Formula One fans do not want major changes to the sport’s technical regulations and are concerned about enormous team budgets becoming unsustainable, according to the results of a new survey.
Those fans who took part in the survey, produced for the Grand Prix Drivers Association in conjunction with Motorsport.com, are also heavily in favour of bringing back in-race refuelling (80 per cent) and a tyre supply competition (60 per cent). These were both incorporated in the sport’s regulations during the 2000s, the era that was also voted to have produced the best-looking F1 cars.
217, 756 people completed the 52 question survey and a sample of 133,000 – a mix of die-hard fans and casual viewers from across the globe – was used to produce the results.
GPDA chairman Alex Wurz said, "The scientific nature of this survey, as well as the data that we have been able to extract from it, is like gold and we should value it as such. Not only do we get clear trends and answers to the 52 questions, but we gather a very deep and scientific profile of fans around the globe.
"Formula 1 may need to ask itself some important questions; that's why we wanted the fans to have their say. But through the survey the fans are clear: They don't want a radical overhaul of grand prix racing that takes it away from its historic roots."
The results of the survey come at a time when F1 leaders are seeking to address a number of issues, including falling TV audiences, enormous budgets threatening the future of the teams, fewer younger fans becoming interested in the sport and the perception that races are boring.
A number of changes to the F1 regulations, including faster, heavier cars with engines capable of producing 1000bhp, wider tyres that produce more grip and abandoning the current V6 turbo hybrid engines to return to the previously used V8s, are among the changes that have been proposed by senior figures in the sport.
But the results of the survey also indicate that fans do not want any gimmicks brought in to artificially spice up the racing. Despite 89 per cent of participants agreeing that F1 needs to be more competitive, only 18 per cent wanted to see reverse grids – with the fastest driver starting last – and 26 per cent wanting success ballast introduced.
Nigel Geach, senior vice president for motorsport at Repucom, the research company who produced the survey, said: “The GPDA/Motorsport.com survey only deepens our understanding of the marketplace and what fans in 2015 care about and consider important."