Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart is endorsing the vision and direction the sport's new owners are taking.

Liberty Media took over motorsport's premier category from long-time boss Bernie Ecclestone late last year and have made a big effort to improve the spectacle from a spectator and media perspective - something Ecclestone never seemed to prioritise.

"One of the things I think we have been lacking is servicing the spectators," the three-time Formula 1 world champion told the Herald.

"We've always just been looking at the Formula 1 paddock really as the place where the focus has been. The spectators of course attend but I don't think we have been servicing them as well as we could have done and perhaps as well as some other sports."


Stewart, who is working with Heineken as an ambassador for their When you drive, never drink campaign, used the Netherlands-based beer giant as an example of changes Liberty Media have made already.

"Heineken are having big events around the circuit in spectator areas in what they call Heineken Experiences so there is big stage with good, loud music, racing drivers going over to sign autographs and have photos taken with the crowd.

"That is a new dimension. I think the new owners see the need for that and will be supporting companies like Heineken to spend more money on reaching out to the audience.

"We are having more families coming to races now. It is not just the father with the two boys, it is the father and mother and the whole family coming.

"We need to give them more entertainment, give them better facilities and look after them better.

"I think they will service the media more now and look after their needs better.

"Bernie Ecclestone did a remarkable job to bring Formula 1 to the highest level of almost any other sport but the new owners will go a stage further and go out not just to the competitors and the big teams but mainly to the sport's fans."

Meanwhile the legendary Brit racer is excited about what is in-store for fans on the track this season with what appears to be the closest battle between manufacturers in years.


"Certainly we were getting a little tired of the domination that we have had for the last seven years.

"This season has been refreshing because Ferrari has really been competitive. Between Mercedes and Ferrari this year hopefully it is going to be a close race and that is what we needed.

"Television audiences were getting a little tired of seeing the Silver Arrows just constantly getting first and second with considerably big margins."