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Briatore to inject more 'show' into F1?

2014-07-27 13:56

TO SPICE UP F1: Flavio Briatore could be just what F1 needs to spice-up grands prix if he returns to the sport. Image: Shutterstock / Efecreata Media Group

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Bernie Ecclestone sees friend Flavio Briatore as the key to rescuing Formula 1's flagging "show'".

That's the claim of publications, among them the Spanish sports daily AS, in the wake of a meeting of team bosses in the 2014 Hungary GP paddock on Saturday (July 26).

Afterwards rumours began to emerge that flamboyant Italian Briatore, absent from F1 since his expulsion and ban following the "crash-gate"scandal, is set to return to the sport in a new advisory role.

REVITALISE THE SPORT

Perhaps alarmed by the surprisingly small crowd on F1's traditional German soil a week earlier a big agenda item on Saturday (July 26) was the need to revitalise the sport's appeal. Though Sunday's race may have done much to alleviate such worries.

Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung reports that a further 30% decline in ticket sales was recorded this weekend in Hungary but Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda was quoted as saying he thought F1's issues were "homemade".

He said the sport was "too controlled" by complex and numerous regulations and penalties that prevented "proper racing". He believed thinks the current generation of drivers had been "disenfranchised" by the modern syste, and were lacking the charisma for which fans were looking.

For Ecclestone, the solution could lie within a new popularity working group, chaired by former Benetton and Renault chief Briatore but to include Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and Force India.

'WE'LL SIT TOGETHER'

Mercedes' Toto Wolff spoke with reporters after Saturday's (July 26) meeting and was asked about the Briatore rumours: "There are a couple of people we will sit with together."

It is believed one of the ideas to spice up F1 is a "success ballast" system in which drivers would be weight-handicapped according to their position in the Drivers' championship. If actually proposed, it would likely trigger controversy beyond even the scale of the much-derided "double points", near-universally condemned for being too artificial.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky News: "The teams get together, they talk about things. What we need is for the drivers to be the heroes. The cars should be secondary and to do that we need to give more access to the drivers.

"The fans haveto be able to engage with their heroes."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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