Jenson Button: Shorter races could help Formula 1 attract new fans

Jenson Button: Shorter races could help Formula 1 attract new fans
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Jenson Button believes Formula 1 could benefit from introducing shorter races as he claims it would be “very difficult” to attract a younger audience using the current format.

The two-hour cut-off point in grands prix has existed for some time, but Liberty Media’s takeover of Formula 1 has prompted several ideas into how to improve the sport and boost its global reach.

And one area Button says might help entertain a new audience more, although admitting die-hard fans may not approve, is by cutting the race time.

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“There will always be the fans of 10 or 20 years that will watch a whole grand prix, but we need to attract younger fans,” the McLaren driver said. “To try and attract them to watch something for that long is very difficult.

“It’s a tough one because Formula 1 is an hour and a half race, and changing that is a shame as it’s the way the sport has always been. But I guess we also have to move with the times if we want the sport to be relevant.”

Button went on to explain his position, trying to compare how Formula 1 is today to other sports.

“People’s attention spans these days are terrible, including mine,” he explained. “Short races, short sports are on the up. For example the sprint in track and field, people love it because it’s short, it’s a burst of energy while a grand prix is an hour and a half.

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“With baseball in America, it’s not the most exciting thing, but every time there’s not something happening on the pitch there’s something else going on. That’s what we need in Formula 1.”

The 2009 world champion did, however, add he felt F1 was in the right hands with Chase Carey and Liberty Media.

“In terms over the sport the last couple of years it’s been a tricky place – the drivers haven’t been so happy with how the cars feel, or the regulations,” he added.

“But the sport understands that and there’s so much changing next year – so that’s fantastic. With fresh ideas, the new owners, it’s definitely on the up.”

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