McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has said that F1 needs to do more to sell itself and not become complacent about its popularity.

The Chinese Grand Prix proved to be one of the most exciting in recent seasons after Lewis Hamilton hunted down Sebastian Vettel through the final laps to take his first win of the year.

However, the race was played out in front of a large number of empty seats in the grandstands around the circuit and Whitmarsh said it was a prime example of why the sport needs to do more to make sure its popularity doesn't wane.

"Formula One is used to going to venues that know and understand Formula One and want us," he was quoted by Reuters. "I'm not blaming anyone because we're all part of it, but we're not good at promoting our sport in new territories and I think you've got evidence of that not just in China."

"We've got to work harder at it. Fortunately we still have a fantastic worldwide television audience but we need to work harder at circuits that are in new territories to promote the sport.

"If you go to downtown Shanghai and look for all the promotions going on for this event, I suspect you would struggle to find very much. I'm not a sports promoter, I'm just someone who works for a Formula One team but it strikes me that we've got to do much more to promote our sport, develop it, invest in its promotion than we do."

With the United States set to return to the grid next season, Whitmarsh said the race at the newly-named Circuit of the Americas would be an ideal opportunity for the sport to show what it can do to engage with the fans.

"The USA does not need Formula One, we need the USA, and I think if we just plonk ourselves down there and believe that America is going to reignite its enthusiasm for Formula One, I think we are wrong," he said. "I think we've got to work harder than traditionally we've had to.

"I think we (FOTA) have got to engage better with the commercial rights holder to accept that we've got to do more than we've done in the past."

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