F1 meets to decide future

The F1 strategy group, which comprises of Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Williams and Force India, the FIA and F1's commercial rights holder, will meet in Biggin Hill in southern England for what have been labelled "crunch" talks.

F1 viewership figures have drop steadily in recent years, with 2013 numbers indicating that the season's races were watched by an estimated 450 million people, a big drop from the 600 million estimated to have tuned into the sport in 2009.

Many feel that F1's recent technical changes, particularly to engines, has seen the sport lose some of its excitement, while others point to a failure to engage with a younger audience as being a problem area.

For his part, F1 supermo Bernie Ecclestone doesn't seem too concerned by the lack of young viewers, telling Campaign Asia-Pacific late last year that: "If you have a brand that you want to put in front of a few hundred million people, I can do that easily for you on television.

"Now, you're telling me I need to find a channel to get this 15-year-old to watch Formula 1 because somebody wants to put out a new brand in front of them? They are not going to be interested in the slightest bit.

"Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can't afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS — these kids don't care about banking. They haven't got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway.

"I'd rather get to the 70-year-old guy who's got plenty of cash"

"That's what I think. I don't know why people want to get to the so-called 'young generation'. Why do they want to do that? Is it to sell them something? Most of these kids haven't got any money."

At last year's FIA Sport Conference the consensus was that the sport needed to be simplified in order to attract new fans, but this is easier said than done.

At the time, F1 race director Charlie Whiting told James Allen on F1: “I don’t think it is very feasible to simplify Formula One, unfortunately. Unless we can dramatically simplify the cars, which I think would be the wrong thing to do then they will inevitably become more and more complex. Although, having seen this year’s cars it is hard to imagine how much more complex they could be but I’m sure they will find ways.”

While these problems are part of a wider range of problems facing F1, first on the agenda at this week's meeting is set to be the issue of engine allocation for 2015.

It was agreed prior to the season that each driver would be allocated four engines for the campaign, but with Renault struggling terribly and Honda still finding their feet on their return to F1, it has been suggested that the allocation should be increased to five.

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