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Ecclestone puts forward two-race format proposal

Bernie Ecclestone believes the sport could be made more attractive by ditching the current one-race format for two shorter races.

Bernie Ecclestone
Clive MasonGetty Images

Format changes

Bernie Ecclestone explained how F1 could be made more attractive to viewers by ditching the current one-race format and replace it with two shorter races.

The 86-year-old Ecclestone believes F1 would be more appealing to modern audiences, sponsors and advertisers if there were two 40-minute races, separated by a gap during which drivers could be interviewed. But he questioned whether the sport's decision-makers have the courage to make such huge changes to the traditional schedule.

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Clive MasonGetty Images

Short attention span

“People have a much shorter attention span and a lot of sports are looking at introducing shorter forms of their games. The television audiences went up for Brazil. We had a long race with the heavy rain and a couple of crashes, but that meant we had two starts because of the red flags and people tuned in”, Ecclestone told the Sunday Times. We need to look at the traditional concept of one long race. Two 40-minute races with a 40-minute break in the middle when the drivers could be interviewed, cars worked on, would be attractive to viewers, the TV companies, the sponsors, and advertisers would love it.

“Cars would qualify on a Saturday as usual for the first race and that would set the grid for the second. It would shake things up with lighter, faster cars. But I don't know if we have the courage to change. Times change though and it is something we must look at. All American sports have time-outs built in, mainly because American audiences can't concentrate. They grow up with everything in 15-minute segments on TV. People are the same everywhere now”, he added.

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Rules need reviewing

Ecclestone was also critical of F1's current rules, saying they prevent drivers from being able to race properly. “The regulation book should be retitled 'Don't Race'. They are written in such a convoluted way and there are so many that nobody, including the drivers, knows the right thing to do. The proper drivers are frustrated; so are the viewers, and so am I. It is crazy. I often wonder if some of these guys want to race or just be out there in an F1 car”.


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