British GP boss launches astonishing F1 attack
Attack made just three months after record-breaking crowd at Silverstone
Last Updated: 08/10/15 1:05pm
The boss of Silverstone has attacked the "criminal" state of F1, describing the sport as a "s*** product" and complaining it "is not saleable".
In a remarkable attack, delivered just three months after the British GP hosted a record-breaking sell-out crowd, Silverstone managing director Patrick Allen told The Independent: "Fans don't want to see a procession. As a promoter I can only promote what you give me and if that isn't up to standard, people aren't going to buy.
"Months and months back I said it to Mr E [Bernie Ecclestone] himself that I can't sell tickets for a s*** product. I think it is criminal when we have got to that state of racing and that is not saleable."
Over 300,000 fans attended the British GP weekend in July, with race day featuring a record crowd in excess of 140,000 spectators. "The support for the event has been overwhelming," said Allen at the time.
However, the Silverstone boss is adamant that F1 requires a radical overhaul.
"In my opinion you should probably get flag-to-flag racing back into F1," Allen argued. "You go out with a tank of fuel and once you're out there you're gone until the second flag drops. The Stirling Moss days. Do away with pit stops. Once you're out there you're on your own mate, and you're not allowed to communicate at all. You go back to using your pit board.
"I've said that people don't come to watch guys looking at data screens. Fans want to see gladiators racing and fighting it out in a fair fight. Nobody wants to hear drivers getting told to 'lift', 'coast' or 'we're not going to catch the guy in front, settle for second'.
"I think it is criminal when we have got to that state of racing and that is not saleable. I think Bernie is as frustrated with it as we all are. How long is it before the technical director is stood on the top step, not the driver? You've just got to throw the towel in then and look for something else."
Despite its F1 contract having the potential to run all the way to 2026, Silverstone's future on the calendar has been cast in to doubt in recent weeks with Allen revealing last month that the circuit is suffering from a loss of rental income after selling a lease on 280 acres of land to clear debts.
The track, which is currently paying its British GP hosting fee in arrears, has the option to terminate its existing contract early.
"If I could magic up another £15 million without affecting the balance sheet that would give us a great leap forward to secure the future for the Grand Prix," Allen told This is Money.
Next year's British GP is scheduled for July 10 - the same day as the Men's Final at Wimbledon and the final of football's Euro 2016.
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