By Alan Baldwin
MONACO (Reuters) - Formula One drivers are hoping to give supporters a say in the future of the sport through a global survey launched on Thursday.
"We want to talk to our fans, we want to know what they think," Alex Wurz, the chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) told reporters after launching the initiative at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The survey, in 12 languages, asks fans to answer 50 online questions about their likes and dislikes and viewing preferences. It will remain live for two weeks at gpda.motorsport.com
"We want to be the interface and just bring forward what our fans think," said the Austrian, a former F1 driver who now competes in the World Endurance Championship.
"We think it might become the biggest fan survey in sport ever conducted.
"There is no political agenda other than really wanting to help our sport."
McLaren's Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion and a GPDA director, told reporters the drivers wanted to engage more with the fans.
"We love this sport as drivers, we love this sport as fans as well," he said. "Before I became an F1 driver, I was a massive fan of Formula One and watched it since I was eight.
"But when you are involved in the sport and follow the sport for so many years, sometimes you can lose track of where the sport should go.
"As a sport we need to get close to our fans. This is a worldwide sport and a lot of people watch it on TV and in real time at the circuit. It means a lot for us to hear what they have to say," added the Briton.
Formula One's main stakeholders are currently engaged in a lively debate about major changes for 2017, with a recent meeting of the Strategy Group agreeing a number of proposals to make cars faster, louder and lighter.
"I think there are some great ideas going around for the future of the sport from 2017 and hopefully they (the fans) agree on those ideas," said Button.
Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said he backed the survey, although he felt what was needed could be written down in just five words: "Better racing and more noise."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)