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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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

time for a breakaway series I think.

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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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…


james…love your work.


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


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)


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.


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.


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.


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


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!


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.


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.


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.



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.

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.


“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.


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.


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…).


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!

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