REF Ron Watts and Formula One
Peter respond to Ron Watts comments on Formula One racing
1st December 2004
May I throw a little light on the Bernie Ecclestone / FOCA piece by Ron Watts? I don't profess to know all the answers that Ron's piece provoked, but I do have a few that might assist.
Bernie is CEO (Or Top Man, whatever the actual title of FOCA, which is a promotional vehicle for Formula One. The shareholders of FOCA, as I understand it, are the Formula One teams and that is who he represents and from whom he gets his authority. Basically, when he speaks it is for all the teams. He does the deals on their behalf and, as he is doing a great job in their eyes, who in their right minds would want to rock the boat? Apart from the 200,000 plus spectators at each event, Formula One now has a regular viewing audience of between 300 and 400 million.
Sadly, Silverstone is a bit of a dinosaur within the Grand Prix calendar when you compare it to most of the other Formula One venues. Putting it simply, the money earned from previous events should have been added to and re-invested in infrastructure. The track is fine; unfortunately the facilities are a throwback from the 1970's or earlier!
Several of the newer circuits hold as many spectators within their main start/finish grandstand as Silverstone does throughout the whole circuit including those people standing along the straights. It's easy to see the economics of it. Another 100,000 spectators at £50.00 per head soon makes the increase in FOCA's fee of £9 million over 3 years easily attainable and still leave a healthy profit for the owners of the Silverstone circuit.
Peter W Bodle MRAeS