Sir Jackie Stewart believes Formula 1 is still the biggest sporting attraction in the world and is likely to remain top for some time to come.
F1 has received plenty of bad press this year with Caterham and Marussia forced to fold due to financial difficulties while CEO Bernie Ecclestone’s run-in with German authorities over the sale of a Formula 1 stake has also not helped.
On the track there have been concerns that the new V6 engines are not loud enough while Mercedes dominated the 2014 season as they won 16 of the 19 races with Lewis Hamilton beating team-mate Nico Rosberg to the title.
Despite concerns that the sport might be losing some of its fans, Stewart insists “nothing comes close to Formula One”.
“It’s still the biggest show in town and next year there will probably be 20 grands prix but only one grand prix in each country,” Australia’s Sportal quotes him as saying to Perform.
“And if you’re the chairman of the board, or the head of marketing and sales globally, if you’re the CEO, and you get and invitation to come to a grand prix, you take it. Because there is only one in your country.
“[There is] a whole lot of tennis events, a whole lot of football, a whole lot of rugby, a whole lot of tennis, and golf, and everything else. But there is only one grand prix in Formula One – so therefore it’s a big ticket.
“I go to all the big golf events and tennis events, lots of other sporting events, but nothing comes close to Formula One. It’s a great example to other industries and other businesses. It’s a very healthy sport.
“If you go to a major sports car race and there is a minimal number of people there in comparison to Formula One attendance. So it’s global and NASCAR and stock car racing in America are very popular – but almost entirely domestic, America. We are a global industry.
“As long as we have good, safe racing, exciting racing, colourful racing, multi-nationalities involved, I still see it being a huge sport.”