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Does F1 need shorter, later races?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Sep 2012   |  8:23 am GMT  |  212 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was in the Monza paddock on Saturday and spoke late in the afternoon on a number of subjects. One of them was the idea of refreshing the format of F1 Grands Prix, so they are shorter and start later in the day.

Currently a Grand Prix is 300 kilometres, which can take anything from 75 minutes to almost two hours in the case of Singapore. There have been calls in the past to make F1 races shorter or to split them into two events. Many casual fans who are interested but not hooked, often say that they watch the start then tune in later to see what happened. Would they stay to watch the whole race if it was on at the end of the day and lasted only an hour?

Races are largely timed to go off at 1pm UK time, 2pm European time, but Montezemolo says that scheduling them later in the afternoon would increase the potential audience. However this would move the schedule in the Far East, where F1 now has six races and sees the most growth potential, into the early hours of the morning.

However there is no doubt that the manjor TV companies would like the races to start later. I remember introducing one controller of ITV Sport to Sir Frank Williams and when Williams asked him what one thing would he like to change about F1 he said, “Move all the race start times to 5pm”.

Monzemolo is thinking about the younger audience,

“Looking at young people, the races are too long,” he said. “Maybe I’m wrong but I think that we have to look very carefully what we can do to improve the show of Formula One. I give you one example: one hour and a half for the young, it’s a long time. Maybe why don’t we do a test and we do two starts?

“I don’t think it’s good to race in July and August at two o’clock in the afternoon, when the people are at the sea and on vacation,” he added.

“If you look at a sport like soccer, they play six o’clock, seven o’clock, eight o’clock.”

“Maybe it is a mistake, but we have to think of something, we cannot stay always the same…we have to be innovative without losing the F1 DNA. Maybe it’s better to maintain the races as they are, or maybe it’s time to change.”

This is all part of the power struggle behind the scenes at the moment involving the FIA’s part in running the sport, with Bernie Ecclestone and the teams looking to take over the rule making and other areas of the sport, while the FIA are seeking a greater financial return on the sport it owns. I’ll post on that in more depth.

*What do you think? Should races be on later and run shorter?

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212 Comments
    1. John says:

      Slow news day for Luca, I guess; he already threatened to take Ferrari out of F1 earlier this week, again, so where do you go from there? :)

    2. Steve Zodiac says:

      Motor racing is primarily a spectator sport. Fed up with TV railroading everything to their whims. The races should to be timed for the people at the track. You can watch and re-watch TV at any time these days so if you want to watch at five then record or use iplayer or similar

  1. Phill says:

    In a word, no!

    1. Hendo says:

      That’s a No from me too!

      You pay your $600AUD for a 4 day pass but the F1′s have dropped back to running only 3 days.
      Then the top drivers don’t bother driving on Friday – so you end up watching B graders.
      On Saturday, the Mercs & Force India’s dont even bother running in Q3
      Now you want to reduce the length of the race?
      How much cheaper will ticket prices be? (that was a joke)

  2. keith says:

    of course not. why would you ask an incredibly rich old man how to make f1 appeal to the younger generation?

    how about bringing back the old circuits and developing digital access instead of moving to bland circuits and suing everyone who uploads videos to youtube?

    if the teams would just get together and kick out the accountants… (sigh, fat chance)

    1. Mark says:

      +1

      Sounds good for Europe, but isn’t F1 a global sport now? 5pm starts would kill off any viewership from Australia \ NZ.

      1. Jamie Ramsamy says:

        Moving it later is ridiculous. I’m currently living in South Korea and already the races start at 9pm. Moving it any later would just “kill off any viewership” indeed. Also, I’m totally against the idea of shortening races. If the only reason is to increase audiences then I’m sorry but you’re in the wrong business pal. This isn’t cricket where they shorten it to T20 just coz people can’t admit the normal format is boring as hell. F1 is exciting as is and has been for the past 50 odd years. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

      2. Glennb says:

        Agree. The European races start at 10pm in Aus as it is. Canada & Brazil start around ‘go to work’ time Monday morning (although these are 2 traditional sick days).
        Stop trying to mess with stuff for no apparent reason. If you want to change something, bring back refuelling and dump that ridiculous DRS caper.

  3. Bodie says:

    I would be very unhappy if F1 races became shorter. Why should they be? Longer races mix up the pit strategy. We’ve seen some great battles this year revolving around whether the driver is to stop fewer times but needs to save his tyres. Under Montezemolo’s concept, this would no longer be the case. Pitstops would essentially be relegated to a standardised number – an annoyance, rather than actually a part of the racing strategy.
    I was at the Nürburgring last year, having made the trek from Australia for it. It was freezing, there was drizzle all day, and my fiancé and I were huddled together on the grandstand at the final corner for hours. We wouldn’t have traded that for anything. It was fun, exciting, a fantastic experience. I would have felt cheated if the race was shorter. Back home, most of the races are at night for us, and they become an event. Even Brazil – it’s in the very VERY early hours, but I make sure to get up to watch it. I’m not sure I could be bothered to do that if they races were any shorter…

    1. Jamie Ramsamy says:

      Precisely!

  4. Toby Mathews says:

    “If you look at a sport like soccer…” they also play in the middle of the day and throughout the afternoon. The matches also last an hour and a half, plus half time.

    F1 seems to be in pretty robust shape, in terms of audience, if it ‘needs’ to be made more appealing to the young I don’t think race length or time is really the problem…

    1. Sebee says:

      As I have gotten older I must admit that in my time zone having most of the season at 8am is wonderful. I sometimes wonder about Europe and how you have to give up a lovely part of your day to watch a GP.

  5. Dougel says:

    In the words of Maggie T. No! No! No!

  6. Topher says:

    Absolutely not. I’m 18 and I don’t think F1 races go for long enough!
    I think it should vary depending on the quality of the track.
    I think Monaco should be 80 laps
    Spa should be 50 Laps
    And then tracks that aren’t so good like Valencia should be reduced in distance aha.

    But seriously, I don’t think everything that Luca says should be seriously considered.

    1. Kay says:

      LdM’s opinions certainly at second only to BE’s craziness LOL!!! :D :D :D
      Pretty amusing if you ask me.

  7. Bruce Hoult says:

    Not shorter … they’re the same length as a soccer or rugby game now, which is fine.

    I don’t care about the time. The european ones start at 00:01 Monday morning here now, which is too late to watch live if you’ve got work on Monday. Making them 4 AM or 5 AM would not make that worse…

  8. Jazza says:

    JA I am sure this has come up before but F1 was far more exciting when it was more about the speed rather than conservation of things. Instead of watching drivers race around conserving fuel and tyres (and asking Pirelli to spend money developing tyres that fall apart to make for some show) why can’t we reintroduce refuelling. The cost saving of having hoses an extra 10m out of the garage can not be that great and it will encourage different strategies and let drivers push their cars. At the end of the day that will result in the cars being driven as we all want to see them, flat out. It’ll also allow for drivers to stand out for their own abilities. Take Jenson and Lewis for example, Jenson can still look after his tyres and extend his stint whilst Lewis may use his speed knowing he will pit an extra time but be able to push on lower fuel levels. It’s a formula we’ve seen work before! I really don’t understand why this part of F1 was taken away from the audience. If it is about the viewers I say this with tongue in cheek but what is more exciting than Kimi driving down pit lane in a fireball!

    1. Gavin says:

      Because last time they brought in refuelling, year after year overtaking declined as cars were designed to run in clear air and pass cars in the pit stops which case us procession after boring procession

      1. Jazza says:

        Current cars are MORE reliant on aero than the older cars? Hints why they’ve had to introduce DRS etc.. Refuelling promotes overtaking by different cars having different fuel levels (ie speed) due to different strategies don’t you agree Gavin?

      2. Gavin says:

        No they had to introduce DRS because there was no way the teams were going to come up with cars that made less dirty air once they’d gone down that route.

        Whatever regluations were tried to reduce aero the teams managed to overcome. Hence why 2009 was a procession fest.

        With DRS and tyres that aren’t so reliable we have seen much better racing the past two years. Allowing refuelling again will just take us back to the bad old days of wait until fuel stop to pass.

        Also the cars behave differently when fully fuelled compared to when the are light. If you qualify on low fuel and then race on low fuel it’s going to be processional. If you qualify on low fuel and then have to managed your car on full tanks you are going to have differences in pace and more racing.

        I started watching when there was no refuelling and when it was re-introduced in 1994 the overtaking declined year on year. Therefore You will never convince me it was anything other than a bad idea and hopefully we’ll get a few more years yet until the calls for refuelling are listened to.

        This is Grand Prix racing not sprint racing, it’s about managing the car.

        The secret “is to win going as slowly as possible”. – Nikki Lauda.

        There are plenty of other race series which are about going flat out for the whole race, no need for F1 to become one of them

      3. M00bie says:

        F1 is much more exciting these days, the racing is closer and there is much more action.

        The cars can get side by side for multiple corners again just like they used to in the 80s.

        When a faster car comes through the field he doesn’t always just get stuck behind a slower car for the rest of the race but now, if he is a good enough driver he can find a way by…

        The tyres are not neccassary inferior because they don’t go the same distance but maybe they go faster for a shorter period of time. Like you would never want a tyre made with chemicals that are designed to last 3h on a road car. If you expect multiple stints and pit stops why have a tyre that lasts more than 40mins in a 2h race?

    2. Ohm says:

      Refuelling ban and Pirelli tyres were among the best things that have happened to F1 recently in my opinion. Now, strategies can be adhoc rather than pre-defined. Plus, last time I checked, overtaking (excluding DRS and KERS) has increased significantly. In my opinion, keep it as it is. Perhaps tweak some tyres rules to make strategy even more interesting like ditching the ‘have to use two compounds’ rule and ‘start the race with the tyres that set the fastest time’ etc.

      1. Jazza says:

        Yeh well I’ll never believe the fastest track cars in the world should be running around conserving fuel n tyres myself. Each to their own.

      2. Ohm says:

        I once had the same feelings as you Jazza. Then someone pointed out to me that the reason they conserve fuel and tyres is because it’s faster to run the race that way, i.e. to under-fuel and save fuel during when you’ve got no threat. You can have exactly the same thing with refuelling like when someone is trying to run a long one stop strategy: the driver also needs to pace himself, save fuel and also take care of the tyres. At least now, if your tyres go off, you can come in and change your strategy without possibly losing much but with re-fuelling, if your tyres are gone and you have to come in when you still have fuel in the tank, you’ll always be at a disadvantage, just a question of how much of a disadvantage depending on how much fuel you’ve got left. I much prefer the tyres dictating when the drivers have to stop because it is not as clear cut as fuel: you have to pit before you run out of fuel but with tyres, they can change from Friday to Sunday making races more unpredictable and exciting! :)

  9. Lee says:

    Shorter races, no. Later races, yes.

    I don’t often agree with Montezemolo, but I agree that having races at 2pm on a Sunday is losing audience. I haven’t missed a race since 1993, but as I’ve become a family man my Sunday afternoons have become more precious.

    I also think that having races at 7 or 8pm European time would be better for TV audiences – I find I enjoy the later races more, because I’m more relaxed – I’m also more likely to continue to watch post-race coverage, rather than immediately dash off to do something else.

    However, given that making this happen would require European races to run under floodlights, it will never happen sadly.

  10. Jason C says:

    In a word, no.

    Where is his evidence that young people can’t concentrate on a race for just over an hour and a half? I’d say look at the duration of films – they have got longer in recent years. The idea of watching the start then coming back later I think is a remnant of the noughties when there was much less change on track.

    As for changing the start time, well it’s fine by me but like you say, not exactly convenient for an audience f1 is trying to cultivate.

  11. Mike says:

    I actually prefer when the races start in early hours of the morning. That way, I just record it on sky plus, and watch it when I wake. Don’t particularly care for waiting until 1pm to watch a race.
    Also, the races are so boring these days, I just watch them in fast forward until something interesting happens.
    F1 is headed in the wrong direction with cost, cutting, engine conservation, reductions in engine size etc. This is not bicycle racing, a race with a V6 is a joke. 20 race cars whizzing about at 8mpg instead of 4mpg will not stop the polar ice caps from melting. I was unaware that the FIA’s mission is to appease ecomentalists.
    If you watch a race from the late 90s, early 00s, the show was infinitely better. You had spare cars, so a first corner incident could see a restart with the spare car. Now you go back to pits and sit out the race because spare cars were too expensive. So the show is ruined so the likes of marussia can compete? I’d rather they weren’t even on the grid in that case. Since when did bolsheviks start running the sport?

    1. LK says:

      Exactly my thinking. Early races I that can pre-record are best to watch, because not only I can fast-forward, but also watch before family is up.

  12. EM says:

    As a long time Formula One fan I’m quite happy with the way things are but I can see the sense in what Luca is saying.

    I love the tea time races we have (UK time) like Canada and Brazil. They’re the ones most non F1 fans talk about the next day and there’s something really nice about sitting down with your tea and watching the race unfold.

    Luca is also right about race length. Even as a very committed F1 fan I can have a sleep in the middle of a race and not feel I’ve missed too much! Attention spans have got shorter and people are more used to their entertainment coming in a quick hit format these days.

    The two draw backs are firstly short races isn’t what F1 is about . It’s an endurance event as much as a race, the winner isn’t usually the person who’s overtaken on the last lap, it’s the person who’s put together qualifying, set up, fuel management, tyre management, race craft, strategy and reliability to make the win.

    Secondly if you moved the races to 5pm on a Sunday you’re suddenly up against English, French, Italian and Spanish football matches not to mention getting very close to American Motorsport events and NFL and Baseball.

    It’s the old business versus sport argument here but it’s worth seeing that Luca’s vision makes more sense than water sprinklers, medal systems and short cuts.

  13. Paul says:

    Speaking from East coast Australia, where the European races currently air at 10PM, I say please don’t put them on later. It’s hard enough to front up to work on a post-GP Monday as it is ;-).

    1. miso says:

      I agree with this! I get up for the races in the Americas which are at miserable times but doing it for every European race would be awful. Getting to bed some time after midnight is enough as I’m usually too wired from the race to sleep for hours anyway.

      Having trekked from Milan to Monza for today’s race, and taken almost four hours to get back to Milan which is not far at all, I cannot see how they could make the Euro races evening/night ones without making big changes to the set up for getting people out of there. Singapore finishes very late but it is fine as it is so central and the metro gets you back to your accommodation quickly. My admittedly limited experience with European races (Spain last year and Italy this year) has been completely different to that and I wouldn’t want that dragged out experience from Montmelo to Barcelona or Monza to Milan happening late at night.

      As for shorter races, I disagree with that too although it would’ve been nice if today’s race was half the length and Button finished on the podium. I’ve travelled a long way to see a DNF.

  14. Robert Budd says:

    Tennis, football, rugby – all their matches last around 1:30. Okay, there’s a short break in the middle of football and rugby, but is that significant?

    Shorter F1 races would not demand the same level of driver fitness in terms of stamina and concentration. Do we end up with tyres that last 4 laps and engines that only need to be able to operate at peak performance for 45 minutes?

    F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport – let’s not reduce it to the level of a 10 lap club race!

  15. Ross Dixon says:

    1h 30 mins is too long and 1 pm is to early!!!!

    Football lasts 90mims and has a 15 min break in between and games start at 12:45 every week

    Be quiet old man!!!

  16. APAAPSPASPAAASA says:

    People watching the start and end say that because until this year (and the trend has generally set over the years) is that of no overtaking and hence rather boring races.

  17. frank says:

    I think the big elephant in the room is the use of technology to watch F1 GP.

    New generations are involved in games. Facebook and interactive watching. The “interactive” is the key here.

    As I have said in the past, GP by default are very boring for a casual young kid. However if you start to add interactivity like no any other sport can do is different game. The possibilities are endless.

    Here a few samples, choose:
    - a driver to follow
    - muti screens
    - camera angle
    - live radio to follow (all/select drives)
    - times per lap
    - circuit tracking
    - parameters display (speed/gear/tyre)
    - repeat start per driver
    - advanced technical data
    - car overlapping images (Qual.)
    - live comments

    All these info is available from FOM and hardly accessed by the VIEWER.
    How many times you keep missing the action that you want to watch because FOM choose to follow other drivers you are not interested in?

    1. Sebee says:

      I think he is looking at it from the angle on an older guy. Those order guys are the ones leaving the sport behind because you just can’t waste a Sunday in F1 when you have a family. Then there is the young fans who like you say need to be reached via more open means.

    2. AB says:

      Love all the technology and totally agree that the FOM could be doing so much more to get the viewers involved. I am also seing a lot of comments that “with family…”. Whilst that is and will be the priority of my (and I guess, your) life, isn’t it also our responsibilty to pass on to our kids the opportunity to enjoy what we all get from F1 or motor racing? I got my interest in the sport from my Father. He was an engineer by trade and we lived near to Brands Hatch. He used to go there to watch the events and took me along. When we moved to Australia, we would go to Oran Park, Amaroo and then one day we went for a drive and the destination was Bathurst! In 1976 (I was 13)the Japanese Grand Prix was on the TV and I found F1 and been hooked ever since. Motor racing has been a passion for many years. So, whereas, it can be an inconvenience to have the racing on, it can also be a great opportunity to get the youngsters involved in the sport. Take your time, have patience and, hopefully, they can then enjoy the experiences that we have. I remember taking my kids to Eastern Creek when they had the 12 hour race there. The kids were blown away by the glow from the discs at the end of the main straight in the twilight
      And, if the FOM brought all the technology mentioned above to the viewer, what an awesome experience the family would have together. FYI, becasue of cost and distance, I have never been to a GP live yet. Something for Bernie to consider and me to do before I pass

  18. Mattoz says:

    Being from Australia, later races would be inconvenient but I would still get up in the middle of the night to watch them.

    However, please don’t tamper with the distance and especially the number of races on a Grand Prix weekend. Two races per weekend may be ok for GP2 and Touring Cars, but would completely devalue the achievement of winning a Grand Prix. You want to leave a Grand Prix with the image of one clear winner, not multiple drivers sharing the spoils.

    Being a hardcore fan, I can’t really speak for the casual viewer, but do we really think that shortening the race from 90 minutes to 60 minutes would pull in more fans? I think not.

    1. DanWilliams from Aust says:

      I agree.

      Furthermore, I rather see the races longer. They’re too short now, maybe 400kms long would be good. That way we can really see strategy play a bigger role. Most top level sport runs for approx 2h games/matches anyway, so why shouldn’t F1?

  19. Ant says:

    I don’t think races should be shorter but I really like the idea of them being later in the day! I think the whole atmosphere of Singapore and Abu Dabi is great and the cars look spectacular under lights. That’s not to say all races should be run at night or late evening. I think the race length is currently fine. But there is nothing wrong at looking at ways of improving this already great sport

  20. Rufus Matthewa says:

    This is an interesting idea but I think no for three reasons.
    Firstly as a fan who has attended many races the idea of paying all that money to watch a shorter race isn’t right.
    Secondly the length of the race is part of what makes Formula One the pinacle of motor sport. Drivers have to have the ultimate stamina and endurance to drive in Formula One. I think it would be a shame to take this element away. Yesterday I watched the very exciting Grand Prix 2 race. It was great but I wouldn’t want Formula One to be downgraded by shorter races. The length of the race is part of what distinguishes it from Grand Prix 2 and the other lower formulas.

    My final reason is that I have been a Formula One fan since I was 8. I and millions of others love Formula One the way it is. The people who go to see it are the purists and it would be a shame to change the Formula for the benefit of the fair weather fans. We purists love the speed of the cars, the sound of the cars and the thrill and tactics of racing. As a young fan and now an older fan I never miss a race unless I really have to. Unless you can guarantee lots of wheel to wheel racing for the whole of every race you will still get people who channel flick when watching. Shorter races won’t change that in my view.

  21. Kay says:

    “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”

    I’m perfectly happy with the way it is.

    Like you said, James, those are casual viewers. Why bother take them into account? Ain’t like they come and watch every race. Maybe they’ll watch just so they happened to be at home with nothin’ to do. Should focus more on what the real F1 fans want.

    I live in Asia here, I don’t have a problem watching races that are more suited to European times, even if it means racing late in the evenings or even in Canada’s case, the show plays at mid-night here. I’d stay away or even miss the following day’s work just to watch. Now that’s what F1 should care about, die hard fans who’d do anything to watch than casual viewers who come and go.

    1. James Allen says:

      Simple – Because casual viewers far outnumber the hardcore and if they become more committed and watch more often the numbers will soar

      1. Giraffe says:

        In that way one should consider a few Canadian beavers thrown onto the circuit after 30 minutes of race, a couple of fighter jets flying over after an hour, some new cooking tips for housewives in between, and a remarkable set of fireworks directed badly at the end. And also I suggest putting shotguns at the rear of cars. All that would make F1′s popularity skyrocket. All that should , of course, should be fed directly to internet generation’s iPads to capture the imagination of youngsters :)

      2. Kay says:

        That’s a fair point James. But LdM is missing the point in why people aren’t attracted.

        I have several mates who know a little bit what F1 is, but they are diehard F1 fans like me. To them, F1 is like GP2, all equal cars. I’d get ask for updates say every 4-5 months or so, or even a year, just to know what’s the trend. That doesn’t mean they’ll ever get hooked to it. It’s not about the lengthy races that’s turning them off, it’s just not part of their interest. Maybe because it’s not so easily accessible to them in my region (Hong Kong).

        Formula 1 in Asia is really hard to get to the audience, it’s blocked by high subscription fees, not enough media and report coverage. No F1 related shows like street run demos. Think of it, these happen more often in Europe (UK specifically) than anywhere else! So I’m not surprised the fanbase spread across Europe and within UK than anywhere else!

        To be honest, of the fre diehard fans I know, they love F1. They’d do anything to watch like me. For anyone else, they don’t know F1, they need to be educated and taught what F1 is. They need to know F1 is different to GP2, they need to know F1 is about pinnacle of motorsports, they need to know it’s a driver-based and driver driven motorsport (unlike others like Le Mans, DTM where they are more focused on manufacturers). It’s a bit like Americans who aren’t educated well about F1, they think any open wheels = Indycar / F1. Like some people said in the comments, further widen the coverage, possibly internet streaming of races, more promotion, more demo runs. Teach these people what F1 is about and get them to like it. Teach them how F1 works, how the tech works, how wings work and how strategy works. They aren’t like me who takes the effort to dig up various sources on the latest F1 gizmo and tech that improves by 0.001s per lap. To these casual viewers, they’d even think 1-2 seconds is very very minor when in reality that’s a different between top and end of the qualifying grid!! (And you can think of that from what Richard Branson said 2 years ago, along the lines of “we won’t bother spend millions just to find those extra 2-3 seconds, and still have just as much fun”, tells you a lot about the lack of knowledge that man has of F1, and I’m totally not surprised that he got bored of it and shrunk his investment in F1).

        Shortening races don’t help those casual ones, that’s not the point.

      3. Kay says:

        typo, they *aren’t* die hard fans like me on second paragraph.

      4. Kay says:

        Sorry I hit enter too soon by mistake which submitted my comment.

        Just want to add, there are various other short sprint-style races, such as Moto GP, Australia V8 Supercar, etc.

        I don’t get turned on by those just because they are shorter and run for 15-20 laps or so. If I’m not interested, then I’m not. It’s not about the length of the races.

        In fact, I prefer the way it is now, because it gives me the thrill of seeing someone plan their way through, to pull off a move after trying 5-10 laps then you’d leap into the air from the sofa in joy seeing your hero finally pulled off that important move. Every lap of seeing him try is painstaking as well exciting, and that’s what I enjoy about the length it currently is. 15-20 laps of race… what else am I gonna do for the entire afternoon / evening?!?! Ain’t like I’m more likely to buy a Ferrari or an MP4-12C if the races are shorter.

  22. The Mink says:

    No, no, no.

    This will be just deflecting attention away from something else as per usual in F1

  23. Spencer says:

    I live in Japan, so can’t really comment on the time of the race, but as for changing the length of the race….

    I think it would be great to have 2 races, the first race in the current configuration (Saturday qualifying etc.), but the 2nd race….maybe in a semi-random oder.

    For example, every driver starts one race in each position on the grid (e.g. Pole in Monaco, 2nd China, 3rd Singapore, 4th Monza etc.), so no driver gets a particular advantage over the course of the season.

    This would have people starting out of position, and therefore give loads of overtaking opportunities, plus a chance for lower team drivers to make a mark.

    It could be a seperate championship to the main event, or part of it.

    I’ve watched F1 for 25 years, but I’m totally with Montezemolo. Look at what 20/20 has done for cricket.

  24. FormulaLes says:

    No to both. Grand Prix are not meant to be sprint races, and moving it later in the day would affect audiences in other parts of the world. Isn’t Formula 1 trying to expand beyond Europe? Isn’t Ferrari trying to tap into the Chinese market? How are they going to that if the races in China are on in the middle of the night along the eastern parts of China? Living on the east coast of Australia the races in Europe, along with Singapore already start late enough at 10pm on a Sunday night, and the Abu Dhabi races starts at 11pm.

  25. Red Andy says:

    Later? Yes, would work better with European TV audiences. Shorter? No. This is the pinnacle of motor sport after all. Races have already been getting shorter in recent years as the cars get faster. It would make sense, if anything, to increase the length of races so most of them get back into the 90-105min range as many are now less than that.

  26. I think that races are not too long. People like Montezemolo don’t really like watching F1 anyway. He only attends a few races and never stays for the whole race. The average race is 90 minutes. This is the same time as a football match. It is shorter than a tennis match and also cricket. F1 at the moment is exciting and if anyone doesn’t like the length of the race they could just watch the BBC coverage. They have kindly cut down the length for the fairweather fan.

  27. Racyboy says:

    You’re about to get a barrage from Australia, as you know, most races are a 10pm start at the earliest, so later races won’t be popular here. As for shorter races, I like it the way it is. Maybe a split race along the lines of the old A1GP format. 30min sprint followed by a 60min race.
    But that doesn’t solve the later issue,Mondays will just be a bit foggier.

  28. Kevin M says:

    As an Australian I’d have to disagree with making the races later. Currently races start at 10pm when the race is held in Europe. If races consistently started after 1am it would just become too much of a hassle for me to watch them live. It would also be hard to accept watching races the next day because I would inevitably find out who had won and have no interest in sitting through an entire race any more.

    I think perhaps the problem with race length comes down to there being processional periods to races. There’s still plenty of tracks on the calendar where it’s too hard to pass. I’m not sure shorter race lengths will do much to fix that.

  29. Matthew Pitt says:

    Very silly from Mr M! I assume he doesn’t want to sell any cars in the far east then? Or America – he’s always trumping on about something daft – him and Bernie are much the same!

  30. Wade Parmino says:

    300 km is the traditional distance and should not be changed. The early afternoon is the time that car racing should take place, NOT in the twilight hours of the day like at Abu Dhabi.

    There is all these changes being made to milk more money out of the sport through whatever means possible. It’s just wrong. If F1 goes down the path of audience gathering and pseudo entertainment, it will become like wrestling; scripted and rehearsed.

    F1 should be trying to retain and please the genuine fans who actually love the sport.

  31. Simon Haynes says:

    Two starts with enough time in between to fix minor damage and get sidelined drivers back out again? Yes please. Maybe reverse the grid for the second one, just to spice it up.

  32. Phil says:

    Whenever De Montezemolo talks about “what’s best for F1″ I can’t help but shake the feeling it’s actually what’s best for Ferrari, and what will help them win.

  33. Eugene Ryder says:

    I think it’s a good thing to consider how to improve the sport and the spectacle without losing “the F1 DNA”. But saying something is too long for young people’s attention span is a little insulting to young people.
    Changing the sport in order to appeal to occasional viewers could lead up many dead end garden paths.
    What they should try are more events like the Christmas time Race Of Champions, events that show the skill involved in F1, which would attract people to the 300km races, without changing the nature of the races.

  34. Phill says:

    I want to agree with Luca because, well, it’s Luca. But quite honestly, I don’t think I can.

    Firstly, races been on at a later time, well, I think that is acceptable for European races, but I would not want that for the sport, or for the drivers to be driving at early times in the morning when in the East.

    But secondly, and more importantly, the idea of shorter races. I understand Luca’s point, that young people can easily get bored, I know 5 years ago I would not watch a whole race, but now, I just want more and more. Also, a shorter race would require the tyres to deg’ much quicker, otherwise they would only have to do 1 compulsory pit stop at every race, and passing would be near impossible with no tyre deg’.

    Basicly, I think the reasoning behind Luca’s points are good and strong, however, I just can’t see them happening, for the sport or the fans.

    What is your opinion on both matters James?

  35. Sian says:

    Something needs to be done about timings possibly, but the idea of splitting f1 in to two shorter races wouldn’t work. The one long race is part of the challenge for the drivers and two races would make it similar to gp2 and gp3 in that sense and f1 needs to stand out, not become similar to other racing series. Just cut down the laps on longer circuits if need be.

  36. Steve Panter says:

    I can see the point of later races, to make it audience friendly, but I thought part of the skill of an F1 driver is to have the stamina to drive at top speeds and be able to concentrate for a long period of time… If the events are made shorter it would just become a sprint race…
    Maybe they could add a speed trial event to the race weekend… Oh yeah, they do, it’s called qualifying…

    Please leave it be, it’s the only 2 hours peace I get at home ;-)

  37. Tee Bee says:

    I agreed the race is too long, I been fan since the 70′s and moving the time is better? It would even fit the normal life foe most people over the weekend. The far east races are the issues, what are the best time here?

  38. Lindsay says:

    No and no.

  39. Esplanadist says:

    Luca was on a terrific charm offensive yesterday, kissing everybody in the paddock, even Ron Dennis. What do you think he really wants James?

    We are having the best ever season in F1 this year and the on track action has been great. If folks are not hooked now they never will be.

    1. James Allen says:

      More control over how F1 is run. Ferrari has a veto anyway over rule changes. But they can leverage that against being part of the rule making process – I’ll post on this in detail after the weekend

      Behind the scenes at the moment is chaos

      1. Andy R says:

        Looking forward to that part of political story from you James!

      2. Kay says:

        James, when has F1 ever been peaceful? LOL!!!!!!!!!

  40. andyb says:

    Probably makes sense for Europe, but no good for those in other parts. Most races already start at midnight Sunday here, so any later will make it pretty hard to watch and still go to work Monday. If Luca will write me a sick note I’m for it…

  41. Tim says:

    The starting time is less important than the length of time. I’m much less likely to go out of my way to watch something for only 1 hr. This is offering the consumer less product, and probably for more $$$. The manufacturers of food products etc., have been pulling this stunt for a number of years. F1 has been taking its fan base for granted in recent years, and chasing $$$. But if the number crunchers see this as a viable business model, then that’s what will happen. But I’ll not bother to set aside 60 minutes once every 2 weeks. F1 will have diluted itself to just another 1hr program. With the proliferation of characterless circuits, in countries with, not only no history, but zero fan interest, F1 is becoming a mile wide and an inch deep. Analogies are imperfect, but let me risk one. In the political arena, if a politician loses their “base” they will lose the election. The “casual” fan is, by nature, fickle. All businessmen crave stable markets. F1- Do Not over-reach with the greed.

    Tim

  42. Matthew Melvin says:

    I think sadly my days as an F1 fan will be over if they push the races back 3 or 4 hours. Just as a practical matter; it’s hard enough now to get up for work on Monday when the races are mostly on at 10pm here, let along making them start after midnight.

    As for short races… if there’s not as much Prix, it just won’t be as Grand.

  43. Geenimetsuri says:

    Later races would be an OK change, but shorter…

    ..well, I’ll actually say yes to both.

    The problem with current F1 isn’t the length of races as such but that there are races where all the decisive moves are made in the pit lane.

    Shorter races could reduce pitting — unless they again implement silly and completely artificial ‘must use two tire compounds’-rules — hence changing the focus more into racing.

    Of course, with shorter races there could be room for 2 GPs in one afternoon. It would be interesting if the 2nd race started with reverse order from results of 1st race…

    However, in general, I don’t like the idea of two races…but if they absolutely want to try it, then change the qualifying format a bit and reward few points for some sort of ‘qualifying race’ too. It would be more natural and more F1-type solution: After all, qualifying is already a race unto itself.

    In the end, I pretty much like how F1 is right now…except for the rule book choking technological development and artificial pit rules and strictly regulated turbo buttons spoiling the racing.

  44. Paul Gibson says:

    I have no problem with starting races later in the day, but having shorter races or having a ‘race 1 / race 2′ format would be disastrous and completely against the tradition of a Grand Prix. A GP is, and should always be, one stand alone race, with one winner.

  45. John Millar says:

    Does our sport have to be organised to suit the interest of the casual viewer? Do the serious fans not matter? I have a very casual interest in football. When the world cup is taking place I often watch the start of a match and then go out, announcing to my friends that I’ll be back in time for the exciting penalty shoot-out. Often my cynicism proves to be justified. If I’m feeling mischievous I suggest to footy enthusiasts that the dreary possession-ball match should be replaced by a hard core half-hour penalty shoot-out. It would at least be exciting and there would be lots of goals which is what everyone wants. Nevertheless I would be astonished if they actually took me seriously.
    Unfortunately in the world of motor racing we have embraced a culture of constant change, of dumbing down, of turning what used to be a sport and an interesting, exciting technical experiment into a made-for-TV show business stunt designed to make as much money as possible out of prime time TV for the fat cats who own the business. Most of them have no interest whatsoever in motor racing. To them it is just ‘the product.’ It really wouldn’t surprise me if the British GP in 2020 is held inside Wembley Stadium. Just think of the advantages! It would be easy to televise. Everyone present would have a seat. Everyone would have a great view of the entire circuit. Everyone would be under a roof. Good transportation links to and from the stadium. No more muddy fields. Great! So much better than dreary inconvenient places like Spa-Francorchamps. Doh!!

  46. Lev says:

    With shorter races there is less possibility for weather changes influencing the race, it will get cars even more reliable, and drivers even more aggressive.

    I dont want that! I like that pastor and other rookies struggle with making stupid mistakes, while calm alonso passes them and takes the victory in the end. It reflect human side of the sport, and that is probably more important for the fans.

    Races to be on later? Well maybe, but i think it doesn’t really matter if it is 2pm local time, while we have every race in different time zone.

  47. Later would be better. No doubt. I always have a h#ll of an issues to time in to sit inside at 2 pm on a sunny Sunday. I would definitely welcome it.
    I also have no issues with the morning races when the F1 circus is outside Europe, its just the middle of the day time which creates a problem planning the day in a good way

  48. Liam in Sydney says:

    An interesting idea. Reading the headline of this story, I thought this was another stupid crackpot idea from a the tired old man from Ferrari, like some of his others. But after reading the story, I came away with a different impression and LDM does make some interesting points. Maybe two races (Sat and Sun) could be looked at. Two sprint races on Sunday as another idea. Other motorsport series do this, and well. F1 should not be automatically dismissive of these ideas, and at least do some market research on it with their fans.

  49. Truth or Lies says:

    Every thing in F1 is build around three days of activity culminating in the GP at lunch time on Sunday. However since the morning warm up was adandoned there is no F1 activity other than the race on Sundays. So in terms of spectating at the circuit more F1 activity on a Sunday would be very welcome.

    In terms of tv viewing, shorter races makes sense. I’d like to see a Saturday evening race after qualifying and then a Sunday evening race with an earlier Sunday warm up or practice session and leave qualifying more or less as it is. Maybe make the Saturday race reverse grid but with a points premium and use qualifying times for Sundays GP.

    One thing is for certain, younger people do not watch tv the same way that those 35+ years people watch tv, rather they access digital media. This site is a good example, where I am guesing the vast majority of members are <35 maybe less than <25.

    They often use smaller devices and while on the move, viewing tv or movie clips on You Tube rather than sitting at a conventional tv for hours on end. I am now sounding awfully old myself, but there is a view in marketing that younger people's attention span's are shorter due to the connected complexity of their world and the sheer number of activities that demand their interest at any one time.

    I am also pretty sure they are unlikely to build their lives around a tv set 16 or 20 times a year at 1300 GMT for 2 hours, irrespective of where they are, like I've done since 1989 when satellite tv arrived.

    I for one think it's a good idea, however I would suggest the Sunday GP should take about 70/80 minutes to complete.

  50. Richard says:

    Im 24 and I see no reason to change. It’s annoying when other age groups try to guess what another age group thinks. I for one don’t think races are too long at all. The format works, why fix something that isn’t broke?

  51. Seymour Quilter says:

    Very strongly agree, it’s time for F1 to move up a gear and start attracting younger audiences. Shorter races and more of them each weekend would be fantastic.

    The brilliant change to qualifying a few years ago from a one hour session to three segments has shown what you can do, qualifying is the best it’s ever been so applying a similar imaginative approach to races would be most welcome!

  52. sender says:

    First of all, I hope that this thing is thought about seriously and is not just one of those things that somebody says and then everybody just forgets about it.

    Then…If it is one race and it is very short, that is not the best idea. If they want shorter races, then make them two. On the other hand, in the case of two races F-1 will become like GP2 or some motorcycle events. As the pinnacle of motorsports, Formula 1 has to bring new ideas, not follow in similar fashion to others. I have sometimes thought about two races in one event, but it has to be thought about how to do it properly.

    I don’t like the idead about the younger audience and that they are the ones how will be more attracted if the races would be shorter. As a fact, it could be true. But then you have to think what you gain and what you loose. You know how it looks if you just shorten a race and if there would be just onw short race – it is simplification, the motif would be: “Faster faster.” Maybe more dynamics, maybe not. It would loose some depth. It would become like a show. Although there are already many show elements in F-1, this would become like a TV show. It would loose some substance. A lot of things in this world have lost or are loosing the basic, substance things. They loose purpose of their existence. Would they all need to become like simple shows for the masses?
    If they don’t want this to become cheap, there needs to be a lot of thought put into this. I am all for two shorter races per event if they do it right.

  53. Tonly says:

    NO NO NO…..SIMPLE….LEAVE F1 JUST HOW IT IS….I’VE BEEN WATCHING & ATTENDING RACES FOR 30 yrs….PLEASE LEAVE THE CURRENT FORMAT ALONE….THANKS!!

  54. Chris says:

    What time the races start doesn’t make much difference to me because I’m located in the US and record them. However, the idea of making them shorter is preposterous.

    TV broadcasts of most team sports last well over 90 minutes and it should be no different for Formula 1. Part of what makes this sport so great is the spectacle and the tradition. Why cater to a younger demographic that wasn’t necessarily interested in the first place?

    I haven’t missed an F1 GP in 3 years and I always make time to watch them in their entirety. I would assume most other F1 fans do the same.

  55. Why should true F1 fans have to suffer shorter races just because of the casual viewer. I started watching F1 when I was 9 years old and the races weren’t too long for me then. It was a big event at that age and I loved it.

    I occasionally watch football but flick in and out of it and then make sure I catch the last few minutes to see the score or a potential climax and I’m sure I’m not the only one to do that. Does that mean football matches should be shortened?

    The F1 format is fine, it’s been fine for years, leave it alone.

  56. Just A View says:

    This is European living in a European bubble. No one the EU economies are in a hopeless state.

    10pm start times for 2pm EU races in Asia is almost too late for 95% of people.

    Who says young people can’t concentrate for 90 mins? He mustn’t have any children with a wireless internet device!

  57. Mitch says:

    The time of the race doesnt really matter to myself, as I am in Australia and they are already around 10pm. They used to show them delayed at 3am/5am etc and I still watched. If they moved them later to get more northern hemisphere audience at the expense of people like myself, I say go for it! I’ll watch nayway.

    As for shorter races… Hard to say, but I do think that the format could do with some changes. There are numerous other categories around the world that have vastly different formats so surely something could be learned from them. I have watched some with quali, then 3 races over two days, which tbh is way too hard to keep interest in.

    If F1 just had shorter races without any other changes, then I might feel a bit short-changed. But if they had two shorter races on race day and still had a mandatory tyre change and maybe even refueling (might be pointless on shorter races) then I am definitely gonna be happy.

    My suggestion, more points down the field, points for quali and two short races with mandatory tyre change.

    1. Mitch says:

      Oh, one further idea (might be a really bad one but sounds good at a quick think), starting order for second race could be based on fastest lap times on first race. A little fairer then just picking up the finishing order of previous race, and would help a good car that may DNF first race, and gives incentive for drivers to always push.

      1. DB says:

        I don’t like the multi start possibility, but if it must happen, this fastest race lap qualifying is brilliant!

  58. Onko says:

    Admire or loath Luca di Montezemolo
    but he has very strong point.

    1. Elie says:

      He’s talking Jibberish .& I do loathe him. He should move to politics where he belongs

  59. Alex Daye says:

    2 x 20 lap races with a reverse grid for race 1?

  60. Richard D says:

    There may be a point in the timing as there are clearly distractions holding it the middle of the day. However, as a motor race marshal, I am often busy at the time of the race and have to record it and watch it when I get home. Making the start later is unlikely to be of any great benefit as it could only be delayed until around 4pm otherwise you start running out of daylight and I don’t like night races.

    As to duration, a great deal of the racing is to do with endurance and getting the car to the finish; I would not want to lose that element of F1.

    If a shorter race is wanted, how about introducing a “qualifying race” in place of the current qualifying format? They could have a reverse grid from the finishing positions of the last race which should result in some exiting racing!

  61. forzaminardi says:

    Old people invariably get things wrong when talking about young people. Young people, with their tinternets, x-players and i-boxes don’t worry about how long something is, or when it starts. Because their tinternets and wii-stations let them watch what they like when they like.

    To my mind, keep the races as they are, and loosen up the ridiculous 20th Century attitude F1 has to social media to allow consumers, young and old (don’t forget us oldies) consume it as they want.

    Personally, if Luca wants to make Ferrari more appealing to young people he ought to reduce the price of F12s to say £10,000. I’d buy two.

  62. Martin P says:

    1.Races wouldn’t have to be shorter if they maintained the excitement for the race duration.But they rarely do for all but the most avid of fans. Making them 90 minutes may help but one hour is too short for strategy to play a part for the “informed” fans’ interest though.

    2. Ensure TV channels show the 90 minute race in its entirety. I’ve watched F1 for over twenty years and hadn’t missed a race until this year – but highlights only has made it non-essential viewing. It isn’t the same and guess what, life has carried on without it!

    2. Move the season to run over Winter months, not Summer – people have other pressures on a sunny Sunday afternoon, plus it would give more wet weather races which, like it or not, are always more exciting and likely to capture bored winter viewers who would otherwise turn off.

    3. Start from 4pm onwards – this can be done by clever scheduling around time zones for lighting and better use of lighting at some circuits. Plus moving to a winter season would still pick up Sept and probably April so plenty of daylight for European races.

    4. Move qualifying to race day. It will allow the teams to save an entire day each week by not having to turn up until Friday (plus journos of course… all those hotels can’t be cheap James!)and maintain single day excitement for avid fans, PLUS a full weekend of action for your ticket if you go to the circuit with practice sessions on Saturday, without having to take a day off to see it all. Might actually make it more attractive to go to a race live for some.

    As ever… pros and cons to all. But it’s a shrewd man who’s prepared to challenge and change in business (and this is the business side of F1, not sport). He’s right to ask the questions, but it makes you wonder why it’s not FIA/FOM asking them.

    1. Martin P says:

      By the way, I’m not ignoring the fact that F1 is a global sport with my timing change support… but I suspect there are ways to find better timeslots for all, especially if you have added personal flexibility of winter weekends.

    2. Bring Back Murray says:

      “I’ve watched F1 for over twenty years and hadn’t missed a race until this year – but highlights only has made it non-essential viewing. It isn’t the same and guess what, life has carried on without it!”

      +1 I’ve tried to watch all the races I can from about 1990 onwards but as this season’s progressed I’ve become less and less bothered about it and more interested in other things.

      Tried to stream the F1 races that aren’t shown live on the beeb but its not the same – the resolution is terrible. (And I’m not going to pay money to sky just for 10 races..)

      1. Martin P says:

        Yep.. it’s all tinged with a little sadness, but it’s very true. Today was a gorgeous day and I actually enjoyed going out and about as I knew I didn’t have the option of watching the Grand Prix. Previously I’d have ignored the weather and put F1 first.

        Now I’ve just watched the recorded highlights, but because it was recorded I actually ended up flicking forward a couple of times as it just wasn’t interesting enough once they’d leapt forward a few laps and the “thread” was lost.

        Maybe it’s all part of the progress we’re discussing here, but I can’t stress enough that it simply isn’t the same with highlights.

        I want to enjoy the season…. but it just ain’t happening. By the end of the year I’ll probably be happy seeing who won the Championship on the Ten O’Clock news.

    3. Rein says:

      … great ideas! at the same time the number of GP’s should be increased to 30+ per season. more GP’s in the US and South America, Asia, Europe every where. F1 will have more TV and internet exposure than ever = more money to spend. teams can have 2nd base overseas, for simpler logistic and less strain on personnel. The possibilities are endless for the new F1.

  63. Simple says:

    If its not broken, don’t fix it. I see nothing broken in the current structure.

    1. Martin P says:

      That’s because you already watch F1, like I do. But we’re not enough to keep it alive. Keep the status quo and we’ll end up hankering for the old days.

      1. Simple says:

        I like DRS and Pirelli tyres. I’m not averse to change, as long as its not for changes sake.

  64. Laurence H says:

    No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, etc…

  65. Neil Daniel says:

    Later may be an option for some races, depending on other time zones.
    But shorter races? That would change the style of F1 from a high-speed tactical endurance to a series of sprints. Isn’t that what we had in a way with the refuelling days? Wasn’t that ditched because it stopped overtaking on the track? Ok, we may have fights for the line if the race was two 45 min sprints, but the endurance for the driver to sustain 1.5-2 hour’s effort will be lost. If you want multiple races, watch touring cars!

    A 45 min-1 hour race on the Saturday afternoon with qualifying in the morning would be a better way to do it. It would give the circuit spectators more for their money and would give us both a short sprint and a ‘classic’ format. The weekend would become a full weekend!

  66. Hayley Abraham says:

    I don’t agree with monzemolo’s suggestions, F1races are traditionally 300km or 2 hrs. I look forward to my winter sunday afternoons with a GP. To suggest that there shouldn’t be a GP at 2pm in July & August is ridiculous, they finish middle of July, don’t race in August and return first week of Septeber! When was the last time Monzemolo looked at the schedule?!
    If they want to make changes they should bring back refuelling and look at awarding points for pole position and fastest lap, this would make it more tactical and exciting.

    1. Martin P says:

      Nice sentiments from an avid fan, but they’ll never bring back refuelling as to refuel suggests you’re burning fossils at an excessive rate. Image counts and footage of refilling your tank is a bad image, regardless of how efficient they could ever make it in reality.

      Points for pole and fastest lap would also do nothing to interest the additional viewers he’s talking about. Action is exciting to the casual observer, not strategy. This has little to do with those of us who are already engaged, it’s about engaging new, desperately needed, fans and they will inevitably start life as a casual and become increasingly engaged as they watch and learn – but you need the hooks to get them in to begin with.

      As for 2pm starts, Sunday afternoons are precious to many with families. Later starts allows them to enjoy the full day with their family and still engage in the racing live. That’s a vital factor and that’s one change I would welcome with open arms.

      James, what’s the viewing figure evidence tell us when Canada is on later in the day? Does it create a spike in viewers?

      1. James Allen says:

        Definitely. In Itv days we had 7m + for Canada and Brazil vs 4-5m for Euro time zone

  67. Wes says:

    If they make it shorten, let’s say 2x150km heats. there won’t be many overtaking or strategic opportunities unless they use a reverse grid on the second one. Also, unless they make back to back heats it will only make the whole “show” longer, and in the case of back to back the length would still be the same…
    I also hope that they don’t move it later as I live in Australia and right the majority of the races are at 10pm on Sunday, a few hours later and they will be around 2/3 am on Monday’s mornings…

  68. Janis says:

    Hell, no!
    If one starts to think too much about the channel-switchers with attention span of a mayfly, it leads straight to the WWE type sports parody. May seem attractive in short term, but disastrous in long term.
    Don’t care much about how the races are timed though. 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm – just as long as it’s not 2 am!

  69. Adam Raffell says:

    A race is currently no longer than a Football match and never longer than a game which goes to extra time, and with lunchtime kick-off times for big matches. I have watched all but a handful of Grands Prix since 1998 when I was 12 and I have enjoyed the full distances from start to finish throughout that time, sometimes wishing races were longer if anything. Why do we need to change it!? If people want shorter races (and arguably more action) broadcasters could promote the GP2 series more extensively.

  70. Simmo says:

    No, it’s fine how it is :) Make it shorter and there will be less element of strategy, thus less interesting races. What’s your personal opinion James?

    1. James Allen says:

      On timing – F1 is global and his comments are Euro centric

      On duration, I like it as it is now. But the races are much shorter than 50 years ago.

      I’d be interested to look at all options here, I’m reasonably open minded. I don’t think it will change though for a while

      1. Giraffe says:

        I do not understand where exactly Luca sees a problem and if there is a problem at all. Any major sports game (football, basketball, NFL game, ice hockey, etc) takes roughly 2 hours of ones time. I have no heard that any of those sports consider shortening their match time. Nor that they have lost audience because of that. If Luca is bothered about decreasing interest in Europe, then he is partially to blame himself for that MSH artificial dominance during Ferrari years. Those were the years when the audience dropped. Except Italy and Germany, of course. What could bring back a larger amount of spectators, would be F1 stopping to dish out those huge TV deals perfectly knowing that , say, Sky sports package comes with a steep price for an average viewer. What was wrong with Eurosport in the 90-ies?!

        They are also complaining about the lack of audience in America. Well, when I lived there 10 years ago the only channel to watch F1 was Speed TV offered by one single operator out of 10 in my DC suburb. If I wanted to increase F1′s popularity, I would broadcast the races for free.

      2. Richard D says:

        Perhaps there is a case to be made for making them longer as clearly the 300km distance gets covered quicker and quicker. How about making them all 2 hours?

  71. Tyrone Wood says:

    No keep them the way they are. i enjoy a long race, so should all f1 race fans.

  72. Dkay says:

    In answer to you questions
    Yes and yes.

  73. AndyFov says:

    Shorter later races? I’ve been forced into trialling that idea with the highlights show on the BBC.

    I prefer things the way they used to be.

  74. Giraffe says:

    I for one do not see any benefit from this neither for the sport, nor the viewer. As they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The problem with F1 lately has been that Bernie and company feel that they should do something new each and every year. Which in most of the cases has been total cr..p (the tyres this year for instance and the platypus). And if F1 wants to appeal to a global audience then 5.pm. continental time is a no goer for the whole Asian/Pacific/Oceania market. And why would Luka think so badly about the young generation by basically saying that they have an attention span of a giraffe? :) And if they really care about increasing the global audience, they should probably think twice before signing those TV deals, which actually limits the audience.

  75. Neil McGuiggan says:

    I agree that evening races could have more appeal during the summer, as it is hard to convince people to stay inside on sunny days when they could be out enjoying the best part of the day with friends and family who often don’t have any interest in F1.

    In general, time zones are a significant problem to be solved for F1 bosses as they moves the races further away from the traditional European audience and have to discover how to keep existing viewers and gain new ones in the new regions. It’s not easy to say races are better in the evenings, as evening races in the US would be far too late for European audiences. But making a change to suit European audiences is a problem if they want to attract more fans in the US or Asia.

    As for the duration of races, I do agree that if they were shorter then they might attract a greater audience who wouldn’t normally invest two hours of their time in a race. However the comments about young people not liking the duration of the races are insulting. I’m in my mid-twenties, and I’ve watched F1 regularly since I was 9 years old. I have missed maybe ten GPs in that time. I have never skipped parts of the race. I do however know several people between the ages of 50 and 80 who have done exactly as Montezemolo described: watched the start, and then turned it on later to see what happened. This has NOTHING to do with the youth of the viewer; it is a combination of having other things to do on a Sunday afternoon (as mentioned before) and some of the races being rather uneventful after the first corner. Now that the races are more exciting I have noticed the same people I mentioned earlier staying to watch more of the races.

    Montezemolo also mentioned being innovative. It’s important to remember not to change things just to attract new fans; the existing ones have followed it for decades. He gave soccer as an example of a successful sport in order to make his point about start times, but there is another more important lesson to be learned from football: the core format of the game hasn’t changed in over a century. They have always played two halves of 45 minutes each. The rules that have changed are much less consequential, such as adding penalty shoot-outs, yellow cards etc. This is comparable to what F1 has been doing recently (banning refueling, KERS, DRS etc.) and this is where we should continue to look for innovation.

  76. Jake B says:

    Terrible idea.

  77. Craig Baker says:

    Luca has lost the plot and threatens to destroy what Bernie has created, just because he wants to make his mark. Change for changes sake will upset many, to the benefit of a few. The broadcast times are set to benefit the whole of Europe not just one man from ITV and his Italian mate.

    Personally I watch races from start to finish because I like to watch my favourite driver/s and I like to watch good motor racing drama. I also like to keep abreast of design improvements.

    Average race speed for different events range from 160 to 240 km/h (approx). I am sure it would not be difficult to apply these figures to a distance which would equal similar dry race times for all events. The major advantage would be a neater package for TV, and neck relief for the drivers.

    Lewis Hamilton is a champion and I believe he has stumbled on the next big thing in F1. The teams need to release more real time data of interest to make F1 more interactive and up to date.

  78. A football match takes about 1hour 50 (with half-time). Many people don’t watch all the way through – maybe football games should be shorter?

    This is errant nonsense. The problem with F1 used to be that not a lot of overtaking occurred during races (we could have cut them down to 20 minutes without losing very much!). Fortunately they solved that with KERS & DRS, which have made the races much more entertaining.

    There’s no need to change anything – apart from having all the races live on free-to-air channels in the UK, of course!

  79. Spinodontosaurus says:

    Kids and casuals ruining everything as per usual.
    F1 is not sprint racing, nor should it be.

  80. Anthony says:

    What!, Even less racing for my money, just what I want, why not get Sky to increase the charges as well. This will be just the push needed to stop viewing all together. The problem with late afternoon race starts is that it will encroach on normal evening entertainment, and that would not go down well with her indoors, I have enough trouble with Brazil, I don’t need more.However if Luca di Montezemolo want 2 X 1 hour race, that would get my vote.

  81. dstaisey says:

    There should be freedom of tyres for the qualy and the race. And the rest works just fine. This is closest to the best of late 80′s.
    Shortening of the races or sprint races is note core of F1. Let Btiatore and Monty spoile other categories but please not F1, Bernie!

  82. Michael Cassie says:

    Is the shorter race length to accomodate the younger generation who can’t concentrate for anything for more than 15 minutes?
    What about Le Mans, do we start making it last a whole month and have a 1 hour race for 24 days?
    I am happy with the length and timing of the races. I can see why commercial men want it later, so people can do their thing during their Sunday off. Then come home and sit down to the race at 5/6pm.
    Evey Saturday thousands of ‘fans’ trek to football matches all over the country with a 3pm kick off. Would they change all them or would that be breaking with tradition too much.
    I’m going to the Singapore GP, so once I have experienced a late night race first hand I might change my mind, but until then leave it alone.

  83. Alex says:

    I enjoy the type of racing we have over a couple of hours as there is a feeling of occasion and I like the way that things can have a chance to play out. However if races were shorter perhaps we’d see more action but then, given recent events, might we see more desperate driving? What I’d like to see is a short race on Saturday instead of qualifying to decide the grid for Sunday. I really feel a sense of anti-climax on a Saturday afternoon with the short bursts of action.

  84. Leo McNeir says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t football matches last 90 minutes, with a breaK at half time? Are young people really not able to keep up their concentration level for that duration? It seems sad to change F1 to suit the assumed needs of the TV remote surfer generation.

  85. JCA says:

    Two 70 min races with reverse grid top 10 in the second.

  86. Pandabater says:

    I don’t know about the call for shorter races to appease the young’ns. A football match goes for a hour & a half, movies these days are a minimum 2 hours, they sit in front of video games for days on end. Formula 1 is the biggest sport in the world because for the last 1/2 a century the overall concept has not changed.
    If you want more young people to watch you have to give them access to the technology. Live data & radio on their phones, interaction with team members, you have to get them involved.
    Alex Briggs (Mechanic for Valentino Rossi) is a great example.He is on Twitter & while he does not give away any secrets, it gives a great insight for the fans, you can ask him a question & get an answer it makes you feel part of the action.
    The actual timing of events these days is becoming less relevant with DVR’s & the internet meaning you can watch the races whenever you like.
    If Formula 1 has taught us anything it is that change costs money & carries considerable risk.

  87. moxlox says:

    No, please no! Don’t shorten the races. Their length is one aspect that makes F1 more epic compared to other race series. Having them this length gives us different phases of the race and performance and adds to a race’s variety. Different facets of performance, driver style and pacing pan themselves out over 2 hours.Length is just right as it is now, don’t break what isn’t broken.

    Starting at 5pm would be great though, then I could do other things in the day.

  88. Bill Nuttall says:

    No, absolutely not. I even miss the days of 2 hour races. It’s why they call it the GRAND Prix, the biggest prize needs the biggest race.

  89. Liam says:

    Don’t like it… STUPID IDEA!

    I’m a young fab of 20 years old and I love watching the race pan out over 90 minutes, I think di Montizemilo point is invalid, it’s also a bit of a dig at is young fans suggesting we have very short attention spans.

    Leave it the way it is… it’s not called a Grand Prix for nothing.

  90. moxlox says:

    I’d rather have no Ferrari than shorter races…. Not that I seriously think that would be good for the sport either though.

  91. Ben says:

    I think 2 shorter races per weekend would be great (pretty much stealing the format of V8 Supercars). On the Saturday, a 1 hour (200km) race is ran, the starting position based on the finishing position of the previous weekends Sunday race (this would encourage always fighting for position, even if no points are available). On the Sunday, qualifying sticks to the existing format but is ran on Sunday morning. Then in the afternoon the race is ran as another 200km race.

    Friday – FP1 and FP2.
    Saturday – FP3 and Race 1.
    Sunday – Quali and Race 2.

    This also makes 3 day tickets to the events more attractive as you get 2 races.

    Being selfish I like the current starting time as I’m in Australia and the races start at 10pm here.

    Also, comparing it to football doesn’t work as there are so many more football games per season, we only get 20 races.

  92. monktonnik says:

    Definitely not shorter races!

    My son (7)used to watch every race live and didn’t get bored.

    We are now in Australia, so I record them for him and he watches them in parts.

    I watched F1 from a fairly young age, but even when I was in my teens I didn’t find it too long.

    Please don’t patronise young people by assuming they have a short attention span at the cost of ruining the formula for the rest of us!

  93. Luca says:

    Not very exciting proposals … for someone with such a nice first name. And a hint less credible, too, on the very day his team tried to be a little too clever and bollixed up qualifying for Fernando. That bit was “not broken” either and look what happened when Ferrari tried to “fix” it!

    1. Kieran says:

      Ferrari’s strategy in qualifying worked (look at how well Massa qualified compared with his performance throughout the season). Even if the strategy failed for Alonso he wouldn’t abandon one run and be several seconds off the pace on the second if there wasn’t a problem. He had a problem with the car (anti-roll bar I think).

  94. Steve says:

    F1 is meant to be the pinnacle of motorsport, which should include skill, design and endurance. Lewis’s tweet probably wetted the fans appetite for more data. This is the information age, people expect more stats, not just 3 sector times. All cars have mandatory data loggers, why not open up a feed (free to all) that gave us avg lap time, fuel state, more sector splits, tyre wear etc

    1. Giraffe says:

      Well, how many Hamilton fans actually understood the data?

      1. Steve says:

        Prob very few to be fair, but would be good for the fans to see where time is being won or lost, esp as you can only watch one car at a time. Eg, the graph this site has a couple of days after the race would be good to get in real time

  95. madmax says:

    Don’t want shorter races but delaying the start time for the European races would be good.

    Think the most important thing for F1′s growth is having full live races on free to air stations. Look at the BBC/Sky deal as F1 was growing year after year on BBC but now with the joint deal the viewership has massively dropped.

  96. Nick says:

    It must be a political statement as it seems a pointless thing to say otherwise. He has a point about races not being at a good time as no one wants to miss out on social events or miss a race because of them! But I think most sports fans have to deal with that.

    Also during the refueling era he would have had a point, but the sport has changed and is changing. There’s now lots of overtaking and the format requires drivers to manage tyres and cars for the 300km which causes mistakes. Also with the engine rules changing in 2014 why would engine manufacturers want to showcase their efficient, energy harvesting units in a race thats only 45 minutes long?

  97. Elie says:

    Absolute Rubbish. What about the people that pay top dollar to go to the track and make a weekend of it.

    People who enjoy motor racing will always enjoy motor racing and people who don’t well they can watch it casually as they do now and there are many other ways of enticing them back like free to air !

    I personally want to see it a bit longer with refuelling. The investment / time that teams make should not be wasted On a sprint race.

  98. Tom in adelaide says:

    Old people should never comment on what young want. They are wrong 100% of the time. :p

  99. Nick4 says:

    I see no reason to change. F1 is unique and not a lower rank motor sport event run over a number of heats. A GP is a final all in itself and that is the way it should be kept.

  100. Sebastian says:

    Part of it is how the race is explained to the viewer. When I followed the BBC broadcast the races where a lot more exciting than watching the broadcast with swedish commentary.

    Another big problem that still persists is that following cars have a handicap because of lost downforce so close racing always results in a penalty for the aggresive car.

    Improved close racing will always be the key to increasing the excitment on track.

    An improved live timing screen would also help. Viewers want to know when drivers are pushing and when they are pacing. You want to follow the cars that are pushing to see if they achieve what they are trying to do.

  101. Bruce Hoult says:

    2nd comment…

    If anything, I’d prefer to see some LONGER races mixed in there, in a similar way to Aussie V8 supercars. The Bathurst 1000 km race is a major fixture in the racing year even for people around the world who don’t normally follow the V8s.

  102. Ryan Eckford says:

    No. Luca di Montezemolo has lost his mind. People love Formula 1 as it is right now.

    The way Formula 1 races have been run is the way it should be run. I don’t mind the odd night race and twilight race, but this, nor the length or time of the race is the determining factor for young people to watch the sport.

    The determining factor is the uniqueness of Formula 1, the looks of the cars, single-seater cars, going through corners as fast as possible, braking as late as possible, accelerating as early as possible, going very fast on straights, and the distinctive, unique sound of the cars flying past on the track.

    This is what Formula 1 is, and that is why young people and young people at heart watch and follow the sport, which is the pinnacle of motorsport.

  103. Boz says:

    make them later in the day is my key recommendation, even though it would hurt my personal viewing. Shorter could work as well as long as there two races, just like A1GP or better still WSBK does with support races during the break.

    Why? I’m from the UK but now live in Sydney. Sunday evenings in the Euro-summer are now a wheels-fest for us in general. Right now I’m watching World Superbikes, a little while ago GP2 and the Porsche Supercup is recording. F1 to follow at 10pm. It’s just great to be able to watch so many “wheels” in the evenings and not worry about them during the day. having 2 Tv rooms helps of course…:)

    FF

  104. Kieran says:

    I can understand changing the time races start to get a larger audience but reducing race length isn’t something I would like to see. F1 is exciting because the length of the race gives time for strategy changes and tyre degradation to play into the result. If we reduced the length (without major rule changes) it would be a procession start to finish.

  105. Mitchel says:

    After seeing the first episode of the new series of ‘The Thick of It’, I can’t help but think Luca is a bit like Peter Manion: a Dinosaur who’s out of touch!

    When Bernie makes a ‘daft’ comment, there’s always an element that he’s just winding us up or there’s an ulterior motive. Luca, on the other hand, appears more clueless…

    This is the man that forced Schuey to retire and ditched Kimi. Did he also sack Prost? Some record!

  106. horoldo says:

    No thanks. I live in Australia.
    Its hard enough getting up for work at 5 or 6am on monday after staying up to midnight or later as it is. Brazil and canada races are very hard. I usually go to bed earlier and wake up at 2:30am to watch it. Cant see myself doing that for the whole season.

    Like James says on an ealier post above, Luca’s comments are very euro-centric.

  107. f1ster says:

    I think the current race length and start time are ideal for the premier racing class and it is proven over many years. Someone made a good point that its the same length as a football match and for those with a passing interest or too busy to watch the whole race, the highlights shows pick out the best bits. As someone else has posted, F1 in the evening slot does clash with the normal TV programmes.

    What I think has increased F1′s popularity in recent years is internet websites with access to the teams and drivers – ITV’s F1 website was really good with daily updates on all the news, it was sad to see it closed down. James Allen’s website provides some good insight, so does Joe Saward, and the BBC is OK but limited in its scope. Contrast the coverage now when back in the day we used to have to wait for Mondays paper to see who had won the GP’s!

    I do agree with the previous correspondent that refuelling should be brought back, it added to the spectacle and brought in more tactical play.

  108. Barry says:

    Summing up. Luca, raving mad.
    Bernie will still want as much money from everyone for the races. The fans want more for their money.
    The drivers just want to race.
    So, 2×45 min races, as individual races would work. Please see the Australian V8 Supercars series.
    The races are one on Saturday, one on Sunday. For different venues there are different qualifying sessions, all with a shoot out.
    Not saying its perfect, but more races, same amount of race distance, excitement plus!

  109. JR says:

    Mad Monty also said most F1 fans spend their afternoons at the beach.

    Just shows how out of touch he is with reality.

    1. I think he meant that in his own country, which has vast lengths of coastline and typically high temperatures, those who live near the sea choose to avail of its benefits on a Sunday afternoon.

      I fail to see the ‘madness’ there.

  110. Ade says:

    You all need to move to Dubai. Most of the races start at 4pm for us here, so its an early dart from work (yes we work Sundays) for those ones. The early races in Asia and Australia are no drama – midmorning stuff (‘Sunday breakfast meetings’ we call them when the boss wants to know where we are). Then we have a few late night ones which we enjoy over a beer or three.
    So no, leave the timings as they are. Format?
    Well its called a Grand Prix – the Big Prize. it has to be a single, long race, major effort affair doesn’t it?

  111. Giraffe says:

    If one really wants to return audience to this sport, they should start at least by reintroducing the good old qualification system with 12 laps and no regard to tires and fuel. Otherwise this year’s qualy has turned into nonsense with some sitting out Q3 for the sake of 3or 4 extra laps in the race. And they should stop with those nonsense ideas regarding ” roofs” over drivers heads. Since Senna’s death there has been so much driver pampering, so many screwed up Tilke circuits, that the next thing would be them competing on simulators in their respective garages.

  112. Simon says:

    Hi James,

    Most of the comments make Sence keep it simple and basically stay the same, move times has it merits but then viewing seems to be a conflict between countries and time zones, yes that old chestnut. Mr. Montezemola has opened the discussion so properly time to throw other things in the mix as well. One thing that may be some intreast and make things more exciting is leave the circuits pretty much as they are possible tweaks here and there, but reduce the amount of technology being deployed. You get the feeling that he driver sits in a pushes the pedal and the rest is controlled elsewhere, go back to manually gear changes, or allow the driver to drive the car and make the decisions, like in times past, but with a modern twist, this surely would bring in a certain amount of excitement back as you or the driver as a clue and then work out by using his experience or wisdom, so the driver is in control?. Just a thought more Mansell, Prost and Senna era the battle royals and unexpected was the thing that got me hooked.

  113. zx6dude says:

    maybe LdiM should move to GP2? the races are not later but they are short and frenetic. I am enjoying following GP2 and it is fun to follow and watch, however it is not F1. Don’t remove the edurance part of F1, it would stop making it F1. It would make for a new GP2 series with much better cars, does anyone need that?

  114. Simon Donald says:

    Montezuma has said lots of crazy stuff over the years (second only to Bernie), but this is really up there. As said above, most major sports last for at least 80-90 mins, many American sports last for 3-4 hours when you take into account all of their stops in play. Timing wise as an international sport, the current time is the best compromise. Races at 1pm local time gives you a late evening race in Asia and Australia (where I am) and a morning start for the Americas. Any later and you would alienate the large percentage of the audience here in Australia. Starting races at 4am Eastern Australia time would be a disaster!

    Also we don’t need shorter races, we need more exciting ones! This season, in my opinion, has been the best one in years. The racing has been excellent. The tyres have played a big part in that. The last thing F1 needs is a move back to tyres that last forever, refueling and sprints between stops with no on-track overtaking. That would be a disaster!

  115. Snowy says:

    Terrible idea and actually very short-sighted.

    Why change just to cater to the ‘internet generation’ who (in general) have the attention span of a gnat? Sure you might capture a new audience but that very audience has a tendency to switch off from a trend just as fast as it warms to it. After 3-5 years they’re just as likely to have moved on to something else and meanwhile you’ve alienated and lost a large portion of your ‘core’ fan-base.

    Luca’s comment about soccer starting times is also a nonsense argument – it’s easy to start a match at any time of the day or night when that contest is conducted in the small confines of a football pitch which can very easily be lit from a handful of light towers. F1 needs huge infrastructure by comparison.

  116. Chris says:

    I like it as is it, nice long races are best.

  117. I can sort of see the point that Luca’s trying to make, and it’s not dissimilar to what Flavio was saying for years – the ‘show’ needs to evolve in order to continue appealing to each successive generation. It’s all very well banging on about the halcyon days when Bunny and Tarquin used to race white Rileys around the banking at Brooklands, but if the world of entertainment and communication has changed beyond all recognition in the past decade then any leading global sport HAS to take this into account, and not merely assume that millions will always tune in regardless of what other distractions exist beyond F1.

    That said, part of the sport’s strength lie in its culture and heritage, so a balance has to be struck; but since, probably more than any other sport on Earth, F1 is all about the NEXT development, the NEXT progression, it’s probably safe to say that if the teams aren’t too precious about retaining the status quo, then we fans shouldn’t really be either.

    I agree that having a race at 1pm does bisect one’s day in a frustrating way (of course changing the start time does has implications for other regions). I think that the 300km / 90 mins duration is perfectly fine, but I too sometimes find my mind wandering mid-race if not a lot is happening.

    But that leads on to the most crucial point. A race could be 3 hours long and keep the most attention-deficient 14 year old engrossed if it was constantly entertaining and delivering non-stop excitement. They often don’t. So the sport needs to ask itself why not, and address the reasons. For too long they’ve blindly pursued an aero-at-all-costs route that all but killed overtaking, and many would argue that DRS is no way a suitable substitute for having 2 drivers battle it out on mechanical grip.

    Qualifying was tweaked too damn much from the perfectly fine days when everyone had an hour to go all out and blaze the fastest lap they could, and now it’s still far from sorted. There are too many penalties, inquiries, rules and interference – penalise the driver for his gearbox or engine suffering a problem? Really?!

    I say that Luca’s heart is in the right place, but to start blthely tweaking the very structure of how F1 interacts with the viewers, without first getting their house in order elsewhere, is merely akin to fiddling while Rome burns.

  118. Dmitry says:

    No!

    To me it looks like Luca has created his own field of distorted reality and just throws crazier and crazier words every several months just to bring back attention to himself (PR’n’stuff).

  119. Kiran says:

    Isn’t F1 meant to be an international sport. If they change the start time it will make it even harder to watch the races if you don’t happen to be in Europe. As for the rave length it is perfect right now, almost the same as a rugby or football agme, why change that. F1 needs to think about it’s real fans for once

  120. DaveZ says:

    Luca only seems to open his mouth when it best suits Ferrari – things need to change since his team is not guaranteed of winning every race this year. A good racing spectacle does not mean an all-Ferrari spectacle. He should be thanking the gods for Ferrari doing as well as they are this year. Has he forgotten how Ferrari looked in the spring? I’m sure the knives were sharpened.

    Moving the races to later in the day makes little sense to me. More tracks would have to install lighting. That costs money. Who’s going to pay for that in the end – ticket buyers.

    Shorter races? No thanks. Everything is fine from my viewing perspective here in Canada. Most races at 8 am. A few that I record overnight and a couple in my time zone.

  121. Nic Maennling says:

    Dumbing down F1 for the ADD crowd would be a travesty. However, everything else is going that way ! Radio stations can’t even play a whole song until the end.

  122. TheGreatTeflonso says:

    If this is a proposal for casual fans then bringing it up here seems out of place… Surely the readers here are hardcore fans. We’d watch whatever happens. Do I think shorter races are better? I think it’s a horrid idea. There are only 20 races a year. We have very little viewing time, as a sport, compared to major team sports. I allocate myself practically the entire weekend during a GP… It dominates my weekend. Casual fans arent going to generate long term steady revenue. Just because races are shorter, doesnt mean viewership would double. Formula One really in many ways isnt a mainstream sport. I think the sport will find greater long term success by getting new true fan involved, promoting motorsport, and keeping the drama of races at their peak. Would I want my holiday to be shorter? no way.

  123. anthony says:

    old mafia boss de montazemallaaarr wotever has had his say, is anyone really surprised he wants the change the rules ? the real issue here is aerodynamics, the italians are useless @ it + the brits are, well brilliant, jus ask herman goering + the luftwaffe. the wops are losing every year to red bull + mclaren + they dont like. simples.

  124. Quattro_T says:

    One word, Nonono! Extend to 350 km and continue with the few early morning/late night races – it is part of the magic!

    This reminds me of rational behind making F1 2010 leaning much more towards arcad than simulation – “The casual players far outnumber the hardcore.”. I think ultimately what should decide what route to take, is what strengthen the F1 franchaise in the long run, and distinguish it from other entities. To know what, there is a long history of the sport to learn from.

    Having waited for (too) long time for a new F1 game, I bought the game. Of course the hype and CMs’ mixed messages (trying to make everyone buy the game) regarding realism, prior to release helped the hope for a good game. End result? I stayed with that game, and with the CM “franchaise”, the least time I ever did with any other F1 game I have played. I am by no means a hardcore simulator gamer and never even considered “pure” simulators, but “too casual”, over archadish feel, made me feel disappointed…almost cheated. I promised to never again buy a CM product and have never looked back. CM continue to “churn out” one F1 game each year, much like Ford expected everyone to buy a black Ford and massproduced them. Once one edition is out, work starts on the next and problems of the old one put under the carpet. A true fan of the sport will not like such behaviour, either from CM or from Eccelstone and others trying to make F1 a machine producing 60 minute chuncks of F1, that you can buy each week or so. If there is no spirit in it – and I believe that will be the case when it becomes overcommercialized (drs, the latest post race interview format eh), instead of prioritizing the hardcore competition within a show frame it has been for so long – it will loose its’ appeal, at least to me. The casual viewer will watch…a few times before going on to next “show”.

    Given this years antics, with F1 going to Bahrain (moral issue for me), RBs’ overshooting what is allowed the regs without punishment (loosing respect for the ruling body), inconsistent punishments, lack of respect between (childish) drivers, I am already getting tired of it. I think only reason I am watching with enthusiasm, is that I do not want to miss the Alonso era. Alonso leaves, I am out as matters stand.

    My 2 cents.

  125. ACr says:

    No. I want a Grand Prix, not a Prix. I could go further…

  126. James says:

    Would race day admission tickets (and indeed the whole weekend) be any cheaper if the races were shorter? You can bet your bottom dollar that they wouldnt be! F1 Fans already pay some of the highest prices to attend their beloved sport, like-for-like, when compared with others!

    I do agree with the idea of having later starts though, but that’s me speaking as a European. It would perhaps allow more people in the Americas to watch at a more reasonable time, however, those in the Far East, Middle East and Pacific would lose out massively. With much of the sponsership coming from this region, I dont think having races starting later would go down well at all. Unfortunately, the situation at present is one that best suits much of the viewing audience already, which is why it’s hard to imagine races being made any later.

    Also, I feel that races which last less than 90 minutes (like todays), should have their race distance increased to ensure they do. I would gladly have sat and watched todays race for much longer (I’m 23, is this what Montezemelo counts as young?).

    Oh yeh, Luca, I’ve been watching F1 races in their entirity since 1994.

  127. Big Al 56 says:

    The big word in all Luca says is IF.
    If formula one wants more casual viewers they probably shouldn’t be on pay tv! Not many can casually tune in to pay tv can they?
    Perhaps there could be traditional quallie up to Q2 then the top 10 have a shortish quallie race to decide he grid for the GP? This would be live at 5pm Saturday.
    I’m a bit bemused about all this fan friendly stuff, because I don’t think F1 does anything purely for the fans, it’s mostly for the cash.

  128. Rich C says:

    Did he mention having 3 cars per team yet?

  129. Monza01 says:

    The emphatic poll result says it all.

    This is F1, not Formula Ford : the races need to be 90 minutes long to allow the strategy to work out. Without strategy it wouldn’t be F1

    I don’t have a problem with a 17:00 start but as others have said, if they really want to attract a younger audience, why have they sold out to pay TV ?

    It’s almost unthinkable that the BBC were prepared to give up the chance of showing the Italian GP live.

    But even worse, FOM offer live timing free on a PC but cynically they charge for the same service on a mobile phone or iPad, exactly the medium the younger generation would chose ! If they were serious it would be free on both.

    With FOM it’s all about screwing as much money out of the public as possible, nothing else.

    Despite the words we have all heard from Martin Whitmarsh in the past, it’s obvious that the teams are only interested in taking the money. Martin,if you’re dropping into JAoF1 and reading this, it’s extremely disappointing.

    Sky won’t be getting any money out of me :

    I’m quite happy to put up with a few German adverts and use my £30 Astra satellite system to watch the Sky-only races on RTL with live timing on the laptop and James’ excellent Radio 5 commentary.

    Anyone out there can do the same : just pop down to B & Q with £29.99 which buys you a complete Ross kit : you don’t even have to climb on the roof : the dish also comes with a ground bracket.

  130. Rishi says:

    A site frequented by the hardcore of F1 fans hence seem to reject the idea. Have a feeling the result of the question will display selection bias somehow:P

    Usually Luca’s comments (e.g. three-car teams) annoy me but if I’m honest I do think he has made decent points here. The problem with race length, I’d argue, is that year on year regulations are brought in to slow the cars down so that, broadly speaking, there has been a downward trend in lap times, going back to the end of the V10 days (2004/2005). At the same time, race circuits (which have not been reprofiled) have not changed number of laps. Hence races that were about 80/90 minutes half a decade ago are now over 100 minutes long. I’m a huge fan but often feel that having 20 races of 100mins+ length is a bit long. In fairness, I don’t think any radical changes need to be made, and am supportive of having a few races close to the 2-hour mark (Singapore is a good example). However, I wonder if it’s worth shortening the number of laps at some of the venues in accordance with the slower laptimes to ensure more races are about 15/20 minutes shorter.

    I also think there is an argument for flexibility in race times from a European perspective, but the problem (highlighted in earlier comments) would be ensuring the times are suitable for a global audience. Additionally, with some of the changes taking place in TV consumption these days (in Britain we have both the BBC/Sky deal – which sometimes means free-to-air coverage being broadcast at teatime anyway – as well as e.g. the BBC iPlayer), individuals themselves have more flexibility about when to watch a programme, even if it is broadcast live at 1pm. So whilst it is thought-provoking, and I think would have been a really good idea a few years ago, I’m not sure it is as necessary as it once was.

  131. Tm from Finland says:

    Races like Monza are too short and need to be lengthened otherwise it won’t pose a great challenge to the drivers. They said today on sky that Hamilton won’t be tired after the race as it is only 1hr 20mins. If they shorten it it would be terrible, but they must them compensate by having loads more races!

  132. part time viewer says:

    ive been reading alot of comments on this site for a while now saying they are die hard fans, but wont pay sky to watch races live, well sorry if your not prepaired to pay then you arent die hard.
    how do you think F1 is funded, it needs people to pay to watch to survive, before everyone had to pay to watch it even if they didnt want to, through the licence fee, now at least you have the choice, and the licence fee can go towards more main streem programs, f1 in the uk atleast is a minority sport, the majority shouldnt have to pay for a minority sport.
    and before you all say , yes but it employs alot of people in the uk, well i work in motorsport and yes it doe, but so does football which i have no interest in and would prefere my licence fee doesnt go on putting on free to view football, so when asked to pay for what i want to watch the i will happily pay.

    1. Quattro_T says:

      “ive been reading alot of comments on this site for a while now saying they are die hard fans, but wont pay sky to watch races live, well sorry if your not prepaired to pay then you arent die hard.”

      Disagree. I think I have not missed a single race, since 94. I have bought most if not all of the F1 games that have been release since. I think you would maybe call me kind of “hardcore f1 fan”. I would not pay sky, not because of the money – I can easily afford it – but because I dislike greed and even more greedy people. F1 managed to survive for so long when being free to air – what is the deal now?
      I was happy to buy CM 2010, but would never buy 2011, 2012 or any 20xy title they produce. Money issue? Of course not, I felt the product did not contain what they promised, and felt like an unfinished product qualitywise.

      1. part time viewer says:

        F1 managed to survive for so long when being free to air – what is the deal now?
        But it wasnt free to air, the rights were never given away, the bbc had to pay for them, the difference is that you can choose to pay for sky f1 but not for the bbc, so i agree that minority programing should have to be payed for.
        And saying you arent going to buy a game isnt the same.

  133. Steve says:

    Why should we cater to those who are only half interested?? Most of us are dedicated to F-1 in a big way and crave our race weekend fix. Its bad enough that there is so little testing and we have to go cold turkey for the ‘summer break’ which seems like an eternity. Its not our fault that Luca di Montezemolo gets bored or has to go to the restroom during the race. Most true F-1 fans would say that they want more races, at least the same length of time/distance, full testing brought back, and the return of our beloved V-10′s.

  134. Matkin says:

    I have to profess complete bewilderment with this start time idea of Montezemolo’s, which seems to build/continue on from Ecclestone’s everlasting push to move the schedule further east. Both want to build up the European audience, and they want to do it by… moving it all out of Europe. This is just my perception, but if you want to build a fanbase then moving the entertainment away from the fans seems a rather odd way of doing it.

    Also, Malaysia 2009.

  135. Andy R says:

    Move it start at early evening, late afternoon yes.
    But leave the distance as is. The real charm of F1 is watching the front runners being nervous at the end for reliability, tires (this season) safety cars, among other things. This is F1, not A1!

  136. Kitkat says:

    I must say we’re probably not the forum for this discussion, given everyone is in the “diehard fan” category. Of course we like what we see, otherwise we wouldn’t be watching F1, nor will we browse this web-site. But we’re a small minority of the F1 viewership.

    I agree with di Montezemolo. F1 needs shorter races.

    There are still far too many races when I fall asleep (being on the east coast of Australia, European F1 races start at 10pm) after a handful of laps when nothing actually happens and we’re all speculating about this “strategy” thing, waiting for the tyre strategy to materialise. If I was a casual F1 watcher I would’ve switched off the TV at that point and done something else with my time. This, I suspect, is what di Montezemolo might be getting at.

    Casual viewers are VERY important to attract, because that’s where your new fan base comes from. Whilst maybe 25% of viewers are “diehard” (we love F1 to entertain us), the other 75% are casual viewers who have a huge number of choices about how they wish to be entertained. Understandably, di Montezemolo want to attract this 75%. Although it saddens me to think that you’d need to play with the format, the sport has to evolve and continue to attract fans. How else can F1 attract new “diehard fans” if they’re turned off at the casual viewer stage?

    How about splitting the racing into 2 x 40 min sprints? Qualifying race? You can produce short-life tyres or have some kind of simple gimmick to ensure there’s action. (No, as a motorsport purist I don’t like that one bit either – but as entertainment I do)

    As for start time … I know if the races were on 2pm Australian time, I would not watch it as I normally have better things to do at that time (eg family time or enjoying the sunshine). 6pm stands a far better chance.

  137. John says:

    He’s out of touch. He needs to stick to being Ferrari’s press officer.

  138. Shane says:

    I am definitely in the minority here, but I wouldn’t mind if the races were a bit shorter. With mechanical failure such a rarity these days (save Renault alternators) the distance doesn’t seem to be taxing on the engineering of a modern F1 car. I do not like seeing F1 cars run at 85% to preserve tires just so they can one-stop a 300km race. So if endurance is no longer a differentiator, why make the races so long? Shorten them up and let the cars go at 100% for the entire distance.

    That or modify the regulations to allow the engineers to actually push the limits of material science so that endurance is once again a differentiator in F1 racing. Decrease dependance (and thereby spending) on aero and allow the teams much greater flexibility in engines, layouts and materials.

    As for the start times, the global nature of the sport will dictate a time schedule that is no longer Euro-centric.

  139. Gareth says:

    How about this concept.The race for pole. Basically, all the cars line up on the grid on a Satuarday in the order that they finished the last race in. Therefore Hamilton would be 1st and Alonso 2nd. The race is 15 laps, the winner gets pole and his reward, 10 points, followed by new tyres.
    This would make Satuarday qualifying very intersting because cars will be racing for their positions, it will dramatically change the grid on race day and make the casual fan more interested.

    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      Very similar to the USAC method. That could work, but it would require F1 to examine practices outside of it’s own bubble, so unlikely.

  140. Graeme says:

    I’ve really enjoyed watching the GP2 and GP3 races, both for the close racing and also the short format.

    Pitstops used to be an essential part of strategy, which made a 2 hour F1 race like a game of chess, it was fascinating. Nowadays all the variables which made it interesting – different fuel strategies, tyre manufacturers, reliability issues – are gone, and F1 is a really long sprint race with pitsops which just serve to make the middle part of the race incomprehensible to casual viewers – who watches a sport when you have no idea who is in the lead?

  141. Quattro_T says:

    I think if F1 want to attrack more people and younger audience, first step would be to go back to free to air. I have been following it for 20 years now, but would probably never have discovered it, had I not switched to eurosport one sunday in 1994 (probably commercial brake on the other channel) and it was on.

    I think this “new format” thing, is more of a way to increase profit margins for the stakeholders (by reducing cost), than anything else (greed).

  142. JD says:

    I’m sure among typical casual fans he is referring to, “you can’t find a very famous name, one of those has to spend 400 Euros per person for a place on the grandstand at a GP (plus the expenses for the journey and the stay).”

    Perhaps di Montezemolo no longer places value on “the history of this sport” that was created by “Ferrari, [and ] the big car manufacturers and teams.” I think Max Mosley had a good laugh about di Montezemolo’s comments.

    If Luca di Montezemolo wants shorter races and two starts,
    “Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to call it Formula GP3?”

  143. Jeremiah says:

    Must be the wine or the heat or both

  144. Optimaximal says:

    Bernie would never sanction shorter races because it would reduce the collateral with regards to TV rights – if the races lose a quarter/third in length, Sky wouldn’t get much more than the BBC highlights currently deliver OR the BBC Highlights would be ~30 minutes.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not if the audience size grew! Raises the value surely?

      I’m not saying it would, but that is the argument

      Most of the diehards would watch anyway, but could they capture a large new contingent?

  145. Andrew Barker says:

    No Way !!!! Yesterdays race lasted 1 hour 19 minutes it flew by they should leave things alone .Would you want to sponsor a team or event when a race could last an hour or less i don’t think so and what’s the point of having cars reliable if races were to be shorter.
    If they did make races shorter i would consider not watching anymore it could drive people away all for the casual viewers pleasure.
    Up until the mid 90′s some European races did start after 2pm uk time.

    Kind Regards

    Andrew Barker

  146. Michael says:

    It would be playing a golf masters over 9 holes? It would be meaningless.

  147. DMyers says:

    It’s a really daft suggestion. Next he’ll be saying Le Mans should be a 2 hour sprint race.

  148. Jeff says:

    Anyone ever consider the Monte is angling for the next F1 Supremo?

  149. Tom says:

    If the races were shorter and later, would the BBC highlights show be 20 minutes long, and at 2am?

  150. Abhishek Takle says:

    Certainly not!!

  151. Bru72 says:

    Later in the day, definitely. Shorter, no.

  152. F12012 says:

    NO WAY, another stupid idea, just like Bernie’s medals idea

  153. M00bie says:

    No way!!!!

    How sad would that be, waiting all week to watch f1 and have it over in a flash?

    How would there be any strategic plays? How can anyone play the long game in a short race?

    It would be so dull to watch a short race where everyone played the same stratergy…

  154. M00bie says:

    And why would f1 want to kill off its entire existing fan base in the hope of attracting a small disinterested market (and one that has less spending power)???

    I’m 27 and have attended 1.3 grand prix every year for the last 6 years! I would not be interested in traveling the world to watch a short race!

  155. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Actually, I think the races should be of varying distance. If anything, make them longer.

    Minimum of 250 miles to maximum of 500 miles. I’ve always felt that for each chunk of the schedule, there should be a “set” of distances. For example, we have 18 races now, so the first six could be 250/250/300/250/300/500.

    Obviously, there are a lot of combinations. You could set the season up so that the long races are at the beginning of the season, maybe put the 500 as the cap to each set; maybe make a 500 the final event of the year.

    The point is, unless you make the races really short, like a 100 mile sprint race (and that would be very interesting, very USAC, get in, get out, quit fussin’ about and just run the race already), you don’t get the benefit of a shorter race.

    Now that I think of it, 100 mile races may be the way to go! Hmmm… maybe make the minimum distance 100 miles and the max 500 miles and do those combinations for each chunk of the season.

  156. aadil says:

    I think Luca is nuts!

    Ppl would watch F1 even less!
    Making it shorter would completely de value it!

    F1 would be a a gloryfied version of GP2!
    as it is with current regs F1 already is a gloryfied version of GP2!

    I mean F1 car never break and lap records anymore! the current generation of cars are probly the slowest fot the past 20yrs!

    Even @ a place like monza F1 cars only manage to do like 340km/h!

    MotoGP bikes reach those kind of speeds @ every 2nd or 3rd event! In a straight line a motoGP bike will blow and F1 car to dust!

    Its actually very sad!

  157. Matthew Yau says:

    People being a bit narrow-minded here. We are all fairly dedicated F1 fans here, Luca is not talking to us but those that are yet to be converted.

    Of course, longer races means more strategy possibilities. Personally, I think the format and timing is pretty good at the moment (for me!) But how many casual fans have you spoken to who have said that F1 is too long.

    Like any sport, F1 is looking to expand its horizons in attempt to garner more views, more money and more sponsors. Just look at how much football has expanded. Besides, Luca’s suggestions are just that, suggestions. These discussions will continue and believe or not, F1 will develop and change.

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