Honda website
Honda website

APRIL 16, 2011

Whitmarsh: F1 needs to engage more with commercial right holder

Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) leading light Martin Whitmarsh believes that Formula 1 needs to engage more with commercial rights holders CVC Capital Partners and Bernie Ecclestone.

China, being an enormous facility with relatively sparse at-event crowds, always focuses the attention on the difficulties F1 faces in establishing itself in new territories with no great motor sport heritage or interest.

"F1 is used to going to new venues that don't really understand F1 but we are not good at promoting our sport in new territories," the McLaren team principal said. "We have fantastic worldwide TV audiences but we have to work harder at the circuits. You'd struggle to find much promotion in downtown Shanghai and we have to do more.

"It's a similar story in Istanbul, which is where we go next. Go around Istanbul on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday and tell me how many billboards or advertisements you see. I think we need to learn that lesson before we go back into the US market (in Texas in 2012). We can't just plonk ourselves down and believe that America will reignite any enthusiasm for F1. We need to work harder.

"The teams can work together but we also have to engage better with the commercial rights holders and collectively do a better job than we have done in the past."