Jenson Button feels fans need to feed off the enthusiasm and passion of the drivers if they are to fall in love with Formula 1 again.
Button recognises the remarks of the drivers, then conveyed by the media, play a considerable part in how F1’s followers perceive the show.
At varying stages in recent years, considerable criticism has been aired with regard to the tires and current power units. There has been particular negativity over the noise – or lack thereof – generated by the 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged hybrid systems introduced last year.
Asked initially about the regulation changes he would introduce to improve matters, Button replied: “More mechanical grip. More downforce produced by the floor. Less emphasis on the wings. That’s a good starting point.”
More specifically to bring fans back, Button said: “It’s, for myself first of all, enjoyment of driving because that’s a massive part of the sport. When you see us [the drivers] loving it more, I think the fans will love it more, too.”
A raft of changes are in the pipeline for 2017 that could result in cars looking more aggressive and becoming the quickest in F1 history, with speeds around five seconds per lap faster than at present.
All drivers recognise, however, that will mean nothing if overtaking does not improve.
The technical chiefs of the F1 teams are due to meet on August 18 to discuss a mandate passed down by the Strategy Group with regard to increasing the frequency of passing manoeuvres allied to the potential new rules.
“They will be positive changes. The cars will look better on track,” Button said of the changes. “I don’t think the racing is bad now, and making the cars quicker through corners will be a good thing, so long as it is done in a way which doesn’t hurt the racing.
“Mechanical grip is massively important, and with downforce, we have to find a way of doing it so it doesn’t affect the dirty air of cars and make it more difficult to overtake.”