Drivers welcome 'fresh air' in the form of new ownership

Formula One drivers have shared their wish list of changes they expect from the new owners of Formula One - from equitable distribution of prize money to new ways of delivering content and promoting the sport.

Nico Rosberg has said the new ownership could be 'promising' for the sport.   -  Reuters

Days after the last race in Italy, it was >announced that Liberty Media, an American firm will become the majority owner of the Formula One commercial rights. On Thursday, drivers shared their wish list of changes they expect from the new owners - from equitable distribution of prize money to new ways of delivering content and promoting the sport.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg welcomed the change in ownership and said the sport could benefit from some fresh ideas and new perspective.

“The world is changing a lot and it is good to have breath of fresh air, to have a new competent group of people who can bring new ideas.The Americans are often one step ahead in terms of technology. In TV, they are doing a good job and it could definitely be promising.”

With rapid change in how sport and entertainment is consumed, Rosberg added it is an area where things can be improved upon.

“There are so many young people who love our sport but don't actually watch because they won't tune in at a specific hour or make the effort to find out when it starts because we race around the world. That’s an area which can be further improved to reach out to more people who love our sport but don't necessarily tune in when it is on.”

This year, the sport had a new team - Haas F1, owned by American businessman Gene Haas, and its driver Romain Grosjean said F1 can learn from American sports on how to put on a show.

The Frenchman said, “American people know how to put a good show. If you look at the Superbowl or Nascar or the big events, it is always a great show. For the audience we can improve something.”

He added the sport must leverage improving technology like augmented reality and virtual reality to give new insights into what a driver goes through during a race.

'Much more than driving a car'

“People who don't know about F1, don’t think it is a sport. They think it is about just driving a car. Yes sure we drive a car but there is much more to it, in terms of g-force, the heat and heart rate that a driver experiences. It is very hard to translate that into TV. But with new technology, new way of showing that drivers are having a tough time in the car, people might follow more.”

Force India’s Segio Perez echoed the long-standing view of the mid-field teams for a level-playing field in terms of prize money distribution.

“I think I would love to see Formula One a lot closer, the competition a lot closer, closer teams, giving the midfield teams the opportunity to be capable of winning a race, fighting for titles. For that you need to change the system, how you divide the money because there’s obviously a massive difference, so I think that would be a very good thing for the sport.”