Formula 1 should do much more to bring fans closer to the sport, reckons former Williams chairman Adam Parr.
Speaking on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX at AUTOSPORT International on Saturday, Parr suggested that F1 had become too exclusive, and he urged spectators to start getting their voices heard.
Reflecting on his time in the sport, having written illustrated book The Art of War about his experience, Parr believed that just as the 2008 financial meltdown spurred teams to act, so fans should do something now.
"What made the difference in 2008 was having a bit of a crisis, because when things are difficult people get their act together," he said. "I want the supporters and fans to get involved and have a voice.
"It is the fans who make a sport. The drivers can ponce about and think they are special, but who makes the difference? It is the fans."
Parr acknowledged that part of F1's attraction was the fact it was hard to get access to its inner sanctum, but he reckoned the exclusivity had gone too far.
"If you want the sport to be really fantastic and engaging, the closer people can get to the stars of the sport, to the kit, the better," he said.
"I think on one level Bernie [Ecclestone] does an amazingly good job of keeping people out, because it increases the fascination.
"But, on the other hand, people pay a lot of money to go to Silverstone, to subscribe to watch on satellite, and they deserve more access.
"As much as I admire Bernie, it is not him and it is not the teams that fund F1 - it is the fans. So why don't people get organised and demand a bit more?"
He also reckoned drivers needed to do their part to acknowledge the contributions of fans.
"Some of the drivers will not even sign an autograph sometimes, and you think: 'Hang on? What is your problem?' They drive a car 20 times a year and some of them are paid a lot of money.
"I am a huge fan of what they do, they have incredible skills, but they lose the plot."
After resigning from Williams last year following clashes with Ecclestone, Parr reckoned a return to F1 was unlikely unless the sport's circumstances changed.
"I certainly consider it unfinished business, but whether I would come back to F1 I don't know," he said.
"The answer would depend on how things go... I left for a reason and I don't see how I could go back in to have more of the same. It is hard to go backwards."
Click here for a full interview with Adam Parr courtesy of AUTOSPORT's sister publicaton F1 Racing
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