Everything is done with the best intention of making sure we protect the long term future of F1, and that is really important.

"Any measure put in place has to be cost-efficient and has to improve the show - it cannot just be whimsical or cost teams more money if they change things."

Got a burning question about Formula 1 tech, strategy or any other aspect? GARY ANDERSON will be answering AUTOSPORT readers' questions again next week, quiz him by tweeting @autosport with the hashtag #askgaryf1

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