Suzi Perry says the future of F1 is in 'freefall' due to the current rule-making structure and believes it needs to learn from the example of MotoGP.
The British TV presenter had been the face of the BBC's F1 coverage between 2013-2015 before it withdrew from its broadcasting contract with Bernie Ecclestone due to cutbacks, with Channel 4 picking up the contract without bringing Perry on board.
Perry is set to take up a presenting role for BT Sport's coverage of MotoGP later this year – a position she held with the BBC for 13 years in the late 90s and 00s – and having gained experience in both paddocks she feels F1 is in need of some methodical changes in its current crisis.
After the V6 hybrid engine era endured a difficult initiation the F1 Strategy Group has failed to devise new sporting and technical regulations for 2017 which were demanded for 'faster cars and exciting racing'.
The latest debacle of the F1 elimination qualifying is also attracting negative publicity and despite an almost uniform view it should be scrapped, the rule-makers failed to produce a unanimous decision to revert to the previous qualifying which means the knockout format will remain for at least the Bahrain Grand Prix.
These episodes have left fans, drivers and managements frustrated and Perry believes F1 must stop its reactive approach and become proactive to create better racing and in turn bring the fans back.
“The changes made in MotoGP are thoughtful, methodical and completed over a period of time while F1 tends to behave with kneejerk reactions,” Perry said. “It seems to me nobody is ever happy in Formula 1, nobody was ever happy together with what was going on. Whereas, in MotoGP the rules evolve, people know what is going to happen and people work to those changes and what is going to happen.
“The power in F1 has also changed a lot more, hugely since the days of Bernie. Bernie was at his most powerful when he had Max Mosely alongside him and arguably that was when F1 was running at its best. Now it just seems to be in a freefall.”
Ecclestone and Sky Sports recently reached an agreement handing the channel exclusive live broadcasting rights of F1 after the 2019 season in the UK, while MotoGP broadcast rights have been held by BT Sport since the 2014 season.
“Bernie plays games of the highest order,” Perry said. “We all went through that with the television debacle at the end of last year when BBC were trying to save money. In my mind if Bernie would have given the TV rights at a cut-rate he could have kept the viewing figures and then that helps the sponsors and the whole sport in a knock-on effect. He plays his own game. Dorna are not like that as they are not one person. It is about a decision being made by one person and a collective decision.
“Television has changed dramatically in the past five years and will change dramatically again in the foreseeable future. People don't digest their content the same we did when we were growing up. When we used to get home from school or at the weekend we would switch on the TV to watch Grandstand or ITV. Kids don't switch on the TV anymore."
BT Sport is the home of MotoGP in the UK with every race exclusively live throughout the season. You can watch the Argentinian Grand Prix Live at 7.45pm 3rd April on BT Sport 2. For more information on BT Sport visit bt.com/sport
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