Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery feels Formula 1 must focus more attention on the spectacle of Formula 1 as part of its planned regulation changes in 2017, rather than simply making the cars lap faster.
The FIA is pressing ahead with plans to introduce a raft of changes for the 2017 F1 season with the primary aim to make the cars quicker through a series of amendments to the aero and the Pirelli tyres, as well as design the cars to a 'more aggressive' blueprint.
Indeed, with F1's popularity dwindling on the back of a perceived lack of race excitement and the ongoing domination of the Mercedes team, the FIA and teams are hoping these measures will go some way to evoking the sport's heyday in terms of track action and appearance.
However, Hembery is unsure of the benefit of simply making the cars quicker – by up to five seconds it is hoped -, pointing out that the speed is relative when viewed on television anyway. Instead, he says the sport should be focused on ensuring more overtaking and more competitive racing
“You need to be pragmatic about these things,” he told Crash.net
when asked whether he likes the 2017 proposals. “If you are in a circuit or watching on TV, you can't see the speed anyway. What you can see is overtaking and battles, and that is really what people need.
“I don't think people will watch the sport more because we are lapping five seconds quicker, what they will watch more are the images. If you go to a football match, you don't need John Motson telling you that Lionel Messi is doing something amazing on the pitch, you have the crowd with you - you are watching it and you understand what is going on. It is no different to a race. If you see an overtake, you don't need a commentator to tell you about it.
“Turn the volume down on the television and those are the images you see. We know that people go to bars and watch football and the volume is turned down, so what you are watching on screen is what compels you to decide if it is exciting or not. Lap times themselves, you don't understand that on a screen.”
It was hoped changes to the specification of the tyres would see much of that five second gain come from Pirelli's adjustments, though Hembery says it cannot do so without a compromise with pressures and grip.