Formula One: Faster, closer, more exciting - drivers' plea to new owners

F1 drivers in action during the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza circuit.
F1 drivers in action during the Italian Grand Prix at the Monza circuit. PHOTO: EPA

Singapore (AFP) - Sebastian Vettel led a chorus of drivers on Thursday urging Formula One's new owners to make racing closer, faster and more exciting as the sport enters a new era in Singapore this weekend.

Drivers were asked what changes they would like to see brought in by US billionaire John Malone's Liberty Media, which is buying out F1's parent company in a deal which values the sport at US$8 billion (S$10.94 billion).

"As a driver you want to go faster, you want to drive the most exciting cars," four-time world champion Vettel told reporters.

Force India's Sergio Perez said fans wanted tighter battles on the track. Mercedes have dominated the past three seasons, and before that Vettel won four straight drivers' championships with Red Bull.

"I would love to see Formula One a lot closer, giving the midfield teams the opportunity to be capable of winning a race, fighting for titles," said Perez.

"I think that would be just something great for the fans to see - one race Williams on top, another race another team."

The drivers may get a chance to voice their opinions to the sport's new owners in person as early as Friday, if paddock rumours are to be believed.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone originally said he would not attend the Singapore race, but the word around the circuit on Thursday was that he had changed his mind.

German paper Bild reported the CEO would arrive at the Marina Bay track on Friday accompanying the sport's new chairman Chase Carey.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo said he might just tell them Saturday races would be a good idea, as they could organise a better party afterwards.

"I'd like a Saturday race as opposed to Sunday, just so we can plan a bigger night on Saturday. That would be good fun," he said, smiling.

Said Sauber's Felipe Nasr: "The most important thing is to see closer competition between the cars. That's what I hear from people or from fans - they always like to see more fighting on track."

Vettel said he would also like a return to the old screaming V12 engines instead of today's quiet, V6 hybrid units.

"If you ask me what I would like to drive, I would like double the amount of cylinders in the car and take off a lot of the complicated electric equipment," the Ferrari driver said.

Renault's British driver Jolyon Palmer believed there was no fun in knowing the result of the race before the cars had even arrived at the track.

"We turn up for a weekend and we pretty much know maybe it's two, four, maximum six drivers can win the race," he said. "But it would be nice to turn up here and think maybe, Williams can win or Force India or someone can put in a big surprise.

"I think that's the biggest thing which would change a lot of fan involvement and make it a lot more interesting."