F1 must cut costs to bring back the buzz: Brown

Fri May 1, 2015 11:34am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One has lost some of its buzz, big team budgets are running out of control, sanctioning fees and ticket prices are too high and historic European races must stay on the calendar.

Zak Brown, the American boss of the world's largest motorsport marketing agency, is running through a check list of where grand prix racing is going wrong and what needs to be done to put it right.

If overall the tone remains positive, it comes with a clear health warning.

"From our (company) standpoint, interest is as strong as ever," the founder of Just Marketing International (JMI) and chief executive of Chime Communications-owned CSM Sport and Entertainment, told Reuters in his London office.

"But if you separate how we are doing and look at the sport as a whole...other people aren’t announcing deals, the McLaren car is pretty blank.

"The overall sponsorship economy, while we are bucking the trend, is very down in Formula One," added the former racing driver who some have tipped as a possible successor to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

"That’s a fact, just look at the cars."

McLaren, whose cars have very little branding, have not had a title sponsor since 2013. Struggling Sauber have swathes of space available for backers while the Manor Marussia car is almost a blank canvas.   Continued...