A recent report in The Ecomomist pointed out that despite viewing figures dropping, Formula One still attracts hundreds of millions of viewers for each race and is into the billions over the course of a season according to the FIA's figures reported at the end of the year.
However, recent figures released by RAI, the Italian TV company that shows free terrestrial TV coverage in Italy, show that the TV audience has dropped by around 7.5% on average for this season compared to last year. The figures are still around 11 million (compared to Britains usual 3-4 million viewers) but it is worrying that the Italians feel the need to switch off when their 'home team' is doing so well.
Michael Schumacher has won a massive 75% of the races this season, and after the contoversy of Austria many armchair fans felt disgruntled and switched off. It would appear that viewers would much rather see a race than a display of brilliance.
Frentzen drove for the Swiss team from his debut in 1994 through to the end of 1996 when he joined Williams. The German stayed loyal to the team when Williams asked him to replace Ayrton Senna after the Brazilian was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, saying that Sauber had given him his break and that it was unfair to leave them without any drivers, team mate Karl Wendlinger being put out of action after his crash in the following Monaco Grand Prix.
Frentzen is almost certain not to race for Arrows next season, even if they are taken over by another party, and is known to be talking to several teams about a drive for 2003.
The Moenchengladbach driver has also been rumoured to be joining Sauber for the Hungarian Grand Prix as a replacement for Felipe Massa, but only if he is to sign for the team for the following season. With Nick Heidfeld already confirmed for 2003, Peter Sauber could find himself with two drivers not only from the same country, but the same home town.
Frentzen is very much in demand at the moment, and could also drive for Jordan or Toyota.
British motor sport weekly magazine Autosport reported the move this week, which could see Ford linking up with Jordan Grand Prix in a similar association as BMW has with Williams.
It is known that Ford have been unhappy with the success, or lack of it, that Jaguar have had in F1, but it is unlikely that the re-introduction of Ford would have an effect on Jaguar in the near future.
While Eddie Jordan is keen to hold on to his current supply of Jordan engines, the Japanese engine manufacture has been considering only supplying one team next season in the form of rivals British American Racing. This would leave the door open to Ford to supply the Irish team with works Cosworth engines.
If the plans were to come to fruition, Takuma Sato's place in the team would be under threat as the Japanese rookie comes with support from Honda, although Jordan have already begun work on next year's car, based on the dimensions Honda's engine.
It is possible that the rumours have surfaced as an attempt to give Jaguar a push in the right direction after the team have struggled this season, their only points coming in the race of attrition that was the Austrailian Grand Prix.