Hill comments on current problems

Hill comments on current problems

Former Formula One champion Damon Hill is the latest to add his views regarding the current problems in the sport. Hill thinks that television coverage has made audiences more knowledgeable about F1 and less likely to tolerate being fooled. He...

Former Formula One champion Damon Hill is the latest to add his views regarding the current problems in the sport. Hill thinks that television coverage has made audiences more knowledgeable about F1 and less likely to tolerate being fooled. He also said without the fans there would be much less money from marketing: a situation that has many of F1's primary figures concerned.

Damon Hill.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.
"The thing that needs to be changed about F1 is the way it communicates with the world and its viewers," Hill told the BBC. "For a long time it has walked a very fine line between being a serious and credible sport, and a circus where you're not really supposed to take anything too seriously. That can only work for so long. After a while, people get wise."

"With the increased interest in the sport has also come increased exposure. The more coverage there is of F1, the more educated the audience becomes and the more they expect and the less easy it is to hoodwink the viewers. Most of the money in F1 has come through the marketing of the sport creating a massive viewership. No-one would be there -- BMW, the sponsors, whatever -- if no-one was watching."

Hill believes that the actions of Ferrari, such as team orders at the Austrian Grand Prix and the confusion at Indianapolis, have been damaging for F1: "It has been quite sad to see some of things that have happened this year," he said. "Orchestrating their races backfired on them in Austria, where they were booed after getting out of their cars because of Rubens having to pull over."

"And it went horribly wrong again in America. Both those events were terribly damaging, much more damaging for the sport than if they had carried on racing properly. There is not really the same kind of feeling of triumph and success that they were expecting. Quite often it has gone the other way. It's damaging for F1 when it should have been the complete opposite."

The ex-Williams driver compared the situation to McLaren's domination a few years ago when Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna won 15 of the 16 races in a season between them. Hill thinks it was different then, because the two drivers were fighting all the way on track, whereas Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello are supposedly not allowed to race each other.

Hill was dubious about the proposed changes to the sport, saying FIA president Max Mosley has contradicted himself with suggestions of weight penalties, among other things: "There is no question that the suggestions about putting weight penalties on the cars has raised debate and helped market the sport," he commented. "But it is not so long ago that Max was talking about not creating a situation where the racing was fabricated artificially. That doesn't match particularly well with the suggestions he has recently come up with."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Alain Prost , Ayrton Senna , Damon Hill
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams