Williams chairman Adam Parr believes Formula 1 fans should be more supportive of the sport's attempts to reduce its costs, following the controversy generated by the BBC/Sky UK broadcast deal.
The British network announced last week a deal with Sky Sports that will mean Britain's BBC free-to-air network only broadcasts half the grands prix live in 2012, with Sky Sports broadcasting all the races under its pay-to-view concept. The decision caused outrage among British fans, who demanded that F1 stays on free-to-air TV.
Parr admitted he hoped that F1 could have stayed off pay TV, but said that fans need to understand the need to cover expenses in the sport. He insisted that grand prix racing must continue to reduce costs, something he reckons will be beneficial for everybody.
"Since I've been in Formula 1, I have crusaded to reduce the costs of Formula 1, which would be beneficial for everybody," Parr said. "The teams would be more sustainable, we would be able to invest more in young drivers. We would be able to potentially have lower fees from motors, lower fees from broadcasters.
"While it costs, on average, each team let's say £100 million [$164m] a year, £1.2 billion [$2b] a year to put the show on... That money has to come from somewhere.
"What I say to the fans is, we understand how you feel and it's a shame the BBC couldn't sustain that [exclusive coverage]. We are trying to put in place the best possible and most accessible deal we can for British fans. Meanwhile, we have to balance the book which, let's face it, not many teams in Formula 1 are doing. And we are trying to keep the quality of the show and everything at the same time.
"I'd like the fans, perhaps, if they felt supportive, to be a bit more supportive of some of the things we are trying to do to reduce the cost in the sport."
Parr believes, however, that fans will understand the quality that F1 offers does not come cheap.
"The fundamental challenge is that Formula 1 is a very, very expensive show. It is not two guys with a couple of tennis racquets and a pair of court shoes – all of which was provided free," he added. "If you go to Cirque de Soleil and you see cutting-edge performers in an amazing facility, and constantly updating the show, it costs you $160 for a good ticket, or you can go to your local circus with a couple of mangy elephants and a rather droopy clown and it costs you $16. People are capable of distinguishing."
He reckons one of the solutions to get more revenue for F1 teams is to actually increase the number of races per season.
"I think the number of races can increase a little bit. We might have to look at the format of the weekend but we could do a couple more races. There are ways of increasing revenues."