Friday, February 24, 2017

F1: Bernie Ecclestone calls for two-race format

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone

London: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says the sport needs to consider introducing two shorter races in place of one long one as part of a radical overhaul to help appeal to modern audiences.

Ecclestone believes F1 needs to follow the lead of other sports that are looking at ways to bring in shorter formats, and feels that having two 40-minute races with a break in the middle where drivers could be interviewed would be a hit with television viewers, sponsors and advertisers.

However, the 86-year-old has questioned if there would be the “courage” to make such a significant change to the sport’s traditional weekend schedule. The F1 chief executive told the Sunday Times: “People have a much shorter attention span and a lot of sports are looking at introducing shorter forms of their games. The television audiences went up for Brazil. We had a long race with the heavy rain and a couple of crashes but that meant we had two starts because of the red flags and people tuned in.

“We need to look at the traditional concept of one long race. Two 40-minute races with a 40-minute break in the middle when the drivers could be interviewed, cars worked on, would be attractive to viewers, the TV companies, the sponsors and advertisers would love it.

“Cars would qualify on a Saturday as usual for the first race and that would set the grid for the second. It would shake things up with lighter, faster cars. But I don’t know if we have the courage to change. Times change though and it is something we must look at,” he said.

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