Formula 1 needs to address some "fundamental problems" if it is to deliver what is best for fans and teams, claims Williams chairman Adam Parr (LEFT).
Ahead of what are expected to be intense discussions to try and frame a new Concorde Agreement from 2013, Parr thinks that the sport needs a major rethink about how to make the best of itself to maximise revenues and deliver a better product for its followers.
"The way F1 is consumed is going to change over the next few years," said Parr, during a Fans' Forum hosted by the Formula One Teams' Association in Montreal. "There's so much content that you should be able to enjoy. Bernie [Ecclestone] has two or three cameras on every car, and then there are all the circuit cameras. There's an astonishing richness of material and we're not really touching that at the moment."
He added: "There are two things that Bernie thinks about. First, he likes to control the amount of material that's available. He believes that rarity is an important characteristic of our sport. Second, he believes that if he sells the [TV] rights – to the BBC in the UK, for example – they should have the rights to everything. They can replay it on their iPlayer system; they can do the internet; they can do everything. He thinks that's the way to maximize revenue.
"The problem is that our total TV revenues as a sport are less than $500 million. By comparison, the NFL is $4.2 billion and Turkish soccer is a little bit more than us! I think it's time that we challenge him.
"This is an incredibly expensive sport to put on as a team. We're not giving you [fans] what you want and we're not getting what we want, either. There are a few fundamental problems that need to be addressed and we need to change a few things."
FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh echoed thoughts that F1 could have done a better job in promoting itself, but had been held back by internal disputes.
"I've been involved in the sport for 23 years and so I'm criticizing myself when I say we haven't done a very good job at managing the sport," said Whitmarsh. "We haven't worked together.
"Historically, the teams spent most of the time fighting each other seven days a week, not only on the racetrack but in court – everywhere! McLaren and Ferrari have been through 30 years of fairly bloody conflict at times, but we've wised up. We both have very similar business models and we're passionate about F1.
"We will be here in five years time, 10 years time and 20 years time. It is our core business; it's the heart and passion for both companies. We desperately want to beat each other on Sunday afternoons, and that's how it should be, but away from that we can work together.
"There will always be the tendency between highly competitive F1 teams to get into squabbles about legality of cars and other issues, but we've got to try and rise above that. We have to work harder to make the sport more sustainable and to reach out to new fans.
"As for the ownership of the sport, the commercial rights holder will want to keep as much money as possible and the teams will want to have as much as possible as well. But while we're squabbling about who gets how much of the pie, what we ought to be concentrating on is growing the sport and making the pie bigger."