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Fans want more races, more teams

Alan Baldwin | July 08, 2005 14:15 IST

Formula One fans want more races with more teams and more overtaking, according to the findings of a survey released by the sport's governing body on Thursday.

The International Automobile Federation/AMD survey, based on responses from 93,000 contributors in 180 countries, found that 84 percent wanted 18 or more races a year.

Some 28 percent wanted at least 21 races and 53 percent "strongly disagreed" that there were too many rounds in the championship at present.

The figures were a clear contrast to the views of overstretched Formula One teams who want to slim down this year's unprecedented 19-event calendar. The draft list for 2006 has 20 dates on it.

The survey said 94 percent of fans wanted more overtaking and 69 percent called for more teams than the 10 at present.

The FIA has said that it will take the fans' views into account in drawing up the sport's future regulations.

"Fans from all over the world agree that the most important challenge to F1 in the next five years is to maintain competitive racing," said FIA president Max Mosley.

"Many want to place more emphasis on driver skill and less on driver aids.

"It is also clear that the majority of fans are unhappy with the current qualifying system."

QUALIFYING PROBLEM

The single-lap qualifying has been a running sore in Formula One's side since the rules were changed with the aim of making the sport cheaper and more exciting.

This season started with two separate sessions, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday, with the starting grid decided on aggregate times.

That system was abandoned after six races. Around 70 percent of fans in the survey hanker for the old system of allowing drivers a specified number of flying laps in an hour-long session.

The survey threw up some contradictions, with fans preferring the older, traditional European venues while also demanding more races in 'new' countries.

The most popular circuits were Monaco and Spa in Belgium, with 55 and 53 percent of fans saying their interest would decrease if those circuits were removed.

Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix and host of the first round of the championship in 1950, was third with a 49 percent rating ahead of Monza (43) and Suzuka (38).

The least popular venues, this year's debutant Turkey excepted, were the new circuits of Shanghai (14 percent) and Bahrain (15). Hungary rated 17 with Sepang in Malaysia 18.

At the same time, 69 percent of respondents said the sport should travel to more countries with most declaring that new circuits had increased their interest.

The FIA said the majority of those contributing to the survey had been following Formula One for at least six years. It said only 15 percent thought Formula One incorporated the right balance of technology over driver skill.


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