Can Formula 1 get “more global” in the coming years? Nowadays, Formula 1 is already a global phenomenon. The technology era has helped to provide a brand-new perspective and insight into motorsports in general and Formula 1 has perhaps been the main beneficiary from the adaptations and changes to the sport.
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However, the old-school fans are probably a little sick and tired of the new rule and regulation changes – and who could blame them for raising their voices?
Bernie Ecclestone and the Formula 1 hierarchy have tried very hard (some may say too hard) to tweak the sport to accommodate new viewers but they are now at risk of losing some of the hardcore supporters that have followed it for decades – and they have already lost approximately one-third of fans since the major alterations began in 2008.
One of the biggest and most obvious changes to the Formula 1 landscape are the various locations and amount of races across the globe. Formula 1 has always been regarded as an international sport but there is now more travelling, more preparation and more GPs than ever before – and it doesn’t look like that will change ahead of the 2017 season.
Cast your minds back to 2006 – just one decade ago. The Formula 1 season, won by the then Renault Driver Fernando Alonso, consisted of 18 races with nine in Europe. In 2016, there are still nine races in Europe but from a grand total of 21 events; and that is classing the Baku race in Azerbaijan as one of the European tracks.
The change in schedule and general format of the Formula 1 season is creating a wider gap between the elite and the weak.
Some drivers, such as Lewis Hamilton, enjoy the new concept as it gives them an opportunity to enhance their world title chances. As of September 1st, Hamilton is 1/8 with Betway to win the drivers title this season – and the extended campaign will certainly help his cause.
For the fans, the added travelling, time zones and general schedule of the new-look season is a hassle to say the least. Planning and preparation is key to success in any sport and the Formula 1 board haven’t really considered how the new changes and adaptations would affect the supporters.
Because that is the way that Formula 1 – and many other sports – are going. It is now all about the big businesses, commerce and advertising. Whilst it is refreshing to see investors that are still keen to throw money into this sport, it would be foolish to forget about the good old days; after all, those times helped to attract the fans and appeal to a wider market.
But it isn’t just about the fans – the Formula 1 teams are also affected. Without a shadow of a doubt, the smaller franchises are the ones who are suffering the most; and many believe this is directly down to the numerous changes on a yearly basis. Many drivers for the smaller teams are forced to pay for their own drives whilst others are left in the lurch over whether or not they will be allowed to compete in the upcoming event.
Ultimately, the change in schedule and general format of the Formula 1 season is creating a wider gap between the elite and the weak. Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes won’t be affected by such issues but the smaller companies will. It’s an unforgiving sport at the best of times and the financial expectations are colossal.
Unfortunately, not everybody is equipped to deal with such high costs but don’t tell Formula 1’s governing body that. After all, it is all about money, money, money…