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How should the Formula 1 media report on the sport?
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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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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.


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!


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…


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.


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


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!


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…….


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 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.


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!


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.


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.


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…..


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.


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?

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!


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!


well done horner 🙂

lets talk about and go racing 🙂

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 🙂

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.


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.

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