Jenson Button believes that Formula 1 should capture the interest of young fans in a similar fashion to Pokemon Go.
The Pokemon Go mobile app went viral over the summer, using augmented reality technology to make virtual Pokemon appear on the screen of a user’s smartphone, as found on a real-life map.
Since the last grand prix in Italy, F1 has been taken over by Liberty Media Corporation, leading to questions about the future of the sport and the approach its new owners may take to promotion.
Button believes that targeting a younger audience is key, using the popularity of Pokemon Go as an example of what is possible.
“For what I’ve seen they’re interested in getting a much younger audience involved in the sport, which is something we need,” Button told reporters in Singapore.
“The average age is much too high for where it should be considering we have an 18-year-old on the grid.
“I think the average age is high 30s, maybe early 40s. That needs to change. We need to target youngsters and the younger generation.
“This is a very technologically advanced sport, so you would think there would be a lot of interest from youngsters – but there isn’t.
“As soon as youngsters sink their teeth into the sport they’re going to love it.”
Button showed reporters in Singapore a video on his phone of people playing Pokemon Go, as also uploaded to his Instagram account.
“This was last night in the shopping mall. All these people walking one way,” Button explained.
“You know why? Pokemon.
“There must have been 2,000 people all walking to one spot, through the shopping mall, across the road because there’s a Pokemon there to grab.
“Is Formula 1 not more interesting than that? It should be. I think it is.
“If they can get that many people interested at trying to flick something at a yellow dot which isn’t really there, I think we can make Formula 1 better than it is.”