Faster, closer, more exciting F1 drivers’ plea to new owners


SINGAPORE: Sebastian Vettel led a chorus of drivers Thursday urging Formula One’s new owners to make racing closer, faster and more exciting as the sport enters a new era in Singapore this weekend.

Drivers were asked what changes they would like to see brought in by US billionaire John Malone’s Liberty Media, which is buying out F1’s parent company in a deal which values the sport at $8 billion.

“As a driver you want to go faster, you want to drive the most exciting cars,” four-time world champion Vettel told reporters.

Force India’s Sergio Perez said fans wanted tighter battles on the track. Mercedes have dominated the past three seasons, and before that Vettel won four straight drivers’ championships with Red Bull.

“I would love to see Formula One a lot closer, giving the midfield teams the opportunity to be capable of winning a race, fighting for titles,” said Perez.

“I think that would be just something great for the fans to see — one race Williams on top, another race another team.”

The drivers may get a chance to voice their opinions to the sport’s new owners in person as early as Friday, if paddock rumours are to be believed.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone originally said he would not attend the Singapore race, but the word around the circuit on Thursday was that he had changed his mind.

German paper Bild reported the CEO would arrive at the Marina Bay track Friday accompanying the sport’s new chairman Chase Carey.

Screaming V12s

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo said he might just tell them Saturday races would be a good idea, as they could organise a better party afterwards.

“I’d like a Saturday race as opposed to Sunday, just so we can plan a bigger night on Saturday. That would be good fun,” he said, smiling.

Veteran English driver and former world champion Jenson Button said the new owners should concentrate on appealing to a younger audience.

“From what I’ve read, they’re (Liberty Media) very interested in getting a younger fanbase, which I think needs to happen,”said Button

“We’ve got an 18-year-old racing on the grid and I think the fanbase is mostly 30s and 40s. We’ve got very limited teenage fans and people in their 20s.

“I think once young people get their teeth into the sport and see how technically advanced it is, and exciting, they’re going to stick around because it’s an awesome sport.”

Vettel said he would also like a return to the old screaming V12 engines instead of today’s quiet, V6 hybrid units.

“If you ask me what I would like to drive, I would like double the amount of cylinders in the car and take off a lot of the complicated electric equipment,” the Ferrari driver said.

Renault’s British driver Jolyon Palmer believed there was no fun in knowing the result of the race before the cars had even arrived at the track.

“We turn up for a weekend and we pretty much know maybe it’s two, four, maximum six drivers can win the race,” he said.”