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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think? Leave your comment below

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1

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

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

2
roberto marquez

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

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

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

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

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

Do something or you wil lose another fan.

3

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

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

4

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

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

5

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

6

Mass appeal needs two key things which lead to a third requirement:

– free TV

– better and cheaper access at races ( take Silverstone, there used to be pit lane walkabouts and bus rides round the circuit, now there is a longer track ( less laps), a grandstand where you can’t see into the pits and no Kangaroo TV. After many years of regular attendance we have stooped going.

F1 needs to reduce its own costs to prevent pricing itself out of its own market, more standard parts, smaller number of pit crew, make some things the same for everyone, this has worked in BTCC and the fan base both at the tracks and on TV is growing. A better App would also help.

7

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

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

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

8

My solutions:

1. Make the cars look sexy enough that you want to put pictures of them up on your wall,

2. Make the cars sound like race cars, especially for those that spend money to see them live,

3. Race on exciting tracks, no more sterile Tilke-o-dromes. The new tracks seem to dull the sense of speed,

4. Free to air coverage of the races, extra content available on pay TV or subscription streaming,

5. Begin a tyre war but limit the number of compound changes per season to about 5,

6. Fat sticky race tyres and way less aero,

7. Stop all car to pit wall telemetry including radio comms except for race direction-car comms,

8. Stop televising the post race pre podium thing. It’s the most awkward few minutes of TV ever,

9. Bring back some class to the post race celebrations. Less sponsors on the podium and real flags,

10. No more gimmicky, awkward post race interviews. Nothing wrong with the old style (motogp way),

11. More powerful ers and no more drs,

12. No cheap gimmicks. Double points, fake sparks etc. make a mockery of the sport,

13. If we keep a fuel limit make all the cars start with a specified amount. Maybe we will start to see drivers pushing hard to burn fuel instead of not pushing to save it,

14. Why do the cars have such ugly camera mountings? Incorporate them into the bodywork,

15. Let the cars go faster, the sport has lost it’s sense of danger,

9

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

10
Kieran Donnelly

Some ideas:

Reduce aero – it makes real racing too difficult

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11

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

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

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

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

12

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

13

1. improve the experience for fans u already have:

a) all this talk of the web e.t.c is useless if the tracks cant keep a financial equilibrium year on year.

b) ticket prices: simply put they ridiculously expensive for what u get. nobody gets anywhere near the track or drivers – might as well watch from home.

c) and it’s got worse over the years – places like silverstone have spent all their money (at bernie insistance) on improving VIP access – i.e the pit lane and pit complex is now shiney and new (millions of investment) but the fans are now even further from the action (which now all takes place on the inside of the track) with no hope of interacting with cars drivers e.t.c

2. racing:

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

3. cost:

a) cost: get rid of all the live data interpretation going on. having a control room in another country feeding info back is simply ridiculous. prep your car before the weekend and deal with your data interpretation after sessions or after races.

b) perhaps a limit on personnel a team can have – i.e no more than 200 employess/contractors or something like that. i’m sure this needs fiddling to work as an idea but i like the concept of tending towards the big teams earning their rewards by having a better development team. not a larger one.

14

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

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

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

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

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

15

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

16

I started following f1 after Senna was killed as I was fascinated by the concept of people putting themselves in such danger. I don’t wish any harm on anyone but the fact of the matter is that the sport is no longer dangerous and that in itself takes away a lot of the appeal.

Also, if they want more audiences they have to make it more accessible. Why can we not simply buy to watch it online?

17

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

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

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

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

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

So, make F1 accessible either by live streaming on the internet as an alternative to pay TV

Simplify the regulations.

Allow in season power plant development to get closer to parity. Surely the FIA can bench test power units?? Any power unit outside a 1% window of the most powerful one should be allowed to be upgraded during the season. These are basics and easy to implement.

Oh and a final thought, get rid of double points and the crazy idea of more standing starts after a safety car. If that’s such a great idea, why not revert to old fashioned Lemans type starts- sprint to your car and drive off! Great Spectacle and dangerous!

I can live with KERS and DRS and the grunt sound of the current power units. A relatively easy fix in the interim would be more safety cars to bunch up the pack, even though its a bit artificial and rewards the slow, but adds to the excitement. But its not a solution!

18

For me it is pay TV that kills the ratings, and I would have though it would be blindingly obvious that it would inevitably do so. I do not watch much TV so do not have Sky so I don’t watch as many races as I did because they are not broadcast. It is as simple as that.

I quite like the new rules.

The power units are brilliantly clever bits of technology, which is what F1 has always been about for me, and harder tyres and less downforce has made finding and keeping to the limit much more difficult.

I think it is a better test of both man and machine than last year.

A new set of rules always spreads the field as the clever ones do a better job and the others have to catch up. Nowt new there.

19

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

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

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

20

The multitudinous comments from all the correspondents would give a normal organisation enough clues on how to fix their problems.

A major issue to me however that I never see discussed is that 100% of the teams must agree before change is ratified, hence vested interests get to work on bullying the small teams to agree to something, or alternatively potentially good ideas do not progress because unanimity is not forthcoming.

Surely the constitution must change so that an idea can be implemented if say 60% of the teams agree. For goodness sake governments that run countries are elected on lower majorities than that, so why is F1 more precious than the future of a country?

21

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

22

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

23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24

with small updates to the games outdated graphics engine*

25

At last a chance to comment; thank you James.

I agree F1 has lost its appeal and an important part of it is the sound of the cars. The muted sound is a like a metaphor for its relative dullness.

Patrick Head’s recent comments refer which didn’t elicit a direct comment from this excellent site. He felt F1 has sacrificed it soul for efficiency and allowed engineers to determine the direction of the sport. Indeed in addition to the muted sound drivers cannot push their cars due to fuel and tyre wear restrictions. All this has come at great cost to the teams according to Patrick Head. Even if he has retired from F1, he will still retain a deep feel for the sport and he was an engineer.

One has to wonder if indeed Renault and Merc have hijacked the direction of the sport so as to use F1 as a R & D vehicle to help sell their mass produced cars.

I reflect on how I became interested and a passionate follower of the sport albeit a disappointed one at present. The name Stirling Moss was on everyone’s lips in those days including the coppers if they stopped one for speeding! The famous Motor Sport magazine to which my father subscribed in far off Rhodesia was our main source of news. Dennis Jenkinson’s was its principle F1 correspondent until Alan Henry came along. DSJ was passionate about the sport and one of the things that aroused that passion was the sound of the cars. I can relate to that – the one and only GP I have ever attended was the 1992 SA GP which Mansell won. On approaching the track in a bus the sound of the cars doing some warm up laps was the greatest thrill even if I was by then a mature person. So sound does play a big part.

The names of the drivers also played a big part and no sooner than Stirling Moss left the scene after his accident then everyone was talking about Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Dan Guerney. Interestingly the drivers themselves wouldn’t have been actively pushing their names out there; it was their achievements on the track that everyone admired and spoke of. They were doing things that us lesser mortals could only dream of – driving very fast in fairly powerful F1 cars around tight tracks (with no sandpits and barriers) with great skill as they raced each other.

As to how the fix the current situation – first everyone has to agree what is wrong and then one can address it. However, unquestionably the appeal of the spectacle has diminished. Whereas us lesser mortals do desire a car that is fuel efficient and wears its tyres well, do we honestly desire all the associated complexity? I wonder sometimes.

However as far as F1 is concerned like the movies we watch SPORT is a form of escapism and F1 no longer offers us that spectacle as a sport that is a form of escapism. F1 is so complicated with rules and restrictions (which have increased the cost as well), one has to wonder how we the fan is honestly able to follow it. Sure the electronics are able to unravel the cars’ progress as the enforced pitstops take place. In truth a pitstop should be there only if the driver needs to replace a punctured tyre or put on wets if the conditions change. However now it is an enforced measure to increase the spectacle in the opinion of the FIA. However, to me it is about the driver on the track not about the amazing team of wheel change specialists AKA as the engineers. If they mess up a wheel change the driver suffers which to me is wrong. If they release a car into the path of another then the driver suffers etc.

I think LM is correct in what he says and a number of persons have been saying this for a while – Flavio Briatore to name one. Even if he muddied his name his insight was keen and his opinion valid. Even before that I recall Jacques Villeneuve was calling for F1 cars to have greater mechanical traction and less aerodynamic measures in their design. Sadly they have been branded heretics yet they spoke the truth.

Finally, it has to be remembered that F1 is competing with many other sports for the interest of the young fan. BE was quick off the mark in that regard which is why the sport is so big today. But every other sport is there as well when we turn on the TV. I don’t believe it is the drivers who need to push themselves out there; rather let their achievements on the track speak for themselves. F1 must be simplified, return to the spectacle of the past and let the drivers race each other. Perhaps if F1 wasn’t so complicated it wouldn’t be so expensive and that is another way at looking at the cost aspect.

Thank you James.

26

At last a chance to comment; thank you James.

I agree F1 has lost its appeal and an important part of it is the sound of the cars. Patrick Head’s recent comments refer which didn’t elicit a comment from this excellent site. He felt F1 had sacrificed its soul for efficiency and allowed engineers to determine the direction of the sport. Indeed the cars are muted in their sound and drivers cannot push their cars because of the numerous restrictions like fuel and tyre wear. One has to wonder if indeed Renault and Merc have hijacked the direction of the sport and using F1 as a R & D vehicle to sell their mass produced cars. By refusing to stay in the sport unless Renault could develop the power units we have today is proof of that very agenda. Therefore Patrick Head is correct. Even if he has retired from the sport he will still retain a deep feel for the sport and ironically he is an engineer!

I reflect on how I became interested and became a passionate follower of the sport, albeit a disappointed one at present. Living in then Rhodesia my father subscribed to Motor Sport. The name Stirling Moss was on everyone’s lips even on the coppers’ if they stopped one for speeding! Denis Jenkinson’s articles were full of passion and insight; to him the SOUND of the cars was an

As to fixes – the sport has to remember people associate a mega spectacle with

27

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

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

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

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

28

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

29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30

I disagree. BE made the sport much more accessible through TV. I recall the mid-80s when I first started to watch F1 on TV in South Africa and for nothing. That continues here in Australia albeit punctuated with many adverts and difficult times to watch because of the time zone differences. And, I listen to an expert in the form of Alan Jones to boot..

Where BE has gone wrong is that he has demanded too much money now and this has forced even the BBC to review how it screens F1. Also Sky offers very feature under the sun to the viewer to enhance the experience and so it is no wonder Sky charges for the access.

In truth we have always paid for access ever since we bought a magazine in the 60s and 70s. It was the mass media that made it so freely available and they are being forced to review that and themselves make more money from the F1 spectacle, or what’s left of it.

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