Formula 1 meets the fans
Just a day after Formula 1 announced one ground-breaking initiative in their decision to commit to reducing the carbon footprint of the sport and introduce new regulations that will help the world do the same, it took part in another.
The Bafta theatre in London hosted the first fans' forum ever held by F1 - and, as far as I am aware, any other sport.
The event was organised by the Formula 1 Teams' Association (Fota) and brought together nearly 200 fans, giving them the chance to ask questions of people who they normally only get a chance to see on television.
It is intended as a response to a common complaint about F1 - that it is too distant from its audience, who cannot get close to their heroes, or the people who work with them.
Ferrari and McLaren, more used to meeting on the track, took the stage at the Bafta Theatre
There were no top-line drivers in attendance. But Fota had lined up some pretty serious heavy-hitters - McLaren team principal and Fota chairman Martin Whitmarsh, Lotus team owner Tony Fernandes, Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni, Force India test driver Paul di Resta and Mercedes race engineer Jock Clear.
They answered the fans' questions for more than 90 minutes in a Question Time-type format chaired by former ITV commentator James Allen.
The idea for the event came from Allen's website, where readers were posting their views about F1. Allen took them to Fota, and out of that grew the idea of giving the fans the chance to ask their questions directly.
"It's a recognition," Whitmarsh said, "that we're aware that we have to develop the sport and make it more accessible and relevant and more engaged. It's difficult to do because it takes time to do it, but that's what we're endeavouring to do."
To those of us who have the chance to talk to these people on a regular basis, there was nothing startlingly new to impart. But that's not the point - the discussion was about letting the fans air their concerns directly with some of the people who make the key decisions about their sport.
In that sense, it was a raging success. Clearly the fans who attended relished the opportunity.
One approached Whitmarsh at the end to say he thought "it had been a great event, the whole sport is looking outwards now- I'm a long-time fan of the sport and this is the best change I've ever seen".
And the board engaged with the process in the manner you would expect of a group of people who were chosen for their eloquence and intelligence.
The talking points were what you might expect - the fan experience; high ticket prices; rule changes (and the amount of them); the wishes of the teams to be more open and the contractual restrictions they face in being so; overtaking; cost control; the environment.
Nice as it was for those fans who got the chance to attend, though, the event was indicative of a wider push from the teams to change the face of F1.
And while they are all working in tandem, that process will not necessarily be an easy one.
The whole subject is wrapped up in the negotiations over a new Concorde Agreement - the legal document that binds the teams to the sport, and vice versa - to replace the current one, which expires at the end of 2012.
A lot of those talks are about money, and negotiations with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone about the financial split between his companies and the teams.
Ecclestone is the man who has driven the sport to where it is now. It is immensely successful and it has made many of its participants rich. But those participants now want the way it is run to shift.
As Whitmarsh said: "The previous model was to sell to terrestrial television as expensively as you can and to sell to the circuits as expensively as you can. But we need to be more engaged with the fans. There is a lot of appetite to do that, but I don't know how we're going to do it quickly."
He added: "While everyone is arguing about the money split, what we've got to do is collectively look at what is being reinvested back into the sport.
"There is no central marketing of F1, and there clearly should be. There are lots of ideas, and we have to engage with all parties to ensure collectively we're doing a better job to develop and improve the sport.
"The starting point for all these things is that everyone in F1 realises we can do a better job than we're doing at the moment. We can make the TV show better, we can use new media better, we can engage with the fans more.
"If you want to be the optimist, you can say F1 is great, there have been some great races. But it can be a lot better."
There is, clearly, a fair bit of navel-gazing going on - with the very best intentions - about how to make F1 as good as it can be. But it is ironic to some extent that it is happening in the middle of the best season for years.
That's a point that Whitmarsh made at the end. "People want to talk about lack of overtaking or making the show better," he said, "but actually you look at the races we've had this year and following the first race, which wasn't a classic, the rest of them have been fantastic."