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Monaco F1 forum shaping up
Monaco F1 forum shaping up
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Nov 2009   |  6:25 pm GMT  |  32 comments

In a couple of weeks from now I will be in Monaco, for the annual Motor Sports Business Forum. Last year I was a speaker, this year I’m going one better and I’m chairing the conference.

It’s a busy week for international motorsport and there are many events going on; the World Motor Sport Council meets on Friday morning for the first time with Jean Todt as president.

There is a circuit holders’ meetings and other meetings, all culminating in the FIA Presentation Gala on Friday night, at which Jenson Button will collect his World Champion’s trophy and Ross Brawn will collect the coveted Constructors’ Championship trophy for the Brawn team.

That will be a little piece of history, the Brawn logo will appear on the trophy, the team which only existed for one season. I wonder what the atmosphere will be like between Ross and Jenson now that the champion has defected?

Anyway, back to the Forum, which runs on 9/10 December in the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. The organisers have lined up some very good people to speak this year. Alex Tai, the new team principal of Virgin-backed Manor will be there, so we will find out a lot more about their structure and their plans. He is appearing in a panel on the finances of motorsport. Nick Fry the CEO of Brawn, now Mercedes F1 team will be interesting on the latest developments this week and on the bigger picture of improving the F1 show. From Cosworth we have Mark Gallagher, the boss of the F1 operation.

We will hear from Talal al Zain, who runs Mumtalakat, the Bahrain investment company which owns a 30% stake in McLaren at what is a very interesting time for their partnership.

There are many of the main players from the world of F1 sponsorship speaking at the event, including Dermot Boden from LG, Richard Bracewell from Shell, Gary Carey from Diageo (Johnnie Walker) and Robin Fenwick (Hilton)

On Day 1 there is a World Rally Championship section, with Neil Duncanson, the “Bernie of Rallying”, Simon Long from ISC, which manages the commercial and TV rights, John Nolan, head of digital, who will speak on how the WRC gains massively from social networking. It is an exciting time for them with new manufacturers and star drivers coming in like Kimi Raikkonen. After that the circuit owners will have a session, with Sepang and Nurburgring among the circuits represented.

Day 2 opens with a discussion on improving the show, with Fry along with representatives of Singapore GP, the F1 Rocks programme and others then it’s into a discussion on the business of motor sport with representatives from World Superbikes, Porsche Cup, Moto GP and finally a media-based discussion on a subject close to my heart; delivering F1 news to a mass market, with some of the leading F1 journalists and broadcasters of the modern age, including’s Jon Noble, Reuters’ Alan Baldwin and the redoubtable Joe Saward.

For more information and to register for this event go to

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Hi James,

Two questions, firstly how useful do you think attending the conference would be useful for someone looking to gain a full time job in motor sport (I already work on several events)?

Secondly, is the event always held in Monaco? As it isn’t the cheapest place in the world to visit!

Thanks for your great coverage throughout the season and I hope to see you at the British Grand Prix next year (if there is one!)


Could be, although you’d have to buy a delegate ticket. It is always held in Monaco, yes


Congratulations James! The forum looks really interesting. I’m sure the WRC social media thing is going to be incredibly relevant to your website.

Having attended to the fantastic Singapore GP, I’d also love to see these guys. The race on TV might have been pretty unexciting but real thing was brilliantly organised (better than Melbourne and Fuji for sure).

Will the event be vidoed/youtubed? I’d love to see what the speakers have to say from sunny Australia.


Not as far as I know, but I will be doing some stuff from there


Good luck there.

Will you ask anyone about what plans are there, if any, to make overtaking less difficult again?


“the FIA Presentation Gala on Friday night, at which Jenson Button will collect his World Champion’s trophy and Ross Brawn will collect the coveted Constructors’ Championship trophy for the Brawn team.”

I’m guessing that’s going to be a little awkward now


Something that can be brought up re the TV coverage: for the last two years, and other times, we’ve had the world champion crowned at a race, yet he’s not been on the podium. Could there perhaps be a presentation on the podium at any race where the champion is crowned?

Alternatively, a top three championship podium ceremony at the last GP of the year.

I think it’s a bit silly to have these presentations happening behind closed doors.


Hi James,

I am sure you will use this forum to reflect fans’ view you colleted on a better F1, right?

Have a good time.




Sounds like fun… Can you take me along?? 😉


James, I take it we’re all invited as your personal guests?



In your capacity as Chairman of such a prestigious event (well done and good luck with that), please could you bring up / find out what plans there are for High Def F1 coverage?

Over here in Canada we get Nascar in HD and it looks stunning (although the product is rather dull).

There was a lot of talk also by FOTA (around the time of the breakaway) of improving the TV show and it would be interesting to know if those plans will come about.


Yes the HD thing is on the agenda


WOuld be great to read some posts from you whilst you are at the conference james -if you have time that is.


Will do


Try to avoid reminding Nick Fry of the earthdreams Jenson love-in era !


Congratulations on being given the job of chairman. I assume the forum is only for people who work in the industry, otherwise I’d be seriously tempted to fork out for it, the line up looks fascinating.

Hope you get better weather in Monaco than here!


Chris S:

Simon Berger here from the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco – you are welcome to come as a delegate; just fill in the Delegate Contract at

and fax it to my office. See you at the Forum.


Good luck James!

Would like to hear your thoughts on Jean Todt as the President of FIA.

Waiting for your analysis of what to expect from him in the coming season and how much of an impact he will have.




He has some good ideas such as F1 commissioner. We should let him do the job and judge him on that


James, have there been any noises yet on when we might find out who is going to get the Commissioner role?

I know a lot of people are afraid he’ll give it to Max Mosley, but personally I don’t see Jean Todt as being that stupid to alienate the F1 community but putting Max in that position.


No that’s very quiet. Todt is taking the time to make sure he gets the right guy


Well done James. This year has been a perfect bounce back from the TV disappointment: you’ve consolidated your operation magnificently and the faithful are with you. Have a great time in Monaco and bring us back the real inside line.




Hi James,

Someone mentioned this the other day, but I too am having problems sending emails to the editorial address for the site (

I simply get a mail delivery failure message pinged back at me.

Good luck chairing the forum!


Hi James

i was just wondering. Whats it like not to need sleep? You always seem to be busy!

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

James, sorry to place this question here, but a question for you on 2010 tyres.

Presumably, Bridgestone will be introducing harder compounds to cope with heavier fuel loads. Could you please clarify the following for us:

1) How many tyre options will they be allowed to bring to races

2) Will they be allowed to develop new compounds throughout the season?

3) How will any development program be driven? Is there any team with more influence over them?

Just thinking ahead to how car/tyre development will play out in 2010. Many thanks.

Paige Michael-Shetley

Try not to overdo the vodka and Lapin Kulta on Kimi’s yacht, James. You’re the luckiest bugger in the world, do you know that?


I hope Nick Fry’s not going to speak as part of the Finance panel – a man who’s failed to get sponsors into his team 3 years in a row, managed to get nothing lined up for next year on the back of double Championship wins, let his prime marketing tool leave, and bunged up a cheap website for his windtunnel in the hope someone trips over it. Do they even have a marketing department over there?


Couldn’t put it better myself.

He must get on his knees every night and thank God for Ross Brawn – but i’d lay odds he doesn’t last the full season before Mercedes make him feel “unloved”.

Let’s hear the “loyalty” speech after that happens.


Chairing it no-less? Well good luck James (I doubt you need it.) And on behalf of this ‘fans forum’, great 2009 season, thanks for keeping us updated on the grimey goings on!

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