Formula One: F1 bosses seek turnaround amid concern sport has become boring

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone walks in the paddock on Nov 27, 2015 ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA (AFP) - Formula One bosses will meet in Geneva on Tuesday in a bid to agree regulations for the 2017 season amid dwindling television audiences and claims the sport has become boring.

Outspoken F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone claimed the sport is "the worst it has ever been" in a bombastic interview with the Daily Mail on Monday in which he also hailed Russian president Vladimir Putin as the "guy who should run Europe".

Dealing with the 85-year-old Ecclestone's outbursts have become commonplace for team bosses, but as testing began for the 2016 season in Barcelona on Monday, there was hope of significant change for next year to help end Mercedes' domination in recent years.

The German giants have won 32 of the 38 races since the last major overhaul of the regulations for the start of the 2014 season.

A strategy group and the F1 commission will meet in Switzerland on Tuesday in a bid to thrash out an agreement on changes to the rules.

However, should common ground not be found before a March 1 deadline, changes are likely to be delayed until 2018.

"We will see where we can vent our frustration to make the sport better, which is what we all want," said McLaren racing director, Eric Boullier.

"Everybody has their own opinions. We are in favour of making the sport more exciting, faster. Drivers would be happy to have a faster car.

"We have been talking about this for a long time, so if we can't agree that is a failure in my opinion."

The key to changes would aim to reduce the importance of engine performance in success. However, that could meet opposition from Mercedes and Ferrari, who supply engines to all but three of F1's 11 teams.

"The biggest danger is the temptation for teams to vote for self-interest rather than what is best for the sport," said Adrian Newey, Red Bull's chief technical officer.

One area where there is widespread agreement on the paddock is the need to reduce the trend of reduced TV figures, which endangers the financial future of the sport.

"He (Ecclestone) is the commercial leader of the sport so if you see your TV figures going down it is concerning," added Boullier.

"Every year there is more and more competition for TV audiences," said Newey. "We need to be careful we don't be left behind in that regard."

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