Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn thinks F1 has lost its direction and is losing its connection with fans as a result.
F1 has suffered a decline in viewership over recent years but despite a number of proposals to arrest the dip in TV figures, nothing has been decided upon. The F1 Strategy Group, of which Sauber is not a member, is in place to offer the sport direction but has so far failed to deliver a concrete decision on the future of the sport.
Sauber is among the teams campaigning for a fairer distribution of prize money in order to ensure smaller teams can continue to compete, but Kaltenborn says there are also other issues that are not receiving the attention they deserve.
“There are areas that you have to look at again completely new, for example the distribution of money, which we need to definitely look at again,” she said. “That’s something which you really need to look at because that doesn’t fit anymore into the time we are in today, but I think there are other areas and it’s high time we found out what it is the fans want from us and to what extent can we cater to them.
“We bring up things [in meetings] but then talk about social media going into that and the format of the race weekend, where the races are, customer cars … we all have our views on that but nothing really gets done. What are we doing all this for?
“We have realized there is an issue and you can solve all issues, but you need to know your issue and you need to know where you are going. That’s what I think we don’t know.”
Kaltenborn believes the decline in interest in Formula One will only get worse if nothing is done to engage new fans.
“When have we really tried to find out from the group [of fans] we are targeting why we are doing all this? We are here as a sport platform and a marketing platform to reach out to fans and customers at the end of the day. Maybe that’s the most important aspect of it and we should find out what we should do differently. That is what we are not doing and instead we are trying to pick a new point [to argue about] at every grand prix weekend and that is not getting anywhere.
“I think we should be very quick about this because other sports are becoming very serious competition. We are seeing throughout the week and throughout the year that you are saturated with sport. The times are gone when you used to look forward to an F1 race or a single competition final in football or a world cup or Olympics coming. Today you get to see each and every cycle race, bobsleigh race, horse race – everything is on TV and you didn’t even know these things were taking place.
“How do we differentiate ourselves? How do we create that connection with the viewer and say ‘You need to watch us’ and keep them excited so that when one race is over they watch the next one in 10 days?”
News Source: ESPNF1