I share your point of view. We need to create heroes. To push in that direction, I forward (attached) a survey made by “L’Equipe Magazine” in France to elect the most popular French sportsman.of 2015 for the French population (from a 1007 people representative panel).
From the 40 most popular or preferred sportsmen, we have 2 drivers (Romain Grosjean ranked at the 21st position and Sébastien Ogier World Champion of the WRC ranked at the 27th position). In comparison, in the same group of the preferred sportsmen, we can find 13 soccer players (first one at the 13th position: why?) and 4 rugbymen. The most preferred sportsman is a swimmer and we find 2 swimmers in the top 10. However, we can’t say that in France, swimming is the most popular discipline followed by the population.
The weight of drivers and their position in this survey is strange. As an example, S. Loeb, Moto GP or Endurance drivers are not mentioned. Communication on drivers has to be pushed by car makers or motorcycle makers, partners or promoters. This is a key factor of success for the motorsport of the future. In this way, Formula One and now Formula E are few step ahead in Motorsport.