MONZA, Italy (Reuters) - Formula One should consider holding shorter races later in the day to attract a younger audience, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo suggested at the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday.
Making a regular appearance at Monza, the circuit near Milan that is a temple to all things Ferrari, the elegant Italian repeated familiar calls for the glamour sport to rein in costs and improve ‘the show’.
He said Ferrari wanted more testing, to allow younger drivers to get experience, and returned to his long held view that teams like his should be allowed to supply third cars for others to race.
“Looking at young people, the races are too long,” he declared.
“Maybe I’m wrong but I think that we have to look very carefully what we can do to improve the show of Formula One.
“I give you one example: one hour and a half for the young, it’s a long time. Maybe why don’t we do a test and we do two starts?
“Maybe it is a mistake, but we have to think of something, we cannot stay always the same...we have to be innovative without losing the F1 DNA.
“Maybe it’s better to maintain the races as they are, or maybe it’s time to change.”
While most European grands prix start at 1400 local time, some of those elsewhere are much later.
Singapore’s race is a night-time one under floodlights while Abu Dhabi starts in daylight and ends in the night. Australia and Malaysia also have later starts to increase European audiences.
Montezemolo suggested some European ones should also change.
“I don’t think it’s good to race in July and August at two o’clock in the afternoon, when the people are at the sea and on vacation,” he said.
“If you look at a sport like soccer, they play six o’clock, seven o’clock, eight o’clock.”
The Ferrari president, who has been involved in Formula One since 1973, said the sport was about innovation and technology but a new engine planned for 2014 was being introduced at the wrong time.
Montezemolo was speaking to reporters after a meeting with International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone at Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters on Friday.
“I want to have rules that permit us to spend less,” he said.
“We have to look ahead, starting from the point of view that we have an economic crisis in the world and the world is different to what it was 10 years ago.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis