TV audience drop triggered ‘double points’ move – report
The crowd watch the podium, Italian Grand Prix, 13.09.2009, Monza, Italy / Copyright: GEPA / xpb
The reason for F1’s controversial move to a ‘double points’ finale has emerged, after the sport haemorrhaged 50 million television viewers late in 2013.
That is the claim of F1 business journalist Christian Sylt, even revealing in the Wall Street journal an almost 9 per cent audience decline in dominant world champion Sebastian Vettel’s native German market.
F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that the less healthy television numbers are due to “the less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds” of 2013.
The news also shows why Ecclestone is pushing so hard for the ‘double points’ concept to be trebled to the final 3 races of the season, despite the fan backlash.
Mercedes’ Toto Wolff, however, likened the backlash to a “sh**storm” and said the fans cannot be ignored.
“Was it (double points) the right move? 99 per cent of our fans and spectators thought it was the wrong move so perhaps it is something to revisit,” he told reporters at Jerez last week.
“(But) things need to be done when you see TV audiences dipping, you need to try out things,” Wolff acknowledged.