BIRMINGHAM, UK – McLaren executive director Zak Brown is confident that new Formula 1 owners Liberty Media will put fans first and bring the sport closer to its following.
Brown was appointed executive director of McLaren following chairman Ron Dennis’ departure, having previously played an important role in striking sponsorship deals in F1 with company JMI.
F1 is braced for a period of change following its acquisition by Liberty Media in a $8 billion deal that is set to be completed in the first quarter of 2017.
Speaking at Autosport International in Birmingham on Thursday, Brown said that F1 should focus on connecting with fans more, having seen first-hand when running a classic McLaren F1 car at Silverstone what effect it can have.
“One of the things we need to do is get the fans closer to the cars. I noticed because people could get close to the [Mika] Hakkinen car, we allowed them to get real close,” Brown said.
“It enabled the fans to get as close to the car as to these cars. People were 10-20 deep just wanting to see the cars. Somehow we need to bring Formula 1 closer to the fans again.
“Yeah 100%. I’ve spent a lot of time with Liberty, big fans of theirs. I think they’re going to lead with ‘what does the fan want?’. I think Formula 1 is a little guilty of ‘what do we want?’.
“We need to realize our audience are the fans. If we get hundreds of millions of them and continue to feed them with the sport that we all love, then everything starts to take care of itself, the sponsors, the tickets, the governments that want the races.
“We need to have a real focus on the fans and I have no doubt that Liberty is going to do that.”