Formula 1

Silverstone managing director blasts current state of Formula One

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Silverstone boss Patrick Allen has described Formula One a "s*** product" in a highly critical attack on the sport.

Silverstone, the home of grand prix racing in Britain, faces an uncertain future after the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone revealed that their £16 million race fee for this year's event has been deferred to 2016.

The annual fee, which increases by five per cent each year in their contract which runs through until 2026, could cripple the famous circuit.


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And despite attracting a sell-out crowd of more than 120,000 fans earlier this year, Silverstone managing director Allen believes the sport is becoming increasingly difficult to sell - a topic he has broached with Ecclestone.

"Months and months back I said it to Mr E himself that I can't sell tickets for a s*** product," Allen is quoted as saying in the Independent.

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"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."

Allen added: "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."

Allen's comments ahead of this week's Russian Grand Prix come after Ecclestone claimed the sport could be under new ownership by the end of the year.

It was reported over the summer that CVC Capital Partners, the private equity firm which has owned F1 for the last 10 years, was in talks with a US-Qatari bid to sell its 35.5 per cent controlling stake, while Ecclestone confirmed he would sell his five per cent stake as part of any deal.

And when asked on Tuesday about those negotiations, the 84-year-old told the Camp Beckenbauer Global Summit in Austria: ''There has been a lot of interest and I would say there are three parties at the moment where I would be surprised if one of them did not buy them (the shares) shortly.''

Quizzed on what kind of timeframe in which he would expect to see a new owner in F1, Ecclestone said: ''This year.''

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