Renault team principal Eric Boullier believes Formula 1 must put aside its internal squabbling and focus on improving the product as a whole as competition for the paying public's attention from other sports and entertainment media grows ever more fierce.
With discussions over the future of the sport ramping up and F1's major players considering the framework of a new Concorde Agreement – which is set to run out at the end of 2012 – teams have disagreed over the introduction of the new 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engines. But Boullier says that F1 must change its approach and work together to find a common agreement on the larger commercial and promotional areas of the sport so that potential investors can see a clearer future.
"I think there are different debates," he said. "The engine is one debate definitely, and for me the main debate is that we need to think about F1. In the 1990s it had one business model, F1 in the 2000s was full of manufacturers which was another business model, and now we don't have any more manufacturers and we have to compete against sports like football [soccer] and the Olympic Games and others which have developed drastically in terms of business, and I speak about business and sponsors – and that's the key.
"I think this little war inside the paddock is maybe fun for some journalists and some people, but to be honest for me it's not because we need to think a little more globally. As F1, we need to realize that the rest of the world has changed, and if you want to be successful as a show and a sport and a competition we need to think a little bit differently."
Boullier called for the teams to remain as one within FOTA and to work to ensure the sport is unified going forward so as not to distract from improving the sport and protecting it from external threats, adding that the present and future owners of F1's commercial rights had a responsibility to ensure this as well.
"It's always tricky for everybody to sit around one table and discuss about common points of interest when you speak about sharing some revenues and stuff like this," he said. "So we expect it not to be an easy job, but we will see how it goes.
"I don't think we are at the point to speak about there being a breakaway series and stuff like that, I think we need to first focus on being FOTA, all teams together, and then we will see.
"I will be more generalist," Boullier added. "The owner needs to think about how they could maybe spend some money to promote the business they are running or owning. And maybe to make sure that the value, which does interest a company like CVC, is better. For that you need to have some future and you need to see the strategy for the future of the series. And with the Concorde Agreement ending in two years, it certainly needs to be resolved and discussed now because it is the only way to build the future of the series.
"But the teams have a responsibility as well. They are part of the show and they need to promote it as well. But obviously you need to have a balance. Everybody needs to sit down and top make the same job. The teams cannot promote F1 on behalf of CVC."
Asked whether he thought it would be a good thing if News Corp was to buy the rights to promote F1 from CVC, Boullier replied: "To be honest I don't know. I just read in the press that they were interested, but I don't know what their plans are, or if it is good or not. I have no idea. The only thing I know is that Formula 1, as a global brand, and all its players, have to cleverly prepare the future."
Representatives from Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari are expected to meet News Corp executives next week to discuss the sport's future. When asked if the reason Renault had not been included in the meeting was because of the team's support for the introduction of the new engine, he replied: "I need to find out more, to be honest. Because I know there is a lot of discussions regarding the engine, we all know there is some difference of interests of FOM and the FIA. It is the usual game.
"We have to sit down this weekend, we have a lot of meetings together and we have a FOTA meeting as well so we will see," he added.