Pirelli boss offers radical solution to help save F1

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Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery is set to present F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone with a radical new plan to prevent the sport from collapsing, reports The Guardian.

Hembery’s rationale is that current F1 schedules are based too much around European times, which leaves huge markets fairly untapped. Therefore, the Pirelli chief intends to put forward a new calendar comprising three main legs – Europe, the Americas, and Australasia – interspersed with a couple of long breaks.

Hembery’s far-reaching solution also has each stretch of the season crowning its own champion, with an overall victor decided at the end of the season.

“I will be talking to Bernie shortly about this,” he told the UK publication. “I haven’t worked out the logistical problems. It’s up to the teams to do that. But this is all about getting more interest in Formula One, and particularly in the Americas.

“The market people all say the same thing, which is that the biggest problem in F1 is with the timings. They are all for Europe, which means in America they have to get up ridiculously early to watch the racing.”

Under the impulse of Ecclestone, F1 has repeatedly strived to establish itself in the US market, so far with mixed results. The latest attempt in Austin was initially hailed as a great success but attendance has been dwindling since the inaugural 2012 race.

This year’s washout combined to the return of the neighbouring Mexican Grand Prix resulted in a “financially devastating” weekend for Circuit of the Americas. What more, cuts in funding contributions from the State of Texas have cast further doubt on the event, which remains marked as subject to confirmation on the 2016 calendar.

“To lose Austin so soon after getting there – and it’s a good circuit and a well organised show which the fans enjoy – would be phenomenally negative for the sport,” commented Hembery.

“I also think it’s important to have a race in California. With this regional idea we could create a concentrated interest in the sport and help build a real fanbase. If we carry on making Formula One for European television we will end up with a Europe-only audience.”

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