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Uneasy feeling around paddock as F1 does some soul searching
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Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Jun 2014   |  8:21 am GMT  |  308 comments

“Decline” is never a good word to see attached to anything one loves.

The tone in the F1 paddock this weekend is one of soul-searching, as people speak openly of a sport “in decline” and requiring a root and branch refresh.

This has been triggered by the latest intervention from Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo, who has called for a summit meeting to discuss the future direction of the sport.

“Formula One isn’t working,” he told the Wall Street Journal last week. “It’s declining because [the FIA] have forgotten that people watch the racing for the excitement. Nobody watches racing for the efficiency.”

Although the Ferrari boss has “cried wolf” many times, there is growing traction for the idea that F1 needs a rethink.

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Yesterday in the FIA drivers’ press conference, six current F1 drivers engaged with the idea, largely agreed that the sport needs a refresh and even proposed ideas as to how to improve things, taking ideas from other series. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso called for fans to make suggestions.

The general dissatisfaction is not new – people always have complaints whether it be overtaking, the design of the cars, the lack of access to drivers, DRS or many other factors.

Before the season started F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone was talking down his own product, criticising the show and especially the hybrid turbos for lacking soul and making the racing too confusing. Montezemolo lambasted the sport in Bahrain – ironically just a few hours before one of the most exciting races for years.

Montezemolo’s words are undermined by the perception that he wouldn’t be saying these things if Ferrari were winning, while cynics see some plot in Ecclestone’s words to drive down the share value of the sport so he can pull off some financial masterstroke.

But CVC, the majority shareholders, are too smart for that. They know they have a very valuable asset, but one that needs to be steered in the correct direction for the future. At present we have nothing but negativity coming from leading figures, talking the sport down.

Nevertheless momentum for change is palpably building; this time the soul searching seems seems to be biting more deeply.

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It’s not just about engine noise and confusing the public, it’s about the whole premise of understating where this elite global motor sport series is going wrong; put simply why viewer numbers are dropping and why the under 25s are not engaging with it, raising the question of where the future audience will come from.

The answer, as everyone knows, lies in the digital world, in social media and mobile platforms. But it’s much more complex than that. It requires promotion in key markets, it needs drivers to put far more effort into building up their profiles in their own countries and also in ones which do not have their own driver, to attract in new and younger audiences.

But to make meaningful change and set a plan, you have to start from a first premise and the problem is that no-one can agree what that first premise is. F1 is a sport of perpetual change and flux. Where is the starting point?

Some would argue – as the drivers did yesterday, that the starting point is cost. It’s ludicrous for teams to spent €200 million a year, when Marussia can go racing perfectly well with €50 million. There must be a figure below €100m which the teams could get to. But the top teams have blocked efforts to rationalise and the deadline of June 30 is fast approaching for cost control measures which can take effect next year. Small and medium sized teams feel they are being led, powerless, towards some form of customer car situation.

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The FIA president Jean Todt has tried this year to drive through meaningful cost controls, but with 10 days until the deadline, the signs are that this will not happen.

Today in Austria, the subject will be front of mind as six of the team bosses will discuss this topic in the second FIA press conference. It will be worth keeping an eye on.

What is interesting here is that Montezemolo’s intervention is not one of his occasional salvoes; there is a feeling it is more co-ordinated than that, with Ecclestone in the loop and Todt’s FIA the target.

What do you think? Leave your comment below

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308 Comments
  1. Tim Scarratt says:

    A meaningful start would be to stop sending the sport to an endless procession of Tilkedrome gimmick tracks with empty stands, who have been selected according to the host’s ability to drive lorry-loads of money to Bernie’s front door.

    I won’t hold my breath.

    1. DirkWar says:

      To get new fans you have to get in the minds of 9-14 year olds, Everyone remembers the music of the time when they were that age, many still follow the artists now. Appeal to this age group and you have the answer.

      1. Phil Brown says:

        The straight fact is that the kids ain’t interested.
        Period.
        Who wants to watch a bunch of old farts circle around in quiet cars with minimal overtaking when you can watch X Games or rallycross or supercross or skateboarding or fill in the blank.
        Let’s face it, F1 has failed to engage the kids and will have to face the music.
        it must get engaged through, first, social media, an area where F1 isn’t represented.

      2. Matthew M says:

        If you wanna get kids interested make high quality video games about the sport. Made with next generation graphics.

        PS: tonnes of awesome comments under this news story hopefully they’re all processed into making the sport better.

        F1 really has’nt modernised its following too much of the print media/television which is dieing business model.

    2. Sebee says:

      Many if the new tracks are just fine. They have proven themselves over time.

      The problem is this power unit. They engineered the soul out of F1. I’ve actually read here that fans love the sound the tires make. Seriously, they’ve said that proudly not realizing what they were saying I think.

      1. Make cars that look good, not jokes with member like nose extensions.
      2. Make them sound like and F1 car should.
      3. DRS needs a rethink. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m saying it’s taking away from quality. We’ve had it long enough to see all too often it takes away from creativity and quality in a pass.
      4. Figure out a rich content delivery system uniform and accessible to all viewers. I know TV rights are a cash cow and it’s better to have 500 paying customers than 1000 non paying ones. But if F1 fans don’t want to pay for a network just to see F1 but want access to F1 who’s the loser in that scenario except everyone? Did anyone use the LeMans website last weekend? Lovely place to start.

      1. Sebee says:

        STANDING RESTARTS AS OF 2015!!!!

        Really? This was a problem in our little fun sport?

        What is the goal? To have more 1st corner crashes?

        Change for sake of change, not for sake of improvement. Wow, F1 is really jumping the shark in a big way.

        Let’s just get to it and draw straws for which car which driver will drive each weekend, and screw it…put in the sprinklers! Anything else? Since we have members on the nose of cars, maybe F1 should hang 2 balls on the rear rain light like the good’ol boys do on their pickup truck’s hitch, yes? F1 is so perfect it’s all I can think of to improve it.

        For real boys and girls, I’m punching out. See ya!

      2. Sebee says:

        Yeah yeah yeah..don’t tell me about my balls idea, it’s dangerous because F1 just added sparks to the cars.

        Anything else we can do to F1 to make it a bigger joke?

      3. finster says:

        Agree on all points
        1. The cars can look good without looking like an abomination. And downforce can still be adjusted one way or the other.
        2. Where do I start? I can get in my road car and hear tires screeching and whirling mechanicals. Go back to naturally aspirated engines. while I agree that technologyies have filtered down from F1 to production cars, I see road cars that stop for you, correct your steering and can park itself. You can get a citation for talking on a cell phone. What about that flat screen in your dash that you’re fingering? It costs 10′s of millions to cart the show around the world and they have a point to prove by saving a pittance of fuel on the track? all the while making the race less appealing to many fans.
        3. DRS-ban it completely. How is it so different from a blown diffuser? Or any other aero trick?
        4. NBCSports took F1 over here in the states.They show 3 practices, most times FP2 three times. Sometimes they move the coverage to CNBC, or NBC. DVR Melbourne, go to sleep. Perfect right? Oh I record 2 hours of Brazil Butt Lift. 2 hour race, 1 hour of adverts. With this years formula I would be hard pressed to go PPV.. I’ve followed F1 since the early 70′s. Those days info about F1 was print, occasional race televised. So now I very much appreciate JA’s site, and the information available on the “web”.

      4. Anil Parmar says:

        I’ve tried to get people into F1 and the power unit has never been the issue. The issue is how the sport is to watch. The sport doesn’t look epic on incredibly wide tracks with loads of slow corners, especially when their are run offs everywhere. The only races my housemates have ever got interested in were Spa, Silverstone, Suzuka and Brazil. They all hated Korea, India and Abu Dhabi, mainly because of dull and slow the cars looked.

        Funnily enough, they are loving the Austria track. They’ve never seen a track with gravel traps around fast corners so they are really excited. In fact, when I walked into the living earlier, they were all already watching the feed!

        As for the power unit, they don’t care. They just want to see the drivers pushing on challenging tracks.

    3. W Johnson says:

      And petty fuel saving rules….look how exciting Canada was partly becuase the fuel saving rules were avoided following a crash at the start of the race.

      How is it racing when driver’s are conserving tyres, fuel or both? How are fans watching the race trackside supposed to understand the race as these compliated strategies unfold?….One can only see not hear muted engines and drivers managing their speeds to conserve their cars.

      1. Andy says:

        There aren’t any rules on fuel saving, there are rules on the maximum allowed and flow rate. You are forgetting Monaco where Rosberg was told to conserve fuel for a number of laps. That had nothing to do with the fuel regs, just that Mercedes underfuelled the car, on a circuit where consumption is never an issue.

        The teams should be made to publish the mass of fuel that each car starts the race with, I wonder how many would start with 100kg plus the parade and slow down lap requirement.

      2. W Johnson says:

        So what is the purpose of the rules on flow rate and maximum fuel allowed if they are not fuel saving rules as you claim?

      3. Andy says:

        @W Johnson The flow rate and maximum fuel capacity were introduced to ensure the engine manufacturers gave sufficient interesy to the electrical poer side of the power unit. Otherwise they would have largely ignored it and we would be back to the equivelant engines of the 80′s.
        It’s not for fuel conservation reasons but to force them to adopt hybrid power.

      4. FastGuy says:

        @W Johnson: excellent point, that fans trackside are unaware all the strategies being played out. A lot of it is reported on TV coverage, but do we hear all of it? I doubt it. So…racing should just be racing; ready, go, see you at the checkered flag. Either have none of these layers of intrigue, or find a way that every fan is up-to-the-minute on all of it. Either way, the fan is allowed to feel included, they can be as involved as they want to be. I’m tired of waiting for internet reports or TV shows to tell me about the race I just saw.

      5. mark says:

        how about instead of allowing up to 100 litres u have to put 100 litres in.
        then having a a efficent car will still help – only now it’ll help cause u get to use the savings in performance alone.

    4. Equin0x says:

      Where should we race then? Cheap, run down and dangerous places like phillip Island, Imola and Zandvoort? Maybe Oulton Park or Kyalami ??? Look the point is I don’t like the majority of the Tilke domes as much as the next person but these countries are willing to pay big money not only for Bernie but for the sport as a whole with latest facilities and safety its not a bad thing at all. The main problems are these ugly fart sounding cars and the dodgy tyres, regulations needs to change these cars needs to look and sound better, go faster and be more inovative in chassis design without the FIA banning anything new thats been discovered.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        How about F1 going back to a revamped Brands Hatch, Buenos Aires (the full 3.6 mile circuit, if it is still operational), Paul Ricard and Estoril?
        Just put the license fee at a much more reasonable and realistic rate, and that pipe dream could become a reality. That’s the issue – the cost of the license fee, hopefully in the not too distant future that fiscal elephant in the corner will be rectified………..here’s hoping!

      2. John Palmer says:

        You do know who owns Paul Ricard don’t you?
        The one and only Mr. E……

      3. Sebee says:

        The entire GP2 grid in Monaco should not be within 107% of F1 pole time. That was seriously the breaking point for me. The sound is crap, the green claims are fake, and once I saw the GP2 grid was ready to join the F1 grid based on lap time % my mind was made up.

        If a “green” F1 PU/engine car drives by and no one is there to hear it does it still make that pathetic weak hoover sound?

      4. Andy says:

        I don’t think anyone is making green claims, just that the engine is more fuel efficient. The power units have more power, tyres are harder and there is significantly less downforce, so on some circuits the gap to GP2 will close, only in the short term though.
        F1 is also about the pinnacle of technology, it’s not about using Climax engines from the 50′s and 60′s, or the DFV etc, because ‘that’s what I liked’.

      5. Sidecar says:

        Yes! That’s excatly what they need to do! Danger! That’s what it is about!!! I race sidecars, leathal machines that will kill you if you make a mistake and that’s what makes it exciting!!! Safety this safety that bla bla bla I’m a bloody racin driver. Bravery should be as important as skill. Its not knitting

      6. Lindsay says:

        Phillip Island is run down?

      7. Terry says:

        Well actually @ equin0xe
        I think those circuits you mentioned would be a great improvement.
        Don’t know about anyone else but I noticed an instant improvement to the show after lap 1 of A1 the ring’s reintroduction.More of the same re the last turn please.
        Also felt that F1′s steady decline in motor racing relevance began when the push to slow cars based upon safety issues was introduced,that concept makes no sense when one see’s NASCAR tanks smashing into the catch fence with zero injuries to spectators,gloss was also lost around the same time circuits like the original Hockenheimring were redesigned & Tilke tracks became the norm.
        Danger is the attraction,make no bones about that,not fuel saving stats or tyre management skills.

    5. Neil Jenney says:

      Agreed. This is a problem. If there were only three races a year would you pick Spa, Canada and Suzuka or China, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain?

      1. Sebee says:

        Can you honestly tell me that all 6 of these tracks have not supplied great GPs in the past? Can you honestly also tell me that all 6 always provide excitement guaranteed?

      2. Rudy says:

        Sebee, I think here the point is to try to recover good things and proven ideas, tracks, excitement from the past. No way in making F1 a retro sport, just adding the best ingredients to the mix, past and present.

      3. W Johnson says:

        Is nt Abu Dhabi a very difficult circuit for overtaking and isn’t this a Herman Tilke circuit? ……a Classic Tilke snooze fest.

    6. stoic says:

      I’m sure there a lot of reasons that F1 is in decline but I also believe that what you said is one of those major reasons.

    7. Joy says:

      The biggest problem, and the one causing the decline, is hiding F1 away behind pay walls.
      There has been a 22% decline in unique viewers in the UK since half the race were hidden away.

      1. Terry says:

        One graphic way to highlight the main issue in my opinion is this-
        What would happen to the amazing Isle of Man TT if the FIA had its way with it ?
        Or a B Ecclestone type entity became the rights holder to the show ?

      2. mark says:

        terry – u nailed it there.

      3. Grant says:

        +1000
        F1 footage in general is too heavily guided.
        You’d be hard pressed to catch a rebroadcasts of FP1 FP2 and FP3.

        TV is now interactive I should be able open a small window and see stats during the race (like purple sectors), and not have to rely on that Martin Brundle.

      4. John Palmer says:

        Buy the F1 App – lets you see all that that Martin Brundle does!

    8. Paul says:

      I think that moving to pay tv is part of the problem to. Audiences have declined in the UK after Sky got the rights no matter how good their coverage is, its only for a proportion of the audience. You can’t just tune in and watch. That means that you can’t just stop by and see all that advertising too! I think it was just a bad move.

  2. Greg says:

    How much do teams spend on the front wing alone per year? Of that spend how much of the development gets any track time? Simple solution, make the front wing a main plane and one flap on either side straight flat end plates. No fancy bits and pieces which take hours of wind tunnel time and thousands of pounds only to be tested and not raced.

    1. DirkWar says:

      Agreed. There would be space for sponsors logos too.
      The thing is with younger generation you need something to entice them. In my childhood F1 cars were worthy of being on a bedroom wall poster. They looked cool, fast and dangerous. A big number identified a favorite driver and confirmed it was a RACING car. Tyres were designed to go faster than any other tyre on any other car.
      Cars these days are so ugly and tracks very tame. Imaging today’s safer (faster) cars at the old Zeltweg track.
      If double points have to be done have a double length race at old Nurburgring.
      Speed = enticement.

    2. bmw1806 says:

      Quite agree! The current front wings are far too complicated and I, for one, do not understand what all those little integrated wings a flaps are for. Let’s just get back to the basics: flat out racing for 200 miles with none of these expensive accessories. Apart from the early 2000′s and the last 4 years there have always been exciting racing between the top drivers!

      1. Roberto says:

        ” ……………and I, for one, do not understand what all those little integrated wings a flaps are for.”

        Don’t worry, neither do the designers. Need proof? No two teams have front wings remotely like one another and the wing designs change, sometimes significantly, from race to race. Searching for an additional gram of down-force with one less gram of drag costs millions yet the answer is far from fully understood.

        The sport needs more mid-season engine development, less “green” foolishness, more restrictive (and greatly simplified) aero restrictions, and bigger tires.

    3. pjdc says:

      Totally agree

    4. PeterF says:

      Totally disagree.

      Innovation is what F1 is about and complex aero is part of that. I say cost cap and take all hands off. Let the team with the cleverest ideas within the budget spend win. This is NOT a static formula sport, it’s an inventive evolving sport. Set some safety parameters, set the budget and let’s see a show!

  3. Matt W says:

    Maybe make the sport free to air. The PPV model has won them money but not viewers and has been a disaster with the Red Bull and now Mercedes dominance.

    They also need to stop changing the rules every couple of seasons, fans like consistency. Bring back in season testing and commercialise it with sprint races (F1 version of 20/20 cricket), golden helmet awards for the fastest driver etc.

    It needs some creative thought, and less of the Ecclestone eccentricity.

    1. J N H says:

      Please no short races and tacky gimmicks. It’s a fatal mistake to assume that shortening a spectacle and adding shiny nothings will attract young people (like me), of the people I know who think F1 is dull (most of them) changes like that would merely upgrade it to dull and clueless.
      .
      I can get behind a move away from pay TV, it’s short term gain for a massive long term drop in viewers and coverage, I think the steady move to pay TV and the current lack of title sponsors are far more closely linked than any of F1′s big names care to admit to.
      .
      As for the racing, a move away from aero development has to be forced sooner or later. It will never happen but I would love to see a standardised front/rear wing and diffuser package that all the teams have to use, one with very little down force. Combine that with a degree of de-regulation of engines and suspension so the cars have more power and hopefully more low speed traction and you could have exciting racing more regularly. Even if not cars that drive sideways as much as forwards are fundamentally exciting, anyone who’s watched a drift event will know that by heart.

    2. Quercus says:

      I agree with your free-to-air point. PPV makes money for the broadcaster and raises a money for the sport’s owners by selling TV rights, but it devalues the audience quantity and quality for both advertisers and sponsors. I wonder if they’ve carried out an objective cost-benefit analysis?

    3. alexbookoo says:

      It seems pretty simple to me. They moved to a pay TV model across many countries and now they’re wondering why less people are watching. It’s true there are various things about the racing that the fans hate, but these don’t make any difference to most people if they can’t watch the races on TV. There have been periods in the past when the racing has been much more boring and yet the sport wasn’t in decline. What’s the point of improving the show if it’s hidden behind a paywall? It’s a completely inappropriate model for a sport that depends on sponsorship and casual viewers.

    4. Gaz Boy says:

      +1
      Yes! At last, somebody else recognises that free to air TV, or the lack of it is hurting F1.
      Australia (Channel 10) is the only country in the english speaking Commonwealth countries that has free to air live coverage of all the races, and bear in mind our friends Down Under have to get up 3 in the morning to watch the races in the New World. South Africa, New Zealand and Canada require subscription to watch live F1 races, although I’m not sure about English speaking enclaves such as Botswana, Guyana, Singapore and Hong Kong.
      Mind you, if the lack of free to air live coverage is based in the English speaking world is bad, it’s even worse here in Europe. Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Romania, Turkey, Serbia, France, Republic of Ireland, Holland, Norway, Finland and Poland – amongst others – all have to pay to watch live races, although there is delayed or edited highlights shows available free for those aforementioned countries.
      The countries that do have free to air live coverage of all the races as well as Australia include: Japan, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Albania, Azerbijan, Belgium, Czech Republic, India, Russia and Venezuela so perhaps it’s best to move to one of those countries!
      Still, that is a huge chunk of humanity that does not get free to air live coverage of grand prix racing…………….I rest my case.

      1. David M says:

        I live in Canada and I don’t require PPV, we get the BBC feed on TSN for all races. It is just part of our sports package which we do pay for as a subscription, but there isn’t free air TV anymore anyway.

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        Shocking isn’t it?
        Canada, like the other English speaking and Western European nations, is an industrialised, developed, modern country at the forefront of high technology and yet the competitive human-machine interaction that is at the forefront of technology and innovation isn’t available to watch live for free.
        How does that work out?
        Western Europe and the English speaking countries are the most technologically advanced countries on the planet and yet most of us who live there don’t get free access to the most technologically advanced sport on the planet………go figure.
        PS Delighted Canada has a 10 year contract to have the race at Montreal. Fabulous track, fabulous people, fabulous race. If only all circuits and countries could be like Canada and the Montreal circuit………….

      3. Allan says:

        @ David, I too am in Canada and would gladly pay via a PPV option for the F1 races because of the TSN coverage. Why on earth do they cut to commercials when there is some excitement on track. Then if there is an incident, they just carry on with those commercials, it really is dreadful.

        A true PPV with zero Commercials and the BBC Commentary would be just fantastic.

        I find that RDS (French Station) almost always goes to commercials at a different time, so channels swapping works to see the race almost in its entirety but as I am paying for TSN, I should not have to do this.

        As for your final statement, “but there isn’t free air TV anymore anyway”, you are quite wrong, lots of FTA and OTA Channels out there if you know where to look. I am just setting up a “C” band Dish for yet more free TV, hopefully finding the HD Feeds for F1 ready for the US GP.

      4. Michael in Sydney says:

        As a fan and an Australian, I do enjoy the FTA viewing of F1 on Channel 10. Without it, I wouldn’t, or rather couldn’t, follow it effectively enough. And what’s more, nor could my 8 year old son who loves cars and is very keen on F1.

        More to the point, we had the Top Gear show roll in a few months back. Red Bull had Daniel Ricciardo on standby in the RB10. What a sound!!! And what did my son and his friends say: “Why do the current cars sound so strange?”

        All these rules and regs in the name of technological development, (I do agree with the view that F1 should not be a static formula), are actually stifling the sport. There is a fine balance that needs to be struck.

        The push areas to save money strike me as the biggest irony in modern motor sport and other more sensible areas of cost saving need to be identified and introduced.

    5. Voodoopunk says:

      “and commercialise it with sprint races (F1 version of 20/20 cricket”

      There’s the problem, right there.

      Cricket doesn’t need 20/20 it needs more test matches.

    6. Andy James says:

      Wholeheartedly agree re PPV.

      F1 used to have a huge following in the UK but now it requires a Sky package to watch it the viewing figures have plummeted. Yes there’s a revenue boost for the sport/Bernie as it gets its share of the subscriptions, but I wonder what the net figure is when you offset it against lost revenues from a declining audience. It may well be negligible now but the longer it stays away from free-to-air TV the more (and quicker) the audience decline will be.

      And when it’s PPV, where are the casual viewers and new converts going to come from?

      I’m a huge fan of F1 and I used to watch every race when it was live and free-to-air. When half of the season went to Sky I only watched the live BBC races. The reruns are at less convenient times; they are highlights, so there’s always that feeling that you might have missed something; it’s too much hassle to try and avoid finding out the result beforehand; and the knowledge that it’s not actually a live race your are watching removes a huge amount of the excitement from my point of view.

      I moved house not long ago and the new place doesn’t have a TV aerial, and I do’t watch enough TV to justify getting one. Now, even the few BBC races that are shown live aren’t available on iPlayer til hours later, and those which aren’t live? Well, by the time the BBC have shown their highlights programme and taken their time to get it on iPlayer it’s too late for me to watch, so it would be Monday evening at best before I got a chance to watch the race. It would be nigh on impossible to have got through a day of news and conversations with work colleagues (not to mention the publication of the Fantasy F1 results!) without learning the result.

      The upshot of all this is that this season I haven’t watched a single race. I will sometimes listen to the radio (though that’s where the lack of noise from the new engines really makes an impact) but more often than not read about the race across multiple news websites.

      I agree that we need some excitement in terms of on-track action, derring-do and ear-splitting noise, but it’s not just the spectacle that brings fans to F1 (and keeps them there), it’s the accessibility. There’s no point in having a spectacular show if it’s effectively sectioned off from most of those who want to see it.

      1. PeterG says:

        The PPV deal doesn’t bother me as I think the sky coverage is by far the best I’ve ever watched.

        Every session live & fully interactive with a variety of video options on TV, Online & mobile.
        All the F1 support race sessions live & uninterrupted.
        Classic races every day.
        A dedicated F1 show every Friday.
        Various other programs looking at legends & a new one coming up which will include never before seen archive footage.
        The brilliant Skypad which allows for indepth & detailed analysis.
        And a great commentary team & other analysts like Hill, Herbert & Davidson.

        If F1 moved off Sky & we lost the interactive aspect for every session, Had the race full of commercials & no longer had any of the other shows or archive races it would be a bad loss :(

    7. Andy says:

      It was free to air until the BBC wanted out. They went to Sky and asked them to take on their full live commitment because they wanted to ‘save money’. So it was not driven by Bernie or Sky, but the BBC.

      1. Quercus says:

        You don’t think the BBC wanted to save money because Bernie had asked too much for the rights, which in turn made free-to-air not viable?

      2. Andy says:

        The BBC needed to save money because the license fee was frozen, plus the fact that they often squander it. At the time, the BBC said the new deal with only half of the races live, would save them £150 million, which considering they are still sending the same crew to all races, that saving is all down to the cost rights.

        It wasn’t as if the BBC were at the end of a contract and Bernie had hiked the fees, they were halfway through, so they had fixed costs which they new about when they signed the deal. What is crippling the sport is the individual deals Bernie has with some of the teams, distorted prize funds and some circuit promoters who are being milked dry, while others aren’t.

        Compared to some other equivalant level sports, the rights fees are probably good value, but it’s the circuit promoters, fans and some of the teams that are being ripped off.

      3. flesh says:

        @andy the reason why the bbc sold most of the races to sky was in response to the government refusing to allow the bbc to increase the cost of the tv license by an extorionate amount of money. they basically tried to use the rights to f1 as a bargaining tool and when it failed they spat out there dummy and we are left with the rubbish we have now. I cannot believe that this years Monaco gp was not on their list of live races it beggars believe. I now know there are no limits or lines that will not get crossed so auntie can generate money. now that should not be a bad thing if the very people who your business serves reap the benefits. but the bbc has a history of being self serving. i don’t want this post to be a polemic about the financial turpitude at the bbc but as a viewer and an f1 fan i feel betrayed and totally let down and this is just one of the reason why f1 numbers are falling. money for so many people is there only object of worship. and until the real needs and wishes of the viewing public are addressed the viewing figures and fan base will continue to diminish!

      4. Andy says:

        I don’t know, but I assume the BBC have to agree the live races with Sky, it’s probably part of the deal.
        I felt let down by the BBC for going back on a deal, on the flip side, I have always subscribed to Sky Sports and they do it better than the BBC, in the same way that ITV improved the coverage over what the BBC had done previously (except for the ads).
        The nature of the BBC is that they can only ‘play’ with sports and cannot give them the coverage they deserve, except for sports such as Wimbledon that they have to cover.
        Perhaps if the BBC had not wasted £100 million on their Digital Media Initiative, which yeilded nothing, no assets, nothing, then you maybe could still be watching all F1 races live on the BBC.

    8. Hello says:

      That sounds crazy.

  4. Robert says:

    If Montezemolo and Ecclestone are in agreement on _anything_, my first thought is that it is probably a bad idea. Bernie is the one that has done INCALCULABLE DAMAGE to the sport, mainly by pursuing lucrative new races in markets that have no F1 tradition, no fan base, and escalating ticket prices. A proper F1 fan used to KNOW they would attend their home race, and then as many nearby races over the season as they could get too. Nowadays, with Bernie’s fees to hold a race well into the stratosphere, these races are not in fan-friendly places (why ISN”T France having a GP??), but in far-flung oil-rich third-world countries that are inaccessible to most, and in some cases not even that desirable/affordable as a destination to visit. Meanwhile, the price of that home GP ticket has reached the point where an F1 fan that has a family to take has to take a cold, hard look at his ability to buy 4 tickets, pay for parking, concessions, a shirt or two…and realises it will cost him as much as taking his family away for a week in the Canary Islands! So for many, even the home races is no longer an automatic purchase.

    F1 has gotten greedy, at the expense of the smaller teams (who get a very unfair percentage of the income stream) and the fans. And nearly EVERY fan knows this. So – Mr. Ferrari, and Mr. CVC-frontman – YOU are the PROBLEMS, NOT THE SOLUTION. Ferrari have pushed for a highly unequal compensation structure for years, and achieved it at the expense of the sport. Bernie has done everything to optimise CVC ROI by whoring the sport to despots eager to prove that they have arrived.

    The decline of the sport with fans was cemented when Bernie turned it into an investment vehicle, rather than a race of vehicles. No changes to the engines, tyres, DRS, or sporting regulations will fix this. It is true that there must be a root and branch rethink of F1 – but it involves getting rid of Bernie, CVC, and reducing the power of the top teams, and returning the helm of the sport to someone that actually has a focus on producing a sport that creates and nurture a substantial base of rabid fans to sustain it over the next few decades. Without the core fan base growth, F1 will simply evaporate as the car itself becomes less central to modern life in many countries.

    1. Serj says:

      Very good post. I agree with you at all, but somehow ‘getting rid of Bernie, CVC’ looks like imposibble task for anyone… sadly…

    2. Doug says:

      Very well said!

      The racing is as good as ever…but if people can’t afford to watch it live or on TV then F1 is doomed!
      Get it back on FTA TV worldwide and reduce ticket prices…there are only so many rich people in the world..the more expensive it gets…the fewer the viewers…and sponsors like viewers!

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      Well said, F1′s root problems in a nutshell.

    4. Expanding the F1 championship to new territories can work. Just look at Singapore, Austin, Shanghai or even Bahrain when scheduled outside of working hours! If you go to China or Singapore, you’ll see there’s growing local enthusiasm and fans are really knowledgeable now, so I don’t think the whole far flung argument works, especially when the biggest attendance of the year is in Melbourne, Australia with over 300,000 spectators over the four day weekend! And Canada is probably the most fan-friendly race round on the calendar.

      I agree with you that some other places can fail. Malaysia, Korea and India most notably but this is not the reason for the decline. Magny-Cours is in the middle of nowhere, with little accommodation nearby. There just isn’t a suitable location in France at the moment and too many grands prix close to the country such as Barcelona, Monaco, Hockenheim, Spa and Monza which are all less than a two hour drive from the border.

      What this also mean is that whilst expensive, ticket sales level are actually quite healthy. The business model is not for everyone to be able to afford to go, but for all seats to sell out. However, more efforts need to be made to provide value to the Paddock Club customers who pay a lot more than the equivalent for rugby or cricket hospitality and get little more. The fact that circuit promoters find it tough because of the huge fees that come with hosting an F1 weekend has no impact on the decline.

      The problem, as I see it, is mostly showing the races on Pay TV only in some countries and not allowing potential fans to stumble upon a race and be wowed by the racing. Football is practised in schools or locally. Motor racing isn’t and the same business model cannot be successful.

    5. pietro says:

      Very well said, sir!

    6. DarrenD says:

      If I could write as clearly as you I might have liked to say exactly the same thing. Good summary of what is wrong with the sport.

    7. Canadian Fan says:

      AMEN to the above!

      …And the new power units aren’t exciting, either…

    8. Elie says:

      Very well said

    9. CH says:

      Your first sentence is a classic. When one of them speaks it’s for sleight of hand distraction. ‘Sport’ is just a nice spin word when it serves some other purpose of theirs. What is most important is what is not said in public, such as the unequal compensation you mention. Would BE give up an ounce of power or moolah if any change for the good of the sport meant that? Would Todt? Similarly, would Ferrari give up their special deal?

      Just idle noise-making from the big players club house, nothing really to do with the fans or the heart of the sport.

  5. Jackobite says:

    Double points, FIA need to step back a bit and stop interfering with the results, however Montazemalo is interested only in Ferrari, if they were winning everything would be fine.

    F1 is doing just fine from where im sitting, I remember Buttons Canada, Kimis “l Know what Im doing” this years Bahrain, this year Canada too, great races.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “F1 is doing just fine from where im sitting”

      Unfortunately you’re sitting in the wrong place.

  6. Kristiane says:

    Quite a list of things that contribute:

    1. Pirelli being too vocal and too keen to be part of ‘improving the show’ by fiddling about with tyres. Just supply tyres, stand by and enjoy the show, like how Bridgestone has always done. The aren’t the main cast of the show and they need to understand that. I think fans had enough of them keep mentioning about tyres, tyres and tyres every single race to remind people of their presence for the past few years. Though I must say they have definitely improved in doing so this year than in the past.

    2. Car designs since 2009. Fans have been very vocal about the cars’ ugliness since then, and it’s been getting worse and worse. Do away with narrow and high rear-wings and fat front wings, if you don’t like flip-up aero devices then yes remove them but don’t mess about with the wings!

    3. FiA keep messing about with rules. Stop making knee-jerk reactions! We don’t need medals, nor do we need double points. Fans have been vocal about these issues and they never seem to listen. Now things don’t work, they wonder why AND ask fans to suggest things. What?! Fans HAVE suggested things, fans HAVE voiced out things we don’t need, FiA didn’t and never listened.

    4. Make the F1 races available on more platform. It’s been suggested for years to have it available on the internet. I for one don’t watch TV a lot, nor do I find it convenient to watch races live due to time zone issues. I would definitely find it a lot more appealing if FiA make races available online live AND able to rewatch afterwards. Bring in subscription plans if you must but make it available online rather than being so darn stubborn and naively believe technology are nothing but evil! Internet offers opportunities, not threats! It’s only a threat if you don’t plan it well from the start and manage it well in the process!

    5. “OVERTAKING” is one word that has really annoyed me, it was the wrong word for the correct thing. “Overtaking” is simply an act of one car passing another, which can be done by genuinely fighting and taking a position, or merely a faster car overtaking or lapping a slower car. The former is exciting through “fights”, latter is merely a pass and done. What we want are “fights” for positions, not merely overtaking. The FiA misled everyone in their past attempt to spice up the show, this in turn led to more wrong turns taken through the introduction of the DRS (though to wipe out McLaren’s F-duct advantage was also part of it I believe).

    6. KERS is improving IMO and I feel fine with it, but don’t make it such a straight forward pass for the driver behind, at least give the guy in front a chance to defend. This I feel has improved since it’s introduction.

    7. Regarding engines I somehow adapted myself and feel fine with it now, and through today’s cars I get to hear what I couldn’t before, like tyres squealing, gears, etc., so it brings in new things which I find interesting in terms of sound. Though I admit I still miss the high pitch revving days and listening to those engines of the past still excite me a lot more.

    This time, FiA, I hope you are genuinely listening to fans.

    For readers here, whether you may agree or disagree with me, feel free to put forward your thoughts.

    1. Roberts says:

      I agree with your comments. F1 has done surveys in the past but they weren’t listened to and the surveys didn’t ask the correct questions. During 2000 to 2007 for example not much was said about the sport doing soul searching even though one team was winning a lot. Back then they spent 150m+ but we had testing which was free to attend and free to air TV. Now we have TV acces to the ppractice sessions but little the fans can get close to.

    2. Quercus says:

      1. Don’t blame Pirelli: they were only doing what was asked of them.
      2. Too right. Design the rules to ensure beautiful cars.
      3. Agreed. Get the rules right and stick with them.
      4. Paying for viewing will reduce the global audience. By all means have a paid service for insight, behind-the-scenes and on-screen data to enhance the viewing for a sophisticated audience but ‘basic’, live F1 coverage must be kept free to view otherwise the audience will shrink over time.
      5. Agreed. Any ‘artificially-created’ excitement is a sham that will bee seen through and will detract.
      6. ERS are fine as, unlike DRS, it’s not artificial. It’s just part of maximising performance.
      7. Agreed. I like the new unique sound which frames a new era, just like the distinctive sounds of other eras.

      1. Waseem says:

        They even took away live sector timing from the F1 website. So the only way to get it now, is to pay for it or watch it delayed on Sky’s Pad thingy.

        They should offer 2 viewing options.

        1) FTA Live feed of the race.

        2) Paid for live race,
        - Extra on screen information,
        - Portal to login to which provides all of the audio between drivers and engineers,
        live timing by sector,
        - Picture in Picture (on the tv, not app),
        - Quality build up of the race,
        - Excellent post race coverage showing interviews with every team principal and every driver
        It should be a truly immersive experience for “a sophisticated audience”

        I think the above covers both basis, FTA keeps the viewing figures up, Fans wiling to pay get fantastic value for money.

  7. Tom Richards says:

    I understand that there has been some good, old-fashioned, proper racing between Hamilton and Rosberg at the front of the pack this year, but I’m afraid I’ve not seen any of it because I find the rest of the race so terminally dull and impossible to watch. The last race I watched from beginning to end was Spa in 2012.

    I don’t want to tune in to a race to hear pundits talking about tyre management, and race engineers telling their drivers to slow down to save fuel. It’s at risk of sounding like commentary on someone’s daily commute to work. No, I want to tune in to see and hear actual racing.

    I can’t help but feel that a budget cap on development would be an excellent idea, purely because I’d hope it would lead to a little more parity between constructors. The other thing would be to re-introduce refuelling, bringing an end to the insufferable comments about fuel flow. And ‘slowing down’.

    It’s F1, for heaven’s sake – whether a symptom of an uncompetitive car or having to reduce their fuel consumption, if drivers aren’t actually racing, then there’s simply no point.

    1. FastGuy says:

      There it is. Exactly right.

  8. DanFalleh says:

    Personally I like current F1… but saying that – I’m a seasoned fan with a liking towards technical stuff, and honestly not a real target for F1 (I’m a TV fan and sport as such probably should have a look at people at the circuits as well or even more).

    I think the biggest problem is that there is no clear strategy between FOM/FIA/Teams. It would be good for FOM or CVC to conduct a good research into what are the core values of F1 as seen by current and past fans and if potential fans care about those values at all. If they do – what do they associate with them: it might be something completely different to what we used to (e.g. sportsmanship – I believe todays 15yr olds might see it completely different than 30+ people like myself not to mention 50+ folks). Another filter on that would be getting an idea of who are future fans F1 wants to lure to the sport. Only knowing that one can build a long term strategy and shape F1 into a successfull enterprise. Of course, I’d love the sport to go digital (I really have problems with coordinating F1 races with my other activities and would consider a subscribtion model that would e.g. allow me to watch it with a minimum delay from a tablet or something). But these are technicalities – F1 doesn’t lose fans because of that (or effects are probably not making for the difference in TV audiences to be precise).

    So shortly – make the research :-) To be honest when I hear about some dumb artificial sparks and loud exhaust stuff I just want to scream and run :( This is making the whole thing more artificial for the sake of… I don’t know what. F1 needs to be real racing, but to achieve that, one first has to know what real racing is.

    Cheers
    DF

  9. Kristiane says:

    One thing to add to my post above:

    The inconsistencies in judging of race matters.

    I.e. why was Rosberg let away with a penalty in Canada? Why was Grosjean given a race ban when Maldo wasn’t given any in 2012?

    Before anyone starts, I like Rosberg as much as I do for Hamilton or any other driver, and I feel Grosjean has grown up a lot since 2012 so no bashing please, I am merely focusing on the consistencies of race stewards’ judgment than drivers here.

  10. davey says:

    The problem for me is that this constant push to improve ‘the show’ is taking away everything I used to love about this sport.

    DRS, Pirelli tyres, Double points, Artificial sparks, standing starts after safety car its all just artificial nonsence which is taking away the great racing which not only got me hooked on F1 but has also kept me hooked for the 30+ years I have been hooked.

    The past 3-4 years I have been slowly but surely losing interest in F1, Every time I get excited over a good fight for position its immediately killed by DRS producing an overtake thats about as interesting & exciting to watch as paint dry.
    You get drivers backing off to manage the tyres at levels far beyond anything I’ve seen in the past with these ridiculous made to degrade pirelli’s.

    The 2014 regulation change has rekindled my interest somewhat as I love the way these engines actually have torque to challenge the drivers & how the downforce reduction has drivers fighting the cars more than the past decade. The spectacle of watching F1 cars been driven is back & I do like that & I do think that the racing has been better this year than it has the past 3, However it still breaks my heart everytime I see DRS destroy a good racing battle & make a pass stupidly easy as that just doesn’t interest or excite me at all.

    F1 needs to go back to been a pure racing series & ditch all the artificial gimmicks they have introduced the past 3 years, Thats whats hurting it more than anything.

    1. Alastair Purves says:

      Well said. I’d been considering posting but you’ve just made my points for me.

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      “The 2014 regulation change has rekindled my interest somewhat”

      Isn’t it strange that the 2014 regulation changes made me lose complete interest.

      1. Mast says:

        Isn’t it strange that you read and reply to a message board re. F1 yetyou lost complete interest.

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        Not really no.

  11. Thompson says:

    This is soooooo stupid….

    F1/Bernie are the architects of there own perceived demise……greed.

    Give F1 back to the public, take it out of the hands of pay per view tv and give it back to free to air stations.( llike the BBC)

    This is the main reason f1 is fading from the public conscious – all the changes the drivers suggested in their press conference won’t. mean squat if no one can see it.

    Its going the way of most sports chasing coin with PvP tv deals.

    As for that Ferarri guy someone in the crowd should hide and shout Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh shhhaaaaadaapppppppp!! The moment he opens his mouth..

    You should do it James – Don’t for get to disguise your voice aswell.

  12. Adam Reynolds (@jodrell) says:

    “The answer, as everyone knows, lies in the digital world, in social media and mobile platforms.”, No no NO!

    http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vxi9t

    The answer is with the TV rights. You certainly can’t complain about the quality of the races this year, and despite everyone banging on about it being an efficiency formula now we’ve yet to see a race significantly impacted by fuel saving, certainly not as much as tyre saving impacted things last year.

    “viewer numbers are dropping and why the under 25s are not engaging with it”. Viewer numbers are dropping because fewer people have the opportunity to watch races now that the rights in more and more countries are moving their coverage to Pay TV, and the reason why under 25s, or any aged new viewers, aren’t engaging is because it’s increasingly difficult to stumble across an F1 race and get hooked.

    Bernie & Co’s priorities are so far out of whack it’s just not funny. The changes media rights in the last view years have been massively short sighted and regardless of what happens on the track, with the rules or the technology if something does change soon F1 is going to be in real trouble.

    1. Jim says:

      Spot on, couldn’t agree more.

  13. Oliver says:

    Simplify, reduce cost, stay relevant. All of the key ingredients are there, but complaints about the noise etc is a distraction. Most people who enjoy F1 watch on TV – the sound is irrelevant. I would make a few comments though.

    I love the idea that the cars are more efficient – but the way in which the rules are made confuse the whole issue. If F1 is to drive innovation just set a fuel limit – let the teams decide how best to keep to the limit – then they will come up with some new and exciting innovations to do it.

    The aerodynamic rules are also massively confusing. I would simplify these too – so there might be the occasional run-away team – but teams will adjust and catch up. Reducing downforce to facilitate competition seems counter to the idea of innovation. Overtaking is exciting – but creating tools for drivers to make it easier is also silly. If you reduce the number of rules maybe the teams will come up with their own way of giving their drivers an advantage.

    Personally I would prefer a simple set of rules governing fuel consumption and safety.

    As for costs – split revenue equally, reduce the price of tickets at the track. It would help competitiveness and get people to visit the show.

  14. The paddyman says:

    It’s like anything….give time for the new engine format to bed itself…Luca is only interested in Ferrari coming first and only first…to hell with everyone else…he would be happy if just themselves, Ferrari were racing..!

  15. Graeme says:

    F1 is doing a great job of alienating itself from its own fans. Madcap ideas like double points only diminsh credibility of the championship, further undermined by contrived aids like DRS adding a false element to the racing.
    Also, how do you expect UK viewing figures to go when your media wheeling and dealing prevents many live races, including the jewel in the crown Monaco GP, from being shown by the BBC.
    Customers know when their interests are not the priority and simply find something else to follow.

  16. Matt says:

    To be honest I really don’t understand all the criticism regarding the on track action this year. Agreed that F1 needs to get it house in order off the track regarding revenue distribution, cost control, social media etc, but the racing has been brilliant this year!

    I have not missed a race since 1995 and the start of this year has been as exciting as any that I can remember, with the possible exception being 2012 when we had 7 different winners in the first 7 races.

    Yes we have one team that is dominating, but that is often a functon of new rules being introduced. The other teams will catch Mercedes over time. Even so, the battles between Nico and Lewis at the front have been epic and you never know who is going to prevail as overtaking is now a distinct possibility, although not a given. The man who qualifies ahead is no longer guaranteed to win if he has a clean race, as has nkt always been the case in previous eras of the sport. In a nutshell, you just don’t know what will happen.

    The battle behind Mercedes has been equally enthralling and the mid field keeps getting more competitive every year.

    The current qualifying format is the best it’s ever been, with action taking place during the whole hour and a result not being decided until after the chequered flag has fallen.

    Pirelli seem to have produced an acceptable tyre range which degrade but not too quickly, allowing the drivers to push more than the last couple of seasons. Strategy is still quite varied and unpredictable as a result. Hands up who thought Massa was going to the end on one stop in Canada, only for him to peel into the puts and then hunt down the leading pack on new rubber?

    So we can do away with gimmicks like double points, standing starts after the safety car and stewards who seem to have forgotten the definition of a racing incident. What we have before us is just great.

    The sooner the off track politics take a back seat to the brilliant racing the better.

    And one more thing to the sports bickering power brokers. Please remember that you are temporary custodians of the sport, please put personal interests to one side for the greater good and everyone will be better off.

    1. Andy says:

      I agree with you. As for the standing starts after a safety car – what’s that all about? All it means is you don’t need a safety car, just throw a red flag.

      There are some incredibly clever people in F1, but when it comes to simple common sense things, they haven’t got a clue.

  17. Leigh Woolford says:

    When Luca Montezemolo says “Formula One isn’t working,” what he is actually saying is “Ferrari isn’t winning”. All he wants is some more of the usual unfair assistance that restores them to the top table.

    Furthermore, in my opinion he is fighting for his job at Ferrari and will try anything to defelct for his utter failure in his role.

    1. Andrew M says:

      Totally agreed, F1 certainly has issues that can be addressed, but it’s hard to take them all too seriously when di Montezemolo is their mouthpiece.

  18. Ben says:

    I often see the comments about the number of viewers reducing and can’t help but feel this is in a large part due to the switch to pay TV. Being able to only watch half the races live in the UK without spending a large amount of money can only drive away viewers. All the changes to the sport in the world won’t help when viewers simply can’t afford to watch.

    The Vettel dominance probably hasn’t helped, but individual races have certainly been exciting during that time, so I don’t feel it can have as major an effect as people claim.

    1. Andrew M says:

      To be fair, global TV audiences have been falling since 2008 (according to that global TV survey that is brough out once a year), which pre-dates the move to pay TV in most major market, but obviously that didn’t help. However, that also demonstrates that it’s not just the 2014 rules that are to blame, it’s the direction the sport has been heading in for the last few years.

    2. Roger says:

      Also note increasing numbers of cord cutters. I’ve only seen one race in the last 13 years because I happened to be at someones house who had TV service. I am very well served for information and entertainment online, but no useful F1.

  19. AuraF1 says:

    I think it’s relatively simple – free to air TV so audiences can grow organically, more social media and web delivered platforms, cost controls to make the grid less inclined to one or two winning teams, as the engineering group themselves mentioned a few years back – a return to a modern curtain ground effect and removal of much of the aero systems to allow close racing and passing.

    It’s not rocket science really, it’s just short term greed is mixed up with financial meltdown and nobody wants to give away a tiny advantage if it makes the racing closer.

  20. Tracy Hill says:

    F1 needs to be free to view in every country. You are never going to attract a future audience and capture the imagination of those first timers who might have watched “by mistake” for the first time, if you have to pay to watch all races live on a digital channel.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Agreed.

      After all, by mistake is how I started watching F1 years ago – I didn’t just wake up one morning and say I’ve decided that I’m going to watch F1 now so if it hadn’t happened to be on TV that night I wouldn’t have a clue.

      Luckily we still get FTA in Aus so I don’t have the dilemma of choosing whether or not I would pay for something like Sky or PPV, but if I didn’t already watch F1? No chance.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Make the most of it Random – Australia is the only country – the only country! – in the English speaking world that gets free to air live coverage of ALL the races.
        How did Channel 10 do it? I guess Jonsey probably threatened to punch Mr E’s lights out if Channel 10 had to make do with edited highlights for half the races!
        Still, just think of your English speaking “neighbours” across the Tasman Sea (New Zealand), across the Indian Ocean (South Africa) or across the Pacific Ocean (USA and Canada) who have to pay Mr E/FOM a considerable amount of their hard earned salary to watch those 20 odd lunatics every 2nd week.
        PS East Timor, Papau New Guniea and the Solomon Islands are immediately north of AUS aren’t they? Can they pick up Channel 10 too?

      2. Random 79 says:

        For your first question, I’m not sure but however Ten managed it let’s hope they can keep on doing it :)

        For your last question, I’m not sure but at a guess I’d say negative.

      3. Michael says:

        Let’s see what time brings as our beloved Channel 10 is being encircled by corporate investors. It’s own financial position is a bit shaky by all accounts, has been for a while but continues to hang in there.

        Australia may be large but we only have some 22 million people. This impacts advertising spend and we see the same advertisers with longer term deals. This supports its standalone delivery on Ch 10. The same applies fir MotoGP and the V8′s over on Ch 7.

        I would say that Kiwi motoring fans are, per capita, a big multiple more than Aussies. I think Ch 10 or 7 goes to NZ but not certain.

  21. Dmitry says:

    Shock. Well, actually no – those, who cried and pushed for changes, now are unhappy.
    Let’s remove Montezemolo from the sport and see what happens. Just for the start.
    If it doesnt help, I honestly think that removing one- two (or several) other figures from F1 will solve all issues, and allow the sport to move to a bright future.

    And by the way – in years I am more than happy where and how F1 ended up. I can’t understand these talks about “decline” and loss of soul.

    1. rasbob says:

      “those, who cried and pushed for changes, now are unhappy.”

      That’s because by and large the changes that were made were not the changes that the fans were asking for, unfortunately…..

  22. ChipRock says:

    As far as audience figures go – it sure would help if Sky hadn’t ruined things in the UK. I’ve followed F1 for a good fifteen years or so, but without a full free to air schedule I just can’t keep up the interest. It’s nice to catch the odd session on BBC, but I don’t watch every single thing – what’s the point? I’m certainly not going to pay for a full Sky package just for F1 – it makes rather poor financial sense. I’m actually not averse to paying to watch F1 though, and I’d prefer to see an online streaming subscription service. How about a basic package for every single race of the year, and then increase the price for qualy, practice, interviews, and so on. I’m talking direct from F1 group, cut out TV people all together.
    In other areas – I think the main problem is the regular changes in regulations, sporting and technical. This isn’t a need to ‘Dumb Down’ or anything – just make it easier for a casual viewer to pick it up without following season after season. Pick some rules and stick with ‘em! The past few years feel like a rollercoaster of changes that hardly anyone has the time to get used to before it’s decided they don’t work and need to be changed again.

    1. DAVE Emberton says:

      For TV audiences to grow, it’s the casual fans that need to be attracted and the casual fans aren’t going to fork out for pay TV it’s true. However F1 is on free to air TV in the UK (once you pay £11 per month anyway), and I don’t think the casual fans care that much about not seeing every race live or that they get an hour and a half highlights out of an hour and forty minute race. So don’t blame Sky (whose coverage is fantastic for us serious fans) when there’s a free-ish alternative.

  23. Ben says:

    There is an Elephant in the room and that is Bernie’s trial. Not until the results of that are known can anyone really make any decisions. This to me is a big hint of politicking trying to ensure they are in the most powerful position to take advantage if/when Bernie is found guilty.

    I think it is pretty obvious that the biggest problems are that F1 is now behind a pay wall and the massively unfair distribution of the prize funds. It would be really great that who ever is found for Bernie’s replacement actually has the sports best interest at heart rather than just trying to squeeze the most amount of money out of it.

  24. James, this is a great question and one that has indeed been thrown into sharp focus this season. Here’s my take…
    F1 needs to decide if it’s a technology demonstration/development series or a visceral, best of the best racing series. With Formula E on the horizon, the need for F1 to be a proving ground for electrical power integration into automobiles is greatly reduced, so emphasis should be returned to other aspects of automotive technology that can benefit the mainstream, ie. Engines, transmission, brakes, etc. & bring back the soul wrenching scream of the V8/V10 era, for the vast majority of fans who can’t see it live. Rather than trying to cut costs by radically changing the regs every few years, costing the teams extra R&D money, why not impose a spending cap? It’s done in other sports and F1 would benefit from seeing who could be the most clever with exactly the same budget. It could have the effect of levelling the playing field.
    One other thing is North American TV broadcasts. Here in Canada, I no longer watch TSN’s F1 presentation, preferring to download BBC or SkyF1 a day or two later. Why? The TSN broadcast takes the BBC feed from formation lap to the very end of the podium. No pre-race ramp up, no post race analysis. Plus there are commercial breaks – Speed in the US has them about every five minutes! The quality of the show we get to see is minimal, constantly interrupted and lacks any of the richness of the U.K. productions. If F1 is going to make it’s mark in N. America, it has to reach more people, with a better televisual product.
    Formula 1… The Pinacle of Motorsport. They need to take that to heart.

    Cheers!
    Leighton Matthews
    Vancouver, BC
    Canada

    1. Kieran Donnelly says:

      The ad breaks in the States are insane – makes it very hard to follow a race to any degree

  25. Aderac says:

    I think the circuits have to take some of the blame, I enjoy the races on the old tracks like Canada, monza etc. But the new tracks are big open spaces with HUGE run off areas that don’t create the same feeling of speed and skill.
    The cars will always change, and I’m sure Brundle has said more than once that drivers have always fuel saved, so I don’t think they’re the issue, except maybe less aero more mechanical, which has been said so many times now!
    So basically, stop giving contracts to Tilke to design boring circuits!

  26. Tim says:

    It’s pay TV. Having half the season on Sky limited my viewing the first year, even while I tried hard to get to pubs to watch. Since I simply haven’t bothered and haven’t felt like I’m missing much. It’s hard to get involved and excited if you don’t know whether you can watch. It also undermines any prospect I’ll make a third visit to Silverstone – why would I when I’m not keeping up?

    Lesser factors include the push to pass gimmicks and double points at the finale this year. What’s the point?

    1. Andy says:

      You should blame the BBC then, no-one else. They offloaded their live coverage commitments to Sky because they needed to save money after squandering it elsewhere.

  27. Jonathan Kelk says:

    Getting many more people to watch F1 is simple in many countries – let us watch it!!

    Restricting the viewing of most of the races to expensive satellite packages has crippled viewing figures here in the UK.

    Such an obvious point, why are they even asking?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Hey because if they put titanium boards on to make some sparks fly you’ll automatically get 5 million more people shelling out for Sky HD! Why can nobody see this?? ;)

      1. Random 79 says:

        Mmmmm…sparkles…. :D

  28. Luca says:

    I do not recommend catching up with the BBC’s red button service …The combination of “quiet” racing and seemingly circuits with very few spectators can combine to make this billion-dollar industry look and feel extremely tame.

    Wide shots of a semi-deserted racetrack together with the high-pitched voice-over of an all-to-obviously paid-to-be-excited commentator can combine to produce the sort of eccentric “train-spottery” content with no appeal except for the extremely motivated follower of F1.

    Problem is, if you do choose to pay attention, you might discover soon enough that the result of the whole 3-day excercise could be a foregone conclusion too. Because those cars powered by a certain type of engine are likely to dominate till the end of the season since other teams cannot spend their way to better top-line speeds …

    Eventually and with considerable regret one comes to the conclusion that today’s new Formula 1 does not look like an activity for which either a Prancing Horse or a Red Bull seem particularly well suited. And suddenly those supercars start to look particularly tasty and even the touring car coverage has a new glow about it …

  29. Derek Warwick says:

    So the drivers want F1 to be more exciting, let’s start with the drivers. Tell them not to take themselves to seriously, go & watch Moto GP where every riders is smiling, jump for joy when they win & always intergrate with the fans.

    Watching a drivers press conference is quite ridicules, they don’t want to be there. They mutter to each other when someone else is talking, they did have mobiles & was texting until it was recently stopped. They don’t care, few give anything back to our sport, I’m not blaming them for the decline but they are part of the problem.

    Stop everyone in F1 doing there dirty washing in public, if changes are agreed like skid plates, more noise, more fuel, less fuel, just do it. Not take ten meeting to agree it, do I want or care that F1 is more efficient than last year NO, has F1 got too expensive 100% yes, take this decision away from the teams & do something about it. Are the cars too quite, yes marginally but the positives are far greater with the way the cars are to drive, that’s what we should be talking about.

    Formula One has got too formal, corporate & complicated in its governance. Nothing gets done because of the way F1 is run, there are too many obstacles & self wants. Instead of saying ok, let’s make decisions based on what best for our sport & F1?

    I could go on but my fingers are hurting & I’m getting toooooooo upset.

    Rgds

    Derek

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Hello Derek!
      Pity Niki the Rat biffed into the side of your Renault at the 1984 Rio GP which caused the suspension to collapse when you were leading and seemingly en route to grand prix victory…………..

    2. Phil Glass says:

      Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

      People are interested in the racing not regimented PR situations. Yes they want to know about drivers and their personalities and their news, etc. But they want them to be themselves first of all. They don’t want to see endless predictable yap yap. Have you considered why, eg, Kimi Raikkonen is the most popular of the drivers? I’d say in part, because he prefers to be himself and to make honesty a priority.

      1. Elie says:

        Totally agree Phil- did you see Kimi in the morning before the fans- he was blown away. There were thousands..there is one word that this reflects what F1 is truly missing

        GENUINE

        it is something the whole world understands and we love. Its become too FAKE sparks,fake noise.. What da… Did someone forget this is meant to be an elite sport

  30. Nick Hipkin says:

    James,

    What F1 is really lacking at the moment is leadership, someone to take control and lay down the rules and mould F1 whilst also saying this is what it is – get on with it. In this respect Todt has failed in his second term.

    Instead we have F1 in an identity crisis not knowing what it wants to be and no one seemingly prepared to take responsibility. All we get instead are gimmicks like double points, standing restarts, titanium skidplates etc which are not even problems needing solutions. Priorities in all the wrong places.

    The people in charge will continue to bicker and serve their own self interests over the good of the sport and until this changes F1 will continue to fall out of the publics consciousness haemorrhaging TV viewers with each crisis.

    Someone needs to step up and lead F1 into its future before it’s too late

  31. Waleran says:

    Isn’t it just very simple. Money!

    It costs too much to run a race team so the public is asked to pay too much to watch at the track and, increasingly, too much to watch on TV.

    And this is before mentioning that too much is taken out of the sport in excessive profits for the investors.

    Get the money right and things like publicity, internet, social media, etc. can have a chance of success.

  32. Chris Simpson says:

    F1 has been guilty of trading on its history rather a lot recently, look at title sequences of the broadcasters etc, the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s nostalgia. The grids were not that large, the overtaking not that great after say 1980. In my opinion as the science as aerodynamics matures through the 80s and 90s, overtaking becomes harder. The problem with the 60s was probably the danger and reliability.

    So for me f1 needs to wind off about 75% of the aero (keeping only 25% to keep the cars on the road for safety) essentially creating permanent drag reduction! That should increase overtaking by reducing cornering speeds. So you end up with 70s levels of aero grip, with modern levels of reliability. Alternatively if they want to be relevant to future/environment and manufacturers tech, They could also mandate some basic height width length, 4 wheel dimensions, and a much reduced quantity of energy, and say what ever power train you think of, you can use.

    Too much of the ideas adopted or not, DRS, KERS, chocolate tyres, sprinklers on tracks, standing restarts, are sticking plasterers over the symptoms of something fundamentally wrong with f1, it’s over dependence on aerodynamic grip.

    Remove the aero grip.

    1. Kieran Donnelly says:

      Some ideas:

      Reduce aero – it makes real racing too difficult

      Allow all adjustments in the garage during qualifying – why not? Let the drivers try out more things, let them get the car further dialled in. Parc fermé at end of qualifying though to prevent “super-qualifying-only” settings being used, i.e. quali settings will be race settings.

      Limit adjustments to the car during race to brake bias and have no over-the-air adjustments from the pits. Manual adjustments allowed during pit-stops in races. With the number of changes that are being made (engine maps, brake bias, diffs, fuel mix, etc.), it is a effectively a different car that is being raced by the driver from one corner to another. The driver/team should choose one set-up that operates over the course of the whole lap. That will give advantages on some area of track and disadvantages in others. In theory, drivers/teams may optimise their cars differently so that certain car setups would be more easily able to overtake in one segment than another. No one thinks that racing should be about making 50 adjustments per lap to the car. The setup is all about what compromises you are willing to make – it should stay that way for the whole lap.

      Tyre design needs to change so that “the cliff” no longer exists – where’s the incentive for anyone to push or explore the limits when the only reward is to be passed by 6 cars in a lap if you get it wrong? Yes, tyres should degrade and a driver that is easier on his tyres should be able to go futher on his set but you shouldn’t go from 1st place back to 7th within one lap without a catastrophic failure and it certainly shouldn’t happen because your tyres suddenly hit end-of-life.

      Kill DRS – artificial where it works, useless where it doesn’t!

      Don’t have regs that enourage ugly looking cars – F1 cars should be beautiful, sleek creatures.

      Pay-per-view coverage? Not sure that it’s the best route to growing an audience. I’ll never pay SKy to watch F1 – put it that way – and I’m a long time fan. If that means that I watch races after the fact (as I do with MotoGP now that it’s gone from BBC) then so be it.

      Social media? Not sure that’s so important – is Facebook/Twitter the reason that the Premiership is still huge?

      Enforce test driver mileage at each race weekend by making rule that test/dev driver must run in at least one of the Free Practice sessions with 3 cars from each team allowed in any of those sessions.

    2. docjkm says:

      Answer to problem of popularity= greed
      Answer to problem of product= aero

      So simple one cannot be optimistic when F1 is run by those unable to see or unwilling to act.

      Too many words, too little… anything else.

  33. Andy says:

    There are many reasons for this perceived decline, but most of the blame lies with some of the teams and Bernie.
    The fans, and anyone with common sense, hate the double points.
    Ferrari aren’t winning, and are quite frankly embarrassed.
    Talk of only one practice session on a Friday has no regard for the fans, sponsors and media, all of whom are essentially funding the prize money.
    Stewards decisions that happen hours after the race are not good. Fans should leave the circuit knowing that the result stands.
    Some say they don’t like the dominance by one team, but that has always be a major part and will continue to be so.
    Racing at circuits that have an attendance of less than 75% is not good for the sport.

    I see nothing wrong in having power units that have more power but use 30% less fuel.
    Much was made of the 100kg fuel limit and the maximum flow rate, yet we have seen some great racing. At Monaco, Rosberg was told to save fuel, so the problem was not the flow or the 100kg limit, the team underfuelled.
    If they used Bridgestone tyres and didn’t have DRS, the races would be unbelievably boring.
    The major teams are incapable of doing anything for the benefit of the sport, they can’t get over their own self interest.

    Reducing costs – what’s simpler than limiting the number of personnel a team can bring to a circuit.

    The problem is not the new power units, tyres or DRS, it’s down to the decisions made by Bernie and the teams, I hope they never go into the brewery business.

  34. franed says:

    Firstly I am disappointed that so much of the media have fallen for this bunch of sour grapes from LdM, much of it (the media ) has the excuse that they don’t know much about F1 but you James?

    LdM is suffering deeply from not winning, his own job will be on the line pretty soon. F1 is just as exciting, we have had some cracking races, but because Ferrari did not win LdM would rather change the rules until Ferrari are even more advantaged than at present. We do not want that!

    The falling viewing figures are entirely of Bernie’s making by putting F1 behind pay per view walls. There is a marked difference in countries with FTA F1 as opposed to Sky or cable only. Did he neglect to say that while pay per view is decimating the viewing figures it is shooting FOM’s income sky high!

    This is Bernie’s swan song, the current package of various deals will see him out, regardless of German prison, or fine or whatever, the real hit will be from HMRC later. The teams are tied in (including Ferrari’s extra “off the top” payment), deals are in place with circuits and advertising, but the media deals are killing the golden goose for a last grasp.

    You have to admire the effrontery of Berne, half way through a trial for bribery, to offer 5% of his fee back to the bank whose official he is accused of bribing. (Is that itself, not revealing?)

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “The falling viewing figures are entirely of Bernie’s making by putting F1 behind pay per view walls.”

      Nope.

      If people want to watch it they’ll pay for it.

      1. Thompson says:

        @voodooopunk

        No they won’t….. Have you NOT been following the thread.

  35. David M says:

    A few years ago I had never heard of a Red Bull, didn’t know what it was. All of a sudden it was appearing in car racing, airplane racing, motocross, mountain biking, surfing, you name it. I think “F1″ as a brand needs to take a page from Red Bull and put out some money and go to where the young people are. Sponsor events, concerts, make clothing, video games, whatever it takes but go to the consumer and become a big deal to kids.

    Of course the cars should be getting more efficient, but we have to let the drivers do what they do best, and that is go fast all the time. I think this latest formula has been too much all at once. I think V6 turbos should have been one step, and fuel restrictions phased in as the engineers worked on efficiencies. Some sort of spending cap is needed to allow everyone to stay in the sport and even attract more teams should some leave.

    And perhaps when Bernie’s time is done, someone more in step with the modern times will take the reins.

  36. stian says:

    Luca Montezemolo said it : We dont watch for efficiency.

    Today, F1 can only be the pinnacle of “racing” if we take the racing out of the equation and focus on technological breakthroughs and cutting edge technology

    For racing, i’d watch GP2

  37. Quercus says:

    I myself enjoy F1 as it is and I love the advanced technology but I also admit that I, like most of your readers, largely understand what’s going on. The problem seems to be that the sport is now too complicated for the casual audience member to understand and they are not sufficiently motivated to invest the time to get into it. What other sports offer (and I’m thinking of ball sports) is instant recognition of the skill of the participants. The problem with modern F1 is that the cars and tracks demand very precise and accurate driving that minimises clear signs that cars and drivers are on the limit of adhesion and ability. Tyre saving, fuel saving, and all the other skills that are required to do well in today’s F1 also have the unfortunate side effect of making for processional racing.

    So what’s the solution? There can be only one. An increase in the ratio of power to downforce and tyres that are designed to take more abuse. Then we’ll see drivers battling to put down the power they’ve got and the top drivers will be clearly seen to win by the most skilful use of what’s at their disposal.

    Calls for scrapping efficiency and returning to noisier engines are retrograde and miss the real point, which is that modern aerodynamics, clever though they are, have contrived to create car dynamics that is too clinical and masks the drivers’ skill in car control. The passion is still there; we just need to see it on the track again.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Ban pit to car radio calls, make drivers change all the brake balance, engine modes, fuel saving, tyre saving, electronic harvesting etc etc themselves. As someone said, they are not supposed to be monkeys following orders – they are supposed to feel what the car needs. That’s why the best drivers understood how to handle the cars for different conditions. It’d be great to see drivers with amazing pure racing skills having to build strategic and engineering skills into their arsenal.

    2. Chris G says:

      That is an excellent and eloquent post
      Thumbs up from me

  38. Chris of Adelaide says:

    Funny how all this comes up now after one of the most exciting races a fortnight ago in Canada :P

    My thoughts are:

    Reduce the importance of Aerodynamics. Millions and millions are spent on a new front wing that will give a car a tenth of a second. Cut back what can be spent and done with Aero on a car and teams will be more cost effective to run.

    Increase the maximum weight for cars. You currently have drivers not eating for days just to get to a min weight. Drivers like Hulk are majorly disadvantaged because he weights a few extra kilos. People dont want to see a good driver in a lower team simply because he is “too heavy for a car”.

    Get rid of that rubbish of double points for the final race. Its a joke.

    Bring back the tyre war. It will help get ride of drivers driving slowly to save his tyres.

    Allow the new engines to use more then 100kg of fuel. This will help with the fuel saving slowing and allow the engines to be turned up to higher RPM.

    Most importantly, take away the power from the likes of Redbull and Ferrari so they are actually able to make changes for the good of the sport and not for the sake of there own jobs and share holders.

    1. Steve S says:

      Canada was only exciting because the cars in the lead broke down. So unless the FIA are to mandate that all the cars be unreliable, that’s not a blueprint for the future.

      “Reduce the importance of Aerodynamics.”

      Let’s just make F1 a spec series and be done with.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “Let’s just make F1 a spec series and be done with.”

        With the rules being as they are isn’t it pretty much a spec series now?

  39. IJW says:

    F1 no longer being free to air may be part of the problem. It would certainly prevent the casual viewer from watching races. To be honest, it is about time that F1/FIA use digital media (as you put it) to stream races live over the internet. Don’t other racing series already do this?

  40. chris green says:

    oh dear – where to start. Maybe a clean sheet design. It’s pretty evident that the vested interests with their noses in the f1 trough are happy for that to continue until the sport is bled dry.

  41. Chris J says:

    They put it on pay TV. It’s supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport but they’re driving in hybrid 1.6 cars managing tyre wear!!!!! They change the rules every year and there is always one dominant team. Races no longer in countries with a big following in favour of countries with hardly any following……glad to see F1 back in Austria a step in the right direction! F1 is not and never will be an eco sport. We want to see F1 cars going flat out from lights to flag properly racing without gadgets! Maybe the FIA should look back to when it was hugely popular and ask themselves why!

    1. Quercus says:

      Why can’t a hybrid 1.6 engine be the pinnacle of motor sport? The capacity of the engine is irrelevant; only the power available to the driver matters. Things change. Once upon a time the pinnacle of bodywork construction was the lightweight aluminium honeycomb, which in turn replaced the heavier tubular space frame. Then along came the even lighter carbon fibre crash-cell construction. To hold back advancing technology because you’re afraid to lose what you’ve got will end up dooming the sport in the long run.

  42. The governance of the sport, CVC, Pay TV, the look of the cars, the lack of noise, the exclusivity that excludes the fans, and so on and so forth. There are a fair number of reasons as to why F1 is declining and why LMP1 is working despite the domination of Audi, which is far more outrageous than Ferrari’s ever was.

    The sport need to concentrate on what works and simplify some aspects of the sport. Why did Formula 1 appeal in the first place, to whom, where, at what age, etc.

    A bit of soul searching and a lot of good old market research will start getting us answers. Previous surveys from the F1 Global Community or whatever it’s called were a step in the right direction but incomplete the research design.

    The FIA need to be much stronger as well. Maybe not as much as in the Mosley days, but it’s too conciliatory at the moment.

  43. Lee M says:

    How hard does it need to be? People want to see the fastest and noisiest cars with the coolest tech fighting for 70 laps at great circuits.

    End of.

    1. James Allen says:

      Watching that how?

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Well clearly it’s not through their Sky Box…;)

  44. Tom says:

    My instinct is that F1 needs to listen more to the fans; but perhaps listen more carefully than they did after that big survey a few years ago.

    I think then many bored fans demanded more passing but did they really want DRS? I know I’m not the only one who feels DRS is turning F1 into NASCAR.

    I propose:

    * Ban carbon brakes. This will hugely reduce costs and (I believe) increase the role of the driver, and increase crunch passing into corners. Also carbon brakes have no relevance to real motoring.

    * Scrap the DRS rules. Allow the technology for use at any time, because it is good engineering, but the detection / enabling dilutes car and driver quality.

    * Scrap the must-use-two-compounds tyre rules. It’s artificial and meaningless.

  45. Steve Smith says:

    Totally agree. F1 is boring and needs new energy. Too much racing in conducted from the pit lane. Set the cars up and let the drivers fight it out on track.

  46. Tim says:

    As a long time F1 fan, it is time for a rethink. I hate knowing that drivers are lapping at 80-90% speed for almost the entire race. F1 should be about speed and excitement. In my opinion the call for a green, clean, efficient F1 car a few years ago was wildly misguided and defeats the sports own purpose. But then what would I know, I’m just a fan….

  47. Matt Streuli says:

    I think the decline of F1 Fans and lack of under 25s especially is down to two key things:
    1 – Sky Sports
    2 – The cost of being a fan.

    1 – Almost all of Europe has to PAY to watch the races live. Why would you pay when most people have some sort of free sport on a Saturday and Sunday. In fact I have ESPN and BT Sport for free – so why would I pay for Sky Sports? Times are tight. I’m 24 years old in my first own flat – I can’t afford that! (Plus I love the BBC Coverage!)
    2 – I am Jenson Button fan through and through and have been an avid Mclaren Member for a couple of years. Each year I have bought the team shirt which is £40 odd quid. Thats my Electricity bill for 2 months! I can’t afford to go to Silverstone, its cheaper to go to Spa but then again I can’t afford that either – I can barely afford my package holiday lol.

    My point is we need to make F1 cheaper for the younger fans and maybe schemes such as free Education packs for Secondary Schools – design a shirt for fans in Textiles or write a report on a race for GCSE English! – otherwise why would youngsters look twice at F1. It’s just people going in a circle on a parade right?

  48. bmg says:

    James, we the fans have been saying this all year, its been building up for the last 4 years with Redbull dominating and this year with Mercedes.

    Its all about the teams and the car manufacturers but they have forgotten about the fans, to allow engine development all year around or at least mid season, is one way to make team more competitive especially with the new engines and rules.

    We only have 3 car manufacturers and 2 are effectively locked out until next year, it does not matter what the teams do if its all about the power unit.

    I was also looking at some of the old footage from the seventies, the teams are so corporate these days that they have lost a lot of the characters and passion in F1.

    1. Crom says:

      “We only have 3 [engine] manufacturers and 2 are effectively locked out until next year”

      This is my biggest beef of F1 2014. Surely the FIA should have foreseen such a scenario damaging the sport.

  49. Dylan Bok says:

    The racing in f1 has been a far more impressive spectacle this year. It’s far more enjoyable to watch the drivers battle against the car and one another. Even with Mercedes dominating th constructors it’s still fascinating to watch the rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg unfold.
    That said, the autocracy that drives the sport needs to be dismantled so that this new era can have any hope of surviving and capturing the attention of the next generation of fans. The playing field needs to be drastically levelled and an equality if opportunity needs to be introduced, in order to produce new protagonists and display the quality of talents and skills that all facets of every team has to offer.

    1. Steve S says:

      “The racing in f1 has been a far more impressive spectacle this year.”

      Far more impressive than what? 2012, where there were seven different race winners in the first seven races? 2010, where there were five different winners in the first seven races? 2013, where there were four different race winners from four different teams in the first seven races? This has been a predictable and therefore boring season. Here’s a safe prediction – the two Merc’s will qualify one-two and finish one-two in Austria.

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      “The racing in f1 has been a far more impressive spectacle this year. It’s far more enjoyable to watch the drivers battle against the car and one another. Even with Mercedes dominating th constructors it’s still fascinating to watch the rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg unfold.”

      So what you’re saying is it’s great if you’re a Mercedes fan?

  50. David Dolling says:

    My personal viewership is in decline simply due to the fact I can’t watch Formula 1 on terrestrial TV. No amount of social media, changes to rules, engines or overtaking can get around that. I’m just not sufficiently engaged with Formula 1 to pay £30 per month for a Sky package. It’s difficult to see what CVC can do about that – it falls to BSkyB to come up with a Netflix/Amazon Prime/whatever type model where I can watch the content I’m interested in at a more reasonable price. Perhaps the cost savings measures are key. If costs are reduced sufficiently for teams then could CVC afford to sell the rights to terrestrial to reach the largest audience possible?

  51. Snailtrail says:

    James you know the answer to the question – the problem with F1 is all the money and greed involved.

    Put measures in place to control spending and 70% of the problems are gone.

  52. AB says:

    I wish they’d sort out the tyres. Sticky, seriously high-end, gloriously fast rubber. There’d be no question about the speed of the cars. They would fly.

    As for Ferrari, it is they who have been in decline over the last ten years. Failing to get to grips with rule changes in 2009 and 2014. Failing to get to grips with simulation, computational modelling, consistent aerodynamic and engineering updates and the risks required to push a team to success. A successful team can’t pound around a test track for hundreds of laps anymore, you have to be a little smarter than that. A little more innovative.

    With the latest rule changes, they had an opportunity to celebrate their legacy of engineering, by producing a world-beating power unit. Again, they have failed. And now two world champions of the highest regard trundle around in the lower points positions in humbling anonymity.

    Yes F1 could benefit from better suppliers, an innovative, responsive communications strategy, a smarter broadcast mix – but the same could be said of many endeavours, in business and sport.

    I would suggest its Ferrari that needs to do the soul searching.

    And, by the way, Google and Apple? Because Google+ and Ping were huge social media successes, right?

    They can’t even get the right people to the table.

  53. Gaz Boy says:

    The chickens have come home to roost I’m afraid.
    I think the decline happened several years ago when Mr E and FOM shifted F1 away from it’s European heartland to the “bright new future of exciting new markets.” You know, the likes of India, Korea, China, Abu Dhabi………….wow, haven’t those aforementioned events been massive success stories eh?
    France has dropped off the F1 radar, Imola is long sincedead F1 wise, Istanbul was one of the better Tilke circuits, the European grand prix has been consigned to historical archives…………..and for what? Dreary new Tilke-dromes that have zero atmosphere and cost a bloody fortune for the teams to fly out to, not to mention the jet lag of flying here, there and everywhere.
    F1′s heartlands are Europe, the English speaking Commonwealth nations, Japan and South America, especially Brazil. The dedicated customer base for F1 in those heartlands has stuck with the sport through thick and thin, but treat with them disdain and contempt as Mr E has done for several years in the pursuit of “new markets” and why should they not turn their attention to somewhere else?
    Ignore your heartland markets at your peril Mr E/FOM/FIA.

  54. Slick says:

    I notice that the declining TV audiences are in Germany and Italy. This should be no surprise given that Seb and/or Ferrari are currently not winning. The Beeb having given up on F1 can hardly have helped the audience figures in the UK. F1 TV audiences are drawn by winners and heroes and not by noise and action.

    1. Tone says:

      But the national car brand with a German driver are leading. The Germans are just as bored as we are.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        That’s because it’s boring.

  55. BAM says:

    Some ideas…
    1) Bring back the KERS/ERS button as suggested by Alonso.
    2) Get rid of 3/4 of the buttons on the steering wheels. Seriously, there’s too many and do we really need so many different engine settings etc.
    3) Ditch the flue flow restriction. (Regarding fuel saving, it’s the teams that chose to run less fuel in the past, so we can’t just blame the rules for this. Think back to previous years, teams were still in “fuel saving mode” in some parts of most races.)
    4) No more movie stars, wanna be pop stars, or dogs in the paddock and stop cutting to shots of the crowd during the race.
    5) put permanent fixed TV cameras inside each garage.
    6) We must keep the iconic races but ditch Bahrain and China and any track that has corners named after other tracks.
    7) Ditch double points. It’s a joke that a win at Abu Dhabi is worth more than a win at Spa, Monza etc.
    8) I think 16-18 races is enough. To have more for the sake of it starts to devalue the others. Sometimes less is best.
    9) Give the fans access to ALL team radio messages.
    10) Make the teams do their strategy from the pit wall. No more mission control.

    1. Crom says:

      “Bring back the KERS/ERS button as suggested by Alonso”

      Interesting he raised this, I’d not considered it before but it seems a powerful tactical tool has been removed from the driver’s arsenal this year.

    2. Phil Glass says:

      @ point number 4
      Oh, that would be so lovely! ….. Sigh.

  56. Paul says:

    It is true that the engine sound isn’t the only issue facing F1 but along with some of the others stuff, it hasn’t helped. For me, it’s not the sound itself that’s the problem really – it’s the volume. (Although I prefer the sound of the NA engines ideally, especially the high revving V10s or the V12s but never mind…) The old turbos from 80s still sounded pretty good. I got to compare them all at the Ferrari Racing Day at Eastern Creek in Sydney earlier this year & the 1985 Ferrari 156 still sounded great & it was up against the 1994 V12 412T!
    The races this year have been pretty good to be honest though. I’m a long term fan though, so probably not the best judge in some respects. I know some people hate it when one team wins all the time but the actual racing has been good, even behind the Mercedes.
    And brining back the sound issue: a friend who’d never heard an F1 car up close before, when he heard them at Eastern Creek, was hooked & wanted to go to GP straight away. I don’t think that the same would have happened if one of this year’s cars had been in attendance…

    1. AuraF1 says:

      I think at this stage, and this is not to offend your opinion in any way, but complaining about the noise is a bit like complaining that the caviar wasn’t up to much on the Titanic…

      If the cars were all fighting closely, on interesting and varied tracks and fans could watch free to air and not spend a months salary on seeing a single weekend race – I really doubt the noise would make much difference.

      Sure if they sort everything out that stinks of greed, corruption and a total self-interest that divides and destroys the sporting spectacle – THEN, definitely complain about the noise – but at this stage it’s probably about 131st on the list of stuff it needs to get sorted.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “If the cars were all fighting closely”

        If ‘all’ the cars were, and what do you think the chances of that would be?

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ aura F1 but just imagine how good it would be if all the things that you proposed were actually put in place and the cars got back a decent engine note as well !!!!!

  57. Keith says:

    James

    For me one point is being totally ignored and probably one of the biggest reasons many of us got into the sport in our younger days. Personalities.

    Remove the legal restrictions on what drivers can and can not say – let them bitch – complain openly – be furious with one and other – let the sport do what sports are meant to do – create drama!

    People will quickly re-engage with F1. Far too often I watch a driver speak and want them to say more – to say it as it is.

    Hamilton in Monaco was a case in point – he was livid – but in front of the camera he has no room for mistake – trying to balance what he can’t and can not say in the midst of that fury – he was left where he could not say anything – apart from a couple of veiled quotes that were difficult to understand (unless put into the context of contractual obligations)

    It’s corporate policy that’s disengaging not the sport per se.

  58. Robbo Williamson says:

    I went to the Australian GP for the third time this year. But I will never go again under the current regulations. What waste of my money. Firstly, the cars sounded terrible. And then Ricciardo gets disqualified, even though he started the race with the same amount of fuel as everyone else! It makes no sense. I am not interested in fuel economy. If I was, I would buy myself a Toyota Prius! I want to be entertained. This is not the type of racing that I paid good money to see. F1 needs to listen to the loyal fans.

    1. Voodoopunk says:

      “I would buy myself a Toyota Prius!”

      Prius racing… the new F1

  59. AlexD says:

    Several things went very wrong:
    1. Double points is the most ridiculous rule. I can’t even think about it….all races are equal and shouk be awarded same points
    2. Fuel saving. Many of my friends feel ashamed that F1 is mostly about fuel saving these days, we even have charts to project itreal time in the race. This is so wrong…there must be another way to stay relevant and be on the edge of technology, but not turn divers into accountants
    3. You are right, there must be a digital immersion. But look what happened this year- F1 live timing app is now developed by the FIA and it is a huge step back vs last 2 years. It is full of glitches, it kills the battery. I paid for it, but gave up using as it destroys 100% of my iphone 5s battery in a race and is still showing many mistakes. This faulty app made the whole experience a lot worse…as I cannot follow the race with tv only
    4. Noise of engines….just listen to 2013 and 2014 cars side by side. It is not the F1 I loved
    5. Ugly design of the car

    But what kills the most is that fixes are artificial which means people that are running the sport have no clue. I think LDM is right here…get some strong companies together, invest in bringing fans much closer to action via digital, educate younger generation.

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      Sure, the double points finale is stupid but this is no way the number 1 reason or even in the top ten reasons for F1′s decline in popularity. I also can’t understand why people keep harping on about this digital media business as well.

      Getting involved in amateur motorsport (in Australia anyway) is very expensive. Most people are oblivious to how awesome motor racing is because it is an alien concept to them. They see a little bit of it (10 seconds, if that) on the news and just think “oh someone is driving around in circles, big whoop, their not a sportsman”. They have no concept of the extreme athleticism involved and the TV coverage these days fails to convey the astonishing speeds at which the cars are travelling. Consequently, most people would rather watch a bunch of men chase an inflated bladder around a patch of grass instead.

      Some how (FIA need to work it out) the cost for entry level motor racing needs to be drastically reduced. The more people directly involved in proper track/circuit motor racing, the more the premiere categories (Formula 1) will be followed. People need to be able to connect and empathise with the sportsmen they are watching; they must have an understanding of the experience, be it kicking a ball or driving at high speed.

  60. Jonathan P says:

    I don’t really agree with the premise: to me this is one of the best F1 seasons in ages (and I don’t really like the quiet engines, but it’s not such a big deal). It would be good to see the evidence: are the current viewing figures really below the 2004 snooze-fest?

    Insofar as there is a problem, the proposed solutions are laughable. Social media is a trivial issue, people don’t watch sports for the social media experience. That’s the cherry on the cake, maybe. Budget restrictions are problematic in my view, and wouldn’t really make it any more exciting (I think the level of competition is remarkable, lap times are much closer than the days when budgets were smaller.

    I think there should be more effort to make the sport more exciting. The push for safety has gone too far, the tracks are mostly too easy for the drivers. The rules are maybe too restrictive, both in terms of car design and racing. I think learning all the rules (how many tyres are allowed etc.) is maybe tedious for new fans. Ideally, I would go back to the normally aspirated engines, but I think the environmental drive has some merit and could appeal to younger fans.

    I actually think customer cars would be a great idea in terms of leveling the playing field. I’d also like to see 3 car teams.

  61. Andreas Myrberg says:

    To get young people….you cant charge for any apps or similiar. They just dont care enough to pay even the low price of the app today.
    And if they have an app, it needs to include video, live stream and similar things available on Sky in the UK. Otherwise they just wont bother.
    Instead, they can watch drift contest live for free, which is cooler, not so long races and more show and excitement.
    Or, just watch what Short Course has done to the US.

    Regarding the racing, please bring back racing, not maintaining.
    We dont care if they use 1 or 100 engines, honestly we could not care less.
    Hybrid, or not, does not matter as long as they can raec with each other.
    As long as the racers can race with each other, its racing, its good.
    Now they let drivers pass to save tires, save fuel, save enigne, save PU save brakes, etc etc,
    We DONT want to see a short LeMans, we WANT racing, drivers being able to compensate for a bad car, with great driving, but its just not possible any more. If someone has an advantage, thats it, no one can do anything about it, since they cant even drive the car to its own limit……..getting pathetic…

    AND dont make the cars SLOWER…… we have F3 cars doing laps, way to close to F1….
    F1 should get FASTER……otherwise it will never be the pinnacle of racing sport….

    Watch MotoGP….Marques has won every race this year, but the races are still awesome! so who cares, its exciting, drama, racing and driving on the limit, not below the limit…..

  62. Vernier Caliper says:

    I think no one wants to say so. But perhaps the era of Formula 1 is coming to an end. After nearly 60 years the masses have had their fill and now are moving on to other forms of entertainment.

    Simples……

    1. Alan H says:

      Agreed.

      World Endurance Championship is far more relevant to today’s world.

      I predict that within 5 years both GP2 and GP3 will be running hybrids.

  63. Jordan says:

    It is good that things seem to be changing. Have you ever tried to explain to someone who is not following F1 closely what it is all about? What the rules are and why the cars are the way they are? Its embarrassing actually. I think thats what most of the F1 management needs to do – go down to a small pub somewhere and try to explain to someone why they should put the F1 on the TV.

    I work at a university in a mechanical engineering department. If you were going to find a group of people who should be interested in F1 you would think you would find it here. But you don’t. The younger generation know of F1, but mostly its something they have a vague concept of. (except that they have heard the cars sound like Vespas). And who can blame them – they can’t follow it. They don’t have free access to it via the media through which they engage with the world – and they mostly can’t afford the subscriptions which allow them to watch the race live and just aren’t interested in paying for the ap.

    How do you justify it to them? The answer is not in the finer details of the technical specifications of the cars, those must just allow the cars to be fast loud and sexy.

    You can justify motor racing as a sport if you watch the MotoGP, but F1 will never have that kind of racing as it is. The only way to win is to maintain a monotonous optimum pace, while trying not to be caught out by the timing of your pit stop. Since the optimum is the fastest, the teams will always try to make the cars perform to that rhythm. Since there will always be an optimum way to drive a car given the fuel and tire limits – you will always have cars gravitating to a monotonous pace. The penalties for taking risks to out-drive the competition are too great.

    The only option is to make the optimum something the human driver alone must find through his own senses. The level of instruction from the pit wall is too high. The quantity of information transmitted from the cars and (projected on the TV broadcast) might be technically interesting, but it removes all of the mystery which allows a race to turn into an exciting story. Much like having running spoilers from someone who has read the Game of Thrones novels while you are trying to watch the TV series.

    The driver must be the ultimate authority on the major dynamics of the car. He/she must find the time which no-one else could. He must make the errors and pay for them. The performance adjustments that can be made during the race should be limited to break balance. Other changes must only be possible in the pit stop. The team can trawl over the telemetry after the race and make adjustments in the time between races.

    Surely making the races less predicable is what everyone is after? The only way to do that is to bring back the space for errors to be made. Increase dependence on the driver. Make them the center of the sport and allow people to cheer for them.

    I feel that little needs to change in the sport otherwise. I would perhaps increase the fuel flow limit slightly (along with the size of the fuel tank) to allow the teams to crank the engines up to the rev limit that is already in place.

    1. mark says:

      agreed – even made a similar point.
      i dont mind that the pit crew have info and that we get it onscreen. but the driver should no nothing except what his pit board (remember those?) tells him lap by lap.

  64. james says:

    the racing and engineering will always be tinkered with, for better or worse.

    and yeah, you can jailbreak or amplify personalities like alonso’s, raikonnen’s or hamilton’s. the cool drivers, basically.

    but there are two bigger factors to preventing terminal decline, amongst any and all demographics.

    1. be smarter digitally…open it up — yes, through social media, but with other technology as well — so we can get closer in all senses to the sport. give us a better sense of story.
    2. don’t be stupid about putting your content behind a paywall; you’re just putting up more barriers to viewer numbers. there’s the sky deal in the uk, similar situations in other markets…many people who love f1 for the long-term are still getting their fix through editorial sites like this, but not spending any time on broadcasts at all. if you want the biggest numbers you can get, stop making it harder for more people to see it.

  65. Dave Williams says:

    As a hardcore F1 fan (missed only 1 race since 1991), it pains me to agree that F1 needs to substantially reinvent itself to remain relevant and popular. Some of my ideas follow…

    Firstly, OPEN THE DOORS! A debt of gratitude is owed to the man for cementing the sport and making it what it has been, but every era comes to an end and Bernie is increasingly coming across as remote and out of touch. F1 needs to be ruled in an open and transparent manner, Bernie’s “smoke & mirrors” and divide and conquer” strategy is the very antithesis of what is needed. A well-thought out social media offering would help, as would access to all radio transmissions & steward decision making processes.

    SUPPORT THE MINNOWS AND REDIRECT THE PROFITS BACK INTO THE SPORT – A more equitable distribution of revenue would help foster the growth and development of the newer & independent teams which will only help the sport. Strength in depth, people?!

    RACING IS KING, REGS NEED TO REFLECT THIS! – Strategy & efficiency are really not the reasons we watch F1. Let’s reign in the turbulent “topside” aero and return to cleaner limited ground-effect style regs, coupled with wide, sticky, low-profile tyres. Allow the engines to produce silly BHP levels and watch the rear ends dance!

    LET THE PEOPLE IN! – Prices are beyond belief and the PPV model just isn’t cutting it. Kick out the celebs and hangers-on, allow the paying public in for a paddock walkabout / meet & greet session.

  66. Wade Parmino says:

    Cost is the major issue. I’m talking about the cost at the lowest levels of motorsport. There has to be a way of making junior motorsport a lot more affordable for participants. The decline in under 25′s viewership is not a result of F1 failing to engage in the digital world. It is occurring because less and less people are taking an interest in motorsport due to it’s prohibitive cost. The best way for people to develop an interest and passion for a sport or activity is for them to experience it for themselves in some capacity. Kicking a soccer ball (football for Europeans) is something that is familiar to people in even the poorest of countries, hence it’s ridiculous level of worldwide popularity.

    Motorsport is expensive in wealthy countries so it would probably be almost impossible for most people in developing countries. A lot of the profits from F1 should go into providing affordable kart racing series in all places throughout the world. Tracks need to be built and a super cheap ($1000 max. retail) generic, ready to race FIA go-kart designed and made available. Oil companies can get involved and provide a limited amount (per kart per race) of subsidized fuel exclusively for the series. The more people participating at the grassroots junior levels of racing, the more people will follow Formula 1 as they aspire to make it there one day themselves.

  67. Tone says:

    Bring back testing. I know that doesn’t fit in with the saving strategies (which is important) but the problem is that in between races, the sport is dead. I used to enjoy seeing spy shots, getting tech news. The cars were getting seen in between races. No one can see a driver in a simulator. The sport simply drops off the radar in between races. Hamilton being seen in Maranello is as good as it gets new-wise at the moment.

    Domination by one team will continue under the current system. Whoever gets it right in the off season will kill it because no one will be able to amend theirs mistakes with homologation.

    Stop the freeze
    Allow testing
    Bring back noise.

  68. Simon says:

    I think F1 needs to address the area of social media urgently.

    There is an official Indy Car YouTube channel with lots and lots of great video available

    http://www.youtube.com/user/indycars

    Whereas with F1, FOM are actively blocking videos on YouTube !!!!

    If you go to the Telegraph website’s preview of the Austrian Grand Prix, you will find that there are five embeded videos from YouTube which have all now been blocked following intervention by FOM.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/10911124/Austrian-Grand-Prix-2014-Five-things-to-look-forward-to-at-the-Red-Bull-Ring.html

    As someone who has watched F1 since 1992, I find it incredibly boring now. I will continue to watch it, but I do believe that it has been ruined.

    1. The sound of the cars is dreadful.
    2. They are rarely racing flat-out. It’s all fuel saving and tyre saving.
    3. The overtaking is mostly artificial – either use DRS or the boost button. I don’t even know what it is called now – KERS or ERS?.
    4. And when you have someone like Adrian Newey, the design genius of the last few decades, deciding to leave F1, then there is certainly a problem.

  69. Mazdafarian says:

    Clearly the free to air TV issue is huge in the UK and other places. Down here in Australia, we’re fortunate enough to have excellent free coverage on ONE HD.

    F1 for me is a battle of ideas as much as drivers, and I’d like to see limits on costs, aero, and total fuel allowance; but otherwise let the teams race whatever bonkers 7-wheeled contraption they think can win races.

  70. Nick Young says:

    Well one issue for this lifelong fan is definitely one of cost – and not the cost of the cars, or how much the teams are spending or anything like that. Rather the issue is that I cannot afford to go to the races because of exorbitant ticket prices. I can take the whole family to see the GT cars, BTCC, club racing etc for less than the cost of one Sunday ticket to the GP, and all of which provide better racing. For me, even if I had the money available it would be difficult to justify spending the best part of £1000 for one Sunday afternoon’s entertainment.

    The allure of F1 for me was always the noise, the performance of the cars, the personalities of the drivers. This year, the cars are quieter, the car performance is proving not much better than a leading GP2 car (GP2 also provides better racing), and increasingly the drivers are unable to express their personalities in the corporate led world of F1. Little wonder then that fans like me are struggling to get excited…

  71. Hello says:

    There’s nothing wrong with F1, I hear it all the time. Those that complain don’t have the sport at interest but have their own interests at heart.

    In 2008 we had the tightest grid ever and they changed it the next year. When all they had to do was take of downforce and add power. Maybe use older type breaks too, (this lengthens breaking zones).

    I would never listen to what Monti says. He I just realising, for a second time, that “Italians have the great habit of all pulling in different directions, when trying to go in the same direction”. Murray Walker said that.

    The teams should have no say what so ever. They should always just be told. I’m sure when Bernie goes things should settle down again. He needs other big stories in the media at the moment. The man has a history of doing this and of liking the survival of the fittest among the paddock. It makes them easier to control and go with what he wants. Weather that be in the sport or outside the sport.

  72. Mark V says:

    I’m not one of those people who is completely fed up with F1. I’ve been a fan long enough to have seen its entertainment value ebb and flow as almost anything does over time. For instance, things got pretty dull during the Schumi-Ferrari years, while the 2012 season with seven different winners and six WDC’s in the field was one of the best I recall watching.

    However all the new, high-end technology of F1 notwithstanding, it is still basically an old, traditional sporting format and this I believe is one reason it may be failing to bring in newer generations of fans whose attention is being competed for by newer, fresher, more “extreme” sports. F1 could learn from these other sports’ excellence at viral marketing, and perhaps a format change.

    For instance the current 3 session qualifying format is probably the best ever. And safety cars always shakes things up by bunching the field back together. So why not also break the race up into two or three shorter sessions with the slower cars being eliminated while the top drivers battle it out in a no-holds barred sprint finale?

  73. MR says:

    Wow some really good comments from alot of people. Wonder if the FIA and BE will get off their podium’s and actually read all of them. They should………………
    James how about sending them all to Monsieur’s Todt and Ecclestone for some grass roots understanding of the current uneasy feeling, sent in by the poeple that keep their respective coffers topped up or should I say overflowing…………

  74. Spyros says:

    Very simple:

    Hire Eddie Irvine and Jacques Villeneuve (either one will do, if they don’t get along together) and give them each a pen and a notepad, and tell them to write the F1 rulebook from scratch. Then we all agree to do whatever they suggest.

    The sport is too complicated for nearly everyone today — and it didn’t get bad in 2014, it was slowly getting nonsensical years before. These two are some of its harshest critics, so let’s listen to them.

    Frankly, I think the ‘social media’ argument is way too simplistic. Having access or not having access means very little if the sport isn’t interesting. F1 was accused of being boring for decades (newsflash: at that time, the 1988 season seemed about as interesting as watching paint dry), now it is boring AND incomprehensible.

    The driver who made an overtake stick back then was a hero… now it’s just the guy with the best ERS/harvesting/fuel-saving strategy. Ho-hum. I wonder what else is on..?

  75. Peter says:

    They should look into the past why was it working in the 70`s, 80`s etc. Good old fashioned race tracks, proper racing, access, more sport – less business, iconic venues, more driver – less car etc. Racing was a lifestyle. Today in the digital age I hardly can watch a race as it is not broadcasted for free, all videos, copies etc are protected by copy rights, you need to search for long for a post race interview with your favorite driver if you don`t subscribed for a broadcaster. Sometimes I have a feeling that F1 does not want to be watched, why teams, sponsors invest hundreds of millions and than make the whole thing so closed? I think they should make things simplier, a bit more old fashioned, less artifical and use 21 century technology where they can support the show and racing and do not use it only to confuse people or make things over-complicated. As much as I support safe racing, I hate some of the new tracks with their huge “car park” run-offs and lack of characters. I also hate when, because of the car the driver`s real gift can not surface. I want to know who is the best driver or racer as a team, I am not intrested who`s got the best KERS, ERS and so on. So, make cars more nautral.Oh yes, and please ban empty PR messages.

  76. Tim says:

    If you want a younger audience for F1 you don’t put it behind a pay wall and away from free to air broadcast. Putting half the races out of my reach has succeeded in weaning me off F1 in the last few years, I can watch the highlights but it doesn’t mean the same as watching live and avoiding all media waiting for the highlights to come on is a pain in the arse I’ll still watch it but not with the same fervour.

    I started watching F1 because I was bored on Sunday afternoons as a youngster, if it was on pay TV then I would never have started watching, simple.

    If you want short term profits from the Sky Sports generation don’t be surprised when a longer term decline is staring you in the face.

  77. goonerf1 says:

    I’m expecting shouts of blasphemy after this comment lol, but here goes;

    F1 is a sprint racing series. It’s not Le Mans or Formula E, so;

    As of next season, give all the drivers a GP2 spec car or similar, don’t allow any development for the season, remove the rev-limiters from the 4.0l V8′s, give the drivers sticky tyres that’ll do about 20 laps, and bring back refuelling.

    Costs saved, racing improved, spectacle improved.

    Oh, and since the cars would be infinitely less complicated, let’s have a “fan day” on the Friday, instead of 2 practice sessions. Be able to walk around the track, meet the drivers, Q & A’s round the track in a Glastonbury/Amphitheatre type arrangement. Have a few 2 seaters, owned and run by the FIA, that fans can pay to be driven around the track in by a current driver. Connect yourself to the driver by radio. You could even have a race :D. And do a few donuts at the end :D.

    Then on saturday mornings, when the majority of people are actually off work and able to get to the circuit, have a couple of hours of practice then, say 10-12. Qualifying in the afternoon as per usual. The whole weekend supported by feeder series such as GP2, GP3. Why not even a masters series for the Mansells, Hills, Herberts etc?

    4 racing series split up over 2 days of practice, qualifying and racing. Should be plenty right?

    Oh, and of course, Mr E and CVC, make it affordable for the fans. We’re voting with our feet and our viewing figures at the moment. It’s about time you woke up.

  78. The teams could certainly save money on their glass ‘paddock palaces’ that take 30 odd trucks to move across the European continent, as they can only be used now for 8 of the 19 race calender ! they say they are needed to ‘smooze’ new and existing sponsors, and negotiate new deals, but they all seem to manage in the special units built in the fly away venues, just seems to be a bit of old fashioned ‘willy waving !!

  79. alex hofstetter says:

    Been watching and attending F1 since 1993 in Montreal. Actually, James spoke to our tour group that year.
    Sorry James, I don’t remember what you said but I’m sure it was profound.
    F1 has always been over-the-top.
    The cars are uglier than they’ve ever been this year.
    The sound is pathetic.
    The racing has been good, but the over-the-top thrill of blood running from your ears as the cars go by is gone.
    I’d go back to all the fuel you want, all the tires you want, all the fuel flow you want.
    I would personally drop KERS, but it really does have a real-world use.
    I’d keep DRS.
    WE get everything on free TV here in the States, so I can’t complain about that.
    What I really want: Make the cars pretty and scary-sounding again. Make the fans say “Holy Shit!” when they hear an F1 engine. Right now a newcomer would yawn.
    Keep up the great work James.

  80. Stephen Taylor says:

    Standing Restarts for 2015 your views James please?

  81. Kam says:

    All this talk from the top, about access.

    FOM remove everything from YouTube!

    Soul-less circuits and locations dont help.

    Constant bickering between managers, and ripping off the smaller teams.

    Hosting fee’s which go up every year- the price of ticket entry is a joke!

    Well done FOM and al involved, you’ve bled everyone dry.

  82. MartinP says:

    “put simply why viewer numbers are dropping and why the under 25s are not engaging with it”

    Surely some of this is caused by F1 choosing to sell its TV rights to broadcasters who put it behind a paywall in several key markets. If you’re not a fan of the sport you won’t pay, which means people are less likely to accidentally come across F1 and get hooked.

    I know I was introduced to the sport in the late 80s by stumbling across it on TV. Kids of today are less likely to do that unless their parents are already fans.

  83. RobGT81 says:

    F1 needs to look at the WEC. 3 manufacturers with 3 different approaches (soon to be 4, maybe 5) all racing closely together. The cars all look different, look sexy, sound different, sound good. F1 isn’t the pinnacle of engineering anymore, not even efficiency. At Le Mans tyres last for 4 hours, its all about efficiency and pushing boundarys but never gets boring. The tyres are relevent, the engines are relevent, even the headlights are sexy and making their way to road cars. The cars are massively high tech and advanced, engine technology that F1 can only wish they were allowed to use. The WEC has the pick of the race circuits mixing old classics with the best of the new ones. Night racing that isn’t just a gimmick but part of the endurance aspect. I can’t see why anyone would bother with F1 at the moment, long live sports car racing.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      @ rob GT31….you are proposing exactly what i have been saying for some time now. WEC is growing steadily and the fact that the R & R allow for innovation is what motorsport is really all about. whilst le mans is all about finishing it is all about racing. this is sometimes forgotten in F1.

  84. Erik says:

    James, do you want to know why F1 is fading? It’s because it doesn’t listen to its fans. I had to go back 40 pages to find this article on your site:

    http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2014/02/is-formula-e-on-target-we-ask-the-man-in-charge-of-the-newest-world-motorsport-series/

    Search for my name, I think the comments still ring true.

  85. NickH says:

    F1 has become more and more conservative since the end of the V10 era and tyre war. It’s so hard for extremely talented designers to innovate anymore because the regulations are so constrictive, probably why Newey has thought, ‘I can’t be bothered with this anymore’ and I don’t blame him. That’s why it’s so hard for teams to claw back performance like they could in the past because there is no scope anywhere to improve performance apart from the engine which you aren’t allowed to touch.

    The sport is digging or has already dug it’s own grave unless they seriously rethink what they are doing. It has to realise that ‘green budget F1′ is not wanted and never was. Didn’t the disgraced Max Mosley devised this rubbish set of regulations?! Why on earth they ever let that fool having anything to do with the sports future is beyond me.

    I don’t agree that F1 has to ‘get with the times’ and save the planet. It is a tiny crystal of salt in the ocean comparedi to the commercial vehicle industry, we don’t need F1 to be involved with the progression of hybrid engines. The MASSIVE car manufacturers can do that without F1, don’t worry.

    Bring back proper engines that shake the earth and don’t sound like mosquitos.

    Bring back the tyre war and refuelling.

    Let the teams develop whatever they want.

    No one is forcing teams to be in F1. If you can’t afford to be in it, don’t get involved. F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport.

    The decline in fans already after less than half the season tells the whole story.

  86. Brian H says:

    To address the budget issues, F1 should look at the revenue side not the cost side. They could implement a revenue sharing plan for the global broadcast rights in which all teams receive equal shares (i.e., Ferrari and Marussia get the same dollars/euros). What the teams can get on their own for sponsorships they keep for themselves. This would put them much more in line with other top level sports leagues. Not a complete fix but a step forward. Of course the teams that collect the major revenue today, based on points (or in the case of team like Ferrari, something like “heritage”) would doubtless block this. Not sure it could be re-opened anyway due to the convoluted governance of the sport — which is another root cause of the problems.

  87. Lazy Andy says:

    The greatest interest is incidents and action. the sport is sanitised by efficiency, safety. tyre wear and unfortunately aerodynamic effect. The racing could be improved in a couple of ways – I think the engine development will negate the efficiency argument over the course of this season; Re-introduce tyre competition! Standardise key aero parts to reduce downforce. It is the biggest reason RBR have dominated over the course of 4-5 years.

    Also, in a digital age of immediacy and on demand, do the kids want to what nearly 2 hours of racing? 20:20 and the Rugby sevens are successful for the short quickfire competition… even the snooker players are at it!

    Why not introduce a three race format like BTCC? throw in some mobile chicanes in a reverse grid race?! Make the fast cars have to compete in the field!

    Shake the whole thing up!

  88. Jamie says:

    I feel that F1 should take a few lessons from the ACO, who have done an amazing job organising the Le Mans 24 Hours.

    -Promote the event as a race between the cars, rather than the drivers (i.e. it doesn’t much matter what a driver’s ‘state of mind’ is ahead of a race – factors on the car are twice as important as that).
    -Make things as accessible as possible at the track (at Le Mans, €70 gets you a general entrance ticket for the entire event, and you see families all over the place. A race programme is only €5). Too many of these boring new tracks are thousands of miles away from the fanbase, and surrounded by empty seats.
    - Introduce new technology but never forgo the history (Le Mans has broken a lot more technological ground than F1 lately, but still retains the feel of a classic race with a lot more history than F1).
    - Forget about affectatious gimickry like mandatory skid blocks, the two-compound rule, DRS, etc. Get the formula right and the racing will take care of itself (just like it has done in earlier decades).

  89. CMScot says:

    To improve dwindling audience numbers it’s obviously the case that it should be on free to view TV. It’s a no-brainer. For a global sport that will massively increase the participation of global mass market sponsors so that should balance out the reduced up-front payments.

    To improve competition I think the idea of cost-cutting is not the most important, the key for me is to have a level playing field that gives everyone a chance to do well. So:
    1) a complete ban on Bernie’s little sweeteners to certain teams and his divide and conquer approach. Treat all teams the same. That includes binning a Ferrari veto on rule changes etc.
    2) give all teams the same chance to win prize money rather than allocating half the money to Ferrari before a wheel is turned. What’s the point in a new team coming in and investing to become competitive when if they win the championship they will still get less prize money than Ferrari, no matter where Ferrari finish.

  90. Jason Farmer says:

    1. F1 should not be behind TV pay walls
    2. Ticket prices need to be affordable to families – That means circuits have to be allowed to make money rather then being bled dry by the “prommoter”
    3. The prommoter should do some promotion
    4. Budget caps are essential, but hand in hand with a relaxtaion of the rules. F1 should be allowed to innovate, not just endlessly refine aerodynamic concepts – The team with the best ideas / most talented engineers produces the best car, has the best chance to win. Cars may also look different
    5. The paddock race area should be open to all fans not just Bernie’s VIP elite.

    That ought to get things moving…

  91. Adria says:

    I have no problem with the technology, im not upset with the sound of the cars. But yes unfortunately it boils down to the bottom line. If Marussia and the smaller teams can race with 50m then let’s puta cap on it and level the field. Honestly this season is interesting because all the cards on the table and all teams are struggling to make the new cars work, evening out the field. I agree with the first poster who mentioned racing at these tracks, like Malaysia, Bahrain where the stands are mostly empty because most of the population/fans can’t afford to go. Contrary to Canada where the stands are jam packed with fans. Needs to go back to regular TV. The Canadian Racw was true racing. Level the field. It’s really boring to watch Vettel win race after race with everyone chasing him. But I disagree with the lack of soul, it’s tree but perhaps too many rules. Let them run out of fuel!!! If the drivers can’t manage their fuel consumption then hey… Double points, stupid. But I think leveling the field will go a long way in making the sport what it should be, strength of design and talent of the drivers.

  92. Monktonnik says:

    Frankly, the racing in the past few years has been great and we have had some vintage seasons.

    Doesn’t anyone remember how processional it was in the late 90′s/early 00′s?

    I don’t think F1 needs a rethink at all. Audiences are declining because of the pay tv model and the fact that it is difficult to watch races on tv outside Europe. Improve and expand the platform
    And stop trying to destroy the sport by shooting down.

    I moved to Australia in 2011 and even though we have free to air tv the races are often in the middle of the night with no catchup option. Even if you can find the event on the website to watch later, they always tell you the result somewhere on the page.

    Let me buy subsription with F1.com that gives me the uk commentary and analysis for every session and an email link to a catch up service that doesn’t reveal the result before I can watch it and I’ll be happy.

    Please stop messing around with stuff and leave it as it is for a while.

  93. D Vega says:

    F1 should Aallow more variety in the cars and in the types of tracks. I propose things like eliminating DRS and bringing back the F-duct, allowing more freedom in the engine rules like letting teams choose between 6 – 8 cylinders, allowing teams to choose hybrid power or non-hybrid power, and why not race at a high-speed oval once a year. People want to see things like the six wheel Tyrrell, not be told about the complexity and sophistication of a power unit.

  94. nolongerafan says:

    Decide if the sport is entertainment or racing. It can’t be both. Depending on what you choose, alter the sport. Either go back to pure racing, get rid of the gimmicks and double point finishes, stop going green and make the cars fast and save but still difficult to drive. Or… Introduce sprinklers, double points, trumpet exhausts, push to pass butons, etc.

    Also, the sport isngetting too expensive for the teams, the visitors at the races, the race organizers and the tv viewers behind the paywall.

    Go back to FTA. Don’t need to explain that I hope.

    F1 as it is now has lost me. I am no longer a fan and I no longer go to races. I like F1 to be about racing, not it’s current format. And lastly, the weaker almost silent engines don’t work for me either…

    1. James Allen says:

      Horner said this afternoon in the press conference that “F1 is first and foremost a show”

      Agree?

      1. nolongerafan says:

        I agree that is what it currently is, hence my no longer being a fan.

        If there is an identy crisis in F1, maybe now is a good time to question whether the fans want entertainment or racing?

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        Fast, competitive racing IS entertainment.

      3. Elie says:

        Thats is exactly the problem James!. F1 has lost itself in commercialism.
        It was always a Sport first about men racing at top speed risking life and limb. When the money comes first thats when the sport comes last- there has to be an exact and genuine balance for it to be sustainable.

      4. AlexD says:

        He is representing Red Bull and for them it is a marketing platform only, so it must be a show. I used to like F1 as a sport, ruthless fight of gladiators, cars always on the limit. Time will tell….I started watching Moto GP this year and found it simple in terms of rules and phenomenal fight between riders. Last moto gp race was phenomenal. F1 must be a sport and should not try to please anyone

      5. Bernd says:

        That’s the flawed thinking that pervades current F1 and leads to gimmickry like double points, artificial sparks, etc.

        Does anyone try to market Wimbledon or any other sporting event as “primarily a show”? No. People watch other sports purely to see the best athletes perform at the highest level. It should be the same in F1. If the decision makers approached it from that angle, they would arrive at real solutions. At the moment they succeed only in making more people give up on their product in disgust.

  95. deancassady says:

    I am certainly no fan of the two car, one team championship.
    However…
    … Formula One HAD to become more relevant.
    We are only seven races into this new, drastically different formula, it only seems like longer due to the unending verbal diarrhea from the complaining class.
    As long as I have been following, only about 20 years, there is a constant stream of whinging from…
    the teams NOT winning.
    Commentors who are wholesale discarding the new formula are like the dinosaurs herding over the cliff.
    Yes it may not be perfect, but look at what happened at Le Mans in WEC!?!
    Maybe a ‘tweek’ is in order to open up the alternatives; it seems that Adrian’s comment is along these lines.
    I personally think Jean Todt is doing a good job.
    It’s not an easy job.
    The biggest challenge is replacing Bernie, for while he’s been the dictator of the sport, sometimes dictators work out better than the alternatives.

  96. Harvey says:

    There has to be greater fan access, whether at races, factories, public appearances. I’ve been in Montreal the last five years, they have an open house on Thursday for three hours for the fans. If you stand on line for two hours and want to get shoved into a metal barrier you might be lucky enough to be close enough to the table where some of the drivers come out for a five minute or less autograoh session. There’s nothing going on in the garages other than if you want to look at wing parts stacked on a trolley. You may see some of the drivers walking the track so you can take a photo but you can’t get close. I understand the teams spend millions of euros on their equipment and many of the drivers would probably prefer to stay in the motorhomes and talk to Ron Howard or Beyonce but when you attend a race it would be nice to see and hear from some of the principals. The Fan Forums were great because you could actually hear from team principals and drivers, then there were question and answer sessions. What would be wrong with having the Thursday press conferences in larger venues so fans could attend and ask questions? What about autograph sessions that are organized, with security, with many drivers and team principals available? Instaed of the autograph cards with the drivers photo and team logo, how about some t-shirts, caps, or other memorabilia? How about autograph sessions or gabfests with retired drivers? Who wouldn’t want to hear Lauda, Stewart, Hill, Mansell and others talk about their racing days or get an autograph from one of the greats of the sport? Many attend most or all of the races anyway. Have a car or two on display. How many fans have actually been up close to a Formula One car? This would certainly spark interest from children, teens, and young adults. Bottom line, it’s too artificial, unapproachable, the average fan is held at a distance.

    1. mark says:

      dead on harvey – i’v been going for years now and feel every year the tide moving more to one resembling a formula 1 apartheid.

      WHO ENJOYS F1: Rich people and the corporate rule: they get the experience and the ‘wow’ – the infrastructure development (which bernie makes the track pay for – notice too how only paddocks have been getting investment) while the rest of us litterily watch from behind a fence.
      one which seems get moved even further for health and safety reasons every year.

      THE BACKLASH: short term i can see how this fill cvc’s coffers – but just like the brazil world cup – exclude those who made u in the first place and eventually they will rightly turn on you … so whilst i agree that the formula 1 experience isnt as horredous as made out in the recent coverage … perhaps what they are feeling is the undercurrent of a backlash from those who are tired of being marginalized, ignored and priced out of just about everything at the expense of corporate PR.

      f1 is right about lack on online activity: only they may be surprised to see it done for them when social media decide to organise a boycott of an event or 2 to make our voices heard.

      m

  97. Marcos says:

    We need spectacle. Increase competition between and within teams. Allow them to sell chassis and to have three cars.

  98. Nealio says:

    Amazing comments all and pretty consistent in placing the blame for F1′s situation on the managers of the series and their artificial gimmicks to “improve the show”. Also their greed is a common thread which runs through the comments. Will these self-same lords of the business listen to the common sense of the fans? What do you think? I’d imagine decline, fall and then rebirth is the way forward for F1.

  99. Ian James says:

    If anyone wants to see what’s happened to Formula 1 this year they only have to take a close look at the crowds. You’ll see boredom 101 written on many, many patron’s faces compared to the fever pitched excitement and passion that one experienced being at an F1 race in past years. And, this year, the racing itself has actually been of a high standard.

    So, what’s happened? Well, in a nutshell, the F1 administrators have ripped the heart out of the sport. They’ve destroyed the one unique ingredient that first time patrons and long term followers alike would talk about for months after a race…the extraordinary noise! To witness the incredibly loud and engaging sound of the 3 litre V10s in the flesh from 1995 to 2005 was an unbelievable experience and even the far quieter, far less engaging 2.4 litre V8s were still pretty good.

    But here we are in 2014 and we’re watching machines that are not only inaudible but the character of the sound is absolutely awful. They are an embarrassment by ANY measure and the crowds know it.

    And why? Well, apparently, the F1 hierarchy felt that they needed to promote their green credentials (maybe with Formula E on the horizon?) and figured that could save a few hundred litres of fuel per car per race weekend by changing to 1.6 litre V6 turbo hybrids, limiting the fuel capacity and restricting fuel flow at ALL times. So, all up, they felt they could save perhaps 10 thousand litres of the stuff over a typical race weekend and you know what…they did save it!

    But, then, they continued to fly the F1 circus to far off distance places like Melbourne in big cargo jets that use around 1 million litres of fuel for the UK to AUS to UK round trip. And, that’s per plane. Try, 4 million litres for 4 planes!! Doubtless the current F1 head office should be congratulated for saving a few thousand litres per race though? Yep, of course they should!

    In 2015 when race fans are thinking of going back to an F1 race and paying a lot of money to do so, they might not be as enthused as they were in past years. When you rip the heart out of a spectacle like F1 the public will simply think twice about coming back. And, when the crowds start dwindling, it won’t be too long before the tv moguls start questioning the investment they make in the sport. Just wait to next year. The signs are already there!

    Cheers,
    Ian

  100. Azza says:

    Here’s a list of 5 things I loved about F1 as a kid:

    1) The amazing speed and cars with beautiful tabaco livery!
    2) Spine tingling and ridiculously loud engine noise.
    3) The intense and interesting characters (Senna/Prost/Schumacher).
    4) Beautiful race tracks of old; Imola, Old Hockenheim, Adelaide, Spa, Monza, Monaco etc.
    5) The Voice of Formula One Murray Walker.

    Obviously I started watching f1 in the late 80′s and early 90′s.

  101. GM SMITH says:

    Some ideas from Canada for whomever is really running “The show” these days………

    1). Go back to the normally aspirated engines immediately, FULL STOP.

    2). Go back a few eras and just have a simple wing on the front of the car and the back. Screw the barge boards, and 20 odd winglets that adorn today’s cars. If you’ve got 20 extras on the car, your probably not designing it right. Remember the days when the real pro’s would have a slight drift into a corner? Those were the days boy, those were indeed the days.

    3). Give me back the days where the fuel was limited but the driver’s foot was the only thing responsible for managing it. I remember a few races where drivers got out and pushed their car across the finish line because they ran out of gas. If certain drivers are lead foots, so be it.

    4). Similar to above…..loose the pit to car instructions such as ” OK NIco, hold steady and select sub menu 3 option 10 for fuel and bias 6 for brakes, and conserve your tires for the next 14 laps ”
    screw that, if drivers want to run their car into the ground driving the wheels off the thing, let ‘em.

    5). Formula 1 is supposed to be THE top flight of all motor racing world wide. So if teams want to spend a bajillion dollars to win within the rules that are set, them let ‘em. Only the real cream is supposed to rise to the top in this sport, so if you have dominance, too bad, it’s up to the others to rise to the occasion.

    6). Stop cutting the TV coverage to the superfluous hangers on in the pits, enough entourages, enough WAG’s . Nobody gives a good god damn about Nicole Scherzinger, Nico’s bint, Alonso’s youngster, or Ron Dennis staring pensively at some random screen. Who cares?, I’m tuning in to see racing and nothing else.

    7). I could go on all day, but I must work so I can afford to go to next years race, MAYBE!!! Bernie…..stop charging 30 to whatever million just to have your circus show up once a year just because you can. Your product has been far from being worth what you charge for quite some years now. Smarten up. You can;t take your billions with ya when you go ya know.

    There’s lots more…….. but I gotta go.
    Thanks

  102. zombie says:

    Watch the Motogp race at Catalunya from last weekend Now that is racing at its absolute best. From the start to the finish it was balls out racing., no quarters asked, no quarters given. Marquez,Pedrosa and Rossi battling within an inch while putting midcorner blackies with both wheels is why people buy tickets, is the reason why folks subscribe to expensive sports channels.

    Nobody wants to see some stupid race steward put an arbitrary penalty. No one cares when a driver whines “Did Charlie see that ?”. Let the drivers race. Get rid of DRS. Allow car companies to decide what is the best engine formula which is relevant to their road car development as well. Allow in season engine development so there is closer competition. Subsidize the expenses of bottom 4 team using the profits generated from the sport instead of paying teams like Ferrari and Mclaren just to compete. Have the management of Toyota, VW, Porsche, Ford et al on the board of directors for FIA so they have an incentive to be interested in F1., and may end up participating.

    If F1 fails to make changes, i see it going the same way as WRC.

  103. Glen says:

    The racing has been brilliant this year and the new technology is relevant and exciting. If the rule makes want to carry on getting themselves in a twist, so be it. Although I enjoy the sport; I don’t care if it disappears. Nor am I am interested in how it could be improved.

  104. David Hoffmann says:

    I’d like to see one round of qualification for the first race of the yr. Subsequently instead of qualifications on Saturday afternoon, there’s a short 15-ish lap qualification race i.e. until the tires wear out – no pitstops, where starting order is determined by finishing order of the previous race. The results of this race sets the grid for Sunday. Then allow time between races to tweak cars. Two races for the price of one.

  105. Dan says:

    I’m no NASCAR fan, but they have done some things correctly. For example cost to attend a race is reasonable. A few extra dollars gets a paddock pass to see the driver and teams working on the cars. Also allows for a chance for an autograph. They race in places that love the sport. F1 does this all too but for a BIG price.

    In Austin the promoters bought all the hotel rooms and put the price through the roof. Staying 80 miles away in San Antonio was a better option. As a fan is simple not affordable and here in the USA we have lots of racing options that are fan friendly and provide a good show. I personally would rather sell 100 $1 tickets than 10 $10 tickets because those 100 people buy a lot of swag, hot dogs, etc.

    I personally would scrap all the races like Sochi, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, China, Malaysia, Singapore like others have said and focus on the “traditional racing markets”. Imola, France, a rotating European GP, South Africa, even a second USGP at somewhere like a return the Glen, Laguna Seca, or Elkhart Lake would be grand.

    Bring back multiple tire vendors.

    Trim the aero stuff to a front and rear wing and scrap all the minutia of vanes, etc.

    F1 is a great sport, but its being ran by uniformed old men who have forgotten the traditions that made the sport what it is.

  106. Sujith Radhakrishnan says:

    Maybe the fans are asking too much. There was a good post on GPupdate about how Formula 1 has to remain boring for it to be thrilling.

    No sport is exciting all through the season. Eg: Football, the most loved sport on the planet. Apart from a few 4-3 matches there are many more 0-0 dull matches. It’s impossible to be epic all the time unless you create artificial drama! Which the FIA are doing now.

    The current Era of F1 has given us some good races. But it still needs a little bit of tweaking. Get rid of the double points system, fuel limit and fuel flow limits.

    FIA has to work hand in hand with the technical staff of the teams to work on the mechanical side (not aero) to increase downforce. We want to see lap records being set in the race not in a ultra low fuel run on Friday Practice. Yes! Lap records are important. The cars should lap faster!!

    Like many have said before, get the FOM cameras sorted out. Get them closer to the track. Let the TV viewers have a feel for how freaking fast these cars really are. We don’t want moving cameras that give us Video-Game style shots.

    Spend money more on Visor cams and moving onboard cameras that turn to highlight wheel to wheel action.

    That’s what I would wanna see.

  107. danny says:

    They should minimize the aerodynamics by going back to simple stock wing designs and tubs. The money saved on aerodynamics should be used for engines and mechanical grip.

  108. Paul Richard says:

    “Today in Austria, the subject will be front of mind as six of the team bosses will discuss this topic in the second FIA press conference.”
    Six(!) of the team bosses? Well, yeah…talking about decline and attracting new fans.

    When I look back to, lets say 20 years, positive developments were:
    1)banning traction control (2008).
    2)switching back to slicks (2009).
    3)an attempt(there is still long way to go) to reduce downforce (2014).
    But even these rare positives are a little bit twisted, if you think about it. It says quite a lot about decision making in F1. It was crystal clear long before 1998(or 2014), that more mechanical grip and less aero is the formula, not the other way around.

    “—viewer numbers are dropping and why the under 25s are not engaging with it, raising the question of where the future audience will come from.”
    Good question. I think nothing happens if the future audience does not come at all. It would not be a catastrophe if the organizers would say that season 2020 will be the last one, because the series has floated too far from being a sport and there is no point for further…decline.
    I have a feeling that the more F1 is forced to like somebody, the less loyal fans it gets. Sure, you can fight with “Game of thrones”, but it then you must get triple DRS zones, sprinklers and naked women in the game.

    F1 world championship title was a prestigious series. Some have lost their lives fighting for it. This series should be treated respectfully. I think they should have stopped calling it Formula 1 after 2010.

  109. Sergio says:

    - More mechanical grip (Bigger & better tyres)
    - No radio just the driver & the machine (Not more drivers instructed by engineers but for safety reasons)
    - Manual ERS control
    - 18 GP’s and more time to friday testing to depelop cars instead of days apart
    - Stability of rules (Newer is not necessarily better)

  110. Chappers says:

    I have been an F1 nut for over 25 years now to the point that I would arrange work to fit in with the GP weekends and the family would know not to arrange any social events on these weekends. I have been lucky enough to go to a number of races weekends in that period. But over the last few year I have not been to any races and have even started to miss live races on TV.
    I have started to become disillusioned with the sport and the way the real fans are pushed further and further away to make space for people who often have no interest in the sport what so ever but see it as a place to been seen. The 2008 British GP summed this up for me, on race day the weather was horrible all day and the fans spent most of the day huddled under umbrellas and in rain coats around the outside of the circuit watching an empty track and getting soaked to the skin .Only to watch on the diamond screens the VIP’s being show around the pits getting to sit in the cars and then after about a dozen laps of the race leave the circuit.
    If F1 wants to start to rebuild its audience figures then they need to start to engage with their real fans by getting us a lot closer to the action. Most F1 fans are not stupid people and understand most of what is going on but just need better access to a lot of the data which is generated during a race weekend and when they are at a race track not made to feel part of what is going miles from the track and the cars.
    On a separate item I do think that the lack of testing is hurting the racing as if one team gets an advantage then the rest of the field find in very hard to close the gap so this leads to the races becoming very predictable and in turn causes people to switch off. Maybe they should have more in season testing after some GP weekends and to keep the cost down allow the teams to use tyres which were not used during the race weekend or have been saved from previous weekends. To help teams catch up if a driver has finished on the podium in any race weekend after the previous test then the tyres they had left over from that weekend need to return to the manufacture and their mileage is then limited by the number of types they have

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      @ chappers….and i mistakenly thought that i was the only “F1 fruitcake’. how refreshing!

  111. Die Scuderia says:

    Whether Ferrari is winning or not at this stage has nothing to do with the pressing issues now facing F1. These have been coming over the years and are lapping faster than the next solution. I will be very much interested in knowing what manufactures want from competing in F1 championship. Teams that arent car manufactures but taking part in the sport also have to define what they want from taking a part in F1. It’s important to understand this part, explicitly.

    Next, is knowing what makes the fans tick and feel proud to associate with F1 (via a team etc). The trick part with the fans is that, you have dire hard fans and the casual fans. So the views may be skewed quite a lot.

    Then there’s this issue about the carbon footprint, financial strains and rules . Whilst i don’t want to be sucked up into the carbon footprint politics (it really does get political actually), why all this green technology wasn’t implemented at lower racing levels and once optimised slowly introduced at F1? Budget cap will surely be hard to police but yes unlimited spending is not that ideal also. There are a few options to cut costs without impacting the quality of the races. For example, how about 15-16 races per season? The rules are impressive. If you are restricted to 100 kg of fuel during the race and still have 100 kg/h mass flowrate limiter then I dont know what to make of it. Given 100 kg of fuel over a race distance + few glitches, then you can back calculate how thirsty your engine should be.

    Like most people, I like F1. However, I dont get the same level of satisfaction watching F1 (nowadays) compared to Uefa Champions League, Le Mans or even the current soccer World Cup in Brazil (some games are amazing honestly).

    DS

  112. andrew says:

    Building energy efficient, less polluting racing cars for F1 is like building energy efficient, less polluting cannons for war. For F1 racing, or the pinnacle of motor sport to work hard at attracting a broad audience it needs to behave like a full-blown “contact” sport, not a watered down version. To accomplish this the presentation must openly show both “tactical” ability (which is easy for the crowd to absorb on the spot) and “strategic” prowess (less easy for the crowd to absorb immediately but never-the less relevant to longer term audience admiration and appreciation) to more fully satisfy the fans. F1 exists for the fans. Without fans F1 becomes just one big theoretical mental exercise. You could fundamentally achieve what have today with “fantasy” F1 teams operated by the constructors, and never have anyone ever have to leave home to spectate or compete (think of the energy savings…facetiously speaking). Let’s get the true battle grounds back in action, turn some wheels in anger, like the years gone by, and save our sport.

  113. chris says:

    One word – TIRES. As long as you have tires shedding clag all over the track there will never be any passing. Look back to the 70′s when different lines could be taken and daring overtakes happened because there was virtually the same traction off line as on line.

  114. Simon says:

    I’ve remembered a few more things I dislike about modern F1:

    1. Qualifying. I hardly watch it (even when it is free to air on BBC). It has become boring. The different sessions do not work. This is going back a few years now , but it was exciitng when they had 12 laps over 1 hour and they would refine their times until the last 5 minutes. They would then go out on low fuel and new tyres and it was excellent.

    2. The expense of F1. I have given up on the BBC coverage. It was very impressive for about 2 years when they had the budget. But it is almost embarassing nowadays that I watch F1 in glorious HD. The only thing is that I pay for a 24 hour access package through NOW. So, every F1 race costs £10.00 which adds up over a season. And the BBC have so few live races anyway! It would be an additional £10.00 just to watch the qualifying when BBC are not showing the race live.

    3. I would also echo the above comments about the race tracks. There is no atmosphere at so many of them nowadays compared with say Montreal and Silverstone.

  115. Paul Rodríguez says:

    Of course the matter is complex but, aside from what has been stated here, (get rid of fake gimmicks, let them race, etc) which I mostly agree with, the case of Boxing here in Mexico might shed some light.
    Boxing has always been huge in Mexico with world Champions in several categories, but during the 90′s it stopped airing on open air TV, and of course, viewing figures plummeted, and in fact, a whole generation of great boxers went unnoticed. Then, when it went back to open air a few years ago, the whole thing exploded and know we have boxers that are very public figures, they marry actresses and all that crap!, the point is: Make all content (including digital) available for free, encourage sharing, get revenue from all other sources that will come knocking. See what happens…

  116. David Morton says:

    I have been saying for years to get rid of the wings and all the little winglets etc. Look at Prost and Senna’s cars when they dominated that year, minimal stuff……very clean. If you remove all wings and you still want downforce, put the sucker fan underneath like the Brabham had……I think it was them. That will bring back overtaking which is really missing from the sport…..and DRS is not real overtaking. Look at the old stuff of Prost passing somebody on the straight at 200 plus mph. Very exciting stuff.

  117. Froomie says:

    It used to be that the ‘team’ element in F1 was engineering and preparing the car. Out on the track it was one driver against another because of no pit radios and no telemetry. I ask to bring back those days. Get rid of the radios and you could also massively reduce the need for telemetry, which would also save a fortune. In one quick and fell swoop you would reintroduce the need for intelligent driving with drivers having to make their own decisions on when to pit and how to control their race. It’s a quick and cheap way to make the racing a lot more exciting.

    I agree with many others that the racing should be flat out with no fuel limits and as many tyres as a driver needs.

    I don’t think that social media is the answer. There are many media with which to tell a story – spoken, written, play, film – but if the story is dull then no amount of media wizardry will rescue it or improve it.

    Apart from that I do have one bizarre idea. Bring in video game elements or laser quest elements. Give the drivers an electronic nose ‘gun’ and a small target on the rear of other cars plus a small number of electronic ‘bullets’. When the driver behind wants to overtake he can fire at the car in front and if successful the car in front gets its brakes applied, or revs limited. In this way it can be more combative and bit more like dogfighting. It’s a bizarre idea but it might appeal the video game generation brought up on first person shoot ‘em ups. It would require a lot more skill and add a lot more excitement than DRS zones.

  118. StefMeister says:

    To be honest I don’t think there’s much wrong with F1 this year from a racing point of view.

    I don’t see the whole noise debate as been as big an issue as others, I quite like the noise these new engines make & all the extra little sounds that go with them.

    I’ve really enjoyed watching this years cars be driven, watching drivers actually having to drive the cars again due to the increased torque & decreased downforce has been a joy, Especially from the OnBoard shots.
    I never really enjoyed watching the super high downforce, Torque-less V8s been driven because they rarely moved around & often looked like they were on rails & that took away from the spectacle of watching the cars.

    I’ve also found the racing this year to be very enjoyable, Every race has featured some close, competitive racing with some good battles & a good level of overtaking. I’ve not come away from a single race this year thinking “that was dull”, I’ve honestly enjoyed every lap of every race far more than I have over recent years.

    I lost a lot of interest in the racing the past 3 years as I hated what DRS did to the art of overtaking/defending & how the tyres were often far too big a factor every weekend.
    I used to love watching real overtaking, Overtaking that was actually exciting to watch & felt that DRS took a lof of that away, Creating a lot of passing but passing that was often too easy & lacked excitement. Quantity over quality is a good way to describe it.

    In 2014 however the DRS has been less effective, Its actually been assisting overtaking rather than generating it & as such the overtaking has been much more interesting to watch & the tyres have not been falling off the cliff every few laps so they have been less of a factor which i’ve also enjoyed.

    When I see people complain about how F1 in 2014 is boring, dull or whatever I honestly don’t get why they think this because as I describe above Im loving F1 this year. I think the racing is better than its been for a few years & the spectacle of watching the cars is also much better.

    I still don’t like DRS & the other artificial elements such as double points or the proposed standing safety car restarts…. But the racing has been so good that I’ve been able to overlook much of this.

    1. StefMeister says:

      Just on the move to PPV. In fairness to F1 thats a direction which most sports seem to have taken over the past few years as the terrestrial broadcasters have gone through there budget cuts, license fee freezes etc…

      The cost of showing sport has increased, Not just for F1 but pretty much across the board & I believe that the price FOM ask from broadcasters is lower than several other big sports.

      There is also the cost of actually covering the races. I’ve read several times that when BBC took over from ITV for 2009 that they massively underestimated how much it cost to send there crew & equipment to the races.

      With regards to Sky, Ignoring the PPV/FTA argument I really like the sky coverage. I love having access to all the interactive extras like OnBoards, Pit lane feed etc.. all through the weekend online & on the TV red button.
      I know the BBC have some of these feeds but there only available online (with a 20 second delay compared to TV feed) & are only there for qualifying/Race.
      I also love all of Sky’s other offerings like the classic races, F1 show & other shows & features which they have on there channel.

  119. lord horn says:

    Strange.

    Last time I saw the 100 meter Olympics dash, I did not see the top 5 guys getting their shins broken by the Olympic Committee, because the last 5 were ‘unable to cope up’ and that ‘it was unfair to them’ and that by ‘breaking the shins’ we would equalize their speeds thus providing ‘entertainment to the viewers’

    Elite racing should mean that. Elite. If Maruissa and Catheram are finding it difficult to enter into 300Million club, they shouldn’t.

    What next for these back markers because they cannot afford to spend like the big boys? Starting half the grid and only half the number of rounds?

    Being equal, means providing equal opportunity for all. Being equal does not mean dragging someone down to the ‘MEAN AVERAGE’ because others cannot match their income and talent.

    If they cannot pass the entrance exams, Stanford and Wharton don’t take students as MBA. If they cannot pay their fees – their HIGH fees – they don’t take them. Why should Top 5 teams grovel because the backmarkers cannot pay they way to success?

    Equalize the opportunity. Not the talents or spending power. That is where FIA is going wrong. In their approach to satisfy the backmarkers, they are not going anywhere.

    I mean, just because there are thousands of blogs on blogger.com that deal with F1 racing because the writers cannot afford their own web host, and James Allen has his own site, does not mean James Allen has to reduce the spending on his website ‘so that other bloggers with F1 blogging get a fair chance.’

    Too bad. I don’t see the FIA improving. We’ll probably come up with ‘GIMMICKS’ instead of ‘HARD SOLUTIONS’.

    Lucky I could at least witness the Schumacher Era. No restrictions on fuel, money and testing.

    Cannot say so for the unlucky people who, in future, are going to inherit ‘efficient’ and ‘fuel saving’ and ‘green’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ cars and races. It would be amazing if they would hit 90mph then.

    1. AdamJ says:

      The Schumacher era, where nearly all passing happened in the pits, and when the sport was dominated by one team that didn’t even let their 2 drivers race each other. I never want I see that kind of era again personally ;-)

  120. Richard says:

    Well I suppose the sport at one level has benn going wrong for some time. Largely it’s about presentation and the owners have given the full LIVE broadcastings rights to SKY who’s presentation I have certainly found lacking, but perhaps many like me will not pay SKY’s fee for the privilege. So the lack of free to air full live action is one nail in the coffin. Beyond that the sport has been given over to the engineers which is why we see this power unit lead formula this year with much quieter engines. Personally I’m enjoying this formula but only because it’s displaced Red Bull and made it more of a drivers formula. Having said that I’m sure there will be plenty of people saying the same about Mercedes, although by next year other teams may well have got on par with them who knows. If you ask me what I’d like, then I’d like big engines back with beefed up rear tyres with restricted aero such that the winning is more in the hands of the driver rather than the aerodynamicist or engineer. I see no real need for F1 to follow car market trends with hybrid technology because the average punter wants increased spectacle not fuel economy. – It simply doesn’t matter for 20 races a year does it!

  121. Threep says:

    There are problems with F1 in several areas.
    1. Aerodynamics. 2014 heralded more restricted aerodynamics, yet the engineers are so good at finding incremental increses in performance that they are essentially back to where they were before. Downforce in the corners is critical, if you can’t follow another car closely through the bends then you won’t have a chance to overtake them on the straight unless you have a significant power advantage. This has led to a whole raft of “artificial” devices and regulations intended to improve the racing. We have tyres with carefully designed grip and degredation intended to mix up strategies. We have DRS systems which give the following vehicle an artificial aerodynamic advantage in certain parts of the lap. Make aerodynamics a very much less important factor and some of the artificiality can disappear.
    2. Money and Control. Being a successful F1 team is, to a very large degree, down to how deep your pockets are. Certain teams have vested interests in keeping the playing field uneven. Ferrari for example get by far the most TV money out of all the teams because they did a sweatheart deal with Bernie back when FOTA were discussing breaking away and setting up their own series. So the established big money teams always divi up the largest share of the spoils and therefore have the resources to always stay near the front. The regs shake up this year has disturbed the old order a bit, but it will only be a matter of time before the same pattern re-emerges. There is plenty of money in F1, unfortunately most of it gets syphoned off by CVC and co and money which could even up the playing field goes to making them fat profits. And the self-interest of the big teams means they are unable to agree on sensible cost-cutting measures because it will diminish their advantage. The lower end teams are struggling to stay in existance whilst the big teams spend 5 or 6 times their budget. Introduce budget caps and increase money to smaller teams, give them some chance of getting onto the podium owing to the skill of their drivers.
    3. Free-to-air TV. The pay-per-view model may make business sense in the short term, but it will starve F1 of new fans and risk the downward spiral of advertisers wanting to sponsor teams. Less viewers, less buisiness case for big sponsorship, mid and small teams become increasingly uncompetitive, less exciting racing, less viewers etc and the downward cycle continues.

  122. A. says:

    For me, it’s simple.

    Utter domination, for years by RB and now Mercedes, is what’s killing it.

    I’m starting to lose interest even though I’ve been following the sport since 1986. I similarly lost interest in the Ferrari dominated years of the early 2000s and hardly watched any races for two or three years.

  123. Elie says:

    A good man by the name of martin whitmarsh once said that F1 must firstly learn to not shoot itself in the foot and air its problems publically ( I guess thats just like any good racing team). So lets start with that:-

    1. Luca Di Montezemolo and Bernie Ecclestone need to leave F1. They are selfish self serving [mod]. If they are not “winning” they dont want anyone else to win. They constantly bag the very show that feeds them- this never happens in any other sport as it only destroys the sports image- the one they are supposedly trying to grow.
    2. “Decline”- must be referring to viewing numbers and is directly attributable to PPV, and increasing ticket prices. Financially the whole world in general shrunk over the last 4 years and CVC and Bernie got greedy & decided to Steal from the poor to feed the rich!. I would not even watch F1 regularly if was not free to air here in australia. Clearly since F1 went to Sky it declined & Instead of engaging new fans with much more multi media access it started charging for that also where other sports give far more access for free. It needs to market itself far stronger- public & tv appearances, fan access there are many many ways..
    3. F1 must respect that it is a sport equally as much as it is a show because men risk their lives each race to win. This is the part that is at the crux of all problems. Fans want to watch a sport not a soap opera. For it to retain and engage fans it needs to remain true to its heritage whilst moving forward as the pinnacle of motorsport in a modern, informed market place.
    4. New techology has “softened” F1 – it has dramatically improved the technology & future direction, but so far it has not improved the speed. Fans need to be patient as this will come given the formula is in its early stages. However there are too many technical and regulatory changes happening all at once. Emphasis on Aero was greatly limited at the time when powertrain was increased- a double whammy that didnt need to happen all at once. Both from a driver and cost perspective given teams were aiming at cost control.
    5. Regulatory changes dont make sense-teams spend tens of thousands on wings, other pieces, almost at every race. Yet engines are frozen at Feb 28. At the same time there is talk of eliminating Friday practise which is essential in coping and improving the problems with a new powertain formula.
    Tightening of regs is destroying creativity and initiative there needs to be more scope. Limitiations can happen on the budget side of things.
    6. Budgets -The very thing that would be make F1 a more genuine experience is a level playing field at least some kind of fully administered budget cap with a considered and equitable distribution of income to all teams.This would give a chance for more names to be fighting further up the grid and improving the show- at the very least surviving!!
    7. Double points, fake noise, sparks, are all ridiculous and insulting the sports great heritage and its fans. People are far more switched on these days and the more crap you feed them- the more likely they are to turn away.

    James the key word F1 is tragically missing is “genuine” – once it finds it all other things can follow.
    It must find good leadership in order to embrace it though.

  124. Paddy says:

    Hi James, I’ve followed F1 a long time since I was a boy. I grew up with a Senna picture on my school folder. At that time, there was a little bit of a mystery around the drivers as the Internet was not born yet, and you read stories or F1 gossip through print media. Nowadays, whilst I understand the benefit around social media, a lot of mystery around the drivers has disappeared. You can consume a lot of F1 by not watching the races. As much as the cars and the technology are interesting, nothing beats a rivalry (friendly or otherwise) between drivers. Drivers used to be men, now they are boys. They lack charisma, and connection with the fans. And finally, I would say the format of the weekend should be considered. To want to watch a race live means giving up the whole Sunday. In the summer months, who wants to be stuck indoors on a Sunday to watch a race where more often than not the winner is the guy who starts on pole? If there where more chances for different drivers to win it may be worth staying in for. I mean, if all the cars were 50% cheaper to develop and perhaps all cars were 5 sec slower but the racing was closer and more unpredictable… Would anyone care or notice?

    1. Glen says:

      No – but then you would be watching BTCC or something similar.

  125. Alex Butters says:

    People have such rose tinted glasses about the past. The vast majority of motor racing has always been pretty “boring” to watch – everyone needs to remember that only the classic races get repeated so we can watch certain special moments!

    Anyway. The sky F1 channel does an amazing job and as a motor racing fan it is pretty cool to have a whole channel devoted to the sport I love. Yes yes, I do know that not everyone is lucky enough to be able to afford it. But boxing and football still thrive despite pay tv.

    Let’s look at the positives. At least every F1 race still gets viewed on the bbc in some form or other. I agree that it would be a disaster for the sport if the bbc lost this current “shared” deal. But let’s remember that fans in the UK actually get the best of both worlds.

    As for the cars, I don’t want F1 to lose aerodynamics completely because it is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport. If you wanna watch sideways action then watch touring cars instead, the current cars are about as skiddy and fun as we have seen in decades.

    The new formula promotes incredible cutting edge technology that will have an impact on the future of motoring. I have heard the old screaming V8 engines at Eau Rouge, and this year was lucky enough to be at Monaco. The new cars have quite a cool multi tone sound, very sci fi almost like a swooshing spaceship. I actually liked hearing the commentary on the speakers, not needing ear defenders, and hearing the tyres squeal.

    Let’s just sort out the ugly nose cones, raise the rev limit a bit and let’em do pit stops again. And protect Monaco Silverstone Monza and Spa as “special” historic F1 tracks. There, sorted. Everyone stop moaning, or watch Moto GP instead.

  126. Sebee says:

    James,

    Most active and commented recent article on your page. It’s fresh and it’s from today. It already got punted off your front page and one has to dig in the non intuitive layout to find it. Surely this can’t be good for site traffic.

    What is going on with my beloved F1? Fake sparks, standing restarts, crap engines, noise gone, penile implant noses, fuel conservation racing, DRS, website layout changing….damn it…I’m getting cranky. Random, pour us a scotch to put these flames out. What channel is golf on?

  127. Olivier says:

    F1 needs diversity on all levels.

    Perhaps the FIA should take note of Le Mans? Let the engine manufacturers decide how to respond to the challenges defined by the FIA.

    Here’s what the FIA could do in the short term:

    1. Get rid of Qualifying on Saturday. Let the drivers start the race in the order they finished the previous one. => This will encourage racing as it will have an impact on the next one.
    2. Use Saturdays for free practice.
    3. Use Fridays for testing with test drivers and reserve drivers. => This will give youngsters the opportunity to gain experience.
    4. Have Double Points for all classic circuits.
    5. I like the idea of having a stand still re-start after the safety car period.

  128. Steve says:

    F1 is losing it audience because the boredom level exceeds the excitement level it is too complicated for the casual fan to stay interested during the boring parts. I have observed this myself as I watched my 21 year old son’s eyes glaze over as I explain how the many concurrent strategies should come together and make it exiting at the end. He said “I thought they were supposed to be racing”

    Also, the broadcasters dumb it down so much that i find them annoying to listen to. They should have three commentary options. One for the novice fan, one for the hardcore fan and one with no commentary at all.

    It seems to me that F1 has forgotten it’s formula, which should be simple;

    Dictate the maximum fuel consumption, minimum weight, dimensions and safety aspects of the car the let the designers do what they are paid to do…innovate

    Let the teams choose whether to refuel during the race to open up strategy.

    give them tires that can be raced on.

  129. Rishi says:

    Think it might be quite futile trying to search for a utopia here. Clearly different fans have different opinions on different topics here (myself included of course), so clearly whatever product you have will, to some extent, be a compromise. Particularly true in a sport with so many layers like F1 is.

    However, there’s of course nothing wrong in the powers-that-be looking for some “quick, easy wins”. Social media engagement (quite good among many drivers, but maybe the F1 ‘brand’ should step up in this regard), more innovation in ticketing, and financial issues (e.g. revenue distribution and cost control) are all sensible enough. So too would be some data driven analysis on the “free-to-air vs pay-per-view” debate; particularly ones that look beyond the raw numbers and try and ascertain free-to-air’s success (or otherwise) in not only bringing fans in but keeping them interested. You’d have to make certain assumptions I imagine but there’s nothing wrong with giving it a go and trying to make issues evidence-based wherever they can be.

  130. Mark says:

    So this comment is probably too late, and too far down the page to be read by most people, but…

    To engage with new fans F1 needs to talk to them on their level.

    TV is a dying medium. we have Facebook and Twitter and YouTube vines and instagram and snapchat and …

    Bernie instructs his teams of lawyers to fiercely protect his copyright and immediately remove F1 content that’s posted.

    A few years ago there was a music ‘service’ called Napster. the music industry tried to shut it down. Apple reinvented it as iTunes and now more music is downloaded than bought in ‘hard copy’

    The future is internet media, more podcasts and bite size F1 items that you can download at home and then watch on your phone on the bus later.

    F1 is too corporate and too tied to a yesteryear media format, run by a [mod] businessman who already has more money than he could ever spend.

    We don’t need gimmicks, we do need the tech used to be 21st century and relevant to manufacturers but we don’t need artificial Driving aids like DRS. DRS was brought in because the aero scuppered a car behind too much. The answer is to greatly reduce aero dependancy, not add on a flappy wing.

    People love watching sport. the thrill of the chase, a closely fought contest, the unpredictable nature of events, will we see a moment of genius or a car pushed too far? Tighten up the regs, give the engineers less room to skirt around the rules and give the drivers more driving to do, keep the fuel flow restrictions and the new power trains, but let the drivers refuel. Take away the aero over reliance and the DRS. We don’t need gimmicks, we already have some of the best engineers in the world and the best drivers in the world, just give them all comparable equipment and let them race, the show will take care of itself.

    Above all else broadcast the races live on the internet.

    I’ll pay a subsciption to watch an internet race feed. If it’s good enough I’ll pay extra for more behind the scenes stuff too. I won’t pay SKY or anyone else for stuff I don’t want.

    If Formula E gets it right, then F1 will be second fiddle to me in the racing world.

  131. Steve Zodiac says:

    Trouble is that all the so called solutions to”spice up” the show are contrived and false so therefore meaningless. Sparks? fine if it’s part of the design but not if it’s just for the sake of it. Loud exhaust? well if it’s the result of, say, more fuel and more power, then great but just making a loud exhaust for the sake of it/? don’t think so. Standing re-starts…just plain stupid. What is needed is just more! More power, more speed, more noise( as a result of the above), more aero, so that we have absolutely mind blowing cornering. more of a challenge. No offense to women ( well ok, take offense if you want) but when we start talking, seriously, of a competitive women then it is just getting too easy ie chit chat on the radio? what? it’s more like a Sunday afternoon drive than a race. release everybody, let them go for it, if F1 is actually good, the sponsers etc wiil come.

  132. R Warder says:

    Limit teams to $100m. Take away the many rules other than forcing engine supplies to sell/give engines to teams that cannot afford to develop them. Let the cars race at the limit engineers can come up with. And bring back the danger! Yes, make drivers be on the edge… gladiators of motorsport. F1 was the pinnacle because it was the fastest, loudest, most exciting sport that kept you on the edge of your seat and left you with many many emotions from the track.

    And, online, bring out the Sky shows as a channel on Xbox, PS, Roku, AppleTV, iPad, Win8 etc. as a subscription channel at a very reasonable price – go for mass-market appeal. Give the fans globally something to watch. Run old races on this channel when race weekends are not on. Let fans get a fix anytime or enjoy the old times and make it exciting and accessible for the new generation.

  133. Limelee says:

    There are literally hundreds of things F1 could do with the format alone. Allow a natural progression if Rules but only do big changes every 5 years or so when speed get too big. Format wise, why not have all sorts of extra things with the cars which are more fun and less focused around a single large race. Why not have a 90 minute session in a Friday where drivers go head to head in drag races, or 3 lap sprint races in a one on one format? Or a 12 lap team race where the aggregate times of both cars are used to determine the result, with just constructor points awarded. I’ve also floated the idea in the past of the championship being split up so the top four drivers move into a play off at the end of the season as opposed to the guy with the most points automatically winning.

    I like the current formula. But I think that’s a lot to do with what Mercedes are allowing there drivers to do. It’s been many a year since two team mates were in such an intense and private battle and it’s fascinating! I’d just like to see more if the cars and the drivers forced into situations and dealing with situations that aren’t just single lap or endurance race, especially in a Friday!

  134. Pat Palozzi says:

    Now f1 is introducing sparks,stop the gimmicks and bring back the real formula1.The Ferrari prix ident is bank on.F1 has just lost another paying fan.

  135. ROB says:

    First and foremost the people want to see REAL racing and not contrived ideas.
    2nd is the cars have become too ugly and weird. The best looking cars in my opinion were those in the late 80′s . Mclaren MP4/4 , Ferrari etc all looked the best , and surely we could go back to these type of designs with wide rear wings and narrow front wings to reduce grip. They were very clean and not full of bloody ridiculous looking plates and wings on wings we see today. Combine this with today’s safety standards in crash tests etc i think theyd definitely be a winner.
    3rd . The engine noise is synomous with F1 and whilst i agree new hybrid technolgy will be the new powers of today and tomorrow, the FIA must insure the noise integrity of 2015 cars returns, and if this means a loss fuel consumption and a return to bigger tanks than so be it.
    4th. tyre compounds – a greater spread of performance from each gp must be brought in , up to 2 sec per lap diff and a maybe a minimum lap req on the option tyre ie …15 laps….if you push too hard they may start to wear out after 6-7 laps . but then that will come down to strategy of driver and car setup

    Lets let the drivers race and bring back to the sport the pure drivers we desire…..

  136. daniel says:

    Bigger tires, no fuel flow restrictions, if the team does boost over taking, they will do boost catching up. Closing rates and crashes will add to the show. Reduce wings and Make mechanical grip a bigger factor this will reduce the turbulent air. Close racing is what makes the show, al’a Bahrain.
    Do not limmit the KERS battery size or ammount of joules. Bring back refueling so cars can push flat out instead of saving fuel. We want to watch the fastest drivers driving flat out.

  137. Ian James says:

    I just went thru the above 134 comments. Some excellent thoughts for sure and an obvious realisation that F1 has, amazingly, lost its way.

    My previous comments are posted at number 99 and I firmly stand by them. What we are all witnessing, in real time, is how to WRECK something that was a wonderful spectacle and an exciting and passionate sport….in just one year! And, that’s in spite of having pretty good racing this season.

    The F1 administrators appear to have believed their own internally generated spin that the public would (somehow) accept that saving fuel was critical for the future of the sport. And, in 2014, the new rules will indeed result in a saving of some 200 kL of the stuff over the 19 race weekends. But, the very same F1 administrators have signed-off on the use of some 4 ML of fuel to freight the F1 circus from Europe to Australia and back…for just one race! And, to save that 200 kL we’ve been inflicted with cars that sound like my Toyota Prius! (BTW, I LOVE my Prius).

    I remain truly amazed that good people like Jean Todt have presided over the wrecking of a sport that didn’t need to be wrecked. Bernie Ecclestone was absolutely horrified by the embarrassing lack of noise from these machines and so am I.

    As things stand, I won’t be heading back to the Australian GP next year to watch a spectacle that has had its heart and soul ripped out of it. Even if Daniel Ricciardo has done very well this season which looks to be a good chance. And, neither will thousands of others who came away from the 2014 race absolutely appalled by the sound…or lack of it!

    Cheers,
    Ian

  138. bronwyn collier says:

    They are assuming viewer numbers are down but they don’t take into account the fact that lots of people live stream on their computers as the coverage is so pathetic on the local TV stations (I speak from experience from living in Australia and, for a while, in the USA). The thing that would improve it for me is if ALL the teams shared the TV proceeds equally, which would make it a much more level playing field, instead of continually stuffing around with stupid ideas i.e. double points, fake sparks, standing starts after a safety car, and silly little cost cutting measures that are a pittance in the general scheme of things, etc. What the audience wants is to watch a race and not know who is going to win as there is a possibility that several people could (like a couple of years ago when there were 7 different winners in the 1st 7 rounds – fantastic!). I hate seeing the inequality between the teams and it seems utterly ridiculous that the way the spoils are divided as the richer teams don’t need the money and the smaller teams do. Just give the teams trophies for winning and divide all the money equally between all the teams. The winning teams will profit anyway by being more attractive to sponsors. The show will improve immediately if the playing field is more level!

  139. eric morman says:

    what a load of rubbish,
    what your really after to improve the show is drivers dying and crashing with heaps of fires,
    screaming engines and rows of cars not being able to pass each other unless they nudge the other guy off the track, yeah bring back the good old times,
    well guess what you can not have people dieing and fires like Guy Fawkes Night or cars pushing each other onto the verge anymore its unsafe in this day and age,

    what we have now is called progress so get over it,
    i have been watching F1 since Steeling Moss was racing and its never been better,
    yes i agree the cars do look ugly but we sure have cars acting like they did in the 50/60s and that is what matters,
    the show at the moment is absolutely fantastic…

  140. Olivier says:

    Skip to 1:30 if you want to learn how Le Mans is connecting with the fans.
    Skip to 2:20 if you want to learn how Le Mans is so attractive to car manufacturers.

    http://youtu.be/i5JcL5-oFC0

  141. Tom in Adelaide says:

    I’m finding the TV coverage quite stale (we get the Sky feed here in Australia). And by coverage I don’t mean the commentators, graphic overlays etc, I mean the actual choice of what is being shown on the TV and the cameras they are using.

    We need picture in picture for pitstops as a bare minimum. They are rarely eventful and not interesting to watch. We need longer periods of footage from onboard cameras etc. And more overhead shots from blimps/helicopters to give a perspective on gaps etc.

    I realise some countries have access to alternative channels where you can choose what to watch (red button is it?) – just an FYI, we don’t get that in Aust, just the main feed.

  142. Raf F says:

    I am their core demographic (26, male) not that that entitles me to anything, I’m all for expanding audiences, but I stopped watching regularly for a very simple reason: pay per view. With so many sponsors and promoters pouring in billions of dollars, why should I pay a third world salary to watch the thing? The business model of this “sport” is inherently flawed, and it will hurt the very people that are holding back changes in the long run. Bring in cost caps and cast the widest web possible with free TV broadcast, digital streaming etc and a lot more viewers will automatically come to it. There is refinement of the content that can always be done but what we have right now is already a very good show. Also, people need time and exposure to the complex aspects of anything, think classical or progressive music, or even other sports (football, rugby).

  143. Allan says:

    I’d like to echo the comments on Pay TV being the root cause here.

    Yes the sport has a few problems, but none that stop me loving it still. However I still don’t watch half of the races as I don’t have Sky.

    The BBC were doing a great job when they first took the coverage in 2009. Sky no doubt do too – pity less than a million actually watch it.
    It seems that the paddock don’t understand why me, and many like me, are leaving the sport, or they are ignoring the real reasons to push their own agendas.

  144. Nick Hipkin says:

    James,

    You know the old saying, don’t make the same mistake twice and expect a different result? Well the teams/bosses are guilty of this now.

    First double points, now standing restarts – the sport continues to not listen to its audience, and whilst they continue to ignore us more and more of us will lose hope and start ignoring F1

  145. Bap says:

    I agree with those accusing Bernie of being the root problem, F1 should primarily be a sport and not just a business yielding a lot of money for CVC or God knows who. What I wish is real competition being held in front of people who really enjoy it. That means finding a way (I know it’s not easy) to allow maximum competition in terms of technical innovation while keeping the costs down to avoid dominance by two or three teams backed by multinationals with basically unlimited funds. F1 should not be a customer car championship. This kind of competition can be interesting, as all those who watch GP2 know, but this has never been what F1 is about. Until now all that has been done to reduce costs is technically constraning the teams’ choices, and I think it’s very wrong. I would interpret Newey’s recent comments in that light: engineers should be much more free in designing cars. A lot of regulations in the sports are ludicrous, from the tyre use obilgations to fuel saving. That’s why it’s very sad that attempts at introducing budget limits failed.
    Amd then I must say I am sceptical about many of the new venues. As a Frenchman I’m quite sad we don’t have a GP here anymore. I don’t really get why Bernie has to get so much money for a track to organise a GP. I think it’s fair new venues are introduced, there’s no reason to remain in Europe and the few traditional tracks in America, Japan and Australia (even if frankly I prefer old circuits in the woods like Spa or Nurburgring… and yes I wouldn’t mind Imola or Zandvoort retruning, no reason they can’t be pu up to date). But frankly, I don’t see the point of having several GP in the Gulf, in Singapore/Malaysia, etc. And GP at night?? What’s the point? The light is just horrible. I think venues should be chosen depending on people who actually buy tickets and come to watch the race.
    And then for the vast majority who watch it on TV, I agree with those saying that viewers should be able to participate more fully and acutely in the GP by getting all the technical information available. The F1 app is crap even if a lot of intersting data is provided. And you can’t have it on desktop. There really is some work to do in that area.

  146. Jonathan Powell says:

    An interesting and important topic of discussion James. In terms of the entertainment factor I remember being at school in the 90s and whenever I told people I like Formula 1 they all said it was dull and boring with no overtaking and this it is how it was portrayed in the media aswell with the view being it was a dull procession with the driver in the best car winning and only a couple of entertaining wet races each season. Midfield teams would win occassionally such as Jordan in ’98 and Stewart in ’99. There was alot more money from sponsors back then aswell.

    At the moment people dont talk about F1 being a dull procession won by the best driver anymore. Whatever you say about DRS or KERS the racing is certainly more entertaining now though it does need to be less artificial. With regards to the cars they definitely need to be more aesthetically pleasing from the fans,sponsors and everybody else’s perspective.You just cannot have the premier motor racing series in the world featuring ugly cars!The noise obviously needs sorting out aswell…

    You mentioned about drivers needing to put more effort into building their profiles in theyre own countries and this is definitely true but they need to be more charismatic generally. The post race area with the drivers before they go on the podium is so devoid of emtion recently its laughable! The Senna movie signified the difference in the 80s when drivers were so much more charismatic and outspoken and certainly more appealing.

    Ive always said,even as a fan of Formula 1,that it is its own worst enemy. It is very lucky to be in the position at the moment where it can do something to re before its too late to rectify the situation. In the UK other sports such as Moto GP and rallying have come onto terrestrial TV but not had the longevitiy tha Formula 1 has,even though in the case of Moto GP it is,in a pure sense, more entert
    aining.

    Its the fans who make the sport and those who should have the say in its future.

    Keep up the great work,
    Jonathan

    1. Nick Meikle says:

      I agree, DRS and KERS are very artificial and the latter has come at great cost. Why not give the drivers full access to the grunt of their engines and increase the mechanical traction through the tyres and less aerodynamic control. Let the drivers overtake with out the DRS when and where they deem it appropriate and not when race control says so.
      The tyre rules are appalling; all in the quest to enforce pitstops every 15 laps or so (to improve the spectacle) with the chance a pit crew screw up the pitstop to the driver’s detriment. Whereas the regulated requirement for engines to last a number of races has produced incredible reliability, the tyres are regulated beyond reason and their usage in a race bears no resemblance to reality. We don’t go driving constantly changing tyres. Give the drivers tyres that will last a whole race and let them manage it from there. If they have to change a tyre due a puncture or the conditions changing when it rains that’s reasonable; slicks would not be safe in the wet.

      1. mark says:

        hi nick – agree – dont u think the drivers may be less interesting because to a degree they simply are more boring people? imagine being in a red bull drivers programme from the age of like 11 or something and focusing all your time and youth on driving cars on the weekend at a track. no wonder they dont have any individual flair e.t.c

        also with so much emphasis on the ‘brand’ of the car manufacturers nobody dare put a driver on that might say some out of line. remember how many years kimi was banned form bbc interviews becasue of what he use to say during them.
        The move towards political correctness also means these drivers are trained on how to deliver the ‘message’ correctly with the press.
        Worse – their contracts i expect also state what the limits of their opinions are allowed to be.

        m

  147. Timo V says:

    We have the brightest minds in motorsport designing and engineering the cars yet we have some of the most senseless people running the sport/show/circus (delete as required) in FIA and FOM. This latest standing restart for 2015 must be the daftest idea after double championship points. How about adding a 15 minutes cooling break at midpoint of the race as well? Martin Brundle has said it time and again that the race start is the most dangerous phase of the whole race. Hence the medical car trails the field at the back of the grid to shorten the response time. It’ll be the same for standing restarts. Yes the starts are exciting/chaotic and great to watch and more often than not results in position changes. But I don’t want to be watching JUST the starting procedure followed by several laps behind the safety car to clean up the track because of another start line incident, and this process repeated over and over again. The race will just stutter and this will only detract from the spectacle, not add to the excitement. If you want more standing starts why not simply do it like V8 Supercars? Or simply have 2 heats in each race meeting like touring cars or GP2? I just cant fathom why the teams would agree to this utterly stupid and unsafe idea. I hope this gets shot down at the World Council and don’t pass rectification.

    1. eric morman says:

      they might like to add red flashing lights all around the track, then when a safety car is needed turn on the lights, all car stop where they are until incident has been removed then off they go again.
      that way we would only be waiting for the clean up and not cars unlapping themselves or others to catch up or making an unfair advantage.

  148. M Wishart says:

    I would like to add my personal experience to this subject.

    I visit this website everyday look for updates and news about the world of F1 and 9 times out of 10, James Allen on F1 is spot on and right on the money with the latest hot topic’s, but………

    I have been watching F1 since 1994 and seen many changes in that time and I love the fact with this sport that if something is wrong or broken they fix it, how many qualifying formats have we seen in the past 20 years? Quite a few, I remember when every car had a time slot, etc….. But……

    This year I have found myself breaking away from F1, and take this weekend for example, I totally forgot that it was a race weekend and went about my business and jumped in my car at 2pm when straight away I found that Massa had taken pole, because I have my radio on Five Live, and it hit me then what has happened to me, and for me it comes down to how F1 is now broadcast, i.e. “Paid for TV”.

    Since Sky took over I had the service for 2 years and then moved house,so no longer have Sky and watching it on the BBC, one weekend its live and the next its not, that is to much to sort out and I am sure millions of others feel the same as me, so you just end up becoming distance from the sport.

    Bernie has made one huge mistake in my eyes. He has taken the sport away from the masses and given it to the select few. Why because he had such a great product that he could do that, but I think what he misses is the fact that taken it way from the masses, its fan base, you have already just lost interest in that move, and now that it is in decline you can’t sell it for a premium any more.

    I would say that I am a hard ish core fan, I have been to silverstone many times and also been to a race in Abu Dhabi, but because I don’t have access to the racing every weekend, why should I bother when someone else tells me, this weekend you can have some but next you can’t. I have even cancelled my subscription to an F1 magazine as I am sick and tired of looking at some many copies still in there plastic wrapper not even opened and there was a time you could watch to see next months.

    I could do on about the other major parts of the sport and what I think, but I will leave that for now, and wrap this up by saying it started going down hill as soon as Bernie tried to squeeze every last penny from the TV, like football is doing and he forgot about his core fans, who are the sport.

    1. Nick Meikle says:

      I disagree. BE made the sport much more accessible through TV. I recall the mid-80s when I first started to watch F1 on TV in South Africa and for nothing. That continues here in Australia albeit punctuated with many adverts and difficult times to watch because of the time zone differences. And, I listen to an expert in the form of Alan Jones to boot..
      Where BE has gone wrong is that he has demanded too much money now and this has forced even the BBC to review how it screens F1. Also Sky offers very feature under the sun to the viewer to enhance the experience and so it is no wonder Sky charges for the access.
      In truth we have always paid for access ever since we bought a magazine in the 60s and 70s. It was the mass media that made it so freely available and they are being forced to review that and themselves make more money from the F1 spectacle, or what’s left of it.

  149. Jonno says:

    If it’s all about the show – why is it that when something ‘exciting’ happens, the bloody cameras cut away from the action, to show us the pits or the crowd? This problem has been caused by Bernie and his tv production company.

    I lost count of the number of times we missed the action in the Canadian GP. Every single time there was some overtaking action at the hairpin, the cameras followed the action then moved to show the spectators. Not once or twice, but every single time.

    This stupidity has been happening for years and FOM must be aware that viewers are not happy, they only need watch the reactions of the pit crews when they stop showing the action. They don’t want to be shown. I’d not be surprised if this “loss of the show” hasn’t affected the viewing numbers. Oh, Dorna the crew that run MotoGP and World Superbikes are equally as irritating.

    BTW – this colour/size of font is a bugger to see against a white background.

    1. HJ says:

      I couldn’t agree more! The cameras panned up at the hairpin every time, and the director kept the shot even when it was obvious that there was serious action going on below. Once might have been a mistake, but they kept doing it! I have zero interest in seeing the spectators. I want to see track action. I’m not interested in seeing girlfriends or “celebrities” either. There are enough different cars on track that there’s never any reason to cut away from the racetrack to some “human interest” or whatever the excuse is.

  150. Nick says:

    At last a chance to comment; thank you James.
    I agree F1 has lost its appeal and an important part of it is the sound of the cars. Patrick Head’s recent comments refer which didn’t elicit a comment from this excellent site. He felt F1 had sacrificed its soul for efficiency and allowed engineers to determine the direction of the sport. Indeed the cars are muted in their sound and drivers cannot push their cars because of the numerous restrictions like fuel and tyre wear. One has to wonder if indeed Renault and Merc have hijacked the direction of the sport and using F1 as a R & D vehicle to sell their mass produced cars. By refusing to stay in the sport unless Renault could develop the power units we have today is proof of that very agenda. Therefore Patrick Head is correct. Even if he has retired from the sport he will still retain a deep feel for the sport and ironically he is an engineer!
    I reflect on how I became interested and became a passionate follower of the sport, albeit a disappointed one at present. Living in then Rhodesia my father subscribed to Motor Sport. The name Stirling Moss was on everyone’s lips even on the coppers’ if they stopped one for speeding! Denis Jenkinson’s articles were full of passion and insight; to him the SOUND of the cars was an
    As to fixes – the sport has to remember people associate a mega spectacle with

  151. Nick Meikle says:

    At last a chance to comment; thank you James.
    I agree F1 has lost its appeal and an important part of it is the sound of the cars. The muted sound is a like a metaphor for its relative dullness.
    Patrick Head’s recent comments refer which didn’t elicit a direct comment from this excellent site. He felt F1 has sacrificed it soul for efficiency and allowed engineers to determine the direction of the sport. Indeed in addition to the muted sound drivers cannot push their cars due to fuel and tyre wear restrictions. All this has come at great cost to the teams according to Patrick Head. Even if he has retired from F1, he will still retain a deep feel for the sport and he was an engineer.
    One has to wonder if indeed Renault and Merc have hijacked the direction of the sport so as to use F1 as a R & D vehicle to help sell their mass produced cars.
    I reflect on how I became interested and a passionate follower of the sport albeit a disappointed one at present. The name Stirling Moss was on everyone’s lips in those days including the coppers if they stopped one for speeding! The famous Motor Sport magazine to which my father subscribed in far off Rhodesia was our main source of news. Dennis Jenkinson’s was its principle F1 correspondent until Alan Henry came along. DSJ was passionate about the sport and one of the things that aroused that passion was the sound of the cars. I can relate to that – the one and only GP I have ever attended was the 1992 SA GP which Mansell won. On approaching the track in a bus the sound of the cars doing some warm up laps was the greatest thrill even if I was by then a mature person. So sound does play a big part.
    The names of the drivers also played a big part and no sooner than Stirling Moss left the scene after his accident then everyone was talking about Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Dan Guerney. Interestingly the drivers themselves wouldn’t have been actively pushing their names out there; it was their achievements on the track that everyone admired and spoke of. They were doing things that us lesser mortals could only dream of – driving very fast in fairly powerful F1 cars around tight tracks (with no sandpits and barriers) with great skill as they raced each other.
    As to how the fix the current situation – first everyone has to agree what is wrong and then one can address it. However, unquestionably the appeal of the spectacle has diminished. Whereas us lesser mortals do desire a car that is fuel efficient and wears its tyres well, do we honestly desire all the associated complexity? I wonder sometimes.
    However as far as F1 is concerned like the movies we watch SPORT is a form of escapism and F1 no longer offers us that spectacle as a sport that is a form of escapism. F1 is so complicated with rules and restrictions (which have increased the cost as well), one has to wonder how we the fan is honestly able to follow it. Sure the electronics are able to unravel the cars’ progress as the enforced pitstops take place. In truth a pitstop should be there only if the driver needs to replace a punctured tyre or put on wets if the conditions change. However now it is an enforced measure to increase the spectacle in the opinion of the FIA. However, to me it is about the driver on the track not about the amazing team of wheel change specialists AKA as the engineers. If they mess up a wheel change the driver suffers which to me is wrong. If they release a car into the path of another then the driver suffers etc.
    I think LM is correct in what he says and a number of persons have been saying this for a while – Flavio Briatore to name one. Even if he muddied his name his insight was keen and his opinion valid. Even before that I recall Jacques Villeneuve was calling for F1 cars to have greater mechanical traction and less aerodynamic measures in their design. Sadly they have been branded heretics yet they spoke the truth.
    Finally, it has to be remembered that F1 is competing with many other sports for the interest of the young fan. BE was quick off the mark in that regard which is why the sport is so big today. But every other sport is there as well when we turn on the TV. I don’t believe it is the drivers who need to push themselves out there; rather let their achievements on the track speak for themselves. F1 must be simplified, return to the spectacle of the past and let the drivers race each other. Perhaps if F1 wasn’t so complicated it wouldn’t be so expensive and that is another way at looking at the cost aspect.
    Thank you James.

  152. Matthew M says:

    When I got into this sport I was 14 years old.

    What got me into Formula 1 then was (Microprose Grand Prix) Geoff Crammands Grand Prix video game.. There was a big gap for me between that and Nigel Mansells SNES game which i also bought.

    Back in those days formula 1 was getting about 3-8 video games of varying features based on the championship every year. Then the FIA started signing exclusive deals with individual companies like Sony and Codemasters.

    What’s happened since then is we’re lucky to see 1 video game a year. The Codemasters video game hasnt recieeved any attention or graphics engine update Its not even current generation specs its using a 8 year old graphics engine with no new details or features and releases with a enormous amount of bugs. Each year since codesmasters took over all Codemasters do is give the game new textures and car models and add new tracks. With tiny updates to the games graphics engine.

    There is no and has been no competition in the video game market from formula 1. We’re not getting good formula 1 games. Codemasters have full control as they rightfully paid for it. Thats the problem.

    If Formula 1 wants to to attract young fans they have to do what they were doing in the 90′s. Get video of high standards by people like Geoff Crammond onto consoles, handhelds, mobile, and PC. Until this happens Formula 1 will never be

    I remember reading in PC magazines back when Grand Prix 4 was getting released that it will be his last ever Formula 1 Video Game because when he wanted to make Geoff Crammonds GP4 with 2001 naming rights the FIA didnt allow him to make it unless it was his last video game based on the sport.

    The FIA beleived that Geoff Crammonds games were killing the sales of the exclusive games made by Sony. This is why since 2002 we havent seen any sharing of the rights to any other video game developers.

    To encourage 14 year olds back into Formula 1 they need to open up to the “free to play” video games. Allow Indie developers to use the naming and championship rights and do away with exclusive deals. And design a next Generation Formula 1 game on the Unreal Engine 4. which is the current leader in Graphics engines for video games.

    1. Matthew M says:

      with small updates to the games outdated graphics engine*

  153. Dansus says:

    Makes sense, if the commercial deal were to be cancelled, Ferrari would lose its cream off the top.

  154. Anshuman says:

    Because in trying to squeeze out more, nothing’s free. Sport wants to move to a pay per view format. Mobile apps are paid. Tickets are expensive. Accessories are expensive. Why would new generation be interested in paying for something when there’s such a lot of free/cheap stuff available all over? Do they remember that WhatsApp being sold for $16B? All they had to do was make it almost free to use.

  155. Bryan K says:

    The multitudinous comments from all the correspondents would give a normal organisation enough clues on how to fix their problems.
    A major issue to me however that I never see discussed is that 100% of the teams must agree before change is ratified, hence vested interests get to work on bullying the small teams to agree to something, or alternatively potentially good ideas do not progress because unanimity is not forthcoming.
    Surely the constitution must change so that an idea can be implemented if say 60% of the teams agree. For goodness sake governments that run countries are elected on lower majorities than that, so why is F1 more precious than the future of a country?

  156. HJ says:

    I suggest that they get F1 back on terrestrial TV everywhere, and forget about squeezing yet more money out of TV rights. I would not be an F1 fan now except that it was on TV and I got hooked. Even as a fervid fan, I refuse to pay the extortionate amount Sky charges (I do not want their “entertainment”, I just want to watch F1 and cricket, but that is not an option). Any child growing up in a non-sky household will never see F1 in the UK, and even if Lewis and Jenson etc. do well it just won’t register with them. Why should they go looking for a sport which they’ve never seen when there is so much competition available free?

    Stop letting personal idiosyncrasies determine decisions. The sound is perfectly fine (and will be even better once the tracks are miked better); in fact, I prefer it because I can actually hear what’s happening in and to the cars. Spark-makers are ridiculous.

    Focus on the things than really matter — proper cost control so that the sport has a future, and whenever the TV rights for a territory become available make them terrestrial or some other no-pay system with a condition that they can never be charged for by the rights holder. They’ll get lower bids, but they can afford it, and they need fans — and viewing numbers — first and foremost.

  157. Frank Dernie says:

    For me it is pay TV that kills the ratings, and I would have though it would be blindingly obvious that it would inevitably do so. I do not watch much TV so do not have Sky so I don’t watch as many races as I did because they are not broadcast. It is as simple as that.
    I quite like the new rules.
    The power units are brilliantly clever bits of technology, which is what F1 has always been about for me, and harder tyres and less downforce has made finding and keeping to the limit much more difficult.
    I think it is a better test of both man and machine than last year.
    A new set of rules always spreads the field as the clever ones do a better job and the others have to catch up. Nowt new there.

  158. luqa says:

    Last year it was all about tires, this year if you don’t have an AMG MB power unit behind you, you are an also ran. The simple fact power unit specs were frozen early on has given AMG MB and its customers a huge boost over those who” got it wrong”- Renault and Ferrari.

    Not allowing “in season” development after such radical changes in all the regulations gives those that got it right the first time a huge advantage. The only excitement in the constructors is who comes second, and who comes third in the drivers. The current season is over but for the crying.

    I’m actually looking forward to the new Formula E that at least has the potential to spice things up where the power units, saving fuel, flow rate etc. is less of an issue, and more car development and driver skill becomes the difference between winning and loosing. Think back to the days when everyone, except Ferrari used a Cosworth V-8. Those were exciting races.

    The rules have become too restrictive and stifle innovation and creativity.No wonder Adrian Newey is throwing in the towel and looking for new challenges. When issues of where and where not you can have a hole in your car are regulated to the degree they currently are, the sport is on the slippery slope to obscurity.

    As others have pointed out, the fact most of the world has to pay to watch F1 doesn’t help matters either. You can do that when you have a product that sells itself. F1 doesn’t do that anymore. And all these &***%%% commercials at the most inopportune time don’t help either! Take today, Lee Mckenzie is about to interview SV and a commercial was put in! FFS!

    So, make F1 accessible either by live streaming on the internet as an alternative to pay TV
    Simplify the regulations.
    Allow in season power plant development to get closer to parity. Surely the FIA can bench test power units?? Any power unit outside a 1% window of the most powerful one should be allowed to be upgraded during the season. These are basics and easy to implement.

    Oh and a final thought, get rid of double points and the crazy idea of more standing starts after a safety car. If that’s such a great idea, why not revert to old fashioned Lemans type starts- sprint to your car and drive off! Great Spectacle and dangerous!
    I can live with KERS and DRS and the grunt sound of the current power units. A relatively easy fix in the interim would be more safety cars to bunch up the pack, even though its a bit artificial and rewards the slow, but adds to the excitement. But its not a solution!

  159. floyd says:

    I started following f1 after Senna was killed as I was fascinated by the concept of people putting themselves in such danger. I don’t wish any harm on anyone but the fact of the matter is that the sport is no longer dangerous and that in itself takes away a lot of the appeal.
    Also, if they want more audiences they have to make it more accessible. Why can we not simply buy to watch it online?

  160. Steve W says:

    Uh-oh… This is starting to sound like IndyCar…

  161. Warren G says:

    Drivers don’t need to market themselves or build up high profiles in their own countries. Senna and Prost didn’t run around the globe constantly selling themselves and tweeting every single thing they do, yet we still talk about them as if they raced yesterday. Why? Because F1 was other-worldly then. There was no connection to road cars other than if a specialist high performance version was made using something passed on from F1.

    I was prepared to give the new engines a chance, because I remember before the days of the whiny V8s, before stratopheric rev limits and because a high performance V6 revving to 15k should still sound great. But then the other night I was watching some videos of the different engine types over the last few years and all I could think was “my god, the people moaning about these new engines are right!”

    There’s nothing impressive anymore about F1. That sound of any of the old engines was just so raw, so unadulterated and unapologetic. It was a visceral audio experience that sent chills down your spine and left you wanting more. Ever heard the clip of a V10 “playing” the Star Spangled Banner? Try that with new V6′s and that there is the heart of the problem. The engines sound more like V-twin Ducati WSB than V6 F1.

    Then the cars themselves. There’s almost nothing left of them. There isn’t a single car on the grid that I look at and marvel at its beauty. Think about the cars from the 90′s right till 2006, before the V8s and the addition of all the flip up bits everywhere. That period is littered with beautiful examples of what a racing car should look like.

    Social media, marketing, online broadcasts, more fan engagement are useless if the cars themselves are not a visual and audio experience. Make the cars impressive again and allow the drivers to be able to drive them in impressive fashion.

  162. mark says:

    1. improve the experience for fans u already have:

    a) all this talk of the web e.t.c is useless if the tracks cant keep a financial equilibrium year on year.
    b) ticket prices: simply put they ridiculously expensive for what u get. nobody gets anywhere near the track or drivers – might as well watch from home.
    c) and it’s got worse over the years – places like silverstone have spent all their money (at bernie insistance) on improving VIP access – i.e the pit lane and pit complex is now shiney and new (millions of investment) but the fans are now even further from the action (which now all takes place on the inside of the track) with no hope of interacting with cars drivers e.t.c

    2. racing:
    a) plz plz plz get rid of all this onboard to and fro-ing of information via the radio. we might as well put a robot in there. imagine the re-emphasis on drivers ability if they have to make their own decisions regards when to pit for tyres, or arent getting corner by corner driving lessons to improve their times. it ruins the show and makes the drivers replacable by … well anyone who’s really good at mustering the one lap speed of a console game. pathetic.

    3. cost:
    a) cost: get rid of all the live data interpretation going on. having a control room in another country feeding info back is simply ridiculous. prep your car before the weekend and deal with your data interpretation after sessions or after races.
    b) perhaps a limit on personnel a team can have – i.e no more than 200 employess/contractors or something like that. i’m sure this needs fiddling to work as an idea but i like the concept of tending towards the big teams earning their rewards by having a better development team. not a larger one.

  163. John Gibson says:

    The sport is too remote and too closed-off to work these days. And massively over-corporatised. To give just one example, drivers’ Twitter and Facebook feeds are closely monitored by their teams to ensure everything is “on-message”. This kind of dreary over-control is a massive turn-off to younger people these days. Look at those “on-grid” driver interviews – it’s all “I hope we a good strategy and get the best result”. There is essentially a closed hierarchy of teams, spending stupid amounts of money to send cars round a track. It all feels very far removed from everyday life, and very hard to get excited about.

  164. hobart says:

    When I first discovered Formula 1 back in the 1960s, I understood the racing was about who the best drivers were. Let’s go back to that. Leave the technology to the prototypes at LeMans. Restrict aero to a small front and rear wing. Set a weight and size limit so talented drivers like Hulkenberg can get a drive.

    As for engines, set a BTU limit for for a race, then allow any engine and petroleum based fuel a team wants to run. At the end of qualifying, inspect the cars for legality, then put them in a locked garage with a full fuel load ready to race.

    Tires, one good for 10 or 15 laps, one good for 30, and a rain tire. If your car doesn’t suit the tire, too bad. Whining about tires gets you a rear of the grid penalty. Qualifying should be an open free for all. Someone gets in your way, too bad. Whine about it and you go to the back of the grid.

    We can tweak this as necessary. But let’s put the question of driving skill back into Formula 1. Which would you rather see, a Senna all out racing an Alonso, or a Danica Patrick winning a fuel economy run?

  165. Kieran Donnelly says:

    Some ideas:

    Reduce aero – it makes real racing too difficult

    Allow all adjustments in the garage during qualifying – why not? Let the drivers try out more things, let them get the car further dialled in. Parc fermé at end of qualifying though to prevent “super-qualifying-only” settings being used, i.e. quali settings will be race settings.

    Limit adjustments to the car during race to brake bias and have no over-the-air adjustments from the pits. Manual adjustments allowed during pit-stops in races. With the number of changes that are being made (engine maps, brake bias, diffs, fuel mix, etc.), it is a effectively a different car that is being raced by the driver from one corner to another. The driver/team should choose one set-up that operates over the course of the whole lap. That will give advantages on some area of track and disadvantages in others. In theory, drivers/teams may optimise their cars differently so that certain car setups would be more easily able to overtake in one segment than another. No one thinks that racing should be about making 50 adjustments per lap to the car. The setup is all about what compromises you are willing to make – it should stay that way for the whole lap.

    Tyre design needs to change so that “the cliff” no longer exists – where’s the incentive for anyone to push or explore the limits when the only reward is to be passed by 6 cars in a lap if you get it wrong? Yes, tyres should degrade and a driver that is easier on his tyres should be able to go futher on his set but you shouldn’t go from 1st place back to 7th within one lap without a catastrophic failure and it certainly shouldn’t happen because your tyres suddenly hit end-of-life.

    Kill DRS – artificial where it works, useless where it doesn’t!

    Don’t have regs that enourage ugly looking cars – F1 cars should be beautiful, sleek creatures.

    Pay-per-view coverage? Not sure that it’s the best route to growing an audience. I’ll never pay SKy to watch F1 – put it that way – and I’m a long time fan. If that means that I watch races after the fact (as I do with MotoGP now that it’s gone from BBC) then so be it.

    Social media? Not sure that’s so important – is Facebook/Twitter the reason that the Premiership is still huge?

    Enforce test driver mileage at each race weekend by making rule that test/dev driver must run in at least one of the Free Practice sessions with 3 cars from each team allowed in any of those sessions.

  166. JohnBt says:

    A bad song is a bad song and any amount of gadgets applied to it will still be a bad song. The road car relevance is such a hype and sickening I find. F1 will be spiraling downwards with these new rules I fear, save this and save that jargon makes it so boring. A total revamp is the only way to save the sport. Look back to the 80s and 90s for some references and it might give us a glimmer of hope. F1 has to be a totally unique monster and not trying to sell road cars. And the ticket prices should be slashed by at least 30% to 50%!.

  167. Nick says:

    My solutions:

    1. Make the cars look sexy enough that you want to put pictures of them up on your wall,
    2. Make the cars sound like race cars, especially for those that spend money to see them live,
    3. Race on exciting tracks, no more sterile Tilke-o-dromes. The new tracks seem to dull the sense of speed,
    4. Free to air coverage of the races, extra content available on pay TV or subscription streaming,
    5. Begin a tyre war but limit the number of compound changes per season to about 5,
    6. Fat sticky race tyres and way less aero,
    7. Stop all car to pit wall telemetry including radio comms except for race direction-car comms,
    8. Stop televising the post race pre podium thing. It’s the most awkward few minutes of TV ever,
    9. Bring back some class to the post race celebrations. Less sponsors on the podium and real flags,
    10. No more gimmicky, awkward post race interviews. Nothing wrong with the old style (motogp way),
    11. More powerful ers and no more drs,
    12. No cheap gimmicks. Double points, fake sparks etc. make a mockery of the sport,
    13. If we keep a fuel limit make all the cars start with a specified amount. Maybe we will start to see drivers pushing hard to burn fuel instead of not pushing to save it,
    14. Why do the cars have such ugly camera mountings? Incorporate them into the bodywork,
    15. Let the cars go faster, the sport has lost it’s sense of danger,

  168. Jeff Kew says:

    Mass appeal needs two key things which lead to a third requirement:
    - free TV
    - better and cheaper access at races ( take Silverstone, there used to be pit lane walkabouts and bus rides round the circuit, now there is a longer track ( less laps), a grandstand where you can’t see into the pits and no Kangaroo TV. After many years of regular attendance we have stooped going.
    F1 needs to reduce its own costs to prevent pricing itself out of its own market, more standard parts, smaller number of pit crew, make some things the same for everyone, this has worked in BTCC and the fan base both at the tracks and on TV is growing. A better App would also help.

    1. Joe Papp says:

      Jeff, you fail to realize that the costs to actually go to a race and field a pit crew and go home again are more or less equal for all teams, from Marussia to Mercedes.

      The DIFFERENCE in spending – what accounts for the huge variance in budgets AND on-track performance – is the MONEY SPENT CHASING FRACTIONS OF A SECOND DURING THE SEASON IN R&D + PRODUCTION OF UPGRADES FOR CURRENT CARS.

      And of course your Red Bulls and McLarens aren’t willingly going to give-up this micro-advantage that they’ve accrued through massive, unfathomable spending…

  169. john says:

    What were the characteristics of Formula 1 at its peak? perhaps this could provide a hint of what should be……

  170. RS says:

    To all commenting that the issue is quiet and ugly cars.

    The decline did not start this year. Its been building for a while, so sound and looks may only contribute to the decline. But issues such as reaching new and younger fans have existed for years – V8′s, V10′s and good looking cars notwithstanding.

    1. Joe Papp says:

      The notion that “less noise” is a serious problem is a total red herring, propagated by Bernie, Inc. to distract the fans – AND the media (JAMES!!!?) – from the RAPACIOUS wealth-extraction by CVC, and the SHAMEFUL [mod] conduct (that’s at least HIGHLY UNETHICAL) by Ecclestone.

      Seriously – wake up people! Most of you don’t even attend the GP’s in person, so complaining about lack of “noise” is ridiculous, since you don’t even know what the sound is that you claim to be missing! What you hear on TV is SYNTHETIC AUDIO.

  171. roberto marquez says:

    I just want to express how I feel about formula 1 nowadays relating my experience with 2 other racing series shown on Directv.

    By chance I saw a GP2 race about a year ago and I got addicted. Constant overtaking, fighting for positions all the time, pushing on every corner, for some reason that I can t explain it looks faster than F1 ( are TV cameras positioned in the same way ? ) I specially enjoy the sprint races on Sundays. Also there are points for pole . So now I ignore the 3 practice sessions and concentrate only on the qualy, the GP2 races and I record the main race ,watching only the first 4 or 5 laps live.

    The other sport I am enjoying now is the WRC , is incredible the speed sensation you get from these guys going like crazy on dirt or iced roads.

    Would it not be better to have 2 cars for each of the main scuderias, ie Ferraris, Red Bulls, Mercedes, and so with McLaren,Lotus , Williams, Sauber ,Force India and Toro Rosso? Let s be honest but the other 2 teams are just taking space.

    To me the noise level is ok,what I miss most is FULL THROTHLE RACING.

    Do something or you wil lose another fan.

  172. Joe Papp says:

    Formula 1 will never progress into modernity as long as it’s owned by a venture capital fund that only exists to extract maximum wealth from F1 in the short term, whilst still allowing de facto daily control to be wielded by an octogenarian accused of serious criminal conduct and financial fraud, who at the same time doesn’t even understand social media, let alone have a plan to cultivate and grow a primarily digital-focused audience.

    Newsflash FOM/CVC/FIA – I’m almost 40 and yet even I don’t watch F1 GPs on television anymore! Sure, I record the US-coverage via NBCSports (BLEH!) on my DVR, but I never watch it, and instead prefer to consume FPs, Quali and GP online, either live-stream SKY feed or torrenting HD-grade files the day of…

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