McLaren Honda's Jenson Button says Formula One should be more interesting than Pokemon Go and that F1's new owners need to target the younger generation.
Liberty Media confirmed its purchase of Formula One for £3.3bn - with Bernie Ecclestone remaining as chief executive - last week.
Speaking prior to this weekend's race in Singapore, and asked what Liberty Media can do for the sport, the 2009 F1 World Champion replied: “I've only heard a couple of things, I don't really know much about them. I think them being American is a positive, bringing the sport more to the States and getting people there more interested in the sport.
“From what I've seen they're interested in getting a much younger audience involved the sport [too], which is again something we need. The average age is much too high for where it should be considering we have an 18-year-old on the grid. I think the average age is high 30s, maybe early 40s. That needs to change, we need to target youngsters and the younger generation.
“And from what they say they are still very interested in keeping historic tracks on the calendar, that's important to them and it should be because it is the heart and soul of Formula One.”
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Asked how he thinks they should increase the number of young fans, Button added “that's not my job”, before pointing out that its surely got to be more attractive than Pokemon Go – a game that 'allows you to find and catch more than a hundred species of Pokemon' as you explore 'real-world locations' via an app on your phone, a craze that has global appeal and that has overtaken Twitter in terms of daily active users.
“There's always ideas but it doesn't really matter what my opinion is, so it's a waste of time mentioning it. But they [Liberty Media] have an idea of what young people want with social media and technology. This is a very technologically advanced sport, Formula One, so you would think there would be a lot of interest from youngsters but there isn't. As soon as youngsters sink their teeth into the sport they're going to love it.
“I filmed [something] last night, I was in the shopping mall and posted it, and this is the most horrific thing I've ever seen! Have you ever seen the films of the future, how people are going to be – this was last night in the shopping mall. All these people walking one way, you know why? Pokemon.
“There must have been 2,000 people all walking to one spot, through the shopping mall, across the road because there's a Pokemon there to grab. I don't even know what you do with them. Do you win money? Or presents? Chocolate? You'd do it for chocolate wouldn't you. Come on! Is Formula One not more interesting than that? It should be, I think it is!
“If they can get that many people interested at trying to flick something at a yellow dot which isn't really there – you don't really touch it – I think we can make Formula One better than it is,” he concluded.
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