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Is F1 losing its buzz? Niki Lauda offers answer to sparse German crowd puzzle
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  19 Jul 2014   |  10:39 pm GMT  |  297 comments

Today at Hockenheim less than 50,000 Formula One fans are expected to turn up to see Nico Rosberg start his and the Mercedes team’s home race from pole position.

That is 35,000 less than watched the Friday Free Practice sessions at Silverstone two weeks ago.

Yesterday, an even more sparse crowd took their places to see their home racer take his fifth pole of the year in a field which also contains a German four time world champion. And Friday’s crowd was more like that seen at races in F1 unfriendly outposts such as Korea in recent years.

On Friday afternoon the situation led Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to brand the poor turnout as “not satisfying”.

“If you compare Hockenheim Friday to Friday at Silverstone and Friday in Austria it’s a different world and we have to understand why that is,” he said comparing the poor figures forecast for race day in Germany to Silverstone’s full house of over 120,000 a fortnight ago.

“We have to analyse the phenomenon,” he added. “If the weekend continues like it does now, we need to think about it.”

Wolff’s Mercedes colleague Niki Lauda yesterday went a step further, however, blaming the low crowd numbers on Formula One’s failure to embrace new media.

“Formula one is seeing a serious cultural change,” the Mercedes non-executive director told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper. “The audience wants to watch sport in a different way than before, due to the rapid growth of the new means of communication.

“It is logical that the young people of today have other priorities,” he added. “Everything in the world is changing, but only Formula 1 is staying where it was.” Lauda went on to target Formula !’s broadcast and that model’s resistance to new media as a key issue.

While other sports have embraced online platforms, including live streaming, video on demand services and the free availability of broadcast material across web channels such as YouTube, Formula One has remained resistant, with commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone seeing no way to monetise such content. For Lauda that lack of access is contributing to the sport losing fans.

“Young people do not want to stay at home on Sunday when the sun is shining to sit in the lounge with their father for two hours,” he said. “The problem is that today, there is no alternative. You can’t just sit on the beach and watch the race highlights on your smartphone.”

F1 drivers

The loss of fans due to lack of access to content was just one thread of Lauda’s argument, with the three-time champion also targeting the sport’s controlling attitude to its stars,

“We have a generation of drivers that, if they were not wearing their racing overalls, you would simply walk past some of them and not notice,” he said. “The ‘formula one system’ is to supervise, monitor, regulate. But we must again have the drivers, not the bureaucrats, in the foreground.

“If we continue like this, no one will be bothered about formula one anymore. It’s five minutes to twelve,” he concluded.

Those opposed to Lauda’s arguments might point to the huge crowds present at the three preceding races; Montreal, Silverstone and at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, where capacity crowds saw exciting racing throughout.

It should also be pointed out that the crowd forecast for Hockenheim this year, while a fall on the circuit’s recent appearances on the calendar, are in line with the circuit’s popularity or lack of it since the heady days of the Schumacher era. Indeed, when the Baden-Württemberg track last hosted F1 in 2012 it’s race day crowd was put at a disappointing 59,500. This is not sustainable financially.

The reasons, then, are not simple and cover a multitude of bases – from poor accessability and lack of personality, to the complex nature of the sport and undoubtedly to ticket pricing.

The cheapest grandstand ticket available for Hockenheim was this year priced at €99, while a weekend adult Category 1 ticket, granting accessa to the upper deck of the Motodrom section weighed in at an eye-watering €515. Even a race day only adult ticket for the Motodrom section cost €279, though the tickets do give you access to general admission areas as well. Three-day tickets at this year’s US Grand Prix range in price from $180-$1035. However, there, the race is largely sold out.

That translates to £220 or $377. According to figures compiled by the BBC in 2013, a face value ticket for Champions League Final came in at £60 (€75/$102), while a ticket for the British round of the MotoGP championship was £70 (€88/$119). Even an comparatively expensive sports event, the Wimbledon Men’s Final, had a 2013 face value ticket price of £130 (€164/$222). The discrepancy is clear.

Lauda’s warning of F1 being at “five minutes to 12 o’clock” might be sensationalist but the message is clear: F1 needs to change how it positions itself. Whether it can do that in time to secure its next generation of fans remains to be seen.



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Sorry I won't spend any money on cars that are more quiet then my lawnmower. And then there is the stupid 50 points final race thing. With that in place no money from my pocket will go to Mr. E.


[mod] The new cars are certainly quieter than before but they still sound pretty cool - and certainly better than any lawnmower I've ever heard of.


I did not say they sound worse than my lawnmower, I said they are quieter. I saw a measurement on TV where the noise level was measured at 97db. My lawnmower has 101db.


I totally agree.


I agree. Previously, one can only experience the thundering high note sound of F1 at the circuit as TV broadcast couldn't convey the body-shaking high note. Now there is nothing to be gained to sit in the stands.

With double points in the last race, the earlier races lose their importance. No wonder F1 is losing attendance and viewers in these races. It is stupid to save interest in the last race while killing those for the earlier races.


I'm not a fan of double points at all, but if your thought process really is "I was going to go to Hockenheim but there's going to be a double points race in 5 month's time so I'm not going to go" then I genuinely don't know what to say...


Not one off random people no. There's no evidence that crowds at the German GP were significantly affected by double points, as pointed out elsewhere we've just come off the back of three sell-out GPs, and crowds at Hockenheim were rock bottom when we were here two years ago.


You don't see that some fans see their home race as 1/2 as important now?


I would pay double, however, to be able to take my young son and daughter to a race w/o having to worry as much about their hearing being destroyed now thanks to the amazingly-advanced hybrid power units, unlike how things had been for years and years w/ the dinosaur-like V8, V10, and V12 engines...


You shouldn't be taking your kids to a race anyway unless you want to teach them how to speed and crash...


Why does everyone keep calling n/a v8 engines, and those that quite liked the idea of racing cars to be loud and exciting as dinosaurs, the turbocharger is very old technology as is harvesting power from braking, electric lift trucks have had this for quite a few years, so please stop calling the old stuff as dinosaurs whilst pretending the new generation of F1 cars as ground breaking

Whilst the sport wont listen to the fans, i guess they should listen to Toto & Niki, if the sport does not keep getting the younger generation of fans, it wont matter how loud or quiet the cars are.


"Sorry I won’t spend any money on cars that are more quiet then my lawnmower. And then there is the stupid 50 points final race thing."

Finally someone says something original and helpful. *rolls eyes*

But seriously, perhaps comments such as this clearly illustrate the fact that many of F1's core fans are getting older and many of them seem to be stuck in the past with a reactionary attitude towards change. How is it that F1 can claim to be the most technologically advanced sport in the world, and yet at the same time there is so much resistance among its fanbase to new technologies that do not look or sound like those that will always inevitably be replaced?

In my opinion, this paradox is one of the key issues F1 has to address. Does it attempt to hang on to fans who clearly wish it would remain 1976 forever (or take your pick of whatever golden era of extremely loud, stinky, inefficient cars you prefer)...

Or does it consciously move on and risk alienating the old fans while attempting to attract the latest generations of extreme sports fans that are not so concerned with how machines look or sound (the relative silence and inconspicuousness of snowboards, skateboards and mountainbikes comes to mind), and instead are almost entirely focused on the bravery and skill of the athletes, and the overall quality of the show?


I think that TV viewership figures prove that the audience for mountain bike runs (I participate in those myself) prove that the're hardly spectator sports. Skateboards and snowboards attract their adherents and not the general public, but fast cars driven on the edge is what makes up the massive number F1 afficionados and they're having to put up with cars getting slower not faster. Domination by a single motor manufacturer to the detriment of all others. Drivers told to slow down because they are using fuel faster than the rules allow; Ticket pricing that's become unaffordable, The Indycar series is alive and well and getting bigger every year - that tells a whole story of missed opportunities, greed and an inability to make tough decisions to drive the sport forward. The way things are going it wont be long before we have a grid of 10 cars...


You are missing the point (and the greater paradox, but more about that further on): how, for instance, blatant pandering to Puto Putin, or final-race double-point rewards fit into 'new technologies' you mention? Or, for that matter, how does it fit into 'Walking Dead' multi-billionaire dinosaur Ecclestone's own repeated claim that F1 is a sport, and as such, does not get involved in international or local politic? In fact, why is a corrupt, possibly psychotic, likely sociopathic living mummy who clearly doesn't give a French toss about teams in the F1 roster failing while he continues to rake in more than his fair share in personal profits... but I digress slightly - why is he allowed to steer the ship still, like a dictatorial ogre? (Yes, I'm aware I just referred to that old git as zombie, dinosaur, mummy, psych- and sociopath, crooked, dictatorial ogre... not to mention an old git. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Oh well, he's got plenty to kiss his wrinkled, paradoxically both retentive-tight yet leaky-incontinent arse willingly, even eagerly - they'll kiss his ego better while at it at every occasion they get, both in the media and in private.)

As for the greater paradox I alluded to: how is it that F1 being the proponent of the new technologies you righteously mentioned, you missed the irony of that greater paradox of it being so backward about... well, likewise 'new technologies' as they apply to marketing, distribution, accessibility, general dissemination by way of the new media outlets, new consumer platforms, worldwide distribution models?

Niki Lauda is no spring chicken, but clearly, no mummified husk either, his mind's still sharp and current, and he gets it - unlike 'good old' Bernie, haunting FIA's halls for what seems like eternity and beyond by now, shuffling by like a dessicated, half-mummified vampire looking to suck another group dry while F1's teams are drained of blood, then unavoidable fold. At which point, he'll accuse them of having been greedy and in the same breath demands, claims, and defends a bigger cut for himself and his favoured bedfellows, courtiers, courtesans, and sycophants. But hey: 'Bernie says don't drink and drive,' and that blatant self-promotion means he must be a right good chap. Right? Vapidly, embarrassingly obvious charlatan, those cheap little CGI stunts, along with his political ones, paint him as not only rapacious and increasingly damaging the sport of F1, but as a dimwitted imbecile oblivious to the changing realities and trends of a changing world. Well, I guess even a well-embalmed mummy can have senility catch up to him, no matter how well preserved and how seemingly alive.

There's a distinct sense of foreboding, no matter how many ostriches (or emus) choose to bury their heads into the sand... And it changes nothing that Bernie Boy dismisses everything and anyone and 'poo-poos' all concerns, and calls the day night and deepest dusk a bright new dawn, or decrees that the sky is henceforth green and the grass blue as well-aged varicose veins...

Bloody hell, will compassionate but compulsory euthanasia turn out the only way to get rid of this blasted vampire and increasingly greed-consumed hungry blithe plaguing the new dawn and its young, fresh talent? Are these too temptingly tasty treats for Bernie to ever leave or wither into oblivion? All these living, lively, healthy bags of vampiric 'resource' with blood pumping strongly through their not yet withered hearts make Bernie's caraway seed-sized atrophied chest organ keep artificially alive?

Hell, Lauda is by no means young, but he's got a rational and fair mind, clearly is in touch with the real world - and still refers to F1 as a sport!

Now that alone is worth noting! He has my vote if he is willing to forsake any conflict of interest ties to Mercedes for the greater general good of Formula 1, the sport.

Because, increasingly, F1 is only referred to as business, or politics, with words like free market being bandied about - while the field and the viewership both shrink. No wonder teams are left to fail in pairs, now. What happened to this being primarily (!) a sport? Must everything be converted to a bank or a stock exchange? Into an accountants' sport? How exciting... No doubt it would be, for some.

High time for a change. Before it's too late. Before Bernie and his fraudulent, embezzling buddies take the sport out of F1 for good, before he drags the sport six feet too far far down and takes it with him to his grave - from which I almost expecting him to rise like a zombie anti-messiah, but who can tell for sure if F1 will be as fortunate? Or as popular, once zombified?

Hmm... then again, considering the trending craze for all things zombie... Well, certainly an interesting, if perhaps risky experiment, Zombie F1: defunct teams, dead dreams, undead racers... A new dawn indeed, so it would be: dawn of the dead.

Clarkson would approve, I think. Enthusiastically so.

Never mind, then. I had my cathartic moment and liberating vitriolic discharge for the time being, so I feel fabulously free and suitably stoic once more. Carry on...


@Gman makes a good point: the growing number of races dilutes the relative importance of each one. I have been feeling that way without quite putting that nagging feeling into words. Also, desppite all the talk about inevitable growth and change and technology's influence, a race car still has to look and sound like a race car. Some parts of the evolution of the sport may be necessary, but that part of it can never change. The cars need to be awesome and breathtaking and a little scary...they have to match people's mental images, or they will disappoint. Listen to these F1 cars, look at the ungainly side pods on Indy cars: the casual fan just shrugs and thinks, well, maybe I don't know what's going on here. The emotional impact on the senses needs to be right.


Read something dead-on today by Villeneuve. He said F1 used to be an extreme sport. It no longer is. He's absolutely right. And if it is, it sure doesn't look like it is.


Very very good comment @ Marc V. To add a few words, F1 would be wrong to hang onto the past and Nikki Lauda is totally right in his assessment. As for Bernie Ecclestone who, along with the old guard of F1 fans, is doing everything to prevent the sport from getting rid of its outdated specs, he is becoming more of a problem.


Mark, you completely miss the point. This is not about old fans unable to cope with this brilliant new era. It's about the really bad idea that F1 is a 'show'; it is not, never was and all these gimmicks, like the incredibly imbecilic double points, are destroying the sport.

You evidently are too young to see the difference between a sport and a show.


Steve Zodiac....F1 2014 cars sound like a wet fart?!?!

I'm sorry, I just cannot argue against that graphic and universally understood description. Everyone in Mexico now knows what to expect in 2015 🙂


@Mark V

Excellent post the resistance to change amongst some fans.....sigh.

How I wish it was 1976 again ..... Never had a care in the world then


Ok, I got some excellent responses to an intentionally provocative post so thanks for all of them. Just to be clear, other than being unable to resist the temptation to poke fun at some of the most dyed-in-the-wool fans, I was not really attempting to make any arguments for or against F1's current, past or future incarnations. There is much about F1 that I too do not like but since I am a long time fan and will likely be one in the foreseeable future, I think those opinions are irrelevant to a discussion which is chiefly about F1's new fans.

I think everyone can at least agree that for any sport to survive, it needs to keep attracting new fans to replace those who have moved on, (whether by choice or not...). By most reports, F1is not doing that.

So my only argument will be this: as loyal fans we must try to imagine not what WE want to see from the sport now, nor where we want it to go in the future, because none of us will be around forever, and as a group we are already getting past the crucial marketing ages when sports fans willingly spend the largest amount of their income either on sport directly or on its sponsors' wares. So we must try to imagine what F1 must do to turn all those non-fans out there into loyal fans, and preferably they be YOUNG loyal fans as those are the ones who shell out the most of their disposable cash on sport. Like it or not, catering to the newbs has always been the way of keeping those F1 engines fuelled up with whatever the fuel du jour is, the difference being that in today's market, attracting new fans to F1is no longer like shooting fish in a barrel.


F1 needs to hang on to it's older fans as they are the die hards and will introduce their offspring to the sport (as parents do football) the problem here is that if you show you son or partner your beloved sport and say "get a load of this!" and then a car goes past sounding like a wet fart they just go "so what?". When I took my (younger than me ) partner to the Festival of speed a few years back she was blown away by the noise and then the F1 cars came it totally blew her mind! F1 don't blow your mind anymore. That and the loss of Free To Air coverage are the main things wrong today and adding silly contrived "excitement" ain't foolin' anybody Bernie. Fix it or sink.


In response to Phil, below, I have been following F1 since the 60s and I am amazed when people say that it is boreing! I remember there were races in the past with only 2 or 3 overtakes in the whole race and dices up and down the field was rare. These days with the developement in tv coverage, replays from a few different cameras, and expert commentary,etc., races (on tv anyway), are much more exciting/absorbing than in the past! Take the one just finished for example, heaps of exciting things were happening throughout the whole field I don't know why there seems to be a fall-off of interest currantly, but it may be related to all the electronic wizzardry being cramed/addaling into their brains that the younger generations just can't get interested/concentrate on motorsport. Who knows? but in my opinion any form of motorsport is way better than whtching some grown men playing with a ball!


Chad Stewarthill

Maybe I'm not typical then, but I'm old enough to have followed the careers of the likes of JYS and Hill senior and junior, as well as the current breed; but I can honestly say that I have not the least problem with the current engines. In fact I prefer them to the banshee screaming of the 18-19000 rpm V8's and the V10's that preceded them.

I'm not against change generally; every sport needs to evolve to survive. But some changes in F1, such as Abu Dhouble, have just been idiotic and give the impression that the FIA don't know or care much about genuine motor racing or its fans.


I wasn't even born in 1976... I like sensible change but I dislike throwing some of the essence of F1 over board. And the noise was one of the things that I thought justify the cost of an F1 ticket. This was not something tv could convey. I can see the Hockenheim Grandstand in the distance from my garden. I used to be able to hear the cars from my garden. So that was live advertising so to speak. This year I hear nothing! Regarding the 50 points rule, it is so silly and I have no real way to protest against it apart from not spending money on tickets. I had tickets for at least one race each of the last 5 years.


Gman, your story happens to many fans. Your experiences are same as many other F1 fans. That's F1s problem, the consumer becomes selectively interested thanks to age/experience. Or fades out completely.

May not be able to watch the race on the beach, but can spend 5 minutes to read about it on JAon1.


People are resilient to change, this is true. It takes time, but some things just do not work. The sound coming from F1 engines was always at the heart of these racing. You can get use to many things, but the lack of this powerful sound is something many people will not tolerate. People who started watching this year only will not know any better, so they will not be a problem.


Ummmmm, you do know that the cars are now slower than before, and not much quicker than GP2?? Haha! Is that your idea of an extreme sport? Last I checked, almost all young people like loud cars, burning rubber, loud music and attitude driven personalities. So unless you think that all people in the future will wear white clothes and be electronics engineers, I'd suggest you need to revisit your logic.

F1 needs to move with the times without loosing it's soul. We still lean about Shakespeare at school, but we do so with an iPad. We still listen to classical music, but we do so using Spotify. You get it now?

And if you like the direction of F1 and don't think there's anything to worry about, then why are so many key figures and well respected journalists discussing it?

Otherwise you can just switch over to watching Formula E from now on.


Ugh 'rolls eyes' at Mark V's comments. Instead of alienating the older fans like you suggest, maybe coming up with a viable solution to accommodate old and new fans would be an option. You also assume a lot. Who says new fans don't care about noise etc? F1's appeal is unique with its colour, glamour, danger and display of the gladiators. The noise is an attribute of the perceived danger and glamour regardless of your causal dismissal of it. The push back against the lack of noise is just one visible sign of the general unhappiness of fans that has been a trend for a while. The focus shouldn't be on the noise but overall why are fans unhappy. This is where the failure is - not listening to fans. Yes the social media is part of it but that's not all of it either. The over regulation is killing the sport too. One example : drivers being the ones penalized for every single error or failure like say a gearbox failure. I can't be the only one who practically gives up on expectations of a race when something like that happens. The FRIC issue is another. What sports body in their right mind yet again changes the rules midway through a season. Its beyond crazy. Combine this with the strange contradiction of 'cutting costs' yet implementing the most costly technical changes in F1 history and you can't help but practically give up on the sport.

For me, this is the first season Ive stopped watching F1 live and only grabbed the bighlights. I used to watch practice, qualy and the race live but not any more. I love F1 but its losing its appeal in multiple areas and the failure to listen to us fans is maybe the biggest mistake the sport is making.


This is definitely one of the quandaries that f1 faces. Appealing to the next generation of fans while not alienating the hardcore and committed legions, some of whom seem unwilling or unable to remove their rose-tinted glasses and accept the inevitibility of change.

Alas, the very people that were instrumental over the last few decades in building the business model that enabled F1 to become the global phenomenon it now is seem to be the ones most resistant to change.

When you look back on the truly great races of yesteryear is it really the sound of the engine, or the sparks on the track you remember; or is it the battles between the gladiators behind the wheel that got your pulse racing and your heart in your mouth?


Not all change is necessarily good; F1 is getting progressively more complex and becoming quite boring as a result.

Another big problem is the number of races, compounded by the last race double points fiasco. In the past when there were say 16 races each F1 race was a must watch event, as they all had a big effect on the championship result. Now I feel as if I can not watch a race as I won't miss much. And of course in terms of viewership the lack of free to air has had a big impact on myself watching.

Of course this is a complex, long term issue which has been discussed in some detail many times, but anecdotally I've gone from being a hardcore F1 fan of 20+ years who would never miss qualifying or a race, to now someone who doesn't watch qualifying and will now take or leave certain races.


The tickets are way too expensive. Even though seeing F1 live is obviously a unique experience, with those prices most people don't want to do it every year. Especially in a year that is heavily dominated by one team. Add to that that (another) team dominated the series for the past four years, so people's interest in F1 was in decline.


This is funny....could it be that truck engines sound better?


Elsewhere in Germany on Sunday, the Nurburgring hosted an event called the 'Truck Grand Prix'.

Watching the unwieldy trucks from the grandstands were about 100,000 excited spectators -- about twice the size of the crowd that gathered at Ho

Hockenheim for the 2014 German grand prix.


in this particular case, the domination wouldn't be an issue, as the team is precissely their own. I've read in some other forums that the tickets were astonishingly expensive, as the hotel or transportation in that area. that would be a good explanation. As for the tickets prices (wich i couldn't care any less, as i live more than 2500km away from the nearest GP), have the same explanation as the dire financial situation of many teams: too much money for Bernie, to little money for the rest



Do you honestly see F1 ever reducing ticket prices? I don't but unless they do crowds will continue to dwindle at most races.

No sport rips it's fans off like F1 does, saddens me to say that but it's losing touch with many and all the while the real people in power that matter continue to stick their heads in the sand.....they are taking the audience for granted at their peril.

If F1 loses it's European audience it will only then exist to be as a minority sport


This is why the world we live in is seriously backwards.

Celebrities, so called "Big Bro", Towie" celebrities, sports star, movie stars etc….. All pocket vast sums of money. These are the lucky few to be in that position, but it is the masses that pay for them.

Take The Open, who ever wins today will pocket £975,000. 15 years ago the winner got £350.00, and the ticket prices show this in the increase. So its the masses that are being ripped off so the select few can live like kings and queens.

Football is the same. TV money appears which increases the income to the larger clubs, wages go through the roof and the people that pay for this is the fan.

So F1 is no different. Why does Bernie charge so much for the tracks to be on the calendar? The model is basically rob the poor and give to the rich……..

But that is the world we live in,[mod].


Good point, unfortunately for us, living today, the solution is far, far ahead...The world has so many unsolved problems: diseases, getting information about upcoming natural disasters, etc. The financial issues of F1 (and other sports as well) have nothing to do with this list, much easier to solve, but still the chances of this happening are rather vague.

F1 does not want to change the model of spending the money it accumulates. It's just a "sell-buy" model without any other, let’s say, “responsibility aspects” involved . "Think before you drive"… and that's it. Of course, FIA organizes some events, but... What about the ratio between those ones who know what "F1" is and those who are able to decipher the abbreviation “FIA”? 1:100? I don’t know. I’m sure that FIA does a lot, but F1 should also be involved somehow, not just simply transferring the money to FIA’s account.


Fair point, but don't you feel they give entertainment to millions along the way?


Nick, Silverstone is way way more expensive to attend than Hockenheimring.

Please explain difference in attendance then!?

Not easy to do w/o proper research, right?


Yes Silverstone is a complete rip off and the most expensive event on the calendar.

Weekend ticket in Club Corner Stand- £380

Weekend Parking - £92

Fuel there and back - £100

Camping - £125

T-shirt - £70 (yes, like the ones you can get for £5 at Sports Direct, except with Ferrari/Mercedes on it)

Little ear radio - £10

Cup of Tea (Hot water, a tea bag and a sache of milk) - £2.50

Burger & chips from stand £10

I have been watching F1 for 30 years and that was my first and last time at Silverstone.

The event was horrid, the crowds were stupid, and you could only be told you couldn't go somewhere unless you paid extra.

I attend lots of club racing weekends at local circuits which is so much better because it's about the racing. Formula 1 is about a commercial enterprise and the whole Silverstone weekend left a bad taste in my mouth and my wallet nearly £800 lighter (That is four trackdays and the entire spend on all the club events I watch for the year including GT3s/BSB etc or a new ECU for my car!!)

Watching on the TV is so much better - all the action, commentary, good view, comfy chair etc and then after the race has finished absolutely no traffic jam to get stuck in!

And it costs about £800 less too!


Great comment.

Everyone else here seems to be missing the point:

Silverstone vs Hockenheimring

Maybe the Germans just aren't that excited about Nico.


Bigger pool of older F1 fans?


UK is still interested inF1 which is good, other European countries mainly Germany, Italy and France have had v.poor viewing figures all year which can't continue


Could it just be a cultural thing? The British are inherently disloyal, hence the demise of our motor industry whilst manufacturers like Fiat and Citroen have enjoyed enough business at home to keep afloat despite the questionable quality of their wares.

So, your typical British F1 fan may be following the sport with a passion for Ferrari as intense as any of the home grown Tifosi,,, Your typical German fan meanwhile, perhaps they jumped on the bandwagon when Schumi was winning everything with an interest in F1 that was much more transient.

Perhaps it's none of that. It could just be the politics and the constant "what's wrong with F1?" debate becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.


i find that quite offensive. I'm not european, as the majority of tv following the F1. and i think they're more up to me (tv follower) than up to you (race attending). Only common sense, in the last GP, how many people attended? over the weekend, 400000 people? Revenue form the FOM? -£20m .Ok, in football, take the Manchester United as an example: people attendence over a year: 1500000. Money they get from TV: £60.8m. That's the problem, i guess...

Christopher Cathles

Seems to me the ball's in Bernie's court - and talking of Courts...


No, not unless the business model is completely overhauled. Bernie charges the tracks 10's of millions of pounds to host races and keeps all the money from track side signage, forcing the promoters to charge huge prices on tickets to try and recoup some of the cost. F1 is in dire need of a complete overhaul but because it's owned and run by a bunch of [mod] that see the sport as a cash cow it'll never happen.

kenneth chapman

Just one week ago the moto GP held at sachsenring had 90,000 + in attendance! better pricing and wheel to wheel racing ....says it all really. keep talking niki.


agree totally - i'v been to both a few times and if u go to an F1 race and then try a motogp u may never go back to an f1 race again.

- prices are way cheaper
- trackside activities are much better (f1 basically has just got merchandising stands).
- the racing relies more heavily on the riders performance
- nobody is nursing riders from the pits or radio and telling them how to race
- riders themselves are far more engaging with fans (u actually see them over the course of a weekend).
- riders speak far more openly and freely and are allowed a personality.
- the whole event doesnt leave u feeling like you're constantly being policed by men in yellow bibs (this includes campsites)

Even though they are both corporate driven events: motogp feels like gladiators doing battle, whilst f1 feels like a bunch of companies doing battle.


It's weird how people say "Oh you can't watch F1 over the internet, you can't stream it live etc. etc." whereas in the UK both Networks (BBC & Sky) offer live streaming of all sessions that their showing, respectively... Do the German network's not offer this? I would be very surprised if RTL or Sky Sports in Germany do not include F1 as part of any standard online/on-demand options they may have... In the UK, I can certainly watch "Race Highlights at the beach..." I simply go to BBC iPlayer, and the highlights program will be on there for up to a week after broadcast, the same as any other program on the BBC... If RTL or Sky DE don't offer that, then they're at fault really, not F1...

I also fail to see the reasoning of "Well I can't watch highlights on YouTube so i'm never going to see it at the track. Surely the lack of highlights on YouTube would make fans want to visit the track more... to get closer to the action... If you have a choice of a comprehensive TV/online offering in a comfortable setting at home Vs. sitting in the grandstands in boiling hot weather 100 metres away from a giant screen at the track, which would you prefer? Probably the former...


I feel that due to the high quality of TV output, where you can watch the whole race and have access to the red button for more camera angles, different commentary and replays etc, less fans will travel to a Grand Prix and watch just one corner where you have to look at the big screen to see the action around the track and have radios for commentary.

For me I get more out of watching F1 on the tv, or my smartphone/laptop through streaming services from Sky and BBC, where I can see all of the action than at the track


It is simple: F1's desire to always prioritise profit making. Demanding ludicrous hosting fees of these circuits means they in turn push up ticket prices to try and make a profit themselves, with the local fans left with huge prices to pay.

The prevalence of circuits bankrolled by Governments content to see fairly empty stands is further damaging to a sport which should be a "must see" ticket.


Profit taking. Absolutely. The idea that you can keep reaping increasing profits every year. I believe that we are seeing the peak revenue phase of F1, where the graphs have shown explosive growth since the 1980s, and the financiers have blindingly forecasted further "up and to the right" profits, assuming success in Asia and a static revenue model (meaning, TV rights generating the bulk of the revenue).

Meanwhile, traditional TV is dying as a viable model.

So you're left with the bean counters interpreting the lack of growth as "problems with the show", and you end up with otherwise highly intelligent and successful people making inane, panicked decisions trying to fix the wrong problem.

The medium is the message. F1 needs to find a way to survive in a different medium.

The real issue is that monetization in the Internet age will not support the sport's current spending habits. Internet monetization is about making small money on billions of transactions to deliver big money, and much of the services offered to consumers must be perceived as free. There is no way that octogenarians can wrap their heads around that. Better to try to prolong the magic on the existing model - pretty soon it will be someone else's problem anyway.

F1 needs to prepare itself for a serious reduction in revenues over the next decade. Best of luck to them.


McLuhan! 😀


Its not a question

F1 has lost its buzz!!!

V6 turbo hybrid engines!!

Dog Slow cars!!

Ugly looking cars!!

Stupid rules!!

and it ppl are surprised when no one turns up to watch a race!!

it has nothing to do with F1 embracing new media platforms.

if ppl arent bothered to watch F1 on tv why will they bother watching F1 on their tablets or mobile


But of course who cares if ppl watch F1!!!

because at all costs we just have to have V6 turbo hybrid engines!!

it doesnt matter if anyone watches F1 anymore

the most important thing is that Merc and Renaullt can develop road car technology and

market themselves!!

F1 was created not to entertain it was created to develop road car technology!!!

So who cares if F1 is is crap and is going to hell!

these new engines are single handedly going to save the world!

They going to stop global warming!

Create world peace!

and End poverty!

So who the hell cares about F1 having some stupid buzz?

Who the hell cares if F1 is exciting anymore?

Who the hell cars if ppl watch F1 anymore?

Because thats so lame!

We F1 fans need to understand the bigger picture! We need to stop viewing things in rose tinted glasses because the entire future of humanity depends on V6 turbo hybrids!!!


You reading this, Niki? Ach, entschultigung. I must mind my manners.


Save money. Go to a city centre circuit and watch FIA's latest initiative for open wheel racing for tomorrow - Formula E !!!!!


Max Mosley always said F1 is a TV sport.

Didn't Bernie want to hold a race at Paul without fans?


I was thinking of going to Hockenheim this year but decided against it after seeing the first few races. I've been following F1 since 1990, but over the last few years I have been steadily losing interest. This year I haven't even been following most of the races on the TV for more than a few laps.

My reasons:

1) I don't like the way the cars look.

2) I don't like the way the cars sound.

3) I don't like the focus on saving cost, fuel and tires.

4) I don't like how the rules are made up and changed seemingly willy-nilly and then applied inconsistently.

5) I don't like knowing with 95% certainty which driver will win the qualifying/race even before the start.

Simply put, the excitement is gone.

Considering the above, ticket prices are a joke. If I can't even be bothered to watch "the spectacle" on TV anymore, why would I go out of my way to pay to see it at the race course?


Well said Chris ! I have exactly the same reasons I lost interest in F1 ,after not missing a race since 1990,when I was 10 years old .This could be a question ,what made me an F1 fan at so young age back then,and why not so appealing to the young today?

I would like to add another thing that made me furious and started swearing at FIA ,ecclestione or whoever came with the idiotic idea to freeze ENGINE DEVELOPMENT .Because after the first race ,one could say who will dominate the whole season.So why bother watching the rest of the races? We all know who is going to qualify in the first 2 positions ,or who will win every SINGLE race of the season ,either Hamilton or Rosberg.

Andrew Woodruff



I only know 1 other person in my circle that is interested in F1. Unlike others, I HATE the loud annoying noise of the engines, & prefer the racing, the technology & the surprises. I wish F1 was in eco & electric cars. But F1 as it is, is for me is too expensive to even watch on TV as I'd have to subscribe to an entire cable package of other crap + get a sports channel to do so & get up at horrid hours to watch F1 live. No thanks & no DVR. F1 makes it a huge PITA for me to be a fan, keeping obstacles for viewing access & prohibitive costs in the way. I read the results online, though rarely live, usually on this website or BBC's. At some point, if as is, F1 will lose my interest.


Same here. My interest started to wane when the BBC sold out to Sky so we could have a hundred channels dedicated to the Olympics {sigh}, and all the other rubbish they're funding instead.

Sky are as greedy and short-sighted as many of the policymakers in F1 as I can't get access to their F1 channel without paying for an entire sports package (when I don't watch any other sport), and even then only in SD (HD is only available for Sky customers).

The shambolic and stuttering coverage on the BBC for those weekends when they can't broadcast live is more of a turnoff than any other change in recent years. Unfortunately if you watch any TV in the UK you have no choice but to pay for the BBC.

Old fashioned, stubborn tsars still trying to squeeze every drop of money they can from last century business models; that's what is really squeezing the life and interest out of F1 imho.

It's time for a change.


Peter, thanks for the heads up. I'd not noticed, but then I rarely venture into the 500s. Looking at the VM website it seems I'd have to stump up c£30 for Sky Sports and then another £7 for HD each month, which is a bit much for an average of less than 2 races a month. I'll psych myself up and then give them a call to see if they'll do a deal, but I'm not holding my breath.

Jason, did that a couple of years ago, but Sky changed their terms and limited the number of devices that could be linked.


Why dont you just find a mate that pays for Sky sports. You then borrow his SkyGo account on Sky race days and watch the race for FREE online. It is legal and the picture quality this year has been amazing. All I had to buy was a HDMI cable so I can watch the race on my TV.


Phil, it sounds like you're a Virgin Media customer? If you go to channel 517 you'll find that you can watch Sky Sports F1 HD on Virgin. I only noticed it had been added in addition to the SD channel 507 broadcast myself this morning.

Please don't accuse me of working for Sky or Virgin PR!


So to sum up... get rid of Bernie?

Once upon a time he was necessary but I don't see anything positive about his presence in F1 anymore. The whole model is FUBAR, especially the track hosting fees, it's nothing but personal greed from Bernie. I was 100% supportive of the teams splitting and creating GP1 a couple of years back, nothing will change with Bernie at the helm.

If the WEC can find a way to represent itself well on TV, the FIA will need to step in to cripple it as it's done before! F1 (including the cars) is a joke right now, LMP1 one-ups it everywhere but beyond Le Mans it just doesn't... excite me.


Why not form a totally independent formula ,out of FIA and eccleston .The teams would create a body for organizing and making rules .Also all the money will come to the teams.

We can see today some companies and individuals,corrupt ,some facing criminal charges, that don't care about F1 and make BILLIONS out of it ,while some teams struggle to pay their drivers or not having enough money for development of their cars.This seems unfair to me and to the people that work day and night to make the F1 happen.


Nope. He has monetized everything. But now that trend will reverse as fan base has to be built up again.

Believe me, when it comes to streaming F1 it can be done on the formation. Lap if FOM so wished.


One of F1's problems at the moment is its insistence on gimmicks. I have watched F1 since 1987, when I was just 9. There were no double points, no drs, it was pure racing. Yes some of the races were boring, but that didn't stop it becoming one of the most watched sports in the world. F1 does need to embrace new media, but it also needs to stop dumbing itself down. Keep it real!


Do we really think it's possible, if indeed Herr Lauda's time assessment is accurate (German clocks ALL seem to work properly), that Ecelstone & Co. can change it's business model in 5 minutes?


Low attendance figures in Germany is nothing new, Hockenheim reports disappointing attendance figures everytime these days. Race ticket prices don't help but it has to be remembered that the locals around tracks tend to jack their prices up by an order of magnitude which is never going to help in attracting race goers. Unfortunately it seems that the difference between here and other countries is that the Germans just seem to have a lower appetite for the sport without a certain German in a red car.


As pointed out other races do okay as far as turnouts go, so is this just a circuit specific thing?


Or perhaps all the German fans are still on holiday in Brazil. 😉


Good thinking, you could be right 🙂


The pinnacle of Motorsport = tyre management!! Fans spend a fortune to watch their heroes race but it's all about tyre management, plus it's become like a computer game operated by the pit wall! What happened to great drivers getting in their cars and really racing not being afraid to take risks without all the gizmos and gadgets! The sound of the cars has drastically diminished this year .....GP2/3 sound much more exciting than F1! And they wonder why they can't entice young fans!!


Tickets are to expensive. - races are boring, processional & predictable. There are to many petty rules and overtaking only occurs when drivers useing artificial aids. It's no longer proper racing.


have you seen this year races? boring processional and preditable? How about Vettel vs Alonso o Ricciardo vs Alonso? in the last couple of races?


I live near Hockenheimring (30 minutes by car) and I love Formula 1. I'm a wheelchair user so I could have a ticket for free there, but the 279 Euro for my assistant are way too much (he isn't interested in motorsports) and I can't spent such a amount of money for abwout two hours racing on track.

As a wheelchair user you don't see anything of the start or finish cause everybody is standing and cheering then (wheelchairs are placed behind the regular seats so you can only see backs of people).

There isn't a chance to get on track after the race because stairs are the direct way to the track. (there is one(!) elevator for all the wheelchairs and it took 2010 about 1 hour to get down with it - and then you are outside the track without a possibility to leave the elevator on trackside)

2010 I was there for the first time (assistant and I free) and I didn't see much of the race, on my way home I heard that "Fernando is faster than you" thing in the radio...

2012 I tried to get tickets and they told me "We're sold out for wheelchairs".

This year I didn't know if they are sold out or not. I didn't try again because it's too expensive and I want to see something from the race - and that isn't possible on track.


Wow that doesn't sound like a good idea from the organisers to put the wheelchair viewing behind the regular seats. I don't know what the protocol is at other F1 tracks, but in the English football stadia that I've been to the wheelchair viewing is normally in front of the regular seats, which sounds a better solution for everyone to see the action.

I guess it's also an important reminder of how future ticketing plans and indeed investment plans in (and around) race circuits must have a holistic approach, which improves all fans' experiences at the circuit and even getting to the circuit (e.g. like when they added a lane to the A43 road near Silverstone to reduce traffic/congestion there).


Sonja I find myself in a similar situation being wheel chair bound. I have been a huge F1 since 1971 my first race International Trophy at Silvertstone.

I have stopped going to Silverstone and Goodwood as I do not feel confidant in attending with such huge crowds.Because my disabilty is in my legs and feet I might get into difficulties, even with my carer with me.

I would be entitled to one free ticket for my carer, but it would still be to expensive for me on a limited income.

Another reason my interest is in decline, to many races, the BBC TV coverage, some live others highlights I lose track of times of coverage, and end up missing races once I read up results I tend not to bother.

As for the new rules, I like the new power units, and I feel the racing has improved, some overtaking is to artficial but then I can remember sitting watching races the bordom over the year's with no passing think Spain 1981 no one could pass Villeneuve,the chase was great to watch, and brilliant drive by Gilles to keep ahead but no one could pass.

Also in the modern age to many petty rules and penalties and I think the five power unit rule is just plain daft with such new technology, could turn things into a lottery I fear.


I had a look at the prices if I would bbuy tickets tomorrow - not possible to buy the category which is needed tomorrow on track. (a ticket for the weekend bought on track will cost 475€ in the category if there would be free wheelchair places)


Watched an interview with Ted Kravitz on Sky News Sport where he was speaking on a personal basis not as a Sky F1 reporter and he said the biggest complaint from Silverstone fans was the lack of noise. Couple that with fuel saving, tyre saving and stewards poking their noses into every little nudge then it comes as no surprise that the Germans are not there. The FIA just don't get it do they. It should also be available to view online free of charge not just pay for view as in some countries, young people may then have an interest. Ticket prices are also a joke. Most people cannot afford the prices that some circuits charge and that includes Silverstone.


"It should also be available to view online free of charge not just pay for view as in some countries, " Why? I can't watch football free of charge online, I can't watch baseball free of charge, I can't watch hockey free, I can't watch WTCC free, I can't watch Le Mans Free, I can't watch GP2, GP3, WSR, IndyCars, Nascar, Bancpain Endurance, Blancpain Sprint Series. 99% of all sports, you have to pay to watch it online (or on TV even), mostly that's through a pay-tv package usually. I *can* watch F1 free of charge in the UK, for the rounds that the BBC are showing live, but that's a minority...


Free on the internet is a way of increasing the viewing that was my point as NL was complaining of dropping audiences. Just because you have to pay for sport now does not mean that it will stay like that in the future.Media is changing and if you want audiences then you need to make it available on all platforms and some will have to be free. Not eveyone can afford subscription packages so the audiences will drop whether you like or not.


if I am to pick one thing only that kills is for me it is the lack of noise, I can live with everything else.


I can't live with fuel and tire saving.Why not making the winner the "driver" who saved most fuel and tires? True drivers race to the end like Hamilton said,without having to slow down to save fuel or tires,then there's no racing anymore ,no more F1.I make a bet that if F1 continues this trend ,in 20 years will become something minor and little by little people will forget about it.

People laugh at me when I say that F1 needs to go independent of FIA,eccleston and everything that destroys it little by little,but that is the only thing that could save it.


Its the same symptom in the real world.

The producers,ie owners,designers,engineers,mechanics,drivers (plumbers,electricians,builders,labourers) have moved behind the non producers ie- bureaucrats in decision priority,like most human beings,they make decisions that benefit themselves & their ilk,with fables of trickle down effects to appease us.

Also the days of innovation in F1 are long gone,homologated concepts from FIA bureaucracy being the only fresh offerings,for that we end up with quiet V6 turbo'd show killers with fancy rear wings & battery packs.

I once was able to watch F1 for free here in New Zealand,not anymore,only via advert riddled pay per view sky TV.This one factor obviously has to be a big part of the downturn.

Having said that,its a sad time for F1.


Dont get me wrong I love F1, have watched it since 1980 when I was 10. Probably havent missed more than a handful of races in the last 20 years & have travelled all over the globe to see the races, spent many wonderful lazy afternoons (& crazy early mornings) on the sofa watching the races but.... & this is a big but...

The pay per view SKY nonsense in the UK (and other countries), ridiculous/nearly insane ticket prices, races in the most stupid far away countries, complex rules (if you are not a regular viewer), silly new rules like DRS, double points & combined with mid season rule changes, inconsistent steward decisions, change of race result after the finish, Charlie & Bernies dementia style comments & opinions, out of control spending which if put into a football context would mean Man U play the likes of Oxford Utd & then we wonder why Man Utd always win makes for a massive mess. This is killing F1. I dont usually agree with Lauda but his 11:55 comment seems pretty much spot on to me.

Got up early today to watch the quali but found myself more interested in doing the laundry & watering my plants...

Please advise me on where I am going wrong... I love F1 but things need to change, but without gimmicks. Heres an idea... Lets bring it home, back to its roots in Europe. Still keep the wonderful races in Canada, Austin TX, Singapore etc but get rid of the races that none of the locals actually want to see, lets reinstate France, stop threatening Spa & Silverstone & lets start living in the 21st century.

Thank you good night!!


Ok, BG, here's where you're going wrong - the laundry.

Watering the plants is much more exciting, particularly if you over water the Jade plants, plus its "Green", its quiet so you can hear all those lovely little sounds that the neighbors make, its high tech... ok, scratch that one.

Laundry, on the other hand, is noisy, dumps bad chemicals into the local pond, and may actually be dangerous to your health. If you have one of those windows in the front you could hurt your neck watching things go round and round. Unless there is live streaming, ofc.


So Lewis crashes and right away you'd rather do laundry? 🙂


I switched off qualy and went out after Lewis crashed, I knew who would be on pole after that.


When youre being broadcast freely people can start and stop F1viewing at thier own will. Theres no consequence or gamble put on the viewers to satisfy thier curiosity. When you put up paywalls youre not only cutting off those people who take advantage of the free access. Youre also cutting off paying customers from thier friends, family or colleagues who are not able to stay engaged in F1.

Its impossible to bring up a discussion with someone about formula 1 when they havent been following it. Are'nt interested or find its accesibility far too grand of an inconvenience.

Im glad someone who has a high profile and is involved in the sport knows whats going on. Now just have to hope he's taken seriously.

I've been loving this season and the races so far but during silverstone and so far at germany I havent tuned in on any coverage and just been up to date on the JAf1 website. Its not because the racing is poor. its simply the horrific access and accesibility to the coverage.

I dont have the time to care anymore and its not like i can just pick my viewing time. F1 is forcing me to watch it at a time when I have other things going on mostly with friends.. Its always being shown at inconvenient times and loaded with advertising. Yes i could set the tv tuner on my pc to record it. But Im always playing video games now or my PC is doing other things like uploading videos or watching twitch streams It would be nice to do both but then the internet infrastructure in my country is ridiculous as most of the country is still sucking on copper wires.

Its nots just F1 thats guilty of this. Television Networks and media giants such as newspapers also have to wakeup and change the way they bring in thier income. If they dont thier entire generation is just going to age out of existence.

The ignorance in F1 has been going on for 13 years now. its time to wakeup and listen.


The basic problems are cost (tickets, subscription TV etc), limited avenues to view and the drift away from real gladiatorial completion (rules, rules and governing interference)

Reduce ticket prices, provide free to view and mobile options and simplify rules and don' change anything during the completion.


I so agree Kevin - I can't justify the cost of going to a circuit to watch an F1 race anymore, neither can I really justify the cost of watching on Sky - just cancelled my subscription after their latest price increase this week - I feel now F1 will go for me the way watching cricket and top flight football has gone - I don't even know who plays for my county cricket team anymore....


Yes Trevor, the last GP I attended was Melbourne (I now live in Australia) but this was only because I was given a ticket.

I have lost interest since the mid 1970's when I started as a kid, the real competition is not on track and the regulations change at whim with no evidence of real individual driver importance.

What happened to high profile drives like James Hunt, Ronnie Peaterson and Eddie Irvin who were real men, playboys, said what they thought and above all were colourful and recognisable. We could relate to. Them and support them. Niki is right, most today I would walk past in a crowd.


I'm sure there are a never-ending number of potential solutions to the 'problem' of reduced interest in F1. My suggestion would be to force an engine change every 3 years.

Why do I think this would help? This year is a good example. Yes there have been lots of people that don't like the lack of noise, but if nothing else, the new engines have made things interesting. Personally I love the new sound for lots of reasons but that's not my point.

New engines force innovation with a lot of mystery. Which engine builder/team will come up with the best solution to the technological problem ? 3 years? Year 1 to see who get's it right; year 2 to see who can catch up or pass the winner from year 1; year 3 to see if the winner from year 1 or 2 can do it again.

Such regular cycling puts more emphasis on who has the best engineers, designers and drivers, not to mention all the personnel that drive the team from the ground up.

Regular changes of engine type also offer opportunities for manufacturers to enter the sport that may not otherwise choose to do it. The flip-side is that some might leave the sport. So be it. It's interesting, and who knows; they could well be back a few years anyway.

Let the FIA decide on the new 'formula' each cycle and make a big ceremony of the announcement 3 years ahead of the implementation (similar to the announcement of World Cup and Olympic hosts).

It would of course make the sport more expensive, but F1 should be expensive. The pinnacle of automotive engineering. The best of the best, giving F1 the magnetic appeal that luxury goods have the world over. Amaze people with technology ... in the same way they are amazed by the super-cars kicking around today. Razzle dazzle .. glitz and glamour.

Sadly not everything a die-hard F1 enthusiasts would like to see, but the die-hard F1 enthusiast isn't the target audience is it.


But your have hardly any teams, by the time they get the engine reliable, it would be changed again.

The cost would be horrific.


Since when is Bernie been a Digital/Online Marketing expert! If all other Tier 1 companies and brands across sports and industries have embraced social media as part of their marketing mix - obviously there is value in it!!!


Show me 1 streaming company willing to pay the kind of money FOM gets from TV?

What FOM should do is put together the web stream for TV partners to grant access to viewers. That ensures uniform web experience world wide and no cost for TV stations to stream to their respective market.


Big sports all over the world are officially sharing their content to both online media and traditional TV channels. (Just look at the NBA for example). They are able to do it in a way that does not alienate their existing broadcast partners.

For F1 to claim that this is not worth doing unless it generates significant revenue is living in 2005! If your competition (other sports and forms of entertainment) are making gains through a particular marketing channel and you are not investing in enough it is bad strategy.


Firstly, great piece James.

The problem with modern day Formula 1 is that it's losing everything that used to separate it from other sports, allow me to elaborate. F1 has always stood apart from other sports, particularly other Motorsports - it has always carved its own niche in the market and it garnered fans through that uniqueness. It's always been exclusive, the personalities staggering, the cars were loud and beautiful - and fast, they looked fast even while stopped.

But now F1 is being left behind. It's eating the dust of Indycar and Nascar for fan interaction and immersion. Whilst I think F1 still offers the superior racing, it does not interact with its fans on any level short of relying on the drivers to engage in Social Media. The broadcasters do their best to liven up the show, but FOM themselves do very little. The Live Timing app as an example is ridiculously overpriced when you consider other racing series give you the same information for free. FOM also does nothing to promote its events and clearly believes the fans will come based only on track promoters efforts. It does nothing to engage the fan base during events, and the lack of an official F1 YouTube channel is evidence enough of FOM's disconnect from modern stay sports fans.

As I mentioned earlier, the cars themselves are a problem, as are the watered down driver theatrics. F1 always gave entertainment through the tussles between drivers and teams, but now everything seems so cordial and controlled that we consider someone like Mark Webber to be outspoken even though he couldn't hold a candle to drivers of 10-20 years ago when it came to not towing the company line. And the cars... I was watching the 2007 Australian Grand Prix the other day (which reminded me how much I miss your commentary pairing with Martin Brundle) and I was reminded how beautiful Formula 1 cars were, even just 5 years ago. They were sleek, low and, to repeat myself, they looked fast even when standing still. Compared to today's cars it's chalk and cheese. Today's cars are boxy, uncoordinated looking things with disproportionate looking wings either end. I understand fully why they are like that, but when it comes to sports, it's vital to keep your visual appeal - and the generation of 2014, particularly with the ghastly noses were exposed to season in, season out - are ugly. If you lined up the cars from everything racing series worldwide and placed them side-by-side and asked a fan to pick the most beautiful, majestic looking machine, only the truly die-hard would choose anything off the current F1 production line.

As for the sound, it has been done to death, alas to say that the cars are far too quiet for those of us who remember they scream of V12's. I live about 2km's from Albert Park - over the race weekend I could here the V8 Supercars (Australian Touring Cars) and the Porsche Carerra Cup Cars from my apartment - I could not hear the F1 cars, not even at the race start - which used to be deafening. No, before anyone asks, I did not go this year. The look of the cars, the manufactured racing, the lack of sound from pre-season testing - these things combined to convince me to that my money could be better used elsewhere.

Which brings me back to your point James about the ticket pricing, those prices are exuberant, even by F1 standards. It has always been a sport for the rich and famous - but with pricing like that seen in Germany, it will soon only be attended by said rich. If trends like that continue, we will lose those races as they become unprofitable - even in F1 heartland like Germany. We know the Nurburgring has financial problems, and dwindling fan numbers at Hockenheim will do little to convince German authorities to spend millions keeping F1.

I'm not the kind of person who complains for complaining sake, so to put my money where my mouth is - this is what I'd do try and reinvigorate the sport:

- Engage with Social Media and the fans. Have FOM made interviews with drivers and team members made available online and heavily promote them on Facebook/Twitter etc. Run short documentaries into the background running of teams and the sport similar to the things Indycar does. Have fan votes for Stars of Races, best overtakes etc. Anything to get people watching races and engaging with the sport. Don't leave it to Sky to give people insights into the people of F1.

- Change Q3 to a 1 Lap, Top 10 shoot-out where the top 10 cars do one timed lap in reverse order (ie 10th fastest goes first, then 9th, 8th etc.) The effect of this has a few facets. First of all, it adds an intensity to Q3 that I feel has been lacking - the first 7-8 minutes of Q3 now seems fairly drab with laps being set on scrubbed tyres from Q2. But mix it up, give each Top 10 car only 1 lap to get it right. It also guarantees television exposure to every car that makes Q3, something vitally important to teams like Force India, Williams and McLaren who are all struggling for sponsorship.

- Reduce ticket prices - it is not necessary for FOM to make 100's of millions of dollars in profit every year - race fees do not need to be so high. Bring the sport back to the fans, make it more affordable. FOM should take a long term view and, together with race promoters, and reduce ticket prices to get people back in the stands. Empty seats does not look good on television. A three to five-year period of reduced ticketing prices to get fans back to the tracks should be initiated.

- Tied in with the above, bring back the historic tracks that are inexplicably missing from the modern calendar. Imola is a prime example.

- Give the TWG the task of investigating what can be done to improve the look of the cars. I know the noses are being assessed and changed, but the cars as a whole are unattractive. The front and rear wings require particular attention. I know the sound is gone, we've moved into a new generation of the sport - so if the cars sound amazing, let's at least make sure they look amazing.

Just my thoughts.


I agree with most of what you are saying, one thing I think you should include is that FOM should promote the sport. They do absolutely nothing to promote it they just take money out of the sport and in to the pocket of financiers


I don't see how social media engagement etc. would increase actual race attendance. Tickets need to be really cheap permanently. If FOMA wants to actually have a long term future, they need to be willing to take a significant drop in their profit margin. Bernie would never go for this.

In fact, if entrance to a race meeting was free, more people would attend and spend money on food and merchandise once they are there.


Having Lauda, a Senior figure of F1, saying all that about F1's present and how it should be managed in the future, only shows how outdated is Bernie.

The main point for me is that Lauda is dead right about the way F1 and its main sponsors manage and control its stars, the drivers.

Along the years, they turned the guys into corporate machines, and drivers are the soul of F1. No matter what rule changes comes along the way, the drivers is what can change the perception of the sport to the casual fans.

We have a clue looking into how Spain loves Alonso and how Lewis is loved by its fans - that only shows that they are the drivers with more carisma and personality.

Vettel is a great kid, but lets be honest: he lacks personality and autority as four time world champion - and thats why people are turning off their tvs on Germany.

We need drivers with more personality, more sense of stardom.

I know it will upset the hardcore F1 fanbase that cares only about racing (at least thats what they say!), but sorry guys: the ones who support the sport and keep it cheap are those masses of casual fans - and they need to be entertained...


I don't get what you're really trying to say... Are you suggesting that that problem is that guys like Vettel don't have personality (to which I disagree)? I think an issue is that the drivers' personalities are not allowed to easily come out due to the management and control.

The drivers should be the best drivers period, they should not be selected on personality.


The German Grand Prix is a strange one and Mr Hynes is right that attendances have been flagging since the end of the Schumacher era (2006). It's an odd one because in theory the GP should have everything going for it, which leaves one needing to consider counter-intuitive trains of thought (if we're focusing on Germany particularly rather than audiences more generally). Anyway, here are some possible ideas:

1) The Schumacher Effect: Clearly, Michael's emergence as a world champion was a huge breakthrough for Germany in F1. While they had dominated the sport in the pre-WWII era, the post-war era was mostly a tale of disappointment laced with tragedy for Germany. Mercedes dominated in the mid-1950s, until the Le Mans disaster of 1955 saw them exit motorsport; Wolfgang von Trips was heading for the title in 1961, but was killed at Monza; and Stefan Bellof was seen as a future great but was killed in a sports car accident at Eau Rouge, Spa. Michael's emergence, and his many great drives, must have had a certain thrill element to them and really captured the imagination of German motorsport fans. By contrast, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg have come through in an era where German fans have had plenty of success, so their triumphs don't have the same element of novelty or excitement about them.

2) Ticket Prices: I had a look at these earlier this year along with Monza and, from memory, Monza was quite a bit cheaper (and it was still hardly cheap!). So clearly race tickets at the Hockenheimring are expensive, which will put fans off.

b) Again this is a bit strange is the sense that the German economy is doing pretty well (better than others like Spain and Italy). But maybe that isn't feeding through strongly enough in wages? That's been the case in UK but maybe we're more willing to stomach higher prices because, even though they're cheaper, major sporting events are still expensive and we like watching them. In Germany, top-class football in the Bundesliga is very cheap, for example. So maybe Germans have weighed up the options, and decided they don't want to be ripped off and aren't too fussed if they're not there or always tuned in.

3) The splitting of the GP: Again, you'd expect this to benefit the venues rather than hinder them. After all, for such expensive events, they're only asking people to part with their hard-earned cash every other year (or every year if people attend both venues) rather than every year or twice a year (ditto).However, maybe the move left the marketing teams flat-footed. And maybe having the event every other year only has reduced the loyalty people feel towards the venue and, in particular, any kind of "festival atmosphere" that might be generated from going to the same venue every year.

Obv Niki Lauda makes some salient points too, but in the context of this GP you'd have to figure out why the issues he has raised affect this event more than it appears to have affected some of their European counterparts.


"1) The Schumacher Effect: Clearly, Michael’s emergence as a world champion was a huge breakthrough for Germany in F1. While they had dominated the sport in the pre-WWII era, the post-war era was mostly a tale of disappointment laced with tragedy for Germany. Mercedes dominated in the mid-1950s, until the Le Mans disaster of 1955 saw them exit motorsport; Wolfgang von Trips was heading for the title in 1961, but was killed at Monza; and Stefan Bellof was seen as a future great but was killed in a sports car accident at Eau Rouge, Spa. Michael’s emergence, and his many great drives, must have had a certain thrill element to them and really captured the imagination of German motorsport fans. By contrast, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg have come through in an era where German fans have had plenty of success, so their triumphs don’t have the same element of novelty or excitement about them."

This. Exactly my thoughts.

Perhaps German fans have grown weary of their drivers' successes: 11 WDCs since 1994 — that's over half of the championships. And now they even have a German team dominating proceedings, which also has a German driver.

I, for one, believe they're fed up. German RTL broadcasting doesn't help either with their abundant focus on the German angle. Fans have grown past the nationalistic aspects, I'd say.


Bernie needs to go, whatever the means. He is poison now. You may argue the fans should be grateful to him for what he's done to "spread" the sport but now it's spread way too thin, and the TV structure does not reflect modern age communication as Lauda alludes. Anyway, Bernie has reaped the monetary "appreciation" for long enough and has padded his pocket along the way.

His exit does not need to be gracious or even respectful in my opinion for he has lost respect for the fans, the sport, the teams, and the FIA. Basically everyone that isn't Bernie. There also needs to be change within the teams, who are as childish as Bernie, which allows them to be taken advantage of. The manner in which FRIC was challenged by the FIA speaks to how childish they know the teams to be (it won't be banned if you all can agree not to ban it til season realistic is that?)


I'm from Canada, and apart from the broadcasts on race weekends, there is no F1 coverage to speak of. Not even the website of the channel that airs the coverage has much. I suspect that this is because of restrictions from FOM. I also suspect that it is like this in many other countries.

F1 is so technologically advanced, that this is a real shame. It could so easily be seen worldwide as leader in "cool" technology, what with all of the sensors on the cars and things, there could be many fantastic things that could be done online and in social media. The potential for F1 is huge, and it should really be at home in today's technology-driven society more than any other era. Lets just hope that someone can convince Bernie of that.


Maybe it's simply that it's not the world's most exciting track?

The Nurburgring GP circuit is a massively better show. The track has real personality - you can tell which part of the track anything's happening in because they all look so fundamentally different, and it's all exciting. Hock isn't bad, but it's no Nurburgring, and if I had limited money (I do) and could see one race, I'd wait another year and go to that one.

From Australia, where the times for almost every GP are prohibitive to watching live: I forgot to even set the DVR for Quali for this race, but if it'd been Nurburgring, you couldn't have stopped me watching it.


I haven't been to the Ring, but the seat I had at Hockenheim was the best I ever had out of 5 tracks I've been to ten separate times. You could see 6 corners in the stadium section from one seat.


I can't say why fans are leaving F1 in droves but I can state some of the reasons I have been frustrated over the years - I started watching 20 years ago.

ESPN used to televise F1 in the US and the coverage was excellent. Then Bernie sold out to the Speed Channel which meant those without cable would have to pay extra to see the events. One of my friends, a diehard who introduced me to the sport, refused to pay the fee and never looked back.

Now Bernie sells out to NBC sports and their coverage is the worst ever. They didn't televise the Silverstone race until 5:00 PM eastern standard time - 9 hours later. Todays qualifying, which started at 8 A.M. EST wasn't televised until 12 noon!

I understand changes need to be made to keep fans interested but 77 rule changes since 2005 - really? And some of the changes are so ridiculous you have to wonder how anyone would have the audacity to even suggest them.

One is the new 50 point ararded the last race of the season The possibility of a driver building a 49 point lead and deserving a WDC only to lose out because his car breaks or he gets wrecked by a back marker - why?

And now McLaren, for some unknown reason decides it would be a good idea to have standing restarts even though it is dangerous and the drivers don't want it - what gives?? Politics, I think.

The fact the races take place worldwide and the telecasts, especially here in the US, start at unreasonable hours don't help. Not saying it's anyone's fault - it is what it is.


Don, when NBC Sports are unable to show it live they tend to show it live on NBC's other channels - CNBC. This was the case today as well.


Ticket prices are high but that's not the issue at hand. Where there is a strong fanbase the grandstands will fill. Where there is a strong fanbase streets are shut down and the nightlife is exciting and the whole city is buzzing about the race. Even if you only buy a general admission ticket for the weekend or even if you don't go to the track and just watch it on TV in a city like Montreal you are immersed in F1 for the whole week even with the world cup going on.

Niki is right in a lot of ways. No one cares what Horner or Toto or any of the other boring beyond belief corporate directors have to say because they truly have NOTHING to say except the same old company lines repeated over and over. They respect their competitors and hope to do their best and blah blah blah. Charlie and Paul Hembery and those ilk are just as bad. How many times did Boullier promise that investment was coming to Lotus "next week" when we all knew it wasn't?

The fans are interested in the drivers and/or the technology. But the drivers can't speak without a PR watchdog on their left shoulder in every interview (so sad). If any one of the drivers tries to live up to the heyday of drivers in F1 even a little bit, says a "bad word", kisses a girl, goes to a party, or makes a joke, the journalists throw them under the bus with glee. On the technology side it seems like most team principals don't even understand their own cars and we have to go to blogs to get any reasonable reporting on what is new on the cars from race to race.

In the races themselves if a driver tries to defend or makes any aggressive move to pass the stewards start handing out penalties left and right. EVERY legendary move of the past would be a disqualification or penalty in today's F1. Zanardi jumping the corkscrew at Laguna Seca would have been a black flag in F1. The Olivier Panis win at Monaco would have been a drive through and a 3rd or 4th place after he hit Irvine. If it rains the race is red flagged. Multiple great races at Spa would never have happened with todays rules.

Even with all of that exciting moves still happen. Drivers still say interesting things once in a while. A race occasionally finishes with a battle up to the checkered flag. But try to share these experiences with your friends, try posting a clip on YouTube and see how long it lasts before it's taken down. Follow any of the companies or drivers on Twitter and if anything the least bit interesting or controversial is posted it is removed immediately. RIP Lotus social media team.

Toto Wolfe is so out of the loop it's embarrassing. They spend millions of dollars on marketing to a few guests in their motorhome at VIP events while missing out on advertising to the millions of people on social media because he's still trying to figure out how to "monetize" it, completely missing the point. After 20 years these people still don't understand the internet. Mercedes are going to be dominant world champions in the first year of the most technically challenging Formula 1 of all time and no one outside of hardcore fans will know about it.


Its not the ticket prices and it isnt the lack of accessibility on ipads or mobile phones. Its the artificiality of it all and the pandering to the brit centric media thats completely taken over F1 in the last few years thats turninging alot of people off. Germany just seems more sensitive than other countries. How would Britains feel when Hamilton wins a race at Silverstone and is forced by protocoll to adress the crowd in a podium interview in german, being asked stupid questions by second rate former german F1 drivers or ex team owners ? How many british fans would bother this rubbish and return the next year ? As F1 is turning into a vertically integrated sport styled very much after WWE with one ready made product shipped to various different markets of course some of these markets will no longer feel connected with this "product" and look for some alternative. Golf isnt more popular in Germany just because Martin Kaymer recently won a major tornament, its still an elitist niche sport dominated by Britains and Americans and no future Vettel or Rosberg WDCs will stop the decline either if F1 is seen as a UK centric product instead of a truly international sport. Difference between product and sport should be clear. Remember these cheesy 1990s gladiator games tv shows with protagonists named phaser, taser and laser, thats what Formula One is turning into and why more and more loyal fans opting out of it. As a cost neutral start i would simply skip the english language podium interviews in some markets and it will do wonders for attendence for a while. Longterm F1 future is outside of Europe anyway.


1. I guess Lewis was right.

2. It is true. Niki is right. I would hardly watch if it wasn't for my timezone letting me have "breakfast workout" with F1 most of the season and not waste my family Sunday away.

3. The previous 3 races have a deeper pool of those older fans willing to pay. But that pool will dry out.

It's a real issue. And he's right. But could F1 simply be like the Concorde or SR71? Impressive back then, but wasteful, unnecessary, no longer as technologically impressive and outdated? A passing fad now that the world had a fill? Are Germans with some of the most impressive cars and public roads telling us something about F1?


You raise a good point. F1 is no longer truly innovative. "Innovation" is F1 is tightly directed by the rules. There continues to be great engineering and I suppose some narrow innovation within the tight confines of the rules, but F1 is less a source of original thought and invention than it once was. The WEC is much, much better in this regard, as at least manufacturers have considerable freedom to choose their solutions. I don't agree with the statement that this year's F1 is at the forefront of the automotive future. Rather, it is one step behind. The technology of F1 is at the level that rulemakes chose it to be.


+1.....this yr i have been drawn into wec,at silverstone we as fans could walk into the pits,chat to the drivers and oogle the cars,all at no extra charge!!. The designers in f1 are going to head over there,the innovation in those cars was staggering, the racing was brill and admission prices fair. F1 needs to wake up, bring back multi engine formats,multi tyre manufacturing and let the designers have a field day,the racing will be close,the show will be exciting and fans will flock back


Let us not forget how we just chatted about F1 being bumped of prime north american TV networks for European cycling and golf.


I applaud Nike for speaking out. Mind you, that's what he does best. Change only ever comes from the top, so FIA, it's over to you.

If they want to run another competition, let it be about ways to increase audience engagement, trust and ideas generation that will lead to the sport growing even stronger.


I have watched F1 for almost 40 years now . The new generations told me that I don't understand. It is about green ideas and saving the planet. Perhaps it is so. However, F1 has become over-regulated. I would still watch on tv, when I can, but I will not go to the event. For me F1 is going downhill. This is a season in which two drivers will fight for the title. Why they don't allow teams to develop their engines during the season? Too expensive? How expensive it is to change the rules every eyar? Anyway, the cars are too silent. I would never go to watch silent cars racing. It is against my principles. Perhaps this is the reality of the future, but it is not for me as I have seen better.


Maybe it is just me, but has F1 become so obsessed with making that extra $, £ or € etc that they can not see that this is one of the many reasons behind its loss in popularity?! I seem to remember Bernie against taking F1 away from free to air TV years ago stating that it would reduce the publics access to the sport and directly effect the advertising potential for current and future sponsors. Now that he is obsessed with being able to "monetise" every single broadcasting avenue etc and with the fan base falling away, I'm sorry to say that F1 is facing is biggest challenge yet. Not a financial one like the GFC days, or even the Schumacher/Ferrari years leaving fans bored stiff; but the challenge of common sense leadership!

As an armchair fan (in no way am I claiming to be an expert on these matters by any means), reducing my access to viewing access of a GP both during or after means that if something else in my life (that does not revolve around F1) takes or needs my attention then I miss out on the entire race! And if this occurs multiple times a year (which if you work, have a social life, have a family or heaven forbid live outside Europe) then your attention goes elsewhere meaning; 'why on earth would I spend my hard earned $ on tickets to a championship I can't follow in it's entirity?!'

Lauda is no idiot, and neither are us fans, but if the leadership of F1 (commercial or otherwise) keep treating us fans like idiots which incidentally is the life blood of F1 then we put our priorities somewhere where our needs/desires are better catered for.

We are not simply going to hand over our money for the same or worse access to F1 than what we have had in the past just because Mr E can bolster his retirement fund or pay for his 'grand daughter aged' girlfriends.

Sadly though this line of discussion falls on deaf ears, and yet F1's decision makers continue to whine about being overlooked by potential fan bases. You simply can not complain enough to get people to watch.


It comes a time when changes should happen,this was the wrong time to bring these new engines which are quiter than my 328 gts.I wrote before that f1 will not see anymore of my money after attending the race in Montreal,this morning I had forgotten that the Qualifying was on,normally I would get up during the night to watch,now I don't give a dam't.Please F1come to your senses,and get rid of the stupid rules,and revert to real engines.


Sooner Bernie releases his strong hold on the assets to F1 the quicker this payed cable viewing will end or rules will be eased.

F1 has lost a whole generation.

But when you have one individual calling the tune its audience ratings are limited on the modern technological multi platforms age.

The big teams are also loosing advertising which is targetted to the younger audience groups (as these companies do not think its a suitable platform to promote their products).

If they thought their youth target groups were watching F1 then these companies will advertise at venues & on cars. Due to the limited areas you can watch F1.

Power corrupts & its becomes harder to let go of the Golden Cash Cow.

It reminds me of a childhood cartoon by Walt Disney (another fully controlled organisation who are also

loosing visitors & viewers) Scrooge McDuck (Donald Ducks Uncle) who use to swim in his vault of gold

coins. Not realising the world has moved forward & he has stayed still .

Tickets are seriously over priced but sometimes they are worth it like at the Silverstone GP.

Crowds plus the atmosphere are worth the ticket price.

But when you see the empty stands at Hockenheim. ..then you go from one extreme as in Silverstone GP & full attendence,to a sparse German GP with its limited attendence.

Alarm bells must be ringing at F1 HQ.

Sadly nobody can hear the alarm bell as they aee far to busy swimming in a vault of gold coins.


Sorry, I have to disagree with you about the Silverstone GP. The crowds were pretty dumb (people didn't know what a red flag meant, the guy next to me thought a Marussia was a Ferrari, almost no one got excited at the wheel to wheel Vettel/Alonso battle, everyone kept clapping Max Chilton as he was in no mans land at the back of the pack, the whole stand got anxious at a piece of carbon fibre on the apex of a corner and thr drivers missing it by about a foot, thus miles etc etc) and the atmosphere was average.


Where do the websites and forums like the wonderful JA on F1 feature in F1s popularity?

I reckon there is more and better access to information on all forms of motorsport through media such as these, is that counted in assessing F1's popularity?

I think that Nicky has a great point that F1 could make much better use of new media such as live streaming to open access up, and attract new fans.

As for attending live GP's it is very expensive and in my limited experience, less involving than the tv coverage - and I thought the cars were too loud! I don't need to be deafened to enjoy a sound.

N. Farnborough

I"ve been following F1 since the days of Stewart and the 6-wheel Tyrell.

F1 has been ruined by the machinations of Ecclestone, full stop.

I've quit watching, and quit going to races. I can easily afford the prices of tickets but my time

is valuable to me and even if it were free to attend the race I have better things to do than watch

a processional which involves insults like DRS and "hybrid" drivetrains.

Those whose livelihoods depend on F1 are unlikely to speak the truth, but Lauda is vastly wealthy

and can afford to be brutally honest. If Lauda's warning is ignored, F1 will fade into even more obscurity than it already has. To those who doubt this is true, I say : wait and you will see that Lauda

was more correct than even he knows.


The f1 racing this year has been magic, with great rivalry at the front in Mercedes, interesting new technical developments, much more interesting than in recent years, but why is it not attracting the interest?

Leaving aside the exorbitant costs of going to an event (first corner stand at Singapore costs $1300SG), subscription costs to watch the races on tv, which in itself is enough to drive away new fans, there's no coordinated message from the sport to promote it, has a commercial rights management (BE) that's plagued by corruption charges (not good for sponsors), self-interested owners looking to protect their fiefdom (Montezemolo with his outrageous remarks about the sport but gets the greatest slice of the revenue pie!), precarious financial position of many teams who can't afford to keep up with developments (probably because they can't attract sponsors due to less people signing up to the pay-tv model), lack of re-investment into the sport by the asset strippers (CVC) who like locusts, are only interested in sucking as much cash out of the sport before they sell it. What's to like about a sport that's happy to see it implode by its own self interest, and then has the nerve to ask its fans to give more?


Because it is totally boring,I sat in the stands at Montreal for fifty laps of boring racing no noise ,watching follow the leader like all the races this year.

I just finished watching another snoozer,this is my last one.

Put your hands in your pocket and spend your money at the track to watch garbage.


I can no longer watch the races live, but I will happily watch them recorded, or more likely on iPlayer. Lack of noise or points system does not bother me really

But I could never find an appeal of actually going to the races. You can only see small portion of the track and you do not have the commentary. You sit miles away from the track and there is no access to teams, cars or drivers. And on top of this, prices are way too high and traffic likely to be a nightmare

Will I pay to watch content and races online? Yes, I probably woukd , if quality is comparable or better of what we are currently getting on BBC. But I have limited interest in push for social media and concerned that latest interest towards it would distract F1 from what really matters to fans

What I ask of F1 management is: absolutely, go and attract new audiences, but do not forget the needs of existing viewers, or you might end up with nothing


F1 is so far behind other sports in this. Major League Baseball (MLB) introduced live streaming of games in 2002 and upgraded to HD in around 2006 (I think). The cost to watch 15 games per day for 162 days + Playoffs is around $100 (there or thereabouts). Same story with the NBA.

F1 is best watched live - it is an inherently results based sport centred around the tension of what might happen, once the result is known the excitement is much less. This is less of a problem for sports such as football or cricket where the highlights are almost as enjoyable (indeed sometimes better). The cost to watch live is too high both on TV and in person.

It is interesting that a much greater proportion of people are less interested this year. I wonder if it is just greater expectations that the change would rengage them with the sport and have been rather disappointed that it isn't any better.


Formula One in person used to be a spectacle - these days its largely processional and obviously the sound of the cars is quite tame. Combined with the pricing of tickets, save the money and stay at home to watch it on TV.


Well there is one and only one reason why I don't go to my local gp (Canada) - ticket cost. It is really outrageous. For two decent grandstand tickets - me and my son - I would have to spend more than I can reasonably justify. Personalities, engine noise, rules and other drama are all moot - the cost is simply too high to even consider going.


I think the "spend more than I can reasonably justify" comment is spot on. In our 24/7 world there are always other things to spend your money on, F1 doesn't seem willing or able to recognise this. I went to the Silverstone test with 11 mates for £35 each, including a pitlane walkabout. It took place 2 days after the race and cost 10% of the Sunday admission for roughly 75% of the experience (ie we saw the cars run for 8 hours, had access to 3 grandstands, pitlane and food/drink, with non of the crowd control that makes me feel unwelcome on a race day). Incidentally, I would recommend Jerez to anyone for next Winter testing. You'll need a hire car to get you from Seville airport but it's an easy drive and even in January the ciliate Ivan be very agreeable. €20 "VIP" ticket got me full access to all the spectator areas this year (obviously not the pitlane/paddock)


Lauda is spot on (unlike his comments about not bothering to repair a barrier because you'll never hit the same place again!!) and although Bernie is responsible for making the sport great he's also now responsible for dragging it down. Time to go Bernie, finance in the sport needs a clean sheet reassessment, remove all those 'special agreements and preferences including what the teams spend, what they get from the prize money, right down to packing those stadiums full, getting the images on every screen they can for free to view and giving the all important sponsors their money's worth.. Sponsor a sport that the fans have to pay to watch..I don't think so..

Darrin from Canada

So taking an HOUR to replace one section of Armco is fine? Even DC said it seemed like the typical British (or any other) government worker situation, one working and 3 standing around supervising! Then the explanation about UK work rules. I got to sit around figuring out which orifices my thumb would fit into at 5 in the morning because the (wonderful worker heroes) employed by Silverstone couldn't figure out a wrench? I have never witnessed a dumber delay in my life, and I am OLD (and obviously cranky LOL).

BTW who uses Armco alone anymore? No safer barriers? A couple used tires? This is the actual problem. The time to worry about safety is before the weekend begins. Maybe the tracks are getting so squeezed that anything not instantly noticeable on TV is getting trimmed. When Lewis hit the barrier in Q1 it was fixed in minutes, and that is a section that (usually) has to absorb a LOT more impact than where Kimi hit. Thank God that Kimi was alright, we might've had a totally different discussion about the race. I am fanatical about Driver safety, as someone who has witnessed drivers die in front of my eyes, but this had nothing to do with safety, it was about CYA. I was a huge James Hunt fan, but As usual Niki was right.


I have just come home (to Australia) from a family European holiday. I could have arranged things to be in England for the Silverstone race - but when I looked at the cost of a ticket, along with everything else, just for one person and, despite being a fan, I simply couldn't justify it.

Went and saw Wicked with the family instead.


Hummmm.....F1 lost out to musical theatre. Very new age.

I hope you managec to watch the GP on tv at least 😉


The problem is the ticket prices. The online media isn't so bad, as I have the F1 app on my iPad and follow the timing & scoring screen and listen to the race radio. Live streaming video would be better, but I shudder to think how much that would cost me.


I've been to the USA gp in austin the past 2 years. I m done with F1 now. Ticket prices are not worth it. The teams sell cars for old men wearing rain coats. They have no connection to the young crowd. Who cares about how much fuel is used per minute. Not me or anybody else that's an everyday enthusiast. Take your f1 and stick it. There's alternatives I'll pay to watch. Also, why do Ferrari get most of the money their has beens? Only the old guys know and can't explain it to me!


No one is going because you cant hear or feel the cars anymore.

Its supposed to be motor racing not


So why the huge crowds in Canada, Austria and Silverstone?


Silverstone tickets for 2014 largely sold out off the back of last year James. 2015 will be more of a benchmark. I agree with everyone else, the sound and atmosphere is now dulled to a point where my two-decade long loyalty is under threat and I certainly won't buy tickets from now on.


Passion about F1 is harder to find and germans are restrained. So, it can be just like that.

Maybe German government does not compensate its people outdoor activities. Who knows.

Alastair Purves

Austria= much anticipated return to a circuit which many remember as providing great racing, and has been absent from the calendar for too long.

Canada=Great circuit in great location in a vibrant and exciting city which makes the race welcome. Reputation for good races doesn't hurt either.

Silverstone= partisan home crowd who always turn out support English drivers who likely to win, Hamilton's enormous car advantage virtually ensuring this.


One massive issue I have with f1, is not being able to access races from the past.

Why can't fans go through the vault of F1 history? Fans that want to relive a favourite race from the past are denied access for no conceivable reason.

This makes no sense and further disconnects fans and future fans from experiencing the history of our sport.


I'm watching the 2006 season for the first time now, won't say how I accessed it, and you're right. Why aren't all past F1 races and seasons available on iTunes? I thought Bernie liked profit? Someone needs to tell him that there's this thing called the internet and you can use it to make money.


If they were on iTunes, Bernie would charge $50 a race or something stupid.

They could start by turning a blind eye to fan videos that are uploaded to YouTube. That always strikes me as being very heavy-handed. I don't think that shaky, poor-quality iPhone footage of half a car and a beer-swilling crowd really damages the sport, and it's not like you can get access to the footage from elsewhere unless you're willing to use less-than-legal means.


I read about 10 years ago that they dont make previous seasons available because it devalues the current season. Teams and sponsors who are no longer in the sport or paying get coverage. FIA dont like past sponsors stealing attention away from the current season.

logic is a thing that FOM and the FIA just dont bother with.

Torchwood Five

Interesting allegory to the Doomsday clock with Lauda's "five minutes to twelve" reference.


For years i have traveled from Australia to various F1 races around the world, generally clubbing a race with a holiday. This year I decided to forgo an F1 round (having attended the Albert Park race) and instead attended le Mans.

It highlights that F1 needs to address prices and what they offer at an event. Drivers are stiff with near no access. As a sports fan the sport of F1 has gone and in its place machines who dance to the t u ne of cash. I call rubbish to team mates having to be enemies. The culture if F1 allows today almost promotes poor sportsmanship. Drivers repeating week in week out diatribe of having to improve car performance....problems...areas to improve. Its their job to drive an F1 car and they sure do a good job of convincing fans that its work. Watching Hamilton this year it often appears as though its hard worm and not even enjoyable.

I love racing and will watch almost anything go wheel to wheel. Will always love F1 but witg F1 teams and management so focused on the business its easy to see why the sport and fanscare slowly losing out. Oh...thanks Bernie for killing off Fanvision at circuits by hiking fees. I could go on....shame such an amazing category is so mis-managed


[Bernie for killing off Fanvision]

I missed that!!!


Good post Troy,

Most other forms of motorsport are more accessible and cheaper to attend than F1, so you've made a huge commitment to F1 until now.

It seems that Bernie, and the teams have long pushed the idea that the 'inside' of F1 is for the wealthy elite, but the rest of us can have a peek at the show, at a price, and be grateful for that.

I guess 'the rest of us' feel entitled to a bit more than being tolerated.


F1 are trying to remove the sport and make it a show. Why? Because they think it will bring new fans. Nope, well it's doing is alienating the old ones. Who wants to watch a sport that's meant to be the top level of Motorsport, all about technological innovation, when any new invovation is banned if one of the top 3 teams can't figure it out? Tell us "were bringing back the turbo excitement!" Then neuter them with first an rpm limit, then a fuel flow limit they didn't even allow for the rpm limit!
Exciting racing on track leads to 2 cars touching? Quick, hand out penalties, how dare they be so exciting!
Tires that don't allow drivers to push. Fuel limits that don't allow drivers to push. Over active stewards who don't allow the drivers to push.

Want To make F1 interesting? How about a sprint race. No fuel limits, no rpm limits. Tyre's that will let the drivers push hard for 20 minutes, no stops.
Seeing 24 full powered turbo monsters just pushing for 20 straight laps, that would be cool.

Also, you want the us crowd? Fire NBC. They've been terrible for 2 [mod] years now. I don't get up at 4am to watch commercials every 5 laps, or just when stuff gets interesting.
The hosts are great, but the network is awful.
Get sky rebroadcast in the us. That'll do it.


What Lauda says is interesting, but what Wolff says is more reasonable - F1 needs to formally analyze trends in its audience, potential audience, contextualize this w/ research on competing sports and other forms of entertainment, etc.

James, can you tell us if FOM under Bernie has any history of using data analytics and proper market-research to understand the best actions it should take?


Starting to, I think


Thanks, James. That's what I'd suspected.

The sooner Bernie and CVC move on, I think, the better. Hopefully F1 can be saved, and its rich heritage leveraged as something positive, and not exploited as a source of negative contrast with the current evolutionary state of the formula.

As I've said before, you deserve all the praise you receive as a prominent member of the Establishment F1 media. But I also think you are potentially one of the saviour-voices that can shape the future of the sport by educating the public to be much, much more sophisticated about how they relate to - and not just consume - Formula 1.

Keep up the good work. And my time is always yours, should you wish to discuss.. Cheers.


Considering the field of ‘data analytics’ is almost as old as F1 itself . . .

. . . your answer neatly ‘sums up’ the problem.

Scuderia McLaren

I think we are seeing the effects of F1 giving the middle finger and a big F-You to Europe, European tracks and it's European audience, especially over 2008/08/10/11/12/13.

Sure F1returned to Austria this year, courtesy of RBR, but FOM has put F1 in a speculative bubble of sorts with hyper inflated hosting fees on the back of nations that are into paying in order to get good, positive, modern exposure for their either archaic, third world, human rights violating, abusive nations or a combo of all four.

Europe has been alienated, slowly, but surely. Imagine if NASCAR's push to grow alienated it's US fan base. It'd be all over for them. F1 needs to make sure the ppl who underpinned its growth since the wars have an abundance of races to attend and watch and to do so cheaply.

Slowly over time we've had half the calendar end up in places like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Korea, India, China and now Russia whilst we've lost places like San Marino, France, Austria (just returned), Turkey, Nurburgring or Hockenheim (depending on year). We even lost Belgium there for a year! Crazy.

Another mistake was to make a mess of the US GP in the mid 2000's. We needed to stay at Indy, keep fine tuning the GP track (ala MotoGP) and keep plugging away at the Deep South of Anericas huge racing audience. Yes, F1 got back to US via CotA, but by now we could have had a massive following in the US and CotA should have been the second race in the US.

I believe that the Euro audience has simply generationally abandoned F1 and the replacements don't really follow F1.


Just a little addendum to your comments: the US Grand Prix (Austin, Texas) also gets scheduled on the same weekend as one of NASCAR's biggest races, which also happens to be in the same state (Fort Worth, Texas). Always felt that this was an arrogant move by the F1 schedulers.


I can't reply directly to you JDanek, so I've replied to my own post... most NASCAR fans are focussed on their own category of motor-sport and don't even watch other US-based series e.g. IndyCar. I'm British, but I know a few Texans (and one or two ex-pats who now live in Houston) who love NASCAR, yet they would have attended the F1 race in Austin IF it wasn't scheduled on the same day. And I can't help thinking that there are others who will do the same...

F1 generally has an event every other week; NASCAR has events most weekends from mid-Feb thru to mid-Nov. There must have been another weekend available where fans in Texas didn't have to choose between the two. But sure they'll get a lot of fans over the border from Mexico.

Re: Bernie. Well he will say that... he believes F1 is "better" than any other series. But if you're going to find and keep an audience in the US, you need to try and get some of the NASCAR folks involved\hooked. Mind you, having said that, I believe recently they've had issues with attendances at some of NASCAR's races too.

It will help when Gene Haas gets an F1 team up and running (he's big in NASCAR - co-running\owning a team with Tony Stewart) BUT they need to be relatively successful and quickly and ideally with a US driver. Take football (or soccer)... the US fans really got behind them at this World Cup because they could see a successful and competitive team, prior to this (generally) US fans have not been behind the team due to a perception that they weren't up to much. It'll be the same for F1. Scott Speed didn't set the F1 world alight, Michael Andretti struggled. I guess the last successful US-based driver was Mario Andretti and you had 2 GP's in the US at that time. In the 50's and 60's there were loads of US-based drivers in F1, but that was then and this is now 🙂


Steve, not to bang on about audience research, but I believe that Ecclestone claimed earlier this year that there was no significant overlap in potential audiences so no real conflict...his claim, not mine! Via ESPN:

**F1 boss: No clash with NASCAR**

Updated: February 26, 2014, 4:30 PM ET

Associated Press

"Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says his series and NASCAR won't be competing for the same motorsport fans in Texas when they hold races 190 miles apart in November.

Ecclestone dismissed on Wednesday any clash between the series, after the top executive at Texas Motor Speedway called F1 "arrogant" for scheduling the United States Grand Prix in Austin on the same weekend that his track hosts NASCAR in Fort Worth..."


I do not know what it is, but lately I have seen myself getting disinterested in F1. Never felt like this for the last 18 odd years. I cant place my finger on one specific thing, but in general a lot of the changes that have happened to the sport in the past few years must have contributed to it.


Too bad, as this season has produced some amazing, amazing on-track battles and really heroic driving. Merc might be dominating the WCC but it seems like each of the last GPs has seen really intense competition b/w established and new stars. I also think strategy and tactical decision-making has become more interesting, visible and entertaining in 2014.

I hope you'll find your way back to the sport after a short break!


+1 For the races being too expensive

+1 For the lack of social media involvement

Social media is great for warming up to an event.

If not for this blog, I wouldn't be bothered watching F1. It is the anticipation that makes the race exciting to watch.

Let's see how the experiments in Formula E turn out. Fanboost could be something really powerful. However, I would tweak the formula that only the top three drivers of the day get the boost for the next race. This way social media will have a real impact on F1.

Darrin from Canada

I don't know about anywhere else, but no one here in Canada is going to have the opportunity to see Formula E unless they pay an outlandish amount of money for what used to be Speed Channel.

As Speed was added to cable as a car channel our authorities didn't let FOX change Speed into Fox Sports Channel 8 (or whatever Speed is now called in the US). So now all they have are 8, 10, 15 year old repeats of Pimp my Ride (Not exaggerating at all). I would be hesitant to subscribe to it even for F1, but for Formula E... not a chance. Big Shame.

I spent 3 or 4 hours trying to figure out an alternative, but came to the conclusion I was the only one who's noticed that Canada was thrown into the FOX North American package.

TSN has the Formula 1 contract here, and does a very reasonable job (They have the good taste to air James' excellent coverage of Practice 2, the highlight of my race weekend), but I guess they balked at the monetary outlay on an unproven series, or the (Wonderful Heroes) at Fox wouldn't allow it. Perhaps Rupert and Bernie had lunch, who knows... lol

Any ears that you could whisper into to fix this James? Canadians will support it given a fair chance.

I personally hope that Formula E is a huge success, the more decent racing series the better, and racing through Downtown Road Courses, wow!

And even though it's not thundering loud my PeePee will not fall off.

Stephen Taylor

It would be good to have an f1 YouTube channel containing:

1 Podium interviews/Press Conferences

2 Track guide with onboard

3 Drivers Parade

4 Pole Laps.

Is that really too much to ask of FOM?


Stephen, are you familiar w/ DTM's amazing YouTUbe channel? I'm sure you are, right? Wouldn't it be great if FOM produced a content stream like that? WOW!! Especially the DTM grid girls video! (look it up if you haven't seen it) That they offer full race videos is raaad!


Why not go the whole hog and build a complete streaming service for the entire weekend? Charge $10 a race or something and allow people to choose commentary from the broadcasters like the BBC (TV or radio) and Sky who are already at the race.

F1's problem is that it just isn't accessible enough. If coverage is poor in a certain country, people either do without entirely or use dodgy means to watch the race. Where there is coverage, it's invariably lacking (BBC TV only covers half the races live, Sky's people are less than stellar, NBC has adverts every five minutes and the commentators are clueless and dull). If people go to watch test sessions and the like, the teams erect screens outside their garages to stop people looking in. Drivers like Michael Schumacher have had exclusive deals with certain TV companies so they will only speak to that company on the grid.

There should be more events like the London thing from a decade or so ago where drivers like Montoya were doing doughnuts on the streets, surrounded by thousands of people. They should resurrect those two and three-seater F1 cars and have competitions to let fans have rides.

I don't care about the lack of noise. I like hearing the squeal of tyres, the cheers of fans and all the other noises. It adds atmosphere. What I don't like is the near-constant whining from the likes of Luca M. about how crap the sport is nowadays (did Frank Williams do the same from 2004 to 2013? Nope!) and Bernie moaning about the noise when he's never heard them in the flesh (and then admitting they aren't nearly as bad when he actually does get to hear them).

Bernie has enough money. His problem is just doesn't get it. I can understand why, though, poor dear. There are far too many distractions nowadays. And why is an 84 year old man in charge of one of the biggest sports on the planet?


I mean top three drivers of the day (DOTD) as voted by the fans. Not the podium finishers.


Just my personal experience.

I am watching F1 since 1998, so 16 years already. I have been a very big supporter and I always rooted for Ferrari. There were different moments when I said that this is too much and I wanted to stop watching, but I knew that overall things were progressing.

Today I am not so emotionally attached to F1 anymore. First of all, all my friends stopped watching. Literally. We had a tradition to watch all races together and I remember that my friend's wife booked all F1 race weekends in the calendar for the entire year to say that they will not go anywhere, nor will have guests - it was booked for us to watch F1 together. Not anymore! I was talking to my friend last weekend and asked why these times are gone. He said that for him, F1 is all about ultimate performance, always on the limit and right now on TV we see how people safe fuel and drive efficiently. Then is the noise of engines which is gone.

I have to agree, I am still watching it....but I have missed 50% of races this year which was never the case before. I was going to races to hear these cars, the powerful sound of the engine....and I just do not see myself going to a race anymore. The sound is a complete disaster. It is much nicer to watch races on TV and the only reason why I was attending races was the sound of the engine and the atmosphere.

It can sound trivial, but there is another reason. I loved the experience of watching a race on TV with Live Timing App on my iPad. This year, there is a different developer (I think FIA official app) that completely screwed the live timing app. It kills the battery in just one race and it has so many bugs that I cannot believe. A very poor product. It was perfect in 2012 and 2013.

So this is the whole experience for me:

1. All friends stopped watching

2. Engine noise is nothing like F1 should sound or used to sound, it is very frustrating

3. Fuel saving in F1 is a massive mistake....I mean honestly.....we reward people for driving a bit more efficiently and even show it on charts? How far can you go.......

4. F1 Live Timing app is screwed this year and doesn't help the experience to follow the race weekend

5. Poor rules that show there is no clear idea or vision for the future of F1 (i.e. double points, etc)


All of your complaints are valid to some degree or another, just curious tho - how old are you? Have you undergone family changes or work changes that are contributing to your change in viewing habits? It's not insignificant if friends start getting married (or just get steady girlfriends) or you buy a house or start growing a garden - or going to the casino or raising a kid...all consume time, energy and money! lol...


I rarely watch the races on tv. I can understand the small crowds.


Formula One is too expensive. I paid AUD $100 to watch a high speed procession. In the States you can go to the Indy 500 for half the price and be seated.


Ticket prices are far too high, yes. But I agree with Lauda's assessment that F1's failure to embrace new media is the true culprit. As an American, I've nearly given up. It's too difficult to watch a race, or highlights, on the screen of my choice.


You mean too difficult to "legally" watch on the screen of your choice, right?

I watched today's race in HD via laptop in bed, live, SKY, stream, via Box, free...good stuff.


I agree with the posters that 280-555 euro for tickets is excessive. It was also interesting to observe in the background of Hamilton's car in the sand trap was a sign with V6 and a red line through it. Does that not tell the story of the moment. Germans have some very good v8's and v6's but they don't want a v6 in F1. Let the big car companies do their experimentation in another sphere.


Lauda talk too much. But more you talk the bigger are the chances you say something meaningful.

F1 is very complex and there are a lot of factors contribute to this. Right now there is a very large variety different events to pick. You want it or not but people will spread out evenly. It is a world with almost endless opportunities when very short time ago it was very limited to choose.

In time when you have to make yourself accessible to people, F1 has made it more and more difficult to access. It works to some point but every person who lose the access creates a need in market and for sure there will be alternatives.

I don`t take F1 seriously anymore. I do not understand why F1 exists. Is it for marketing value for companies? Is it for the need to test road car technology and customers will pay for it. Is it for Bernie? Is it for CVC and for other owners? Is it for drivers to take the measure of each other? Is it for the fans? ( This is how F1 has presented). I think they all mix up there and the result is anonymous. No identity. Character is missing and neuter beast is more funny than serious to care for.

To decorate neuter beast is just sad. Better take your money and run or start to call Electric F1 evolution of F1 and make a brave face.


This is so true. The only reason I have been using Internet streams to watch the races is because I don't want to change the satellite provider that I am perfectly happy with and that also had better general channels, coverage, better box and also is coupled as my fiber ISP, just to get one F1 channel from the other supplier.

It's a fact that there are 10s of thousands of viewers alike me around the world.

The old channel contracts based TV only way of watching is so dead, if it wasn't for my SO I wouldn't even had TV at home.


No way to monetize online viewing? Just charge $5 to watch the race online at 480x360, $7 for 640x480, or $9 for 1280x720 HD and $12 for 1920x1080 HD, and millions will buy it rather than waste time looking for live streams that are unreliable and have enough ads to crash the browser.

Wake up to the fact that traditional TV is going away someday, because now that TV is digital and the internet is so fast, you could have freedom to watch anywhere rather than staying at home.


In Germany the temperature is also a factor, 30+Celsius, nowhere to hide all day. Also ticket prices are high, F1 is outpricing itself from the sports market slowly but surely. Traditional circuits are struggling to fulfill. Mr. E's financial demands. Besides at most of the circuits you see only small part of the action through a couple of fences being cut-off from cars and drivers. I loved watching F1 earlier on itv or bbc where the online streaming were excellent, i could reach all actions and interviews at one place anytime. Now I have to pay crazy money or search for bits and pieces on the web, but it is hard becuase everything is protected by copy rights. I personally still chose TV streaming and Goodwood FOS and if watching F1 will be too expensive I will simply go and do something else.


I suppose there could be many reasons for the short fall. Perhaps some fans having gone to the Austrian circuit did not want to afford another race weekend so close to the last! Hybrid technology may draw parallels with road cars, but who really wants to watch electricially assisted cars that are somewhat quieter. The powers that be have chosen a direction that has lost touch with why people want to watch racing in the first place. If a return was made to big screaming engines that would definately be a plus from the spectator point of view. - I mean should F1 fundamentally be about fuel economy? All it is really is an interesting exercise for the engineers and designers!


I enjoy F1 and have done so for many years, including this year. While the sound of previous years was a major source of the 'wow' factor, the reduction in noise hasn't lessened my enjoyment of the sport.

What has however, is the fact that I can no longer follow all races over FTA TV in the UK. The BBC coverage is absolutely sterling, and was so especially before their deal with Sky. Not being able to view all of the races live without paying for them is a huge disappointment for me. If Sky took over all of the coverage, it would likely turn me away from F1 until such time when it was on a FTA channel like the BBC, ITV or Channel 4 again.

On top of this, ticket prices are very high and while I loved going to Silverstone in 2012 and 2013, I couldn't justify the cost this year.

With regards to Hockenheim, maybe the track is simply not that exciting/interesting? For me as a European fan, there's only a few tracks I actually want to visit: Spa, Monaco, Silverstone and Monza. The rest would have to compete on price to attract my attendance and with Bernie leaving the circuits only the ticket sales to make any money, that is never going to happen.


- has been taken down (its on twitter now, still)

- Online streams mostly taken down

- Tracks with painted on boundaries and tarmac run off area

- Over regulating sports governing body

- Frozen engine development

- Over restricted regulation of fuel allowed (total quantity of fuel per race AND fuel flow)

- abstract decisions of race officials from the off

e.g deciding if driver has to be punished after leaving the tracks boundaries with all 4 tyres for a inch

lol design the tracks so there comes either grass or sand after tarmac...

e.g two drivers fighting, driver in front feels the pressure, tension is building up with the crowd in front of the TV, then comes the chicane, driver in front locks up the brakes, misses the chicane...but oh sweet surprise, just cuts it short and steps on it, paved all the way, stays in front, WTF seriously...

- Eigthy something year old B.E who seemingly shows all the stubbornness you come to expect from someone his age

- It's got nothing to do with the new power units btw, these are essential for F1 being recognised as pinnacle of motorsport, if you dare to still call it that right now, in few years time. Naturally aspirated engines reving at 17k to get reasonable power really were long due to get dissed. Turbos have evolved a long way since last centuries 70s and 80s. Adding to that, once energy density of batteries has sufficiently increased, and we finally have road going cars with at least 500km of range, combustion engine have had it. So to contrary believe of quite a number of folks, the new power unit was the one right decision F1 has made in the last years

Then one can begin to discuss about how drivers are meant to develope into strong personalities to sell F1 to the public (thats what they do, after all) with

a.) the attitude towards drivers that a Mr.Marko has introduced in teams like Torro Rosso and Red Bull,

b.) an overcontrolling governing body

c.) Teams who only allow their drivers to make absolutely meaningless statements to the press and only in supervision of the teams media responsible, and

d.) (again...) tarmac run off areas!! lol, how can they grow any balls, it's just hilarious. And please, dont come with safety, that is not an excuse. One can design 500m of sand run off area with all the new tracks of today.

As all of the above has slowly accumulated over the last 10 or so years of course, by now I'm to presume that pretty much all is lost...


I think there are many reasons. First the two most popular teams Ferrari and McLaren haven´t won a championship in recent years. Second technology is not helping the sport. People don´t attend a race to watch how good or bad drivers use KERS, ERS, DRS and how good or bad they look after the tyres. Tickets are too expensive but so are Sky and other broacasting channels around the world.

Also Bernie makes a big mistake hosting races in places like China, Malasya or Bahrain. F1 has an European, and, to some extent Americas tradition just like football. With a race in Australia and Japan is enough. We need more races in Europe and the Americas.

There are money issues concerning teams. Many teams are forced to bring drivers with important sponsors instead of good drivers. Kobashashy and maybe Bianchi as well deserve a better team than Catreham and Marussia. The gap between the rich and the poor is too big.

And on a personal note. I hate to see mechanics always with clean and ironed outfits!!!. YOU´RE A BLOODY MECHANIC NOT HER MAJESTY BUTLER!!! I WANT TO SEE A DIRTY OVERALL AND DIRTY HANDS!!!


"The gap between the rich and the poor is too big." +1

as for your comment about dirty mechanics, the days of dirty overalls and dirty hands are long gone. If you think those mechanics are clean, Visit a Formula 1 teams composites department, in particular laminating and cutting rooms. Not a spec of dust can be found, and theres nothing wrong with that, Thats the least of F1's worries.


Ticket prices is only one factor, it's much more than that. Sound is another huge factor, but i think it's also the new rules or could it be just suddenly in some countries fans just lost interest. But it's surprising that this week attendance is appalling, so much blank seats which you can't miss. There has to be some reasons which I'm not qualified to answer. Then the crowd at Canada, Austria and Silverstone was electrifying, even I felt it watching the races on tv. Puzzling. I bet Spa and Monza will be packed.

It will be tougher to gain new young fans as attention spell runs very short these days with the amount of entertainment going on in the cyberworld. F1 need to address the issues immediately before Formula One disappears totally in future, gosh I hope not.


after reading all the posts the consensus seems to be that f1 is fundamentally broken.

instead of trying to fix all the issues in f1 it 's probably time for a clean sheet design.

now is a good time for some clever person to launch a new open wheel premier category.


There is definitely room for a new driver skill and racing focused series.

F1 is now far too marketing, corporate, and engineering focused.

Whilst they may be of interest to some people, fundamentally, nobody watches racing for these reasons. We get excited by drivers going wheel to wheel - not a car using 30kg less fuel over a race distance.

Everytime I hear a race engineer say "we need to save fuel/tyres" and a battle is about to take place, my heart sinks.

Just give the drivers the same and simple racing cars.

At the moment, GP2 and Renault 3.5 are the premier single-seater racing series at the moment. And I think that's pretty poor.

It'd be pretty easy for someone to come along and essentially glorify a GP2 or FR 3.5 car. Patrick Head has already said you can have 800bhp for 2 million euro's a year.

Give everyone the same car, give it more power, and driver skill and high quality racing will become the norm, not the exception.

Surely that's what all us racing fans want?

Notice how many times I've said RACING in this post. That's what it's all about!


I don't agree. It has problems that need addressing but it's a very successful sports series with a massive global following which is the envy of many other sports.

It has some risks ahead if it doesn't adapt and change, but to say it is broken is definitely wrong

It's very easy these days with social media etc to see a few hundred people express a view and to extrapolate that out to think that applies to the 80 million or so people around the world who will watch today's race !


So what do you think the problems are James?


The reason? Bernie's utter greed! Simple!


There's a real lack of any long term strategy. The powers that be are so busy trying to milk revenue from today's fans that they haven't thought about where the next generation of fans is coming from. That's why free access via new media is important - to expose the sport to younger generations.


One of the difficulties of attracting a newer, younger audience is that young people just seem less interested in cars of any description these days. When I was growing up we all obsessed about cars, most of us could afford to run one, and to get your first was a rite of passage. And so an interest in motor racing could follow on quite naturally from that, particularly if you were into driving fast, as many of us were....

A lot of the young people I know today don't care if they can't drive and show no interest in cars at all, in a way unimaginable twenty years ago. And without that basic interest in motorised transport it's much harder to get them to engage with motorised sport. It's a real problem for F1, which no amount of tinkering with the rules can really address.


What Toto and Jimi said in the article is correct. I would love more ways to view Formula 1 content online and there needs to be more content shown on TV in the US. There are people in the US that absolutely love Formula 1 but they don't have access to much of the content that is shown. The amount that is shown is getting better but is still peanuts compared to other places and people want that to change and it needs to change.


I meant Niki...I don't like autocorrect.


Formula 1 has been on a nose dive for the past 2 years I think.. BBC iplayer still havn't loaded up yesterdays qualifying... so if you don't have the money to pay for skys high priced sports channels you feel like your only getting the dog ends of coverage. Nice job Burney " dummys guide to lose fans ".


Simple marketing lesson F1.

1. Is your product something that the public want to buy?

2. Is your pricing for this product in line with rival products?

The answer to both these questions is No and No.

What worries me is that Toto Wolff is head of business and marketing at the front running team in F1 and appears remarkably oblivious to this.

Yes, F1 has to bring itself into the 21st century from a broadcasting perspective, but even more than that, it needs to make sure its product is exciting enough for people to want to watch in the first place!


There's more to marketing than product and pricing - yes, I accept they remain the underlying principles but I notice you have recognised that Wolff is head of, yes, Business and Marketing.

Yet if we consider everything we feel we are missing out on as a product could we concede that steps are afoot to address the situation with the business relationships that are being forged with communications groups like Tata. Unfortunately, the relationships are team focused and team orientated and not consumer-based as we would wish.

I decided not to even bother to try to tune into my official F1 app because the reception at SIlverstone is so appalling - but now I wish I had. The Silverstone commentary was 'laughable': when excited, I thought the commentator was more suited to being as Ascot or Derby such was his knowledge and ability to impart correct and relevant information about the car/driver combination - as for his knowledge of the rules! It's things like this that turn spectators off.

The only reason I wish I had bothered was down to the fact that early this week I overheard a seven year old boy telling his mother that he used 4G while at the track with his dad.

Therefore, the key principle sadly missing is publicity, relevant publicity for the general public about how to tune in for a more interactive experience. Unfortunately, this will be down to the trademark issues with the F1 brand not too dissimilar to that experienced by Rosberg and the world cup symbol.

Anyhow, I'm off to Hungary nest week and I imagine my experience will be much the same. What I want to see is a more sophisticated Circuit marketing relationships with communications companies. I miss Kangaroo TV/Fan Vision. Can't some enterprising person in a telecoms co target all the circuits and provide a much needed service to those who walk through the gates. Surely this could be achieved without contravening the F1 Brand.

And lets face it, the proximity of the Tv screens is laughable. So I empathise with Sonja above. I had to stand on my seat (thankfully I was on the very back row at Stowe) just to see Hamilton cross the line such is the need for people to stand up at the very end of the race.


I'm sorry, but if the F1 guys can't get the 2 basics I mentioned right, there's not much point in hoping they're going to get the more complex issues right either.

Not to say I disagree with what you're saying, I whole heartedly agree!

Paul du Maître

I concur, there's a multitude of factors that contribute, but the ticket prices and the lack of officially sanctioned internet options look like major factors. I don't think the sound is a factor for the younger audience, since we follow the F1 through the telly and the internet, and sound is anyway mixed and compensated and treated in different ways...

Just my two cents, anyway.

alex hofstetter

The cars are ugly. They sound like crap.

The show has no sizzle any more.

The racing's fine, but the sizzle is not there.


i don't understand any of the nonsense dished out about f1 now adays. the product is definitely not the problem because it has been successfully sold to many fans on several tracks and the fans enjoyed the racing tremendously. the few circuits which have failed to fill the seats are to blame for failing to sell the product to the fans. that's it, nothing to do with media technology nor hybrid technology nor notice level nor is it about driver personalities. people talk without thinking things through. all those children karting around the world the world are f1 fans. it's about time those responsible for selling the tickets be blamed for failing to sell the tickets and stop he politics.

i don't understand why it is so difficult to understand.


I'm a huge F1 fan, but I've never been to a Grand Prix. I don't intend to either. I'm reasonably well off (nothing ridiculous, you understand), but I cannot bring myself to pay the money that (let's face it) Bernie expects me to pay, even though I could afford it.

I'm actually seriously considering going to the Indy 500 next year. The ticket prices for that are more than fair.

Another problem specific to Germany is that the free-to-air TV coverage on RTL is APPALLING. The commentators in particular are very poor and don't go into any detail at all. They also tend not to even talk about anyone below 6th (Bianchi scoring points in Monaco, for example, was barely commented on). The BBC spotted very early in that race that Bianchi was in with a chance and kept us informed throughout on how he was doing. That's just one example.


You may notice that, the racing aside, the Indy is and has always been promoted as "the biggest spectacle in racing". It is indeed a spectacle and everyone should go at least once to be with their 400000 newest friends. And also to see those 400,000 fans all try to leave at once!


I agree with Paul and Gooner. Marketing 101. Also you can make more money from the public than paying drivers... No-one aspires to be a little rich kid that bought his way into the pinnacle of a sport. Create the passion again like the old turbo's did....


Niki Lauda was a pay driver when he first turned up in a March, and they had customer cars back then too. The difference was, it had soul and was raw stuff and before the corporate takeover.


I don't think there's just one issue - but the lack of social media and the pricing have to be 2 of the significant ones. A ticket to the Indy 500 is cheaper than the price of Friday practice at the British GP.

However, the way the F1 model works for tracks, it's the only way they can make money. Compare this to NASCAR, where the tracks actually get a cut of the television money. If F1 had that model, then guaranteed that tickets would be cheaper.

I do wonder that the attendance at the Italian GP will be like. Ferrari doing badly and no Italian drivers for a few years now. Germany at least has a winning team and drivers to support and the fans aren't coming out. Italy don't.


I wish F1 had an active YouTube channel, like MotoGP does, they deliver some great videos especially the "Sideways Glance" ones.


Wrong time of the day! Paywall everywhere, but worse than that availability is horrible. I would gladly pay to watch races instead of watching streams online, but there is no option here. I can get a week on a beach in spain for the price of a weekend with only race day tickets.

The racing itself has been great this year, but quali is kind of boring because there are no surprises.


Bottom line the business model is incorrect. I have been watching F1 since 1976 and I can tell you - it has "lost" it's allure over the years. The reasons are as follows:

Price point of tickets are too high

Tracks design(s) are poor. For example: Red Bull Ring is a pale

Access to the personalities are rare and controlled

Car design(s) change too much

Motorsport in general - is missing the serving the markets.

My estimate is it is going to get worse for F1 - before it get's better.


Speaking as a fan who has followed the sport since the late '60's, I agree with Lauda. Other points to be considered:

Too much regulation. It's a race, accidents happen, and drivers don't need to be constantly worried about "points", and incident review. Let them race.

Too much regulation. It's a race and the drivers should be racing and not being told over the radio not to race so as to save tires and fuel. There's too much radio communication, let the drivers get on with it. They shouldn't need someone to hold their hands while they're doing their job.

Get rid of "Methuselah". Ecclestone is doing more damage than good on so many fronts. Reorganize F1 so the teams get more money and the tracks don't have to charge and arm and a leg for tickets.

As an example, I attended the 1981 Long Beach and 1985 Detroit F1 races. For $150 I got a three day "Super Photo Pass" that allowed me into the pits between practice sessions, and special corner seating that allowed for great pictures. To be able to get into the pits in Austin where I live would cost thousands.

The drivers have become corporate metronomes and mostly boring. I don't see a current F1 personality the equal to Graham Hill, Mike Hailwood, James Hunt or even Ayrton Senna.

I still enjoy F1 but the sport definately needs to make some changes.


I agree with your point about drivers. I don´t see in this current line up of drivers someone like Senna, Gilles Villeneuve, Jim Clark or Fangio


you will see in any driver line up anyone like anyone else. you are unique . there has never been anyone like you and there will never be anyone like you.


why was it so well attended in britain and belgium?


ive been watching f1 since the early 80s

apart from all the broken pieces of this big sad puzzle im most interested in the cars themselves.

for me true exciting racing is about brave men driving overpowered cars with little aero and heaps of mechanical grip.

with just an engine and gearbox (manually shifted) to help them.

ban the wings (to the extent that aero doesnt inhibit passing) and ill be happy.

yes, OVERTAKING is what racing is to me, not conserving fuel and tyres.

maybe im old skool but i know what i want.


I live in Australia and Formula 1 is my favourite sport. Every year I visit the Australian GP and try to get to at least one overseas race, generally combined with a holiday. I think that the buzz of attending a Grand Prix is as high as ever and can't wait to attend the Hungarian GP for the first time next weekend.

Being such a passionate fan, the prices of attendence do not put me off from going, however I can see why a casual observed would think twice about attending a race when there are so many cheaper forms of entertainment out there.

Being a premium sport, I don't think F1 has a right to be cheap, however the issue stems from the top in that the circuits are charged huge costs to host an event, which obviously flows down to the punters being hit hard in the hip pocket.


James, how do F1 finances stack up against other racing series such as DTM, IRL, NASCAR and so forth?

I believe IRL and NASCAR are privately-held by "racing" families, whereas F1 by a large corp. with responsibilities to stockholders? I know its trendy to Blame Bernie but any large investment corp is going to be concerned only with ROI.


I've watched every race this year and I've enjoyed the racing and new technology; but the introduction of standing starts next year is another rule change that has broken my enthusiasm for the sport again.


I’ve watched every race this year and I’ve enjoyed the racing and new technology; but the introduction of standing starts next year is another rule change that has broken my enthusiasm for the sport again.

Today I spent the day outside and decided not to watch the race. I fear I can't be bothered with it anymore.


That's your problem though. The race was superb. No idea why standing starts are a problem for you next year - one of the most exciting parts of the race yesterday was the start.

F1 today is better than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Everybody raves about the Prost Senna days, but the races were dull.


"Everybody raves about the Prost Senna days, but the races were dull."

Are you sure? What about the 86 Spanish GP, 86 Australian GP, 90 Mexico GP ou 90 British GP to name a few of the exciting races of the late eighties. In fact, the 86 season was full of interesting races, even at Detroit! The (in)famous 84 Dallas GP is in fact a very interesting race to watch, with a lot of action: the drivers did put a good show there, in spite of the quickly deteriorating track.


But I come from an era when Schumacher dominated... He won the championships on merit, no Drs passes or double points. On occasions he needed to be ruthless to win, now vettel etc just moan like cry babies.


"Everybody raves about the Prost Senna days, but the races were dull"

Are you sure? Look again at the 86 Spanish GP, 90 Mexico GP or 90 British GP for instance.

salvo sparacio


Niki is right this generation wants connection. You think there will ever be a time that we could log into to your favorite team for the whole weekend and listen to the communication between team and drivers even at a small fee?



I think things will evolve in the co ing years even if they are behind at the moment


Much will change after Bernie moves aside from running the sport. Unfortunately that could be months to years in the future.

Carlos Marques

Basically for me it boils down to this:

The cars have no soul. The tracks have no soul. The race commentary has no soul. The drivers, and their teams, have no soul. The races, for the most part, have no soul.


Elegantly put, you are absolutely right.

And don't forget the corporate rostrum ceremony, with the utterly cringeworthy line of clapping pretty girls, the same bloody rostrum every weekend with the TV flags, the same ritual with the sponsored champagne and finally the careful dull interviews where the drivers say nothing at all to upset anyone.


I've been watching F1 since '97. Before that, I'd just change the channel whenever motor sport was on. Maybe today's generation of prospective F1 hopefuls feel the same way. Once when I was surfing, I saw the on board view of drivers taking maggots and beckets. I couldn't believe the speed of the cars and the skill of the drivers. I've been hooked on to anything related to motor sport since. I'm not that old of a F1 viewer, but I do miss the sound, and more importantly, the speed, lightening reflexes of the drivers. The cars are so slow it shows visibly even on on board footage.

Having said that, if the emerging Alonso Vs Vettel duels and today's duals between 3 cars fighting side by side and banging wheels on two occasions are signs of similar things to come, I'm happy with F1 2014. These cars are difficult to drive, so driver skill has come more into play than the last 3 years, albeit it looks easy. It's not easy. Fans should be able to see these skills. A lot is lost on the technological front.

We need to make these cars faster and even more difficult to drive, gag the engineers (maybe limit the number of to and fro conversations they can have), or at least, don't allow us to hear them. It isn't spicing things up. How good would have Vettel Vs Alonso showdown been at Silverstone if we didn't have to hear them exchanging the blame game. Oh, and bring back classic circuits with tradition for racing. Good of them to bring back A1. I understand Magny Cours is coming back too? Even get the Nurburgring Nordshleife back. 20 laps, maybe? I personally find the Korean GP, Bahrain GP, Abu Dhabi GP very, very boring. If Bernie takes away Monza and Spa, It'll be too sad.

FIA's business model is gaining too much attention at the cost of the sport.


I've stopped watching - and I'm not missing anything. After 20 years of watching every F1 race, its past 12 oclock in my onion.


Bring back cigarette advertising on the cars! Problem solved.


I presume this is ironic?


It's called Racing for a reason !!! I am an old timer but can accept new tech. What I can't accept is a fuel economy run being advertized as racing. IF... they would take off restrictions on fuel #s per hr and raise total fuel allowance , we would have 15000 rpm { sound and power } and real RACING. In my humble opinion this would bring some excitement back to F1 and maybe jump start screwed up formula.

PS also do away with the phony double points !!


Niki Lauda is a very clever businessman and "gets it". There there are few experiences that can beat attending an F1 race weekend. As a very dedicated F1 fan, the "price gouge" for hotels (double / triple pricing), flights and basics on race weekends are a major deterrent to going to a race. There also needs to be more info available to those at the race to follow the various cars & teams (dedicated fans realise that the at home TV experience is superior in many regards).


There were days when I used to miss friends outings, get up early and drive fast to reach home to catch F1 telecast when I was away etc. Now I don't do it because I don't miss it that much. I do not know what the reason is. But definitely something needs to be done, I don't know why.


you have seen it often enough. just like anything, he more you see it the more familiar it becomes and the less exciting you find it. f1 is a lot better now than it has ever been and those those criticising f1 have no clue how much effort has been put in to maintain the progress. before anyone should mouth off suggestions on where to take f1 or how to maintain interest in f1, they should first look into how much effort has been put in to keep progress up to date in f1.


I have followed F1 since 1992 and are one of those others that call themselves an armchair fan. I follow this and sevaral other F1 sites daily but on a raceday I sometimes watch races on RTL when I am at home. Apart from that I follow Autosport live on their website.

Going to races if way too expensive. Wonder why the germans don't attend - watch the DTM website and you'll know why other series are just as popular. Also Renault World Series with 3.5l engines are picking up in popularity with free admission to the raceweekend. DTM is about €50 for the weekend.

I try to get my oldest son (8) interested but he wants to play FIFA. During world cup FIFA had a free game with all the teams so you could play yourself. If you wanted other countries you would have to pay for the game. Available on Android and IOS. Kids gets involved by playing games before,during the matches and after. They get together and buy club/country shirts. Why not do this for F1? Why wouldn't kids/adults have an online qualy game so see how close you could get to the F1 drivers on the track?

I feel FOM protect their value to the graveyard. But again the DTM, WSR, WTCC and other series gains popularity because its available free to air TV, lots of online content.

Everyone knows the answer but FOM is not going to "pay" for it with some lesser income to grow the populary of the sport.


I’m happy to report that I was one of the few actually attending the German GP over the weekend. It was great to hear the (not so new) engines for myself for the first time, and I have to say I think the new sound is an improvement. It’s great to hear more of what is going for the drivers beyond the scream of an engine. The cars are not quiet, they are bearable, and it is interesting to hear the differences between each manufacturer. All in all, F1 has done a great job at improving the show on track.

What was disappointing however was the half-hearted attempts to appease race attending fans. In 2013 I attended the Singapore GP. I paid £400 for a roving ticket, over the race weekend when there wasn't action on track there were performances on 3 different stages around the circuit. There were 100’s of food and drink stalls offering a huge choice, catering for anyone’s tastes. Event sponsors supported the race with stands, offering fans a way to engage with the names they see on the track or cars. There was almost too much to do and the event was busy!

Fast forward to the German GP, I paid almost the same amount of money for Mercedes Grandstand Tickets, it was my second time attending the race at this grandstand, the view of the track is awesome, and despite a 25% increase in price vs 2012, I decided it was worth it. In 2012 Mercedes seemed to have made a real effort to entertain fans, with a village behind the stand with driving experiences, bars, driver interviews and a band of sorts. This year, whilst all this remained it was less than half the size, and now included 2 additional areas reserved for VIPS (my £400 didn’t make me a VIP’s) The General F1 village was even worse, with a Santander backed area accompanying merchandise stalls and a local, somewhat inept make shift cocktail bar beach. I went to Hockenheim for the final round of the DTM last year, the race had a higher attendance and the ‘Village’ was full of stands from sponsors and teams making money from fans in the breaks in the racing. It was a far more involving experience.

A fun feature of sitting in the Mercedes stand in 2012 was on the parade lap on race day, people sitting in the stand were asked to hold up a sign to make a large message of support to its drivers, yesterday I was a bit disappointed the same thing had not been planned, and in fact had moved to the stadium complex, It was only on watching the race back when I got home that I realised how empty our stand was and how the message would simply not have worked, which made no sense since when I bought the tickets I was lead to believe the stand was almost sold out, and as a consequence I had bought more expensive seats.

Like many other lame fans I take pleasure in trying to get around the paddock over the race weekend, in the hope of meeting some of the stars we see on our screens every other weekend, such as Ms Jennie Gow, at most GP’s this is not too difficult but this year it seemed like the race organisers had more staff protecting these areas than they had selling overpriced beers! It makes no sense to keep fans away from the people they have paid lots of money to see.

I don’t understand why the partners of teams, like Monster, Blackberry, Unilever, P&G, Coca-Cola don’t have stands at the race, if there is an issue with them being seen on TV keep off the screens, but you have a captive audience who will buy your product if you make it available to them over a race weekend.

Over the course of the weekend I resolved that this would probably be my last European GP, from now on I will head to races in countries where the government recognise the value a race is bringing to the economy and invest in making the race an event.

The European business model for F1 is broken. Tickets are overpriced, the focus seems to be on the VIPs, there is very little for the fan to do outside of the race itself and the fan is treated like dirt to be honest.

That being said the race was great, and I did manage to meet and talk to Lewis Hamilton (after intense discussions with security around the track) I was very impressed with Lewis over the weekend. He kept his cool despite the challenges he faced and he’s making a real effort to engage with HIS fans. When I caught up with him on Saturday after that qualifying session, he asked me if I’d had a good day and put my name on the cap he signed for me. On race day after an interview at the Mercedes stand I noticed he was putting the name of every person asking for autographs on his special edition caps. A very classy touch.


completely agree. I was in the Merc stand too, where were you seated?


Engines are quiet and sound horrible. The most compelling reason to watch F1 live is to experience the sound. That reason is gone. I have no interest in attending a race next season and I'm an obsessed fan who attends a race every year. Forget about attracting casual fans.

The Mercedes is the most dominant car of all time. It has been untouchable on every track. It's a close fight between Rosberg and Hamilton but it's so underwhelming as a rivalry. Here we have Hamilton who the British media have spent 7 years building up as the best over one lap, yet Rosberg basically matches him over and over again.


I went to the ladies final at wimbledon, (lucky enough to get tickets at face value after applying)

then down to yorkshire camped to watch stage 2 of the tdf, then back to home and rode out to finchingfield to watch tour de france on the monday.

all tickets food, camping, drinks, and fuel, for BOTH events came in less than my weekend grandstand ticket at silverstone.

one of the main reasons i decided against going to silverstone, is the expense, plus also after 30 years of following f1 i cant get my head around the final mickey mouse double points...

i did note quite a lot of empty seats in the grandstands at sverstone this year.... i wonder why?


OK, here's a thought...the argument for changing the formula to the V6 hybrid model was all down to the big car manufacturers claiming that they'd walk away if the sport didn't change. Except for Ferrari. So, I put it to you, let them walk away, take their insane budgets and let's get back to the days of the 60s and 70s (and to an extent the 80s) when you had a bunch of visionary 'Garigistas', with a substantial thinner rule book, far less money, drivers with personalities (and skill), ticket prices which cost less than a weeks wages and bloody good racing (and no it doesn't have to be as unsafe as it was in those days, before you cry foul!) Would it really be so bad if Renault and Merc get lost? I for one think that the 'green/road relevance' argument is a load of old tosh...tyres, aero, carbon fibre, planes flying all over the World? Road relevance my eye. Politics and fear.

I know it's difficult to go back, but I would be more than happy to return to the old values of F1.Bring back people like Tyrrel, Chapman and Williams and let them be creative, not corporate. Finish first, win race, job done. Anyone who has been to a Club level or even National level race recently will know exactly what I mean.

kenneth chapman

i have just got off the phone to a friend in europe who was at hockenheim at the weekend and we were talking about attendances. he said the stands were 'sparsely populated'. in fact he thought that the numbers would be around the 50 000 mark. by contrast evidently there was the ADAC truck race being held at the nurburgring and he had heard that the attendance figures were around 90000!!! now i don't know if this is correct but if it is anywhere near then F1 really does have some explaining to do. a truck race garnering more bums on seats than F1!!!

out of interest maybe someone here can verify these figures?


There are 2 distinct issues I think. One is the sport is losing fans and this is bad for it in the long term. Possibly things like social media will help and all the other things touted here, but that's not the real long term problem. Natural human longevity means that us the current fan base are going to die off and there is no replacement fan base coming through. Having a YouTube channel, facebook, twiter etc will not attract new fans.

Frankly, I'm not sure this is a bad thing any more. If the fan base dwindles, the profits dwindle with them. Bernie's shelf life is coming to an end and in the face of those dwindling profits, the private equity backer will have no choice other than to pull out. At which point the teams buy the rights to the sport back and start running it themselves. Use the advertising savvy of the car manufacturers, sponsors and the like to attract the new blood to "their" sport, it's the only way it will survive long term. Medium term, it's already too late.


I know some people who didn't watch the race at Hockenheim at the circuit because they didn't want to give money to a mafia like organisation.

Races were a financial loss in germany. The loss has to be paid by tax payers because the circuits were state owned. C

The state bank lost money when a certain person probably bribed a certain person. The loss had to be paid by tax payers.

Add that some more VIP's went to jail because of tax crimes.

Tax payers are used to have to pay for all stupid stuff politicians may decide. But giving the money more or less directly to a (probably) criminal is just too much. And F1 is not for the broad mass anymore. Ticket and hotel prices are way to high (ever calculated what it costs for a family with 5 kids?). So the tax payers have the bad feeling that they pay for a sport which is just watched life at the circuit by a handful of rich people.

I didn't watch F1 this weekend. Our third daughter had an equestian vaulting tournament. For myself watching my daughter doing a salto from the back of a galopping horse was as thrilling as watching the salto from Massa. The difference between the salto's were uncontrolled vs controlled and 2000 Euro vs free. 7 head family would have to pay around 2000 Euro for visiting the F1 circuit while the vaulting tournament was free.


Dear james

i think overall as a racing purist i feel that f1 is getting down right boring. whilst there are attempts by its management to make things exciting exciting becomes now every odd occasion you can say a race was scintillating. lets go to the days of prost senna piquet mansell. those days every race was on the edge every race was exciting.

i do believe the sport is way too regulated and whilst there are calls for cost caps why not be innovative in cost cutting. for eg why not leave manufacture of chassis of f1 cars to fia to supply all teams the same. allow only modifications to front and rear wings and have the engine and gearboxes without homologations freeze.

the cost savings from chassis etc can be spent on development of solutions on engines etc. these can in time fundamentally be translated into assisting road car development.

i also think that since the loss of cigarette advertising i thing many teams have lost the ability to manufacture engineering solutions for them selves on the mechanical side of f1 this leave alot of teams at the mercy of their respective manufacturers and hence less ability to be more proactive in development autonomously.

in addition with the vehicle manufacturers having more of a sphere of influence over f1 you find it more of a manufacturers spectacle than that of drivers. the emphasis on f1 is to innovate within the confines of the fia rules making it easier for teams to be creative at the same time hav greater control of the development of mechanics and having ltd aero influence can make for more exciting racing. i am of the opinion that whilst we marvel at f1's technology i think f1 has to get to a bit of the basics and a simplified version as in the past will make it as it was in his hay day.

no one wants to see f1 thats just a procession neither so predictable.


Have you been watching the last few races? They have been excellent.


F1 continues to be in danger of pricing itself out of its own market, driven by its own high costs, and a focus on TV feeds rather than race fan experience. Leading to tickets and other F1 products not offering value for money.

F1 could learn from BTCC with its focus on the show both at the track and on TV, with a growing race attendance and TV audience within a framework of managed costs ( standard parts).


some old signed contracts must come to an end somehow

just a matter of time I think,

lots of changes are surely waiting for the right timing


The era of Bernie is near to an end now.

Times will change, but you can see now that there are a few people now positioning themselves for the future.


We were at the German GP. The crowd attendance was poor, it about as poor as the attendance in 2012. It was definitely over priced. Most of the grandstand seats have a boring view (very little overtaking in the Stadium or first corner). The "Giant" TV screens were pathetic, resolution was poor, they were too far away / too small to see properly. The track commentary, blasted out at rock concert volumes, was terrible.

The numbers of stands / shops / food outlets was very low. The shop stock was almost exactly the same at each, clothing for the top teams and not much else. Food quality was good. There was very little entertainment other than track action. Luckily we had access to the Mercedes stand which had some fun activities, but the ticket price for that area was quite a bit more than the Stadium.

I can see why attendance was poor! Luckily the track action was great.


It's not just the high ticket price that's a pain point. I've been to a number of GP's and I don't mind paying a high price for tickets providing there is adequate services to justify the costs.

What's noticeable at every F1 event unlike any other sporting event I've been to is how elitist it is. There's so many sections closed for private functions/sponsors or inaccessible to only those with the best VIP tickets, they need to limit this and offer more choices for everyone.


I'm currently travelling abroad and tried listening to the 5 Live coverage yesterday on my iPad, and guess what as soon as it started it was blocked, presumably at Bernie's request. So I had no option to follow the race live apart from text updates on the BBC website. Even if I wanted to pay to watch it I had no choice to. I can't quite understand what revenue Bernie was losing by not letting me even listen to James' excellent commentary! I agree with Nikki, give us a way to follow F1 even if we have to pay, wherever we want to watch it!


Lauda has drunk the Kool-Aid. Experts have been trying for years to make us believe TV is dead and that on-line viewing is the next 'BIG THING.' In the mean time, TV viewing is at an all time high and online viewing levels have been stuck at less than 5%. F1 has many problems including radically new, confusing technology and a rather uninspiring season ( unless you're a Rosey or Hamster fan) – but the way it is viewed is not one of them.


I have frankly lost interest mid way through the season this year..I am really fed up with the constant rule changes that F1 brings in arbitrarily, You cant keep track of everything here. if you bring in new technology then have the teams go balls out atleast for the initial two years of its inception before they could apply an engine freeze. now what do we have in terms of racing, from day 1 it was known the season ending champion would either be lewis or nico, what's the fun in that...teams have only 5 engines to choose from, so no point in bringing new engines either as by that you have already lost half the season. last year championship was really competitive until FIA changed the tyres, we had kimi and fernando breathing down vettels neck.

I started watching f1 in 2000 and to my mind some of the best years were in v10 and initial v8 era, now the cars sound like motorbikes they are slower, uglier,...the engine is too complicated and we know such is the way rules are written that other teams know they wont be able to equalize to merc power in the forseeable FIA would try to ban trick suspensions and what not! to cut their advantage. I am not a fan of this new era and don't see the point in waking up 7 am in the morning to watch the races live.


you haven't lost interest because you will watch it all season and follow it throughout the pre season testing and keep repeating because there isn't a more successful motor racing series out there.


My objection to current F1 can be summed up by a couple of pieces of team radio this weekend. Perez who wanted to get his foot down and race/defend his position being told in no uncertain terms he was on a final warning for not fuel saving. And Vettel having to ask did they want him to overtake or save fuel. I wanted to scream.


I don't think this is the only problem, but it is part of it. Does nobody find it odd that one of the biggest sports in the world, with a 60-plus year history and some of the best-payed professionals, does not even have an official facebook account? I mean, a friend of mine created one for her gerbil... Is a gerbiol more socially relevant than F1?...


f1 knows how to be successful and have demonstrated that in history so why all this negativity? some people think they have a chance because of ecclestone's court case forgetting that ecclestone being the most successful custodian of f1 has the most influence on people all over the world. this court case will soon pass and he will continue.


It sums it up for me after being a dedicated fan for almost 20 years I actually forgot that the German GP was on this weekend. I seriously asked myself why I "cheated" on my Sunday afternoon date of many years with the F1? Sadly I thinks it's due to no longer feeling the passion and heart pumping rush I used to have.

F1 still has the ability to wow, please bring it back to the basics:

1. Innovation - let the engineers play and create some masterpieces, if some of these make it to the road car, even better. Let the development race happen, point it to a strategic direction with the regs e.g. green can be good, allow principles and the boffins will come up with the goods. Testing!!! The only sport where you restrict honing and perfecting your ability and game plan for the real event...akin to footballers not allowed to train and go for a run a few mins before the match. Let people pay to see 8hrs of their teams experiment, showcase the pinnacle of Motorsport - money making event for teams and Big E?

2. Drivers become heroes -Let them all potentially drive to the limit, EVERY lap - durable tyres and maybe refuelling, allows to throw in some some strategy in with the race e.g. short filling, long filling...mix it up! I feel sad each time I hear lift and's no longer man and machine pushing the boundaries with a sense of accomplishment of doing some spectacular (apart from the epic wheel to wheel battles). Balance safety vs. punishing mistakes, all this free space to run off on a circuit?

3. Pragmatism - stewards stop meddling with things that appear trivial...if someone taps someone, it happens. If someone seriously messes up then levy a punishment at them. F1 is a competition, if you want to win think of ways to outfox your opposition, if it's outspend (charm lots of sponsors) or use the technical talent to come up with great feats of engineering - it's not a charity raffle, best person who does the job wins.

4. Media - create some drama and passion....if people can get sucked into reality TV programmes I'm sure F1 could be sold and advertised as something as a better product rather than those i3i0t$ who prance around in Made In Chelsea humping anything that moves.


looks like most poster want to be in charge of f1 but they cannot name a single motor racing series as successful as f1.

Jonathan Powell

Hi James,

I was very surprised to see the low turnout figures for the German GP,especially with a German driver doing well and another a four time world champion. The ticket prices are certainly an issue. I went to the Mens Wimbledon Final this year which cost £150 for the ticket and it was most certainly value for money. I have always loved and been a fan of Formula 1 but wouldnt go to a race due to the costs of the tickets,especially when BTCC is less than £35 for a weekend ticket. Yes I know its not the same but you can see where I'm coming from.

An issue with motorpsort as a whole is that for a spectator you are not seeing the whole event all the time like you do at a football or tennis match so there definitely needs to be more done to keep fans as involved and occupied as possible.

I agree Formula 1 defintely lags behind in terms of new media and lack of content available. It needs to be more open as it is too restrictive at the moment.

The drivers have certainly become more robotic and less accessible. Everybody loved it when Kimi did well and was becoming more outspoken but those times are too infrequent now. I have watched the drivers group interview before the weekend starts and its ust terrible,they ust give routine answers and obviously cant wait to get out of there.

Formula 1 is not a million miles from where it needs to be but if doesnt it doesnt act quickly it will struggle to keep its fans and gain news ones aswell.


We turned up at Silverstone to support the underdog (lewis) who has been consistently shafted by his team -3x the failures on Rosberg's car, slowerstops, etc and that was beforehand his brakes mysteriously failed and reduced the only challenge to Rosberg. Wolf was ecstatic and has said nothing about letting Hamilton down so often. I don't watch anymore but did predict they'd wreck his car and his gearbox for the German Grand Prix. They talk about letting them race but this is just a massive fix, you shouldn't get 3x the failures on one car.


No sound, no feeling, no to F1! RIP F1


I'm 52 and have been following f1 since 1969. The sport is failing for three reasons:

1. It's dull, corporate and controlled and becoming utterly devoid of character and life. Bland drivers too scared to speak, acres of tarmac run-off and worst of all that awful bland podium....its the same every race, with those stupid screen flags and the corporate trophy.....and the fans kept away while disinterested business types get up close.

2. There are no social media opportunities to engage people.....ignore that F1 and the sport is dead....end of story, simple.

3. Its fans are ageing (like me) most of them want to keep it in the past (when admittedly it was better, (F1 in the 1970s was something to behold) - but the world has changed. Screaming petrol engines are everything the rising generation sees as the old world.

Formula-E is not there yet but it will engage people like never before. Bernie says a London GP will be difficult, no one wants it because of its noise and emissions, but Formula-E will be there, with cheap tickets and fan engagement in a way F1 can hardly imagine.


@machinesteve, I am not fooled by that film because I know that not a single one of their claims is true. More people live in the rural than cities. electric cars do not pollute less than internal combustion engines, solar cars do. electric cars are not more efficient than internal combustion engines. all not true. the electric cars use electricity made from burning fossil fuels and i know that energy is lost as energy is transferred from one form to another so the more stages of energy transfer, the less efficient the system. internal combustion engined cars go from fuel to mechanical energy in the engine while electric cars go from fuel to mechanical energy to electrical energy and the back to mechanical energy, losing valuable energy at each stage of energy transfer. this means more pollution by electric cars, not less pollution. car manufacturing companies understand what i have just told you that is why the electric car has been around for so long and yet has failed to compete against the internal combustion engined cars. hybrid is the future because some of that wasted energy is recover and reused.

only solar powered cars are more efficient than hybrid engined cars. e1 has no hope and ecclestone knows that that's why he didn't nip it in the bud. he gave them the go ahead because he knows that they are no competition and all those who watch e1 will have f1 at the back of their minds while watching e1. e1 has gone in too deep and risked too much money. it's a lot less risky to launch a cheaper alternative, build up a fan base and then spend money to raise the profile. they should've spent their money on sidecar racing. different to f1 and motor gp as well as requiring different skills.


As I can't seem to answer machinesteve directly, if machinesteve wants a greener planet, why not stop the moving around of the whole f1 circus around the world at upwards of 50,000 litres of fuel burned per event moving that circus....making f1 cars green is peanuts in comparison.


@machinesteve, if you then look at how batteries are made and how the materials used in making batteries are extracted, it looks a lot worst for electric cars. once those sponsors begin to understand how inefficient electric cars are and how slowly they are been bought over the years, they will pull the plug. formula e needs a huge fan base to keep sponsors in the future as sponsors need eyes pointed at their logos.


Yeah it depends on how you make the electricity of use a carbon neutral means of generation, solar, wind, tide...even nuclear, maybe fusion one day. Formula-E might be in deep but they are the ones attracting the sponsors - its not about facts its about association and business want to be associated with E. No its not the best solution but it is the one business wants to get behind and be associated with......and not F1 it seems. Time will tell. Personally if I were F1 I would say.....limit the fuel and CCs....but have unlimited E power.


we will all see how formula e fairs. i can't any ingredients in formula e which will help it to survive longer than a1. f1 is the most successful motor racing series in the world ever. i would agree with all this madness if there was a single motor racing series as successful as f1.


I'm not here to promote Formula-E but F1 needs to understand that it is all summed up in this short film they made. This is absolutely 100% counter to everything Bernie understands:


Things come and things go. F1 comes from an era of the development of cars and then the global promotion of petrol and cigs....formula-E is coming from the Eco age and the age of social media and participation. I agree F1 could do that too and kill Formula-E dead.....but not with Bernie at the helm.


My 11 year old does not see screaming petrol engines as the old world. He loves them.

There are a lot of assumptions about what the young want. Has anyone actually asked them?


Yeah what 11 year old wouldn't. When I was 11 I wanted a big Camero.....but when he starts to think about the Ecological Future of the Planet - he is going to get turned on by clean efficient and planetary harmless big speed.


I am a long time follower of F1 and have sat up all hours to see races (I was in Australia with the races late eveing or early morning). Now however it has reached the state of being too commercial with a few people making 'lots of money'

I do not have a problem with the current fomula ... but I do with all the crazy rules. Cars should be cars. Think of a road car and cut down on the aero, no radio's between the pits, make the diver work to pass 'no opening flaps'. Bring back racing with driver ability getting them to the front.

Get a better distribution of the revenue to the teams not just rich and poor.

Make the cars run with the underlying colour scheme, being the racing colour of the countty .. Green for Britain, Red for Italy etc .... Look at the Italians they get excited to see a red Ferrari cross the line ..... how about being able to see a Green British Car so we as a nation can feel proud. As we were when after many years Stirling Mos got a Green Vanwall over the line.

Get the drivers out of uniform ... lets see them without a stupid cap, that seems to change every five minutes. For me the only two that seem real people are Lewis and Alfonso.

Now I read we may loose Monza and Spa ... take those tracks away, you are taking away a big part of the history of Motor Racing.

For me F1 needs to take a good look at itself, listen to the fans and give more back to the fans via the various forms of media .... not just pay TV channels.

I never thought I would say this. Its Tuesday , only today will I bother to watch the last GP.

I hope Niki Lauda can get change ... great to have a person at the top speaking out.

kenneth chapman

without any further contributions from posters here i have just read that the attendance figures for the nurburgring 'truck racing' event on sunday topped 100,000!!!!

now i have no reason to doubt these numbers and that should signal some hard questions as to why the 'pinnacle' can only raise 50% of the truck racing attendance. no doubt there will be more than one reason but if i was to hazard a guess i would simply say this, tickets were too expensive, the result was almost a complete foregone conclusion and that F1 no longer sounds like racing at its screaming best. what else could there be considering that it was a german driver in a german car that scooped the winning plaudits.


because people like di montezemolo, vettel and lauder keep telling people the cars sound rubbish. there should be a fine of €500 000 for anyone involved in f1 who makes negative comments about f1. this will put a stop to their nonsense.


The ticket price is the main problem.

As I was in France with the family at the weekend I suggested that we could go to the GP before heading home.

Checking the price for race day tickets for 2 adults and 2 children decided the matter.

As a day out for the family it simply does not stack up; the price for that race would pay for a week's holiday elsewhere.


I agree with ticket pricing. I would make the trek to Texas to watch a race (Im in Phoenix, AZ) But just the price of a seat (600$) for me and my Wife Its just entirely too expensive. Last year I went to 2 Nascar races (I understand its a different beast all together) But I spent less than 300 for both races for 2 people. I also would love to see a streaming service. I have cable but its hard to watch the races live in the US. I have had resulted to downloading the races illegally just to watch. I would gladly pay a subscription fee to watch the races but I doubt that will ever happen.

I feel F1's biggest issue is the in-accessibility. To watch you need a cable subscription, and to go to a race you need to save for a few months. note- I make just over the average household salary. Also this year has seemed lackluster compared to some that we have had in recent years.


i think the main problem is vettel and all those who go on tv to tell f1 fans that the sound from the car is s**t. all of them should be educated about promoting the sport. whatever they say is more believe able by fans than any salesman. there should be a rule to fine anyone involved in f1 who makes a negative comment about f1.


James this really easy and im surprised no one has picked up on it. What just happened to Bernie Ecclestone in May- He went before German court for bribery and corruption.

He then offers half price on the Nurburgring. Hello lets spend 1000 euros & take the family to watch one of "his" races..

I'm really surprised anyone showed up to be honest. Then you have all the usual stuff we've talked about many times. Lack of real promotion, driver- fan engagement, live streaming. Top it off with even the Germans seeing that Nico is being positioned to win this year. The lack of safety car deployment really highlighted this again....This whole sport is so contrived its ridiculous I watch it only for the occasional brilliance on track- I totally ignore the results, I ignore what most of the media says ( most of the time 😉 ) .. Sporting codes are shot to pieces with double pts races. Different rulings for different circuits, different rules for different teams & cars- honestly Ronald Mcdonald could win on the right circiit with enough juvenile support and enough donation money-- hey theres an idea!


In addition to all the above comments, anyone with a mind has to be turned off by the lack of consistency in applying the rules and blatant favoritism. This weekend with the Merc brake disc change is another example, yet Caterham is punished for being late to cover its car. Laughable really. Favoritism? Politics? No...not F1. This kind of thing kills my buzz.


So we have:

1 Inflated unaffordable ticket Prices

2 Soulessness

3 Corporate control

4 Bribery

5 Bland drivers

6 Bland circuits

7 No noise

8 Computer designed cars

9 Too much money

10 Contrived rules

11 Double points

12 No social media

13 Bland rostrums

14 No sense of history

15 Fans kept away from drivers

16 Too much corporate hospitality

17 Unimaginative TV

18 No 1970s car innovation

19 Toadying up to despots

20 All cars look almost the same

21 Not Eco-friendly

22 Represents a past era.

23 Bad time of day on TV

24 Fuel saving

25 Hardly any action without DRS

26 Business type team managers (Where is the Chapman or Tyrell)

27 Uncharismatic presentation

28 Bernie's trial / age / arrogance / greed

29 Character tracks long gone

30 Driver interviews are boooring

31 Drivers are made to be weird middle aged businessmen.

32 Not enough women in the sport still.

33 No Playstation etc game

34 No Tweets

35 Sexist crap with girls in a line clapping drivers (eurgh makes everyones skin crawl!)

36 Out of touch commentary ("Lets hope it doesn't rain" when EVERYONE is hoping for rain!)

37 Disregard for fans (ie. buried pitlane miles away at Silverstone)

38 BBC and Sky forced to avoid mentioning any protests as if under repressive state control (ie Greenpeace)

39 State control of donuts!

40 Absolutely nothing interesting (like Piquets fight or Senna riding Mansells care) ever allowed to happen

41 Drivers helmets change every race

42 Too much focus on aero (try banning wings)

43 Contrived tyres

44 Fridays (yawn)


45 Where are the new teams?

Its a basket case!

roberto marquez

Why I started following racing 40 years ago ? 1 Excitment it was a dangerous sport and race drivers were like gladiators ,fighting for life and win 2 Glamour , where did you see together beatifull women,beatifull cars, champagne, royalty, movie stars, millionaires ,etc, than in the padock of a race ? 3 Smell, noise, very high speed, you knew that only in the Utah flats you could see a "car" going faster,

4 Drama ,drivers drove ,they did not have an engineer teling them to save fuel, or to save tyres , or to tell them "strategy" was good. I do not suggest to curb on safety but please : eliminate tyre degrading , eliminate fuel saving and get rid of the f... radios in the formula 1 cars and let them fight each other. Please keep the beatifull women.


I go along with all you say .... but now it is a 'BIG' money earner for a few people do you think it will ever change !!!.

kenneth chapman

hahahah a great summary. let it roll

Campbell Hicks

I am enjoying this years Formula 1, i have missed the technical side of F1 in the past few years. I thinks its great that teams can have different configurations etc. The sound of F1 in 2014 is fine when watching from my TV and the racing is much more exciting behind the two Merc's but it is also exciting to see the Merc's of Hamilton and Rosberg fight it out. I'm enjoying it all this year at home.

But at the track I can understand about the sound, I have been to GP's and the sound was the most amazing thing. I'm sure this will be worked out over time as the lack of orsum sound also effects road going car's. The sound of a road car can help sales especially electric and Hybrid cars.

At tracks I thing the use of Wifi to