F1 does not need young fans - Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone does not believe Formula One should be chasing a younger generation of fans because they do not have the money to buy the products the sport advertises.
F1 television and live audiences have been declining in recent years, with teams struggling to find sponsors to alleviate the growing cost of competing in the sport. Caterham and Marussia's recent fall into administration has highlighted the financial problems facing smaller teams, but Ecclestone does not think embracing younger fans is a solution.
"If you have a brand that you want to put in front of a few hundred million people, I can do that easily for you on television," the F1 supremo told Campaign Pacific-Asia. "Now, you're telling me I need to find a channel to get this 15-year-old to watch Formula One because somebody wants to put out a new brand in front of them? They are not going to be interested in the slightest bit.
"Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can't afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS - these kids don't care about banking. They haven't got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway. That's what I think. I don't know why people want to get to the so-called 'young generation'. Why do they want to do that? Is it to sell them something? Most of these kids haven't got any money.
"I'd rather get to the 70-year-old guy who's got plenty of cash. So, there's no point trying to reach these kids because they won't buy any of the products here and if marketers are aiming at this audience, then maybe they should advertise with Disney."
While F1 has taken steps this year to embrace a more modern social media strategy Ecclestone does not see the benefit of sites such as Twitter.
"I'm not interested in tweeting, Facebook and whatever this nonsense is. I tried to find out but in any case I'm too old-fashioned. I couldn't see any value in it. And, I don't know what the so-called 'young generation' of today really wants. What is it? If you ask a 15 or 16-year-old kid, 'What do you want?' they don't know."
Ecclestone added: "How are you going to get all the fans to meet these drivers, who don't even want to meet their girlfriends? You are right that we should use social media to promote Formula One. I just don't know how."