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Ed Gorman’s Formula One Notebook: Why Nico Rosberg is tougher than anyone thought
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  15 Aug 2014   |  2:11 pm GMT  |  179 comments

In the latest of his columns on the state of the F1 nation, former Times Formula One correspondent Ed Gorman muses on noise, the return of Bernie Ecclestone and how paternal competitiveness might have made Nico Rosberg a stronger character than we all imagined.

I imagine the script when Lewis Hamilton moved to Mercedes was that the cars would be built for him and that he would then drive them to successive world championships.

I have always had a recurring thought about Lewis, having seen his first championship back in 2008 when almost everyone was predicting multiple wins on a Schumacherian scale: Will he ever be champion again? I still wonder about that.

But I digress. The script did not include Nico Rosberg. Well it did, but only as a bit-part player. I am not sure many people knew he had the steel he has shown this season – the fight and the determination he has shown. Of course, he has had the rub of the green in some respects, but he has dispelled once and for all the notion that he was just another nice – albeit hugely talented – guy making up the numbers.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 13.57.53

I suppose his early seasons in the top tier lulled us into a false sense of his mediocrity at this level. That and his natural impulse to please out of the cockpit and his privileged upbringing in Monaco all led to the impression that Nico was a good looking lad who could drive fast but was never going to scale the heights.

My guess is that the toughness comes from Keke, a very different character on the surface to his son – hard-arsed, aggressive in the car in his day and hardly the diplomat.

Indeed, I remember my first – and only – encounter with him back at Interlagos some years ago. I had arranged to have a chat with him – probably about Nico – and arrived at the appointed time at his table where he was holding court in the cramped paddock. In fact, he had not finished his previous conversation and so I nervously drew up a chair, leaving a little distance between the former world champion and I, so that he could continue in private. Keke was having none of it, however, and turned to me – someone he did not know – and in no uncertain terms told me to f*** off. I remember thinking ‘wow, this guy doesn’t give a stuff.’ We never did have that chat.

The rivalry with his father has driven Nico – a man gifted with great charm – but he has his own ambition and his own paradigm of perfection to pursue as well. This remark from an interview he gave to a Finnish newspaper, on the eve of his first season in Formula One when he had just won the GP2 championship, remains instructive. “No external pressures come close to the expectations that I set on myself when I’m driving. I’m a fighter to the very end, very ambitious, and I hate losing.”

Will Lewis get past him and if he doesn’t what will the consequences of that be?

Weirdly that year at Interlagos was also the setting for one of the funniest moments in the paddock in my first season when, very green behind the gills, I requested an interview with Ferrari’s chief mechanic, their race and test technical manager, one Nigel Stepney whose untimely death was reported in May.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 13.59.20

In those days Ferrari were very secretive – I am sure that has not changed – and you could not talk to someone like Stepney without the team’s PR chief, Luca Colajanni, hovering about three inches away with his tape recorder rammed into the proceedings.

Anyway, I arrived for the interview at the back of the garage, thinking the name Stepney seemed familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it. As we started chatting in the sunshine, with people cruising by all around us, I began by trying to pin it down.

“Where are you from Nigel?” I asked.

He replied that he was from the Midlands.

“Oh, whereabouts?”

It was a village near Southam – where he got his first job at Broadspeed.

“What village exactly was that?”

Ufton, he replied. (Ufton is a tiny little place on top of a hill between Southam and Leamington Spa).

It was at that moment that I realized that Nigel Stepney had been born and raised 200 yards from my home on the little road of then council houses in the middle of the village. So there we were laughing our heads off at the improbability of this fresh encounter and the enormity of the journey we had both taken to meet in adulthood at Interlagos of all places… in Brazil, me working for The Times, he for Ferrari. Colajanni, who was ready to intervene when it all got too technical or political, was somewhat bemused by these two English Midlanders and our childhood recollections.

On a serious point, I was genuinely stunned and impressed to see how far Nigel had gone. He had drive, talent and passion for motorsport in abundance and it took him right to the top of his profession, even if his career was to be dogged by controversy.

I suppose Nigel would be very interested in the rearranging going on at the Scuderia currently, as the proud Italian team tries to find a way out of its current woes. The moves are about trying to inject competitiveness, new blood, fresh thinking etc. One area the team might want to revisit is it’s unbelievably unimaginative choice of drivers – specifically its replacement for Felipe Massa (who himself was arguably kept on for too long, something underlined by what he has done since). Surely there are hungrier, slightly more risk-laden choices with better long-term prospects than the once mighty Kimster?

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 14.02.59

The racing on the track has been surprisingly exciting this season – given that only one team can win it – but if anyone was getting bored by the Mercedes-dominated wheel-to-wheel combat, there has always been the noise surrounding Bernie’s struggles to stay out of jail to divert us.

Throughout the past six months or so that has always been the question people have asked. Not who will be world champion but do you think Bernie will go to jail?

God knows I am not familiar with the fiendishly complicated detail of the cases against him, but I never thought wily old Bernie would end up in a German prison. I always imagined him paying a very large fine – actually it’s turned out to be a very large “settlement”. So once again, Bernard Charles has defied the predictions of those who saw his demise. He remains a remarkable character who has not finished running Formula One quite yet.

Now, on to noise of a different nature. At the beginning of the season the loudest noise coming from Formula One was being made by people complaining that the cars weren’t loud enough. That noise seems to have been drowned out by the cheers of those applauding the racing we have seen from the likes of Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso and Ricciardo. Have we got over the lack of noise issue? Does it matter anymore? Maybe Formula One is better off not causing permanent damage to the hearing of its most fervent fans, many among them very young people.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 14.01.07

Final thought: there is an on-going debate about the sport’s dwindling audiences and so on. My contribution is that Bernie’s biggest mistake has been his determination to sell Formula One and new tracks to territories where there is no history or interest in the sport whatsoever while at the same time ignoring some of its traditional strongholds.

These mainly Far Eastern deals are short term and have shown repeatedly that they do nothing to grow the sport. I am thinking of China (empty stadium), Turkey (empty stadium, now white elephant), South Korea (cancelled), India (future uncertain), Bahrain (always a struggle and politically very tricky), Abu Dhabi (a long-term “maybe”).

At the same time as these duds were wasting the sport’s energy, there was no race in the United States for much of the time, or France, a race was dropped in Germany and Italy and even the British Grand Prix was under threat at one point. Isn’t it time for Formula One to play to its strengths, to build on its history, not ignore it?

Do you agree with the points Ed raises? Is Nico Robserg a more formidable racer than many gave him credit for being? Has the noise issue been overcome thanks to the quality of racing? What does Bernie’s reclaiming of his F1 throne mean for the future of the sport? And does his reinstatement spell a continuation of journeys to new markets at the expense of the traditional heartland of F1? We’d love to know.

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1

For me it was a very sad day when Sky TV won the rights for broadcasting F1. It followed a year when everyone was talking about the sport again, and the BBC were enjoying great ratings. Nowadays viewers get a a mixture of good-poor edited highlights in a large number of races, shown at random times. This is only the start, because once viewing figures continue to decline, Sky will take over as the only live broadcaster in the UK and it will become another Boxing…..a minority sport inaccessible to the masses.

2

Is Hamilton typically faster over a single lap than Rosberg? Undoubtedly. Is he prepared to take greater risks in traffic? Ditto. However, the fact remains that Hamitlton continues, on occasion, to push himself and the car past their limits, whereas Rosberg seldom does. This no doubt accounts for some of his speed advantage when he remains on the road.

However, if Rosberg outqualifies Hamilton because Hamilton spins, that is Hamilton’s fault. If Hamilton then has to drive the wheels off the car to make up positions, that is the position he put himself in. Furthermore, there can be no doubt that the Mercedes advantage in pace over the rest of the field makes this task much easier than would be the case in years where the competition is much closer.

I too suspect that Hamilton will ultimately beat out Rosberg for the chamnpionship this year. However, I also believe that the battle is closer than it should be due to Hamilton’s willingess to push the envelope of performance a little too far. In racing as in so may things in life, sometimes less is more.

Brad

3

You know regards the history of F1

History starts today, the moment you start looking over your shoulder at past events it’s time to stop and find something else to do.

Forward and upward.

Bahrain showed there is history still to be made in F1 and every race is an opportunity to make great history.

Remanice about past events but look to tomorrow and live today to create history.

4

Still don’t like the noise. Say, I wonder what a Toyota Prius with a bad muffler sounds like?

5

by the way

Max Verstappen was just anounced as Toro Rosso Driver for 2015 on Servus TV

greetings

6

Wonderful contribution by Ed Gorman! He is SO RIGHT about F1´s history (on historic tracks) being one of its main strengths.

7

Nico is more calculative and Lewis is more fiery. I prefer the fiery guy although emotionally it has its down points too but when it’s fiery it’s definitely more exciting. And Wolf and Lowe, kindly refrain from explaining that you allow your drivers to race, I sincerely don’t believe that.

The second part of the season and Lewis with only 11 points adrift it’s like a new season. Finally Spa is here this weekend, what a wait.

James, one request, will it be possible to indicate the engines use for the teams so far. I’m guessing most teams have at least one at most two new engines.

8

The Hamilton Rosberg title race will go to the last race. I suspect lewis will edge it. Rosberg has only won a straight fight once at Monaco and that was means very foul. He has forced mistakes into Lewis though and been very consistent. The mentally stronger driver will do it.

9

Nico is definitively not a formidable racer and I still think Lewis will beat him this year.

But I agree with Mr. Hynes on his views about these Grands Prix in Bahrain, China, etc. Turkey I like the track though.

10

Of course Lewis is. But have you seen enough to know that Mercedes want Nico to win? Every strategy has this in mind. Unless Lewis is ahead by a comfortably ahead in each race- the team will put Nico ahead. So unless Lewis wins by big margins Nico will win the championship.

11

@C63. Mercedes are looking for a way to make German people care about Nico and instil national pride in the most recognised of German motoring brands on the Globe!. I cannot think of a more powerful way than winning Can you??, What better way than him winning the WDC in what “appears” to be a completely level playing field and Toto & Nikki constantly telling everyone they do. This is precisely the point please dont make constantly repeat and explain. If you saw the Daimler president – Dieter Zetsche face when Nico took that too step at Hockenheim you might appreciate it a bit more.

I know your a huge fan of Lewis – So am I !!- In his racing only. But please, stop with this marketing power of Lewis- this is exactly why he has polarised opinions globally. He & his management need to just focus on his racing and cut the crap. It sent him backwards with the British fans when he was in a british team- & I would suggest its doing him no favours in a german team and an understated german team mate . Raikkonen doesnt care about fans, doesnt even have twitter, doesnt have a marketing team – yet globally he is more revered than anyone & possibly more fans than anyone outside his relatively small Finland than any driver on the grid.

I dont watch Skysports and dont hold much faith in their opinions. As for German fans at German races I would suggest a certain court case by a certain british chap running F1 only weeks before didn’t really help matters either along with the usual tough economic times and ticket prices

12

@YouWho

With respect, you still haven’t answered my question. What is the upside for Mercedes if Nico wins the WDC instead of Lewis? Nico is simply not as marketable as Lewis, there is no question in that regard. Did you see the recent F1 show on Sky with the journalists? They had Michael Schmidt on there (he writes for the German equivalent of Autosport) and he said no one in Germany cares about Nico. They used to worship MSC – hence the seats full to overflowing at the German GP – but not Nico, or Seb for that matter.

Anyway, as you say, you have never been wrong in these matters – so if that isn’t sufficient proof and weight of evidence I don’t know what is 🙂

13

@C63 Everyone denouncing Nico as representing Germany has to have rocks in their head. If Im not mistaken its always a German flag behind him on the podium- THATS ALL THAT COUNTS & Sorry Brackerly and Brixworth are not the home of Mercedes Brand- not even close – despite ALL the english staff etc.. that thinking is just foley..Also Mercedes are repaying Nico for his loyalty and dedication through the MS years.. Nico sat in the shafows the whole time and dont forget most of germany would have been om the edge of their seat when MS was there.. Now they only have one driver left to carry that baton.

Look there could be even more reasons that none of us know. But one things for certain they are playing their cards very close to their chests. Nico instantly reacted to mine and several tweets suggesting the team are behind him – an innocent and unwitting driver does not react the way he did.. IT WAS LAUGHABLE. He knows whats happening and I bet all you like Lewis can see it too.. Ive never been wrong on these things and I picked it at Mclaren with Button also and the fact Lewis should/ did go to Mercedes… If Lewis wins its only because he stays way out in front of Nico and Nico has many issues.. If it is as close as it has been I’m certain Mercedes will strategise Nicos WDC.. I would like to know exactly what was said to the stewards at Monaco too when Nico went off — that was plain absurd.

14

@YouWho

But have you seen enough to know that Mercedes want Nico to win? Every strategy has this in mind…

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that your suspicions are correct.

My question is; why would Mercedes prefer Nico to win the WDC?

Mercedes go racing in order to sell cars – agreed? Of the two drivers at Mercedes, Lewis is far and away the most marketable, not even the Germans care about Nico – remember the empty stands at his recent ‘home’ race? So, why would Mercedes prefer Nico to win the WDC, what is the upside for them if this happens?

15

So you heard Mercedes asking Lewis to not hold Nico up- even though he was racing for the win and the championship. You saw before that they put Nico on soft and Lewis on Mediums even though Lewis mid race was 1 full second faster than everyone including Nico. AND he had 2 brand new sets left from missing quali!!. You saw they did the same thing at Bahrain where Lewis fought Nico off whilst Nico was on options & he was on primes..

You saw Ferrari use strategy not once but twice to put Alonso in front of Raikkonen in Spain whilst the Santander chief was there watching along with thousands of Spaniards. You saw Crashgate, Spygate, you would have known Ferrari sacked the late Nigel Stepney for sabotaging Raikkonens fuel mid 2009.

Lauda is not making the strategy calls ,not sure whether hes even aware of the reasons at the time.But im sure everyones aware after they happen.I ve been watchin this “sport” for 30 years and if theres one thing Im certain of – there is always another reason other than racing– so much so that I can almost predict what the main teams are about to do when the pit stops are happening and then I end up cursing when they do. I have picked many things that happened over the years well before anyone even suggested them. Lewis move to Merc, Raikkonens success at Lotus.

When the margins are small Mercedes are favouring Nico every time- make no mistake. They wont sabbotage Lewis but they are definitely making the marginal calls to suit Nico and that is all it takes sometimes. If things change they will change their strategy, like any team would but right now this is where its at. I think fans must never forget Mercedes spend 0ver €300m euros to go racing and its image and motives are not the same as people watching or even the drivers driving.. They say it but ive learned talk is cheap in this game

16

I’ve followed F1 for 47 years, so I’ve seen some of everything. Still, it’s hard to imagine Mercedes could get away with sabotaging Lewis even within the team; Niki Lauda has been very supportive and he’s a smart guy. I doubt Mercedes would dare try to bypass him with some trick.

Lewis has probably the wrong engineer though.

17

Fact is, Mercedes only started competing when Hamilton turned up… they went up, as McLaren fell apart…

Hamilton has made both Jenson and Nico look better then they are, as they follow in his wake, and wait for luck to make them competitive. Even Alonso, was carried by Hamilton in 2007… just look at Ferrari now.

Hamilton is the most complete driver in F1, and provides the best feedback to engineers for car development and setup.

The only think holding him back are the worst ever anti-racing regulations in F1 history from the FIA, and lots of bad luck…

I just wish Hamilton would have raced in the Schumacher years – the regs were more racing oriented, and men could be men.

18

Rosberg always manages to surprise me.

Both in a good way: pushing Hamilton right to the limit.

And a bad way: Monaco.

Can a nice guy be a world Champion?

Button has proven it is feasible.

It does show that Schumacher was still a class act in his second stint as a Mercedes driver.

19

The are many things Inlike about F1, but the one thing I despise about it is the media hype and stories which drum up certain people, teams, drivers- especially when it uses other media people to do it.

Whilst I have nothing against Nico Rosberg Im constantly compelled to talk him down because of the ridiculous campaign talking him ip. Especially here by JA!.. Nico has always been a good driver as all that drive for top teams are. But why is it that for his entire racing career he has not measured by such greatness till right now?. There is a campaign going on right here supporting Mercedes Benz, supporting Nico Rosberg. Nico Rosberg was all but annonymous till 2013. Mercedes Benz have a campaign that is clearly favouring him and JA Are clearly supporting that campaign. I’m pretty certain that if the next 8 races are close between Hamilton and Nico, Nico will become World Champion by December- without a doubt.. This is all anyone needs to know about Nico Rosberg the rest is no different to any other driver in F1…

20

The reason F1 is falling behind is because it is far to expensive and very boring compared to the sports that are growing. They have killed it with saftey and the profit they drag from it. I still watch but only because I can use my mates log in. No way I am paying all that money for F1. I can go to the TT for two weeks and see a far, far more exciting spectacle for te same money.

In the other point. Rosberg is an animal. How good was shumachers comeback now!?!?!? He was still extremely good. Hammy will still beat him as he is just better. People talk about being compete. I don’t care about that, I want a manic loony bin throwing it up the inside. Do it die. Its just a pity its so safe now. Its racing. It should be dangerous. I recently started racing a super kart and it bored me because they are so easy to drive and safe compared to my old haunt of the sidecars. If you want excitement come and watch the ulster GP next year and stand at rock bends. That’s real, exciting. F1? Its good but it could be so much better.

21

JNH – Morzine & Mountainbiking!!

Proper holiday!! I went the last 2 years and loved it!!

I’m 39 this year, have a good job and disposable income – but i’m like many above – absolutely refuse to pay for Sky TV

I watch the highlights on BBC and spend much more time on sites like this following the sport than the telly

Money grabbing is killing the sport

22

Interesting comments here from Ed Gorman in his occasional series, particularly about Nico Rosberg. Good comments too about Ferrari. Regarding drivers, and maybe the team as a whole, I think there’s a debate brewing about whether they have changed too little, too late; or changed too much.

The one area I disagree is about the move to new markets, which for me is a rehashing of an old argument. Whilst he’s right about the demise of Turkey and Korea, for example, China has a growing fanbase and Singapore & Abu Dhabi have been good successes. Also, this doesn’t explain for me the dwindling audiences at places like the Hockenheimring, Spa and Suzuka in recent years.

One argument I’m pondering on the above subject is that Bernie’s financial model has F1 down as a monopoly. There is only one ‘pinnacle of motorsport’, and this is it. However, I think that more than ever the sport is in the market for ‘leisure’. Simply put, if F1 is too expensive or awkward to watch, they’ll do something else instead. I wonder if the move to pay-per-view can also be seen in this context; people who maybe wouldn’t miss a race before the move realising that, actually, they don’t have to tune in every race. They can do other things, or even watch other things, and, with things like double points and standing restarts going on, they also wonder if the product they do watch when they tune in is the one they originally fell in love with. Maybe, in line with Ed’s comment on ‘building on its history’ these are the issues to resolve, rather than a wholescale changing of the venues to some sort of 1990s time warp.

23

If both Mercs finish all the remaining races Lewis will win the championship. In all the on track straight fights this year Lewis has won them all.

I would imagine Nico will finish 30 or 40 points points or so behind Lewis, maybe more . He has been very lucky so far this year

24

Cant argue with that. I’ll tell you who else is lucky this year, the Mercedes team. They’re lucky Renault provided RBR with such a crap powerplant otherwise young Danny Ricciardo would be running away with this one 🙂

25

Right, so F1 is expected to be a “global” sport, but one that exists only in Europe and America?

Can’t speak for the other Asian tracks, but the circuit in India was built away from the natural stronghold of motorsport in the country i.e. South India. Your typical F1 fan in India is never going to be able to shell out about 500 dollars to make the yearly pilgrimage to Noida for a race out in the boondocks. It’s cheaper to head to Singapore, take in a race, entertainment and shopping than attend a race in India!

26

Actually I’ve always though Nico was a very good driver and all he wanted was a decent car. His strength is consistentency at a high level. Lewis in Nico’s company cannot afford to give away points unnecessarily. Beyond that Lewis has had a greater amount of mechanical misfortune, and rather more than his share of pure bad luck. I still think Lewis is the faster driver and the more talented. – Bahrain was evidence enough of that when Nico with better set up and faster tyre still could not get past him and make it stick. It was a wonderful piece of defensive driving from Lewis straight out of the top drawer. Nico drives with his head while Lewis is an emotional creature cable of astounding feats when everything goes right for him. Unfortunately quite the contrary things have gone awry. Frankly it’s anyones guess how this battle is going to pan out, but we are in for some exciting racing for sure.

Well yes Bernie is back, but I doubt if it will be for long. I reckon 2 -3 years at the most. He paid the 60 million to stop the pain rather than anything else. A younger man would have fought the accusation.

27

I’ve never read eds column by his musings above doubt I’ll look out for them.

Rosberg imo is like Button, he will be exposed when the focus is on him and him alone.

With the benefit of better talent doing the donkey work they will shine. But if you’re depending on them for results…….

From day obe I have had no issue with the noise. From race 4 I have had no problem with the ‘show’……. It’s still F1.

BE……. I have no intention of wishing ill on another man but……… He needs to move on into retirement….pronto.

We did the rest already haven’t we?

I think i’ll stop……lol

28

Q: Do you agree with the points Ed raises?

A: Some Yes some No.

Q: Is Nico Robserg a more formidable racer than many gave him credit for being?

A: No. What has Rosberg done? Really? Someone please tell me the skill in asking your engineer for driving advice? Fair enough Lewis does it too. It is such a commonly held belief that Nico is the more intelligent driver, surely he should just figure it out? To me, asking your engineer where you’re slower is the same as handing in your exam at school, and then asking the exam board where you’ve missed out on a few marks so you can go back and re-write your answer. Where’s the intelligence in that?

I’d take the timing information away from the drivers/engineers, other than the sector times, and let drivers figure out where/how to go faster for themselves. That’s all a part of being a racing driver.

Q: Has the noise issue been overcome thanks to the quality of racing?

A: Nope. The noise is a fundamental part of Formula 1. It’s part of the wow-factor, though I would add, and this is a personal thing, I don’t like high pitch/revving engines. A throaty V8 rev-limited to about 15,000 would be fine by me.

Q: What does Bernie’s reclaiming of his F1 throne mean for the future of the sport?

A: F1’s screwed. The pursuit of money first. That’s never going to end well.

Q: And does his reinstatement spell a continuation of journeys to new markets at the expense of the traditional heartland of F1?

A: Yep. As a continuation from the previous question, money rules everything in F1, and racing and the fans come a very distant second. The trend has been set with India, Korea, China etc. These countries have no culture of motor racing, and after the initial year or 2 to let the interest pass, this shows. F1 should be in motorsport countries, Europe, Oz, Japan, US, Canada, Brazil etc.

A Grand Prix should be the pinnacle of motorsport, it should be earned.

In summary;

It has been my belief for quite a while now, that there is room for a, if you like, “glorified” GP2 championship. Same values, same principles, just faster cars, with an aero ratio to suit, and race on the best tracks in the world.

If such a championship were to be born, I think the motor racing fraternity would flock to it. I think the drivers would too.

When was the last time you saw a dull GP2 race? Now imagine that, but with faster cars, and Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton etc going wheel to wheel every other weekend. That’d be awesome wouldn’t it?

29

If Rosberg didn’t have access to Hamilton’s car settings etc, we’d soon see just how good he was. It’s easy to be ‘tough’ when you’re in the best car and the other driver has been on the back foot from the first race of the season. Rosberg has never really pushed a car and he’s not much cop at actually racing. He’s a bottle job.

30

It is true that Rosberg got an easy win in Melbourne, but in Silverstone Hamilton got a win gifted through Rosberg’s broken car. Poetic justice.

31

@F1heroes

Poetic justice…

Really? Perhaps you should check out the definition 😉

32

Interesting read, with many points to think about, overall I agree

Nico has been undervalued, but we should not go the other side and overvalue him. Even if he takes the championship this year, he will be just another driver that was lucky to be in the top team in a specific year, Button did the same, Hill did the same, Villeneuve did the same. Even Vettel, despite the 4 championships is being considered by some (personally not decided yet) as just a lucky driver that had the best car and no internal competition till Ricciardo came along. I think it is easy to see that the real talent is on the garage next door to Nico, and it will interesting seeing Lewis trying to overcome the deficit in points due to his issues of reliability

On Bernie, what to say, with his money he gets to buy his out of jail card, pretty sad for how justice is working, but his money will do more good than having him in a jail cell would, if he was found guilty.

The interesting bit for me was the last section where I fully agree with the writer. Although globalizing the sport via creating venues was correct in principle, it does not seem to have worked. Perhaps if the same energy was focused on how to turn the existing venues into profitable ones, we would have a win win outcome. The dwindling audience can be explained by the high prices asked either when you go to a venue or when you have to watch via cable/satellite TV, its a no-brainer. The real question here is how this impacts the value of the sponsorships and whether the increase in revenues that are being shared with the teams compensates fully the loss of revenues by the sponsorships. I have the feeling that the paying TV route chosen by CVC and Bernie is the right one as it is more stable revue creation model, that is less affected by the ups and downs of the economy.

33

I am not sure we can declare Rosberg as mentally tough yet. In my view only the driver that wins WDC will be the one that I would consider mentally tough. Rosberg has not won anything yet. The crunch time in the championship I think will be with about 3/4 races to go and where the pressure will be increased. Whoever of the championship contenders can excel under this pressure will win the WDC.

You either win the championship or you lose it.

This film quote from The Empire Strikes Back sums things up perfectly;

“Do or do not , there is no try”.

34

Nice one, Ed, I am with you on the last point (F1 ignoring its history).

What’s the real effect of all those races in the Far East, has F1 widened its fanbase there by going there?

If its all about money, then, I think it’s just a short-term (and, perhaps, short-sighted) strategy. If you loose Europe (and as far as the young generation of Italians is concerned, you’re loosing it) and all the people with mob devices which they could watch races on, the future will look rather gloomy.

35

On the last point I have experience on two Far East races. Malaysian gp track is good, but in the middle of no where (by airport) with little to engage the crowd outside of the race – this year Calvin Harris after the race when everyone was going home. Difficult to be critical of the attendance this year though as it was just after the MH370 disaster. Singapore on the other hand does a great job, with the track through the middle of the city, and lots of off track stuff to engage the crowd. Feels more like a race attached to a music festival. Locals also respond by attending, though lots of complaints about the disruption to the local traffic. Singapore says to me you can expand from the traditional circuits, but really need to think how you are going to engage the local crowd beyond the racing given they maybe don’t have the historic attachment to f1.

beyond just the racing.

36

These are good points. Going to new venues in itself is not a bad thing but there appears to be a lack of joined-up thinking on the issue. Things like location, marketing, price structure and even timing (e.g. Austin GP clashing locally with NASCAR; Turkish GP clashing with the end of the football season over there) are all important considerations. The simple assumption of ‘build it and they will come’ was a flawed one. As shown with Singapore and Abu Dhabi, I think F1 is learning. But I think there is still progress to be made.

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