Hembery: F1 needs to put focus on 'hero' drivers

Pirelli's Paul Hembery has called for changes to the sport which would make drivers the stars of the show once again, rather than a focus on complicated technology.

His comments come when Pirelli is due to make a decision as to whether or not it will renew its supply deal with the sport amid declining television audiences and a shrinking number of sponsors.

He believes the driver needs to show that they're the ones making a difference, therefore the focus is on them once again, rather than the cars.

"We have a sport which is very much dominated by technology," he told the Guardian. "I'd like to see the drivers becoming the heroes. The fans want a hero. They want an iconic person to follow. And they want to know that when driver X is winning he's actually making a difference.

"When people sit in a bar and watch Lewis Hamilton win a race they think great, but they also think that five other drivers in that Mercedes car could have done the same job, and that is a shame.

"In Nascar the driver is the king. Even the guy at the bottom is a superstar with a multi-million dollar contract. I would love to see our drivers held in that esteem.

"But we've got drivers who don't understand why it's crap to change a helmet every race, and moan and bitch about it."

He even suggested the sport make radical changes such as moving qualifying to Friday and running a sprint race on Saturday before the main event on Sunday.

Ultimately he admitted it wasn't for Pirelli to make suggestions as to how to change the sport, but hoped F1 and team bosses would sit up and take note.

"It's not for us to tell people what should change, and how it should change, but change is needed.

"We're anxious to understand what's going to happen in 2017, when we will be looking at a new contract. We'd like to see what the plan is. We are in the entertainment business. Some people get ruffled by that idea, but if we don't entertain people don't watch us, and then the sponsors won't come, and the cycle continues."