McLaren’s Jenson Button believes that Formula 1 needs to start making changes to appeal to a younger audience and to stay relevant.
Speaking on Thursday about his views on the direction Formula 1 needs to take, Button cited that one of the main issues the sport faces is an audience with a short attention span.
“We do need a younger audience as we have a guy who is 19 and a race winner already, whereas the mass percentage of those who watch the sport are in their 30s, 40s and older,” Button said.
“How you go about that is obviously very difficult as people’s attention spans are terrible including myself. You see it in F1, when they get to the baggage carousel at the airport they can’t wait 30 seconds they have to be on their phones.
“There were 40 people at the baggage carousel the other day and I counted how many people were on their phones and 39 people were, the only one who wasn’t was me as I was too busy counting!”
One of Button’s proposals to help Formula 1 remain relevant and to appeal to those with short attention spans, is to have shorter races.
While the idea has been floated around recently as Formula 1 looked to help improve the show, one of the primary solutions was to have two races in one weekend; a sprint race to determine the grid on Saturday and a feature race on Sunday.
“Short races, short sports are on the up,” Button continued. “For example sprint and track and field is up because it is a sport people love because it is a quick burst of energy while a Grand Prix is an hour and a half.
“It is tricky. In baseball, okay it can be a boring sport but every time there isn’t something going on there is something else going on off the field. That is what we need in F1. There is definitely more action on the circuit than ever before but people still want more action whether it is the cars on the circuit or something else to keep them entertained.
“I’m not saying our fans but people in general. I do have a much shorter attention span than I use to. We are like children we can’t sit down and do one thing we need to move on and do another. I can’t sit down in front of the TV for 90 minutes to watch a film I have to be active.
“The younger generation is like that, we struggle to do one thing for an hour and a half. It is a tough one as F1 is F1 and 90 minutes or so. Changing that is a shame because it is the way the sport has always been but we need to move with the times if we want the sport to stay relevant.”
Image via XPB Images