Martin Brundle weighs in on the debate between sport and entertainment in Formula 1

Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez leads the pack at the Singapore Grand Prix. Marina Bay, October 2022. Budget Cap Credit: PA Images

Former F1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle says Formula 1’s younger audience would die if it was all about sport and not entertainment.

Formula 1 has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, thanks to the help of the Netflix documentary series ‘Drive to Survive’.

Formula 1 then delivered one of the most exciting seasons yet in 2021, headlined by the epic battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for title glory, the outcome of which was decided on the final lap of the final race.

However, Brundle was asked, in an interview with GQ magazine, where he sits when sport and entertainment meet in Formula 1.

It was suggested that along with the sporting side of Formula 1, Abu Dhabi became a highly entertaining spectacle, plus there are innovations such as the drag reduction system and speed racing to influence the order.

“We have to try to do both,” Brundle said. “But the bottom line is: Are we a sport? Or are we entertainment?

“If it’s just about the sport and who’s the fastest, we’d do it on a Wednesday afternoon behind closed doors. There are rules. There are faults. You have to have the rules of the game and a referee to enforce them. But it is about entertainment. That’s where we need wheel-to-wheel racing.

“That is why these young drivers are just energizing F1, because they are so brave and fearless and they are so unorthodox in the way that they are prepared to race wheel to wheel and outdo each other.

“So you always have to try to improve your show. I think it’s very competitive in the world of sports or the world of entertainment, and how are you going to make the children disconnect? Or off YouTube, or gaming, to sit and watch someone else do it on the edge of the couch?

“Why would they leave their online games to come and watch someone else have fun unless it’s exciting, unless it’s a little bit scary and challenging? And that is where F1 should be. Otherwise, the young audience will die.”

Red Bull's Max Verstappen leads Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the Japanese Grand Prix.  Suzuka, October 2022. points Credit: PA Images

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka, October 2022. points Credit: PA Images

Asked if he approves of the way Formula 1 is balancing the sporting and entertainment aspects, Brundle made it clear that he does, explaining that he had never seen Formula 1 in such a healthy state.

“Yes,” Brundle answered. “I think this is the best position I’ve ever seen Formula 1 in by a certain margin, actually. I’d say it’s very healthy.

“We have 10 really strong teams on the grid. Now, I would like to see 11 or 12.

“There is no doubt about it: Drive to Survive has energized the age group. It’s like a salesman’s dream. The average age of their audience is down 10 years and the demographics are fantastic now. And the mix is ​​just amazing. That is the dream of any seller.

“Everywhere we go, corporate business is sold out, grandstands are full, everybody is talking about it. Our TV numbers are on Sky. So if you put it all together, we’re absolutely flying. I’ve never seen anything like this in our business.”

Formula 1 needs to provide entertainment to survive

Formula 1 is an extremely unique sport in that while this is what it is, unlike other sports, that aspect alone is not always enough to keep viewers engaged.

While we all want to see drivers and teams fighting at the top of their game in a pure sporting environment, in this regard we have seen that in 2022 this may seem like a disappointment compared to 2021, Red Bull and Verstappen have largely had mastered procedure.

So Formula 1 needs additional elements, like DRS, Safety Car and speed racing, for example, to shake up what can sometimes feel like stagnant races.

While many would be in favor of doing away with DRS and drag racing, or not using the Safety Car and red flags to influence the dynamics of a race, the truth is that currently Formula 1 cannot rely on battle alone. sports to keep its now younger audience. caught

Read More: Helmut Marko says rumors Max Verstappen could lose 2021 title are complete nonsense

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