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Pay TV eroding F1 fan-base says Honda's Yamamoto

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Honda motorsport boss Masashi Yamamoto believes Formula 1's pay TV policy is chasing off F1 fans, particularly in Japan.

Formula 1's commercial boss Sean Bratches believes the future of Grand Prix racing is achieving the right balance between pay TV and free-to-air broadcasts.

While The Formula One Group has every intention of pursuing the lucrative pay TV model, despite its impact on F1's dwindling global ratings, the US media company will not abandon free-to-air broadcasting, but will seek to tailor its offerings on a territorial basis.

It was announced last week that France will enjoy free-to-air broadcasting of four races next season thanks to a new deal signed between F1 and popular French channel TF1.

Honda boss Yamamoto claims F1's prevalent pay TV approach is hitting the sport's fan base.

"One important is that in Japan at the moment Formula 1 is not broadcast on free-to-air TV," he said.

"We believe that the most important factor is that at the moment the fans can only watch through satellite/pay TV, so that is maybe the biggest issue to increase the number.

"Obviously, us as Honda, it would improve our promotional ways of improving our Honda F1."

While the UK still enjoys selective free-to-air broadcasting thanks to Channel Four, F1 will be shown exclusively on pay TV Sky Sports for a period of five years starting in 2019.