Today 150 Formula 1 fans had their questions answered on subjects ranging from the Overtaking question to the Fan Experience at races when they met face to face with leading figures from the sport at the FOTA Fans Forum, powered by Santander, in London.
The idea for the event, organised by Jamesallenonf1, came from the contents section on this website which has become a conduit for interactivity between the fans and the sport. The forum is an extension of that, putting the fans and the sport together in the same room to exchange ideas.
Led by Martin Whitmarsh, FOTA chairman and team principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and featuring Tony Fernandes, team principal of Lotus Racing, Jock Clear, Senior Race Engineer, Mercedes GP Petronas F1 team, Luca Colajanni, Head of Motorsport Press Office, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Paul di Resta test and reserve driver, Force India F1 team, the panel took part in a “Question Time” style 90 minute discussion with fans.
Topics on the agenda ranged from the introduction of the new teams and technological innovations to the cost of race day tickets for fans and social networking. And judging by the reaction of the audience, the responses were well received.
One of the biggest stories to come out of today was the future of adjustable wings. While Whitmarsh thought it was right to introduce an adjustable rear wing next season to increase overtaking, Clear argued that he’d rather see two drivers battle it out over 15 laps and not overtake each other so long as it was exciting.
Following yesterday’s announcement from FOTA which laid out plans to reduce Formula 1′s carbon emissions by over 12 per cent before 2012, the panel were in agreement that the sport could push the boundaries of technology while controlling the costs and considering the impact on the environment.
“If those people can use their brains to make the impact on the environment, I think they should,” said Fernandes. “We have a moral responsibility and everyone has to play their part.
“And if we can deliver on what FOTA announced yesterday, then I think it will and I think that’s very exciting.”
It was Colajanni, though, who got the biggest cheer of the day when he suggested that the sport re-introduces testing so that fans can get closer to the action.
Check back here soon for video content from the event. We’ll post them as video chapters and you can leave your comments.