A conundrum for teams and fans alike is to cut costs and make F1 cheaper for all. Cheaper cars, cheaper tickets, free to air TV…. and on and on. And for good reason too. With the increase of pay TV showing F1 as the only method of which to watch the sport, F1 is in danger of becoming too exclusive for it’s own good.
During an interview between Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul and Auto Motor und Sport, Cyril was asked exactly how the sport should take measures to control costs.
“If we limit the cars, there would be more standard parts. Honestly, if all cars were black most of us would not know if before them stands a Red Bull or Manor. That would reduce the gap between the teams and improve the show element. A sport without duels is boring.”
Cyril laments the fall of FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) citing we need a return to that system to have a hope of implementing such limitations successfully.
“In my view, when we had FOTA we had in place restrictions that worked no mater what others say. There were little changes, such as the number of people who are involved; the test stands we work with; the size of the simulators. All that could be easily regulated. I’m not saying that we have to monitor everything. A perfect system does not exist. I mean, we need a model that is more sustainable than the current.”
Abiteboul see’s cost control as the biggest threat to successfully marketing F1, giving France as a prime example.
“Look to France. The change from TF1 to pay TV Canal Plus has killed the interest in F1. We are a French manufacturer and clearly we think primarily of French sponsors. But they tell us that Formula 1 no longer exists in France. It is now impossible to win a French company for F1 sponsorship. This is a vicious circle. To make it short: It is a must to reduce costs. Otherwise, the formula 1 will disappear. It is not about whether Renault can afford it. We will be able to beat the big ones, Renault can afford a Formula 1 with 200 or 300 million per year. But it is a value for money issue.”
“We are investing in depth, and fewer and fewer people can see our sport which is ridiculous. We need to make formula 1 a popular sport again. Just as Le Mans. There, the tickets are cheap and the race will be shown on television. Clearly it’s only one race but if this model would be extended to the Formula 1, we’d have a great sport and most teams would be well funded. Sauber would continue and not be close to bankruptcy.”