Pirelli boss Paul Hembery has backed Bernie Ecclestone’s calls for radical changes to be made to the sport’s format.
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The Italian tyre manufacturer’s motorsport boss says F1 drivers need to become global superstars, drawing a comparison to former Manchester United an Real Madrid man David Beckham.
“The driver has to become an international superstar, like David Beckham,” Hembery is quoted as saying by GrandPrix.com.
“But we’ve got drivers who don’t understand why it’s crap to change a helmet every race, and moan and bitch about it.”
During the Malaysian Grand Prix, Ecclestone spoke about the possibilities of running an all-female F1 championship, as well as introducing reverse grids and water sprinklers.
“I thought qualifying on Friday night was a good idea, so you can actually win something, and the promoters have something to sell. And maybe a sprint race on the Saturday, an extra product, so Saturday fans actually see a result and podium places,” Hembery said.
“It’s not for us to tell people what should change, and how it should change, but change is needed,” he added.
“We’re anxious to understand what’s going to happen in 2017, when we will be looking at a new contract. We’d like to see what the plan is.”
Hembery said the current F1 model was not viable and sponsors would pull out due to a perceived lack of entertainment.
“We are in the entertainment business,” said Hembery. “Some people get ruffled by that idea, but if we don’t entertain people don’t watch us, and then the sponsors won’t come, and the cycle continues.
“The current business model is clearly not working for enough people. Change is needed and the current mechanism for change is very cumbersome and very slow. We’ve got too many people with different vested interests.
“Someone has got to put a marker in the ground and say this is it. We can’t spend another year going round in circles trying to find the big compromise.”
F1 management would have breathed somewhat of a sigh of relief after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took out the Malaysian Grand Prix, ending Mercedes’ run of eight straight wins.