Fans need to be consulted on F1's future - Williams

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Claire Williams believes F1 fans worldwide should be offered an input into the future of a sport which, according to the Williams deputy team principal, appears isolated from its core audience.

"I think we need to ask what our fans want. It’s something that as a sport we haven’t really done," commented Claire Williams on Sky Sports during a Q&A with a group of F1 fans. " In F1 we can live in our little bubble, but we need to go and do that piece of work to find out why they’re not necessarily tuning in before we start fixing things."

Questioned about the potential demise of several European races as the sport continues its worldwide expansion, Williams acknowledged the value of F1's new markets but also expressed the need to respect its heritage.

"Losing Germany, which is one of our core races, off the calendar is really disappointing and it's surprising as well. But Formula 1 is a global sport and Mr Ecclestone has done a fantastic job taking us global, and that is a great thing for our sport. But you don't want to lose our European heartland and we've got to make sure we work hard and we keep those traditional races on the calendar."

Williams also encouraged a rethink of race weekend schedules, suggesting a later start to Sunday's festivities in order to bring broadcasting schedules in line with typical audience and family activities.

"The way that society is now people want to spend time with the family and doing something together, and actually giving up your whole Sunday, which you have to do to watch a Formula 1 race, completely clobbers your whole day. If we moved it to later on in the afternoon, you go out, you do your day with your family, you come home and watch the grand prix at 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon. Those kind of considerations are the questions to ask first."

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