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Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Jul 2014   |  4:45 pm GMT  |  276 comments

The meeting of the group of senior F1 figures which was due to take place this week has been deferred to a later data amid doubts over the appropriateness of former team boss Flavio Briatore being part of the group.

The “popularity working group” as it was dubbed, was due to comprise Briatore, Bernie Ecclestone, team bosses Marco Mattiacci (Ferrari), Christian Horner (Red Bull) and Toto Wolff (Mercedes). Ecclestone postponed it and Briatore’s presence has been reviewed. The Italian was heavily sanctioned for his part in the Singapore crash scandal of 2008.

It was ironic that the group should be meeting this week, following another exciting Grand Prix in Budapest at the weekend which featured five different leaders and plenty of overtaking. But it is long term thinking that is needed at the moment, with the empty grandstands at Hockenheim a stark reminder of a less bright future for the sport if car is not taken to understand the needs of F1 fans of the future.

Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo has been pushing for change all season and was an outspoken critic of the current F1 when he visited in Bahrain, calling it a “formula for boredom.”

Ironically the race that followed there was a modern classic and between then and Sunday’s thrilling Hungarian Grand Prix there have been many other exciting races. Many F1 engineers were of the view on Sunday night that the race had been a perfect illustration of why the senior figures should focus on promotion, social media and other key areas and leave the racing well alone; no need to add any more artificial tricks like double points for the last race or titanium skid blocks on the floor, as the show on track is good enough.

As the power units get closer together on performance next year and the year after, which is inevitable, then things will get even tighter.

Start of the German GP

The Pirelli tyres, having been something of a problem in the early years, have settled down now to being a good basis for interesting races, where there are plenty of strategic possibilities and lots of good overtakes. Battles between Alonso and Vettel in Silverstone and Germany and other memorable overtakes have taken place this season.

Montezemolo’s key policy initiatives are:

* The return of some ability to develop engines during the season, to counteract what has happened this year with a dominant Mercedes unit.
* Emphasis on R&D, without the restrictions in the rules that there are today
* More testing on tracks; more in season testing, as “events”, used as occasions to engage with the public and fans

Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda, not surprisingly, does not back these ideas and has pointed out that the cost in engines alone would be a restriction. Lauda pointed out that with engines costing between €18 million and €21 Milllion per year, the deregulation of development would sent the costs out of control.

Lauda feels that the sport should address areas like the penalties on drivers from stewards, to give them more freedom.

Lauda and Montezemolo were due to meet in Capri for their own discussions in the coming weeks, but this has also been shelved. Meanwhile Montezemolo has called for a wider meeting involving experts from new media and other fields to discuss the sport in the week leading up to the Italian GP in September.

Ecclestone meanwhile has proposed a settlement deal to the court in Munich that is hearing a bribery charge against him at the moment, relating to the sale of F1 in 2005/6. According to Munich based Suddeutscher Zeitung, he has suggested a €100 million settlement. The court announced that it was discussing the matter with Ecclestone’s lawyers.

The 83 year old has been in Munich on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for hearings every week for the last few months.

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  1. Aaron says:

    German law baffles me even more than Italian law. As I understand it, this was a criminal trial, not a civil matter, so how can Bernie propose a financial settlement?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      German law seems to provide for mutual financial settlements in criminal trials involving monetary loss. It does seem weird.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        German law is very different to the English Common Law system which is used to a large extent in the Anglosphere countries such as Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and South Africa.
        In English Common Law “no major codification of the law has taken place and judicial precedents are binding as opposed to persuasive” (Wikipedia)
        The Germans use Civil Law, “which intellectualized within the framework of late Roman law, and whose most prevalent feature is that its core principles are codified into a referable system which serves as the primary source of law.”
        So in other words, the Germans use a system dating back to the Romans! Which is strange, as the Romans never conquered Germania………………weird.

    2. It would only get the bank off his back, the German prosecutors could (and still will in all probability) continue to prosecute him for bribing an official. I believe the trials are happening in tandem and this element would only settle the charges brought by the bank which would be civil.

      As far as I understand it that is, Im no lawyer.

    3. Bjornar Simonsen says:

      Money & Power. That is what rules the world. Unfortunately.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        You say that, but in the Nordic Countries of Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, as well as the English speaking Anglosphere Commonwealth Nations of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Canada bribery, embezzlement and corruption is treated very, very seriously indeed and is punishable by very long custodial sentences.
        The aforementioned countries I mentioned are the least corrupt in the world (along with Holland and Hong Kong) because have very strict anti corruption laws.
        If this trial had happened in, say, Finland or Australia, Mr E would not be able to buy his freedom – if found guilty he would be eating porridge for a while.

    4. Phil S says:

      When there are enough zeros on the cheque, surely something can be arranged…

    5. Brent says:

      It sure looks like one law for the rich and another for the rest in Germany. From here it sounds like he is working out how big the bribe has to be to get him off the bribery charges.

      1. PxB says:

        I agree. If the court allows a financial settlement of this size it’s effectively giving a green light for the super-rich to engage in bribery.

        $40M might be a lot of money to us, but to the Bernards of this world it’s little more than small change (and perhaps even represents a net profit from the alleged crime). To be a deterrent it would have to be much, much bigger.

    6. aveli says:

      ecclestone is the man! the moment he dictated the schedule of the hearing to the court, he realised that he can get away with anything. he’s better than teflon.

    7. Jose Peak says:

      I don’t know if Bernie is guilty or not but to be able to buy your way out of further court action seems to make a mockery of the law. It’s not surprising more and more people are becoming sceptical of the money men(and women) of this world!

    8. Purple Helmet says:

      No don’t be so silly, it should not have been struck off. The team that cheated should have had their man who benefitted (Alonso) disqualified. Lewis would have come second then. Massa did not score because of a fuelling screw up not because of the Piquet crash.

      You don’t nullify races in athletics because the winner was found to have taken drugs. You disqualify him and the next guy moves up the step.

      And let’s not mention Hamilton being cheated of points at Spa in the same year, which was shameful.

    9. buzzzzzzzz says:

      Glock was on slicks in case you can’t remember!

      Hamilton was robbed of a win at SPA and the race given to Massa.

      So obvious you don’t like Hamilton.

      Learn to live with the fact Hamilton beat Massa fair and square.

  2. David says:

    It’s ridiculous Briatore would have anything less than a lifetime ban from Formula 1 for his part in rigging a race through a deliberate crash. Anti-sporting, dangerous, criminal. But then what to expect from Ecclestone, also busy trying to evade the justice system?

    1. krakinho says:

      I’m having a hard time to see how team orders aren’t rigging of the race.
      Okay, Flavio, Pat (and probably Alonso) went bit to far in their interpretation of team orders, but still.

      1. Team orders are a natural part of a team based competition, F1 has two competitions going at once – the constructors and the drivers championships.

        Crashing a car on purpose is cheating and it endangered the driver, the stewards and worst of all the crowd. Watching sport has inherent risks but this was awful, reckless and shameful. It would of been one thing if he simply stopped the car or they rigged it to break in some manner that would of been cheating but no one could of died.

        Imagine if someone was hurt in that crash from debris! He would of been crucified.

      2. Doobs says:

        Gavin; the English language just died in your post; It’s “could have” and “would have” not “could of” “would of”… ;)

    2. Craig Sock says:

      Setting aside the legalisms for the moment:
      When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

  3. Gaz Boy says:

    If you want to increase the customer base of grand prix racing, then free to air live coverage of ALL the races in the European continent and the English speaking countries wouldn’t go amiss………..
    And I say that as someone who missed what was a “thrilling” Hungarian GP. Thing is, races tend to be a bit more thrilling when you watch the race unfold right before your eyes, watching a race “second hand” on a highlights show doesn’t have the same drama or intrigue, not to mention the fact you know the result anway…………..
    And that, in a nutshell, is the dilemma facing F1 motor sport: a casual spectator cannot be smitten by a thrilling race if they don’t live in a country where grand prix racing is not transmitted live on terrestrial TV! Maybe the European Union (EU) and Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) can try and discuss plans in the future for motor sport to be included in those events that cannot be siphoned off by a PPV channel. Apparently, the reason Australia’s Channel 10 shows ALL live F1 races is because the Australian government have mandated a strict policy that motor sport events, including F1 and Australian touring cars are protected by a “firewall” policy so that they are not siphoned off to the highest bidder. That’s a very admirable move by the Australian Parliament, it’s a pity The Mother Country and it’s fellow Commonwealth countries don’t have the same strict mandate – and the European Union countries for that matter too. (Weirdly enough, most Eastern European countries get free to air live TV coverage of F1, but the vast majority of Western Europe doesn’t. Don’t know why……go figure on that one).
    As for Luca Di Monty, typical whining and moaning from him, he obviously doesn’t – or can’t – loose with grace and dignity, but twas ever thus.
    And as for Flavio back in F1 circles……………..no!

    1. MonsterMashie says:

      Australia is not that good mate…

      Chanel 10 does not show any of FP1, FP2 or FP3 sessions. Both Qualifying and the Race are bombarded with adverts (usually at crucial times) and then to top it all off the Chanel 10 commentators talk over the top of the world feed… AND then delay the brief post race presentations.

      I (like many Australian F1 fans) would gladly PAY to have access to the full “Sky Sports F1″ Chanel.

      1. vx1ss says:

        Speak for yourself. Im not going to pay $50 a month to Murdoch to watch on average 2 GP’s a month. That’s $25 per race. If however I could stream a race for $5 I would gladly pay or even a discount for the entire year. Say $80 for the season. Somehow I don’t think it’ll happen with Bernie around. I can put up with the adds for free and can follow what is happening to some degree via the app (which I paid for). If Australia losses the FTA coverage of F1 them I’m afraid they’ll have lost me. Can’t justify that expense ATM.

      2. Use a VPN and watch FP1, FP2 and FP3 on the beeb or a non-English TV channel in combination with James’s live radio commentary. It’s much cheaper and you can still watch Quali and Race on free TV,

        I have no problems with 4 ad breaks of 2 minutes and 34 seconds during the race.

        If I can avoid giving my money away to the Murdoch camp, I will.

      3. Step says:

        Not true, the Aussie coverage on chan 10 is quite good. 3-4 ads per quali session or race is how it has always been since 1985 when telecasts started in earnest in Australia (in fact quali was never even telecast until recent few years). It never ceases to baffle why Aussies complain about things that are far better than the UK, Eu & US

      4. Multi 21 says:

        Not this Aussie. I am quite satisfied with CH 10′s presentation, and the cost. Maybe because I am old enough to remember the way Channel 9 treated the public with no qualifying and races delayed by an hour at the minimum.

      5. Monktonnik says:

        Having relocated to Australia a few years ago I miss the comprehensive coverage that the bbc used to do.

        Channel 10 is ok, and having JA doing the pre-race interviews is excellent, but it is not as good as the ITV and subsequent BBC coverage; for me, at any rate.

    2. Multi 21 says:

      The Australian legislation you refer to is known in Australia as “The Anti-Siphoning List”.

      The basic premise of the law is that certain premier sporting events are placed on a protected list which means the even can only be shown on free-to-air tv, must be shown live and must be shown on the main digital channel.

      Examples of events on the list include: The entire football World Cup, Summer & Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Cricket test matches, Australian Open tennis, as well as major local events such as Rugby League & Australian Rules Grand Finals.

      Formula One & Moto Gp are on the list as well, but not the entire season. Only the Australian Grand Prix is on the protected list. If a pay tv provider purchased the rights to the entire season, they would be forced by the law to allow a free-to-air network to also broadcast the Australian GP live alongside their own coverage. When you consider that the Australian GP is the only F1 race most casuals watch (because of the 10pm European race start time) it is considered a major disincentive.

      It’s important to note that it doesn’t prevent pay tv from screening these events. The free-to-air networks don’t have the capacity to screen every event at the Olympics or every tennis match at the Australian Open, so they have the option to pass on any surplus events they would not be broadcasting to the pay tv operators.

      The list was strengthened by the previous Labor government in 2010 and it is a well-known thorn in the side of Mr Murdoch and his television empire in Australia. Unless your local legislators are strong enough to deal with the inevitable lobbying and pressure that will accompany implementation of similar laws, I don’t like your chances.

    3. Mike J says:

      Hi Gaz Boy.

      Actually our Broadcasting Services Act in Australia only lists the Aust F1 GP, Aust MotoGP and the Bathurst 1000 as main events under the anti-siphoning law. The V8 series is also mostly covered. However Channels 10 and 7 have the current contract rights to broadcast all these events for 2014 plus the other series races elsewhere in oz and o/s.

      The anti -siphoning law only stops PPV companies getting the rights IF the Free to Air channels don’t want to broadcast them. If the FTA channels don’t take up the broadcast rights 12 weeks before the event then PPV can broadcast it if they have the time to do so. The 12 weeks was selected since it very unlikely it would ever happen in that time span.

      Channel 10 and Fox have joined forces to show V8′s from next year on-wards and i feel we may end up similar to UK(F1) where FOX shows all races and Ch 10 selected ones…..i am sure F1 in Aust is not far away from being on FOX or similar as CH 10 have these rights currently.

      Hopefully someone in F1 will come to their senses and commit F1 to live -streaming and more access however i wont hold my breath. In the meantime i will enjoy what we have !!

    4. C63 says:

      @GazBoy

      Free to air – it’s all about the money. No more no less. I got Sky more than 20 years ago as Eurosport was transmitting all the races and qualifying sessions live and the BBC was only showing selected races live and highlights (much as they do now). Mind you, it was only about £7.00/month then!

    5. Andrew M says:

      We have something similar in the UK, it’s just that F1 isn’t on it (and as far as I know never has been). Google “Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed & Designated Events” for a fun read.

      1. goggomobil says:

        Gaz Boy,it time for you to have reality check up,or conversely have a cold shower look a round a go and pick some mushrooms,perhaps it did not down to you that we live in morden times,and there is no such thing as a free lunch,and it has been since the year dot, the only entitlement you may have is to work as for rest ot it is a load of B ***S*** !
        To your last paragraph of your blog,Who the hell are you to pass the judgement on the
        man who was named a EU Manager of the year and made the brand name the second to none, namely Luca d Montezemolo,as for Falvio he has made Benetton from ordinary clothing to the very top of world fashions,the guy has a talent and don’t knock it;

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Goggomobil: Oh yes, the European Union gave Luca the, er, “honour” of “Manager of the Year”. The EU – squeaky clean organisation world renowned for democracy and not interfering with an individual country’s domestic policy…………..wow, what an endorsement – being honoured by the EU.
        As if…………..
        Personally, I think Luca and Flavio should be given a white flag to wave – it sums them up perfectly………………..

    6. Doobs says:

      What’s wrong with F1
      *Cars are too ugly
      *Cars are too slow
      *Cars are too quiet
      *Hybrid technology is for geeks not rev heads
      *Too many fake “it’s a knockout” rules
      *Drivers are boring PC media sound-bite drones
      *Tickets too expensive
      *Not enough live free-to-air TV coverage

      Discuss…

  4. Chya says:

    What do fans want?

    1) To see racing. One team dominating is bad news, and fifteen odd years of that – Ferrari followed by (Brawn and) Red Bull and now Mercedes has done damage – it’s going to take time and patience to rectify – it’s not likely to happen in one season. Mercedes dominance notwithstanding, the new cars seem like a good change overall – but they need a couple of years to settle in and the different teams to learn.

    2) For race spectating to be affordable. We are/have been in a recession where in some countries (UK) outgoings are increasing while incomes remain static. Circuit admission prices in some countries are extortionate for F1. Plus, the move from BBC to Sky represented a monthly price hike that many couldn’t / can no longer afford.

    3) Stop the stupid rule changes. Some of the rule changes have turned F1 into a joke. Like the double points. And the having to change to a different tyre type even when conditions don’t warrant it. Motor-racing fans are discovering the joys of touring cars and rallying instead – possibly not good examples of sensible rule-making, but they haven’t turned into jokes.

    1. Thompson says:

      15yrs….. You need to go further than that. There usually is just the 1 dominating team ,it’s always been that way. Only the Renault years Williams/Benetton provided a well fought team battle.

      1. Doobs says:

        F1 was all about gentleman racers with too much money and too much death wish with nothing better to do than drive around in motorised coffins, cheating death and then getting the girls – living the rock’n’roll lifestyle before rock’n’roll was invented.

        Now it’s just a money machine making the fat cats fatter, and we all have to start worrying about the manufacturers and sponsors. Not the fans, not the teams, not the racing. The sport needs to decide what they actually want. It seems you can’t have it both ways.

    2. PeterF says:

      1) To see racing.

      Some kind of ability to se anything at all would be good. Right now only fans with access to pay tv, willing to pay for F1 along with a whole pile of other stuff get to watch at all.

      No new potential fans get to see anything at all, not even on the Internet. How is it that these supposedly intelligent people can’t work out what the problem is?

    3. super seven says:

      F1 relies on advertising for its survival. To restrict viewers to only those who want to pay for it is so short sighted that I’m amazed they are doing it.

      The actual entertainment values this year has been above average, but I’m not going to take my daughter to Texas to watch a race at $500 each for a decent seat. F1 moved up to the next tier of pay TV in the USA when it moved from Fox to NBCSN, which I’m sure lost even more fans. This is being repeated across the world as CVC milk their cash cow until all of its life force is drained away. This is the real reason why the popularity of F1 is plummeting.

  5. John Marshall says:

    While some of LdiM’s ideas sound good in principle, in reality all they would lead to is a serious arms race between the teams that can afford to spend the money. His ideas are clearly potentially beneficial to Ferrari, but not necessarily the sport as a whole.

    F1 really needs to evolve at the promotion/management level. A group like this should involve input from everyone, not just a small cabal from the top teams. And, bringing back Briatore was a seriously stupid move. While Flavio may have good ideas, given the nature of his exit from F1, his involvement really doesn’t look good.

    As for Mr.E….isn’t he really jsut trying to [mod] his way out of a bribery charge? Pretty ironic.

    1. Tone says:

      John, Mercedes are benefitting from an arms race already. They are rumoured to have spent hundreds of millions in the years leading up to this new formula. The status quo will remain for years to come if teams can’t develop and catch up. I don’t know how many more one team dominations F1 and its dwindling fan base can take.

      I like LDM’s ideas of making testing days major events. Gives James something to cover in between races and keeps the sport in the news. You’re bang on in regards to promotion and management. I think Bearnie will stand in the way some how.

      1. John Marshall says:

        But the playing field was level. Mercedes had the same opportunity that Renault, Ferrari, (and Honda). Mercedes managed to produce a better power unit in the time allotted. I guess it was an arms race, but it was one with a time frame. I don’t know the spending figures, but I can’t imagine Ferrari, Renault and Honda aren’t spending comparable sums of money on engine development (well, maybe not Renault…I kid). But, if LdiM’s idea went forward, it becomes much more of an open-ended arms race.

        Mercedes may maintain a gap for another year, or so, but so be it. That’s sort of the nature of F1 anyway. Someone finds a good solution to a formula and milks it for as long as they can.

      2. Doobs says:

        Why would a team spend millions of dollars attending races they know they can’t win because the rules are frozen?
        Being trapped into a poor perfoming car for several years because you didn’t get it right first time, is death for a brand like Ferrari, so I can see LdM’s view.
        There will always be one team that gets a benefit of a lucky design, but the rest of the teams must have the opportunity to catch up. Sure budgets will blow, but who cares, really?

    2. MonsterMashie says:

      “As for Mr.E….isn’t he really jsut trying to bribe his way out of a bribery charge? Pretty ironic”.

      EXACTLEY my thoughts!!!
      The sooner he is no longer involved in F1 the better.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        +1

  6. Sebee says:

    Can we recognize that Hungary recipe was rain and slightly scrambled grid plus SC chaos?

    We don’t want artificiality, but this excitement could be simulated with scrambled grids and sprinklers. I will control the sprinklers since I’m a responsible guy.

    1. Azza says:

      Sounds good Sebee… You have my vote to take full control over sprinklers next year!!!
      On a serious note, have we already forgotten about engine noise??
      We still need to fix this problem, F1 still doesn’t sound like the pinicacle of motor sport.

      James is there any news on the working group taking care of the sound issue?

      1. RacingFanatic says:

        I agree about the noise, while not the most important or immediate threat to F1 at the moment, I am sure, actually positive that F1 crowds will continue to dwindle and die with the pathetic sound at the moment. A MASSIVE reason that I used to go to the races was just to witness that spine tingling sound as the cars drove past.

      2. The_Rh1no says:

        I’d rather just have good racing like we do, than a loud engine.

      3. Henri says:

        The racing makes up for any lack of noise in my opinion!

      4. Flakey says:

        Yes we forgotten the noise issue it only a minority of people that care about it. Watching via tv I hear little difference between the engine noise levels between the old and new because of the way they control the volumes.

      5. Azza says:

        So, why can’t we have both great racing and spine tingling engine noise?
        ‘Real fans’ the ones who actually attend Grand Prix’s, love the sound and smell of F1. If you’re just an arm chair fans like many who comment on Jame’s blog, your opinion on engine noise isn’t valid…

      6. Sebee says:

        Azza, it’s gone…the noise. History. We will tell kids what it was like back in the day. Can’t explain engine sound to someone who hasn’t heard it. My first interaction with F1 was hearing the V10 quali engine sound as we approached our stand. I got excited and couldn’t believe what I was hearing 100m away. Couldn’t wait to see it. Picked up our step pace to get our butts closer to the violence that was being tamed by what had to be a super human. Now it’s kids playing with batteries. And when a 4 times WDC says new F1 is $#!T and not pure people dismiss it like HE doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Funny times.

      7. Nickh says:

        @Flakey. I’m pretty sure it isn’t just a minority who care about engine noise. Are you talking about just this website or F1 fans worldwide. Because if you’re talking about ALL F1 fans I would hedge my bets that you’re definitely wrong. Maybe you never heard a proper N/A F1 engine live before

      8. j says:

        If you don’t agree with them then they say you aren’t a “real fan”.

        Sadly these “real fans” won’t pay to watch the races on TV, won’t pay to attend them in person and wouldn’t pay to watch them online either.

        If a free race series supported only by advertising dollars is what you want the cars are going to have to get a hell of a lot cheaper…

        And right now the tracks are paying F1, unless it turns around and F1 starts renting or owning their own circuits then the track owners have to make their money somehow.

    2. Thompson says:

      The only excitement in Hungry – if we are all honest – was watching Hamilton come through the field!

      Frankly I don’t know we’re F1 would be without him.

      And I’m just a keen observer.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        I know this sounds strange, but I think, like James Hunt, Our Nige and Jenson, Lewis seems to be at his best when faced with adversity!
        It’s almost like an attitude of “the more you attack me, the more I’ll attack you back!”

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        i beg to differ. the only real excitement was the last ten laps when ricciardo did the business….now that was exciting!!!!!

    3. Brent says:

      I think the rule should read that.” Sebee the Rainman shall be blindfolded during the execution of his duties to ensure the randomness of the sprinkler applications”.

      1. Sebee says:

        Do you honestly think I would wait to turn on the sprinklers the minute that Lewis is released from his pit box on super softs that are quickly losing temperature? Who do you think I am?

    4. aveli says:

      a simple soaking of the track at the start of each race will spice things up tremendously.

    5. Nickh says:

      Why not have good racing and loud engines as well? It isn’t like a compromise, you can have both. Let them develop the engines during the season.

  7. Flavio in charge of making the show more popular ? just in time for him to organise some crashes in Singapore then, you couldn’t make it up !!

    1. Doobs says:

      He can think outside the box…

  8. Giu says:

    Remove these 18 or 19 Fridays and give back 10 days of tests for the teams whenever they want.
    Reduce costs for the circuits to host F1 races… reduce ticket prices…

    Then have a 22 to 1 points for Qualy on Saturday. (p1 = 22pts / p2 = 21pts…..)
    Then have a reverse grid for the Races on Sunday.. based on the Championship Points

    That’d be awesome for enterteinment! See how Lewis was with a P3 last weekend!! Just cuz he got to really drive that car! Make drivers drive the car!

    1. Leo says:

      These are all quite ‘artificial’. What I think we need is to address core issues at heart of F1, like the inability to overtake without newer tyres or DRS. And it is often to do with the aero

      They all keep talking about making F1 more relevant, but spending money into developing more downforce is hardly relevant to modern auto industry

      We need a rule that limits air disturbance behind the car. Cars must become as ‘slippery’ as possible, which will also benefit fuel saving of course

      So, how about the rule that demands ‘no air disturbance 20 meters behind F1 car at full speed on straights’?

  9. franed says:

    No, of course [mod] Briatore should not be allowed anywhere near F1, if that is not blindingly obvious to Bernie then he has no grounds to stay in F1 himself.

    The new rules need promoting commercially by the licence holder, its what he is supposed to do. The complete lack of advertising or promotion of F1′s new modern relevant hybrid tech from both FOM and the FIA is pitiful.

    We do not need messing with the rules in fact FOM/Bernie being involved in rule making is breaking the EU commissions ruling. Bernie should have no say in the rules whatsoever, that was made very clear by the EU commission.

    It is pretty sordid that the team with the greatest advantage in spending power (thanks partly to unfair extra “off the top” payments by Bernie) are able to trying to change the sport even more in their favour.

    No, what is needed is a complete financial restructure with CVC taking 15% instead of 45% of the revenues, the rest supporting the teams and promoting the sport. They will be gone soon and leave behind a monster loaded with nearly $3Bn of debt. (Float? no, too heavy)

    1. James Allen says:

      Please moderate your language – Mod

      1. RacingFanatic says:

        Why the constant “modding” on this site? It is soooooo annoying and fascisty lol… Just let people speak their minds, we love F1, we support drivers/teams and we get passionate sometimes !!! The site would be better for it !!

      2. James Allen says:

        Because sometimes people use language which is unacceptable

        It’s rare that comments are deleted because of the views; usually it’s aggressive or confrontational language

        We want to keep standards high so everyone can enjoy

        If you don’t like that or want a more ugly confrontation there are other sites for you to go to

      3. franed says:

        I wish to point out that I did not swear, I merely used an easily historically justifiable and accurate description. Flav was found guilty of cheating and is thus viewed in that light.

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        Don’t want to be flippant, but IMO the word “Flavio’ is something of a taboo, almost nasty expletive word……….

      5. aveli says:

        may be we should have clearly defined rules to remind posters of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable otherwise some people have a misconception that the rules are made up as we go along.

    2. Nickh says:

      It is totally ridiculous that he is allowed to do this, if he’s successful. F1 needs [mod] to replace Bernie, who only cares about who pays him the most money and couldn’t give a **** about the sport. Azerbaijan Grand Prix?? Yes I’m sure they have a huge F1 fan base there, great idea Bernie. And he wants to get rid of places like Monza. [mod]

    3. YouWho says:

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with this comment I wholeheartedly agree.. How bizarre has F1 become :-

      We have a guy charged with bribery effectively [mod] a german court now- all legally of course!
      How on earth is Flavio Briatores name even mentioned in F1 circles let alone been allowed anywhere near the paddock or decisions being made in it astonishes me.

      There is a real need for F1 to sit down and sort out a few sporting and technical parameters , but this aside the sport is looking ok.

      I completely agree with R&D on the PU. Its crazy not to. Every year we
      See the cars aero and suspension components change dramatically .. So I dont see why PU’s should be any different.. Yeah sure Ferrari and Renault may want to catch up but it just may also mean that Mercedes just pull away also! Last time I cheked rules were for everyone ..

      We all agree that F1 needs to engage audiences on a much broader scale and have greater social
      Media involvement along with new marketing methodoligies. But the single greatest limiters in F1 atm is the CEO himself and the guy that was once banned for life!!.Why are fans turning away in Germany.. HELLO smell the roses.. Why are fans watching other sports-Hello their accessible and affordable. Why are other soorts better – Well because theyre FAIR and do not favour those with the most money and political might in F1. !- Fix these basic things this sport will be unmatched.

  10. Matías says:

    Looking what have happened here in Argentina with the death of Julio Grondona (82 years old) of the AFA (it’s like the FIA in football from here) there’s a couple of things F1 should look up: When this man died, he leave behind him a lot of unanswered questions, and a style of management who only could be carried by himself, not unlike Mr Ecclestone with the F1. He’s a 83 years old man, with a lot of legal problems who runs a business by himself and ONLY by himself. What will happen if Bernie ends up in jail or even worst, death? Now, the Football here is in crysis, let’s not wait until this happen to the F1 to look for a Plan B…

  11. Dante says:

    “….amid doubts over the appropriateness of former team boss Flavio Briatore being part of the group.”

    Really? Who has doubts?

    1. radohc says:

      apparently somebody has doubts. This sport, pardon, this entertainment business is turning really pathetic.

    2. PeterF says:

      I agree, he can be the one to carry and fetch messages for Bernie when he is in jail.

    3. Nickh says:

      Some people also still believe Alonso didnt know the plan of the famous 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. He should have been stripped of that race win

  12. Chris says:

    …anyone else see the irony in offering a 40million dollar settlement to get yourself out of a bribery charge?

    1. Brace says:

      Apparently everyone does, except those who are making the laws and administering them.
      To say that this whole thing is disgusting, would be a huge understatement.

    2. Doobs says:

      Simple plea bargain or “out of court settlement”. Happens a lot.

  13. C63 says:

    Ecclestone meanwhile has proposed a settlement deal to the court in Munich …

    Does anyone else think it more than a little ironic, that Ecclestone is proposing making an inappropriate payment as his punishment for making an inappropriate payment. If the German court allows this, then the world has truly gone mad :-(
    I am not legally trained but I am having a hard time seeing what is so difficult to prove about all this.
    The recipient of the bribe is currently serving time for taking the money and the guy who gave it to him does not deny paying him (although he says it wasn’t a bribe). There was sufficient evidence to show that a bribe was received, there must therefore be sufficient evidence a bribe was made – can’t receive unless someone gave. Or am I missing something?

    On the other news about Flav’ – I can only assume the idea was always meant to be some sort of diversionary tactic to keep Ecclestones name out of the news.
    No one can possibly have thought it was a sensible idea to invite old Flav’ to sit down with the rest of F1 and discuss how to spice up the show. Can they?

    1. James Allen says:

      It is permissible under German law, according to Bloomberg

      1. C63 says:

        Thanks for clarifying this point and also thank you for the article.

      2. aveli says:

        interesting, yet gribkowskyet, a german, didn’t he could’ve done the same for his freedom.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      Gribowski has come off as something of a damp squib as a witness apparently. It sounds like the prosecution were hoping he’d deliver a killer blow but several journalists have reported that he’s actually cast doubt on Bernie bribing – this might be why the prosecution are considering allowing the financial settlement.

    3. Andrew M says:

      “(although he says it wasn’t a bribe).”

      That’s the crux of the matter. Bernie’s defence is that he was being blackmailed, and paying someone who is blackmailing you is (I would imagine) not illegal. Bear in mind Bernie and his legal team didn’t have any input into Grib’s trial, so just what was held there wont necessarily be held going forwards if new evidence comes to light.

      Also, settling criminal cases financially does happen in quite a few jurisdictions, especially in the US. It kind of happens in the UK too, although it’s kind of a secret and people don’t like it, and rarely once a trial has started like this.

      Bear in mind also, what do the German prosecutors get out of pursuing a case against an 80-plus something man? Is there really any public interest in locking him up? It’s not like he’s a danger to the general public like a lot of other criminals. I’m sure the German prosecutors would argue that getting a multi-million euro settlement, that could subsequently be used to increase law enforcement against drug dealers for example, is quite a good result of the trial, especially if the outcome is uncertain and it looks like it will drag on for ages.

      (PS I’m not in any way protesting Bernie’s innocence or defending the system, just playing Devil’s Advocate to some extent!)

      1. C63 says:

        Thank you for your reply. I appreciate what you are saying about locking up an old man, but surely there has to be a consequence if a person has broken the law. A fine of 40 million euros to a man of Ecclestones vast wealth is literally no punishment at all. Presumably if they can’t prove a bribe was made then Dr Gib is off the hook as well – no bribe made must logically mean no bribe received. I just cannot separate the giving and taking aspect of it, but I guess that’s why lawyers earn the big bucks, as they can :-)

  14. mm says:

    Am I the only F1-supporter now getting tired of all Niki Lauda’s comments this season?

    1. Matias says:

      i think it’s cool someone speaking like Kimi, but, to the whole world, not just his team. The man speaks his mind, loud and clear, you might like it or not, but you can’t say he’s truly sincere, no edulcorated PR

    2. Torchwood Five says:

      Possibly.

    3. AlexD says:

      I think so, you could be the only one. For me, he is like a breath of fresh air

      1. C63 says:

        +1
        I like his comments – he doesn’t worry about towing the corporate line or being PC.

    4. AuraF1 says:

      In previous years I’ve gotten fed up of Lauda, especially his more ‘offensive’ remarks – but this year I’ve warmed up to him, at least, unlike many, when he does go overboard he apologises and is willing to admit when the team messed up or he’s changed his views. It’s better than the corporate bland offensive we get from most interviews.

  15. Andrew Carter says:

    Can we really trust the people who rubber stamped double points and standing restarts to better engage the fans, particularly when the man in charge sees the internet as a fad.

    1. Richard Mee says:

      He doesn’t see it as a fad – he just recognises he can’t control it and therefore cannot predict long term incomes from it that are critical (long-term fixed deals) to his business model, so has decided ‘not to go there’… won’t change until he’s gone.

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        In his own words its a fad. However, his talk of not being able to monetise it is probably closer to the truth, and thats him completely lacking in imagination, what with plenty of others having successfully done so.

  16. BenK says:

    Am I the only one that thinks that Bernie offering to pay $40million to make the case go away is ironic, given that it’s a charge of bribery he’s facing in the first place?

  17. Grant H says:

    Reporter “flavio how do you make F1 more interesting”

    Flavio “well its easy, at a random point in the race you tell one of the lesser drivers to crash thier car in a place where a safety car is certain and just after alonso has pitted”

  18. Rachel says:

    there’s a quote I like, about American Sports, from Bill Simmons on ESPN, but I think it’s perfect for F1.

    ” I’m becoming more and more convinced that every professional sports team needs to hire a Vice President of Common Sense, someone who cracks the inner circle of the decision-making process along with the GM, assistant GM, head scout, head coach, owner and whomever else. One catch: the VP of CS doesn’t attend meetings, scout prospects, watch any film or listen to any inside information or opinions; he lives the life of a common fan. They just bring him in when they’re ready to make a big decision, lay everything out and wait for his unbiased reaction.”

    I think that is what F1 needs. Someone, some group, that are outside the bubble (and that suggested group are so inside the bubble I’m not sure they know there’s a boundary) that can represent the fan in a non-fanatic way, that understands the wider world and what other sports are doing, An outside perspective is definitely needed.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Not a bad idea :)

    2. AlexD says:

      Phenomenal!

    3. C63 says:

      +1
      I like this idea and would like to volunteer for the job :-)

      1. Random 79 says:

        I vote C63 :)

      2. Voodoopunk says:

        Someone impartial would be needed.

      3. C63 says:

        @Voodoopunk
        Someone impartial would be needed….

        If that’s the case, I guess both you and me are no longer eligible then ;-)

    4. Dazzler says:

      Its a great idea. Which is why we’ll never see anything like it

    5. Craig Sock says:

      “An outside perspective is definitely needed.”
      Agreed, Rachel.
      •••••
      All of our cultures know stories like this. The best 20th Century example I can think of is as follows:

      Back in the day, when sports entities (teams, leagues, etc.), lacked the tools and experience to project media management proactively (as opposed to just swinging wildly when cornered), American baseball had its moment.

      95 years ago, the Chicago White Sox threw the World Series, precipitating a scandal that ownership could not get its arms around. The Sox AND the entire league were well behind the curve when it arrived. Public confidence was shattered in a beloved institution.

      In a panic, ownership of all of the teams (who at the time ran every aspect of the game without interference) very publicly created the position of, and appointed a non-baseball man to be, league commissioner. His name was Kenesaw Mountain Landis (a federal judge from Illinois), and he was granted virtually unchecked authority to act, as was written at the time and has echoed since through the pastime, “In the best interest of the game of baseball…”. His was an iron fist, and public confidence was restored. His first chore was to solve the so-called ‘Black Sox’ scandal, and this he did, swiftly and with shockingly brutal impartiality.

      Landis and his successors (until ownership seized the position back in 1992, appointing one of their own to the spot) vetoed trades, levied punishments, and provided a non-partisan nearly King-like figure.

      OK, the points are these:
      1) Bernie apparently owns enough of F1 to keep making the rules (or influencing the rule-makers), for better or worse, and until personal or professional (or both) ruin is a real possibility, I don’t see him surrendering that authority.
      2) This committees technical expertise/driver experience might need to be, unlike baseball or ‘football’, significant. In the case of Commissioner Landis, for example, he would need only rudimentary knowledge of baseball to formulate what was in the best interest of the game. In F1, I would think, tech and seat would be insurmountable, and we would be back to bringing in known players. They would have to be very carefully chosen, and there are probably very few with the cred to ‘restore confidence in the formula’. Off the top of my head, only one name pops up, and I don’t know if Sir Jackie would be at all interested.

      (Pure opinion: Good grief, Luca DeMontezemelo and Flavio Briatore are not about the best interests of Formula 1.)

      Nevertheless, I think you are on to something.

  19. Thompson says:

    Eccelston’s attempted [mod] settlements with the German courts is timely – this season is making all suggestions of improving the show redundant.

    If his case drags on he too will be redundant, what we are learning this year is the show will go on without him and is in perfect health regards the racing.

    So yes the focus needs to be changed and the promotion plus tv distribution and pricing for live events should be the New focus.

    But we are dealing with old men at the end of their road trying hold on to past glory. Their cash cow has grown beyond their control.

    Expect them to ruin it or do their best to ruin it for the next generation of owners.

    Remember when Max had to go…. Lol

  20. Stephen Taylor says:

    LDM is trying to make rules that benefit Ferrari the most.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Has it ever been different?

    2. C63 says:

      NO WAY!
      How very dare you – wash your mouth out with soap this very instant and no more comments until Monday as punishment :-)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        There’s footage of Mr Di Monty at the 1975 Austrian GP arguing very forcibly with the organisers to stop the sopping wet race. When I mean forcibly, I think it’s what us Inglese calls ranting and screaming…………………….so it’s nothing new for Di Monty to wave his hands in the air and the like……

    3. JohnBt says:

      I got a very strong hunch Ferrari will be getting worserer and worserer in the future.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Or look at it the other way – the Inglese will get stronger and stronger…………….

    4. Jarv027 says:

      Yes again!!

    5. Matías says:

      Given the chance, what would you do? that’s the problem, they give him a chance with the Veto right. Ferrari is in a position that makes themselves beyond the sport itself. Imagine, in football, if the Fifa let Manchest United or Barcelona to write the rules… or at least, have a say in that…

  21. JF says:

    As far as Montezemolo’s comments are concerned, I miss the R&D race, including the tire wars, tech stuff is one of my main attractions to the sport. The various interpretations of the new power units has been interesting. But I think those with Lauda’s view will prevail, sustainability will trump continuous innovation and development, and thats hard to argue against– money is not unlimited. The bright side is that more homogeneous technology should allow the drivers to differentiate themselves without having to factor in the car so much, more Indy/NASCAR like.

    1. Tone says:

      Why can’t we still have screaming V8s but every year we reduce the fuel capacity by say, 5 kilos every year until they run on fumes? Maybe switch to greener fuels in the future. The rusted on fans will be happy while there’s a sustainability/greener story for the newbies.

      1. Jim says:

        The engine manufacturers were the ones who wanted to move away from the V8s. If F1 had stuck with them we’d have Ferrari and maybe Cosworth engines; with the new engines Cosworth are out but Honda are coming in.

        I like the new engines, they keep F1 where it should be: at the cutting edge of technology.

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        The problem is, the vast majority of the car buying customer base in Western Europe, South America, Southern Africa, Oceania and Japan don’t buy V8′s, unless they are in that tiny customer base for an expensive sports car like a Ferrari or a Jag. So therefore the previous 2.4 litre V8′s had no road relevance to the vast majority of F1′s heartland. You couldn’t buy a Renault or Honda V8 road car because those two aforementioned companies don’t sell them…………..
        However, with the new 1.6 litre V6 turbo-hybrid, theoretically a manufacturer could “slice” the V6 engine in two, and you could end up with, say a 1 litre 3 clyinder turbo-hybrid that could be shoe-horned, in say, a Fiat 500 (Fiat own Ferrari). So the new engines are much more relevant to road users – motor sport has always been the proving ground for new experiments in motoring, twas ever thus.

  22. JF says:

    So Ecclestone is suggesting to make a settlement (pay off) to the bank he bribed. Seems a fine line between courtroom and backroom business negotiation!

  23. Not sure if this is off topic or not, but it does deal with the (more immediate) future of F-1, at least some respect: Will there be any hope for serious re-consideration from BE and the Commercial Rights folks (and/or the FIA) for retaining the Russian GP on this year’s calendar?

    Yesterday’s announcement of increased international sanctions for Russia, and Putin in particular, exhibit significant and increased international outrage for their complicity in shooting down a civilian passenger plane (and related involvement with civil affairs) in that part of the world.

    To continue supporting that venue seems quite out of line with world sentiment and any future reconsideration for reinstatement of a Russian GP should be tied to improved international relations on the part of that country. They can probably even keep the down payment money they’ve already received to get on the calendar and am betting it’s doubtful to be considered an improper payment.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      UK prime minster David Cameron has expressed concerns about the Grand Prix in Russia. I suspect behind the scenes the UK and English speaking countries are locked in serious dialogue, but we’ll wait and see.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        An update: Mr Cameron has called on NATO to completely distance itself from Russia.
        I think that’s a coded way of saying to Formula 1 (which is predominantly a western entity) stay away from Russia……………..

  24. james murphy says:

    Maybe they should also consider the fact that to visit the recent british gp you are easily looking at over £200 for attending saturday and sunday, Thats before you get to the prices for grandstand tickets so you can actually see something…

  25. Stephen Taylor says:

    This is how I would improve F1

    1. Scrap the Constructors Championship and give all teams equal money from the Television and Commercial rights.
    2 Teams able to choose engine configuration although all engines would be limited to a 10,500 rpm maximum limit
    3 Restrict pre season testing to a single 1 day test at Silverstone . In season tests banned
    4 DRS would be banned and narrower wings would be introduced.
    5 The FIA should give the teams NO SAY in technical regulations and sporting regulations in order to avoid controversies like the ones surrounding off throttle blown diffusers and FRIC suspension.
    What do my fellow JA on F1 readers think? Your replies are welcome as long as they are not rude or offensive.

    1. Random 79 says:

      On point 3, bad idea. At the start of this year there were some that thought that over half the field wouldn’t finish the race. Fair enough it was unusual in that they had completely new engines to settle in, but if they had only been allowed one day to sort things that might have been the case, or worse.

      Not only that but these are massively complicated machines now and it takes more than a day to sort out all the gremlins, and if something big went wrong and a team lost an entire day because of it, that would be it: They’d be done.

      Unpredictability and the odd failure can be a good thing for the championship, but not when it’s too often.

      On point 5, definitely agreed.

    2. Thompson says:

      Almost agree with 1) – equal money between teams but the constructors championship should remain, a cup rewarded

      2) agree with 2 but see no reason to reduce revs
      ,
      3) makes no sense. – the reliability of the modern F1 car is impressive, Its one of the things they have just right imo today.

      4) DRS is ok because it has been the cause of some really good defensive driving this season with kers etc.

      5) is redundant – teams get the spec sheet then interpret them accordingly. It’s up to the FIA to ensure all is to the rules and legal during scrutiny well before the 1st race.

    3. Ben says:

      On point 1 – I do agree that there should be more equitable distribution of funds but getting rid of the constructors and giving the teams equal money does seem a step to far. If there is no constructors and no prize money for winning, there is no incentive to develop the car… One team taking the lions share of the prize money is definitely unfair – Ferrari can come last and still make the most money! This is something that does need to be sorted but with Bernie still in charge it will never happen.
      Point 2 is quite interesting – leaving it completely open for teams to decide on configuration does sound like a good idea – maybe something like what they have in Le Mons where they can either have more internal combustion engine and less hybrid or the other way around… Some variation in the configuration does leave the teams open for more innovation!

      It would be good if Bernie and his company actually promoted the sport rather than talk the sport down – that is not his job

    4. PeterF says:

      6. Put the sport on TV for people to watch.

  26. Peter says:

    You simply cannot allow Briatore onto any committee associated with F1 and keep any sort of credibility. That has to be a fact surely given that the man has been exposed as a cheat and a liar. Ferrari’s apparent concern about the so-called boring racing this year (turning out to be a classic season by the way) seems to be only motivated by the fact that it isn’t Ferrari providing the excitement so unless they are going to propose yet another new rule stating that all red cars start five grid places ahead of where they qualify I can’t see what they have to contribute. Ecclestone is currently trying to bribe his way out of a bribery trial (No, I don’t get that either!) so your left with Christian Horner and Toto Wolf to have a chat.

    In case I haven’t made myself clear I can see no point in having an expensive session to try and fix something doesn’t need any more fixing!

    1. Tone says:

      Peter, we’ve lucked into some rain and safety cars in a few races. Take out the rain in Hungry and we still would’ve had a Mercedes 1-2 even with the safety cars. I understand your mistrust of LDM but don’t you want to see more than two drivers going for the title?

      1. Thompson says:

        Short memory?

        Past few years we’ve had one per season. Schumacher, Button then Vettel.

        This year is epic!

      2. Ben says:

        A more equitable distribution of the funds would help to have more than 2 cars fighting for the win but LDM does not want that…

      3. Peter says:

        Yes, I’d like to see more than two drivers fighting for the title. But, look back, it nearly always comes down to just two. And, frankly, you’re lucky if you get that.

        When I said we were having a classic season I’m including all the battles going on through the field. Think of it, Marussia scoring points, Alonso way beyond where the car dictates he should be, will Maldonado have a crash (OK, that’s something of a given) but I hope you see what I mean. Apart from whether Lewis or Nico get the ultimate prize there is some great racing going on!

      4. Recall that Button’s Championship was a bit of a runaway early in the season, but it wasn’t certain by any means until the last race and was fairly seriously contested the last half. Am recalling that Button had to put in some pretty good drives to achieve the honor.

  27. Glen says:

    When they finally get to meet they need to drop the last race double points rule. Considering the fact that only Mercedes drivers are in the hunt for the championship I don’t see what the problem with dropping it is. Then they need to keep all there silly ideas and artificial rules behind close doors and out of PR and media rooms.

    Overall F1 doesn’t need changing.

    I suspect the dwindling viewing figures are due to the sport being inaccessible to normal folk and high costs. Standing starts or any other mad cap idea won’t change this.

  28. Matt W says:

    Leave the racing alone now and focus in removing the politics and the old men’s club running the show.

    In reality what we will get is shorter GPs and sprint races.

  29. Andrew M says:

    “Montezemolo’s key policy initiatives are:
    * The return of some ability to develop engines during the season, to counteract what has happened this year with a dominant Mercedes unit.
    * Emphasis on R&D, without the restrictions in the rules that there are today
    * More testing on tracks; more in season testing, as “events”, used as occasions to engage with the public and fans”

    So basically:
    Engine development – Allow Ferrari to bring their greater resources to bear to catch Mercedes
    R&D – Allow Ferrari to bring their greater resources to bear to catch Mercedes
    More testing – Allow Ferrari to bring their greater resources to bear to catch Mercedes

    Wow, sounds like he really had the interests of the sport at heart.

    1. Tone says:

      I think Mercedes and Renault not to mention Honda, have greater resources than Ferrari

      1. Andrew M says:

        Ferrari are widely acknowledged to have one of the largest if not the largest budgets in the sport, although as RRA failure demonstrated exactly what teams are spending on F1 is a very opaque area. What’s certain is that Ferrari get more money from the Concorde Agreement (or whatever it’s called these days), so they definitely have a financial advantage from the get go.

        In all seriousness, can you hand on heart say that fans appear to be clamouring for more testing, more R&D and more engine development?

      2. Hunter C says:

        @Andrew M “In all seriousness, can you hand on heart say that fans appear to be clamouring for more testing, more R&D and more engine development?”

        yes, this fan is. We’re slowly moving towards formula mercedes. renault’s position is already precarious with lotus leaving for merc next year and rbr threatening to leave……..and well, for all of ferrari’s resources, they’ve never been interested/good in developing v6 engines for racing, nor will they ever put one in one of their roadcars (they’re in the market for supercars, not supermarket shoppers), so it’s a rather pointless exercise for them. so we’re left with only merc dominating the series.

        Sure, v6s have successfully placated the other manufacturers, but for what F1 is trying to accomplish, WEC already does it bigger and far better than F1. For one thing, they have thousands of more hours for road car applicable technology testing. not achievable with simulators f1 is pushing on the teams. check. secondly, manufacturers are able to run the engine size and specs that THEY want to test, be it v4s, v6s, or v8s. check. finally, road car technology is infinitely more applicable to WEC racers than it ever will be for F1 purpose built single seaters. If F1 wants to play the “road car relevancy” game, they’ll lose every single time. WEC and sportscar racing in general is a more inexpensive and a much more practical way to go about it. and the proof is in the pudding: where are all the manufacturers flocking towards? WEC.

        As a fan, I’ve always felt F1 resonated with me in that it was a perverse all out exercise in speed, no compromises. We’re moving farther and farther away from that. It was the same way WRC lost popularity after the 80′s when they killed group B. True, the cars today are actually faster, but everything is so tightly regulated. If mercedes show up at melbourne and present a car 2.5 seconds faster than anyone else, but engine development is frozen, then every other team can pack it up and wait for a whole another year. The racing has been good this year, but could’ve be a lot better if teams were allowed to develop at an increased capacity. Because the only difference between this year and the last two years is that the top team has TWO rated drivers, not just one.

      3. Andrew M says:

        @ Hunter C

        Good for you, but I’m a long way convinced that any of the three things Montezemolo is putting forward will reverse the supposed crisis that the sport is undergoing. (Frankly I think the crisis the sport is undergoing is far more deep rooted than the rule changes for this year, and has far more to do with removing the races from free-to-air TV in most of the markets than the rules changes for this year).

        With regards to Mercedes dominating the formula, what you’re saying is highly speculative to say the least. I agree that making engines a differentiator again means it’s very unlikely any non-works team will consistently beat a works team like we had during the engine freeze, but we’ve rarely had more than 3/4 teams competing at the front throughout F1′s history.

        The WEC championship thing really is a red herring as far as I’m concerned; they’re very different horses for very different courses. I think the road car relevancy element is applicable to both formulae, and if manufacturers want to go into both series (like Ferrari are doing) then all well and good. If (and it’s a big if) manufacturers started leaving F1 to solely compete in WEC then I’ll admit there’s a problem, but not before then. When Honda rejoin we’ll have four engine manufacturers back in F1, and we’ve very rarely had more competitive engine suppliers than that.

        I agree with you that F1 has lost it’s way slightly over the last few years, and since 2011 there’s been too much focus on the endurance/management elements of racing as opposed to the outright sprints in the years leading up to it. Both have their pros and cons, and we can’t lose sight of the cost control issues that led F1 to the mini-crisis in 2009-10 with teams dropping out overnight. But I think that the fundamentals of the sport are sound, and the main point is that a lot of people are trying to talk down the sport (notably Ferrari and Red Bull) for nothing more than self-interest, which in my eyes immediately removes them from serious consideration.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Excellent translation :)

    3. Anil says:

      Engine development should be allowed in season though and I was never a fan of the engine freeze with V8. The situation we have now is utterly bizarre, with Ferrari and Renault having to wait until next January to fix their current problems and actually test them. An engine freeze from 2018 or so would make sense but in season Na.

      In terms of R&D, the FIA need to seriously loosen up the regulations as they are far too restrictive. Opening them up will stop the current problems of guys like Newey basically getting bored and calling it GP1, not F1.

      The only other thing I’d get rid of is mickey mouse tyres and the fuel flow limit. Let’s have the drivers push, they are racers! There are too many artificial things in F1 to ‘spice up the show’ but tbh they are all pointless.

      At the end of the day, the spectacle is better than it has ever been. The problem is that the tracks are paying ridiculously high hosting fees to Bernie and CVC which hurts the fans pocket more than anyone else. When half the races are on pay-TV, it’s difficult to stay motivated to watch the sport.

      1. Andrew M says:

        Engine development – I’m not a huge fan of the freeze, but the point is that it’s there for a reason – cost control. The point is that if Ferrari had a huge HP advantage, do you really think Montezemolo would be in favour of lifting the ban?

        R&D – The situation this year isn’t any different to what it’s been for a looong time, including when Newey’s cars were dominating – as much as I respect him, his comments frankly come across as nothing more than sour grapes. If he said what he said last year I’d have a lot more sympathy for his position.

        Everything else I broadly agree with you.

    4. JF says:

      Perhaps– but in that scenario it would be Merc benefiting the most. They are a huge compared to Ferrari, far more resource available, unless Fiat opened up its wallet as well. And as another posted mentioned, Honda would be able to spend most teams into the dirt excepting Mercedes.

      Increased R&D would make the tech heads like me happy, I am less interested in individual drivers, more interested in team approaches.

      1. Andrew M says:

        F1 budgets don’t just mirror the resources of the entire company, otherwise Mercedes would have a budget some 50 times that of McLaren, which obviously isn’t the case. It’s widely accepted that Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull have the largest budgets, and Ferrari have the added advantage of more money in the bank before anyone has even turned a wheel in anger.

  30. dos4gw says:

    Fantastic, futurist and thought leading technology in the cars; new driver heroes like Bottas and Ricciardo jumping for joy on the podium; old guard drivers like Hamiliton and Alonso showing why they’re still in F1; and a complex symphony of top- and midfield teams battling it out on the track – which is STILL interesting with one dominant team at the front who are letting their drivers create the most fascinating WDC battle in recent memory.

    From my point of view as a 30 year old bloke who has been watching F1 for almost 10 years now, the sport has never been more exciting to watch. So, good work to the management there.

    However, it’s 2014 – why isn’t F1 following in the steps of every single other global sport and offering online streaming? I live in Australia and would happily (yes, happily) pay $300 or $400 per season for good online coverage. In the information age, the gap between content creation and consumption is getting smaller and smaller, and F1 must embrace this change if it wants to still put bums on seats.

    Paying $300-$500 to sit in one cheap plastic seat at a track is not the future, and if revenue is biased in this direction, I hope that there are plans to move away from this model.

    Hell, make the seats virtual, offer VR streaming of the race, intertwined with the real footage, that lets you wander around the track in real time while the race is going on. Or sit at whichever seat you like, changing seats as the conditions change across the racetrack.

    There are a million innovative things that F1 could be doing with their coverage that they aren’t, and if the sport wants to maintain its premium image, this needs to change.

    1. MonsterMashie says:

      + 1

      “I live in Australia and would happily (yes, happily) pay $300 or $400 per season for good online coverage.”

    2. Tim B says:

      The failure to embrace new broadcast models is incredible. Bernie was doing (highly priced) digital broadcasts quite early, but never took it anywhere. F1 has (or had, before Bernie sold it to private capital) the wealth to have invested early and been a leader in this stuff.

      I think a few sports have made the same mistake as F1 and got locked into exclusive broadcast deals for specific regions. Internet-based subscription models are the future, though. F1 just has to hope it still has an audience by the time it’s in a position to do that properly.

      1. Matthew M says:

        its not enough just for internet streaming and embracing social media thats only solving a 1 quarter of the problem.

        Car manufacturers and sponsors also have a huge part to play in removing how crazy it is for a video ggame devleper in todays age to produce a game based around any championship.

        Simbim the developer of the highly succesful FIA GTR Race simulations this morning announced bankruptcy.

        The reason was they were never succesful in releasing thier 3rd instalment of the GTR series because of a few licensing deals with key sponsors, manufacturers and teams involved in the FIA gtr championship.

        Look at what a video game developer needs to produce a game based on any championship year.

        *approval from FIA
        *approval from all the tracks
        *approval from all the sponsors and teams associated with the tracks
        *approval from car manufacturers
        *approval from the individual drivers to use thier names personal sponsors and helmet designs

        Ferrari and porsche both blocked Simbin from using their cars in GTR3 demanding more money than Simbin could bring in. So now Simbin another very good video game developer is no longer around to develop racing games based around Racing championships.

        We’re left with cheap nasty half baked racing games that offer nothing more than a basic racing game to make a quick buck..

    3. RacingFanatic says:

      $300 – $500 just to watch the races of ONE motor-racing category online? Jesus Christ man are you kidding, money doesn’t just sprout up out of the ground, I don’t know anyone who could afford that for one category of motor-sport !!! Anything over $100 max is ridiculous!! So if I wanted to watch what I currently do – (F1, V8 supercars, MotoGP and Indy, sometimes I don’t get enough time to watch all of them) I would be roughly $2000 out of pocket every year. That’s absurd, never mind the fact that I live in Australia and most of F1′s followers aren’t lucky enough to be from a decent country like this. A lot of F1′s passionate fans rely on free-to-air television to stay with the sport.

      This is the whole problem with F1, it does nothing to look after it’s fans, it just tries to extract the max amount of money possible from them and if they can’t afford it then “stuff them” is the attitude! So wrong! Couldn’t disagree more!

  31. Dai Dactic says:

    ‘. . . F1 engineers were of the view that . . . the senior figures should focus on promotion, social media and other key areas and leave the racing well alone . . . ‘

    Gee, what a good idea!
    I’m sure I and a thousand others might have mentioned this in previous replies on this blog.
    Never mind ‘promotion’ and so forth – are the senior figures capable of focussing?

  32. Stephen Taylor says:

    This is something that I think would be great for F1 if it happened and would provide a unique experience for many radio listeners:
    Imagine Kimi after he has retired being co-commentator for BBC Radio 5 live alongside James Allen. Now that really would be memorable. Raikkonen and Allen – the commentary dream team of F1 in future years.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Hmm…

      JA: Thanks for joining me here Kimi.
      KR: (unintelligible)
      JA: This is best race we’ve seen all year!
      KR: (unintelligible)
      JA: Look at that overtake!
      KR: (unintelligible)
      JA: And now we have a new F1 champion!
      KR: (unintelligible)

      1. YouWho says:

        Edit for KR :-
        “Ok”
        “Its not bad”
        “Easy with DRS”
        “He deserves it”

    2. JohnBt says:

      Interesting, more like

      KR: He spun
      KR: He crashed
      KR: He’s not motivated

      maximum of 3 words sentences

    3. JohnBt says:

      Oh yes, one more

      KR: Leave him alone

  33. George says:

    No hiding that LDM is no fan of cost control then! how can there be a sustainable future for the small teams as long as there are ideas like this coming out of Ferrari? (not to mention 3 car teams)
    Good luck to Marussia et al…

    Interesting how BEs approach is to try and buy his way out of the situation; not sure if that’s really what this is about, is it? Not only that, people who believe them selves to be innocent don’t give $40M for nothing? Surely if the court sees him to be guilty of something, what is the value of the court process if he can buy his way out – unless the court finds him guilty and imposes a ‘fine’.

  34. Optimaximal says:

    I wonder how many times this is going to go round and round in circles until Luca just comes out with his true aim…

    “A complete change to the rules (and physics of the universe) so as to make sure Ferrari finish first, second and third, despite only running two cars.”

    1. Random 79 says:

      Lol :)

  35. zombie says:

    I dont see a reason to disagree with the 3 points Montezemolo is asking for. Things should get more interesting if and when Honda enters the foray. And who knows, maybe someday we will have BMW and Toyota back too. The DRS needs to go. I have absolutely no idea what purpose it serves other than making one guy a sitting duck.

  36. Phil says:

    Hilarious. A man charged with bribery proposes a ‘financial settlement’ to the court. You couldn’t make it up.

    Given that Gribowsky has been found guilty of accepting the bribe, it seems logical that Ecclestone would be found guilty of offering it. If Ecclestone gets let off in exchange for this settlement deal then surely they’d have to release Gribowsky. You can’t have the bribee behind bars while allowing the briber to walk free in exchange for a payment.

    On the subject of F1 popularity, they need to just get rid of all the gimmicks. Double points, fuel limits, fall-apart tyres. My heart sinks when I hear a race engineer telling a driver to save fuel, look after the tyres or don’t even bother trying to defend your position against another car.

    I actually don’t mind DRS too much. When it’s tuned so that it just allows a following driver to break into the tow, it’s great. Obviously I don’t like seeing cars just sweep past on the straight so they are in front before they even reach the braking zone.

    The new engines will equalise over the next couple of years so I don’t see that as a major problem.

    They should also severely restrict the complexity of the front wing. This would not only reduce costs for the teams but should also allow cars to follow each other more closely as the air is worked less by the car in front. Most fans couldn’t care less about the design of the front wing anyway. Sure it’s interesting but when you’re watching two cars fighting for the same piece of tarmac, nobody is wondering which team has the most aerodynamically effective front wing.

    1. C63 says:

      My heart sinks when I hear a race engineer telling a driver to save fuel, look after the tyres …..

      It’s never been any different, the thing that’s changed is that the radio transmissions to to/from the drivers are broadcast. Brundle wrote an article a week or so back, about when he drove the previous generation of turbo cars, and he said you spent the whole race watching the fuel gauge.

    2. Anil says:

      Agreed. The gimmicks, combined with the move to pay TV and the expensive costs of actually attending the race, are turning fans away. The spectacle was fine in 2010, before the gimmicks came along, with only poor track layout (Bahrain, Valencia, Abu Dhabi were all terrible that year) and too much aero the main issues.

  37. Craig D says:

    They definitely should be focusing on social media and the like more. It might not have a direct cash flow benefit (as Bernie wants) but the indirect advantages are growing all the time; especially amongst the youth.

    Used properly, it can act as a great way of inspiring and generating interest in a sport/event/topic, especially in that social collective, almost sheep-like way people that like to latch on to trends. Make F1 seem like something that’s cool to be associated with and others will follow. Build it and…. ahem.

    1. The_Rh1no says:

      Surely they have some experts to tap into as well. Look at how amazingly well the red bull brand has been promoted through various medias. Such an iconic and famous brand, despite not being particularly nice to drink (although did help me through various essay crisis points at uni). Sure Dietrich Mateschitz could offer help from his company!

  38. Adam says:

    So the make up as presented seems to be a snub to McLaren and Williams, with RBR represented, a Jonny come lately in F1. James I thought they asked members of the media as well? Who will they be?

    As it seems it will be mostly the same people who have not got it right to date and no real advisors with any skills in improving “media” this seems doomed from the outset. Bernie should look to his own World feed producer for a start. Recent coverage has been very bad focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time and failing to leverage things like multiple windows to show what is going on elsewhere. IE the have new graphics but they have failed to use basic windows in windows to tell a better story. The racing does not lack drama, they just forget to show the story. For example the climax of qualifying almost never shows more than one car. Window in window could be used to show the next car to cross the line in the man window and the followers in smaller windows. Next to cross jumps to the main window as soon as the car in the main window crosses the line. Thus we never need to miss the drama in real time and have to wait for the painfully sluggish replays. This is just one example, but for all the technology they have, for all the shots, they are really, really bad at production in recent years. Like it has gone backwards the more supposed improvements there was meant to be with high speed data networks and locating production at Biggin Hill etc.

    1. MonsterMashie says:

      Your comment makes WAY too much sense… Bernie would never understand it.

    2. The_Rh1no says:

      As I said higher up, red bull actually have a seriously good marketing strategy. If they need someone to help with promotion, surely they need them.

    3. James Clayton says:

      If picture-in-picture was ever introduced to F1 it would most likely only end up being used so we could see the reactions of multiple driver’s girlfriends/parents/brothers/whatever at the same time…

  39. Becken Lima says:

    Wait a minute…

    Montezemolo wants to ‘improve’ the show pushing for more testing and less restrictions on those budget caps?

    Montezemolo really thinks that senior figures like Wolff and Horner are naive enough to engage on his own campaing to bring Ferrari to the top again?

    I like Ferrari but this constant whining and manipulation to suit Ferrari needs sounds really anoying.

    This new F1, with the enphasis on engine as the performence diferential is perfect to a team like Ferrari, a team who had a Capo who said one day that “aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.”

    Ferrari had three years to adapt and build a great engine, even so they´re failed.

    So, what F1 needs to do to shape into Ferrari´s demands?

    Maybe ballast on other cars?

    1. Anil says:

      The problem is that Ferrari know the problems with the current PU, but they can’t do anything about it until next year. The engine freeze is just a bit silly imo, even if it does cut costs. As far as I’m aware, they can’t even test next years engines until January which is the month before the freeze..

    2. James Clayton says:

      I don’t think Wolff would mind Ferrari climbing up to be on a level with them. Mercedes beating Ferrari to the championship is surely more marketable than Mercedes beating Red Bull

  40. aveli says:

    montizemolo has not been able to lead ferrari to win any of the championships in the past 7 years so why is he so keen to convince other that he is capable of leading a group of people to do anything successfully?
    he is motivated by greed. leave the racing alone because it is better than it has ever been and does not need any corrupt practices introduced. making f1 more interactive doesn’t require such a meeting. all they need to do is commission several teams of strategists to present their ideas of making f1 more interactive and the best wins. even i have excellent ideas on how to make the sport more interactive without introducing any fake boots voted by the public. the only idea of theirs i like is soaking the track with water to start the race.

    1. James Allen says:

      To be fair to him he has led them to all the success of the Schumacher years, Raikkonen title etc

      1. aveli says:

        to be fair james, they spent more money on testing and r&d than all the other teams. now that the playing field has been levelled somewhat, he’s left trailing. i cannot see how someone can be so successful and all of a sudden forget how to be successful. monte needs to go and learn how to lead his team to the front under fair rules and then come and show the rest of the sport how to do it.

      2. Jodum5 says:

        James, Wasn’t Luca team manager during Lauda’s championship winning years? Why over look that?

      3. Jarv027 says:

        Maybe because they could test when they wanted, had tailor made tyres oh and Mr Schumacher

    2. Anil says:

      I think it’s clear Luca is also a bit tired of all the artificial elements of F1. He spoke out against double points and he doesn’t like the fuel flow limit which is another artificial element that slows the cars down.

      Hungary was a fantastic race but the fact that they were lapping 8s slower than in 2003 is so infuriating.

      1. aveli says:

        there is nothing wrong with f1 at the moment, why has montezemolo not cried the same cries in the past? he is only crying because his car is so far back and he knows that his reward from fom will be a lot less this year. if montezemolo is as concerned about the future of f1 then he should propose that no team should be given preferential treatment when it comes to distribution of funds. all teams should be given the same amount of money from the fom at the end of every season.

      2. Peter says:

        I don’t care if they’re lapping 30 seconds slower. The racing is good and, for me, that’s enough.

      3. Matías says:

        why is son infuriating to have a car with 4 less cylinders, and a half of the displacement with 80% less consumption, with a LOT less downforce than 2003, and tyres that are nowhere near what those were, ONLY 8 seconds adrift? you should se behind that tree…

    3. Matías says:

      and yet he lead them to 5 in a row not so far ago… and Ferrari sells more and more expensive cars than evere.. do you think his only job is to run the F1 team?

      1. aveli says:

        with an unfair testing and spending advantage.
        f1 is good as it is and doesn’t need any changes to improve it.
        if montezemolo is willing to share the fom money equally with other teams i may listen otherwise he should focus on making his team competitive.

      2. Matias says:

        @aveli having all the know how of cfd, and so one in the UK isn’t also an unfair advantage to ferrari? and besides, with all the track test, still williams, mclaren managed to beat ferrari under those conditions. I agree with you with the distribution of the money, and i don’t like either the veto right from ferrari. i think it’s nosense that the teams have a say in the rules… think about football, for instance. What would happen if Barcelona or Manchester united have a say in the rules? and i tell you what happens when you give more money to the top teams and less to the backmakers: the sport become boring. In spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid get between them more than a half of tv rights, and the other half is unequally distributed to the other teams. What do we have there? the last 10 years or more, only those teams get the championship, and the oters, struggle for money. A good example is the germany league. The difference between the biggest and lesser earners from tv rights it’s only a 10% max. Imagine if sauber, caterham or even force india get that kind of money. Force india would be a good example, given the small budget (small against the likes of Ferrari or RB) they’re punching above their weight. Giving them more money they surely will be able to actually fight for a WCC at least, but now we’re really far from that…

  41. Jonno says:

    With the F1 summer holidays upon us, Bernie should be in court every day. That will speed things up.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Apparently so will a 40m bribe ;)

      1. Random 79 says:

        *cough* I mean settlement payment.

      2. C63 says:

        I am glad to see you corrected yourself there. Paying a fine (to get out of jail time) and paying a bribe are two very different things – at least I think they are, aren’t they … ;-)

  42. Rayzor says:

    How can it be a good idea to have a bunch of (lets be honest) elderly chaps deciding what the young generation of F1 fans are going to want to see. If they understood even slightly what young F1 fans want and what keeps them excited, then we wouldn’t be watching F1′s latest creations sliding around the track sounding like glorified lawnmowers.
    As a young adult and massive F1 fan, I feel I’m in a good position to comment here. In my humble opinion, the constant move throughout the last decade to smaller and smaller power units with less revs and less noise has taken away the almost visceral feel one experienced when watching the sheer savagery on show back in the early to mid 2000′s. Those cars were stunningly loud, violent, better looking, quick, savage…. they had the lot. Those 2004/5 cars in particular I found to be mesmeric.

    Now obviously I understand we cant go back to what we used to have engines wise. But there is no reason why F1 cant slap on the downforce again, get in some extra grippy tyres and watch F1 cars once again become the pinnacle of performance and speed. As for the noise issue, I attended the British GP a few weeks ago and I was simply amazed at how quiet the cars were. It really took away from the experience. What was worse was they had a host of past F1 cars doing a parade lap all weekend including a recent Red Bull car (RB7 I think it was). To be able to compare the noise and savagery first hand like that re-affirmed my stance that F1 needs to look at making these things louder. As a fan watching a race on TV, you could get over the noise issue, but its at the track where it needs to be there. When you attend in person, the noise is what hits you more than the speed.

    On the subject of this “popularity group”, I’d let a bunch of kids decide what they want to see. They’d make a better job of it than the current lot. The individuals making those decisions need to be impartial and not looking for team gains/advantages are Ferrari’s LDM clearly is. Make the cars look better as well, the new Formula E cars are a thing of beau

    We can shout all we want about changes, we can be hit with the “great racing reply” time and time again….. that’s an irrelevant point though. The point is FANS!!! ATTENDANCES!! You need more than great racing. It needs to be visceral, brutal. I want my ears to bleed. I want to be dizzy and amazed at the speed all at the same time. I want the old F1 back. It was never perfect… but numbers don’t lie….. fans liked it better!

    1. James Allen says:

      “Visceral” is a good word for what is missing

      1. Jodum5 says:

        Better yet, why aren’t a few drivers or the GPDA part of the conversation?

    2. Sujith says:

      I would love to see what you have to say in the near future when the last Internal Combustion engine is gonna sit on a museum stand somewhere :P

    3. Sujith says:

      I do agree though on the aerodynamics side. Don’t bring back exhaust blowing. But yeah, the cars should be more aerodynamic and more beautiful. We need faster lap times.

      You can put a bunch of hooligans in crappy cars and have a motor-race. But that’s not Formula 1 – Martin Whitmarsh

    4. Jim :) says:

      To be fair in terms of tv audience the mid 2000s when the cars were at there fastest in terms of lap time, and still with v10 were some of worst moments for audience figures, Schumacher dominance did not help, but assuming having speed and sound will solve every thing, it won’t. We all most need a total rewrite, especially with the money side of the sport.

      1. Rayzor says:

        I accept that the early 2000′s were poor for viewing figures due to the Schumacher dominance. But once that ended, from 2005 thru 2008, audiences were rising steadily with superb championship climaxes…. particularly 2007 and 2008; two of the finest championship season ever in terms of last race drama.
        And ultimately you are right, extra noise and speed won’t solve all the issues, but it sure makes for a decent start.

    5. Matt says:

      A huge +1. I agree entirely with all points made.

    6. Thompson says:

      Sorry Rayzor, but no. Great racing is what will save F1 from this creeping death.

      If more gimmicks are added, provided these guys are willing to put on the show that they have this season utilizing every gimmick available to them, I m good.

      Last race seeing Verne, Rosberg, Vettel & Hamilton running head to toe on a still drying track on those Lap s after the safety car – that’s F1.
      Seeing Alonso & Vettel. tearing down the tarmac inches from each other at over 150mph – that’s F1. I could go on, epic.

      And that from my sofa!

      Regards this sound issue (which imo is stupid) technology does not get louder be it a vacuum cleaner, lawnmower or F1 PU.

      Visceral…… Pah!

      This season is epic and is a perfect advert for F1. …..well If it was on free to air tv, it would be.

      1. Rayzor says:

        You don’t go to races do you? Until you have been to one… you simply can’t understand.

        I’m not trying to be condescending there, but you have to go to a race to know what I mean by “visceral”. You need to feel the thrill of your entire body vibrating as an F1 car flies past to know why I’m saying what I’m saying.

        If its the case that you have been to a race, then we are simply poles apart on these issues. I love the great racing as much as you do, trust me. I loved every minute of Budapest last weekend. But to get fans to attend Friday practice and Qualifying on the Saturday, its the visceral experience of the old F1 cars that made us all want to show up. Cos there aint no racing on the Fridays mate!

        P.S – Let it be known I still watch every single minute of every single session of every single race. I just don’t believe that fans attending the races now are getting the same thrill they used to get. And yet the tickets continue to rise all the while. And they wonder why fans aren’t forking out the hundreds.

      2. Thompson says:

        I hear you Rayzor but honestly the sound issue is a minor distraction. The racing this season makes it pale into insignificance.

        You are correct I have never been to a live race – I believe you get a better show on Tv plus the cost of a ticket stops me too. ( I cannot justify such an extravagant indulgents for myself, I have a family)

        Costs need to seriously be addressed.

        I have been carting indoor & out so appreciate what you are saying ref the noise but tearing around the track or watching others is far more rush inducing than the noise to me.

        It’s the speed – these cars imo are the best looking cars ever (well close behind the 2006/2008 cars with the downforce bits.) At 200mph on track that’s what probably makes them worth paying to see…..

        But visceral, watching the race live (from my sofa) seeing Massa crash into
        Perez at speed due to stupidity or Kimi into the wall at Silverstone it’s still very viscera,l it really is.

        But we are allowed our opinions so…..

  43. VincVincentent McLauchlan says:

    They are all forgetting one major reason why people are not going. It is too expensive especially
    for a family. Bernie should pull back from the massive cost he applies. They should all pull their
    heads out from the sand

  44. Peter W says:

    Wish I had a lazy $40 million spare that I could buy whatever version of justice I wanted! (not that I’m currently in trouble – but you never know!)

    1. MonsterMashie says:

      He should give it to “Caterham F1 Team”… rather than a bank.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Look on the bright side: If you can’t afford the 40m to get you out of trouble then chances are you probably couldn’t afford the 30m that gets you into trouble in the first place ;)

      1. C63 says:

        40m is a quite meaningless sum to a man of BE’s resources. I bet he has spent more on his legal fees over this whole debacle , probably spent more on his daughters wedding.

      2. James Clayton says:

        Funny :D

        Though I, personally, am pretty sure I could get in trouble for a LOT less than 30m

  45. AuraF1 says:

    Montezemelo is like the great race fairy – any weekend he starts screaming about boredom we get a great race! When he’s quiet – relatively dull. Keep shouting Monty – should guarantee us a classic season ;)

    1. Random 79 says:

      Lol and very true :)

  46. Starbug1 says:

    “Ecclestone meanwhile has proposed a settlement deal to the court in Munich”

    Settlement, Bribery, call it what you will, being able to throw cash around to influence outcomes either in the sale of F1 or the outcome of a court case, still amounts to the same thing to me.

    It is clear to see that Bernie has done a great deal for F1, However it might be time to abdicate his current position to someone younger and more in touch with the younger generations.

    1. Random 79 says:

      And less prone to bribing people.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        What’s the difference between bribery and persuasive financial ability?

      2. Random 79 says:

        Semantics?

  47. kenneth chapman says:

    sorry to change topic but i left a query in another thread that missed a comment. i was getting email advice re posts but it has disappeared again? any news on this james.? sorry to hi jack but need an asnwer if possible, thanks.

      1. Random 79 says:

        If it helps I am getting e-mail notifications as soon as someone replies to one of my comments i.e. before it is modded.

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        thanks for that james. maybe during the summer break you could also take time to see if we could get a summary of the current status of the ‘fuel flow meters’ which caused so much pain in the first few races. would love to know what the final outcome was.

        keep up the good work. your site has been a beacon of information and informed comment to us all.

  48. Heinzman says:

    How to fix F1: The Utopian solution

    1. Divest the drivers from teams
    All drivers are contracted to the FIA, and paid according to their World Championship status. The drivers drive twice for each team each year according to a random fixture composed at the beginning of each year. The driver with the most points wins, and the constructor with the most points wins.

    2. Points for pole; points for fastest lap
    Two points for Pole Position, and one point for the fastest lap at each Grand Prix venue.

    3. Refuelling and Rubber
    Bring back refuelling to allow the strategy to be opened up. Cars should be able to run whatever fuel they like from Parc Ferme. Alllow cars to run whatever of the available compounds from their allocation according to their desire.

  49. woodframer says:

    The two old men pictured at the head of the article are problem, old and out of touch with reality, too long wealthy to identify with the common guy, the fans. They would have bowed out long ago if they actually got it.

    1. Richard Mee says:

      …I’d add to their shortcomings that they feel between them they are the ‘patrons’ of the sport and the only men who understand what is best for it…

  50. Chris says:

    I have trouble with the notion of putting on the show. It’s not a show it is a highly competitive race, conducted within tight rules and millions riding on the result. So it’s either the venue, the rules or the millions involved that aren’t working if someone thinks F1 is not working. I like dominance, at least you can see what teams can do. I definitely don’t want to see NASCAR type racing where it is so restrictive that it is amazing all the cars can fit on the same piece of the track. That’s not competition that is an orgestrated show. Reintroduce prize money and don’t give appearance money to RED BULL and Ferrari if you want to do something drastic. People will flock to the track because we will know the teams are ‘fair dinkum’.

  51. Nick4 says:

    LDM was behind Lauda’s and Schumacher’s championships and deserves his place in F1. The bias toward him vis a vis “FIA” is very unreasonable. His batting for Ferrari is no different to DM, HM or CH batting for RB or any other team boss.

    As to reducing someone’s role in F1 it should be that of BE. But that is clearly easier said than done. I am reminded of Jean Marie Balestre in his dying days as the FIA president. He tried to rule the sport as a dictator. Thanks to BE’S insistence we have the double points system, which has not found favour.

    As to the way forward for F1, speaking to a youngster who races himself here in Aus, he liked the sound of CH’s idea that F1 drivers should be “heroes”. This fits the golden eras in the early days of F1 and up into the 80s. He felt as well F1 was too complex and rule driven. I couldn’t agree more. CH is a much younger man than two aforementioned men and has a good handle of the sport.. For all of the resistance to Flav having a role to play, he has some good ideas too.

    F1 has become so contrived with tyre rules that require frequent changes of tyres that don’t last and the use of DRS to increase the spectacle. This is so artificial. Rather have tyres that can last a whole race and let the drivers do the rest with more mechanical grip and less aerodynamic down-force. Frequent changes of tyres have no resemblance to everyday motoring and isn’t consistent with the durability expected of the engines and gearboxes the benefits of which are filtered down into mass produced cars.

    Even though some of the recent races have produced some good racing between drivers using the contrived rules, the essence of it is that driver with the newest tyres will usually end up ahead of the drivers with the oldest tyres. Without taking away Ricciardo’s great drive to victory in Hungary, Alonso with the older tyres was in no position to stop Ricciardo taking the eventual victory. This is a pattern that has been repeated frequently.

    Allow the drivers to race more and place as little in their way as possible to disrupt any gain they may have gained in the process; their mistakes notwithstanding. Pit stops should only be made to replace a damaged tyre, change to wet/intermediate tyres or attend to car problems. Pitstops in the current format can destroy a driver’s advantage if the team mess up the tyre change or there is an unsafe release.

    Clearly the noise aspect is here with us to stay, which does diminish the spectacle. However, cannot F1 be made more accessible and perhaps the younger generations will become infused? Here in Aus we have access to every GP albeit with advertising breaks. Additionally, even if the average spectator was not allowed physical access to the paddock, there is a concerted effort to afford us electronic access with paddock walks and chat shows with team bosses/designers and drivers streamed onto our TV viewing.

    1. aveli says:

      i don’t understand your old tyres new tyres idea. do the drivers not start the race with the same opportunities to have old tyres or new tyres at any stage of the race?

      1. Nick4 says:

        Drivers would start with only one set of new tyres for the whole race unless the conditions change when it rains or they need to change because of a puncture. The drivers therefore manage their own strategy. This is how F1 used to be and it worked perfectly well. Tyre changes were introduced to spice up the spectacle. This in MHO is to the disadvantage of the driver as a mismanaged pitstop will destroy any hard won advantage he had.

        I think the essence of it is “interfere less and the driving spectacle proportionately increases”. Already the “let the drivers race” approach from the stewards has produced positive results.

    2. aveli says:

      i understand what you mean about the tyres nick4 but if you think about it, whether they change tyres or not don’t change tyres, all the drivers and teams are under the same conditions. no one has an unfair advantage, they all have an equal change to plan their tyre strategy. that another variable to think about. it would be extremely boring if there were no pit stops. the fastest driver will always start on pole and drive away to the flag, remove any element of surprise or suspense. part of the skill set of race drivers is driving through traffic cleanly and preventing other from passing you, which most people rand more exciting than driving fast.

  52. Aficion says:

    To be honest, my knee-jerk reaction is always to oppose whatever LdiM has to say, lol! BUT, the third proposition listed could be really interesting. If they could figure out a way of implementing test sessions that engage the public, charge nominal entrance fees, and distribute some of it back to the financially-strapped teams to offset the cost, they’d be killing a few birds with one stone. I know there’s a lot of roadblocks to the idea, but I’d say it’s worth looking into. Not sure how they’d squeeze more events into an already-packed calendar though….

  53. Dmitry says:

    When I first heard about Briatore being involved I thought it was a joke. Really. In my opinion he must be kept away from F1 as far as possible, whatever he does in the future – nothing will make me believe him or his honesty.
    He did something, which can’t be just forgotten or forgiven.

    Regarding this “popularity” group – on one of websites there was a nice point of view for this – what can this group do, when they all have been in the sport for a long time, and actually it was they who brought the sport to this point?
    Personally I think F1 action is good enough, what should be done – is the reach of F1 to new audiences. And the only possible way today – Internet. When TATA became F1 partner I was really hoping they will bring such an opportunity… but as time passed – nothing changed.
    When Bernie and Co. understands this and opens up Internet access to everyone (even if it will be for a price… but free options must also exist), there will be progress.

  54. Random 79 says:

    You know something’s gone pear shaped when the popularity working group itself doesn’t seem to be very popular.

  55. Phil S says:

    Has the proof reader gone on holiday? Lots of glaring errors!

  56. Steve Rogers says:

    Why blame F1 for Hockenheim’s empty seats, when Silverstone and Budapest were jam-packed? It’s Hockenheim’s problem.

  57. Paul Mc says:

    Reduce the ticket prices for a start. Maybe this might encourage more people to attend races.

  58. Sergios says:

    This is reaching a dangerous point

    You can move people to give their opinions, but that must be limited on time.

    Immediate reactions and taking control of the situation must follow the point where people start understanding how unreachable some aspects are..

    At that point frustration appears, and that’s a count down.

  59. Brent says:

    Formula One would do itself a lot of good by being truthful with itself. The reality is that there is no reason why Red Bull and Ferrari should be paid anything, let alone $150,00,000, just for showing up. The $100,000,000 Ferrari get is obviously a complete waste of money; look at there year after year performance. The other big stumbling block is the belief that no one can do what Ecclestone does. What a crock! Countries are lining up for races and Ecclestone does nothing to market or advance the sport. There are thousands people on this planet qualified and capable of running F1 and doing a hell of a lot better job, for everyone involved.

    The cheapest, easiest and fastest way to improve racing is to balance the spending. What would the standings look like if the big teams had to work with Force India’s budget. How much better, in terms of dollars in to performance out, is Force India then Ferrari. According to Dennis, McLaren will spend more this year than any year before and look how poor a car they have produced. Let’s see who truly is the best F1 team.

    Innovation would increase with budget restriction. You have to use the resources more wisely when there are less. I’m, personally against any in season testing and believe the engine freeze is the right choice.

  60. JohnBt says:

    Bernie should rope in his fellow countryman Mr. Rowan Atkinson for some fresh ideas since F1 is beginning to be a joke.

    TV audiences are dropping simply because of the high fees from SKY? Track fans are dropping because of the daylight robbery ticket prices?

    Bernie has set an example that corruption is legitimate, way to go in life. And he’s been ruling for way too long. As though he really cares for the sport. No wonder he’s still not Sir Bernie at 84, I wonder why?

    Luca de Monty, as long as Ferrari does not win, everything is wrong. So called powerful people can be very irritating 95% of the time. Nothing new. Alonso should sneak into Rosberg’s car for the next race.

    Lucky that the last few races been really good, so it’s not broken, leave it alone. I still hate the sound but have no choice and am resigned to it. Can live with the fuel saving and tyres are alright.

  61. patrick takashi says:

    Formula One & Sony are a perfect marriage of two high technology giants.

    Imagine watching a grand prix with your 3dimensional ‘project morpheus’ headset, and in the future you will be able to compete in a live race with virtual reality via your playstation games console.

    Your Sony mobile device, be it smartphone, tablet, playstation, etc can be embedded with the best Formula One apps and other emerging technologies and digital media.

    Sony are also into mainstream movies producing blockbusters such as Spiderman and Skyfall, we all remember the popularity of Senna.

    This are embryonic ideas yet think of the potential of this partnership with Formula One…

  62. Harvey says:

    Interesting that Flavio is considered undesireable but Ron Dennis is not. I don’t know anything about your tax system in the UK, but it seems to me that if Bernie offered a $40 million settlement over a bribe that he admits to paying because Grib was going to out him to the UK tax authorities, someone in the UK should be investigating. I agree with Lauda that the drivers need to be allowed to drive, unfortunately they’re now driving on some less-than-challenging circuits in far away places that most fans will never be able to visit. Bernie is fully responsible for that (and he wants to say goodbye to Monza too?), but I blame the FIA and whoever else is responsible for scheduling these races. You want to control costs? Why are you flying away to Oz and Sepang, then Bahrain and back to China? Why do you come to Canada in June from Monaco, fly back to Europe and come back to the Americas is October/November? Bernie should hire a travel agent!

    1. Rich C says:

      Knowing Bernie, I am sure there is a hidden clause which requires everyone to use *his travel agency.

  63. Sebee says:

    Now I’m convinced 2014 is the breaking point for Lotus. I’m putting $1 on the fact that we won’t see Lotus on the grid in 2015. 185M euros burned at the feet of F1 for our pleasure. Thank you Lotus F1. I only hope that you somehow managed to skim a good chunk of that for yourselves via creative accounting for the efforts. I’m being perfectly seriuos. You deserve it. You brought us some excitement, Kimi back, etc. Fun times those were. Then F1 decided to be green and it was the begining of the end for you. It was fun while it lasted. Check it off your bucket list. I was wrong to doubt you, and in many ways you have done in modern F1 what privateers have been doing back in the day. Bet it all, the house, the car, the watch…all of it on weekend at the F1 track.

    >
    Accounts just filed with the commercial register for 2012 show an annual loss of almost EUR 53 million, with company equity listed as minus EUR 128 million.

    The report said that just one year ago, the loss was only 55 million, while total debt is now shown at a whopping EUR 185 million.

    Tageblatt also claims that although company filings are due no later than seven months after the end of the financial year, Genii only filed the accounts for 2011 and 2012 in mid-July of this year.

    The accounts for 2013 have not yet been filed.

    1. Sebee says:

      So beside Lotus, and Sauber, and Caterham, Force India Mallya on bail and looks like Sahara is drying out with Roy in jail. Has Force India been built on a foundation of sand that’s quickly crumpling away? I love that quote out of Wall Street. “The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.” That quote perhaps is the truest things I’ve heard said in a movie. That and Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights declaring: “98 percent of us will die at some point in our lives.” Truths undeniable.

      Fight all you want, 3 team cars, here we come! Place your bets. I’m going to be bold and say 2015.

      1. YouWho says:

        Yes, could also be the reason for “popularity group meeting”.. Woops I let that one out of the bag..

  64. SuperSi says:

    I don’t understand why Flav got the life time ban. I think we have seen worse from other people in the sport over the years and they got off with a slap on the wrist. I just think it was slightly rushed to get him out of the sport. Normally it takes months for court hearings, and it seemed to be decided all of a sudden. I know you shouldn’t stage crashes, but in all honesty would you “Jump off a cliff” if someone told you to, which is precisely what Piquet Jr. did.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Piquet Jr. has to take some of the blame, but I’d like to know what you have seen that could be worse than a team principal deliberately organising a crash during a race?

  65. Lohani says:

    Back here in South Asia, we’re getting FP1, 2 and 3 live in addition to qualifying and race coverage live through Star Sports. But, it’s all Sky coverage. That’s the downside. Why? Some impartiality, please. I liked the old days when we only got qualifying and race live, but with the very passionate and completely “impartial” Steve Slater as commentator. He would ask the co-commentator (Steve Goodwin in the early days “again impartial”) for a moment of silence, so that the car sound on onboard camera could be heard loud for a few seconds. He did that every now and then. The guy knew a great deal about F1, was very passionate about cars, racing and F1, and brilliant in commentary. He was called the F1 voice of Asia and rightly so.

    When two commentators get excited like teenage girls when Lewis’ engineer says “hammer time”, you know the current Sky F1 is not a “global” coverage. Star Sports, bring back Steve Slater!

    1. Lohani says:

      Correction: Chris Goodwin (I think).

  66. Paige says:

    On the popularity of F1, I have a sort of alternative take.

    First of all, as a fan of all motorsports, not just F1, I have to say that what F1 is facing is not a “F1 popularity” problem, it is a Motorsports popularity problem. The same conversation that is going on in F1 about popularity is going on in every single major racing series in the world. Sportscars, NASCAR, V8 Supercars, IndyCar, Rally… all of them. Motorsports popularity is a pre-requisitve to F1 popularity, if we consider F1 to be the highest form of motorsport in the world. Maybe F1 has been late in seeing the effects of Motorsports declining in popularity, but every other series and category has been facing this for years.

    And I have very bad news for everyone. This decline in motorsports popularity is a permanent thing.

    Motorsports were in their golden age of popularity back in the 1950s and 1960s. Why? In relatively conservative Western societies, it was subversive. It was ballsy guys driving the most amazing machines (for the time) at speeds we all wish we could drive on the highway, with a 25% chance they could die in any given race. (Or higher.) These guys really were who we all wanted to be, and the cars were the ones we all wanted to drive. And everything we associated with speed and flash at that time, we associated with motorsports.

    Times have changed. Young kids these have their appetite for speed-based entertainment fulfilled with countless instant gratification possibilities. (The internet being one of them.) And the value of motorsports in terms of presenting the possibilities of fast, flashy cars is gone. Nowadays, ever Hollywood star has 10 Ferraris that they show off to the world. Fast cars aren’t things that “wow” us anymore when driven by the most daring among us; they are material symbols.

    And the drivers have changed in character, too. The drivers used to be real guys, real characters, even though they are so far divorced from us in how they live their lives. You had the days of the gentlemen wiith Clark, Hill, Moss, Stewart, etc.. Then the days of the hellraiser party guys (Hunt) and the “He’s so much of a cold and arrogant prick, I want to punch him” guys (Lauda). Then there were the guys who were great case studies in the vagueries of human psychology. (Senna) The last driver with a character that people followed was Schumacher- the guy from a German working class family who’s mega talent was matched only by his Protestant work ethic, a guy who his countrymen adulated and who inspired as much love as he did hate for the consequences that his indominable will left his opponents with.

    Who are we left with as their replacements?

    Nico Rosberg. The guy with quite possibly the most beautiful head of hair that has ever existed on a man, who grew up in Monaco, who looks like a possible candidate for regular visitor to a tanning salon, who clearly possesses the kind of entitled rich kid arrogance as to be completely oblivious to any real value of the world outside of his own slice of it. Seriously, regardless of his ability as a racing driver (which is immense and elite), he has to be the one guy in Formula One who you look at and say, “I can’t decide if I want nothing to do with this guy or if I want to rip off his pretty little hair and punch him in the nose with it.”

    And while not as polished, more than half of the remaining grid is just as much of a detached figure from the idea of human inspiration as he is.

    And there are Nico Rosberg’s (less polished, less Monaco, again) in racing series’ all over the world. NASCAR, which we think of as a place were guys in Alabama go to shoot each other with rifles, has been full of corporate mouthpiece drones for at least a decade. They’ve tried every gimmick in the book to bring back the surge in popularity of the late 90s (much worse than the Double Points fiasco), and they have all failed miserably. And a lot of it has to do with the fact that the fans couldn’t give a hoot about the drivers on the track.

    To some degree, we have to accept that motorsports in general just aren’t as popular as they used to be. And that popularity most likely isn’t coming back. The only way it will come back is if the on-track activity- the cars, the guys driving them, etc.- are interesting. And that’s the debate that we need to be having.

    Oh, and ticket prices are way too high.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Some good points in there.

      Part of the problem though is even if they can’t attract new fans for the reasons you say, what’s worse is that they seem to be pushing away the fans they already have.

      I call that a no-win scenario.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        I think brainless is the best adjective to describe the situation……..

    2. warley says:

      Interesting thesis, though it is a little unfair to apportion blame on Nico Rosberg’s hair stylist !

  67. Rich C says:

    Really?

    They’re going down like the Titanic and some anonymous ppl have “doubts” about the one guy in the “group” with some pizzaz, some imagination?

    Typical.

  68. Random 79 says:

    Nice banner image James :)

  69. Peter says:

    One thing I haven’t seen in this thread yet. With all the talk of pet-per-view harming the sport (in thew UK at any rate) apart from having to pay there is a quality issue as well. I don’t (and won’t!) pay for the Sky coverage simply because a years subscription is not far at all off what it costs me to go camping to the British GP each year. And the visit is more fun!

    But, this year, we got a free 24 hour Sky pass with a TV box so I used it to watch the Australian GP live. What a shambles! I thought the coverage was awful. I know the pictures are the same however you watch it but I honestly thought the Sky coverage was like a bunch of amateurs. Even Martin Brundle seemed to have lost his spark and, horror, they pinched Gary Anderson who used to do those excellent technical bits for the BBC and all he did was a couple of short, awkward driver interviews. Total waste of his talents.

    So, quite apart from the cost, I’m far happier watching the still excellent BBC coverage whether it be live or highlights, qualifying or the race. All I have to do is make sure I don’t hear the results in advance and it’s still the best way to watch. Short of going there!

    One last point, following on from that, I’ve been to every European GP (some more than once) and once to the US (Indianapolis it was then) but all the new ones? I’m never going to go to them. Too far, too hot and largely too dull.

    1. Peter says:

      Um, a few typos there I’m afraid :)

      1. Random 79 says:

        Pet-per-view…how much viewing time will one slightly mangy cat get me? ;)

      2. Thompson says:

        How…. er…..mangy is the cat, as it got its own teeth?

      3. Peter says:

        OK, OK, sorry about the “pet” bit! :)

        Let that be a lesson us all, don’t drink beer and comment at the same time!

  70. Methusalem says:

    According to the German daily, ‘SZ’, Mr. Ecclestone has proposed a 100 Million Dollar settlement deal to the court in Munich. What’s going on?

    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/schmiergeld-prozess-gegen-formel-chef-ecclestone-bietet-gericht-millionen-dollar-1.2073485

    1. aveli says:

      I’d do the same if it was possible after all he can make a hell of a lot more money than that with his freedom for the same length of time he would have otherwise been locked up.

  71. Craig says:

    The main problem as I see it is that the promoter never does any actual promoting of the sport. All he does is fly around taking it to places that don’t care but will pay the highest fees and put the sport behind paywalls in all the countries that are traditional core f1 markets, thereby putting it it of reach of most of the fans that actually want to watch it. This so called promoter also does nothing but bad mouth the sport focusing on noise or other stupid issues, I have never once heard an official speak about how the new engines are delivering almost identical power for 35% less fuel which is quite frankly amazing. It’s put F1 back at the cutting edge of engine technology instead of dinosaur engines which although fun and loud have no future relevance.

    This promoter does most of the damage to the sport himself and the sooner he is gone the better, viewers have more choice then ever today and F1 needs someone who will entice the viewers in and make them feel valued and happy to have parted with their money, rather then having viewers who feel obligated to spend with very little return and made to feel as if they don’t matter and very much taken for granted.

    The final problem is that the drivers are far too bland. This is not the drivers fault and I’m sure many of them have fantastic personalities but they are neutered by the team PR corporate BS machine. Earlier this season a little controversy between Lewis and Nico was immediately quashed by the team and we got some still all still friends line when it’s quite obvious they aren’t really by the fact that they can’t even look at each other on the podium. Also Sergio Perez made a random throwaway joke earlier this season and was immediately set upon by the PC brigade and now will probably never make another joke for fear he’ll offend someone. Personal drama, rivalries and vendettas are far more likely to get people hooked then pure engineering perfection. Everyone talks about Senna and Prost but no one really talks about the cars and whatever the technical masterpiece of the day was that took their cars to the top.

    Anyway rant over if anyone read this then thank you.

  72. aveli says:

    john watson is another one who wants to be in charge of hamilton. he wrote a crazy article in the daily mail but I don’t understand why he hasn’t written an article about his preferred drivers. instead he writes about hamilton. I wonder if he realises that out of all the current drivers hamilton is the only driver who gives him the chance to earn and yet he behaves they way he does towards hamilton. what a shame.

    1. j says:

      This is very true. Of the current crop of drivers Hamilton is the only driver that is half way interesting and is the main reason that F1 sites still get the traffic and advertising dollars that they do.

      Look at the rest of the list, with Bottas as the only possible exception all the other young drivers are about as interesting as cardboard (Ericsson, Bianchi, Kvyat, Vergne, Magnussen). The pay drivers irrelevant and the mid-field drivers get interviewed so rarely they only have canned answers to offer (Gutierrez, Maldonado, Sutil, Grosjean, Perez, Hulkenberg). The whiners tattling to the FIA about every little bump wouldn’t have lasted 3 laps in the ’60s (Massa, Vettel, Button). Raikkonen was fun when he wasn’t getting paid by Lotus but now that’s over. Ricciardo is just happy to be here apparently.

      That leaves Rosberg, Alonso and Hamilton to give all the interesting interviews and to create all the future rabid fans of the sport…

      1. aveli says:

        you’re spot on. i have been searching the internet for 3 weeks now and I am yet to find anything written about any f1 driver or sports personality being immature. it looks like hamilton is the only driver in the history of the sport to be described as immature. and yet we have witnessed numerous sports personalities expressing displeasure in losing. i winter where journalist get their motivation from to describe hamilton as immature.

  73. The best thing F1 could do to make itself more popular is to stream races online and have a catch up On Demand service. They could basically charghe what they like.

    In addition, I personally would pay handomsly to have access to an archive of all old races. If we could go to F1.com and pay-per-race it would engage so many new viewers. Instead to find out what has happened in the past all we have are sub par BBC highlight reels.

  74. kenneth chapman says:

    F1 as a ‘sport’ has been in an insidious decline for many years now and with the latest transition to new technology it seems to have accelerated. there are many issues that need addressing and it should not be too hard to plan for some improvements given the nature of where those problems lie.

    the planning should isolate the problem areas by category then solutions will become clearer.

    1 the economic reasoning should fundamentally start with customer affordability. it is most obvious that the ‘average’ fan simply cannot afford the high ticket prices. why? well for a start the circuit owners are denied income from of all ancilliary revenue generators so they are forced to meet the extreme staging costs from ticket sales. to overcome this the promoter, BE/FOM would have to moderate their charges to the circuits. circuit owners have leverage and they should use it. the promoter should then look to other avenues for revenue to maintain the status quo. live streaming for a moderate charge would be welcomed universally one should think. a new income stream that could well become significant if handled properly.

    2 the reintroduction of FTA television is one of the main reasons for a decline in audiences/overall interest and one of the first things that should be done is rectify this anomaly. it seems as though this is a major stumbling block in introducing younger audiences to the spectacle of F1 racing. i doubt if their is any bigger problem than this. in saying this it must also be recognised that the on air spectacle has to be simply that, a spectacle. technology today can improve the visual feast ten fold by improvising on the ‘field of view.’

    3 promotion of GP events needs to be vastly improved. i am totally amazed at the lack of promotion that occurs for events other than each ‘home’ GP. once that event is over then there is absolutely no promotion of the next event. surely teaser promos for the next event, wherever that is, should be provided to maintain the connection and following by others than the hard core fans.

    what i have written here is simply an intro into the ‘perceived’ problems and there is so much more that needs to be scrutineered like teams, sights and sounds plus technology and other areas of lesser importance but still germane to the idea of ‘improvement’. hopefully the people looking into this will be fully aware of what needs to be done and make changes otherwise it will be a loss that cannot be reversed.

  75. Sujith says:

    A polite question James, Do you have a post coming up about Luca Marmorini and Ferrari parting ways?

  76. Spartaco says:

    I’m impressed that Bernie or Luca would turn up to a meeting in a Capri – It was one of the all time classics from the Blue Oval after all – good choice boys.

  77. luqa says:

    Life time ban by the FIA for Flavio B? Whatever happened to it? Talk about loosing more credibility by including him on a panel to “spice up F1″.

    Any credible panel associated with Motor Sport cannot include Flavio. Any fellow panel member, no matter who will suffer in their professional reputation being on the same panel.

    Now if Bernie, Christian, Toto and Luca want to discuss the future of marketing tidily winks, by all means feel free to include Flavio, but NOT Motor Sport!

    As for the free F1on TV issue.. Here in Canada I have to subscribe to TSN to view commercial packed F1, but only qualifying and the race- nothing more, the bare minimum. I really don’t care for the other junk on TSN. So instead I’d be more than happy for a PPV option for say $5/ a weekend to include practice, qualifying, and the race commercial free, similar to certain other special sporting events. But I can’t see that happening because TSN would loose a bunch of subscriptions..

  78. aveli says:

    the more i think of hamilton’s engine failures, the more it dawns on me that they were done deliberately by one of the fitters. out of all the mercedes engines, 8, only hamilton’s failed twice and the components which failed are due to failures which could be done by a fitter. none of the metal components failed. out of all the brake discs fitted only hamilton’s brake disc failed.
    i strongly recomend mercedes to remove the fitter who was responsible for all those failures to avoid future repeats.

  79. GT-Racer says:

    Just wanted to make a point about declining TV figures.

    In regions such as the UK where the TV model has changed recently you can put the blame on the move to PayTV.
    However the region which has been the biggest decline in TV ratings over the past few seasons has been Germany, A region where the TV model is the same as its been since 1996 & where every race is shown live on FreeTV (RTL).

    The German TV model since 1996 has been every qualifying session & every race live on the Free broadcaster RTL but there is also a PayTV option via what is now Sky Deutschland (Used to be Premiere World) which shows every session live, Ad-Free & with interactive options.

    I’d also like to remind people in the UK that the move to PayTV was initiated by the BBC rather than Bernie/FOM. It was the BBC who underestimated the cost of covering F1 (By that I mean the cost of transporting crew/equipment & running the sort of features & extras that they were doing) & it was the BBC who went to Sky with the shared deal that is currently in place between Sky/BBC.
    At the time Sky were not actually actively going after F1 coverage, They had looked at it in the past but had never actually made a serious move towards getting the coverage as far as I’m aware.

    With the BBC looking to get out there wasn’t another ‘realistic’ FreeTV option.
    ITV lets not forget had dropped there coverage Mid-contract due to internal budget cuts.
    Channel 4 simply don’t have the budget to do F1 justice, Yes they put together a nice proposal but there’s no way they would have ever been able to get the budget together to do half of what they proposed.
    And Channel 5 didn’t show any interest & again simply don’t have the budget to do F1 justice.

    1. GT-Racer says:

      Its looking forward to the end of the current BBC/Sky deal that is actually of more concern.

      As I understand it Sky have been happy with how things have gone & how there F1 channel has helped increase subscriber count. The recent deal thats seen BskyB buy there German/Italian counterparts (Both also which carry F1) & the likely merging of resources for there F1 broadcast’s will also likely see Sky keen to retain F1 coverage beyond the current deal.
      I can see them been willing to continue some sort of shared deal with the BBC, But more likely looking at full live exclusivity (But allowing BBC or whoever to get highlights).

      However I can also see BT been willing to throw a lot of money at getting the F1 coverage away from Sky & if they do they will almost certainly go for full exclusivity & be far less willing to share there coverage with a FreeTV broadcaster given how BT’s Sport channels are available on more platforms.

      I can’t really see the BBC keeping the coverage, Don’t really see ITV going after it & likewise with C4/C5 given there respective budgets. And I can’t off the top of my head think of any other freely available broadcaster been able to even think about going after it.

  80. Ace says:

    Whoever is not watching F1 is missing one hell of a show. I always said before this season that 2012 was the best season I’ve seen. This season looks to change that notion.

  81. j says:

    F1 is an old enough sport now that on race day it should be turning towards tradition and rolling the rules back so that we can compare the accomplishments of the young future drivers with the heros of the past. I understand that over the years the rules were often changed from year to year but now that the sport has matured it is time to lock things down for the long haul.

    Lock down the number of races to a stable number and either reset the points scoring system back to the 10-6-4-3-2-1 OR let’s start evaluating drivers by % of wins to races finished, and % pole positions vs attempts, and % points earned vs points available that season. It is ridiculous and false to compare number of poles during the modern era of 20 laps per season with drivers from eras where there were only 6 championship races.

    We have turbos and push to pass engine maps, eliminate DRS and all the other false rules, reset blocking rules to those of the ’80s. Let them use whatever tires they want but continue to limit the number. Let them use whatever engine they want but continue to limit the fuel. Do not limit the battery capacity, revs, angle, number of cylinders, displacement. Do not limit development.

    Make the rear wings half the height and front wings half the width and let them get on with it. Let’s see some different shapes from team to team for a change.

    Now with a more traditional sport how do we appeal to kids, the new fan or casual fans? Leave the racing alone and go crazy with FP1, 2 & 3. You get these practice days free if you buy a grandstand seat but it’s hardly worth it. FP1 and 3 are too early although they never start on time and the big teams just sit in the pits. Outlaw practice starts in the pitlane and start each practice with it’s own standing start and another start at the midway point. Any team that wants to get their clutch bite point right will be out there on the dot ready to go and the fans will get to see a couple starts close up at the tracks where you are allowed to wander.

    All tracks should open up the pits on Thursday for a free open house day and all fans should be able to walk the track on Thursday and on Sunday after the race. They do it in Montreal and it’s a big success. Put timing interval screens up around the track so you can monitor progress during a practice or during a qualifying lap. Flash the screens green on a personal best interval and purple on a fastest interval. Tracks that want to could have a night practice for FP2. Tracks that have the equipment could wet the track down for the second half of one practice.

    I say leave the race alone, or better yet remove what rules you can, but feel free to add as many gimmicks as you want to the practice sessions. It won’t bother the die hard fans much and it will give the first time fans a lot more to see and do when they come out on a Friday or Saturday.

  82. Michael Prestia says:

    Have you ever PVR’ed a sporting event, found out who won and then tried to watch the match… there is very little excitement in it.

    Here is why F1 has become boring for me… Predictability.

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