Whitmarsh “saddened” by current state of Formula 1

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Former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh feels saddened by the current state of Formula 1, believing that it may need to “crash and burn” before returning to its heyday.

Whitmarsh left McLaren at the beginning of 2014 to make way for returning CEO Ron Dennis, who now leads the team alongside racing director Eric Boullier.

The Briton has since taken up a new role with Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup yachting team, working as its chief executive.

Speaking to Reuters earlier this week, Whitmarsh offered some thoughts on the current state of Formula 1 despite wishing to stay at a distance from the sport.

“I am staying away as much as I can, and try not to comment on it, but I’m saddened by what’s happening in the sport,” Whitmarsh explained.

“I think it will crash and burn before it gets turned around, in my view. It will do eventually but I’m sad to see it go through the process it’s going through.”

The future of F1 is currently a key debate for those running the sport, with plans to make dramatic changes to the technical regulations being formulated for the 2017 season.

Although Whitmarsh believes that ups and downs are part and parcel of the sport, he believes that more must be done to diversify and attract more manufacturers into the sport.

“If you look at the cycle, you had the sport as it was 30 years ago, then the tobacco era which was the big growth spurt and the automotive era when we had at one time seven of the nine largest automotive companies,” Whitmarsh said.

“Then that went away with the economic crisis and it’s diversified but in order to diversify it also has to recognize, which it’s struggling with, that it has to be doing it at a slightly different level.”