Former Ferrari F1 boss Stefano Domenicali breaks his silence
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Jun 2014   |  9:22 am GMT  |  152 comments

Stefano Domenicali has not spoken since his departure from Maranello as Ferrari team principal following the Bahrain Grand Prix.

But yesterday at the FIA’s annual Sport Conference in Munich, he appeared on a panel discussion on “How to grow motorsport in a changing world” and spoke about the need for F1 and all motorsport to urgently address the ageing demographic of its fan base and to find ways to engage with young people.

He also said that the 2014 F1 season has developed pretty much as he expected and predicted that Mercedes advantage will stretch into next season and even beyond,

“It was clear that the teams that were strong at the beginning would keep that advantage for the season because with such a step change in technology,” he said. “Mercedes have done a great job and they will keep this advantage for a long time. To close the gap in a situation where the regulation is more or less frozen is very difficult.

“I hope the others will be able to close the gap soon, though, because at this stage you need to have races that are emotionally engaging. If you lose the passion it wouldn’t be good.”

On the subject of his own plans, Domenicali would give nothing away, but indicated that he has had some interesting offers, which he is not in a hurry to take up,

“So far, I’m taking a breath,” he said. “After 23 years of non-stop work it seems I have a bit of time now, so I’m taking the opportunity to be with the family, which has to be good. Really good!”

Here is a Q&A with Domenicali from Day 1 of the FIA Sport Conference. Domenicali is due to speak again this afternoon in a plenary session specifically addressing the question of “How to attract young people to motorsport” alongside specialists from outside the sport, such as Twitter Head of Sport Alex Trickett and Bayern Munich FC head of social media Lorenz Beringer.

Yesterday the governing body indicated its intention to match words with actions when looking to develop the sport in new areas to engage the young, by signing a long term deal with Gran Turismo developer Polyphony to promote new games platforms and to regulate a new FIA online gaming world championship. Clearly the FIA has learned from the huge success of games like FIFA ’14 in the world of football.

What do you think will be the major influences on the growth of motor sport in the coming years?

“First of all we need to talk about an incredibly large base of licence holders, support networks, teams, manufacturers and fans, so it would be wrong to say there is only one thing to do – it would be to look at only one part of the motor sport cake.

“We are talking about a thing that connects different people of different ages and cultures. You have older people who want to simply go racing and enjoy it and then younger people who want to enjoy a different experience. You have manufacturers who have marketing and technical interests and teams who generally have an interest in pure racing. You have to keep developing for all these different communities.

“For sure the biggest thing is developing the sport for younger generations. Young people are not attracted by new technology as a word, they have to be connected by technology to the sport. They have to be involved. There are young people who want to be the driver but via connectivity – it’s about being part of it yourself.

How do you see youth appeal being developed? Do you believe it needs a centralised effort?
“We need to have a strategy. We need to be integrated with the stakeholders promoting all of the different categories. Without an integrated communication plan we will be disconnected. This week will be important in getting all of those stakeholders together, in finding out what each one is dealing with and hopefully then they can formulate a plan and choose the main route to follow. It’s important to act quickly.

Is attracting new fans as simple as inviting the public to free driving days; to give them a taste of racing?
“That’s important for those want to be in the show but we also need to appeal to people who are purely sports fans and who want to challenge the professional or the champion through games or interactive experiences. One thing I learned from looking at the American market, in different disciplines, is that fans want to be the one challenging the most important player in basketball or whatever. Fans want to be the protagonist. If we can provide that it will help our entire movement to be connected to fans.

“For young people who want to get involved as drivers it has to be affordable, otherwise it is impossible. Here there is a dichotomy. New technology at the beginning is expensive. We need to find a balance. If we are too aggressive on new technology we run the risk of losing the passion of motor sport. We need to balance it carefully.

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Liam Aldersson

The answer as to how to engage a new generation of F1 fans is simple - show TV coverage on a free to view basis - ok, the kids might not watch it on a tv but watch it on a tablet they will. Just cannot believe how short sighted bernie is by allowing his sport to be sidelined due to subscription TV in so many countries.


This is the most obvious truth, and a truth Bernie doesn't seem to care

Back in the 90's, when F1 was free on TV, even my mother, who cares nothing about cars, knew Shumacher, Hakkinen, Barrichelo, Hill and many other drivers

Now, I find it very difficult to find a friend in their 30's, that even knows Vettel won the last 4 championships

F1 is not like football, where you have clubs with more than 100 years, play twice a week, and will always have fans, because they live in the same hometown

F1 is a sport where Teams and Drivers go in and out all the time, and the only way to get new audiences is if they are invited to be part of sort, not to charge them for it

Le Mans 24H has had a huge increase in popularity in the last few years, and the free Eurosport broadcasting has played a key role in doing so

F1 would do well to learn from it, otherwise it will fade , because it's becomed a corporate sport, instead of a People's sport


The only reason I pay $120 every month for cable TV is because of F1.


And the reason I don't watch F1 on cable TV is that it costs $120/month and would be the NBC broadcast. I refuse to pay that sort of money to only watch two races; we don't watch commercial or cable TV in my house. Thank you internet.

Bernie, you're passing up a lot of money by not making F1 available on a pay basis on the interwebs;I'm watching all the races through pirated Sky broadcasts but would pay a reasonable amount to do it legally.


I wonder if Bernie really is passing up that much money by not offering per-race streaming? FOM makes CVC their money by creating mini-monopolies on a country-level basis, selling the broadcast rights for a territory to the highest bidder and ensuring that no alternative distribution channel can exist.

I honestly haven't looked that deeply into the economics of it, but it would be GREAT if someone like James Allen did some in-depth reporting on this, but with all due respect, I fear he may be too close to the Establishment to undertake a really critical inquiry.

James, please prove me wrong!


Me too. And probably less than $1 of that ends up with F1. It would be a win/win if they could stream on a subscription basis for say $2 per race or $5 for the race weekend. Free to air is probably too much to expect in the long term, but a sensible, accessible streaming service - done right - could be very successful. I'm sure the reason they haven't moved on this already is the deals with TV companies around the world preclude it, but eventually they have to address that.


F1 decided to have fewer fans and receive more money from each one with the pay TV thing, as well as pricing for event attendance. They shouldn't then be surprised that they have fewer fans, and potential new ones are priced out. There is no issue with premium packages and experiences for those who pay more, but being excluded from getting a foot in the door is a really stupid move by F1 that put short term gains against long term health of the sport.


> "...being excluded from getting a foot in the door is a really stupid move by F1 that put

> short term gains against long term health of the sport."

Well, to be fair, FOM is running the show on behalf of a rapacious private equity firm that is only interested in maximizing the wealth it can extract from the sport in the short term before it's destroyed under the combined weight of crushing debt, empty grandstand seats, and TV boxes all across the globe NOT tuned-in to that weekend's GP...


Absolutely. Although to be fair to F1, it is a different time now. Back in the 70s/80s, there was no fragmentation of television.

Now we have several Tv businesses that gladly get stung bidding for multi-million exclusive contracts with sports. F1 is now much more a business that has shareholders who own it as an asset, and their only thought is ensuring that F1's potential revenues are maximised.

Football is mostly ppv now, however it doesnt hurt so much as you can watch most games highlights on free to air. F1 has 1 show every few weeks, it is difficult to ensure the tv companies paying millions for F1 have something worthwhile for their money, while giving free to air enough coverage for people to care about.

It's clear that in the last 5 years, it has gone in the direction of pay per view. I believe the owners of F1 would only make a change to this, if they saw a better return for such action. i.e things will change when they're broke.


In Canada we do get F1 races “free” on TV. Unfortunately, we only get to actually see half the race. The other half is a non-stop repeating commercial break. It’s almost like brain washing. Combine this with the downgraded live timing screen, there is no point in watching the race live.

The rebroadcast later in the day is complete, but the commercial interruption is still running at 50%. The only way you can enjoy the race is to record the rebroadcast and fast forward through the commercial breaks. This procedure is the only way to enjoy the building excitement that occurs during a race.

Uninterrupted race broadcast and 3 or 4 live timing screens is my wish. I want to recreate the pit wall in my den and become the team boss. I want those same screens that Adrian watches.


In Russia we have qualy and race with the commercial breaks but race in full, i.e. it takes 2 hours for short races, almost 3 for long races. If it wasn't free for 20 years now I don't know how I could become motorsport fan.


Hi Doug, I can sympathize with your frustrations on the relentless commercials in the coverage mate.

In Australia we have the same issue, We do take the Sky feed (commentary) but our networks over here do the same thing, You get 5 laps of action and then miss the next 5 due to the same commercials being played over and over almost in the same order in every commercial break.

What is more frustrating is that every time a commercial happens it is at a pivotal point in the race and generally we come back to the racing and find out that we have missed a complete round of pit stops or a race changing moment.

I actually timed the coverage one night and it was extremely close to 50% of the race being missed due to the commercial breaks. At one point I didn't even realize that Vettel had retired from the race some 25 laps earlier as we missed it.

As a fanatical/Passionate F1 fan, I find this to be extraordinarily frustrating and to the point where I am now considering following other formula's as I can get better coverage. e.g. Le Mans was shown live for the entire race (even though it was on Pay TV) F1 does not even have the option to watch it on subscription (Pay TV) in Australia, its only shown on free to air and as mentioned above, extremely poorly.

The only way I can manage to get my fix is to download the weekends sessions from torrent sites and watch them delayed. The Sky Coverage is great but having to rely on someone else uploading the session (which is realistically illegal) to get my fix of what is suppose to be the pinnacle of motorsport is bordering on ridiculous.


It's ridiculous, but your situation is hardly unique. If that were the case, communities such as Darmeth F1 wouldn't constantly be forming and evolving as passionate F1 fans seek a quality digital experience.

While I won't list any URLs so as not to arouse the ire of the mod(s), you can easily now even find live-streaming of SKYSPORTSF1 all weekend long. Granted, the quality isn't HD like if you were watching on your 40-inch LCD tv in HD, but at least one can see the full race, including the press conference after when James sometimes conducts, iirc.


I agree with this massively. I became hooked into motor racing not just because F1 was on free to view channels, but also world rally, British and World touring car, F3/F3000 can't remember which and probably a few others.

Now I don't think there is anything on TV.

Secondly with everyone talking down the new formula, I'm starting to think it is bad. Then I remember back to the Schumacher Era and even worse last season.


Totally agree, Its strange how that F1 skirts around that issue, well not really they want the money, but then want to complain they have lost the audience.

How am I meant to hook my son into F1 when I cannot show it him live on TV, once they went to pay per view they blew it. They have an old crony in charge of comercial and they are too greedy to disagree.

Who can forget Martin Witmarsh saying it will never happen until he saw the dollars...


Dollars? £UK Pound sterling dear boy.


Spot on! Especially about rally, which used to be good until the FIA ruined it. And sportscars used to be really good and then the FIA ruined it. F1 seems to be able to just about survive the FIA's continued attempts to ruin it, but it won't survive Ecclestone taking it off TV. It's a sport that depends on sponsorship and casual viewers. They've made a catastrophic strategic error, moving to a model that's incompatible with the underlying business of F1.

But rather than focus on that, Domenicali talks about "integrated communication plans" and bringing "stakeholders" together. I think people use language like that when they haven't got anything concrete to say.


I used to love rallying then the coverage became bad to non existent..

i got fed up at the age of 20 when i had to wait 3 weeks to see the UK leg of the british rally championship. When it was finally shown on TV they stuck it on at 4:00am in the morning..

It was just beyond ridiculous... Undone all the good work Colin Mcrea's video games had done to me.


I agree completely. I have already seen cricket become a minority sport and Moto GP is headed quickly in that direction in England. Make F1 free to view and don,t scrap two practise sessions on friday.


If you have seen the practice sessions on Friday, you know you are not losing much. Just technical run, no excitement, no risk, no speed.

Saturday Qualy is pretty much the same, boring. I wish they go back to open run for 60 minutes for qualifying. This is just helping the big brands to get better. They have the track for themselves in Q3. racing..

Agree with Signore DiMontez.. from Ferrari...nobody wants to watch a race to see how efficient they are..for that I can see the Prius on the street 🙂


60 minutes for qualifying was anything but exciting. Maybe the last ten minutes might be but you're looking at it with a rose-tinted view. If it was 60 minutes long, they have plenty of time to get at least one great lap in so I don't see how they wouldn't have an advantage in the 60 minute session, becasue they would. The way it is now and has been pretty much for 8 years ensures that sessions are short. And now that this season the teams have an extra set of soft tyres for Q3, you can't say it's boring. It's only "boring" because one team is dominating.

I've lost interest in qualifying myself over the last few years. I think pole position doesn't mean as much as it used to. Maybe due to DRS, don't know.


I couldn't agree more! I'm amazed the sponsors agreed to it.


spot on. you don't increase awareness by limiting access.


Nice to hear from him, it's been some time. Still feel a bit sorry for him things didn't work out at Ferrari, things certainly came close in 2010 and 2012.

It's not just simply about attracting youth, it's also about maintaining it for F1's current followers that have followed the sport for the past 10 years, and the feeling is this group also got turned off especially the last four years. This year seems a bit of a mix, some coming back due to RBR's dominance was broken, but at the same time the engine noises aren't helping. Despite Mercedes having an advantage, the fact their two drivers seem pretty equally strong and that they are allowed to race each other also help things a bit, but not too much.

Too many issues, too much to do. No one thing would help as teams are divided as always, and money is always always an issue, the way money are awarded is also an issue. Big teams with big bank account wins, gets the most. Those further back gets very little, and with so little to use to develop themselves, big teams win more. Ends up in a vicious cycle.


The money side does need a rethink, but I fear part of that would be an ousting of BE and FOM. Short of buying them out I am not sure how else that could be achieved.

Personally I think each team should be assigned $100 million in an official bank account for each season. All their expenses must be paid from this money and they should be monitored by and FIA official that no other money is spent from any other source and a ban from that years championship if they are found funding anything outside of that official account. The the rules should govern a safety factor and after that the most inventive and fastest team wins. The budget is the limiting factor. Everyone is equal every year and everyone can make a profit as all money from sponsors etc is for the team to keep by way of profit.


I disagree with the need to engage the younger generation.Its not a meritless concept but -

How many of us current,long time fans who haven't missed a session for years,find themselves not giving a toss these days ?

Even the missus,with no cues from myself,who never watches F1 with me was shocked by the lack of sound & presence the new cars have this year.

GP2 cars are within 107% of an F1 cars lap time for goodness sakes.

Lack of race control consistency over many years also kills interest.

Hate to be a "back in the good old day" basher but I can't help feel a return to pre 2003 specs & circuits would be a huge boost to relevance.

27 thoughts exactly, gp2 is a feeder formula yet i crave to watch the feature race on a Saturday. I am a life long fan of f1 and even i am becoming disenchanted. There are just too many restrictions for the engineering teams to shine, budget cap?? Its f1 for heavens sake,its the summit of motorsport but even now the road cars are far more advanced, the main designers have cottoned on and i fear we will lose them to WEC,i know this yrs races with the cast aside mark webber,have been fantastic,plus...It was free to watch the entire weekend,how great is that!! You can even get into the pits for free if you attend the race like i did at Spa and meet your new heroes.. Bruno,Mark and co..well thats my two pennies worth


I wholeheartedly agree with this post. I have been an F1 fan since the late 60s but, of late, I too couldn't give a toss. It started a year or two back but then, when Dish Network put it on a channel that my "TOP 250" did not include F1 AND put up my rate, I canned satellite TV. I now get my F1 fix from the Internet. I get the results of practice, qualifying and the race from the various web sites including this one. I don't miss it and I don't have to bother getting up early either. I get to see the occasional race on NBC but I didn't watch the last one all the way to the end as it was boring.


I agree. I like the engine technology this year but I also like knowing the cars I'm watching are the fastest about. It's good the top speeds have increased but to think most lap records are still from 2004. Want to increase overtaking without the following car suffering in the wake introduce ground effect, gp2 had it in the early years with huge success in overtaking.


+1, and I also agree with you about this years technology. But did you notice the graphics during Massa's qualifying lap? Not once did he get above 12,000rpm - so it's no wonder there's no noise from these things if they're running 20% under max revs!


Totally agree, I also don't want to sound like 'back to the good old days' but going back to the spec and regs of that era is exactly what's needed. Don't freeze development in any area either, as whoever has the best car at the start of the season wins and there is no interest for the remainder of the season. It's beyond me that with such a big rule change they freeze development knowing one team could have nailed it and will dominate. How is this better for the sport?

And COSTS have to come 2nd to the actually quality and lure of the sport, otherwise what's the point. If everything is about costs F1 will slowly destroy itself which it is doing at the moment.


F1 has become alost ... them and us. Using the term above , I am one of the older fans of F1. When I was young we would go to the track, get a pass to the paddock (one could afford it then). We could then wander around and stand beside and take pictures of the cars, rub sholders with the drivers and they would talk with us. (They were our gods then, but Fangio etc were always welcome with a smile then).

Now we are on the outside with the city in the middle ... never to be seen by the fans ... a remote world. People like to be part of somjething.

I would never miss an GP on TV. Now however, if I have sonething else to do, I will watch the replay or if away never see it.

I think the new formula is good step ... but they have made it too complicated for anyone to understand fully..

A lot of my friends say ... F1 passing is mostly done in the pits stops not on the track ... I am starting to think this is true.

Anyway. If F1 is going to get follwers and keep them ... then it has to become exciting and not just too Mercedez putting on a show.

How I have no idea ... but it would be Nice if they listened to the Fans.


This is a great post, but there are some key things which need to be considered from F1 and TV history. This is now a massive global sport, if tickets were £5 for paddock entry you'd still never get in because they'd be sold out in seconds and the paddock is only so big!

Yes, maybe you did (and I did) watch most races live in the past but it's technology that has driven 'catch-up' and on-demand viewing, so what are we going to do - not allow this so you can't just "watch the replay"?

In the past, passing was difficult and overtakes were special - it's the same now but pandering to popular opinion has demanded something change and we have more overtakes.

F1 is an awesome sport, and a great spectacle to watch and be a part of - the leading lights need to recognise this and make the most of it. Instead they often talk it down, regulate it too much and take the life out of the fun of going racing. Ultimately this is what we tune in for and what we want to see!


Sorry. Speaking like a businessman, who has no clear ideas on what to do. 'Strategy this, youth that, attractiveness so-and-so, business interests this-and-that'.

A fair representation of the entire FIA - Clueless, short-sighted and excessive focus on 'going green' and 'becoming more energy efficient'


"“It was clear that the teams that were strong at the beginning would keep that advantage for the season because with such a step change in technology,”"

James, did you have a typo there and meant "steep" rather than "step"?


No a 'step change' is a bit change

Kristiane Cyrus

Ah right! Cheers James =)




Haha @Random *gig*




Domenicali is needed as the FIA President. Everything he says is exactly the way it is. He is aware of the areas that need attention as well as how to go about remedying the issues. The final quote is particularly poignant as it is regarding the most significant obstacle to Formula 1 and motorsport in general gaining a greater following.

Joachim Briere

F1 does not need another (biased) voice for any team in F1 let alone for Ferrari. The president of the FIA should not have any kind of an affiliation to any team past present or future!!!.

This is exactly what is wrong now, too much tugging of the forelock to current teams to allow them to compete when they are a mile away from level competition. It is not good enough to say there is too much reliance on aero, or because (insert name of a certain team manager here) says we could have won the championship last year if we say doubled the points of the last race of the season, so what do you know, he gets his wish! It's a pity he could not have arranged his team to work well enough a few races earlier in the saeson isn't it.

To be the best one has to work at the project for years instead of changing the rules (double points at the last race) and bending the rules (gearbox changes). If one takes this way out then one becomes lazy and reliant upon the easy way. This is a big problem with the sport

To make the sport accessible to everyone is the first step. to make the sport attractive there must be an element of excitement and (maybe) risk along with associated noise and of course speed.

I think to state that the demographic of today`s F1 is old is not necessarily correct.I also think that the ideas above are just to re launch a new more exciting and more involving Playstation game. It will obviously be more costly, so it's just another money making project, that's probably all this is!

As for the last paragraph and it's poignancy, frankly i think your totally wrong, F1 is about best drivers, are they at Marussia? No, of course not. Young drivers need to go karting then onto another formulae then GP2 and only then F1 making 22 years old a youngster in F1 terms!

As for the aggression of new technology, the pace of progress will find it's own level if you just allow the best few to compete. The question is can the teams all compete? The answer is probably not. Therefore we will not get competition to make the world better, merely competition at a pace which suits the teams with the biggest voices!!!!! It is manufactures F1 for a reason, big mouth is shouting again!


What you have said regarding my point is exactly what I meant. The cost of entry level motorsport is way too expensive, even for go karting. The only way for people to take an interest in and develop a passion for motor racing is for them to experience how great it is. This can't happen if it is too costly. The number of people taking part in motorsport in general needs to increase at least 3 fold in order to sustain the fans of the top levels (F1) in the long term. Amateur participation has been steadily declining over the last decade. People either need to be wealthy or make significant sacrifices for them to continue at the junior levels. This is just not fair and something must be done about the cost. The FIA are in the position to do this; if Domenicali is in charge, he can make this happen as he appreciates these issues.


Domenicali, as any other team managers (ex, current etc) will only act for the team with which they have ties. He only backs the things he backs because his team are lacking in those areas and will be for at least 2 years. That is what he said, i don't blame him but i'm not taken in by his plea for an easier ride for one particular team.

Motorsport, even at grass roots level is costly because the idea is to generate sponsorship money, a small team gets company backing and a larger team may take the sponsorship deal after a year because they will give the company more exposure (better results) usually for a slight increase in budget. This is the case in all areas of motorsport. Look at Rallycross.and maybe Ice racing now, compared to 20 years ago or touring cars in various countries, it`s advertising for exposure and publicity, that is the machine you are fighting against.

At grass roots level in order to succeed you need to be a racer at the weekend and a part time business man at least, but not a loyal servant of a particular motor manufacturer.

So you are saying thaT Jean Todt does not know enough of the current issues in F1?

Joachim Briere

Typo: It is *manufactured* F1 for a reason, big..........


Mercedes have done a great job and they will keep this advantage for a long time


Oh, did Domencalli just confirm why he decided to stand down for why have a noose around your neck waiting for the hang man to come around.

As for Domencalli not being in a hurry to take up the interesting offers, it appears he has only had offers from the midfield teams such as Ferrari partner Sauber.

Now I wasn't aware F1 is suffering from a demographic problem. I mean everybody loves F1, I suspect the reason young people are being singled out is because the young were the most hit by the financial crisis and with the F1 ticket prices getting more expensive, well, this could possibly explain this.

Apart from that, I think the sport can make it's self more invisible in different markets by getting associated with pop groups such as Little Mix or One Direction which can have the effect of drawing young fans to the sport who would otherwise not have been interested.


The reason why F1 is losing young audience is the pay tv curtain. I was in France for holidays and there was no chance to watch Canada, Austria qualifying or race. I've been over to Africa and America (Sansibar, Galapagos) last year for holidays and saw every race. Even this year I was in Asia for a holiday (Gili Trawangan) and saw Bahrain and China. Not so in Europe. I advice never make a holiday in France if you want to watch F1 on TV in your holiday. It's not possible there.


Well...the reason F1 does not have a young audience demographic in the pipeline or otherwise "growing" is simply b/c F1 is not compelling to that demographic.

That there are barriers to mobile digital consumption is certainly a hindrance, but the lack of relevance and lack of a compelling spectacle in the eyes of the "youth" demographic is the culprit.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem FOM or FIA or "the Bigs" (teams) understand how to rectify this.


@ F1heroes

I guess France were of the view, why should we watch F1 after we lost the Grand Prix.


Possibly. Didn't think of that. We will know the answer when and if the GP comes back to France. France has a huge history in GP racing. They should be on the calendar.


why the ticket's price should be a problem for younger generations? i'm 31 years old, and the closest GP ever for me was at Interlagos.... 2000km away from me. So, even if the tickets were cheap, i couldn't afford that trip. Most of the F1 followers never get to go to a GP. 600 MILLION watch it on tv, and how many go to any given race? the accesibility is not if you can get into the paddock, or something like that. Accesibilty is free tv, more apps, more twitter, facebook, you name it. Make a fan feel more close to the sport, even when (like myself) the nearest gp is half a continent away


Mexico is coming back next year, and there is a possibility of Buenos Aires returning as well, so at least spectators in Central and South America will have a few races to choose to visit.............I agree that just one race in South America isn't enough for such a vast continent - and with Brazil and Argentina on the economic upward motion, a very important one too.


Yes. Especially considering the rich history of drivers and passion for F1 coming from South America. There has never been an Indian, Arab, Chinese or Korean champion (or even a driver of significance) and yet these nations have all had races regularly in recent times while Argentina and Mexico have missed out.


Agree, we need more American races

Just for the record, flying Mexico City to Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires is longer and more expensive than to London or Barcelona


@ Matías

Oh I see.

Shame you haven't been to a race before but maybe one day, it will happen.


He should not have resigned. Stefano had a rough time in last five years at Ferrari. The problem is with the designers & then there was a lack of a proper wind tunnel. Too many captains & too much reliance on Ferrari engineers. They needed a new set up totally independent of their road car manufacturers.

Now with the new re-structuring they can move forward. But they still lack new blood in departments such as chassis, engine & aero engineers. Still looking backwards on their successful past & not into how to deal with the new regulations.

But again they mess up with getting a road car executive who's only claim to fame is selling to most cars in the USA. No race expertise & hiding behind large sun glasses.

Ross Brawn should in that position or maybe Whitmarsh as a temporary alternative. At least he has F1 race expertise.

As for the Monty head of Ferrari. ..he just bemoans the death of the V12 & last years engine. Only thing he wants is to race by his rules.

Stefano is an honourable man & he fell on his sword to soon...because he was cornered by circumstances beyond his control.


wouldn't it be nice to let manufacturers do the engine whatever they like? if renault wanted a L4, so be it, Mercedes wanted V6? Ferrari wanted V10, or V12? ok, as long as they're 1.6 Turbo, it's allowed. That would be interesting to watch, and NO NO NO freeze on engine developement! let them squeeze any HP available on them, and restrict the aero (10hs/week for wind tunnel, a maximum of engineers on that area), wider wheels. That would be soooo nice


In the previous turbo era engine manufacturers could choose the amount of cylinders, what configuration (i.e straight, flat or Vee), how many turbo's, how many intercoolers, the design of the fuel injectors................the only limits were a forced induction engine could be no bigger than 1500cc and a fuel tank restriction size.

I do agree that the current regs are a bit of straight jacket in terms of design philosophy, but I understand why, for fiscal reasons the FIA has mandated a very specific engine design formula.

Economics get in the way of outlandish engineering - it's the legacy of most western economies being a bit brittle and fragile.


how would i love to see f1 cars with much less aero, or at least, ground effected (like Indy, but not that hideous) big fat slicks, and drivers wrestling the cars, as in the early 90's, obviously with a lot more safety. That surely be an amazing show, right?


Would be entertaining but you have to remember this is Bernies ship & those who sail on it must abide by the Captains rules.

You'd have to wait a while before that hat goes on another official. That will be a hen pecked moulded copy of Bernie. Whatever CVC say... F1 teams will come along for the ride on regulations that suit the interests of F1 & its large pockets full of cash.

Would be great to see different engine specs but you'd have to see a pink elephant flying before that happens.

Hang on...! II'm just checking the sky.....sorry no Pink elephant just yet 😉


"Would be entertaining but you have to remember this is Bernies ship & those who sail on it must abide by the Captains rules."

Bernie has been one of the most vocal critics of the new engine formula...


Even as a geezer, I think it's my memory of F1 past that keeps me paying any attention to today's non-spectacle. Counting down laps to the undercut? Youth today may be much more sensible than me.


Stefano makes some reasoned points - well done Stef.

I've posted this before, but if F1 wants to enlarge its customer base by expanding to a younger demographic, why not have free to air live coverage of ALL the races in Western Europe and the English speaking Anglosphere? At the moment Australia (Channel 10) is the only country in the English speaking world that has free live coverage, while I know from personal experience my "neighbours" across the English Channel/North Sea in Holland, France, Denmark, Norway and some parts of Belgium have to pay either for subscription or received delayed highlights (like the BBC).

Strange, isn't it?

I've always said F1 reflects western society, and yet it's doing its best with a lack of free coverage to alienate a younger demographic in the western world.

No point improving the show if you can't actually see the show live and for free in the first place................go figure.


Misleading title. You made it sound like Stefano says something about his departure from Ferrari, but its nowhere near that.


Actually this says a lot about his departure from Ferrari. It says that what they all said at the time, said it all and there is no more to the story. So here he speaks about other things, that's it, sorry for the lack of drama folks...


No I don't!

I say he 'breaks his silence', which he does…


Actually, you make it sound like he had literally never physically uttered a word since his departure...


True, but I have to admit I was thinking the same thing as bogdan.


Ship. Sinking. Jump off. Rats.


Has anyone heard anything about what happened to Whitmarsh?


This is great, good ideas. I also believe that a few reality TV shows would go well especially centered around the social events, celebrities, girlfriends etc would go down very well. If the 'Kardashians' can get the audience they have, imagine what F1 could do with the likes of Monaco and a host of rock stars, movie stars, F1 stars, international models along with BE dodging jail. Its drama, it's frame, it's fashion, it's travel, it's food, it's cars, it's politics it's everything any kind of TV producer could imagine thrown into one. My word, how is this show not going already?


This is not actually as terrible an idea as it sounds.

Some of the most interesting footage of a GP weekend is the 'pre-podium room of awkwardness' where the top 3 drivers get their towels, hats and watches and talk to each other. The fly on the wall element here means that we see the drivers interacting in a much more natural way rather than the pre-prepared interviews.

I remember from watching the Senna movie that the footage from the pre-race briefings was really compelling and even fun. We got to see the drivers interacting as humans not just delivering their media-friendly soundbites.

Maybe a bit more fly-on-the-wall coverage of other parts of the race weekend would be enticing for viewers. I'm not interested in watching Suzi Perry and DC walk up and down the pitlane for an hour before the race talking about all the stuff we already know. I'd much rather the option to watch some behind the scenes footage of stuff that we normally never see. How about showing the stewards interviewing drivers over their misdemeanors like an F1 Judge Judy?


Exactly and a few team reality shows would uncover some humanity and increase personal involvement from the audience.


If the FIA start targeting reality TV show viewers as the next generation of F1 fans, then I really do fear for the future!


Remember Top Gear is a reality show, why have they not been invited to do an 'inside the paddock' special even once in all these years?


Don't be silly, this would not attract F1 fans this would just open up other areas of interest around F1 to gain audience and revenue from an aspect of F1 that already exists. A few hundred million teenage girls watching a reality show and bringing in cash for better F1 racing is a deal as far as I can see!


My comment was tongue in cheek as I (mistakenly although I am clearly not alone) assumed that yours was also. I sincerely hope that you are not in a position of influence within the FIA.


I actually thought you were being sarcastic in your original post.. :s


F1 sponsored by makeup, hair products and perfume, how clever would that be?


"...spoke about the need for F1 and all motorsport to urgently address the ageing demographic of its fan base and to find ways to engage with young people"

Formula 1 has made the ultimate mistake in alienating its present fanbase while chasing a new (poorly researched) market. The show is stuffed so full of gimmicks and toys that offend, even sicken, a good majority of the existing fans - and yet do nothing to increase appeal to anybody else.

Something struck me recently. I don't know why it came to my mind, but it did. I remembered watching Hamilton unlapping himself from Vettel in Spain a couple of years ago. You know what I was doing at the time? Eating popcorn. Today's formula is cinema and nothing more. You can't eat popcorn to genuine, intense, wheel to wheel racing - it's too tense, your heart is beating too hard and your fingers are firmly clamped to the edge of your seat. But slap on tires that have seconds, rather than tenths, between old and new - then add in a boost button [only available to the car behind, of course] for good measure and you've got something you can sit back and munch away too.

You have drivers who have dedicated their whole lives to becoming part of this sport seemingly lost with the direction its going and scratching their heads as to their next move. You have limited testing meaning that no current day driver can really dedicate their lives to F1 in the way Schumacher did, and no rookie can come into a season totally prepared in the way Hamilton and co did. It's a formula that has stamped out its only way of developing heroes. And who's going to follow a sport which has no heroes?


Now where is Martin Whitmarsh?


Positioning himself to take advantage of Bernie's impending demise??? 😉


Nice to hear Stefano is enjoying life after Ferrari.

Any news of Martin Whitmarsh, or is he languishing at the bottom of the lake at MTC?


He got his big fat paycheck and I assume he is probably enjoying it in a remote exotic island!


Same here. What happened to Whitmarsh? He all of a sudden disappeared (in the simulator)?


Interesting points.

I like the idea of being able to sign up to a game and pit myself against another driver in real time.

Forza 5 has some of this, but with real time data with pro drivers on F1 tracks and a low cost platform, I would sign up.


Lol you can do that now.

I myself play Forza4 and dirt2 & 3

Mainly dirt3 at the moment.

ThompsonXB is my username.

I don't have Live but I'm happy to trade ghosts times.


F1 needs new ideas however they face one 'tiny' but massive obstacle. Bernie Ecclestone. F1 rights are so locked down that anything remotely associated with F1 comes with a 'Bernie' fee which will undoubtedly run into millions of pounds


Exactly! Its what makes Bernie so rich, a classic (and such a simple method in the hard-nosed business world) case of high demand, so cut / restrict supply to push up cost / value, but ultimately at the expense of the consumer, who will eventually go and shop elsewhere so to speak,

Bernie, take the hint!


Going online is a great idea. Why? You can have Alonso (or any current or ex drivers) behind the wheel and really race against him/them, say, in a special event day.

You can't do that with other online sports games


"spoke about the need for F1 and all motorsport to urgently address the ageing demographic of its fan base and to find ways to engage with young people"

This, more than anything else I've seen recently, tells me that F1 is now an entertainment business not a sport.


As a younger person who's recently (the last 2-3 years) become heavily interested in the F1 world, for me the largest part of being engaged with a sport of any kind is interactivity and accessibility. The only way to watch F1 at the moment is on TV late at night (I'm in Australia). There's no free and decent mobile/tablet app for timings, there's no streaming over the internet, either Live or delayed for broadcasts, and because I don't live in the UK the Sky F1 broadcasting is all but inaccessible (the same goes for GT and LMP racing).

I welcome the day that Bernie and the stakeholders start realising that people want to be involved, and start increasing the amount of free and easily accessible F1content to all parts of the world, in all delivery methods (TV, mobile, PC, tablet).

Side note: James, are you looking into a mobile version of the site?



Good Observation: "the youth" regards TV as just one of the many screens.

One of the solutions could be just as simple as having an official F1 youtube page. This will allow people to share (and discuss) small snippets of races with their friends. Right now you have to make do with pirated videos that often get pulled off youtube days after the race.

In short: just make the content more share-able: The videos should be bite-sized, maximum three minutes each. Only die hard fans watch the whole race on youtube.


You want young people interested in the sport, stop freezing the development. Frozen development is for the elderly.


Blame the FIA and Napoleon Todt..............


Considering myself as more of a purist, I hate saying that Bernie may not be too far off base when he suggests increasing the "entertainment value" by gimmicks such as wet tracks. He is also right about the need for the cars to be fast and loud, and if I may provide some input, less stable.

If the goal is to attract younger viewers, they need a reason to watch and become fans. Strategy will not hold their attention. Strategy is something you learn to appreciate as you age.

So, really, the question should first be, "Who is our target demographic?"

Personally, I think it is a mistake to concentrate on anyone under the age of 25. Actually, under 30 is probably more relevant. Unless you are single, you do not have much disposable income to go to races, pay for viewing rights, purchase memorabilia, etc. until you are somewhat stable in your job. So focusing on a youthful, and mostly broke, demographic doesn't make a lot of sense.

What they should be doing is focusing of appeasing the over 30 crowd, who will help to build fond memories in their children's minds by taking them to races, buying them a model car, watching part of a race on TV together, etc.

I realize that F1 ratings are struggling, but it is a mistake to go for the short term fix. Longevity is built by building a personal relationship between the fan and the sport over many years. It is not about immediate gratification.


What you need to consider is that by the time someone is in their 30s, their interests and enthusiasms are already established. You're far less likely to convert a thirty-something to F1 than to capture the imagination of a teenager.

The other aspect is time. Younger people have plenty of time to spend a few hours on a sunday afternoon watching the race. As a thirty-something with a family I struggle to find the time to watch F1. If I hadn't got into when I was younger there is no way I'd start watching it now.

Younger people may not have much disposable income but they turn into older people who do. Get them hooked when they are young and reap the financial return in the long term.


I agree with you that long term stability is what they should be looking at but the way to do that is to target the younger generation....


I want to make clear that when I say Bernie's gimmicks are the way to go, I am saying that assuming their goal is immediate gratification. My goal would be long term stability, NOT immediate gratification. It's not as sexy, or gets as much news coverage, but it is more consistent and reliable.

roberto marquez

I think some of these super businees genious are seeing the world up side down. You do not like basket ball. or soccer ,or baseball or ice hockey because you picked up an electronic game and you enjoyed it. Let s talk baseball , you start going to games at school,if you like it you join a team or play with your friends, then you go to a stadium with your father or brother, and so you develop a taste for the game ,for a team,for some players, and if you are lucky you will enjoy it your whole life. How to apply it to racing ,you have to promote karting on a MASIVE SCALE, then progressive categories, PROMOTION AND RACES ON FREE tV WOULD NOT HURT, and so on, to me that is the only way.


How can we have an engine formula and freeze engine development during the season? The fact that the pecking order is more or less static from race one detracts greatly from the spectacle.


Its all about money and access, both on TV/internet and in person. Currently the average fan unless they are wealth can't enjoy that and as a result cannot get engaged in F1.

Once upon a time I read that the difference between NASCAR and F1 was this: NASCAR $100K cars chasing $1,000,000 prizes; F1 $1,000,000 cars chasing $100K prizes.

Bring back classic circuits and or find new ones in countries that car. Classics like Imola, Paul Ricard, Dijon, Brands Hatch, Watkins Glen or new venues like Laguna Seca, and Elkhart Lake.

I hope Bernie goes to jail and the reigns are passed to a new person with a better vision of the future.


Laguna Seca? The corkscrew? An F1 car? Barrel-rolling? Yikes!


McDonald's became a world player by catering to 5 year-olds with their happy meals. Formula 1 needs to cater to 13-18 year-olds. These are the people who are obsessed with learning to drive and becoming new drivers. To reach this demographic, they must find a way to reach them on their phones.

To attract new viewers, anything must be interesting. Watching the same driver/team win every week in not interesting. That has been Formula 1's problem for 15 years, excepting the period between the Schumacher and Vettel runs. I find it ridiculous that the strong teams get all the money and then they introduce measures that limit testing as cost cutting measures! There are plenty of good drivers on the grid right now that if it were about driver ability there would be numerous race winners, yet there are only two. Formula 1 is about the car and until you spread the money around to the mid and back runner teams, it will be hard to engage new viewers.


three winners. Apologises to Daniel Riccardo


You want to engage the young? Easy:

a) Arrange for the (otherwise brilliant) Codemasters Formula 1 computer game to be released sooner in the season... as in several MONTHS earlier, i.e. sort of now-ish. Some in-season performance updates would easily sort out any developing changes in performance between teams, or changes in sponsor livery. If they're really good, the designers might even be able to keep up with Vettel's helmet changes...

b) Promote junior forms of motorsport. I'm tired of listening people mentioning the junior motorsport ranks only as a means of finding good driver talent. People generally watch what they would like to do themselves. All sports follow this principle, with the exception of football, but that's because it looks easy*. And please start promoting motorsport seriously in any country where new F1 races will be held 2-3 years down the line... that way, perhaps some fans there might actually go and watch.

c) Simplify the rules a bit. OK we don't want another downforce fest (sorry Mr. Newey but I, for one, will not miss you) but beyond that, we really don't need DRS anymore, do we? This was introduced back when we had 3-4 really good overtaking manoeuvres per season. It certainly worked, i.e. it increased the number of overtakes, but now we have no way of knowing which ones are good and which ones are dead-easy. Indeed, because of the abundance of indifferent manoeuvres, drivers are sometimes encouraged not to make any really good ones...

d) try and understand why Austria was such a huge success with local fans, why Silverstone, despite the chronic traffic, weather and other problems, has always been successful, why Spa is always brilliant even though the country's government usually hates it, why Italy never had trouble hosting two races, while San Marino GP was still there, even though back then, Ferrari had last won a F1 championship in the late 70s.

And no, I'm not suggesting that F1 is only European. The Americas have plenty of F1 fans, too. Aside from Brazil and Canada, we've also had races in Argentina (a bit of a mickey-mouse track, for those who don't remember it, but no more so than say Hungary) and Mexico in the not too distant past, and a few more before that.

Stop winging about the fact that a single team is head and shoulders above the rest. Please. Margins have gone up and down a bit but all-in-all, a team has dominated the sport in the last 4-5 years. And the first half of the 2000's. And in 1998-99. And in 1996. And in 1992-1993. And in 1988. And a few times before that, I'm sure.

*Football is the only game/sport that you could show to someone who has never seen it before, and who 90 minutes later will actually have an 'informed' opinion on the manager's choices and tactics.


Maybe a grand theft auto style race?..if your car becomes damaged or slow,the driver can leave their ride and aquire another froma higher team ;)...i do sometimes wonder where the fia get their crazy ideas but if this one shows up i want my cut lol


Actually, there used to be a rule that if you are say driver No1 in a team, and your car breaks down, the team can call their No2 driver into the pits, kindly ask him to extricate himself out of the car, so their No1 can get in it and race! Not really the same thing, but it was there in the rules, back in the 50s... and it DID happen!


Disagree on the football opinion


F1 is more worried about fake noise and fake sparks then they are about actually competing on a level playing field. There is no way the teams will ever agree anything substantial or long-lasting -- they're competing with each other for goodness sake! Stephano has nice ideas, but no chance to implement them.

Getting more kids into F1 needs getting the dads wildly excited again -- that's what brought most of the current fans into the sport.


I'm sorry but imo there is nothing wrong with F1, it is what it's always been.

All this posturing is pointless, in my teens F1 was just there I had no time for it - like the wrestling on World Of Sport or the rugby on Grandstand on a Saturday afternoon I had other things to be doing and places go (hopefully the English members will know what I'm on about)

It was that one race which got me interested Mansell v Piquit in the British gp after sitting down and watching, after Mansells pitstop and driving down then passing Piquit I was hooked.

Today that could not happen unless there was a subscription holder in the house (but Bahrain could have had the same effect on thousands of young people). Most of the die hard fans above became fans without the internet and without the access all areas of this sport - mainly through the BBC and Murrys enthusiasm.

What we are seeing Is a vailed attempt to make f1 into a commercial money spinner in the same way as football. With manufacturers like Nike Adidas etc in toe, fleecing its fanbase but football already had a huge following - fathers introducing their sons to their team /sport but how can you achieve that with one race per year in a given country and now free to air races off the tv screens.

F1 is not that type of sport that can be sold to the public like that - it's commercial strength was in another demographic remember when tobacco was cool - all the iconic logos in our rose tinted glasses. (the Martini colours with no branding......prrft)

Those greedy old men need to wake up, free to air tv, reduce the cost to televise or attend a race - do it for the love, or not at all is the only way that new fans will get into F1.


World of Sport - fronted by the right honourable Dickie Davies!

Grandstand, yes, I remember when it was hosted by Des Lynam and Steve Rider, and sometimes during a broadcast in the middle of an F1 race they would switch to the 2.00 at Haydock Park! "We'll be back with Murray and James in a minute!" Those were the days..........

Thinking of those times watching F1 on Grandstand personally brings back memories of the late 80s/early 90s: Prost vs Senna, Our Nige charging and winning at the Hungaroring, the Second Summer of Love/Madchester, World Cup 1990 - Chris Waddle and THAT penalty miss, the swelteringly hot summers of 89 and 90, the collapse of the communism in Eastern Europe and the tearing down of the Iron Curtain..................glory days! Can't believe as recently as 1989 F1's visit to Hungary was a country still under Communist it really 25 years since the Revolutions of 1989?

NB Every grand prix held at Germany until 1991 was technically the West German GP, however apparently the 1959 German GP held at Avus although mostly held in the Capitalist West of Berlin the section of track briefly on the banked section was technically passing onto territory in the Soviet East - so it was the 1959 German GP that technically was the first F1 race held behind the Iron Curtain and not the race at the Hungaroring!


There's a lot of constructive comments above, but what I really want to add is this: my dream for the future of F1 is basically the Wipeout racing game series, in real life. The Aero-X is on the way, and the concept Red Bull is another step in the right direction... It seems so obvious! That way we get a whole new kind of thrills and spills, and Bernie will get to see his wish of motorsport taking place in the world's greatest cities (because let's face it, he still won't be dead by then). That is a viable direction to aim for.

But seriously (I'm only 1/4 kidding), cut the license fees for circuits, make it free to view again worldwide, pay all of the teams a fair cut and bring back tyres that last - the current situation is far better than it has been in recent years, but still flies in the face of being environmentally conscious. Let's see how well the tyres hold up when they're on their second or third race instead... Also, open everything up for development. Let's see some incredible ideas that reward ingenuity with success, as opposed to it purely being about money reaping more money (that element will never completely leave, but at least give the privateers a chance to compete).

Final point, don't just skip all around the world like a drunk fly. Wanna save some money and reduce (somewhat) the sport's carbon footprint? Do the South American races in one hit; then the US and Canada, followed by Europe, the Middle East and then Asia. Work like a proper tour, rather than being "oh, TV says we should be over here now".

I love racing. I love seeing the skills of two or more drivers competing for position, and the drama that comes along with that. I want to see them going flat out, and couldn't care less about the engine noise, or relative lap times to 12 years ago. For me 2014 is a step in the right direction but there is a long way to go to fix the corrupted 'sport'; and F1 will die if it doesn't address these concerns now. Good luck, FIA.


Well I've turned 30 now so though that makes me a youngster compared to the average F1 fan age it does mean I'm not the 'new market' youth demographic anymore - but I have done a lot of work for BBC THREE which is the 18-34 channel - and I work with people of various ages - and get access to a lot of the audience response surveys and data. Now while a lot of the younger audience are using tablets and phones to watch some of the shows these tend to be comedy and short form drama which they don't want to be tied to a specific audience viewing time. When it comes to live sporting events 18-34 year olds are pretty much the same as the 35-55 bracket - they like big screens - so yes I think free to air TV is something that needs looking at again - not many people in the UK have SKY HD with the F1 channel sports package included - of any age bracket - so the drop in tv viewing is unlikely to be do with restricted internet broadcasting (unless it was of a form where you could pay easily per race weekend of a very low fee to stream it on to a large tv).

There is a lot of talk about what 'youth' want. I think some of the over 50s crowd who populate the FIA and team business structures are struggling in a Mad Men esque generation gap but really the under 24's aren't going to watch F1 because it has more graphics, shorter races and an interactive soundtrack - they will like it because they grow up with access to it. The same as football - it may be on pay tv but they are brought up in family settings supporting a team and going to matches - the same is true for F1. It needs to be competitive and exciting with access to drivers but shut away on overpriced satellite channels will not drag new customers in. Look at Sky's viewing figures - it's not even dragged in a million of the Hardcore affluent viewers - it barely manages a 10th of the lowest rated BBC slots in previous years. When the BBC showed every race I got random people (including women and younger people who I worked with) actually volunteering an opinion on F1 and asking me questions about it. Now? Nothing but a well paid hardcore of fans, mostly male, mostly a decade or more older than me.


that's it in a nutshell, isn't it …. they have to grow up with it…. like we all love things we grew up with.


AGREE 100% Well said!


We hve to suscribe and pay a lot extra inHolland just to see F1. This is not good for the sport, I see a lot of people not watching any more.

Bernie should step down and the sport has to be brought back to the people without extra charges. Further we need less rules, more engineering freedom and a budget cap allowing more teams ( in fact I liked the prequalifying years ago...).


So far there is only one appearance in this entire page, including comments, of the most important factor that, imho, is key to attract not only young viewers, but a whole lot more viewers: the human side of the sport.

Nowadays F1 is all about technology and has been turning this way for a long time now. Drivers are less of a decisive factor, the car is the king of the spectacle. Also, too much politics, too little drama.

F1 cars of today give little room to personal driving style and to heroic efforts as Mansell's faint and Villeneuve wingless racing of old. Today, if you lose grip on a corner exit and burn the rear tyres in an spectacular 4 wheel, full opposite lock, slide during the early stages of a stint, your race is gone! How is F1 going to be spectacular if spectacular manuevers are a direct route to a doomed result?

Control the fuel, control the tyres, control the engine hybrid power recorvery/usage... nowadays F1 is great for those control freaks who understand it. The generall public is by and large unaware of the infinite amount of work needed to make these cars run on the limit given all the restrictions, and that's because it doesn't show!

Don't get me wrong, I love F1 the way it is and I appreciate the spectacle that still exists, but that's only because I'm in the "control freak who understand F1" group of people... I'm only giving my ideas of ways to reach bigger audiences, ok?

On that note, I also think that free TV coverage is ginormously important, not only because it reaches a much greater audience (and therefore it could fill the pockets of CVC, BE, and alike, by generating more sponsorship revenues, or is it? I think the restrictions imposed are causing them to lose money. Wish I had the facts and figures to prove the point...) but also because live sports coverage is the future of open TV and this will be the only reason why someone will stand in front of the telly at a given time. DTM became very important in Brazil some years ago, despite the fact it didn't have a Brazilian driver or team only because it was transmitted on a second tier open TV channel!


Logical... well written... thank you.


“I hope the others will be able to close the gap soon, though, because at this stage you need to have races that are emotionally engaging. If you lose the passion it wouldn’t be good.”

I wonder if in the days of Schumacher dominance, he was hoping that other teams would close the gap in the name of emotional engagement. The fact is that the tifosi were quite engaged when the red cars were winning and others are quite engaged now that other cars are winning.

F1, like many sports, has to decide if it wants a mass audience (deriving its income from marketing) or an elite audience (deriving its money from pay TV, expensive tickets, etc.). Should it be accessible to the hoi polloi or inaccessible so the .1 percent will pay for that access.

kenneth chapman

@ james....after battling my way through the vast majority of posts, all of which have some positivity about where F1 should go in the future, i believe there exists here a great amalgam of suggestions that the F!A and others could use to draft a future plan.

it is such a pity that the posters here have added a great deal of thought and applied their understanding of the 'sport' for it all to go into the 'nowhere' pot.

sure, some ideas border on the 'reckless' but if a thread of consensus appears why couldn't the powers that decide use this feedback to assist in their deliberations? at least it would be gratifying to know that someone somewhere cares enough about the fans to at least consider their contributions.

PS are we ever going to get back email notifications of our post replies? it really was a great convenience and sorely missed.


Speaking from a role of management, at the end of the day, it typically comes down to what is right for the business. We listen to the feedback and try to incorporate that into the future plan, but the business almost always comes first. That is our responsibility.

The trick is to make sure your employees, the general public, etc. is kept informed so they can have an understanding of why you had to make the decision you made.

I don't think what F1, the corporation, does is really that much different from any large corporation who is beholden to shareholders/investors. What I don't understand is why F1 / FIA changes direction so often, and doesn't appear to really have a plan. If I were an investor I would be very skeptical of F1/FIA's future.

kenneth chapman

@ jeff....... i hear exactly what you say but as an ex MD/CEO i would simply say this, ignore your client/customers viewpoints/ needs and wants and you will ultimately not have a busines left to run. ignoring the aforementioned works against the shareholders interests and in many cases could be seen to be 'negligent' management.

your point re 'informed communication with employees/customers as to the why changes are made simply never happens in case of the FIA . when have you ever had a detailed explanation re changes that are in line with expectations? have any of these 'fringe' changes ever been subject to critical client analysis? no. when reading across the internet specialist F1 sites i am left with the impression that hardly any of these changes are met with an approval and these are the fans!

after almost 60 years of intense motorsport interest i am now failing to rustle up the enthusiasm i once felt. it simply doesn't have 'IT' any longer.


James Polyphony only make games for Sony Playstation does this deal mean we will see them design games on the platforms currently lacking quality racing games like Nintendo and PC? It sounds great if so.

I want to mention that the past 10 years most of the top motorsports and car manufacturers have sunk thier tteeth into the "exclusive" naming and usage of cars and racing series like Ferrari and Porsche models are exclusive to Xbox/Forza/NFS series. This has resulted in Lemans and other racing series no longer getting any racing games focused for it because they cant include the models in the championship.

When i was 4-7 years old i went to the Adelaide Grand Prix every year as part of a free school excursion for the friday practice/qualifying every school in Adelaide were given free access and transportation by the South Australian state governmeny as well study/educational material designed around racing. I dont know if the programs are still in place but seeing as governments are paying so much for the tracks anyway surely they could combine or drop the fee a bit for this type of program.

People mention Free TV but Free internet streaming is the future, FIA should start looking into viable models for streaming practice sessions online while locking advanced features such as no adbreaks into a easily accesible payment or subscription service. (avoid the credit card) find a prepaid currency like molpoints,steam wallet, epay etc. Over the counter prepaid cash that can be used in online stores and games. How many teenagers do you know with a creditcard lol?

The games have to be both offering the real racing experience while offering depth and not being too boring or steep in the learning curve. They have to be well thought out not just putting people into the deep end. Geoff crammands GP was a prime example of doing it right because the pathing when driving aids was turned on was excellent. The driving aids could be turned off and on anytime by a hotkey.. You could switch and take control of any of the 24/26 cars during any session at the press of a button. So if you were leading u could put an Ai in control of your car and then take control of any other car in the race at that moment. There was car telemetry showing suspension travel and rideheight adding depth once players had learnt the car control aspects.


Lets put it simply ~As literally a lifelong F1 martyr to the bone now working in China from the UK, the only way I can watch races is online. With a day to chill today I woke up and laid in bed watching the Austrian grand prix. One of the classic tracks. Four laps in I was too angry to put up with any more of the soulless lifeless garbage and watched the 2000 Spa grand prix instead.



I think F1 is a little bit lost in that it does not have a dominant face behind the technical success of Mercedes. Sure it has Wolff, Lauda and Lowe all doing a great job but I think if Ross Brawn was there then it would allow the fans to identify more with the car itself. We've seen this with Newey at RedBull, McLaren and Williams, Brawn at Brawn, Ferrari and Benetton. They don't even have to say anything, just produce fast winning cars and we just admire geniuses at work and believe that what we are seeing is the ultimate in speed and technology. Colin Chapman also had this in abundance at Lotus. In football, Sir Alex Ferguson comes to mind. They represent the brains behind the brand.

This year is a little bit like 1993 where we had no world champion defending his title. Yes we had Senna, Prost and Schumacher but imagine them all up against an inform Mansell, it would have been mega. It would have been identified as one of the greatest battles of F1 history. 1994 continued this trend and it wasn't until a new generation truly arrived that F1 was able to let go of the past.

So for me, fans need something they can put a strong identity to that's generally going to make them see a person as a hero, a villain, a smart cookie or a genius at work. Unfortunately we do not have that this year with Mercedes and it's amazing technology. Ross Brawn could have easily convinced us that this was the way F1 needed to head just with a sheer smirk whenever his cars crossed for another 1-2. Instead he packed his bags and went fishing and now his main rival looks set to sail the seven seas and F1 is a bit lost because of it. It makes people question the product when the two main technical gurus leave the sport when all this technology has come into place. Obviously they don't like it either.

On a positive I do like how Rob Medley is becoming a strong identifiable figure at Williams. People like this are the future faces of Formula One and what it represents. In the end, we all go "I like this team because of that person" because we see something in them that either we see in ourselves or something we would like to become.


Interesting post Kenneth. It is true that we need faces to relate to. It's hard for us to get emotionally excited about "metal".

But, Mercedes Benz is an efficient German machine. This is a team effort, and you do have faces that MB bought to give you a human link, but it is still a German machine. This 2014 success and effort has to be contributed to Mercedes Benz 95%, the rest to the drive. It is their effort, their invenstment and they want to take all the credit for it. I think Nico is OK with the 5% credit. I'm not sure Lewis is.

But you want a face, so how about Lewis?

The whole thing with Lewis talking to Denis is going to do Lewis a disservice. I don't believe it will put him in a position of power at all on THIS team. This team is about TEAM, not about Lewis. If he fights to make it his own, or have authority, priority, or to try and make it look like it was Lewis who won the WDC not Mercedes - it's over for him. I also think that the entire possiblitly of Lewis even considering departure is a big mistake because Mercedes will not like this ultimatum. Think about it. Here you are, MB, investing hundreds of million into this marketing effort for Mercedes Benz. And here is Lewis playing it like - if I don't win the WDC - I'm out to McLaren. Because it would be super hard for one to stay on that team for 2015 you must admit.

So MB now faces this reality, here is Lewis talking to Ron about Plan B if he doesn't win the WDC in 2014. It has a ring of 2007 all over again, but the shoe is on the other foot. Then Alonso was fighting to get the upper hand on the team, and now it looks like Lewis is trying some moves with Ron's help. Surely Niki and Toto can see that Lewis is Ron's boy and that Ron will have pull with Lewis in his argument as well and there is no way in hell they are going to allow a scenario where Lewis takes the #1 over to McLaren. Nico being a MB boy who bleeds silver suddenly is being helped by Lewis even more by the sheer fact that Lewis is talking to Ron about possible scenarios for 2015 and that it's being reported as such in the media. MB board won't like it. Niki and Toto won't like it. And that's not good for Lewis.

I honestly think that at this delicate point in the WDC and Lewis' points standing these reports of talking to Ron and options about 2015 aer not a good thing for Lewis. Ron won't waste the opportunity of a parting shot at MB to disrupt the situation either, and considering Ron's and Lewis' history, surely no one at the top of MB command can ignore those chats.


Hi Sebee, does this mean we will start hearing Seb to Mercedes rumours soon? The German Super team mark 2.

I think Ron is definitely a trouble maker and if Lewis is choosing to go down the path of showing interest elsewhere than he is a damn fool. Personally I don't think he is, I think Mercedes have calmed him down since Monaco and said it is a long championship, rebuild and regather. At the same time, Nico is doing everything right and is running a really intelligent campaign. I honestly can't predict a winner but I will say I think its Lewis 60/40 but I'm cheering for Nico.

What are your thoughts on Seb's future? Do you think he is getting frustrated at Red Bull and will look elsewhere? I can't believe his luck this year and I wish Renault were allowed to do something with that engine.

On another note, if I was Ron I would approach Bianchi or Grojean rather than Hamilton. Or better yet, allow Magnussen to develop, look at how Bottas is repaying Williams' faith. But McLaren has the current philosophy of if it's not working then fire those deemed responsible. Perez and Whitmarsh suffered this fate and I think any sporting organisation that adopts this method tends to have a more negative enviornment surrounding it. Ron's also playing a dangerous game trying to attract a superstar because if it fails then potential sponsors will lose confidence and board members will demand reasons why.


One thing that will attract younger fans to not just F1 but to all aspects of motorsport is great racing, aalowing drivers to race flat out for a full race distance and drivers showing their skill in handling cars right at the limit.

Also there needs to be greater access, though in terms of F1 the FIA has already shot itself in the foot by selliing the rights to FOM for the 100 year contract, so they may well be limited in how much influence they have to persuade FOM to make FOM more open.

Definately think F1 needs to engage more in terms of online & social media (perhaps an official youtube channel), maybe even looking at providing greater access at Grand Prix for fans (not a fan of NASCAR but F1 could learn lessons from NASCAR in this area), offering free tickets to school groups or junior motorsport clubs etc.

the prospect of the FIA working together with polyphony is exciting - I remember a few years back the grand turismo franchise had a special online event where players got to challenge david coulthard driving an SLS merc around the top gear track in a live environment, if the FIA is able to something similar it will attract many new fans to motorsport


I done some research on the details of the Polyphony deal. Sadly its nowhere near as promising as we've read into it 🙁

The deal is only a Badge of Approval from the FIA to Polyphony on 4 tracks that are put in PolyPhony's Gran Turismo 6. There is no partnership beyond digital race track verification of which only 4 tracks ingame have the FIA stamp.

Its not going to bring any new games, features or events associated. The relationship might be a stepping stone to that in the future. But im massively disapointed as this kind of press release has been made in the past and never delivered or built on.

Getting anything other than an FIA sticker on Gran Turismo 6 cover is extremely wishful thinking.


Ride the wave.

"Ecclestones" just managed the natural bubble of technology-advertisement-economic growth. They are not guilty for that, they were managers. Maybe till the limit.. but trying was not a surprise then so regular managers still.

Anyway, that period is fading as it is happening everywhere, that's not more a news.

Maybe more than to adapt it is needed a reinvention, changing focus to actual focus.

For example, about TV advertising:

I think experts are not contextualizing, they are not using the extreme possibilities of the data actually available for them, it seems they do not even see it.

Today a lot of adv seen on F1 broadcasting are still totally apart from what a person is living and seeing. They loose here.

The adv is disturbing, a lot, bcs it is not lived like a "pause" like when seeing a film... And not only, the film stops when on adv pause. Alonso do not stop for that.

At the same time now we are used to choose, we do not resist so much anymore but we try to find the next, the better.

So I'm not an expert and not payed for doing marketing things, it's just my opinion that they are mismatching and using the same rules and concepts form last recent years maybe makes you slightly blind...

Instead of innovating.

The future is no more about something happening on next decade, the future in this years is monthly innovation. So exciting to live now!


I think Stef is going to be at the forefront of this new American team


Such a misleading title for this article James. When you say " SD breaks his silence" , it is automatically implied that it is regarding his exit or at-least regarding Ferrari. This is hardly the reality, he is speaking at a forum - this is technically breaking the silence, but you are misleading people to increase clicks. So sad !


I am a young f1 fan and I got interested in it just before the 2012 season started. This was because of Kimi's memorable appearance on Top Gear. His personality went against the whole idea of f1 apparently being "boring".

What it needs is more characters with whom viewers can connect with and want to be like.

The Rosberg vs Hamilton rivalry could be played out better the media. I am not a fan of either but their rivalry and tension off the track has me hooked.

And finally, the whole Sky vs BBC thing is pointless. But everyone has pointed that out.


Did I call it or what? Now that Honda is arriving, it's so much easier for an engine manufacturer to exit. And so here is Renault, burning money, supplying teams who have no funds to begin with and teams that due to the Renault engine issues are not performing well and thus will have even less money in 2015 as they are passed by MB teams. Add to this the beating Renault is taking image wise and what have we go? That's right...time for Renault to take a pause from F1 for 5 to 10 seasons.

Will Red Bull become a team with full control of every element? This DM guy...I'm telling you, he's slowing going to take over F1. 2 teams, track, now engines...seriously.

And can you imagine a day when Mercedes Benz...MERCEDES BENZ...with all it's history and achievements is being beaten by a Red Bull car with a Red Bull engine with all the "automotive history" a can of Red Bull has? And how about Ferrari? Can you imagine Ferrari beaten by Red Bull engine and chassis? What type of a message does that send to the market place? A can of Red Bull is faster than a $250K car! I am so going to laugh, and oh so hard if and when that becomes reality. I PROMISE all of you, when a car running Red Bull power wins a GP, I'm finally going to drink a can of Red Bull!


Infiniti does have some investment into this association. Wonder if they would toss in a discount on the sale to RBR to keep the Infiniti branding on the engines? Could teams then go to car manufacturers and get money to brand the engines? Or would Lotus be Red Bull powered?

Is this the old Mechachrome facility by the way? Anyone know? Is it a seperate and stand-alone asset or somehow integrated into Renault factories? Just wondering how easy it would be for Renault to cut and sell.


Main reason why I don't watch F1 is that it's on paid channel in USA. I saw Monaco, which was on NBC. Also, don't block clips on youtube. If Massa crashes with Perez, I want to see it! If you keep blocking other users, at least post this on your F1 channel, have ads, and I will watch it. Crazy Bernie can't look long run because he has only few years left and he things only money now for him. Sad.


No one is going to locally inveset much into a proper F1 experience online. They buy the feed and pass it through many

FOM should build the backend feed that's uniform world wide and can be served anywhere. Networks who buy TV rights locally could be gate keepers via subscriber access or pay per race or pay per season access. That way I could log into NBCSN and have NBCSN can charge me $2 to watch this GP online or I enter my NBCSN subscription code from my bill. Then, after passing that gate I'm into the FOM serverers who feed me the race in rich content format, with angle and onboard choices if I so wish, with James Allen calling the race, or with nothing but lame engine sound if that is what I wish to see. This way Networks don't have to make additional investment into streaming races without assurance of ROI - and likely in this day and age of TV, they won't be making that investment - so it's up to FOM to serve them up not only the feed, but ability to stream at no additional cost. FOM could also offer direct subscriptions.

How hard would this be? Not hard at all considering FOM already does the production at races anyway. In fact, I'm sure something like I describe is likely in the works already. Well, I hope.


Other posters have already covered some of the things I would have probably said, so I'll talk about another aspect.

Correct me if I'm wrong on this, but sports like football and basketball have fundamentally been the same throughout their history, haven't they? Ball and boot technology have improved. Sports science has improved, materials and methods have change, but the rules of the game and objective remain the same. Anyone can buy a football and then start playing on some open field with 21 others to really get what it's like.

Cricket has also remained largely the same, though playing it properly requires much more investment: helmet, bat, gloves, abdominal guard, arm guard, pads, spikes. Still, tennis ball and bat combo works well for most to enjoy this game.

Coming to Formula 1, there's nothing stable and sustainable in the sport that will attract an eager, younger crowd. Carting championships aren't available everywhere, not to mention the expenses that keep on rising beyond that level. The only way any youngster will get motor sport is if the kid can afford to go watch racing as an alternative leisure pastime on Sundays. Some kids naturally like motor sport for one reason or another. Some get drawn to it through multiplayer computer games. Some are drawn to support their fellow countryman. Some may start watching out of peer pressure.

Let's say that a healthy number of youngsters have taken to F1. These youngsters will lose interest if the rules and objective of the sport change constantly like it's happening now. Why watch a sport that used to be about flat-out racing for 60-80% of the race, which then turns to flat-out racing for 5 laps and management for the rest. Even F1 drivers have to get used to the increasing number of buttons and dials on their steering wheel.

Imagine if all the goals in football were being scored by AI boots, rather than the talent of the player. What if the goal post became wider one year, then shorter another year. Why watch it? Super Mario will be more interesting, because you're in full control, not some governing body. Youngsters like being in the thick of things and in control of the things that they see, do and enjoy. This is where TV fails, because you can't control its content or schedule. Youtube becomes a far better alternative.

F1 is getting more technical by the day. Some of this is due to technological advancements. Some of it is due to governing body imposed restrictions and variable technical regulations. Is F1 a competition for technological excellence. Is it a sport? Is it show business? Is it an environmental strategy? Is it a sport for the purists? Is it a sport for youngsters? Do you need technical knowledge to understand it?

You can't have all of that and still hope to get youngsters hooked to F1, while retaining the aging demographic of F1 fans and purists. Something has to give, and my thinking is that the FIA's control over almost everything in the sport has to cede. Make sporting rules, but keep the technical regulations to a minimum, so that we can go racing, innovations are honored and drivers' skills can shine. 2014 F1 is like flying a Eurofighter Typhoon. The pilot has very little to do on the flying side, more so on the strategy side of what to do in case of a fight. Turn the clock back and real ace pilots were known and celebrated for their dog fight skills. Not anymore. Same goes for F1 of today.

By trying to make this sport appealing to everyone, the FIA has turned it into a white elephant. The purists aren't happy. The old fans aren't happy. The teams aren't happy. The show is fake, and even the tinkering hasn't gotten the youngsters hooked. Most importantly, the relative competitiveness of the teams haven't changed at the top. RB for 4 years. It'll be Mercs for another 2-5 years. The key is the FIA largely leaving everything down to the teams and drivers, and let's go racing. It's a highly technical sport. It's not pizza that everyone's supposed to get and like. Have a clear psychographic in mind, and work to keep it largely a sport appreciated by fans. As all have pointed out, make the broadcasts free. Things will even out on its own.


FIA are like any bunch of bureaucrats or politicians .. they will never admit they're wrong, they will never give up any of their power, and will simply watch it all collapse whilst they impose more and more rules, regulations and taxes. (oops, did I say taxes, I thought I was writing about the European Commission for a minute)


I suppose the matter concerns motorsports in general. Younger generations have very different tastes and hobbies, they practice several sports, several of them quite hard. They are not interested about sitting in a sofa watching sportscars going round and round.

In my opinion it's not about the quality of the show. It's just about a lack of interest. They are different


Hi James,

The very first thing F1 needs to do is make the cars more appealing to look at....

The FIA should go look at the new F4 cars . Some of the best looking open wheelers and exactly what f1 cars should look like. Theyd definitely be a winner on most front's

secondly the noise of the cars must be apart of this series.....if that means they have to go back to bigger fuel tanks with the ers technology than so be it.


The FIA created the new F4 cars!! It is their concept. Gerhard Berger is in charge

F4, F3, F2, F1 as a cheaper pathway to the top.


Well then Gerherd berger should help bloody well design the next gen of F1 cars lol...

Honestly i see no reason why F1 cars cant look like the F4 cars...less untidy winglets on the front etc all over the cars disrupting airflows etc , clean and good looking....makes sense then to have that progression all the way thru , in my opinion anyway.

i also hope the FIA look at and ratify for 2015 a min 2 sec step between the hard and soft options with a minimum period to be raced on the softs to stop runners doing 5 laps or less and coming in ....maybe a minimum of 15 laps and those who push too hard will have tyres starting to go by lap 10. would i think help open up more strategies especially if those outside top 10 start on hards first.

At the end of the day ., regardless of the formula no one wants to see a procession of cars spread out over the track with only 3-4 ever fighting for the series. Its diffucult with all the interests here but if somehow they could find a way to have the whole field be within 1 - 2 secs at best for each qualifying then we would see some amazing fights all the way thru. i know im dreaming now lol...

thanks your work.


The one thing I have always found odd about F1 over other sports is the fact that the teams get a say in how the sport is run.

It's not like Football teams can dictate to FIFA what to do, or the Cricket teams tell their governing body how it will work etc..

The reality is that if you are in a competitive industry then you will seek to ensure you get the best for your team and that others are at a disadvantage, the whole thing is set up to fail.

It needs someone with the power to crack a few heads, lay down the law and not be held to account by the teams or it won't change, the ones with power will be the ones who decide where it goes for their interests and the fans will stop watching.


If they go very far down the road of attracting "the youth", you can kiss the sport goodbye. Kids have the attention span of about a minute these days, and they are very fickle. A 2 hour race to that lot is like a lifetime. You'll end up with 10 minutes sprints, tops.

Even then, they'll tune in and out from time to time always looking for the next best thing and F1 will be left forever dicking with 'the product' trying to entice them to stay.

forget about it. game over.


1. TV coverage on free view, could be much less studio show which would lower TV companies costs. If it has to stay as paid channel then people shouldn't be forced to buy 50 quid channel package but only F1 channel + why on earth it's not possiblr to subscribe only for online qualy and race coverage for some 5 quids per race?? You know how many youth has only a PC without telly??

2. Lower GP ticket prices??

I know many average earning young men who would enjoy F1 live for sure but everyone says it's not worth spending 500-1000 quids for the weekend (travel, hotels and tickets).


F1 looks too much more as business then a sport. The interests of the companies come always first. The pilots can not even say what they think anymore. It is far away from the fans. The revolution will be done by the young people. No way a bunch of 50+ year old managers to do it.

David in Sydney

If you become World Champion nobody sees it, are you really World Champion..?

How many fans world wide? 1B? 500M? 100M? How many will pay $5 per race to watch it live on their phone or tablet, with choice of in car footage for each driver, live timing, interviews, etc. How many will pay $10 per race?

How much of that would be direct income to the FIA, the teams, the rights holders each year - $10B? $40B? Surely that's more then enough money? And just imagine if it allowed you to insist on free entry to every race?

A sport for sport and the fans sake. That is all.


time for a breakaway series I think.

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