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Bahrain not the only flashpoint for Formula 1 teams
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Bahrain not the only flashpoint for Formula 1 teams
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jun 2011   |  6:55 pm GMT  |  85 comments

There has not been any reaction yet from the Formula 1 teams to Friday’s FIA World Council announcements on the Bahrain Grand Prix being reinstated.

It is likely that they will discuss the developments at the start of next week and may even respond before travelling to Montreal for the next race. Not for the first time, Montreal is likely to be the setting for an intense weekend of politics.

Several teams, including Red Bull, Renault, Virgin and Sauber issued press releases after Friday’s announcement, but these mostly featured only preview material for the Canadian Grand Prix, without making any mention of the Bahrain news.

Only Renault had a position, wherein Eric Bouiller said, “Lotus Renault GP acknowledge the decision made by the FIA World Motor Sport Council today (Friday 3rd June 2011). That decision is likely to be discussed internally within FOTA, and a more detailed joint position may be defined after those discussions have taken place.

“I have already spoken at length about our team’s position recently: we are happy to go to Bahrain as long as our safety and the security of the people living there is guaranteed.”

Photo: Darren Heath


Most teams will be conflicted about the Bahrain development and will also be dismayed that the Indian Grand Prix has been moved to December 11, leaving little time for mechanics and engineers to rest before the new car-build begins in January for the new season’s testing at the start of February.

But another point which hasn’t had much airplay is that the maximum number of events under the current Concorde Agreement is 20 whereas the calendar issued on Friday has 21 events on it. Turkey has an asterisk next to its name and it may be if the teams push back hard enough against a 21st race, that Turkey drops out.

But, as Bernie Ecclestone is always keen to point out, more races equals more money for teams. On Friday morning, before the FIA World Council sat down to meet, financial journalist Christian Sylt, put out a press release saying that “revenue from Formula One’s commercial rights will reach more than $3bn annually by 2016 “. This is in comparison to the $1.5 billion it generated in the 2010 season.

This assertion is based on race hosting fees increasing dramatically, such that “the highest race hosting fee, which currently stands at $50m, will be more than $100m by the end of the decade,” because of the fee escalator, which works on compound interest year on year. Clearly it is assumed that TV revenues will also jump dramatically.

One paragraph stood out in the statement, relating to how the increase in revenues will be good news for the F1 teams; ” In 2016 the total prize fund will come to $1,575m, with the winner of the constructors’ championship taking home a $222m reward. This amount is bigger than the entire annual budget of seven of the current 12 teams and compares to the $87m that Red Bull Racing received for winning the championship in 2010.”

This assertion is based on teams continuing to receive 50% of the revenues, rather than an increased percentage that they are looking for in the current round of negotiations.

Clearly there is a simple message here, which Ecclestone wanted the potential buyers of CVC’s stake to get. But also there is a message about how the ramping up of F1 activity would be good news for the teams. The nub of it is that in F1′s push for prosperity, they are all in this together.

It is an important point to bear in mind, as the report was picked up by Reuters and many other news organisations and spread widely on the day that the FIA decided F1 should reinstate Bahrain.

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85 Comments
  1. Nazdakka says:

    20 races is quite enough already in my book.

    1. Mattoz says:

      Yes, i agree it’s a good round number. The risk is that each race will not be as big an event and winning Grands Prix may become diluted if there are too many races.

    2. unooc12 says:

      Agreed. But Bernie is undoubtably somewhat of a genius.

      He know that out of the tracks that could go before next year, Turkey is one that the teams didn’t want to lose.

      If he holds Bahrain in then the teams will have to chose whether they complain about 1 extra race, more money and keep Turkey, or they lose the moral high ground on the money issue and lose Turkey.

  2. Max says:

    This is again a step to far, people, teams need chance to sit back and relax after a season. Burn out will occur and only those with money will stand any chance of winning.

    A regular December finish is barmy.

  3. Jeb Hoge says:

    Does increasing race hosting fees equal increases in costs to attend? I’d love to make a race someday, probably Austin or Montreal since I’m in the US but I wonder where ticket prices are going.

    1. Brent McMaster says:

      General admission tickets in Montreal are pretty reasonable.

  4. Lopek says:

    I find these race fees a disgrace. Circuits should not have to run their race programs for the rest of the season just to subsidise an F1 race.

    F1 should be going to the best circuits in the world, not the richest circuits, and the circuits should be able to make a profit from the event too.

    And by the best circuits I mean those that produce the best races, not those that have the nicest paddock facilities and hotels with the prettiest lights.

    1. Bollo says:

      Agreed,

      the glitz and tradition of F1 has been built on races at places like Spa, Monaco and Monza, not in the wastelands of Turkey or India. Its not to say that there shouldn’t be races there and for sure Turkey had one of the most memorable moments of last season but F1 trades on tradition as much, if not more than than the actual show. I think that cramming in as many races as possible dilutes the season. Bigger is not always better, it just encourages greed and fuels expectations that at some point cannot be fulfilled.

      Also regarding the comment about race fees doubling! Goodbye Australian, Canadian and Spanish Grand Prix for a start. When developed countries cannot or wont pay for the race isn’t F1 shooting itself in the foot???

    2. . says:

      Many of the “classic” tracks don’t produce the best races though, so let’s ban them?

    3. Rudy Pyatt says:

      “I find these race fees a disgrace. Circuits should not have to run their race programs for the rest of the season just to subsidise an F1 race.
      F1 should be going to the best circuits in the world, not the richest circuits, and the circuits should be able to make a profit from the event too.
      And by the best circuits I mean those that produce the best races, not those that have the nicest paddock facilities and hotels with the prettiest lights.”

      This, +1000.

      $50 million per race, and going up. This, THIS is why there are so many government vanity races. Private circuits simply cannot keep up with this. Only governments can. And, for this reason, F1 gets caught up in geo-political/human rights issues and controversies. If you require a government sponsored race, any problems that government has reflect on you, your product, and your sponsors. McLaren excepted…

      I’ll say it again: There are way too many tracks around the WORLD that can and do run races to international standard for F1 to be the ONLY FIA open-wheel WORLD championship. If we can’t get an F1 breakaway, then for goodness sake FIA, at least give us an additional series that isn’t under control of Ecclestone and CVC. Re-designate F2 (spec series that it is) as F3, get a simple set of regs, and bring the “Intercontinental Formula” label out of history.

      And, if the FIA won’t do this, if they were to reject the idea out of hand, I wonder what antitrust authorities would say to such a decision – a decision that would walk, talk and act like something designed to protect F1 and its Commercial Rights Holder…

      1. TM says:

        Interesting.
        Definitely agree with you on the circuits.
        Perhaps a ban on government funded races, or a limit on amount of funding a government is allowed to provide might work. Certainly I don’t agree with the public paying the kind of prices Bernie charges. It would have been terrible to lose Silverstone from the calendar but the whole time I maintained that it shouldn’t be the public paying for it. Then there’s the ongoing debate in Australia too. At least in countries like these it is an elected government making those decisions. Not like some places.

    4. TM says:

      Completely agree with you.
      F1 is a disgrace right now.

  5. Rafael L says:

    I’m really going to miss turkey :(

    1. dzolve says:

      What do you want? Turkey or F1 for Christmas!

      1. Sebee says:

        F1 for Christmas, would be a top Christmas in my book!

  6. Heartworm says:

    20 races is plenty, any more and I will be struggling to watch the races in a live format.

  7. Ross says:

    The more races the better for most fans but human rights must come first. FIRST!

    1. Phil says:

      Then F1 shouldn’t go to China or Malaysia who also have very poor human rights records. For that matter, even Australia, as we have a very poor record of human rights abuses against our indigenous population.

      1. Neil White says:

        I’m not sure it’s as clear as that.

        In some cases you might want to go to these places to make the world focus on the issues, and hopefully cause them to be corrected.

        In other cases you might want to boycott places until they sort themselves out.

        And where do you draw the line?

        Is it moral to go to India when they GP hosting money could be spent on relieving the poverty of their people?

        UK: Is the war on Iraq legal?

        USA: Illegal military violations of Pakistani territory? Suppression of native people?

        I’m sure you could find something distasteful about every place we visit.

        Neil.

    2. . says:

      So you agree Chinese GP and Brazilian GP should be sacked? (they hunt down and imprison/excecute anyone who is against the government).

      1. Ross says:

        Yes. I think we should look at all Grands Prix to ensure that, as a sport within the international community, we will not tolerate any suppression of democratic rights or free speech from ANY host nation. This should be considered by a body independent of the FIA.

      2. Sebee says:

        Ross,

        Good governments don’t have $100M to pay for a race. It’s really time we recognize the facts that commercial “obligations” have made all sports less appealing to the purists of sport.

        You want pure racing – take your kids to a go-kart track.

        You want pure football – play with your friends in the park.

        You want F1 mega-circus in HD twice a month with drivers on 30M salaries and cars built on 300M budgets – accept that you have to play with some “bad kids on the block”.

      3. marc says:

        Heres a curve ball how about the olympics then ? we have a number of countries with dubious human rights agendas and please dont give me the guff about its an amatuer sport its not its fully sponsored and worth huge amounts of money : ) does that mean we ban all sport based on country specific attitudes to human rights ? or do we take the sporting all allowed to participate route ?. I personally dont think F1 should go to bahrain but it does beg the question where do we draw the line and make a considered view on where sport is held in general and who can participate ???

  8. Iain Mellows says:

    Very disappointing to see Bahrain re instated! Just wondering if it can really happen. Will the insurance company’s let the teams go? a big wonder.

    How are the teams going to cope with 5 back to back races & a 21 race schedule?

  9. I wonder just how they expect to be able to double revenues in 6 years, when already Australia and Turkey are saying it is too expensive to host, and I expect many more are going to be thinking the same thing. There really is a finite number of places you can host an F1 race, and if they get too greedy, you are going to see a backlash and everyone will just collectively tell Bernie where to stick it.

    1. Chris Chong says:

      I imagine that they’ll race exclusively in oil-rich Middle Eastern or new-money Communist / former-Communist nations in future.

      1. Mario says:

        it’s going that way already, isn’t it?

    2. j says:

      Double revenues means double ticket prices. $1200 for grandstand seats in Montreal in 2014 which is the last year they will host it.

      The 5 race contract will be up and 100M to host a race is never going to happen at that venue.

  10. Rich C says:

    21 is getting up there for sure.

    James, how do the various teams try to take care of their ppl in re time off, travel arrangements, etc etc, so that they don’t burn out their best ppl?

  11. Chris-W says:

    How very depressing.

  12. Dale says:

    It won’t happen but I hope it does, that’s for the teams to go it alone and make F1 the true pinnacle of motor sport again.

    The whole Bahrain episode has shown the world how the rulers see it – will the teams do something about it?

    Not a chance with Ferrari voting for a return to Bahrain & McLaren nearly 50% owned by the Bahrain (so called) wealth fund.

    The only insider to say what all (including respected journalists) should be saying is Webber for sure he’s got both high moral standards as well as balls.

    1. TM says:

      I’ve never wanted the teams to make a breakaway – I’ve always thought that a team-governed sport would never work, and that the FIA on the whole did a good job. I’m still not keen on the team-governed bit, but the FIA has gone through the floor in my estimations (Bernie has always been there!) with their shameful Bahrain decision, and maybe it is time to make a break in some way.

      1. Dale says:

        The way the FIA have ruled is ………………. why Mosley was never charged with bringing the FIA into disrepute [mod]

        F1 will never be a sport and – in my view – fully clean untill they throw away the old and bring in the new.

        F1 should have solid, open, transparent and clean governance where the rule of money doesn’t dictate everything they do.

      2. Peter says:

        The classic sport vs business dilemma. If it’s a sport,I agree. If it is a business, then what you propose makes little sense.

        F1 is not a sport it’s a business. F1 is not the product, the viewers are.

        90 million pairs of eyeballs looking at 2hrs of HD images drenched in advertising. Who wouldn’t pay to get access to that platform?

        More races, more eyeballs, more money.

        The rest is just showbiz.

        You wonder why Bernie doesn’t allow YouTube clips? That’s brand names (indirectly) leveraging his platform without paying. It doesn’t matter who posted the clip. It’s nothing to do with ‘not understanding the Internet.’ It undermines the whole business model.

    2. Jack Randall says:

      Daimler AG of Germany (11%)
      Mumtalakat Holding Company of Bahrain (30%)
      Ron Dennis of England (15%)
      TAG Group SA of Luxembourg (15%).
      This leaves 29% of the shares unissued, bought back by McLaren Group as a result of the exit strategy in terminating the agreement between McLaren and Daimler AG.

      So no not nearly 50%

  13. TG says:

    Oct 30 will be a day of shame – FOTA needs to start flexing its muscles and put its foot down. F1 should not be going Bahrain, period, and the teams need to work together against Ecclestone to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    And, yes, 20 is enough races – especially when so many of the circuits are complete dogs (Barcelona, I’m looking at you).

  14. Richard says:

    Clearly Bernie Eclestone is a bit hard up and needs to extract e few more billions from F1. It’s time to take a step back an remember that motor racing at all levels, including F1, is a sport first and not a commercial tool for making money.

  15. Benson Jutton says:

    James, Could you shed any light on where this additional revenue will actually come from i.e. is it subsciption TV rights, higher gate costs, sponsorship etc.

    I’m keen to know how this is going to impact fans, and if we are that keen on paying for it

  16. Robert McKay says:

    I’d quite happily watch 21 races. I like that the off-seasons are getting a lot shorter. You don’t want them too short, so as to appreciate the sport better when it is around, but finisihing mid-October and re-starting mid-March feels horrendously long, so if the sport is pushing into late November regularly (even December this season) then I won’t complain.

    Having said that I do feel for the personnel involved. I wonder if FOTA can revisit the resource restriction agreements regarding personnel and collectively agree that if there’s going to be that many races then they are allowed more people. Not necessarily like having a “race” team and a fully separate “test” team, but just adding enough people to rotate personnel a bit more effectively during the year so that people can get some reasonable time off.

  17. Simon says:

    F1 as a sport, is amazing. F1 as a business, is pretty disgusting.

    How much blood money does Bernie want to take? F1′s going back to Bahrain as a propaganda tool for a government that tortures it’s own people and then they brag about how much money they’re making. That’s wrong on so many levels, in my book. Quite sickening.

    Webber for king.

    Internet rant over.

  18. Soubert says:

    Hey James, great website! Really enjoy checking up daily to see what new stories you’ve uncovered.
    Do you fear that doubling the money it costs circuit owners to host an F1 weekend will lead to us losing some of the best circuits?
    I’d hate to imagine an F1 without the likes of Spa, Monza, Silverstone, Suzuka etc! I’m sure I’m not alone in getting more excited about race weekends at these fantastic classic F1 circuits than most of the new ones…

  19. David says:

    With the ban on inseason testing,I don’t see a problem with having up to 25 races a year,but lengthening the season into mid December is a bit too long…

    Replace Bahrain with another race until Bahrain gets it act together.Reduce the hosting fees for each race but have 25 or more races a year so teams make more money with less track time and recources than in the days of unlimited testing.Racing and testing become virtually the same thing…

    Lower hosting fees will protect classic races like Spa,Monza,Silverstone,Monaco,Suzuka which are priceless.

    If Hosting fees are reduced by 10 to 15% while number of races are increased by 20 to 25% then F1 and F1 teams make more money while protecting the races that are really important for F1 and giving other great circuits which are not on the calendar a better chance to host a race.

  20. JM says:

    I think Bahrain race will be the best as it was in the last years, no need to worry because every thing back to normal , some protesters trying to spread False news to help them in their political Agenda.

    1. Han says:

      Bahrain the best race last year????? It was the WORST last season!

  21. Ben Bailey says:

    Money. The root of all evil…
    I love F1 and tried to watch every race since 1989. I for one dont want to loose more weekends of my life to watching someone else doing sport its bad enough at the moment. I cant even imagine what its like for the families of those involved in f1 as it stands let alone racing into december doing 21 races and being forced go to a country where people are being repressed, tortured. Not only that been held up by the regime there to show the world normality has returned.
    Bernie, has gone to far with Bahrain, with 21 races and the grotesque amount of money he wants to make. Really am starting to feel quite sick about the whole thing.
    I want to see amazing Senna film last night. As a lover of pure racing, not money & certainly not politics he would be turning in his grave!

    1. Peter says:

      If it is not money it’d be something else. Money is not the problem. Money is a very useful way of transferring work done from one type to another. Work done while driving racing cars (for example) is transfered into the product of other labours, other more useful labours such as food, water, heat, shelter, clothes, private jets.

      It’s a useful tool that frees up billions of people who can then work on other agendas, hopefully beneficial to the greater good. As a system it’s got us this far — but chin up, this far isn’t the end point of the journey.

      No, money is not the problem. Greed is the problem. Right or left.

  22. Axel says:

    Who wants to see two races in Bahrain in five months!

  23. Eugene Ryder says:

    And where is all this money going to come from? What happens when the circuits and/or promoters start to say “no thanks, we can’t afford it”? Everything will just come crashing down…

  24. justin says:

    This “Day of Rage” that has been called for Oct. 30 doesn’t sound good for anyone who likes F1 so…

    If you remove the Bahrain GP in 2011 and 2012, then isn’t everyone happy? (except for Bernie, for whom I seldom care for) That brings the calendar back to 20 races and we keep Turn 8!

  25. Harvey Yates says:

    We are going to get many more such projections of benefits by some specified date before CVC put their assets on eBay.

    The issue I would take is that an incease in income does not necessarily mean better racing. If the WCC team gets more money this would, if anything, increase the gap between it and the also rans.

    Does it help the fan? Does this massive increase mean that we will get better facilities at lower prices? Some hopes.

    Doubling the income in six years is not sustainable. Where does this extra come from? State funding of F1 is bad enough now.

    All this money is just statistics. What we need is better racing.

    I was going to attend the FIA GT1 event at Silverstone last weekend but my daughter-in-law decided, rather selfishly, to have a baby on Thursday. Some kids are self-centred. Two friends went and had a great time. One comment was: it was like F1 used to be.

    1. Franko says:

      H.Yates,spot on with the CVC with the additional point,CVC are like Advertising
      Agency at the end of a day when their creative
      people go home they have no assets,end of 2012
      teams contracts expires CVC has no assests.
      As to FIA GT1 I watch it on Bloomberg TV live
      truly a top stuff pity you miss it, the grid
      Aston Martin,Ferrari,BMW,Audi,Merc,Lambo,Ford 1
      hour long , one driver change,simply a magic racing.

      1. Harvey Yates says:

        Franko,

        Thanks for taking the time to reply.

        Would you agree that it was like F1 used to be? The comment came through on one of those devices that tell you on the email what it is. I have posers for friends.

        I won’t be seeing them until the weekend’s F1 when they will probably deliberately talk about it all the time.

        Glad you enjoyed it. No really. I hardly had to grit my teeth to say it. Are higlights likely to be broadcast on free to air?

        My name is Derek. Harvey Yates is a dreadful pun on the URL of a website I produce.

        D

  26. Michael Grievson says:

    $100 million to host a race? How many countries will be willing to pay that?

    1. Jan says:

      Exactly! That is an absolutely ridiculous amount of money to pay for ONE race! Can you spell G-R-E-E-D !?

      James, there aren’t that many circuits worldwide that can host a F1 race – why don’t they stick together in negotiating with Bernie? Surely if the circuits draw a line in unison that would leave Bernie & co in a difficult position. No F1 without suitable circuits after all!

    2. Sossoliso says:

      All Dictatorships will be Queueing up!!!:) Next Port of Call will be all the ..bajans and ..stans of Asia. I hear they are loaded. F1 for Yemen any one?

  27. Mark says:

    21 races in a year is too much and I say that from a point of view of a long time F1 fan. There is lots of other stuff I want to do in life other than spend over a third of Sunday mornings/afternoons/evenings in front of the TV. Already with the number of Grand Prix there are if I’m not able to watch the race live then I will often just fast forward through the race recording later on to see the important bits.

  28. James b says:

    I am in the camp that thinks you can have a 2 month break in the winter and the rest of the time let’s race. I think in 10/15 years time we will have around 30 races. I have no problem with this and in particular look forward to this season extending. Why? The thought of races in nov and dec really excite me as I find the start of winter depressing!!

    I also agree with the poster above who thinks bernie has played a blinder by putting the teams in a position with funding that offers them more money which they don’t want. Therefore why do you want to negotiate on the split of the rest of the revenues?

  29. devilsadvocate says:

    I see the longer schedule as a potential positive for the sport, honestly. With less time to develop a car in the off season, constructors will go with simpler more reliable designs and more emphasis on driver talent will put people like Seb, Alonso, and Lewis in high demand. I think the big teams will hate a longer schedule because they wont be able to dump seemingly endless sums of money and man hours into their cars or the result will be burnout. It will give more teams a chance for their fairytale “Brawn” season and I think it will minimize the Ferrari/Schumacher dominances as teams can no longer devote such highly focused resources over such a long period of time. It will become more like NASCAR in some ways but I har yet to see an empty seat at this mega arenas and furthermore have never heard a single complaint about lack of excitement or tickets beig too expensive.

  30. jonrob says:

    Bernie has clearly lost the plot regarding the racing, it is now only about money, the money itself is the sport for Bernie. How far can he push everyone before it collapses? This is his game, the actual racing is immaterial to him, it is a game of manipulation and playing the various parties off against each other.
    Well before the end of the decade the majority of existing circuits will have given up their GPs, unable or unwilling to pay the extortionate fees, their track visitors, the paying punters no longer standing for being ripped off. TV audiences will dwindle as “Ethics” becomes prominent, it is likely that the mainstream press and media will start to push the FIA and Bernie for their justification for supporting repressive regimes. It will only take one gutsy/hostile tv interview with Bernie to do the damage and reduce tv audiences and for sponsors to flee.

    I can’t help wondering if Bernie knows he is leaving and has decided that if he cannot run it then he will destroy it so that nobody else can have it after him.

  31. zombie says:

    James,

    can you explain this statement again please : “with the winner of the constructors’ championship taking home a $222m reward. This amount is bigger than the entire annual budget of seven of the current 12 teams”

    Does that mean the current annual budget of most teams is in the range of 30m$/year ? That sounds absurdly low as Force-India had announced a while ago they have a secure budget of 100m$/year (thanks to endless pockets of Mallya’s liquor coffers).

  32. The race hosting cost escalator is completely unsustainable in the current economic climate and I can’t see free to air broadcasters paying higher fees either.

    Then you add the FIA demanding an increased share for doing, frankly, nothing more than interfering in the rules, and it becomes obvious that this is a circle that can’t be squared.

    The only way Bernie and CVC can achieve what they want is to either sell FOM to Sky or sell just the TV rights to subscription only channels.

    Neither option is going to be acceptable to sponsors or the manufacturer’s teams as it will mean the loss of a very high percentage of the TV audience.

    This and the new engine rules make a breakaway far more likely in my view.

    If CVC and the FIA were taken out of the picture it’s true that the teams would face an increase in costs to run the show but this would be nothing in comparison to the amount currently taken out by CVC and being demanded by the FIA.

    A breakaway is the only hope fans have of retaining free to air coverage and any chance that race tickets could actually come down to affordable prices.

    I’m off to LeMans tomorrow : our entry tickets for the whole event including practice, pit access on Friday and the race cost less than £60 and a campsite pass for the best campsite right by the track, Maison Blanche, was under £100 for four of us.

    That’s the kind of pricing that F1 needs to aim at and it’s why so many of us real enthusiasts return to LeMans year after year.

    Come on FOCA, you know it makes sense !

  33. Benniesmum says:

    Apart from it being a really bad decision (F1 is non-political! what a joke!), I feel for all the fans who had booked to go to India and will now have to rebook (and pay again for) their flights.

  34. tank says:

    James, has anyone pointed back to the 1985 South African Grand Prix? There are parallels with the current situation, and eventually the race here was taken off the calender until 1991.

    1. tank says:

      Sorry, 1992. (BTW, I still own a 1993 recording of the final South African Grand Prix!)

  35. Tim says:

    Is it just me, or is Chris Sylt increasingly just Bernie’s mouthpiece on the net?

  36. Bec says:

    James, what you failed to mention is that if FOTA get 70% of total income, based on 2010′s revenues, F1 would have accumulated a debt of £76,000,000.

    So if the teams desire more money to fund their brand centres, either it has to come from higher fees, or savings due to a cost cap, because taking a bigger slice of the pie could see F1 go the same way as A1.

  37. Tyler says:

    Push race fees to 100m and watch F1 crumble, based on what’s happened in the world in the last few years, my guess is that number is not sustainable.

  38. unooc12 says:

    James, if 50% ofthe money goes to the teams what happens to the other 50%? Surely not to pay off the 5cents it cost Bernie for the rights

  39. Liz says:

    “Several teams, including Red Bull, Renault, Virgin and Sauber issued press releases after Friday’s announcement, but these mostly featured only preview material for the Canadian Grand Prix, without making any mention of the Bahrain news.
    Only Renault had a position, ”

    Red Bull put a statement on their website on Friday: http://www.redbullracing.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Article/2011-Bahrain-Grand-Prix–Team-Reaction-021243027546084

  40. Chris C says:

    I think reinstating the Bahrain GP is risky. The situation in the Middle East is still difficult. Formula 1 is about entertainment, why should people that will attend this (as crews or spectators) be at risk? I agree also with one of the comments seen above in regards to the people that had arranged a trip to India to see the GP and now will need to reschedule absorbing a cost increase.

    In regards to the 21 races, I think the increase of races is for the benefit of everyone as it will mean more races for us fans to watch (Winter Sundays are quite boring without GPs). It will give the opportunity for more people to see it live assuming the continuation of giving GPs to more countries and not giving second ones ot the same country (such as the Valencia one). It will be good for the teams as well because more races and more opportunities to “touch” more consumers will mean more revenues for them from their sponsors and should draw even more sponsors then now from global companies. It will also mean more TV money which will be driven towards them through the prizes given by FOM. Then there will be another important element which are ecomonies of scale. A big part of the costs (like designing and building a car) are fixed, done once per year so not all costs of the teams will increase because of the extra races. This means more profit for the teams. More profit for the teams means that more teams will be attracted to the sport increasing the competition for the benefit of us the fans.

    More races? Yes please! Bring US, Russia, reinstate the French one, reinstate the South African one, reinstate the Argentian one

  41. Mark L says:

    I’ve no problems with a longer season and more races [mod]

  42. theRoswellite says:

    …so many issues, so little time…

    The teams must refuse to go to Bahrain. Period.

    If it isn’t obvious why, then one needs only imagine the beautiful sound of F1 engines intermingled with gunfire and the screams of injured protesters. Of course the government will guarantee that no protests will interfere with, or even reach the area of, the race itself…which is to say, any killing will take place off camera.

    FOTA needs to ask itself exactly who will benefit from returning to Bahrain. The answer should be obvious.

    Dealing with the other issue.

    The FIA long ago abrogated it’s authority in controlling the F1 schedule, with Mr. Ecclestone assuming that role.

    It has become, most simply, a case of the tail wagging the dog.

    Put simply, the FIA should decide where and with whom a Grand Prix will be held, and Bernie can then make his commercial arrangements. As the situation now exists, Mr. Ecclestone/CVC “control” the schedule and the fees… with the governing body and teams invited, if they so wish.

    It is a beautiful business model, and Mr. Ecclestone has been duly rewarded.

    The question should now be…is this schedule and fee structure sustainable into the future and, with my emphasis, IS IT EQUITABLE FOR ALL THE PARTIES CONCERNED?

  43. Rich C says:

    If they’re gonna race into the Winter we’re gonna need more places ‘down-under’ to go.

    Are there facilities in Perth?
    How about S Africa?
    Argentina?
    Any suitable venues in New Zealand?

    1. SH says:

      Riverside drive in Perth, along the river. Makes for spectacular TV images – just check the Red Bull Air Race footage for details.

  44. Steed says:

    James, can you do a piece on the life and times of a race team over a season? People say that the season is getting too long – how many days per year do the crews actually work? I do 220 days per year, which I regard as pretty typical – how does this compare?

  45. Alanis Morissette says:

    With that escalator in place, I cannot see anything but £500 grandstand ticket being the ‘cheap’ option at the British Grand Prix in 2017.

    As was said before, unless we get really rampant inflation (in wages as well as base commodities), it’s going to be impossible for most fans to go.

  46. Douglas says:

    A $1.5B to $3.0B jump in revenue, in 6 years, sounds too optimistic. Countries are already baulking at the fees as it is. We’ll all loose out on great racing venues like Spa, if fees keep going up. They just won’t be able to afford it.
    Where will the money come from then? Unless they are thinking of going pay-per-view across the board? Where are their heads at, do you think? I read on your site that Bernie already said that pay-per-view would be tantamount to “suicide”.

  47. Victor Winarto says:

    I am at the moment fine with more races into 21 rounds. But instead of take the 21st round into early December, why wouldn’t the make the usual March races into every one week (Bahrain-Australia-Malaysia-China) and less summer break (less money spent into development will be good for small teams). Actually my ideal is 3 races for a month for 5 months and 2 races per month for 4 months (cross continent, except Australia & Asia); total are 23 rounds but no race in December. Anyway with less race, teams are still working, so it’s no different and even more money for them. Also for the 3 races per month, people can be separated into different teams for intermediation between one race into another and mean less people have to come into the actual one gp.

  48. Ross says:

    Some interesting & insightful comments above. But i detect a distinct ‘anti bernie ism’ Surly we must admit that Bernie at the helm has brought F1 to some great heights.
    Thanks Bernie. Time to go now….

  49. Ross says:

    BTW. Some of us fans look forward to a few hours on Sundays in front of the plasma, enjoying watching the worlds best drivers wringing the neck of the world best cars around the worlds best circuits. I’ve watched almost every race since AJ won the championship in 1980! They even give us qualifying live in Australia now and the racing this year is some of the best I’ve ever seen. DRS, Pirelli, KERS.. it’s fantastic! 52 races a year would suit me, I LOVE it!

    1. SteveH says:

      And some of us American fans wish we didn’t have to get up at 2:00 am to watch the live BBC broadcast. How about making all the ‘away’ races night races for us US fans? Thanks Bernie, I knew you could do it!!!

  50. Ross says:

    Lol. SteveH enjoy Montreal on Sunday afternoon while I get up at 2am Monday to enjoy it b4 work… Bernie will look after you. ;-)

  51. Talib says:

    Hello all About Bahrain and so on f1 and fia should just say its not up to the targets in terms of money and local involment unlike china and wat about India. India which been in Kasmir for over 63 years ileagly and for every 20 locals there is an army person so plz just say you dont want bahrain as race and dont play the human rights as f1 seems to but on blinkers on when it neets too….

  52. Voice says:

    #F1 racers are concerned about their safety in #Bahrain. Focus in ur tweets that Bahrain is safe despite all rumors going around

  53. Voice says:

     Why do people judge the situation in Bahrain depending  on false information spreading by protesters while the truth is every thing returned to normal and the country is peaceful !! You can check by your self rather than listening to the lies of protesters 

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