A SPORT IN DANGER: F1 is in serious crisis and something needs to be done to avert more problems. Image: AP / The Canadian GP
Germany - Cyril Abiteboul on Friday has given a hard-hitting interview with the German press, boldly criticising key aspects of the sport.
The 38-year-old is the works Renault team's managing director, but he was not treading carefully earlier in June 2016 as he said the decision-making strategy group, for example, is "a joke".
Abiteboul told publications including Auto Bild and Auto Motor und Sport: "Formula 1 needs strong management and a strong FIA."
Priorities are wrong
But the Frenchman said costs are way too high in F1 at present, whilst the commercial rights holders are chasing "short term" income with things like deals with pay-TV broadcasters.
Abitetoul comtinued: "It is a must to reduce costs, otherwise F1 will disappear.
"We are investing in depth, and yet fewer and fewer people can watch our sport. It's nonsense."
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Abitetoul charged: "The change from TF1 to (pay TV on) Canal Plus has killed the interest in F1 (in France).
"We are a French manufacturer so we look first to French sponsors, but F1 no longer exists in France. It is now impossible to bring a French company into F1."
Learn from Le Mans
Abiteboul said Le Mans is showing there is a better way, with lower costs, "cheap tickets and the race on free TV".
"Sure it's just one race. But if this model would be extended to F1, we have a great sport, most teams would be well-funded, Sauber would not be close to bankruptcy and so on," he explained.
He thinks budgets should be capped at 100-150-million euros and the income distribution system should also be changed, as "It would be good if everybody got more or less the same".
READ: F1 in crisis: Are tickets too expensive?
Abitetoul concluded: "I believe the sponsors would still make the difference, as they would still prefer Ferrari over Manor.
"At the moment we're struggling to find sponsors at all, not because F1 is not interesting, but simply because it's too expensive. And there are no new manufacturers who want to come in," he concluded.