F1 chiefs using Fan Survey in new rules talks
The opinion of more than 200,000 Formula 1 fans who took part in the GPDA Global Fan Survey is already being taken into account to by the sport's chiefs in discussions about future rule changes.
Two weeks after the GPDA issued an Executive Summary of the Survey's finding (gpda.motorsport.com), its chairman Alex Wurz says the unprecedented scope of the biggest ever sports survey has prompted interest from F1 chiefs and teams.
With feedback from 217,756 fans, across 15 languages and 194 countries, the Survey revealed what fans think about F1, and what they want to see it become in the future.
Fan opinion matters
While work is ongoing to collate the results in to a final full report, Wurz has revealed that F1's key figures, including F1 Strategy Group members, have already begun paying attention to the findings amid talk of future rule changes.
"We are in contact with the key stake holders and the Strategy Group, and they are interested and definitely considering the fans opinions that were collected in the Survey," Wurz told Motorsport.com.
"Due to the huge sample size we gained, there is a great deal of understanding that can be had – and it would be hard for anyone to ignore the collective opinion and data from such a large number of fans."
Race format talking point
The initial findings of the GPDA Survey came too late to pre-empt a move by the FIA and FOM to begin looking at an overhaul of the race weekend format, something the results indicated fans did not want.
More than 50 per cent of fans did not want there to be a Saturday sprint race, while 67.2 per cent were against the idea of there being two shorter races.
Only 26.9 per cent of fans were in favour of a third driver race, while only 20.8 per cent thought the current Saturday qualifying format needed changing.
Wurz says that the fans' reluctance to want sprint races or double headers has been communicated to chiefs, and he welcomed the fact that dialogue was open.
"There is definitely nothing wrong with wanting to improve the product, in this case the race weekend format, for the sake of being spectator friendly and equally for supporting the promoters themselves," he said.
"The clear message from the fans, and we talk of both the avid and casual follower who go to races and follow on television, is that the format should not be changed too much – if at all.
"But it is refreshing that F1 looks towards itself and asks what we can optimise.
"The survey data can be used to make sure we don't upset the fans with any changes, and if F1 follows the right method for development, then we can make the product better - so it is again a super competitive and thrilling sport without it being just a show."
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said after the British Grand Prix that F1 considering change was a positive, but that feedback from fan surveys was important.
"We need to be on our toes, and try to constantly improve the racing," he said. "We should continue to develop the sport and listen to the inputs and the surveys."
Wurz welcomes the fact that the Survey is being used already, and thinks a good way for change to happen would be for things to be trialled first.
"We would suggest that any change should be done initially as a pilot study – so it is used at just one or two grands prix and does not get introduced for all races," he said.
"Such a 'field trial' would give good insights and consumer response data, based on which we could develop the idea further or decide it didn't work."
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