Ron Dennis calling for more fun in F1 was bound to raise eyebrows. The boss of McLaren suggesting that the sport is too dull and serious is a hefty case of the pot calling the kettle… well, if not black, then certainly a very dull and sombre McLaren grey.

And who’s right? Well, as usual, both sides and neither side. Yes the sport does need more to attract and intrigue bigger and younger audiences – that’s so simple a point it should be obvious to all but the occasional bumpkin, village idiot and Max Mosley.

But how you actually bring fun to a sport without taking away the mystique could be a difficult question: a driver doesn’t need a water pistol to look like a clown when he can just stomp down the pitlane and have an hilarious hissy-fit at Jacques Villeneuve on live TV.

At the same time, the sport can generally appear too aloof and full of itself – fans deserve to be closer to the action and to their heroes a lot of the time (which BMW Sauber is commendably trying to address with its special “F1-land travelling experience sideshow” thingy…)

Back in the seventies some drivers used to camp in the centre of tracks like Kyalami and have barbecues with the punters. Whether you’d want Kimi Raikkonen mumbling at you like Kenny from South Park over over some undercooked sausages is open to question, but then that’s never going to be a possibility nowadays anyway.

Nonetheless, special and unique events to bring heroes and fans face to face are surely a good idea… and they’re surely possible. This is F1 after all! Anything’s possible! (Well anything apart from an emergency chicane at Indianapolis apparently, but I digress…)

Bernie’s Mr Fixit isn’t he? Why can’t he go a bit Willy Wonka and organise for each race ticket to have a unique number on it, and get each race organiser to hold an “Evening with the Stars” to which all the grid are committed? (A couple of hours each GP Friday evening, say…)

All the hundred lucky winners get a special pitwalk and a reception with goodie bags and drinks, and get to meet the drivers, who also do onstage interviews with the press. Then maybe there’s another special prize for just one of the hundred on top of that?

A Prize-Draw event isn’t fun in the clowning-around sense, no… it’s a thousand times better and it generates better feeling. If I want belly laughs I’ll watch my “Best of Takuma Sato” DVD. But Ron Dennis seems to be confusing fun with true engagement.

With things like the Prize-Draw, people tell everyone they know, they post their photos online, they make other people want to have been there. Everyone wins. Keep it up, do more, build on it and you have a virtuous circle: something much longer lasting and less messy than a fight with silly-string.