F1 Winter Break
How should the Formula 1 media report on the sport?
F1 media
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Aug 2014   |  1:38 pm GMT  |  187 comments

This has been an interesting season, as a lot of negativity entered the system at the start of the year and it has not gone away.

Commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone criticised the new hybrid turbo formula and the lack of noise and this negativity was fanned by the likes of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz (“F1 is not there to set new records in fuel consumption, nor to make it possible to have a whispered conversation during a race”) and Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo (“The rules are too complicated, the drivers have turned into taxi drivers”) – to the point where the negativity has taken on a life of its own.

Many fans bought in and have resolutely set themselves against F1 2014, even though the action on the track has been spectacular for the most part with lots of great overtaking and excitement.

The subject of a wider malaise and lack of engagement with younger fans has also been an ever present subject, with TV audience figures not looking good in Italy and Germany in particular and empty grandstands at Hockenheim being jumped on as another nail in the coffin, despite packed stands at the previous rounds in Canada, Austria and Silverstone.

And the third layer of negativity has been around the new venues on the calendar and the appropriateness of going to Russia in the current political climate and to Azerbaijan in future.

In this context the comments of Red Bull boss Christian Horner in Hungary were noteworthy; reacting to a legitimate question from a serious German newspaper about whether teams felt it was right to go to Russia, he criticised the media for talking about the wrong subjects, as he saw it:


“We should be talking about the drivers in these conferences, we should be talking about the spectacular racing that happened between our drivers and his (Ferrari’s) driver at the last Grand Prix. We should be talking about what a great race it was for Lewis Hamilton to come through the grid, yet all we do is focus on the negatives and it has to be said, it gets pretty boring for us to sit up here and field these questions.

“So how about asking some questions about what’s going to happen in the race on Sunday, what’s going to happen in qualifying tomorrow, because if you’ve got these questions, please point them at Mr Todt or Mr Ecclestone rather than the teams.”

So is this a case of chickens coming home to roost? Has the tone of negativity come full circle to bite back those who launched it in the first place?

And does Horner have any right to dictate what the F1 media should be asking, writing and speaking about? Isn’t an official FIA press conference the ideal place to ask team principals serious questions?

We asked four of the leading F1 journalists in the media centre to give us their reaction to Horner’s outburst.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 13.23.59

Frederique Ferret, L’Equipe, France

“Mr Horner is free to criticise us, just as we criticise him when he makes bad strategic choices. His role as principal of one of the leading teams does not permit him to dictate what those same journalists should write.

“In 1978 it was questionable whether one should travel to Argentina to cover the World Cup.

“In 1936 it was even more questionable going to Berlin for the Olympic Games. The role of democracy is to permit citizens to ask each other questions on the world around them. That also applies to sport..and any barrier to this right is a brake on the freedom of expression.”


Alberto Antonini, Autosprint

“I can see Chris Horner’s point when he criticizes the media for being ‘negative’. Let’s face it, some questions asked about F1 going go places like Azerbaijan are provocative. Come the right moment, the same people who tried to present themselves as the advocates of democracy, will line up sheepishly at the Baku airport, like they did in China.

“But when it comes to Horner saying we should talk about the excitement of racing, well, he sounds like from another world. F1 is about communication, and teams have done their best not to communicate. In MotoGp, you have riders commenting on why they changed that suspension fork. In soccer, you can write out detailed figures on players’ revenues and not risk being belied or ridiculed. F1 bosses, instead, would like us (and the public) to be content with the stuff they put on press releases.

“Remember that saying ‘news is what annoys someone. The rest is advertising’. Let’s stick with it.

F1 journalists David Tremayne and Kate Walker

David Tremayne, The Independent

“I’m getting bored with people slagging off F1, and with the line that the media is negative.

“I seem to remember at the start of the season that besides Bernie Ecclestone and Luca di Montezemolo it was Dietrich Mateschitz who criticised it publicly.

“Yet according to Reds Bull employee Christian Horner it’s the media that’s negative.

“That would be the media that has single-handedly been pumping up the virtues of the new eco-F1 formula in the face of all this criticism from the leaders at the sharp end, and the complete lack of positive publicity of defence emanating from the FIA.

“Sometimes it pays to engage brain before making sweeping comments, and it’s time Christian remembered that and appreciated what the media does for the sport. It’s not just about the drivers, the teams, the mavens and the fans.”

Heikki Kulta, Turun Sanomat, Finland
“As a Finn being a sports journalist for almost 40 years I have managed to keep distance from the politics and, in fact, from the negative aspects it usual brings along.

“So I understand Christian’s point of view. It was a long press conference and the same kind of questions were coming again and again. Talking about negative issues as general is not to be jugded from the ones that are invited for the interviews, but maybe there should be some order made that we are not focussing only one particular issue for the most of the time available.

“I know this world is getting more and more political in every way and the sport events cannot avoid being part of that, too. That we all – as part of media – have to accept.”

What do you think? Leave your comments in the section below

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I absolutely agree that journalists must be free to ask the questions they want to ask. Anything else is a brake on democracy - and it is hard enough to get new info out of the teams already without journalists muzzling themselves! Antonioni (above) makes the point that F1 is so secretive, it's tough to find out new info.

What's more, isn't the state of the sport a legitimate question? Shouldn't the trams be asking themselves why these questions come up again and again? Can they put pressure on Bernie and the FIA to resolve them?

Yes they can - but do they want to, that is the question I want answered.


I agree with Mr Antonini. How FIA manages the interection between the fans and the sport is ridiculous. Just watch a Moto GP race. Just after the race, and after all the spontaneous celebrations they usually do, is given acces to the pilot to ask about the race, what they and the team has done to improve their performance.

Now, lets look F1. Just open the JAonF1 web page and you'll see that Fernando Alonso's video of a single lap in the Ferrari Simulator is still one of the most watched one, so being on the main page. But pay attention to the date: it was released in 2012! 2 years ago! So, maybe there is still the will to consume F1, but the lack of interest by FIA to interact with the public is evident, and they're getting what they've been looking for (like "let me alone, I'll race, just watch"). And lets face it: he didn't even look to the camera, explained how he calculated the brake distance, how he acclerates after the corner (well, it was a poor circuit anyway). He just crossed the line and the video was over.

On the golden age of F1 it was evident the difference of the cars, it was much simpler for viewers. Like the 88's McLaren, it was obvious that it was a technical revolution, the car was much lower and the frontal area was tiny compared to others, you could see it. Another example, now the front wings are so complicated that you can't tell wich one are going to work: "it's not working, maybe due to wind tunnel correlation", and we don't want to know about that, we want to see inovation, and the cars are pretty much the same (except the caterham and marussia with simpler front wing, the rest are the same).

Then 1991 came, and we could see again that Williams has made a hell of a improvement, and in 1992 and 93 the McLarens seemed like a tech toy, but still a toy compared to that much faster car. You could see the curves, the rear wing, the nose, the car was beatiful.

And there was the skill factor. They used manual gears: in 1991 Senna won a race with just one gear, the 6Th. Maybe at that time you could have imagined yourself trying to figure out how he did it, and how you would have done at the McLaren's car. And remember Piquet explaining the development of the Williams active suspension: He knew the car and the engineering behind that.

Now the cars are so complicated, the pilots can't talk about it, even if they wanted, wich I believe they don't. Lewis Hamilton said already that the engineers do his set up and his strategy, and he trusts them. Of course he adjusts a little bit to his like, but what changes he makes? The car is understeering, and so what? "The team has done a great job" weak after weak. And this information is obtained after a 2 min interview.

What are the problems of the Ferrari car? Why it can't develop more power? Is the suspension a problem? The front part, the rear part? I can try to figure out myself, I'm an "old" F1 fan (32), I've seen the F1 evolving and I have some knowledge, but can a 15 or 16 years old try to figure it out? How Alonso overcome the bad car he has to deliver that awsome performance? I want to know, so are the kids. Would he talk about it? The FIA doensn't provide that. For Ferrari it doesn't matter, it's like an industrial secret.

The teens would love to hear about that, but by Alonso or Vettel, not by Newey or Horner, or Brawn. For FIA try to solve the negativity in F1, they should try to make the boys want to be like the pilots, like Hamilton and Rosberg, and not to dream to be like Alison or Paddy Lowe. It's not bad of course, but we know how kids like to study (hehe), so the audience...


Of course, the journalists are free to ask whatever questions they like-- I'm pretty sure no one required them to submit their questions for approval beforehand. However, the team principals and drivers should have the same freedom to say what they think, or to not answer a question they consider irrelevant, or in this case, call out the question as irrelevant.

Christian Horner, and the team he represents (along with the rest of the grid), are under contract to go to Russia and participate in the F1 race until the FIA and/or FOM says otherwise.

Any answer he gave to the question would be an opinion, mostly meaningless, since neither Todt nor Ecclestone have indicated that Russia shouldn't happen. Worse, if he says "No, we shouldn't", then he's being negative, and if he says "yes we should", he's supporting the violence in the Ukraine, and suddenly he's the story, instead of his team (which is what happened anyway).

I assume the press conferences have a time limit, and many people would like to ask questions that are actually relevant to the teams and the drivers, so really, the journalist in question was asking, not the wrong questions, but the wrong people.

It's not a case of dictating terms to the media, it's another example of the decline of journalism-- If you've got a question you actually want a meaningful answer to, ask the people who can give meaningful answers.

In this case, sure, it's an opinion, and Horner's opinion might be interesting-- But his opinion was he'd rather talk about something else. Given the highly-charged, political nature of the question, I don't blame him.


no one voted for the journalist to be given press passes. if they insist on being rude and disrespectful their passes can be easily taken away from hem, allowing them to rejoin the democratic world where they can do as they please.


Getting some reporters in the press conferences that actually have a backbone and ask decent, hard questions would be a start....


Talking of backbone, if Christian's really so concerned about the negativity, he will already have had strong words with Bernie, Luca and indeed a certain Mr Newey.

Has he? Someone should ask him at his next conference.


I thought the questions coming from the reporters in Hungary highlighted that they have quite a lot of backbone when they want to. One reporter asked "would the teams blindly follow Bernie to North Korea if he wanted to go racing there?" (or words to that effect).

I thought it was an astonishing outburst from Horner personally, clearly borne out of pure frustration but still. He should know better than to be getting emotional in his position. What's worse is that nearly every point he made was plain wrong or irrelevant. First off, journalists have the right to ask whatever questions they feel are appropriate at the time of asking. No question posed in Budapest was out of order or not in keeping with the standards of the press conference. Furthermore, for Christian to say we should be asking questions about the upcoming qualifying and race is hilarious. The dull, well-rehearsed lines are the only answers that are ever given..... answers such as "its too early to say" and it "depends on many factors" and "we wont know until we analyse the data". Why would reporters continue to ask questions to which they only get the same standard responses week in and week out.

There is already too much conformity in driver interviews without the team principal's press conference being dictated as well. Every word spoken by a driver or team spokesman is recorded by the team and no info is given away if it can be helped. A classic case is at Ferrari. The official Ferrari post race statement from Kimi Raikkonen is clearly typed out by the PR people at the Scuderia. Words are used sometimes that Kimi probably doesn't even understand, nevermind Kimi uttering them in an interview.

Also, the teams are a major stakeholder in the world of F1. It is therefore only prudent of journalists to get their opinions on controversial topics relating to the sport. For Horner to say that these questions should only be posed to Jean Todt and Bernie is incorrect. The teams are not as insignificant a stakeholder as he was making them out to be. Even if only one team were not to show up at a race due to safety concerns or for political reasons, calamity would ensue and the worlds media would have a field day.

And finally, for Christian to say that F1 is simply a sport and that is has no political elements to it is utter rubbish. F1 is attempting to profit from the attempts of countries to make political waves throughout the world. Azerbaijan is a prime example. They will not only pay huge money to get themselves on the F1 calendar but they are attempting to make a political statement through the means of F1 by calling the race the "Grand Prix of Europe". This is unmistakably an attempt by the Azerbaijan government to align themselves with the rest of Europe, a significant statement given the countries' geographical location (the far eastern edge of Europe/beginning of western Asia). If it wasn't, the race would simply be the Azerbaijan GP.

In sum, I was very surprised at Horner's outburst in Hungary, and several of his points were very questionable.


It has to be noted that the race organizers, and in most places that means the government, pay Bernie millions to get a race. Some of this money makes it way to the teams. So they are getting paid by governments that may or may not be repressive, dictatorial, whatever. They should be forced to answer whether or not is appropriate for them to profit in this way.


you sound like a journalist. why do you keep asking the drivers to predict the future and not expect them to say it's too early to say. nothing wrong with asking them about their preparation or emotions towards the future but asking for what they think would happen is just uninspiring. you need to prepare question which would provoke them to give longer answers without being rude and continuously negative. I don't think that question about going to north korea was appropriate because f1 hasn't planned to go to north Korea and the teams do not follow ecclestone. if the questioner felt the teams follow ecclestone then the leader should be asked that question. horner therefore did give you the correct direction.

one team failing to attend a race will not not result in a calamity. we saw that at the indianapolis motor speed way with only 6 cars taking part i. the race due to tyre safety issues. it wasn't talked about for more than a day and the circus carried on.

national anthems are played at the podium ceremonies of all international sporting events. does that make them political? calling a race the grand prix of europe has no political bearing in my mind. it's just a name. the three lions are used to represent England and yet lions are naturally no where near that geographic location.

don't forget that the main objectives of journalists is to promote the sport. they are invited and given special passes which gives them access to promote he sport. they can be as democratic as they want but without that pass they might as well be jobless.

i enjoy f1 and don't expect annoyance or condescension or even a pattern of poor behaviour by anyone involved in the sport.


not to mention the people at every single trophy presentation are almost always representatives or dignitaries of said nation. It's impossible to to dispel any notion that F1 is strictly a sport, not involved in politics in any sort of way.


Calling the Azerbaijan race the gp of Europe must be a joke, it has a southern boarder with Iran.


The media will always be the Fourth Estate and you aren't likely to win an argument by telling them what to ask.

Truth that F1 customers are becoming more and more demanding clients, most of which live in 2014, where there are smartphones, tablets and online streaming. Literally every news reaches its target a lot faster than before. People are much more informed, they are able to look at the things from a higher point of view, hence the global questions. This is natural evolution.

At the same time, we cannot cover our eyes and pretend that nothing has happened by putting our pink glasses and focus on the positives only. F1 is a global sport and as such goes hand in hand with the issues around the world.

As part of the F1 related journalism world I can certainly tell that talking to people, I mean, real life face-to-face conversations can give you a lot of insights. F1 fans tend to be straight-to-the-point and some of them are somewhat disappointed by the pace F1 is moving forward, especially in the TV coverage and social media. That being said, they do appreciate the involvement of the F1 journalists and they do not consider as negativity asking the painful question at the right time.


i am an f1 fan and i don't like the negativity of the press on anything to do with f1. I don't understand why they are allowed to be so rude and condescending enough to call hamilton immature simply because he shows displeasure in losing. messi and his whole team showed displeasure in losing the world cup. no one, fan journalist nor official used the word immature to describe them. I wonder what motivates them to be so insulting and disrespectful towards hamilton. the funny thing is he never loses his cool. he still stands i front of them and speaks politely to them after all the abuse they dish out at him. i couldn't handle it. I'd lose my cool and swear at them.


@matias, thanks so much for the links. they all say what the commentators also said about messi's performance. none of them said anything about his demonstration od displeasure after losing the final match. I am interested in articles describing as being immature because he is not happy about losing. as far as I am aware, hamilton is the only f1 driver to be disrespected in this manner. i hope it stops or hamilton asks them to stop it.


@matias, is it possible to post a link to what was written about messi? i am so keen to read it. i find your post most interesting. was this the first time messi was described as such? i know he has always shown displeasure in losing. how about the rest of the team, they all showed displeasure in losing.


i guess is more of a regional thing: in britain they feel the F1 belongs to them, and they can be harsher than other journalists. Here in Argentina, Messi was totally trashed by the press, they questioned his apathy, his lack of commitement, that he's not a true argentinian because he lives in Barcelona since he was 11 years old, they went as far as saying that messi maybe autistic (really! they really say so!)


You know I think half the problem is sloppy, boring journalism.

Perhaps they've got very little to ask.

Too often journalists, especially the TV crews, appear to tread their toes around subjects. Rarely asking truly probing questions or pushing a line of questioning far enough.

They're too keen as a whole, to keep on good friendly terms with team representatives.

I've not say through a whole conference on TV, it's so monumentally dull. I think half that problem is the boring, repeated questioning.

Was Christian Right or wrong? Probably neither, just very bored...


it's poor preparation. they don't need to be rude to attract attention. they spend most of their time roaming around doing nothing and expect interesting questions to appear spontaneously. ask any professional and they will tell you good preparation is key to the quality of their work.


One has to wonder if the drivers and team principals ever managed to say anything more than "we'll see what the conditions bring, but we'll do our best" about "tomorrow's race", if perhaps the journalists might then be interested in hearing it.

I completely agree with the article: the blame for the negativity lies squarely with the team principals and Mr BCE for talking F1 down, and with the FIA never promoting it. The press are just doing their job: reporting what's said and by whom, and asking the difficult questions Mr Horner would soon as not tackle!


the funny thing is the journalist are posting the questions they ask. are they i embarrassed to post them?


If the sport is in good shape then the media and fans won't be negative. The media is not driving fans away, it is the knee jerk double points type rules that is the problem. At least if the media is writing about the negativity from fans and teams, there is a chance it may get heard and addressed. As far as the political questions to team bosses go I think that's fair game. Just as any global corporate entity would be questioned about sending their employees, brand and investment into politically sensitive regions, why would the corporate entities in F1 be exempt from these types of questions.


name a motor racing series which is in a better shape than f1.


is there any motor aport in the world in a better state than f1?


Well said, but I also agree with Dietrich Mateschitz. WEC prototypes (Audi, Toyota and Porsche) are doing an amazing job with their hybrid powertrains, so why F1 had to get involved in this so early?

As a fan, I love F1 for its racing, speed, noise, buzz, atmosphere and strong aerodynamic design. I am really not going to go to a race track because a vehicle is "green" (and I am the kind of person which switches the monitor off when my PC is off so the standby light doesn't use electricity). The energy used on the track by 22 F1 cars with V8 engines is infinitely lower compared to the one used every 2 hours by the cars around the globe. F1 used to be the pinnacle of motorsport. Used to be.

It breaks my heart when I hear F1 cars whizzing around with millions of people watching at the track and at home, while some rednecks in US in their trucks play in some mud pond.

About the media and their questions, well lets be serious, if you ask Horner about his strategy on Sunday he'll just feed us some story instead of the real thing, so I hope the journos will not get intimidated by the likes of Horner.


Devil's advocate...

1. Isn't using hybrid technology more the pinnacle of motorsport than combustion engines alone?

2. F1 hasn't really been about the pinnacle of motorsport for many years anyway. The formula is heavily restricted by very tight rules and cost control measures. (Of course if they weren't, there would be like 4 cars running because no one else could afford to compete).


I have to respectfully disagree with the first part of your statement. The negativity from the fans is heavily influenced by the negativity coming from Bernie and from certain teams. The media picks up on it and runs with it, because bad news sells better than good news. It's almost shocking the degree to which some key players (Bernie, Luca di M, etc.) will put F1 in a bad light, simply in an effort to promote their own agenda.

A lot of media (not all) thrives on controversy and sensationalism. Bernie knows this. Luca di M knows this. Controversy and sensationalism, however, are not good for the F1 brand. Is it any wonder that there is fan negativity about the new formula, when those at the top in the sport are the ones publicly bad mouthing it?

I don't mean to plug someone else, but Joe Saward has written about this several times on his blog. It's worth looking up. And, as James says, the racing has been pretty good...why not focus on that and promote F1 positively.


Superb assessment of the situation. +1


Don't forget double points farce in the last race of the season (which I won't be watching) and severely reducing access to free to air F1 coverage.

Anil Parmar (FormulaEDiary)

I'm glad to see you write something on this topic James. I can't fit everything I want to say into this comment because it's quite a big discussion but what I will say is as follows:

I see where Horner is coming from regarding the questions the teams should be asked but:

1. Bernie talks nonsense and Todt is barely ever seen/says anything of interest when he is confronted by the media. I don't think I've even seen Todt at a race before.

2. The teams are the face of Formula 1, not Bernie/Todt. In the same way Football managers speak out against the schedules they are given or when others cheat/dive, I expect to see Horner and the gang behave in the same way. They are the people I, and others, look to when it comes to speaking out about the direction of the sport. That said, I appreciate the tough situation they are forced into because let's face it, they are all scared of Bernie and rightly so. As long as Bernie rules the roost, they can't say a thing.

Secondly, the negativity that has come from those within the sport is shameful and it still hasn't addressed the actual issues. Things like the fuel flow limit which artificially slow the cars should be questioned, but to speak so negatively about the engines is ridiculous. These are first generation V6 hybrids and they are VERY quick and pretty reliable given the lack of preseason testing. They have fantastic technology within them and that should be applauded.

Instead of complaining about the engines, why not complain about the issues that are hurting the fans? A lack of Fan Vision for those attending GP's, no desktop live timing updates (because they want us to pay for the mobile version!) and ridiculously high ticket prices for the fans, caused by ridiculously high hosting fees. And that's before I even mention that the move to Pay TV is killing the sport. Silverstone got an incredible attendance but the TV ratings are still so much lower here in the UK compared to a few years ago.

The media should rightly question the team bosses but I also wish they focused on dealing with the problems that are ruining F1 for the fans. Has anyone even mentioned the Live Timing issue to a team principle in a press conference?


Glad someone else has not forgotten about Fan Vision. I purchased my own unit just before their contract with FOM was cancelled. To some extent the Apps replace it but in other ways I do miss having the Fan Vision at the races. Bring it back!!!


It's sloppy, lazy business. Instead of creating as spectacular a sporting event as possible, attracting people and then sharing the profit afterwards, FOM and the FIA demand their money up front leaving the event holders and the teams to scrap it out afterwards. The fans are left with the bill.


it's still the best in the world.


I must admit, I'm loving the level headed responses from all you guys. And some great points are being made here. The live timing issue has by and large been swept under the rug alright. The desktop version of past years was a must for me to have alongside while I watch the race. This year, the info contained in the live timing system for desktop has been scaled back to the point where its pointless. Removing sector splits in favour of coloured dotts was a ridiculous call. And you're right, it does all boil down to the money making element, pushing fans to get the mobile version which is very expensive.

Sky sports website does include a race control section however which has the original live timing with proper timed sector splits for anyone who has a sky account. Not ideal but its a way around the now awful Live Timing on the official F1 website.


i agree with your points about tv viewing and the live timing issue. I suspect they did that because they lost their creative spirit to raise cash from the sport without asking the tv and live timing viewers to pay for the service. they should make all the services free and then ask the viewers to pay for other products offered on the platform.

those ecclestone was ill-advised. there is so much scope to generating money without chafing people more to watch f1. f1 after all is about advertising. as I am aware, the most successful london newspapers are the metro and the evening standard which are both given away free to the public. they get the highest circulation and make the most money. f1 should learn from that and return f1 to free tv and return the live timing and make more money by being more creative. if they offer me a small fee, i can give them a small list of how to generated extra cash without offending anyone.


I don't think the F1 media has been a problem. However, I am amazed and saddened by the number of people in F1 leadership roles who publicly `trash talk' their sport (and business).

Bernie has clearly been a great deal maker and promoter for F1 over many years. But talking down the sport the way he did this year is inexcusable. Luca's `taxi driver' and other comments are insulting to F1 and should never have been said publicly. Then having the 4 time world champion pile-on by saying the cars sound like shit ....how could this help the sport or the business of F1!?

All of these guys need to think about the marketing and PR discipline shown by leaders of publicly held companies. CEO's of those companies may have major frustrations with the business's they lead but it's their job to develop an improvement plan and THEN speak POSITIVELY about improvements and new directions. POSITIVE, POSITIVE, POSITIVE instead of trash-talk.

The irony of the trash-talk is that the quality of the racing and the performance of some of the young new drivers has been great this year. So we've had some great F1 product being served up to us .... but F1 leaders have been trash-talking the product!!!

Bernie, Luca, etc need to acknowledge how great the racing has been this year, how exciting it is to see so many fast young drivers, how great it has been to see some exceptional wheel to wheel racing ....and then quietly say ....and we're working on some ideas to make F1 even better.

Maybe that type of message from F1 leadership would help guide what gets reported by the media!


Why shouldn't LDM and Vettel say those things, they are 100% correct anyway and represent most of fans opinions. The cars do sound like "sh*t" and the taxi driver statement is more appropriate than it first seems. The sport is turning into a backwards eco-formula, rather than the fastest and most impressive cars in the world. I wont even get started on double points and the like...


Remember when engines had 10 or 12 cylinders? Why did they cut them to first 10, then 8? To slow the cars down because they were going too fast for the circuits.

What you ended up with in the V8 era was an engine with lots of power in a VERY VERY narrow band. These new engines have a huge amount of torque. What I have seen this year is drivers having to fight their cars, modulate their use of the loud pedal, short shift to stop the wheels spinning up and spinning the car into the wall (or skillfully keeping it out of the wall) - when was the last time you saw that (excluding wet races).

For once, F1 has got the balance nearer right than since the early '80s! Aero is still required to go fastest, but heck, give me cars that slide any day. I for one like the throatiness of the new engines - they're still loud enough but hearing the turbos and the tires screaching as the driver locks up adds an extra element that was lost to the scream of the V8s.

I can't say I've seen a lot of taxi drivers this year, any more than I have in the past. Alain Prost's aim was to "win the grand prix at the slowest possible speed" - no point in caning your car for the entire race if you risk it breaking before the chequered flag!

kenneth chapman

@ max rpm.....we are talking here about the freedom of the press to ask questions without fear or favour. obviously when so few [team principals] carry the answers to what is asked they are able to control what is said/published. failure to address the hard questions is what they desire.

BE and DM made some scathing comments on how they see the direction of F1 and why shouldn't they. they are both movers and shakers in the F1 world and if we want open discussion then let them speak. why try to cover up these issues. get them out on to the table. that is what the fans and the followers want....don't they? bland innocuous PR doublespeak is the very point at issue.

horner et al want to cover up and not address the bigger questions. he has every right to question the media but in a democratic world so do the media have the right to question the teams. we, as fans/followers are to a large extent starved of actual details and facts. that is patently obvious. if the teams were more open maybe some of the so called 'negativity' would vanish. james runs a great site here and without it we would be worse off but i am also sure that there a lot of questions that he would like answers to that he doesn't get. by the same token i also sure that he has a lot more information that we would like to hear but don't because of the relationships he has with the teams.


The German journalist still had to ask that question to provoke such an answer from CH. Not CH's fault he was dished that question.

LdM and DM have their points and I buy their points, and I agree with what CH said. The source of problem came from Bernie and FIA, dish the questions to them instead. The teams are only doing what the bizzar rules restrict them to.


Yes but!

Christian was really correct when he said that it should be Bernie and J Todt answering those questions.

JT often gives the impression he has no real power but he actually has plenty, if he cares to use it. Sometimes we miss Max and wonder if we could just have, half of Max and half of JT maybe we could get things done in a away that seems a bit more moral than at present. Bernie has a pair of very effective blinkers.


I think the media asking TP's about F1 going - or not going - to Russia is a very legitimate concern. I understand it may be a touchy subject, but it's a subject that needs to be discussed honestly and in depth.

I think Christian and the TP's need a collective policy over the Russia issue, perhaps they could - just for once - put their differences aside and give an honest critique or what they think should happen with the race in Russia.

Mr Horner - and all F1 TP's - this subject over Sochi isn't about to go away, so be prepared for a media backlash if you keep on "sweeping it up under the carpet."


I quite agree with Horner here as at one point of time you get exasperated in making journos understand that there are other aspects to F1 than just a few points. There are so many things which the media can do as to bring the positives out of a sport, event or even politics instead of just making Headlines out of non issues and keep running them 24*7. It is time the media stopped believing that ""BAD NEWS SELLS"".

kenneth chapman

@ surya kumar....obviously you have never had to make a living as a journalist. their first credo is, 'good news is not good news'!!!!


It's hard not to agree with David Tremayne's comments. Whenever the team bosses etc. have an axe to grind, they do it through the press. This year's comments from certain quarters regarding "taxi drivers" being obvious examples. From where did the negativity regarding engine noise, or lack of, fuel consumption, and all the other issues F1 2014 supposes suffers from originate? The guys running the teams, usually Ferrari, Red Bull, and of course Our Lord and Saviour - Bernie, may he be preserved.

Any of these guys could have just as easily told us that we were going to have a great season (as we have), with great races (as we've had), wheel to wheel battles (of which there have been many), and the cars would be near as damnit just as fast as last year's while using a fraction of the fuel. They chose not to. They told us it would be dire, and far too many people have run with that.

Even the criticisms don't stand up. OK, the cars are quieter. Turbos always are. That is how they work. I don't remember anyone complaining during the previous turbo era. Who cared when Senna and Prost were fighting it out at the sharp end? The cars are supposedly much slower, yet often enough the new cars are quicker at some sections than last year's thirsty cars were.

The teams told the press that they are concerned for the sake of the fans! If you want to know how much truth there is in that, notice the way they are in no rush to abandon the criminally insane, and hugely unpopular idea of double points.

I, for one, have no sympathy with Christian Horner's position. Along with his mates, he has made his bed. I suggest he has a long lie down.


the press think they are i charge of what we read and take it too far.


"...even though the action on the track has been spectacular ... with lots of great overtaking and excitement."

James, I encourage you to watch the race with an awareness of artifice; it makes a difference to the "excitement." To experience and appreciate the "action" you've described above requires watching through the child's eyes. The adult simply can't believe what he knows is not.

In my view, what is necessary is not cars side-by-side but races won and lost on tenths of a second where a driver's maximal exertion throughout is palpable. Races like Bahrain and Japan 2006 are enough if nothing extraordinary occurs; throw in a peripheral - rain or a safety car - and it's a cracker like Turkey 2006, Europe 2007, or Belgium 2008.

Fulfilled F1 fans appreciate a plot building, a tension rising, an unencumbered endeavor, and an anticipated resolution. They want to hear "Jarno keep pushing ... I'm-a-pushing-like-a-hell," not "Nico - fuel is critical" or "OK Lewis, remember to look after your tyres." They want to see drivers desperate to make up places at the start, not slotting in until DRS on lap 3.

Modern Formula 1 "action" is not a mere harmless delusion, it's a corruption of the entertainment's integrity. Do we really want a show with the pretense of a sport? I'm concerned the answer to fans' and media negativity will be spin and message management rather than remedy.


I agree completely with Paul. James Allen vision on Hungary is very subjective. The faux-pas using the DRS was triggered by FRIC-less suspensions rather than driver error. There was unstable weather and everyone had offs, even Hamilton! Rewind back to Bahrein and the thing was a procession, except for the few laps HAM and ROS battled it out.

The main issue commented by Paul, Mr Allen, is the racing itself is pretty much artificial with DRS and even double DRS zones very close together. What has happened then? Teams prepare racing set-up with defense mode ON being fast on straights but lowsy in the twists. They chew the tyres pretty soon and are the ones making one extra stop. Sometimes that strategy pays, sometimes not. But the point here is how this artificial aid (drs) is hampering the real talent some of these drivers have. And maybe, just maybe, that's why we are witnessing corner overtakes -unexpected- more on this season than in recent years. Driver adaptation. But try a few times one of those and your tyres are gone. There is the general discomfort (fans) with the actual tyre, hence the "We must stick to plan, look after the tyres..." kind of radio messages we all hate.

So, if the DRS is here to stay for a long time, then give the drivers proper rubber (lasting one) to try to make bold moves, attack or defend their track position.

I agree with you Mr Allen that the Bridgestone era was a very boring one. But then there wasn't DRS or eco-racing modes. It was a time when Ferrari had premium tyres and endless miles of testing. That recipe was wrong. Today, there are many single factors that can improve true racing from start to finish, not just a 10-lap sprint at the end. Then, what about bringing some decibels back into the mix? More interaction between fans and drivers. Streaming media and VoD. Affordable grandstand ticket prices. Result: incredible racing, true talent exhibition, happy fans, new comers, increased world-wide fan base, full-packed grandstands and loads of revenue money. Win-win situation!

Mr. Allen, promote a wide and deep survey. Approach the FIA, Bernie or whatever character is necessary. Here in JA on F1 good ideas are often posted to make a better F1. I'm sure the same happens at some other F1 sites. You, the media people, have that power. Use it for good cause.




To evaluate all on Hungary is crazy - its always been a strange circuit yet somehow every now and again produces incredible races.

I will live with the occasional duff one as a result - I won't blame it on tyres or the fact there was no DRS!


@PaulL - Agree 100 %


To be honest. It has been the best racing I have ever seen. Drivers are really working their car. Yes, the cars are going slower. But really, who cares? They now have time to show their racecraft and plan their attack.

I agree that it is annoying that engineers are now driving the car from the pitwall. Good to see that some drivers are ignoring them …


Agreed - its one of the better years. I have a feeling as racers get better at reading the car and its individual performance that engineers may find a few more ignored orders...


If I could change one thing about the F1 rules I would ban Pit to Car radio. Have it there in case of emergencies where the team has a major fault on the car and needs the driver to either pit or stop immediately, or so the team can talk to the driver immediately after an incident.

Have car to pit radio so that the driver is free to talk to the pits as much as they like, but have the drivers driving the cars not the pitwall.

I think Horner has a point, up to a point. Yes of course the media should be free to ask what they like, but if most of the questions are about the politics or negative stuff rather than the actual racing something is wrong.

It's more reflective though of the banal scripted answers that teams give to questions about racing, and also the way that media tend to be in general. "if it bleeds it leads" and all that.


and what makes you think it wasn't like that in the past? we can listen to the radio just from a couple of seasons, and even so, we listen to SOME of the radio messages. Didn't you find weird that almost none of the Ferrari messages are broadcasted? ok, maybe because they're in italian, but what about that? whenever i watch an F1 race, i got to see it by a latin american broadcast (i'm from argentina) and ALL the messages are in english, so, it's as hard for me to understand them (ok, a little less maybe), than an italian would be for you. It's part of the show, you listen whatever the FOM wants you to hear, and it's not that the radio are in real time either, so they can pick the most interesting, the most controversial, or the most.. colorful comments, not absolutly all of them. Other than that, i agree with you, i'm 31 years old, and i've been watching F1 since i was 9, and this is one of the best seasons i've ever seen, overtakes, team orders being challenged by drivers, it will end up as a total classic


A limit of some sorts on pit-to-car radio would be good. Not sure how to police that, but they seem to get by in motoGP without any radio at all!


I disagree. There has been plenty of real racing. So what if one car has tyres that are 10 laps fresher than another car? That's always been a possibility in F1, it contributes to the story.

DRS in most places creates the opening for a pass, not necessarily the pass itself. Some times they get it wrong and it's a breeze=by, but look how tough it was to pass in Hungary and how good the moves were which were pulled off. Speaking objectively I think we've had some great racing this year.

In Bridgestone era the tyres were bulletproof, there was no racing, just processions. Go back and watch and tell me you prefer that to what we have now


James - I agree with you with regards to 2014 races, the changes have made for brilliant racing but it is not because of DRS!

My comment regarding the worst year was related to last year.

We will have to agree to disagree - particularly if you think last year had better races than the previous 15.


There maybe more 'action' now, but it is all artificial. Seeing cars side by side now is pretty common so I think it reduces the magic of it. Races in the 2000's like Spa 2008 appeal so much more because it was pure, without gimmicks. They were also better because you could hear the wonderful N/A engines vibrating off everything within miles of them.


well done james for telling it as it is. i remember when you reported from the pit lane right up till your first day i. The commentary booth.

you're right f1 is a lot better than it ever was. those calling for change are motivated by the desire to improve the sport but rather by the desire to ruin other's fun. the wrong approach completely. they should rather focus on improving their teams structure for future success rather than dirty tactics.


No offence here James but take a renewed look at the 2004/5/6/7/8 seasons. They were overtakes. Real ones! In the most aero advanced cars ever. No DRS. No gimmicks. Or go further back as you are clearly unhappy with the 2000 to 2008 era/seasons and review 90-2000 - the fact that there are racers that do not have that racing instinct or that racer instinct can be cancelled out frequently by the more measured racer should not mean the sport dumbs down to the lowest common denominator and uses a quick fix like DRS. Or last years tyres. The single worst F1 year I have seen in the last 37.

I am not alone in thinking DRS is the single most ridiculous rule change in history and only serves to ridicule any fan with half a brain. Then FRICS is removed overnight? Please get real.

f1 could learn a lot from Motogp - it is suffering from the advent of electronics, miniscule racers and bikes and the fact that 99% of the performance can be accessed by the majority of the grid due to clever spectacle 'improvements'

Funny how there are now moves to reduce those improvements and while no one can control 250hp+ without some help. 2016 should see the return of the rider making the difference in some way or another.

f1 is in danger of dumbing down the show to the extent it alienates those that are there year in year out providing the cash cow funds for a few extra idiots that might watch a season 'cos it ad overtakes' before the next great telly show or media stunt takes their attention.

There will always be racers able to outperform others given a good car - what we do not want is the car outperforming the individual through whatever means just in case they win too much.

By the way the Bridgestone years had racing in them. Compared to he red bull/Vettal years they were worth watching...

I appreciate the media need to keep information routes open just in order to exist but try not to be too partisan.


Don't understand the final para.

But I have commentated on F1 since 1997 and I am certain that the races of 2014 are better than the 2000s

kenneth chapman

@ james.....in the bridgestone era the processions were not entirely down to the tyres. the main reason there was very little overtaking was due mainly to aero destabilisation inflicted on the following cars.


Exactly, no DRS and tyres that had minimal degradation. Not a good formula

Ferrari won everything though, so Montezemolo did not consider that it lacked spectacle..


As a foundational tenet, integrity simply can't be traded off. Don't banned substances "create the opening" for athletic success, not necessarily the success itself?

James, I replayed for myself the BBC/ITV highlights shows for 1995-2008 last year; yes, I "prefer that to what we have now."


Well speaking as someone who had to commentate on them, I much prefer these races to those.

We also have a greater depth of top drivers now, compared to mid 2000s, in my view.


James, you have a point and races were spectacular...some of them, but PaulL has a point too. I can't believe what I am hearing when drivers are asked to save fuel or race while being fuel-conscious. Remember what Vettel said? "Do you want me to pass or do you want me to save fuel like a duck"


Couldn't agree more James. I watched the 97 Hungarian Grand Prix on sky the other day and was stunned and just how dull it was. This is the era so many fans want back. The only excitement was watching Damon almost come to a stop. What we have now is as good as it ever has been. In fact, we've had more cracking races in just the first half of this season as we have for the last 5 or 6 seasons combined. I think fans who are unwilling to appreciate that would do well to go back and rewatch some of these races and try to stay awake. For me, it was only the excessively loud adverts sky dotted into the race which kept my eyes open for the two hours.

FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar)

James, do you think Bridgestones+DRS would have given us good racing?

I like the varied tyre strategies and I like it when we see a mixture of 1,2 and 3 stops. The only thing I don't want is for tyre saving to be extreme as it was in 2013. For me, an aggressive 2/3 stop strategy vs a conservative, tyre saving 1/2 stop is what I want to see. I just dislike the odd occasion when even those 3/4 stopping are going so slowly.

I do think that overall racing has been superb this season. The Alonso+Vettel battle at Silverstone would have been impossible without DRS but also the durable tyres allowed them to push each other lap after lap.


The only excitement in those days came from refuelling adding an extra dimension to strategies - overtakes were very race and really hard to pull off.

DRS in those days would have helped of course. It would have changed the thinking on refuelling strategies too


Thanks James, for the efforts and balance in your articles.

All of the above brings to mind many of the things learned or listened to at an early age, such as: "Controversy sells papers." "It all depends on who's ox is getting gored." "Where you stand is where you sit." And so on ad infinitum. Plus, all of these observed "truths" apply to those providing, reporting and reading the "information" available -- just as these comments and those of others reflect personalized views and context.

Here in the U.S. most of the "s'news" on anything else, controversial or not, is far from being "reported" by "the media." From all sides it appears to be filtered and editorialized, so why does this surprise folks?


This is the age-old question: who is a real patriot, the person who believes that his country is the best in the world, or the person who wants it to become the best in the world? Should you deny shortcomings or should you address them?

The media can certainly switch to cheerleading mode and sweep problems under the rug - some of them (RTL in Germany) have certainly never stopped doing that. It won't help, because audiences are quite capable of making up their own minds, and propaganda that is obviously counterfactual will always fail.

After watching since 1994, my interest gradually waned from maybe 2012 onwards, because I could see too much bullshit going on - Pirelli tyres, driving to a remote-controlled "delta" instead of racing, strange penalties and sometimes lack of penalties.. the list goes on. Add in the slow and ugly 2014 cars and even though I really like both Lewis and Nico and ought to be happy to see them win, I've hardly bothered watching this season. Instead, I've gone off to YouTube to watch Indycars, and sometimes WEC or Blancpain. It's not really a complete substitute (and Indycars share some of F1's problems and have some of their own), but it'll have to do for now until the problems in F1 are addressed.

Here's what I want to see in a sport: Primarily, I want to see the best athletes compete in a true competition. I initially watched F1 because Schumacher clearly was something special. Besides drivers, in F1 the engineers are also involved in the competition, and I like seeing great cars as well.

Here's a few suggestions of how to improve F1:

* Get rid of a lot of the regulations for how to design cars. Wouldn't it be great to see different approaches once again like we did in the past? Maybe a 6-wheeler?

* Don't enforce a politically correct green agenda. Allow teams to use whatever engines they want. If the hybrids are the most efficient, they'll be used anyway.

* Nothing that can be used for race-fixing like the FIA fuel flow measurements behind the scenes.

* No bullshit artificial "show enhancers" like double points, Pirelli silly-putty tires, sprinklers, artificial sparks, etc.

* Use the best tracks, ideally ones where you can count on a local audience. No more Tilkedromes in remote and sometimes unpleasant locations, go to Zolder or Laguna Seca instead. Find some way of making the runoff areas safe but also impossible to drive through without a cost.

* Get more of the F1 income flowing to the teams so we don't have to have pay drivers. Take away Maldonado's superlicense.

* Make the drivers responsible for their race again. Eliminating pit-to-car radio would be an extreme way of achieving that, but it would work.

* Bernie's pay-TV business model is clearly leading to medium-term loss of an audience. Broadcast free on the Internet.


+1 on Bernd points.


Sigh, ...

You are describing motor racing circa 1970s. It was simply awesome. Formula 5000, CanAm, TransAm, F1

Those were the days, and they are unfortunately never coming back.


Now that was visceral !


Good points, but:

If there's just a 0.01% (who knows the exact figure) possibility for these remote and sometimes unpleasant locations to improve somehow (who knows how, but still) by hosting F1, maybe it's worth trying?


* Get rid of a lot of the regulations for how to design cars. Wouldn’t it be great to see different approaches once again like we did in the past? Maybe a 6-wheeler?

Ok, then addres the teams with more mechanical freedom, and tighten even more the aero developement. that's what makes a race boring

* Don’t enforce a politically correct green agenda. Allow teams to use whatever engines they want. If the hybrids are the most efficient, they’ll be used anyway.

F1 was, is and should be te leading edge of technology and engineering to be passed unto road cars. How many V10, or V8, for that matter, do you see in the streets nowadays? and as i've said before: 8 seconds in Hungary 14, against hungary 03 is quite remarkable: they have less of a half of the displacement, MUCH more less downforce, and 4 cylinders less. It's nothing but an engineering marvel, that's what it is!

* Nothing that can be used for race-fixing like the FIA fuel flow measurements behind the scenes.

i don't think that can be used for race fixing. I will take a closer look to the Safety Car, for that matter...

* No bullshit artificial “show enhancers” like double points, Pirelli silly-putty tires, sprinklers, artificial sparks, etc.

absolutly agree

* Use the best tracks, ideally ones where you can count on a local audience. No more Tilkedromes in remote and sometimes unpleasant locations, go to Zolder or Laguna Seca instead. Find some way of making the runoff areas safe but also impossible to drive through without a cost.

kind of agree with you here: best tracks, but not suicidal tracks like laguna seca (ask Gonzalo Rodriguez), but not boredom monuments like most tilkedromes..at least take of some of the tarmac run off areas, make the driver mor aware of what a track limit really is!

* Get more of the F1 income flowing to the teams so we don’t have to have pay drivers. Take away Maldonado’s superlicense.

Agree with the income, and while we're at that, make it a little more fair, it can be right to Ferrari get the same money than red bull if they doesn't deserve it!

* Make the drivers responsible for their race again. Eliminating pit-to-car radio would be an extreme way of achieving that, but it would work.

Senna and Prost had radio, and were still pretty much responsible for their races...

* Bernie’s pay-TV business model is clearly leading to medium-term loss of an audience. Broadcast free on the Internet.

made it freemium: for free you get the race, for a fee, you get more exclusive coverage...


I could not agree with you more, how much better the sport would be for those things is amazing. The only thing im not sure on is the elimination of driver/team talking during the race, sometimes that adds alot to the race itself and allows people to see what drivers are really like for example, vettels obnoxious "tough luck" reply to his team and hamilton saying "il let him past if he can catch me" lol that was hilarious! There are lots of other examples.

But other than that I'm with you 110%

kenneth chapman

hahaha...you left out ricciardo's hilarious comment [which wasn't in the general publication of P to C released] after he passed both hamilton and alonso in hungary. he simply said, 'that's how it's done ladies'. loved it for a bit of light hearted banter after a particularly tense time.

kenneth chapman

@ bernd....what you say is entirely correct and many of those points are the same as i have been making for quite some time. i enjoyed your post, unfortunately the people who really need to read are not interested in what you say. implementation of all your points would make for great racing and after all isn't that why we are interested in the first instance? well done.


I, for one, agree with every single point you made. So, +1 right there!


Very good points from Alberto Antonini and David Tremayne. Press releases from the teams tend to be quite basic and fail to engage the brainier spectators. It is actually site such as JA on F1 that seem to cater for the more interested fans.

After all, why can't teams do their own strategy report for their fans after the race. If they did put a bit more effort in their communication and stopped their drivers becoming like PR puppets, then maybe we'd get some passion back into the game.

I, for one, am not as avid a follower this year as I have been up until last year. I've attended a GP this year (Melbourne) and do not like the sound of the new power trains (both texture and volume). I also don;t get the prescribed view on the engines being green. They are greener than last year, but how do they fare against the sportscar programmes of Toyota and Porsche?

The racing has certainly been good for the best part of the year, but I think we could do with an outspoken Webber or two in the field. Multi 21 and its consequences feel like a long time ago. Maybe we do need to bring Flavio back after all.


You always hurt the ones you love. We harp on it, but we're still here.

No one is ever going to be pleased fully. I don't like the engine sound personally, so I won't pay to see the product live. I certainly won't rush to see a track like I rushed Spa before V10s went out. But I will still consume it in other ways. I had my fill of perfect engine sound, and I will be back when/if F1 sound is back. In the end the features if the sport rotate to, hopefully in the end give equally to all fans. Very socialist model! 🙂


some are fully happy with f1 as it is and are happy to say so, others are not happy with it and also happy to say so while many are happy with the sport as it is but just pretend not to like it and make a lot of notice about not liking it.


I think Alberto Antonini's comments are bang on. He's so right when it comes to what is revealed with F1. Moto GP has done so many things that are more fan friendly. I didn't even like Moto GP but this year I have been turned on to it and turned away from F1. It's 2014 - for fans to be content with what is put on press releases really diminishes the value of the sport and of course in this day in age, the fans are not happy with just that.


F1 has to play the balance between . . .

‘elitist’ – we’ll dictate what the fans can have.

‘populist’ – give the fans what they want in order to make lots of money.

Unfortunately, F1 appears to favour the ‘elitist’ stance and tops up the money shortfall by doing deals with dodgy political regimes.

So let the media get on with their job. If the result is mainly ‘negative’ then maybe it’s symptomatic of the sport’s increasing irrelevance in a fast-changing world.


Well they certainly don't give the fans what they want or we wouldn't have the most ridiculous rule ever brought into the sport in double points!! Not a single fan I have ever spoken to ANYWHERE has even remotely liked this idea.


Dodgy political regimes are hard to avoid considering the USA and the EU are two of them.


Dai Dactic: How many have died through deliberate illegal military action in Iraq and Afghanistan? Its in the hundreds of thousands and some reports have even put the figure at over a million. This is the worst slaughter of human beings since Nazi Germany.


Benign by comparison . . .

These should help you arrive at a more informed opinion . . .




Formula 1's governance is badly broken:

1. Too often rules are being made which degrade Formula 1 as a sport and move it far too much towards entertainment. Double points and standing restarts after the safety car are prime examples of this.

2. There is no clear evidence that cost cutting is working, yet it continues to be used as a carte blanche to restrict technical innovation. This has always been a key aspect of Formula 1 and it is diminishing.

3. European circuits are struggling to survive and cannot compete with lavish government backed facilities in countries with minimal motorsport interest. No effort is being made to deal with this.

There are fundamental problems plaguing the sport and it is at real risk of replicating the WRC's slow and painful decline of the last decade.

I challenge that the media are actually not doing enough to highlight these issues. If anything, the media remains far too positive about this whole situation, particularly the broadcasters.


To address your valid point about the European races I'm afraid it all comes down to money. Forget about the classic, great circuits. If they can't produce enough income for Bernie and his cronies then they're gone.

How can you still call this a sport, or even entertaiment? It's just a cash cow and when it's been milked dry it will be dropped like a stone. Yes, I agree we're having a great season but how many more are there left?


@niel, when f1 arrives in russia, the stands will be full to capacity and the tv viewers will not shy away either so why should f1 not go to russia?

should f1 not go to russia because the russian government is trying to prevent the croatian oil and natural gas from being exploited by us and european companies?

what has all of that got to do with f1? those companies do not pay tax to f1 so why should it be a concern for f1?


So True.

Also I thought we lived in an era of 'Free Press' .... but now it seems F1 wants ONLY the questions it wants to answer.

No sport (I am sorry to say) can ignore the political side of life. It can not live in a dream world. It's a nasty situation with Russia at the moment in the politcal arena.

It would be interesting James ... if you asked the fans .... should F1 go to Russia.

Not that one may agree with them .... its good that a couple of people said what they thought this year ... Ferrari and Vettel .... the rest silence.

As regards the FIA it seems they do not have any views. As to the owners of F1 it just a money game .... if a country has the money then it can get a GP.


Journalists for sure are free to ask whatever they want, unless there is a script handed over. We, fans, get to know information and analysis based on bold questions, precise information and sometimes... through cheeky conclusions. In a freedom environment anyone should ask whatever they feel is appropriate to put together a decent note. But, and that's a big BUT, when journos stick their head into muddy waters or touch sensible themes, it's normal to expect a certain uncomfortable reaction from the interviewed. Some journalists tend to annoy during interviews just to have its 15 minutes of glory, namely those "questions from the floor" round.

Now I understand Kimi's approach to the press. The less you tell...


the journalists should be urged to be more professional and spend more time preparing better questions rather than asking the same question week in week out.


If F1 wants to pick up big cheques from nations that wish to promote themselves, then F1 should expect questions about those nations. And if Horner would rather talk about racing stuff then maybe his and the others' answers shouldn't be so insufferably bland and vague. I have sympathy for the journalists who must balance being tribunes for the fans against maintaining access to the thin skinned actors upon the stage.


I have no idea why there should be races in Russia, Azerbaijan,etc ( apart from commercial ones even they must run at a loss ) when there are better circuits around where they raced in the 70s and 80s .

my gripe is with the bbc and their f1 "forum" which when it started out in its first year was a great show e.g. in the hospitality with ( then ) team lotus etc. and getting insider knowledge from team and drivers , now it is a winningteam photo fest and not much else.

please James you work with the bbc , have a word will you ?


yeah the bbc coverage has hit rock bottom this year. no gary anderson ,ej doesnt turn up half the races and suzi perry doesnt bring anything to the show. end and dc haven't been as sharp this year and the bbc scheduling for the highlights has been terrible.

and the result of this pay tv deal is starting to show. i read on a blog that the 2011 races used to average between 4 and 6 million viewers and now since the deal the average has been about 3 to 4 million viewers(sky and bbc combined). even with ham in title fight this year the viewing figures are still not good.

if f1 went back to fta in all countries f1 would get more popular. the racing this year has got better and better, just a shame that stupid rules are getting implemeted and fans arent being listened too.

i do agree with horner though these questions should be asked to bernie or todt. and here is an idea what about fan questions being asked in the press conference via social media to drivers or team principals


"if f1 went back to fta in all countries f1 would get more popular."

Not neccessarily - FTA TV is South Africa is abysmal at best. We pay through our noses for a premium DSTV subscription which is the only way to get F1 and I'll keep it that way thank you very much. I remember when F1 was FTA here - delayed broadcasts, adverts, adverts, adverts, adverts and all we got was the race itself.

Now I get 100% ad free and live FP1, FP2, FP3, Qualifying and Race. We have support F1 shows all built around the coverage and GP2 from time to time. The people who want to watch F1 and don't have DSTV will find a pub or a mate's house. Making it FTA here would simply ruin the experience and the whole package.

For F1 to be more popular, the cars themselves need to have more "WOW" factor and the drivers need to seem more heroic, more manly. Any F1 driver seen with an actual lap dog (ahem, Lewis) or swimming with bloody dolphins should be banned immediately for 5 races. Find a way for the cars to be lighter again so the drivers can eat and look like proper men. Compare Senna without a shirt on to any of today's waifer thin drivers and the difference is frightening.

F1 needs to embrace the "more is more" culture that it actually enjoys rather than pretending to be something politically acceptable. Cars have become a soft target by tree hugging politicians and maybe the FIA needs to push back a little.


I still think the BBC provides very good coverage, better the the only time I've seen it on SKY for a start. But I agree that the loss of Gary Anderson was a blow and I miss Eddie Jordan. As for Suzi Perry bringing nothing to the show I do have an opinion on that. But, to avoid being moderated, let's just say I see her as a postive.

Oh hey, if we can still have grid girls then I can still be mildly sexist surely! 🙂

Jürgen Hönscheid

The team managers and the journalists don't have the power to decide what the fans think about the way things are.

F1 this year lacks excitement in so many different ways that I have quit bothering to watch the races.

If the lack of exciting engine noise is not bad enough, the processional nature of the races coupled with the obvious manipulation which the use of the safety car allows are insulting to the dyed-in-the-wool hard core enthusiast. To all the F1 "powers that be" : you can not force the fans to like something which is obviously a mere shadow of its former self.

And I'd like to take this opportunity to send a big "sod off" to Christian Horner, whose opinion matters less to me than the last item I flushed down my toilet.


F1 this year lacks excitement in so many different ways that I have quit bothering to watch the races.

Read this sentence back to yourself.


Very nice to see the comments from the different journalists. I think the media's job is to report honestly. Generally, I think it does a decent job. The media's role is certainly NOT to act as a public relations sounding board for the sport. That really is FOM/FIA/The teams role, and it's pretty ironic that the three have been missing in action or negative with respect to their public comments on the virtues of the sport. Not to mention the three appear to actively prevent the media from providing great coverage of the sport.


Most of the negative comments come as sour grapes from teams that are not doing as well as they have in the past.

One team in particular, who have a financial advantage over other teams, plus a veto in certain areas is responsible for a lot of the comments. They are trying to change the rules to suit themselves and gain even more advantage. It seems there is no such thing as fair competition and will not be until a cost cap can be imposed. Though to be brutally honest I cannot see a cost cap working.

Bernie has, by means of his contracts with venues and tv companies, effectively priced F1 out of the mass market it use to be in 7 to 10 years ago. Delayed highlights are no substitute for live to air racing. We will not pay the extortionate satellite tv rates, we cannot afford it. The thought of going even to our home GP is so far out of reach now, it is laughable. The days of a three day camp at Silverstone are long distant memories. Audiences are dropping.

All this means that sponsors are shying away from F1. Apparently there is to be a lobby to get alcohol

advertising banned from F1 just as tobacco was . (Remember Blair's £1m embarrassment? ) That will clobber several teams if it comes into force.

Sponsors are also not too keen to be associated with a sport, whose leader is on trial for bribing a public official, though apparently, incredibly, a further payment may end the trial.

How should you report it? Fortunately Bernie did not not get his hands on press accreditation as he wished earlier in the year otherwise we should be even more rationed in our news sources.

As one of JAs fellow journalists is always complaining, there are very few genuine reporters actually attending each race and talking to or interviewing those involved directly and behind the scenes.

We want proper fearless reporting, and informed speculation. We do not want controlled stylised misdirection or propaganda output from certain sources. We do not want regurgitated web rumours from our trusted sources, of which there are very few indeed.

How to fix F1? Well it's not going to happen! It wont get fixed!

Until after Bernie that is, the major thing that's wrong in F1 is the financial structure. I have great admiration for what Bernie has achieved, but now he is screwing it up, its time to go. The golden goose has been cooked and the oven timer will ping when the current group of CA type contracts expire.

The 100 year agreement must be torn up by the FIA or the EU Commission. (The F1 policy group is in contradiction to the EU ruling anyway) and we need to start again with the money. Let the teams get more lower down the grid, let the circuits make a profit, let the fans see the racing at a reasonable price. Have a live race stream for a fiver! Qualy a fiver! P1,3 and 3 for a fiver! Then those of us complaining that we cannot afford several hundred quid have a legal option. NowTV give me a day for £10, the morning of which is wasted.

Of course we have to watch the spectacle as four different bodies all claim a veto over Bernie's successor, but then they expect a similar commercial rights ownership and I would suggest something totally different......


now there is an honest post!


+1 thanks!


I have nothing against journalists asking what ever questions they think nessersary, but maybe they should engage there brains and ask relevant questions to the relevant people. Ask the teams principels about tthings that they can influence, like racing and strategy. And ask the FIA and Mr Eccelstone about why F1 is going to Rusia. Because it has far more to do with money than motor racing.

Robert In San Diego

I think one of the problems is that F1 has forgotten what new younger fans look for. They have games that have high explosives going off all the time and we have mute racing. It may be great racing from a purist point of view but the casual fans, who later become ardent fans, are looking for excitement that we are not providing.


Young fans dont really have any F1 game that is fully representative of a real F1 season either.

F1 challenge 99-02, F1 2002, Gp4/3/2, F1 world Gp 1 and 2 on the N64. Codemasters havent brang any of the innovative fun features these games had. F1 racestars was ridiculous.. The entire scene has turned into a greedy cash grab for all involved.


@James I believe the way you had compared the negativity between Azerbaijan vs LDm and DM's comments are like comparing apples to Oranges. The Negativity about the sport, the Saving Fuel, the Noise less engine are all something within the confines of the sport and there can be negative comments and healthy discussions around it. Are we trying to say that all the negative media attention are wrong ? Well Mercedes might be okay with the current regulations while Redbull and Ferrari might be fuming over it and pass negative comments. That is entirely within the sport and its regulations. The questions about whether it is okay to have an event in Azerbaijan is something beyond the sport and it goes through different realms. It is a politically volatile world today. Firstly even if CH had some comments about Azerbhaijan he will have not have authority to express it. Same with the case with MM. Who know, many of the logos appearing on the F1 cars might be doing very well in Azerbhaijan. Nobody will risk such political and commercial reputation to answer such questions even if they had an opinion of their own.

I believe the comparing the negativity criticizing the technicality of F1 vs negativity towards political situations are entire 2 different things and have no correlation whatsoever. They should not be compared using the same yardstick.


Media should continue doing what they do best. Ask questions, report truthfully, and perhaps once in awhile stir up some rumors and make things interesting for fans. They are our only "window" into the world of F1. I think Horner was just fed up with the negativity of 2014 in general knowing very well that the action on track is actually exciting. It's just the other senior figures shooting themselves in the foot.


f1 is improving with better quality drivers engineers and mechanics, why can the quality of journalism improve?


Honestly, I don't think it's the team principals that decide that whether F1 should be racing in Russia or Azerbaijan or anywhere else.

That's the job of FIA and Bernie. So in that respect Horner is right by saying that these questions should be directed at those parties and not the team principals. Also, I suspect these questions were asked repeatedly and hence the outburst.

I can't see anything wrong in that outburst, just as the media is free to ask anybody almost anything they want so are the those (free to answer) to whom the questions are directed.

Don't really know what's the fuss about his outburst.

Also, regarding the negativity, well if the likes of Bernie, DM,LDM all are going to sit and criticize then how do you expect people to react? Then on Top of it they brought this stupid double point system for last race of season! They should have never done that at all.

Contributing more to the popularity fall is Mercedes domination! yes we are seeing good racing but we are seeing only for say 3/4/5 places, where as in most of the races 1/2 places are booked!

Fans would ideally want racing for all positions throughout the field not just for 3rd place onwards.

Bring back 2012, 7 winners in 7 races and 8 winners in total for the season, that would be cool!


races are not races as everyone is running some sort of stratagy. You need to wait a day or so for James's analysis of who did what. BBC F1 forum cant cope in realtime so they just clown around.

Also cars too quiet. Its the noise that got you excited as you walked toward the circuit entrance.

F1 seems popular in uk but is just another tick box alongide glasto etc for aged people to bragg about being there.

Germans are not stupid and know this. In the land of hype and misinformation we have not got there yet.


Does David Coulthard still wotk with Red Bull? Does Brundle work with any team or driver he's supporting? You see my point; cinflicts of interest are also a problem in F1.


I don't find myself agreeing with Christian Horner much, but on this he's absolutely right.

Besides: what is a team meant to say "I don't want to go to Russia because it appears they supplied the system which shot down MH17" or "I don't see anything wrong with going to Russia despite ... " When in reality it is "If all the teams think it's safe and the rights holder and governing body think it is right we'll go and if not we won't".

But he's right there has been actual racing up and down the field in most - maybe all - of the races. Formula one is exciting to watch again. Personally the noise doesn't bother me

That's not to say everything is perfect. Stupid rules have given the cars dreadful noses (again). Many lap records are more than 10 years old - set with V10 engines before Mosely forced through V8s (pointless change THAT was)

Things have been done in the name of cost saving - but the truth is teams will spend all the money they can get one way or another, so (for example) making engines last all season just moves spending elsewhere but means drivers don't push as hard. In the days of refuelling weight saving might encourage a 2 or 3 stop where today the cars do a stop less - more conservation. And since refuelling went (even before this seasons total fuel, and peak flow limits) there's been a push to gain speed by running lighter fuel loads rather than driving harder. Plus with points down to 10th place there's much more emphasis on trying to be running at the end than getting in the top 6 or throwing the car off the track trying.

Every year it seems something is done to reduce grip slowing the cars further. We have innovation in the powertrains (now), but everywhere else innovation is frowned on: FRIC being the latest example. Adrian Newey sounds like he's sick of that, and I don't blame him

So journalists painting a picture of neutered cars driven by guys who are too conservative (not just in the car , but fear upsetting the sponsors out of it) built by designers frustrated with an out of touch governing body ... that's easy copy to write. But the paradox is we've had brilliant racing. When were the cars best ? When the racing was rubbish. So given a choice I'll take what we have this year, 2000-2004 when the so many records were set, and I slept through Schumacher leading the worlds fastest processions week after week. Or last year when Vetel did the same,


well what can you expect from other "media" people ? how about adding team's opinions in the piece too, i honestly feel horner was in right in bashing the media like that in that press-conf, am not against negative questions, but god they kept asking same question again and again even after them clarifying its not team's decision and such questions should go to governing body, how hard is it for them to understand. All six of them explained the same thing, even after that same question was asked 2 times after. gosh!!.

Media think they are somehow always right, they are not.


I'm 39 now and my earliest clear memory of an F1 race is of Mansell's tyre exploding during the finale of the 1986 WDC - I know I watched the whole season and I know I was going to the BGP race weekends with my family from the age of 5 (Dad was a safety marshall) and there are pictures. So that makes 34 years of fanhood.

Basically sever me in two and you'll find Formula 1 and England Rugby tattooed through the middle like a stick of rock.

Personally I don't give a damn what noise the engines make and the technology is an annual wonderland. If you think that drivers were not managing tyres and fuel from the earliest days of the sport, or that the early days of F1 were purer in terms of driver skill vs technology vs tactics, then you simply don't know what you're talking about - go read a history book!

I don't think that there is a problem with the spectacle, this season has been an absolute classic - the equal of many past seasons. Most of the negative comments about this season have simply been from ill informed people, and the tech that F1 will eventually deliver to road cars will genuinely change the world.

I do think that the FIA has been corrupt in the past, and I do think there is at minimum corruption disguised as gamesmanship at all levels within the sport now, and this needs to be cleaned up with some urgency.

The real problem is that I would be hard pressed to take my kids to the BGP weekend, just as my parents did with me, because it's very expensive indeed - a three day pass to this year's Belgian Grand Prix for a family of 4 costs £296.22 + travel and accommodation for example. Silverstone last year cost us well over £1300, and we can't do that anually. A race weekend in Monaco (sadly a pipe dream for me) for one adult starts at £4k.

Watching on Sky F1 (every race + the grown up commentary) costs £924 a year, or for the per race subscription almost £200.

If there's a problem in F1 in the UK that's where it is. The crowd numbers are falling for every entertainment industry because there is more competition for the entertainment £, but also because the costs to the fans are high and there is only so much money to go around.


Great post, thanks for the insight


Thanks James, and thanks for the opportunity to comment that your blog creates.

One additional thing. I do agree with Newy that the rules can be too restrictive on the engineering/aero side, acting as a disincentive to radical designs. I wonder if F1 will see the likes of a Lotus 79, Brabham BT46B, Williams FW07D/FW08B, or Tyrrell P34 again.

Not all of these radical designs were successful, but we learned a lot from their invention, and they did bring a great deal to the F1 show.

Just as we've backed off on driver penalties, perhaps we should give the engineers a little more room on the track.


The question that Horner got so riled about was perfectly fair in my opinion. He may have a point about negative questions and people like Bernie and Luca M. talking down the sport constantly, but questioning the direction of F1 when it gets involved with unpleasant regimes is perfectly legitimate. They can hardly say that not going would be "political" when going at all is political as well (damned if you go, damned if you don't go).

The only problem with questions like that is that the team representatives seem scared to death to give a response that doesn't include "it's not up to us, it's up to Bernie and the FIA" and "Bernie knows what's best for the sport". The FIA thinks that double points is a good idea and Bernie is almost as old as Mr. Burns from the Simpsons, tarnished (irrespective of whether he manages to pay $100 to settle his case) and utterly out of touch. Having an 85-year-old chief executive of a sport that's supposed to be forward-looking, exciting and interesting does create a good impression. Dodgy deals do not make a good impression.

Do intelligent, articulate people like (for example) Claire Williams and Monisha Kaltenborn really not have any views about whether F1 going to Russia is a good idea? Do none of their sponsors and partners really not have any qualms about cavorting with Putin? Do they not think that going to a country which directly or indirectly was involved in the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines flight might not be the wisest course of action? None of the bosses gave a decent question to any of these so-called "tough", "negative" questions. You may not like the questions, but you're in the press conference to answer questions. If you don't answer, it looks like either (i) you don't care or (ii) you're an automaton, repeating stock answers mechanically without much thought to what you're actually saying.

If Horner can't cope with nasty, tough questions, perhaps he should ask Bernie if he can stick to being interviewed by Newsround (children's news programme in the UK). That might be more his level, though they might ask him about Ginger Spice.

F1's biggest enemy is not the quality of the racing, the quiet engines or fuel flow meters. It's myopia and self-interest.


I find difficulties with taking F1 to repressive and corrupt regimes, but the reality is that free trade is essential for human rights. How else are people living in these countries supposed to know what rights they should be demanding of their governments unless they get to see people using them?

So we sell Big Mac's to Bahrain, and take the world cup to Qatar and we hope that it has some small effect in the long term because nothing else has worked.


they take the world cup to qatar because of the huge brives! but, as a person who's born in a country with a despicable dictartoship, i'll tell you this: if the world knows it's a rotten morderous regime ruling a country, you, as a GLOBAL sport, can't look the other way. And even if the sport itself does it, i long to have a driver who can refuse to race in a place he thinks is morally wrong (as i've said before, look at Johann Cruyff stance against Argentina 78). but, how many sports are SO sponsor-driven? if, i don't know, Johnny wilkison thinks something about anything, he's not afraid to speak for his mind, but when it comes to F1, the drivers have to be extremely cautious about what they say, out of fear of making unconfortable one of the teams sponsors...


If F1 is supposed to be about Technology, Teams, and Drivers, but the only information that is readily available is personality driven gossip. Then it is no wonder that fans are feeling less than satisfied, by journalists reporting. PR control is seemingly absolute, and drivers may as well read a prepared statement, when questioned. Technology writing in the main stream is almost non-existent. Though I would question how many journalists have much of a clue about engineering, judging by the rubbish that appears in many outlets. Only a few seem to have any idea about the commercial realities of running a team. It is easy to tell who actually worked for a F1 team, and those who use their imagination to write stories. Some of the supposedly reputable journalists, appear to gather stories from blogs, so the copy and paste stuff proliferates. Of course F1 appears to operate on the mushroom principle. But people of all age groups, with the current availability of news and discussion technology platforms, want to feel included. Right now I feel completely excluded from the technical side. I hope James has some factory visits lined up. Regarding Sochi etc. I think asking the question was an attempt to get a newsworthy reaction, and it worked. The essence of the question was flawed, because applying the same criteria to a possible boycott, we would end up with four races.


James, how much do the falling TV viewing figures have to do with the new PPV model. Don't Italy have an exclusive PPV deal these days?

F1 was always going to struggle with PPV TV deals. It isn't at the popularity level of Football, and has always been too commercial in nature to condition people to pay for it.

I'm sure the last time I saw the UK viewing figures, Sky had 1/6 of the audience BBC had. The majority of viewers were stuck with highlights only for most of the races, how many have began to think "stuff that" and gone elsewhere.

They also need to take a long hard look at themselves. F1 has been out of touch on a lot of major issues recently, the handling of the Arab Spring and Bahrain situation was a huge PR disaster, as was the whole PPV deal, continual changing of the rules, behind the scenes politics, continued association with Flavio after crashgate, PR addicted teams and drivers, F1 feels very impure from a sporting perspective and feels like it has no continuity and no personality. Being a one team series for the last 3 or 4 seasons really doesn't help either.

Would it really hurt F1 to suspend the Russian GP amid the appalling actions of Russia, or is the money so important.


No, Italy is like UK with a split deal - RAI has 9 races live plus the rest highlights and Sky has all races.


and how about the other big markets? i mean, us, asia, or even here, in Latin America? we can get f1 for close to nothing (ok, the pundits left a lot to desire, they can't even speak english and always mess up when they "try" to translate the radio messages), but we pay something like U$D 150 a year for that subscription. Much of the comments are (understandably) UK or Euro centered, but if F1 is a global sport -and it surely is- the ratings in the other countrys is what should be looked for. I have to wake up every sunday at 9AM to watch the races (no to mention Malaysia, Japan, and the others, when i have to wake up at 4-5Am) What i would surely want to have is something to expand my local f1 coverage by digital means.. a better twitter feed, some technical insights in a youtube channel... that would be great for us, the rest (and more numerous) of the world..


I am an F1 fan who also happens to be studying BA Journalism at the University of Derby in . In our lectures we get told that we must use ethical reporting methods and use the best possible sources when conducting an interview or writing a story.

It is my opinion that it should not be part of Mr Horner's job as an F1 team principal to answer such questions.

It is Mr Horner's job to help ensure along with his staff that his race team achieves the maximum result possible on a race weekend and that the team attend every race that appears on the final FIA calendar.

I believe F1 journalists should direct their political questions at FIA President Jean Todt as he is probably a more appropriate person to ask political questions; given the fact he is responsible for the governance of F1.

As a fan it saddens me when we have to talk about issues that are off the track particularly because we have had some great on track stories in 2014 like Alonso/ Ricciardo/Hamilton/Rosberg in Hungary, the Lewis/Nico battle in Bahrain and the general performances of Bottas and Ricciardo this year.

I feel there should continue to be more coverage of F1's on track positives rather than the off track negatives.

By the way I really enjoy your work James ,particularly your strategy reports so keep it up. Your 2013 yearbook was a also a fantastic read.


The rules governing the sport are also 'governance' issues. Mr Horner had no issues discussing those at length earlier in the season, and how he felt about that. Now however, he doesn't want to express an opinion.

Why do you think that is?


No I think the press should be free to ask what they like, but the other side of that coin is that by doing so let themselves open to criticism from quarters that believe we should be concentrating more closely on what is happening within the sport. That said there comes a point when one asks just how much, if at all, should politics have an influent on the sport. There's no doubt that events in the Ukraine are very serious leading, as it seems, to collateral damage when a commercial air liner is destroyed and the lives of those on board lost. Indeed it is totally unacceptable. It's a very difficult one to decide upon exactly where that line is, when it is crossed, and what action should be taken. Personally I think the line has been crossed, and while I've been looking forward to the race in Russia I don't think it should now go ahead.


I am an F1 fan who also happens to be studying BA Journalism at the University of Derby in the UK . In our lectures we get told that we must use ethical reporting methods and use the best possible sources when conducting an interview or writing a story.

It is my opinion that it should not be part of Mr Horner’s job as an F1 team principal to answer such questions.

It is Mr Horner’s job to help ensure along with his staff that his race team achieves the maximum result possible on a race weekend and that the team attend every race that appears on the final FIA calendar.

I believe F1 journalists should direct their political questions at FIA President Jean Todt as he is probably a more appropriate person to ask political questions; given the fact he is responsible for the governance of F1.

As a fan it saddens me when we have to talk about issues that are off the track particularly because we have had some great on track stories in 2014 like Alonso/ Ricciardo/Hamilton/Rosberg in Hungary, the Lewis/Nico battle in Bahrain and the general performances of Bottas and Ricciardo this year.

I feel there should continue to be more coverage of F1′s on track positives rather than the off track negatives.

By the way I really enjoy your work James ,particularly your strategy reports so keep it up. Your 2013 yearbook was a also a fantastic read.


Personally I don't have a problem with the individuals signing the checks, or their representatives expressing an opinion on the state of their investment.

Certain tedious aspects these individuals really cannot comment on, and repeatedly get asked, almost goaded by the press can become frustrating. I can thus understand Christian Horner's outburst. Political and commercial aspects SHOULD be asked of the FIA and his Eminence Bernie1.

The press on the other hand shouldn't be naive to think they can get away with asking questions that they fully well know are outside the mandate to comment on, and if they didn't know, they should have their Credentials revoked. It reflects badly on the majority of decent Reporters who respect boundaries.

On the one hand com plaits are made of sanitized, controlled drivers, yet when one of the TPs shows some frustration and speaks out, he is castigated!

As for the reporting by the Press: hmm, there are some excellent sources that are factual without too much editorializing and tabloid- type reporting. And then there are the vast majority of others. This criticism is not restricted to the english speaking press, but also to the Italian, Spanish, German and French press which i also follow occasionally.

Let me make this very clear: JA on F1, together with AMS (German) are two excellent and mostly unbiased sources I personally enjoy the most for their content. Do I always agree with either? Absolutely not, but they are well written, and factual. So James PLEASE hold course and continue the great work!


Basic rule: If Kimi won't answer it then it's not good enough!

Honestly, I think I don't care as long as it is relatively unbiased and we get all the viewpoints.


This is very simple for me:

The media have the right to ask whatever questions they want, and Christian (like everyone else) has the right to answer those questions however they want.




F1 leaders need to think about why it is that people prefer to talk about these matters rather than the racing. It seems to me that there is an issue with the current f1 and to dismiss this as 'negative talk' by Bernie, team leaders, media etc. seems to the outside to ignore the problem.

And journalists are NOT there to further the interests of the teams or promote f1, rather to report on f1.


I agree with Horner, why would you be trying to politize something all the time? its a race in Rusia, so what? racing or not is not going to solve any problem, when someone just ask something that shouldnt be related to an INTERNATIONAL SPORT, its just to make a storm in a glass of water...


I think Formula 1 needs to address the question of racing in Russia.

It was obviously too much to put to Horner in the way it was, but big sports have always had issues with being politicized. Living in New Zealand I know they had a huge problem in 1981 of the Springbok tour of NZ, amidst the fire of Apartheid that was raging in SA, the tour brought national protest.

Its not the same as Russia now, but if there are views of Putins actions, are we condoning or tolerating it by taking the sport there? Can an international multimillion pound sport, with huge corporate interests and sponsors interests really fly on another level and pretend it is not involved with anything else?

Maybe the corporate interests in the sport can be asked if they seek to represent the sport in Russia, while it fights yet another a proxy false flag conflict that is amounting to the occupation of a sovereign state, having already done the same in Crimea.

I would be happy and support the Sochi race being canned; sport and politics seem not to mix any better than politics and religion but there are moments, such at the Springbok tour in 81' when the issues are too big to avoid. And don't ask BE! if he makes a few quid on it I'm sure he won't be unhappy, not that we know his ideology.

If we have issues with drivers being free to speak and express their views, as the cricketer did in supporting Gaza recently (good on him, too) do we even dare ask a driver or team principle what they think?

Like it or not, as a whole the sport can not put its head in the sand and hope no one asks the awkward questions.


Hi James, I regard the politics and off track antics as a necessary annoyence. Big organisations are prone to that sort of thing and there is plenty reported on it during the week but personally I would prefer if the pressconferences dealt with the race weekend, the cars and the drivers. By hijacking the press conference to raise a hot issue the press conference gets polarised and loses meaning. I think we have had a great first half of the season and that should be the focus. Fernando nearly winning last race was a very big deal, a much bigger deal than all the nonsense put together and thats the type of thing we should focus on. How he made it work as well as Daniels superb reading of the race to get the win. I dont really want much more from F1.


When a man is prepared to pay a huge amount of money for a criminal court case to go away and I read that Niki Lauda is looking forward to Bernie being able to run F1 fulltime again. I can't view that as positive for F1 in any way. It's absulutely cringeworthy.

Will I read any F1 journalist saying that this episode is bad for F1 - no I won't. We know why F1 journalists won't bite that hand that feeds them, because that hand will remove their accreditation and access to teams and drivers.

I hear rumours that such and such driver is a waste of space. He doesn't keep fit, he doesn't keep to his side of the contract. None of this comes directly from a F1 journalist, but it's apparently true.

The first time a F1 journalist asks a difficult question at a press conference, we have Horner going off on one. Is he so insulated from the world outside of F1 that he completely fails to believe that we might think F1 going to Russia this year isn't acceptable?

Perhaps it might be best if F1 was to crash & burn, then it might be rebuilt in a way that can accept critism and isn't built on some weird prize and power structure that's 50 years old and totally unacceptable in this day and age. A sport where teams die through lack of money, money that's so plentiful, Bernie's daughters think nothing of buying £100m houses.


I've always felt F1 journalism is a bit of a sham. This site is an exception, with some fascinating articles and analysis. But in general people are disinclined to bite the hand that feeds them. So members of the press get their press passes, their access to the paddock, the drivers, the press conferences, and in return they play the game, ask nice questions and obediently trot out FIA and team press releases as news items.

It's very rare anyone takes a risk and asks hard questions, or writes articles that are very critical of the "regime". Where's the investigative journalism, probing the murky agreements and deals that go on, the reasons for new grand prix in countries with questionable human rights records, the reluctance to embrace new media etc? The sort of stuff that would drive the FIA, Bernie, team bosses etc mad?

Again, with the exception of this site, being an F1 journalist mainly seems to be about having access to the "club", rather than any great skills as a journalist. For example, the current headline story from another F1 website: "Kimi Raikkonen insists he hasn't got any slower amid 2014 F1 struggles". It contains a few quotes from KR, which all sound very PR-managed. But where's the critical analysis? Where's the leads from Ferrari insiders about what's really going on? It could easily be something from on KR or Ferrari's own website, a glorified press release. Hardly Woodward and Bernstein.


I watched the press conference, Horner has been contradictory to comment and action made in the past.

Webbers comments on twitter recently was a reaction to Horner telling team boss to let drivers race each other.

Is Horner a man under pressure? He looked agitated from the start of the press conference.


Horner answered the Sochi question the only way he could.

Put the question to Mr Todt and Mr Ecclestone.

p.s. Kimi should not be invited to pressers.... it's too painful to watch.


The media are being way to soft and gentle on the F1. They should ask harder questions at the drivers / teams and organisers.

Things like Bahrain, China, Azerbaijan, Russia and double points are'nt brought up and discussed often enough. I remember Paul Stoddart used to be very up front and open about allot of things he was also clear about why he made decisions.

Race commentators often complain they're not given enough access. In saying that if you give the journalists and media more access make sure that access is not put up behind paywalls otherwise all its doing is being delivered to people who already have the passion rather than reaching people who are yet to develop a passion.

But if it really bothers Horner that much simply lobby the FIA/FOM to cancel all the TV deals/contracts etc and simply broadcast the entire sport off the F1 website.

PS I dont think anyone can call this a legitimate sport when you have something as trivial as double points at the last race. Imagine if they had double goals in the last 10 minutes of a Football game?

This sport expereinced awesome amounts of growth in the 80's-90's with some duller racing than what we're seeing today. In those days allot of the licensing and openess was still around. The media has'nt changed over that time. What has changed is coporate and poltiical influence Formula 1 now experiences.

Pushing the blame onto media when its a failing of your own decisions is a recipe for disaster.



"They should ask harder questions at the drivers / teams and organisers."

Which they can then choose not to answer, as is their right.

Matthew Cheshire

In a nutshell, media reporting is worthless if it just regurgitates F1 marketing.

F1, the teams and the media outlets are all businesses. They all thrive on high visibility. If they aren't being seen they die. If the media see interest in a story they will run it till it wanes. No story lasts forever. When F1 stops feeding the story with poor decisions (Azerbaijan??) it will go away.

Look at DRS, stepped noses, even uglier noses, 2 lap tyres. It all gets forgotten and accepted. The noise will too. Unless Honda and MacLaren get clever and make theirs better than the rest..

I think the problem with F1 is that it is an increasingly civilised sport in the era of extreme sports.

F1 is still the pinnacle of motorsport, but it isn't as eye popping as a guy in a wing suit, or Ken Block in a hatchback. Its great, but no longer amazing.

There is an element of truth in the lack of social media, in that "edgier" extreme sports seem to thrive in social media where F1 is firmly rooted in strict control and conventional media. But that is just distribution- content is the problem.


I would say Christian did a wonderful job in diverting the matter from Sebastian Vettel (not performing on par with Ricciardo) and Adrian Newey (over the future of aero design in Red Bull) to a debate which involves neither 😉

Christian, well done 🙂


as @random79 have said, the journalist have to right whatever he want, and Horner have the right not to answer it. But besides that, there's somethinmg i'm not ok with Horner's answer: it implies they will do whatever bernie or the fia tell him to do? in Argentina 78, maybe the jounalist were at odds to come here (yes, i'm from argentina) but someone within the sport, one of the greatest figures, choose not to come, protesting the brutal dictatorship we were living here, and i'm talking about Johann Cruyff. Can you imagine, nowadays, someone with such a courage? can you imagine, Nico Rosberg, with his almighty PC politeness saying "it's not my issue to protest that in argentina have a brutal dictartorship who dissappeared more than 30000 people", i feel it's just wrong. you can remain indifferent for something like this. If Russia is throwing bombs, or the russians are getting bombed, or if there's such a critical situation as in bahrein, you simply cannot stay indifferent, you got to have some soul inside you and say "ok, this is WRONG, and i'm not going to play along with this" and simply walk away...


That's a decision for each individual, but unfortunately in this environment it's probably not that easy.

Could I imagine an individual driver or TP saying "we shouldn't go to Russia"? Yes.

Could I imagine an individual driver or TP saying "I will not go to Russia"? No.

I have no idea if the Russian GP will go ahead or not, but I do believe whatever they decide it will be a case of they all go or they all stay home.


The media must absolutely be free to write whatever they choose. Christian Horner must be free to say what he wants as well. When the two don't mesh we all have something to talk about and think about when we are having our cafe con leche. Mr. Horner is right and the media representatives are also right.

We all want to talk and think about the racing. If you are reading this comment on James Allen's website, then you know what I am saying. We all love F1. Lewis Hamilton's drive from the back to the front was stupendous. The fight and the tension between him and Nico Rosberg is great theatre. We all wonder what is going on with Kimi and we are all thrilled with the emergence of Ricciardo and Bottas... even Alonso is thrilled. And of course everyone is excited about the reemergence of Williams and Massa. There's some great sport happening! But...

Bernie and Mateschitz are right about F1. A fan wants to be in another world when attending or viewing F1. A world where the senses are under assault. F1 is the ultimate motorsport after all. It needs to be brutal, to startle, to frighten and to amaze. F1 needs to make the fans' heads tingle with adrenaline and excitement. The racing is the biggest part, but there is no way you can cut the rpms by 3-4k and the sound level by an order of magnitude and expect the same excitement. It will simply never happen. At present, the cars sound like underpowered and overly muffled touring cars on television. Better at the track, but most fans enjoy F1 on the telly. The racing is more chess and less bravado in 2014. That is what Schumi complained about...he wanted to race! Of course F1 has always had to manage tires and fuel and it's always an interesting part of the racing. The difference is that now there is too much management and less all out racing. F1 should be raw and unfiltered. Maybe politically uncorrect. But always exciting. Loud and exciting.

The media understand this and they write and talk about it. That is a healthy thing for all concerned. Without the media, you have no F1. Never forget that.


Sometimes it doesn't feel like a sport. I would like to see journalists demonstrate greater courage and conscience in their reporting. Too often, the media appears beholden to the establishment. But one can sympathize with the mindset of journalists who need to tough out careers in the small community of power brokers in f1. Negative reporting is not a problem in itself. The f1 world can be quiet dysfunctional at times, so if this is exposed by reporting, then all the better in my view for the long-term health of the sport. Perhaps the sports' (& maybe this applies to other big sports too) biggest weakness is its exaggerated sense of importance. There is a bigger world out there. Sport is at best an escape from the weightier matters we grapple with in our lives.

Spencer Montgomery

A question for James please:

A [mod] a proven f1 cheat, who received a lengthy ban, Flavio Briatore is now back at the absolute top of the sport, having input into its future.

Yet in the press, this is hardly mentioned. What is the fear that this man holds over the press? Is it his closeless to Bernie that enables him to return, undocumented in the press, as people like yourself fear that writing an article on this matter could seriously disrupt your career?

This seems to be a case of Nixon having input into a political ethics committee, or Suarez talking charge of a 'behaviour on the field' committee. Or more topically, outed FIFA committee fraudsters coming back to arrange the next World Cup vote.

The public have no forum to ask this pertinent question, are you able to shed any light, without fearing for your own prospects?


Not exactly, he's floating around in the background, likely to be a 'consultant' at best.

He's also the main character in Italian TV's version of "The Apprentice" !


James I just LOL! so hard in his Italian Apprentice version. Has to be hilarious.

And I don't think F1 needs Flav's consultancy at all.

Spencer Montgomery

Thanks for the reply James.

Even as a consultant, surely that would be 100% unnaceptable in any other sport. Broadsheets such as The Guardian / Telegraph would be all over it if it was soccer or cricket. Yet F1 seems to act with immunity from this kind of negative press.

I know your Apprentice comment is light-hearted, and I would cast him in that role myself if I were the producer! But that doesn't carry any clout as to why he may have influence on a sport in which is a proven fixer of results.

As a long term F1 fan, I'm sometimes disappointed by the way it kicks itself in the foot, and treats us fans like simple idiots.


I understand your POV

The way today's settlement has been dealt with by the media, it's almost as if it's normal for F1, so no big deal.


well done horner 🙂

lets talk about and go racing 🙂


Great article, James, and some really thoughtful, intelligent responses here, too.

I think the question should be not so much about how the media should report F1, but about the greater role that journalists can play in helping shape the future of F1.

Today, we hear that Bernie Ecclestone has not only stopped a criminal trial with a payment of $100 million, but also that he is suggesting it should be used to fund a new F1 circuit in Bavaria. I find such a pronouncement incredible, not least because part (possibly a significant one) would find its way straight back into his pocket through management fees and commissions via, amongst others, Hermann Tilke. Secondly, Germany already has two perfectly good F1 circuits with Hockenheim reasonably centrally located, but they can't get enough people through the door. Just why does Ecclestone think that a new circuit would attract any more people. The only result would be to put one of the other struggling circuits out of business for good. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. This, after all, from a man proposing to bring back an ex team principal found guilty of perverting the course of a race.

If all of this doesn't prove that the man is completely out of touch with reality, I don't know what does. When we hear him suggest ever-more contrived methods of "improving the show" such as watering tracks, or comment on TV about the state of F1, for example in his interview with Martin Brundle earlier this year, it's hard to believe that he's not becoming senile. Nevertheless, it's clear that he won't now disappear overnight. Plus, we have an ineffective FIA President who seems to believe that the biggest contribution he can make is to make no contribution at all. Is it any wonder that F1 is in the state it is?

All the more reason for the team principals to finally put their heads together and start working for the common good, ensuring that the right measures are taken to ensure the survival of the sport. I assume that it's unlikely they would be able to influence political decisions such as where races are held until Bernie goes for good, but they could and should do more to ensure the spectacle on the track appeals to fans, rather than allowing knee-jerk measures like double points, exhaust trumpets and standing restarts to be introduced. It's their livelihood and future, after all.

Unfortunately, you only have to look at the TV pictures from the paddock to see that the teams are just as out of touch as Ecclestone and Todt. The entire communication is regulated by marketing and PR people; drivers aren't even allowed to be interviewed without their every word being recorded by their OWN team for scrutiny later, for fear that they might say something "off message". You only have to see how much they spend on transporters and so-called motorhomes to realise that the whole thing is obscene, run for the sponsors with no thought for the fans or TV audiences. It's hardly surprising, therefore, that the team principals can't see the writing on the wall (unless it's a sponsor's message, of course).

This is where I think journalism has a critical role to play. I think journalists could and should play a proactive role in forcing a change in F1 as a conduit of public opinion to the teams. What other body of people is in a position to do so. Fans certainly don't have a voice, except for voting with their feet, but then it's usually too late. Journalists not only have access to the team principals and power brokers, they also understand the sport and are used to communicating with the public. Inviting and collecting feedback from the public on blogs like this or actions such as Motor Sport's "Manifesto for Change" are a start and seem to me to be the only way of injecting some sanity and reason into the decision-making process about the future of F1.

Nigel Roebuck's old Autosport column was titled "Fifth Column". Perhaps there's something in that. Keep up the great work, rally your colleagues and lobby loudly on our behalf.

kenneth chapman

@ steveH.... your comment that BE is out of touch with reality couldn't be more wrong. he is in total touch with reality. the 'reality' is that if you are wealthy enough you can buy your way out of a sticky wicket. that reality extends to all manner of things to do with F1. the 'reality' is that BE is still there despite all the 'merde' that has, and continues to be flung, at him.

now you and i might feel that he is out of touch but to date that is only an opinion. reality is quite a different thing altogether.

kenneth chapman

@ steve H....it would appear that my skills at communicating are somewhat lacking. my comments were a light hearted approach to the 'german' episode. i do in fact support the majority of your enumerated points outlining the current F1 deficiencies. must do better in future.


Hi Kenneth,

1. The reality is that fans don't want double points at the final race of the season.

2. The reality is that fans don't want to see contrivances.

3. The reality is that we have had fantastic on-track excitement this year.

4. Boring Tilkedromes, high ticket prices, sterile driver interviews, not enough investment in the grass roots, the list goes on and on.

All of this is reality. You only have to read the comments here to understand that longstanding, dedicated fans want to see. However,

1. Double points were introduced at the behest of Bernie.

2. Bernie suggests things like "doing something there (the exhaust) to make it sound a lot better."

3. Even as recently as Hockenheim, Bernie was suggesting that Briatore be brought in to help make the show more exciting.

This is the reality that Bernie is out of touch with. The reality that Bernie IS in touch with is one where you just cough up $100 million to stay out of jail. That is not the same reality that most of us are in touch with!

patrick takashi

The biggest media story is what was going on in the German courts and we have just heard that Bernie has settled with a payment of £60m...well done Bernie we need you!


I dont understand the media reaction to this. Surely anyone can see that Horner was not 'dictating' what they can and cant say - that is an overreaction. He was tired of the negative line in that meeting - and it was about the balance of questions - trying to shift it away from a consistantly negative direction - and towards the actual racing. I think this is fair IMO. It is a sporting spectacle - not a political body. Jounalists just have to be mindful of the sport they are involved in - just like all those who participate in it. If there have already been a ton of quations about racing in Russia - can't you ask a question about something else?

kenneth chapman

@ steve, ..... 'it is a sporting spectacle'...no it isn't. F1 is a business masquerading as a sport and as such it should be open season to ask anything whatsoever to do with the totality of F1. whether or not horner decides to answer is another matter. i mean he could offer up a personal opinion with that aspect as a qualification. we then might have a better handle on where some people stand. what are they frightened of? horner has always been duplicitous when it comes to offering up an honest judgement as witnessed by the multi 21 affair. why should would anyone expect him to change?


Monsters, be careful what you wish for.

Horner is right, having viewed a few of these 'interviews' I have to agree some of the questions are pointless, bordering on stupid.

Jornos should ask the right questions to the relavent people.

I mean, Drivers after the race being interviewed - the print of their helmet and balaclava still imprinted in their faces asked ridiculous questions only for answers to be 'reported' out of context.

Like 24hr news has found out there is not enough to report - so every snippet is stretched, distorted then presented has fact.

Most of the other motor sports do not have F1's high profile.

MotoGP - since it's come off free to air tv, I could not tell you who is the current WC, same with Rally -the WRC use to be bigger than F1.... Thing is the mistakes made with those sports are being repeated in F1....but F1's is about cost to its supporters and greed Question the right people?, ask the right questions?, no.

People have a skewd vision of the past alot of the 'news' available to the public now was not around 10 years ago. The pressure to deliver news was not there. but what was news was reported.

Now we have journos trying to make news out of every tiny cough or sneeze trying to make their name or fill a blog and it's reflected by what we read and hear and digest.

(prime example mentally strong or whatever)

Its hard to notice when we are being spoilt and hard to Kurb unreasonable demands once spoiled.... I get that, but!

Horner is correct, sport Is isolated, you the public have more influence on the world than a group of mechanics a couple of drivers and blokes and women flying around the world racing - ask yourself if they race and it's televised, will you watch?

If it's reported on will you read?

I know it's Hard to go back or even to try and be a voice of reason in this current climate of living your life like it's an American tv show were there are 39 hrs in a day and everything is vitally important.

But there is nothing wrong with F1, nothing wrong with the sound, nothing wrong with the Tec or how the cars look.

We can enjoy a blog like this for what it is and not take things too seriously, but ref the media The right questions to the right people.


The 'Media' is into the 'selling' articles business, so its self regulating. The ones that keep on asking questions nobody is interested in disappear.

Its interesting to see that Horner is under a lot of pressure apparently, I don't think the outburst had anything to do with the question asked.....


james - this is a very interesting thread full of incisive comments. the fans passion

for f1 is very evident.

all those squabbling millionaires in f1 could learn a thing or two if only they could be bothered to step out of the glasshouse.


As we can see, Media is part involved and judge, so they can more much power than Horner, who can say what he thinks at his own risk (to be questioned just by this Media). Say that, I think F1 is about drivers more than technical stuff (F1 must be the fastest racing category by far distance). People has the need to have Idols, symbols to support them, with some exceptions like Ferrari or McLaren, but who bring them to the glory are the drivers. Year after year, we can see F1 as an engineering challenge. I don't care too much about the engine sound, but if I would decide F1 rules I should remove or change:

- Radio messages. No radio messages permitted. Only for safety reasons.

- No fuel limit consumption

- The continuos changing of rules

- Freedom to manage Electrical power (160HP) to the driver with a button.

Let the drivers do their job: strategy, speed, tyres management, etc.


David Tremayns comments resonate given Horners ability to question the FIA and openly criticise the regulations including the new format itself. Yet he can be too precious to even allow the questions regarding a critical new and upcoming event.He always had the option to refer them to the FIA & BEwhich he did. My view is there is absolutely no question that cant be asked & if you choose not answer it thats fine too.. But under circumstances are you to say to someone you dont have a right to ask me that question when it involves something you partake in..Noone tells Mr Horner how to manage his race team so he should not be there to tell people how to be reporters!- especially given his hypocracy earler in the season and all parties determination to promote this event.

I think rather than turn a taboo question into a bug beat Horner & others an opportunity to actually promote the event as they have been doing since last year. F1 is so good at building something up and then shooting it down.. Just as BE and Ldm have been since the start of the season. Its crazy -F1 is paying a price for this and the expensive access to GP's that F1 is imposing doesnt help either

Fundamentally there is many good things about this season. Tyres are better, racing is far closer than anyone anticipated despite the clear advantage of Mercedes. But we must all remember this a very new formula with extremely complex cars and it must be said the development and stability the teams have managed is extremly commendable. Im a racing purist I dont really care if one car laps everyone- if a team does a better job they deserve it. I want to see the fastest cars win everytime I dont care if its by .001 or 60 sec & we all know that things change quickly in F1.. The only thing that is ruining the sport is the different stakeholders trying to determine how to make it a "show" and equalise everything in a non sporting way- dble pts,standing starts, inconsistent penalties,etc.. Fans arent stupid - nobody likes a sport dictated by preconceived outcomes even ones erroneously perceived in this way are ridiculed endlessly'which highlights that its only the non sporting stuff that is spoiling it. The powers that be need to work on that and find positive / transperant ways to communicate that effectively then all will be much better.

In the meantime all key players need to be far more engaging in all forums including the media, public, oragnisers etc in selling the sport in a genuine way not insulting peoples intelligence and manipulating situations as & when it suites-- its plain to see that this is damaging .New leadership required?- Absolutely!


I think the media have every right to ask searching questions of anyone with influence in F1, including the team principles and drivers. On the particular question asked of CH, F1 is a global sport and it is a fantasy to think that world politics has nothing to do with it.

The sporting boycott of South Africa had a significant impact on ending the sytem of aparteid - sporting bodies can take a stand, make a statement AND make a difference. I think it is completely relevent to ask someone their opinion on something like this. It provides an insight into individuals and teams and helps inform the public of what (if anything) they stand for.


have you noticed any journalist being rude about how ecclestone's court case ended? they wrote so much nonsense leading up to the case about him about to lose his grip on the sport. if only they knew how slippery eccleston is.


I understand both sides of the argument. The Finnish journalist said it right when he said that when you have a press conference that last an hour, maybe an hour and a half, and all questions come down to the same question. As a team principal you're sitting there giving the same answers to the same questions that are just asked by different people and that does gets boring. You start to wonder if the journalists are only there to hear themselves speak because they could have just recorded the answer to the questions asked by the other reporters and ask something new, a press conference becomes very unproductive from a news gathering point of view.

Having said that it should be noted that the reason why journalist ask the same questions for comes down to both the FIA and FOM (Bernie Ecclestone) not providing the world answers to these questions. Who from the FIA can be interviewed to ask those questions? Nobody because the FIA only does interviews with the few journalists who do not criticize them. Who from FOM can be told that the public who watches races are appalled by what happened with the air crash and the circumstances surrounding the crash and because of that the majority of fans feel that F1 should not race in Russia? Again nobody because the only journalist that Bernie seriously talks to is the Christian Sylt and we, the fans, all know that he rarely is really critical of Bernie (sure he might question some of the minor decisions but I have never heard him be critical on the way how Bernie runs the sport, even on the whole story about the trial in Germany he was pretty pro Bernie). F1 is so far removed from reality that the only time that a journalist can ask a serious question about the real world is when the team principals are interviewed on the Thursday before the race. The team principals must become more defiant towards the FIA and FOM in these instances but unfortunately we all know that the reason the teams don't do that is because of the repercussions that might come from it.


may be all journalist should sit an exam about f1 before they are aloud in and the results should be made available to the public. this will root out the passengers.


You have drawn a very wrong conclusion regarding journalists to whom Bernie talks seriously


i think respect and professionalism should be the heart of reporting on f1. all journalists should be respectful enough not to tell lies about others involved in f1, they should al so be professional enough to avoid annoyance or condescension. they should avoid insultingly labelling people involved in f1 as immature or unintelligent.

any journalist failing to remain professional and respectful in their reporting should trigger an initial informal conversation between the observer and the fom. a pattern of poor behavior should lead up an “accountability pyramid” to a formal discussion with the fia to decide if they deserve a pass into the f1 press access areas.

after all f1 provides the journalist an opportunity to earn an income so why should they go out of their way to be unecessarily rud and insulting in their questioning and reporting? they are supposed to be promoting the sport. if they don't like it.......


Just a question: why is a problem for racing in a country who invaded other country for monetary reasons? no one questions the F1 going to the US, and they've invaded not one, but TWO countrys with no good reason!


Too much negatives been expressed already.

Just want to mention the positives.

• Surprising races, has been fantastic this season

• More overtaking, not the DRS bits only

• David Croft, Martin Brundle, Ted Kravitz, Anthony Davidson, not forgetting George, Johnny, Damon and the Sky crew.

• 30+% less fuel for the same tracks

• Silverstone, Spa and Monza still in the calendar and for the wonderful atmosphere

• Much better tyres overall, can be improved further

• Better race coverage after numerous complains about the TV director

• New pit lane birds eye camera view, I liked that very much

• Ability to hear crowds cheering

• Very good previews and post race reports

• Hamilton and Rosberg for keeping up the fight

• James Allen best F1 blogsite and the other sites too


Horner's response sounds more like of a momentary outburst of frustration. I wonder whether on reflection, he might have answered the same question(s) in a more measured tone if he had the rewind button.

But it does open up an interesting issue about what sort of issues/questions are off limits for the F1 community. My view is that team owners and management are not only representatives of their teams, sponsors, but the sport itself. And if questions about the governance of the sport, choice of venues, and other off track issues are in play and very topical, then it is more than appropriate to ask how the sport's participants feel about being involved in some of these 'controversial' issues. How they choose to answer (or not answer) the question is up to them. They can either answer it with brutal hoesty or be a little more diplomatic in sidestepping it. But to lecture the media about what they should be asking, not only attracts bad media for him, but shows his immaturity and lack of media prep by his minders.


So F1's 2014 sales pitch isn't working and the paying customers are voicing their disapproval at the product on offer. This happens all the time with all kinds of consumer products. Why does F1 think it's any different? It isn't...


Now I’m an old duffer and I’ve been watching F1 on the telly in its various guises since ’76. There are some commenters on here who would do well to consider Voltaire’s quote…’I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it’.

Somebody said in an earlier comment that the press is there to promote F1. I completely disagree. The press is there to report the facts, whether that promotes F1 or not. I have read that Eric Boullier allegedly asked for a Journalists accreditation to be revoked simply because he didn’t like the question regarding following Bernie into North Korea. If true, the irony of how he managed to align himself with the same political thinking as the North Korean leadership is almost unbearable.

First things first; the racing has been excellent this year. Forget every other argument, it’s really difficult to deny that (although some are still trying!). And watching Hamilton carve his way about the field every other week after whatever emotionally driven brainfart / mechanical failure he’s had this time, is just brilliant. He is a joy to watch as is Mr. Alonso…and Ricciardo…and Bottas…which kind of says it all.

However, I’ve been guilty on this site in the past of being just as visceral as another fellow commenter when looking back all misty eyed at the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I used to go to a lot of races, both in the UK in the 80’s and in Italy when I lived there in the 90’s. I do miss the noise and I won’t feel shamed into saying I think it’s great now…I also miss the innovative shapes and body styles (re Newey’s comments about paint them all white and spot the difference). I actually got really excited at the different noses this year, ugly or not. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to go to Silverstone anymore as the total price for one adult and one child over even just race day amounts to the same as a cheap weekend away for all four in the family, which is a shame as I have a young son who loves racing cars (and James, I only found out the other day that one of your sons is also called Emerson! Top choice).

I’m a professional aerospace engineer by trade and so, for me, the technology is as important as the racing…and I do love the technology this year…very clever. And I have watched F1 technology flow down to road cars for many years, so I get the linkage, but it seems to have become a bit cart in front of horse. Years ago, clever F1 engineers would come up with a racing concept which could then be adapted to the road. Now you have the big car companies dictating which technologies will be developed for the road and allowing these to determine the direction of the sport. Not sure if that’s entirely wrong in itself, but I do think that it’s suppressing free thinking.

In terms of the rules, that is where a big part of the problem lies. Is F1 so insulated that it fails to see how amateurish it looks from the outside? An almost universally hated double points rule and the FIA are sat there with a slightly blank and liquid lunched look on its face. And frankly, that’s the tip of the iceberg. FRICS banned halfway through a season. Had it developed that much since the start of the season (when one assumes it was entirely passive) that it could provide an unfair advantage? Really? Could we not have seen a cut off in its advancement instead? Standing starts, complained about generally, but voted in presumably by the Teams? And then, just after Charlie explains it all to us imbeciles who couldn’t work out what they were thinking, Bernie says ‘No, I’ve decided, it’s all off, no more standing starts’. What on Earth is going on? Who votes for what and why (bother)? And let’s not go anywhere near the distribution of money.

So from a humble fan point of view, it’s a little bit like this: Team Principles only want to answer magnolia coloured prescriptive questions, Journalists should fear for their livelihood so best not antagonise Eric (nice safe questions only), drivers doing their level best to keep the show on the road (boom boom), races so expensive that grown-ups with proper jobs and families can’t afford to go to them, engineers who work in straight jackets and the people in charge are either desperate, mal informed or don’t actually care.

Small wonder that all the F1 forums are noisier than they have been for years. The racing needs leaving alone, the governance of the sport needs fixing.

kenneth chapman

an excellent post and one which i fully support. well said and well done. @ james as well, yes i had heard about bouillier making the very same request.


I've never heard of Boullier doing that - its not his style


Hi James, It was widely reported, but I had no idea as to whether there was any truth in it hence I used the word allegedly! I'm guessing that if you weren't aware, it probably isn't true. Which is a good thing!


Much less preshow buildup on the TV programmes, and also much less post race waffle. It's the racing we want to watch, not gossip.

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