Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone wants grands prix to be split up into two shorter races – because he thinks fans are no longer interested in the current format.

As F1’s new owners Liberty Media evaluate potential changes that it hopes will expand interest and help drive up profits, Ecclestone has his own idea of what needs to be done.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Ecclestone said that F1 should shake-up its weekend dramatically and turn races in to shorter 40-minute length sprints.

"People have a much shorter attention span and a lot of sports are looking at introducing shorter forms of their games," Ecclestone said.

"The television audiences went up for Brazil. We had a long race with the heavy rain and a couple of crashes, but that meant we had two starts because of the red flags and people tuned in.

"We need to look at the traditional concept of one long race. Two 40-minute races with a 40-minute break in the middle when the drivers could be interviewed, cars worked on, would be attractive to viewers, the TV companies, the sponsors, and advertisers would love it.

"Cars would qualify on a Saturday as usual for the first race and that would set the grid for the second. It would shake things up with lighter, faster cars.

"But I don't know if we have the courage to change. Times change though and it is something we must look at.

"All American sports have time-outs built in, mainly because American audiences can't concentrate. They grow up with everything in 15-minute segments on TV. People are the same everywhere now."

Rule book shake-up

Ecclestone also reiterated his belief that F1 is in need of a huge rules overhaul to get away from the view that it is over-regulated.

"The regulation book should be retitled 'Don't Race'," he said. "They are written in such a convoluted way and there are so many that nobody, including the drivers, knows the right thing to do.

"The proper drivers are frustrated; so are the viewers, and so am I. It is crazy. We need to make it easier for drivers to race fairly. I don't think they should deliberately bang wheels, but if they are racing each other and they go close and touch, so what?

"I often wonder if some of these guys want to race or just be out there in an F1 car."


Ecclestone calls for double-header Formula 1 races