Lewis Hamilton was shocked when he heard that live UK viewing figures for Formula 1 had dropped significantly since 2008.
When the Brit won the first of his five World Championships at the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, 8.9 million people watched the free-to-air broadcast live in the UK.
However, a mere 1.28 million saw the live coverage of his fifth World Title win on pay-TV.
In 2019, just one of the 21 races will be available to watch live on free-to-air television in the UK, something which is turning fans away and shocked Hamilton when he was given the figures.
Speaking to RaceFans.net, he said: “I didn’t know those numbers, that sounds terrible from a business point of view.
“I remember growing up and turning on BBC and watching ‘Grand Prix’, it was awesome.
“I don’t currently understand that pay TV situation but it’s not my job to come up with the answers for that.
“But I do understand because it’s bloody expensive nowadays with everything you have in a home with all your insurance and all the things you do end up paying and then on top of it you’ve got to pay for TV, and for a TV licence, it’s ridiculous. So I can understand it.
“I’m pretty sure that number’s not going to change because the economy, it’s difficult times for everyone.”
The 34-year-old spoke of how important fans are to Formula 1 to give races an atmosphere, and fears this could suffer if this alarming trend continues.
“It is a shame that the fans are not getting to see as much because the more people you have at a grands prix the more atmosphere,” he explained.
“It’s the fans that make the sport what it is so the more you almost block them or deter them the worse the business is going to be for the people that own it.
“But again it’s nothing to do with me I’ve just got to arrive and when the fans do come or the people I do get to meet at the races, I just try to utilise that opportunity to connect with them.”