With F1 struggling to attract new fans and keep those who already follow the sport interested, the GPDA conducted a survey to establish what it is that F1 fans are looking for.
The survey was taken by 217,756 people from 194 countries and produced some interesting results:
– 89 percent said that F1 needs to be more competitive
– 77 percent said that F1's business interests have become too important
– 74 percent said the rules should be relaxed to allow greater diversity of cars and technology
– 73 percent said the sound of the engines was important
When compared with a study conducted by the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) in 2010, worrying signs that the sport is not progressing emerged.
– 10 percent of fans think that the sport is healthier now than it was in 2010
– 88 percent said F1 needs to feature the best drivers in the world, but only 45 percent think that it does. In 2010, 65 percent of people thought that the best drivers were racing in F1
– Words used to describe F1 now are: Expensive, technological, boring. In 2010 they were: Technological, competitive, exciting.
However, it was also clear that fans do not want gimmicks to be introduced to manufacture excitement.
– 18 percent said they would be in favour of reverse grids
– 26 percent said they were in favour of success ballast (a handicap system) for winning teams should be introduced to keep the field closer
Proposals that received more support included:
– 80 percent said that they wanted more than one tyre maker
– 60 percent said that in-race refuelling should be reintroduced
– 54 percent said that an annual Team Budget cap must be introduced and strictly policed
Responding to the results of the survey, GPDA chairman Alex Wurz said that the results of the survey would be thoroughly examined and then taken to F1 chiefs for discussion.
"Formula 1 may need to ask itself some important questions, but that's why we wanted the fans to have their say," he said.
"Through the survey the fans are clear: they don't want a radical overhaul of grand prix racing that takes it away from its historic roots.
"It may sound simple, but the best drivers and teams fighting on track, in the most exciting cars is their priority. And we, the drivers, passionately share that view.
"They want competitive sport, not just a show, and they think that F1 ´s business interest has become too important, jeopardizing our sport.
"The GPDA will be looking at the results in closer detail over the next few weeks, and from there we intend to work with F1's key stakeholders to put fan feedback at the centre of our sport's future."