Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery is set to hand Bernie Ecclestone an all-new plan to revitalise Formula 1 with a stressed effort to crack the highly-desired American market.
After a disappointing season with dwindling audience figures both at the tracks and on television, Hembery wants to put the action back into F1 by setting up three continental series to produce mini-championships which would lead towards the overall champion of that campaign.
The initial plan would be to start in Australia and Asia to make up the first continental series in Australasia before moving on to a European and Americas series, with the emphasis on a more competitive overreaching championship and a more reliable structure than the globe-hopping witnessed currently.
Hembery also hopes it would help to positively change the timing of certain events – with the Americas being forced to get up very early to watch a European-heavy season – which could strengthen the following of F1 in that part of the world.
“The market people all say the same thing, which is that the biggest problem in F1 is with the timings,” Hembery told The Guardian
. “They are all for Europe, which means in America they have to get up ridiculously early to watch the racing.
“I will be talking to Bernie shortly about this. 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 US market in particular represents the sport's biggest potential galvaniser which F1 has struggled to capture for years after 10 different US circuits have all hosted F1 Grand Prixs – the most of any country in the world.
With rising costs and attendance figures threatening to drag the Circuit of the Americas in Austin out of F1, Hembery feels it is vital to keep the event on the race calendar while he is also interested in a Californian Grand Prix.
“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,” he said. “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.”