• McLaren

F1 must embrace reinvention - Dennis

ESPN Staff
September 11, 2014 « Sato signs up for Formula E opener | FIA bans driver performance radio communications »
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McLaren chief Ron Dennis says Formula One should not shy away from making changes to its product if they help the sport's popularity in the long term.

Recent rule changes such as the double points format for this season's Abu Dhabi finale and the standing restarts proposed for 2015 have been controversial with fans. Dennis thinks F1 should heed the example of other sports which have made changes and reaped the rewards for doing so.

"I don't think it is," Dennis said when asked what was broken about modern F1. "Strangely enough, broken versus unbroken is black and white. I think that is the problem. It is a multi-faceted problem, you have to get a complete handle. I think it would be much easier to identify and fix. I don't think it is. And so we should not beat ourselves up as F1.

"F1 is actually holding its own better in sporting terms as regards global reach, much better than anybody else. But you can see - look at how they created one day cricket, look at the America's Cup, the America's Cup was phenomenally boring, and then they bring [changes] in. You then go to golf, golf was incredibly boring and they reinvented it. Sometimes it changed the game a little bit, as with cricket, to make it more interesting.

"We cannot just be egotistical about the fact that what we just have to do is televise the race, we absolutely need more data on the screen and we need to have deeper levels of engagement with younger people."

Dennis hopes to restructure McLaren - a process he says is ongoing - and he believes all F1's teams need to do so in order to save the sport.

"Formula One teams need to reinvent themselves. You can't wait for other people to do it so we're doing it our way and hopefully we can constructively contribute to the future of Formula One, because we have to change. The model we've got is just the model we've evolved over the years and evolution is not always a good way to move forward. We can either embrace change and use it, or ignore it at one's peril.

"If you analyse television, TV is somewhere between 40% and 45% down on everything, and sport - across everything - Formula 1 has actually held its own much better than many other sports, but actually numbers are down, so analyse why and then do something that's based on the facts. How can we go to Silverstone and Austria and it be absolutely full, and then we go to Germany and it's half full? There must be a reason.

"We can all guess, but that's not very scientific. We've really got to understand why these things happen. Is it ticketing prices? Is it national heroes etc? Whatever it is we have to address it, and my view is to start from changing McLaren, because we're competitive, and contribute to the future of Formula One in a very constructive way. That's our objective."

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