F1 must remember it exists for the fans – Brown

McLaren CEO, Zak Brown has said that Formula 1 must remember that it exists for the fans, and to deprive the fans of access is “crazy”.

Formula 1 has often been criticised in the past for not putting the fans first, and for only looking after its own interests, and fans have often been unhappy about how secretive teams are at race weekends in comparison to other series.

This was especially so when Formula 1 was run by CVC and Bernie Ecclestone, but since Liberty Media purchased the company, teams have been more transparent, and the use of social media at race weekends and programmes like Drive to Survive have helped.

And, in recent years McLaren has been at the forefront of engaging with fans, releasing their own series on Amazon, Grand Prix driver in 2018, in addition to their fan involvement on social media.

Speaking at Autosport International, Brown said: “At the end of the day, the sport’s for the fans, so it all starts with the fans.

“If you don’t have lots of great fans from around the world, new ones, old ones, then you’re not going to have sponsors to pay for the racing.

“I think sometimes the sport has forgotten who we are doing this all for and I think at times we feel we are doing it for us. We are doing this for the fans.”

Brown also believes that Formula 1 is also about providing entertainment as well as racing, and he is encouraging McLaren to ensure that fans can get as much access to the car and drivers as possible.

“This is sport entertainment, and so to me it feels quite natural to want to open up the team,” added Brown.

“I know being a fan myself, I love seeing what is going on in Formula 1, meeting the drivers, and seeing what is going on behind the scenes, so I think to deprive the fans of that is crazy.

“So, we have gone the other way when we started doing the Amazon film, and then obviously we were very early to participate in Netflix, Lando and Carlos were here [at Autosport International] last year, we’re again, Lando is [here] today and I think without fans, we don’t have a sport.”