Circuits – Formula One can’t operate without them, whether they are the traditional or the new, permanent or a street circuit. But are tracks keeping up with the needs of the consumer? Do they satisfy the race fans enough to keep them coming back for more or, even more importantly, do they attract the newer fans, those who’ve never experienced the noise, pace and thrill of F1 in the flesh, to watch the sport ‘live’? I believe all of the tracks could (and should) be doing a lot more and can certainly learn more from other types of sport and other entertainment venues. If we as track operators and event promoters want to engage with the fans we have to look towards smarter technology and creating the venue-wide backbone that allows us to do just that. As well as giving ‘value’ to what are typically expensive F1 tickets. Innovation and technology are the touch points of F1 for a lot of fans so why is F1 behind the curve with fan engagement. Whilst the teams may have embraced it, have the tracks? Has Formula One Management? With the latest developments in timing technology we can give spectators direct access to a plethora of information sent straight to their tablet or phone. Why not open up all team radio transmissions, broadcast direct to digital subscribers? Similarly, the latest in consumer technology means that circuits should be able to offer fans a seamless fan experience including the ability to upgrade seats on the day, order their food, drink and merchandise without queuing or even spending physical cash – all from the comfort of their seat. But is this enough? The on track activity also has to be improved and not just the headline racing. There needs to be non-stop action on and off track. Gaps in the time-tables, boring support races and a lack of venue wide entertainment as well as limited driver access make for a dull weekend. The tracks have to take responsibility for the ‘show’ as much as Formula One. The tracks, together with Liberty Media will no doubt be looking closely to see what synergies can be achieved and how can dwindling attendance figures be given a much needed boost? Can Liberty Media create unique experience packages across a season by encouraging cross circuit opportunities? Can they develop the ultimate sports entertainment brand? Time will tell and I for one hope that they embrace the circuits as much as the teams, sponsors and fans.

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