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Does Bernie Ecclestone mean what he says about F1 “not needing” social media and young audiences?
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Bernie Ecclestone
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Nov 2014   |  12:22 pm GMT  |  361 comments

Bernie Ecclestone, the 84 year old supremo of F1’s commercial side has given an interview to Campaign magazine in Asia in which he has claimed that F1 doesn’t need to chase younger audiences as they don’t have any money to spend on products of F1 sponsors, like Rolex.

And in a similar vein he has again downplayed the value of social media as irrelevant to the F1 business, despite saying, “We should use social media to promote F1. I just don’t know how.”

On one level, it’s another interview that will dismay the F1 teams and many senior figures within F1’s principle shareholder CVC.

But before you reach for the Comment button at the foot of this post, let’s examine what he says and look a little into the background, which this site is well equipped to do.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.59.06

Bernie on Social Media
“I’m not interested in tweeting, Facebook or whatever this nonsense is. I tried to find out but in any case I’m too old fashioned. I couldn’t see any value in it. And I don’t know what the so-called “young generation” of today really wants. What is it? You ask a 15 or 16 year old kid, “What do you want” and they don’t know. The challenge is getting the audience in the first place. I say to some people who start this nonsense about social media, look at what tobacco companies tried to do, get people smoking their brand early on because then people continue smoking their brand forever.

“If you have a brand that you want to put in front of a few hundred million people, I can do that easily for you on television.

“Now, you’re telling me I need to find a channel to get this 15-year-old to watch Formula 1 because somebody wants to put out a new brand in front of them? They are not going to be interested in the slightest bit.

“Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can’t afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS — these kids don’t care about banking. They haven’t got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway.

“That’s what I think. I don’t know why people want to get to the so-called ‘young generation’. Why do they want to do that? Is it to sell them something? Most of these kids haven’t got any money.

“I’d rather get to the 70-year-old guy who’s got plenty of cash. So, there’s no point trying to reach these kids because they won’t buy any of the products here and if marketers are aiming at this audience, then maybe they should advertise with Disney.

“We should use social media to promote F1. I just don’t know how. They say that kids are watching things on (tablets and mobiles) but it doesn’t mean that they are watching F1. And even if they are will they still be watching at 40? The world has changed so much in the last few years and I don’t that’s going to stop.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Brazilian Grand Prix - Race Day - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Analysis
In fact Ecclestone has taken the time this year to investigate social media and to understand the threat it poses to his business model and to consider what opportunities it might offer, this site has direct experience of that.

He knows that he needs to embrace it, the problem is he’s nervous about letting the genie out of the bottle and losing control of the value in the TV rights that he has sold at a high price to broadcasters like SKY. To this point he’s been happy to let the broadcasters deal with online video clips and a limited amount of social media.

But as he says here he does recognised that F1 needs to use social media to promote the sport. He’s understood that people consume the sport in a far wider way then they used to with simple TV coverage. And this is an important story for him to start telling now, because in a period where TV viewership for F1 is declining (as it is for many sports and other TV products) he can tell the sponsors a story about the far wider reach the sport is attaining today via social media and online engagement. When the figures are all in, it’s likely that F1 will show a 10% drop in live TV audiences.

The Monaco Grand Prix this year is an example: it accounted for the biggest single decline in TV audience (8.3 million down on 2013 audience) However the market share remained largely unchanged (down just 4%), indicating that the broadcast presented a comparable draw for viewers; there were just fewer people watching TV at this time.

Rolex F1
Nigel Geach, Senior VP of industry survey specialists Repucom makes this argument in a recent article in the Financial Times,

“Companies bought sponsorships 20 years ago as a media buy,” he says. “These are still big numbers, 1.6 billion cumulative audience, but it’s what they do with the numbers on the different platforms that counts today. It’s how they can use F1 that matters. Sponsors aren’t going to drop F1 due to falling TV numbers, as it’s still one of the few global sports events.”

That’s why F1 has now got a social media department at Ecclestone’s base in Princes Gate; it’s why they are investing in a new F1.com for 2015 and in the official F1 app, which has sold over 3 million editions. F1.com had 67 million unique users last season and that is set to rise this year. The new site is set to engage the younger audience, using all the social media tools Ecclestone refers to and will have a level of personalisation and fan engagement which is way beyond what is there today. They are very late to the party and it doesn’t help if the message from the CEO runs counter to the work actually going on behind the scenes! There is real value to be derived from this.

Talk to the business and commercial people in F1 teams and they think that F1’s annual commercial revenues of around $1.5 billion a year are well short of the potential, that it’s not being exploited to the maximum because Ecclestone is sticking to what he calls his “old fashioned ways”. They believe that there is at least another $500 million to be made quite easily, which when filtered down via the prize money formula, would mean another $27 million per team, enough to stave off the current ‘crisis’ of the smaller teams.

Russian State Ballet

Bernie on Entertainment
There is another passage in the interview, which is genuinely hilarious; Ecclestone says:

“Entertainment is what people want to see. If you asked me to go tonight to the ballet..I would say it’s not for me. Maybe if I tried I’d love ballet. I just can’t understand why they have these girls dancing on their toes. Why don’t they get taller girls?”

This is a classic example of Ecclestone’s humour and an example of why one always has to be cautious about taking things he says at face value.

He goes on to say that there are many more forms of entertainment today than in the past before the internet and multi channel TV, when F1 tended to have a higher profile.

One other point of note: He dismisses the two teams which have recently gone into administration; Caterham and Marussia. “They’ve only got a name people would know because of the problem they are in. You need teams like Ferrari. If you go anywhere and say “Ferrari” people know what you are talking about. If you say ‘Marussia’ they won’t.”

Full article can be read here: Bernie Ecclestone/Campaign Asia interview

What do you think? Have your say in the Comment Section below

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361 comments

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1
Bagpuss (Tony Moss)

The main thing F1 doesn't need anymore is that out of touch idiot controlling it.

In a couple of years, with more ridiculous changes brought about by him, it'll have neither young or old audiences.

2

I see a lot of heated discussion here over the "idiot" statement. Let's look at this in another way, let's look at the values of Apple vs F1. Last week Apple stock was worth $662 billion, any one with a realistic up to date valuation of F1? James? $8 billion tops? Now Bernie described the activities for which Apple provides hardware as "nonsense", is this an accurate assessment? Could it be that how F1 is approaching the world today with its product is fundamentally out of date? Is BE really the person required to change that? Is F1 generating anything like the money it actually could if Apple owned it?

3

I scrolled down to add a comment then I read yours. I don't need to bother now.

James - can this quote to put in bold, 20 pt font and underlined? In fact just make it the website header.

4

Before I say anything let me clear up that I'm not a fan of Mr. Ecclestone. That being said, you have to credit the man on what he has achieved since coming into F1. He has in many ways build F1 into to sport we love and follow so passionately today. And off course his way of 'saying it as it is' hasn't always won him fanfare yet in todays world of P.R scripted pre-approved statements, it is a breath of fresh air when we can get to read people's personal views unfiltered.

And what is with all the young people bashing? Honestly do we still resides in the 50s? Our portrayal is comically similar to the way 'Youth' was described on American Anti-Drug Videos from that era. Not every kid is a hoodlum. And In today's world of target marketing it would be short sighted not to have a pool of potential Rolex customers who were interested in F1 when they were young and although they might not have had enough money to deposit into a bank account at the time(Loans,CoL) eventually a few of them turn into the target audience who end up buying those Costly Rolexes.

Its a progression, and in today's world if a global enterprise like Formula 1 won't buy into it, It is only their loss, that just simple Economics.

-A 28 year old who had no money to put into a bank when he was 18 but now can buy whatever that 70 year old can.

5

Definitely agree Bernie has lost it, but i also can not stand this recent trend of everyone falling over themselves to mention social media, even when they have no idea what they actually mean by it. It seems that to mention it is to somehow be on trend (see this all the time in corporate meetings) but then not have the slightest clue how to enrich the user experience or have the faintest clue how to monetise it. All this is absolute guff if your core product is no good, and that's what is wrong with F1. what i want as an avid F1 fan is exiting racing, not 2 hours of boring tyre management and stupid gimmicks. we need the sport managed by someone that realises that if you don't pay attention to that then eventually the money will dry up anyway as the fans drift away. If you have a genuinely competitive exiting sport then you will get new fans without having to patronise them with faux trendy social media. Again its about content, most of what's online at the moment lacks any real depth and seems like its very controlled. Sports fans are very knowledgeable and don't take well to dumbing down, i think Sky's coverage is pretty good from that perspective but whatever platform F1 is on whether subscription or streaming or fancy personalised app, we will only pay up if the racing is actually worth paying for.

6

I agree with you Bagpuss. It is really irrelevant what those people say about the idiot issue and how many millions he has made. Obviously he is not, but who cares. If we were in the 80's ok, but we are in 2014. The guy is senile. I have written here again and again the same. I sense some bitterness in his interview answers with some touch of nostalgia for the "good old times".

Mr. E is not looking into the future. He thinks 70-year olds will live forever and teenagers will never grow. SUccesful brands retain customers by means of quality and status they provide. It is a loyality relationship. But they know these targets are ageing so their marketing try to cover the next generation and then the next behind it. Obviously a teenager won't bank anything at that age. But in 10 years he would.

Making despicable comments about back of the grid teams is really an insult. All those teams pay their fees and the drivers employed by them also pay their superlicenses. If I were the owner of one of these teams I would punch him in the face right away.

It would be interesting to hear FIA's view on BE comments trying to cut them some income.

A dark future I see with this ageing character. Poor F1... poor fans...

7

What is by this man is spot on,I am one of those 70 years who have supported the sport for as long as I can remember and spent a lot of money, but like the above comments I am getting fed up with Bernie the twat my support is dying.

8

I am with you 100% Bagpuss. He has single handily brought F1 down to it's knees and it seems no one has the stones to stand up to him. [mod] Too bad he runs the show.

9

Spoken like a 16 year who thinks someone should just give him a Rolex... Bernie is an unsavory character but he did not get to where he is now by being an "idiot" as you so eloquently put it.

We are all free to disagree with him on where F1 should go, but make no mistake, idiot he is not. I think it hurts to hear what he has to say but it is true. What 16 year old through even most 30 year olds I know is the market for ht things the sponsors of F1 sell? Alcohol? Extremely expensive suits, watches, clothing, accessories? I don't know to many people in their 20's and younger who are concerned with their mutual fund holdings, and retirement accounts and I work in investment banking. Not too many in the market for a Ferrari or Mclaren either. So yeah, if all he wants to do is make money for himself and his shareholders, he's doing a damned good job of it. If he wasn't I can guarantee the owners/shareholders would replace him fairly quickly.

10

Bernie, via CVC, runs FOM. FOM depends on broadcast numbers.

Those numbers are down, and show no signs of reversing.

Deliberately alienating part of your audience, because that part of the audience can't buy a Rolex, is foolish-- Also, I suspect at age 70, most people have decided whether they want, or need, a Rolex, and have a few in the drawer already, and I doubt Rolex is targeting 70-year olds with their ads. Like most advertisers, their preferred market is 18-35, the people who are most likely to accumulate ill-advised debt. 😉

Making short-term deals to raise the value of those broadcast numbers (ie, pay TV), that further alienates the brand, will not improve viewing figures.

As those figures start to drop off, the value of the advertising, and thus the sponsorship, of F1, also declines.

I'm not sure Bernie's current leadership is making CVC happy.

11

f1 only has been going for over 50 years and has never tried to appeal to the younger generation until 12 years ago. it doesn't need to make special efforts to attract fans, they're naturally attracted to f1 the same way as the current fans have been. all those who claim the older generation will die out and there will be no fans are being unrealistic. all the evidence says fans have been naturally attracted to f1 regardless.

12

@devilsadvocate, Thanks for the compliment but I am 38 years old and I understand "small" business and fine art of making money quite well! I have run a number of successful businesses which I started from scratch at a tender young age so your comments amuse me no end. I am laughing right now at you and your self righteous assumptions about my age so thanks for the giggle this Saturday morning.

I know for a fact I am not alone in thinking these comments from Bernie make him sound like an out of touch idiot and it would appear that you, like Bernie have lost sight of the fact that F1 is meant to be Motorsport. The pinnacle all racers aspire to and not just a method for rich people and businesses to get richer. I do know that F1 is expensive, always has been, I have attended many races (home and abroad) and followed the great sport all my life so please try not to make anymore embarrassing assumptions.

I am afraid to disappoint you but I would never wish to own a Rolex as it's a piece of bling and not my thing, I am not driven by greed and have no need for such items but each to they own I say. I have however invested my time and money being involved for many years in the "low end" motorsport world of karting. During my time I have seen many under 16 year olds with such passion and drive and complex understanding of engineering and trackside mechanicals, physics, kart dynamics driven by a will to win that is both impressive and humbling at the same time.

I myself would rather invest in these young guys and girls to ensure F1 has a future beyond Bernie's last years and the bling that it appears you dream of but thanks again for the assumptions, I wish I was 16 again but sadly those days for me are gone.

You are a funny boy so thanks again.

13
The Truth, Aussie style

Problem is if you don't appeal to young audiences now then when all those people who can afford investment banking and Rolex's grow old and die you have no fans left. Bernie sounds like a typical self-centered businessman; worry about getting your money now and forget about sustainability.

14

@devilsadvocate,I thank you for your input,, the sad thing to note ,none of the above critic had answered Mr Eccelstone matter of fact or my actual support of it.

I accept we live in mordern times ,but the basics of life and its endeavours is not associated with i phone,facebook,istergram or tweeter,it would be more likely of one imagination of tomorrow and beyond in raw terms of reality.

I am not professing being a smart a+se, but basics of life do apply.

15

I agree Tony, we will be all be gone if he carries on like that, he has truly lost it. I can't afford a Rolex so does that mean I should switch off my TV and never visit another race.

F1 is not actually seen as cool with the kids anymore as far as my kids are concerned. My lad still loves it but F1 is not very popular at school anymore. I guess Bernie does not care for the "sports" future, just dollar. Quite sad to read such comments from a once great man, a racer.

Also, I am pretty sure Redbull will be very pleased to hear these words with their fizzy drinks targeted at the younger markets, and what should teams do with the "young" driver programmes moving forwards I wonder.

16

james....all kids involved in karting and other motorsport around the world are f1 fans. the f1 in schools competition hasn't made more kids interested in f1 only that those already interested in f1 entered the competition, it just brings them closer to the sport. if the competition honestly attracted more fans and engineers, then the grandstands should be more full than they were before the competition started 12 years ago, everywhere but that is not the case.

17

man on wheels has hit the nail on the head.....too many read to respond rather than understand. ecclestone has paid out too much money to people with all sorts of ideas about appealing to more people and he cannot see how he can charge people to consume f1 on the so called social media. they tried it with the f1 app and not many bought it. that's all the evidence he needs.

18

here james, it looks like is has done just what they intended.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14823042

19

thanks for all that james. in that case ecclestone is absolute correct in saying there is no need making any more effort to attract young fans because the f1 in school program has done just that. no need for the noise made by so many on all the f1 sites about ecclestone's comments. job done, let them all know james.

20

@james.......please let us know how many engineers the f1 in schools competition has generated. if the aim of the competition is the generate engineers, then it has failed miserably and yet they still carry on with it.

21

It has certainly generated a few engineers working in F1, but that's not the main aim

The main aims are to get young people interested generally in engineering as a career and it's certainly achieved that. Also to raise awareness of the sport among school age kids and its done that too, if you consider how many kids have been exposed to it in the various schools that have taken part down the years and the announcements in assemblies and showcases of work around school which always surrounds participation in such a thing.

22

with all due respect james, i understand that many school children around the world have been engaged in the competition but if you consider the fact that there are about 8.3 million school children in the uk alone then the numbers engaged in the competition are insignificant. if one child was selected from every hundred schools in the country would result in a much bigger crowd than have seen of the competition. the competition has been running for some twelve years and it hasn't resulted in increased number of spectators in the grandstands. ecclestone is right, there is no need to try to appeal to the younger generation as f1 naturally attract fans.

i remember reading articles about the competition long before it started and the original idea was to get kids interested in f1 which evolved into an engineering challenge. I have watched some footage of the show and was empresses with the level of engineering but I must say that it's way beyond reaches of most school children.

23

come on james, how many publications are there of f1 in schools? how many young spectators does it attract? gp2 has a larger number of cars on the grid than f1 and that doesn't mean gp2 generates more interest than f1.

i have followed the f1 in school with diminishing interest because I soon noticed that the level of engineering used is far beyond the reaches of most school going children. looking at pictures of the events don't suggest large crowds to me.

that said most kids play car racing games on their phones and tablets so they're naturally coded to like f1.

24

F1 in schools is not about pulling in crowds, it's about
1. getting kids to engage with the idea of F1 and engineering
2. getting the ones who find they like it and are good at it to consider engineering as a career (which is why it gets strong government level support around the world)

Having been to most of the world championship events since it started and many national events in the UK, I am never anything less than impressed with the amount of kids engaged in it.

25

when was it ever popular at school? ecclestone was persuaded to launch the school's f1 competition and he has seen how little interest it has generated so what is the point in spending more to attract people who are not in the least interested?

f1 does exist and anyone who is interested in it will watch it so will anyone interested in advertising their product on f1. too many people fail to understand that the future cannot be predicted with any accuracy.

26

F1 in Schools not generated interest?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F1_in_Schools

It's in 40 countries and over 20 million kids have taken part since it's inception in the early 2000s. I've seen it fist hand many times. You have no idea

27

All Bernie does is introduce exceptionally stupid gimmicks into F1. If F1 doesn't need young audiences, who does it need then? Those who are aging and moving on?

We've had stupid tyres, funny steward decisions, mid season rule changes and just general gimmicky rubbish - all because Bernie is from the WWII generation and can't step aside for those who understand the potential of F1 in gaming, streaming, Virtual Reality etc.

Yesterday, I made a disparaging post about Ferrari being a team with a middle aged to old aged following that will soon be of little relevance to the future of F1. But reading what Bernie says makes one understand how Ferrari can keep chugging along in todays digital world, people by staff that remind you of doddering old gents with powdered bottoms.

Right now, the love of speed is all that's keeping the F1 audience. When stupid finally takes everything over, even that love will shrivel and die.

28

i agree with everything ecclestone has said in that interview and my favourite part is about the taller girls. the guy is incredibly intelligent and sharp in his responses. a lot sharper than many give him credit for. he has continue sly improved the sport and understands what would improve it and what is a waste of time, spot on with social media. all those kids involved in karting around the world are f1 fans, so are their family members and television is still very popular after the birth of youtube and social media. the guy knows his stuff. all i ask of him is to have mercy on the smaller teams.

29

@Bagpuss,I don't really want to be rude what I think of your user name,that said it does not suprises me with your comments.I don't know how old you are but one thing I do know , you own Mr Eccelstone an apology for call him a idiot,

Fact. idiots don't graduate to be succsessful business people, simply put he's right on in portraying young generation of today, they are more interested in aquiring Ecstacy and buggy buggy all night long rather tten spend their time making a Hot-rod.

I consider Bernie Eccelstone in the same category as Alan Greenspan ex Chairman of US Federal Reserve both briliant in its own field.

Check your Bank balance and is it comparable to Bernie Eccelstone one before you call him an Idiot.

30

While i definitely agree that Bernie is past his best-before date, all this furor is just playing into his hands. One must rarely, if ever, that Bernie's remarks at face value( promises of cost-caps to newly entering teams perhaps?). He has an agenda, and as usual, its hidden and convoluted, but past history shows that it is almost certainly about divide-and conquer, and leaving him at the end to control and rule over it all. while i disagree with many of the things and changes he's brought about, the one thing he isn't is dumb. The pie of F! can definitely grow, and will..... he just wants to make sure he get's the lion's share of it as always. Not great for the sport IMO , but he wont kill the golden goose that has brought him his fortune and fame either.

31

Comparing bank balances is a ridiculous argument. Bernie will always win that. Because he's loaded doesn't excuse his increasingly more frequent crass comments. It's time he handed over the reigns to someone more in touch with reality.

32

What are the demographic numbers on this? Anyone know? Just what percentage of the "F1 Market" today are the older folks and what percentage are the younger crowd? I remember reading a several years ago that Mercedes decided to re-enter F1 because their customer base had aged and were "in God's waiting room" as Jackie Stewart put it. Has Mercedes managed to attract younger buyers to their products because of F1?

33

Well I know Bernie is bad however I don't think he's quite as bad as Alan Greenspan. Bernie has not been in charge of monetary policy setting things up for a global bust. Or at least not yet. They are of course both past masters of opaque language.

34

I can see both sides of the argument on this, and as with any gender based assumptions they fall into the trap of lacking genuine facts.

My view is that Bernie is correct that F1 aligns itself with aspirational premium brands across the board. Even Red Bull is a more expensive drink than Coke or Pepsi. However 'aspirational' is the key. F1, like its commercial brands partners needs to feed the future buyers, so Bernie dismissing them out of hand is foolish. However, he is very focused on what makesF1 unique & what it does well. The youngest of fans (or Millennials/ Y2 generations) are too young & without financial means now, but the key to getting them into F1 needs to be driven by the X Gen/ early Y Gens who are now mid 30's to 40's. These are the new leaders & who now have some $ to support F1. The Reality: Bernie will pass the batton on in the next 5 years (maybe longer, but unlikely). The next person to drive the commercial side of F1 with be a gen X person. They will have the broader knowledge to focus attention on getting the younger generations into F1. It is the natural cycle. F1 might be a little late to embrace social media properly, but Bernie is correct that F1 needs to focus primarily on its current strongest audience, they are not the youngest generations at this time.

35

+ 1 well said!

36

Whats wrong with Bagpuss? That old cloth cat never harmed anyone 😉

37

Sorry, but Bagpuss got it spot on. Constantly the F1 Scrum is either shaking their head in despair at Ecclestone, or harking back to his past glories.

Yes, at one point Bernie was good for the sport. But like in all business there comes a time for change. Bernies time was many years ago. His recent comments have become a clear indication he no longer should be guiding the sport to the future.

James, I am sorry, but your version of events echos those of all of the F1 scrum who say 'aww..it just his humor, look what he did in the past' Well i think that any future sponsor will not see it that way.

Any young person wants a car, and Bernie saying they are poor and no place in F1 will send shock waves through Renault, Honda and Mercedes. Quoting Rolex but none of the other everyday sponsors such as Red Bull, Lucozade etc.. shows he does not get it.

F1 is cutting edge and has no place for Dinosaurs harking back to the 70's...

If you really look at it, he has killed F1 by involving sky and aiianating the FTA viewers... Making promoters pay extortionate amount which gets passed back to the public.

I cannot understand why Journalists think he is so great. At the end of the day if the 2,000 strong paddock and journalists love him, what is that to the 50million that loathe him?

38

Goggo; I'm not denying Ecclestone's success or business nous, and as you say, his bank balance is some proof of that. But just because he was good in the 80's 90's and 00's, doesn't automatically mean he's the man for the job in the 2010's.

His comments suggest age is catching up with him and that he's becoming out of touch with the world we live in today (and the one we will live in tomorrow). Wether they are genuine, or masterfully played for effect...I can't say because I don't know him. But it makes more sense to me that F1 is missing opportunities to recruit lifelong fans (who will later become the money spenders Bernie wants) through digital media, than it does to believe that doderings we're hearing from Bernie currently.

39

@goggombil, I don't mean to be rude but I think you need to get out more, seriously.

He is not right on in portraying young generation of today and you sir appear to be the idiot making such sweeping generalisations like that and stating them as fact.

Hating our young generation and obsessed with money, Bernie, is that that you posting under the Pseudonym of goggombil?

40

You both have fair points. Bernie is not an idiot because of how much he's made of F1 and how much he's milked it to make himself successful. Bernie is an idiot because of how much he continues to take out of F1 to make himself successful and how little he's reducing F1 to.

Point in case, Rolex and UBS are important sponsors for F1 yet he talks like they're the only sponsors in F1 because it's all about him. Careless of the fact that teams have their own sponsors for whom an increased attention to social media would be not must helpful but necessary.

41

So, as long as you have tons of money you are not an idiot right?

What's going to happen when that seventy year old man dies? If you are wishing for the next generation of seventy year old men to take his place, that's fine. When you don't cultivate an audience from a young age, chances are that you'll eventually be left without an audience.

So stop offering just a Rolex and offer the next iwatch or igear. In fact allow and encourage people to enjoy f1 on any platform. The next generation of viewers has to be engaged, they are not passive viewers, they need more, and more is what they should be offered.

He is not an idiot for not knowing how to engage younger audiences, but what do you call a person who doesn't allow someone else to do what he can't do himself?

43

All dinosaurs become extinct in the end. The future of F1 is not Bernie. What happens after him is what matters now.

44

Yep, but who's going to replace Bernie!

It's the 20th anniversary of Schumacher's first WDC, F1 was more popular than compare to now. One of reason is at that time cable TV boom happen. And people embraced cable TV all around the world with affordable cost. Now it's the generation of social media. So, Bernie missed the biggest boat of this generation unfortunately.

45

"Yep, but who’s going to replace Bernie!"... exactly!!

Unless CVC can see a better (and more profitable) way forward, we are left to his leadership. Wonder if any of the shareholders ever thought that replacing Bernie might be one job that Ross Brawn may consider putting down his fishing-pole for? No, forget that, would make sense on way to many levels, and if one thing is ever constant in F1 politics and finance, its making sense never flies

46

more people watch f1 now than ever before.

47

I think James - you deserve an honorary masters degree in Apologetics and Literary Criticism

48

Not sure about the former; think you've missed the point

But I studied plenty of the latter!

49

@Sunny "Would be really interesting and enlightening to hear more on what you are holding back?"

That would be to misunderstand how the game is played in upper echelons of F1 - who can say what and why things can't be said.

It may well be that hedging ones bets at present on what is about to happen - is the smart move from a self interest point of view. And for that we can criticise no one.

Further, 'the game' in play has no assured result - winner or loser - so nailing one's colours to the mast may backfire in the long run.

What is certain is that this creates a huge amount of fan engagement - which in itself kind of justifies the means - and that is in no way a bad thing.

50

James,

reading your words: "It’s to simplistic to merely say ‘he’s lost it’, it’s a more sophisticated game than that. Why so much chaff being fired up into the air as the bombers circulate, to use a WWII metaphor?" makes me very curious of what are you hinting at? Clearly you hold some information and understanding here that is only implied not stated...

The situation is difficult if not impossible desypher from the outside.

Would be really interesting and enlightening to hear more on what you are holding back?

51

No such thing as bad publicity, as they say. I see Eckle's comments as simply stirring up some public comment with some mildly controversial comments of his own, laced with reverse psychology for any kid that bothers to read it. The mistake people make in commenting on this story, I believe, is to take notice of what the man says, rather than what he does.

Not unlike Paris Hilton pretending to be a complete airhead carrying an ugly dog (to get her photo in the mags) whilst behind the scenes she is building a billion dollar empire in cosmetics etc.

Having said all of that, I hate what has happened to F1 over the years, but, nothing ever stays the same.

52

It is true that we maybe are not seeing a broader strategy of some kind being played out. Maybe I am just not tuned in enough to read between the lines. However, I still sit strongly at odds with the content of his statements. Regardless of him having some kind of unstated motivation.

*Double points? - Rediculous idea, widely disliked.

*Critisising the new engine sounds and talking down his own show? - The most significant technical advance in decades (which cannot easily be changed) and he doesn't like the noise. Maybe give the fans some time to adjust before telling them to hate it?

*Getting rid of the small teams in favour of three cars for the big names? - There will always be a back of the grid and they will always struggle with funding. Would the situation be vastly different if Williams were finishing consistently finishing last? Would McLaren be able to tempt Alonso if they were the back markers (which they almost certainly would be)?

*Who is the best world champion for the sport? - What place does he have telling the press Rosberg is best or Hamilton is best 'for the sport'? Should the headline read "F1 fans dissapointed as Rosberg takes title from unlucky Hamilton"?

*Young F1 fans don't have any money and aren't important? - Well gosh. I didn't realise I wasn't welcome. Sitting in the grandstand with all these other confused chumps who went and bought tickets...

53

You are right James and I really must apologise for the harshness of the previous comment. The article really got me angry and I shot my mouth off. I feel quite awful now - particularly since your writing and blog is so central to my own engagement with F1.

But I hope you may understand why I find this article to be so frustrating. There are so many brilliant people involved with F1 coverage, and its no accident that amongst this group, F1 fans count you as one of the best points of contact when any story breaks. It is in contrast to this brilliance that Mr. Ecclestone appears so starkly out of touch. Surely its not just perceived this way by your average Rolex-free fan? Surely he deserves to be called out and critisised by respected people involved in the sport?

Many feel there is a desperate need for new, strong leadership in F1. The truth is we wish that that role could be filled by someone who could be as trusted and level minded as yourself.

This is why I hope (maybe even expect) you to have a more critical approach to some of Bernie's statements. And further this is why we wish to see some progressive ideas put forward by people like yourself. I'm sure you must have ideas and I am sure they would be exciting and much more informed than the ideas people like me find (and sometimes put) on the internet.

54

There is criticism on one level, eg the dismay that CVC and teams will have and other points

But you also have to grasp what BE is doing at the moment, not just here but with all the pronouncements over the recent weeks, Brazil weekend. It's to simplistic to merely say 'he's lost it', it's a more sophisticated game than that. Why so much chaff being fired up into the air as the bombers circulate, to use a WWII metaphor?

55

James I really think you have missed the point.

You are hugely respected and your commentary is usually of a genuinely high standard. So much so that you play a very significant part of the overall F1 experience to much of the viewership. Personally, I would feel a level of responsibility to the sport if I were in the same position - and this article makes me think you might not take that position seriously.

This year has seen some dramatic events which have rocked F1 to the core and I don't feel like I have heard honest assessment of these events, and most importantly: your vision and ideas for where the sport should be going. I think you should reflect on that and try to offer some proper constructive criticism of much of the events of 2014.

56

I understand what you are saying but I think that's harsh - look in the archives here and you will find acres of commentary on the various "situations" in F1, spanning five years. This year is no different, there is a huge amount of 'constructive criticism" here and in other articles.

This has never been a site where I had down my opinion to readers on hallowed tablets - it's about providing insight based on 25 years F1 experience and direct regular contact with the key players for fans to: 1. get closer to the sport and 2. make up their own minds.

Sorry if you expect me to perform like a Daily Mail columnist.

I'll keep doing it my way and if you want opinions, you know where you can find them on the web.

57

James

May I firstly say I wasn't taking an insidious or sarcastic swipe at your commentary. A tongue in cheek quip was my intention.

I know you have been an advocate of fan engagement and the use of the internet to facilitate this for longer than most in Formula One, and the quality of the articles here are second to none.

I used the term, 'Apologetics' in its broadest manner to imply the discipline of defending a position - rather than one with any religious connotations or even to suggest this defence was made with particular fervour.

The title of your article does indeed imply an attempt to mitigate the headline comments made within the Ecclestone interview – and therefore I humbly restate is an apologetic for Mr. E.

You suggest that Ecclestone is somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place, realising social media is a potential threat to his long standing business model for F1, but that even if Bernie wanted to, there’s little he can do at present due to the broadcasting rights already contractually in place.

I recognise you also state, as did Adam Parr in 2011, that the Ecclestone business model for F1 is outdated and questions are being levied as to whether it maximises the financial leverage Formula One has.

Further, you explain well they key indicator of falling viewing audiences may not be the disaster many believe it to be.

However, my main point of contention, is that you along with many other long term F1 senior figures, continually excuse what the outside world see as continual banal and inane remarks from the CEO of the sport as “Bernie’s humour”.

Martin Brundle also propagates this idea, and I’m sure the many years you both have worked with Ecclestone lead you to believe we should be able to understand this foible and accept it for what it is.

Yet since you joined F1 and worked as Bernie’s press officer at Brabham, the F1 world has turned many times. Yes the paddock is still a cosy place where a couple of thousand people travel the world together – pretty much know each other intimately – and the business of F1 is still run on a ‘family’ and informal basis over the race weekends.

Yet. The reality of the matter is; no other CEO of a global business could possibly make the continued public derogatory and divisive comments that Ecclestone makes – and retain his position for longer than a few weeks or months.

Further, my observation that you must be a master of literary criticism is based upon the stream of one line mantra’s Ecclestone continues to divulge, which appear disconnected and have little relevance from one sentence to the next.

It would surely require tomes of analysis and an enormous divergence of opinion, to write what could be interpreted by these incoherent meanderings.

Yet this is never the subject of comment. Merely we receive some level of justification that its 'just Ecclestone’s way'.

It is not acceptable that the most public and senior figure of such an enterprise behaves in this way, and it would be better for all if some ‘brave soul’ with stature within the sport called Ecclestone to account, rather than attempted to portray his behaviour as a loveable trait.

Further, whilst F1 has lurched from crisis to crisis with periods of relative stability in between over the years, I’m sure James that you know - that the here and now is something quite different than we’ve seen before.

All the talk that nobody can run Formula One like Bernie is nonsense from the perspective of the logistics of – negotiating and signing race promoter deals, TV deals and sponsorship arrangements. Where Ecclestone has shone is by ‘firefighting’ and resolving issues by means of leverage and manipulation over the years – and it should be said – on the whole successfully.

However, the advent of the F1 Strategy Group appears to have mitigated against this power of Bernie’s in a strange way, and at present he is completely unable to put out any of the fires presently raging – in fact every week more appear to spring up.

Further, there is clearly a rift between Bernie and CVC as he commented in Austin "If the company [FOM] belonged to me I would have done things in a different way because it would have been my money I was dealing with."

Ecclestone then pointedly commented. "I work for people who are in the business to make money."

Donald McKenzie distanced himself from Ecclestone during the Constantin v Ecclestone civil case before Judge Newey nearly twelve months ago – stating he would dismiss Ecclestone if certain circumstances were to come to pass.

At that time, Bernie was forced to resign his directorships of all the Delta Topco associated companies (and FOM) with whom he was associated – and to this day, it appears even following his “acquittal” in Munich, his directorships have not been restored.

What does this say?

The latest comment from Ecclestone is following his failure to persuade the teams to agree to double points for the last three races in 2015. He tonight is reported as describing them as “bloody idiots. They are all mechanics. They think of their team in the short term.”

Isn’t it time to recognise Bernie’s time is up. It is not humour he is spouting, but a desperate bid to hold onto power he feels is slipping from his grasp.

58

1. "the title of your article does indeed imply an attempt to mitigate the headline comments" - the title of my article is a question. That does not mitigate anything, it raises a question

2. "since you joined F1 and worked as Bernie’s press officer at Brabham, the F1 world has turned many times" - Ecclestone sold Brabham in 1988. I worked for the team as a press officer in 1990 and 91, when it was owned by Middlebridge and Ecclestone had nothing to do with it.

You are taking all this stuff from Bernie far too litterally. If you can't see what he's doing and why, I'm not going to spell it out for you.



59

This is a classic example of Ecclestone’s humour...

Indeed.

Genuinely un-hilarious.

60

Not sure what point is being missed. It is quite a mellow article about something I think requires much stronger criticism.

The comments below illustrate well that most of the people think that Mr. Ecclestone cares little about the future of the sport comparing to the present of the business. One would think that at an old age and secured personal wealth the time has come to give something back, to leave some legacy people would remember with fondness. I don't see anything of that here.

After reading both the interview and this article the strongest feeling left behind is not disappointment or anger, it is sadness.

61

@jodum5

"Why on earth would a leader of any organization publicly put down the next generation of fans/users?"

Why is the question? Whatever people think, Bernie is a man who knows exactly what he is doing and is very smart in doing it. This guy is a a pure magician.

So to answer your questions.

Cvc and others won't do anything to Bernie as he holds all the cards and brings them eye watering amounts of money.

He would say things like this to set in motion plans for his own gains. Your trying to connect A to B and Bernie is at point X already. ... move moves ahead than most can contemplate. The questions you need to

ask are, who losses and who benefits from such statements both now and in the long term?

Before he pops his gloggs I hope bernie writes "The art of war -20th century edition"

62

think you’ve missed the point

Not entirely - though 'apologetics' is a bit harsh.

At this point, though, lending any credence at all to Ecclestone's pronouncements is unwarranted.

Not so much the emperor's new clothes, as the dictator's old brain....

63

English and Modern Languages at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford wasn't it James?

Did that three/four odd years include trying to learn and ultimately decipher "Ronspeak" and "Mr E speak"?

PS James went to the same university (albeit not at the same time!) as Tony Blair's son Nicky Blair and former MP Ann Widdecombe!

64

James, I agree with the poster. It's great you've given some encouraging insight into what FOM is doing behind the scenes to address the social media/web 2.0 deficit of the sport. However, you do a very good job downplaying what is a pretty disastrous interview by Ecclestone. Why on earth would a leader of any organization publicly put down the next generation of fans/users? He also effectively told potential new sponsors that are pursuing younger customers (I would imagine not one company even Rolex is turning away younger buyers) not to look at F1 as it's not interested in that demographic. Finally, he comes off like he's out of touch with reality in that interview.

65

looks like a very short term view, pandering to the current F1 sponsors and not looking to expand the sponsor (Disney? Gaming? Youth Fashion?) base for the future.

Or is going to leave that to his replacement, so why bother...

66

I think Bernie's advanced age may finally be catching up with him.

67

he is mentally more able than you. which type of games are more successful than racing games? this tells me that f1 will always be popular.

68

@simple.......no need to be rude. what research is there to be done?

there is more than enough evidence to prove that f1 has attracted fans without appealing to the younger generation. is there evidence to the contrary?

69

Ever heard of call of duty? Halo? Battlefield? Destiny? ... Maybe do some research before shooting your mouth off.

70

“I’m not interested in tweeting, Facebook or whatever this nonsense is. I tried to find out but in any case I’m too old fashioned. I couldn’t see any value in it..."

The only reason Bernie isn't interested in social media is, he doesn't see or know how to monetize it.

71

The only reason Bernie isn’t interested in social media is, he doesn’t see or know how to monetize it.

And neither does anybody else !

if the mega media giants are having trouble then Bernie has a slim chance .

72

He isn't the only one mate. Who has monetized it?

73

Already has. "I just can’t understand why they have these girls dancing on their toes. Why don’t they get taller girls?"

Very "funny" no doubt. But if someone asks "why spend so much money trying to go more than 250mph ? Just get jet engines in the back of the cars - they'll do 500."

Question is : is he as brain-dead as he sounds, or it there a new Plan ?

74

Two quotes:-

. . . I’m not interested in tweeting, Facebook or whatever this nonsense is . . .

. . . F1 has now got a social media department at Ecclestone’s base in Princes Gate . . .

One opinion:-

BE is doing the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ routine to wind the blogosphere up and regardless of what he says he will certainly have a number of media-savvy specialists on the case.

Only problem is when a certain point is reached the fine line between joking and dementia will be a tad blurred.

75

Bernie has always blurred and confused things to help gain him room to maneuver and retain control, all this is nothing new from him

.@ Joshua- slightly off the mark with what Bernie's book should be, its not updated "Art of War".... It's the new version of Machiavelli's "The Prince"

76

P.S. wonder if a class-action suit is now in the works for 70 year-olds hospitalized due to drinking Red Bull ( now THAT is tongue in cheek, teehee )

77

Here, fixed it for you:

"Only problem is that a certain point has been reach and the fine line between joking and dementia is a tad blurred."

78

God will people calm down, most of this was tounge firmly in cheek

79

Here, yet another fix.

"God will calm people down when he tells them that his tongue was firmly in cheek."

80

Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can’t afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS — these kids don’t care about banking. They haven’t got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway

Nice one Bernie. I am 40, and can't afford a Rolex or to bank with UBS. Chances are when I am still working at 70 I wont be able to afford both of them either.

81
Darrin from Canada

I don't know what kind of watch you got for Uni graduation , but I got a Rolex Oyster... I wasn't 70

Today I would've asked my Parents for a Tag, whether BE was kidding or not.

82

Yeah plenty of 70 year olds are swigging away on Red Bull.

83

Funnily enough, the mobile phone I carry discreetly in my pocket keeps time as accurately as a Rolex –

I couldn’t give a rat’s a*se about aspiring to wear bling.

And the 'phone' has a far greater range of useful functions built-in.

84

This really is more evidence that the old man is past it and out of touch with the modern world we live in. His comments on it not being worth it to get younger audiences in to the sport are really short sighted. First off young people grow up and will earn money in the future, I know that because it wasn't that long ago I was a teenager and know earn a half decent wage. Advertising isn't just about trying to sell something tomorrow it is about raising brand awareness and for the example he used - rollex - a desire to attain a status to be able to buy the product. Advertising rollex to a 16 year old means they probably won't go out and buy one straight away but they could start saving right now for one! He is also missing the point that if you have a younger age demograph it will bring other brands in to the sport. Brands know that youngsters don't have the most money but they are trend setters, if you make something popular among young people it then becomes cool and everyone buys it. Apple understand this well and so has red bull!

85

ecclestone lives very well in the modern world and understands a lot more about what is good for f1 than any of you opposing his views. everything he has said is true. Rolex do not advertise to those who cannot afford it, nor does vodafone. too much unnecessary emphasis have been placed on attracting the younger generation and ecclestone simply pointed it out in the most honest way.

86

@man on wheels....looks like you are one of the very view who read to understand unlike the majority who read to respond.

87

Thinking of social media as "only attracting the younger generation" is probably the greatest misconception of them all.

88

If Bernie is serious about not caring about the younger audience he is foolish. I became a fan of F-1 watching Moss, Brabham, Clark, Gurney and others at Watkins Glen in 1961 and I became hooked for life. No, I don't own a Rolex but I have followed F-1 all my life and attended races in the U.S., Canada, England, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Australia, spending an amount of money I don't care to think about.

Not developing your future audience is very short-sighted.

89

Fantastic stuff.

Stick to your guns, Bernie!!

Hopefully, he is still calling the shots and making pronouncements at age 101.

Then we'll have even more classic examples of his excellent humour.

90

100 % agree,simply put he's spot on, for the life of me I can't understand what is so special about short a+se guys is all about it. Micky Rooney a 5 ft and a bit dated best looking woman in holywood.Take a look at our hero of F1 Bernie an other shortie a good thoroughbred around him to.

Give me a recepis please it will be used to a good stead.

91
The Truth, Aussie style

Good joke.

92

His comments about the "young" audience annoy me but if you look at not really surprising.

If you look at the way FOM TV coverage has been in the last few years (which has taken a giant step backwards) it's like an adverting campaign rather than emphasising how truly exciting F1 is for the viewer. The cars don't look as exciting or fast as they did before as they constantly pan out to the sponsors on the bridges, run-offs, starting lights and the worst of all the virtual adverting logos which is right in your face and more distracting than the cars going past it.

He's right that most young people like myself (i'm 24) can't afford a Rolex watch and don't have an interest in banking with UBS or flying with Fly Emirates but its sad that Bernie main priority is to get these "brands" on screen rather than marketing the actual product which people tune into which is the actual racing!

93

+1 @ 2nd paragraph

IMO, one of the best shots in racing is a camera placed about 5 to 10 feet high, pointing down the straight from behind the cars coming off a corner. Off of slow corners it gives a great sense of just how hard these cars accelerate. Off of medium speed corners, no other camera angle is better for showing the cars drifting/power sliding onto straights.

Why do we rarely see those shots? Cuzz you can't see any advertising on the cars, of course. Same thing with driver cams. I understand the need to pay the bills, but from what I (don't) see, it seems like the directors are not even trying - maybe on direct orders from Bernie – nothing matters except money – Ecclestone.

The level of greed at the top of F1 is pathological, IMO.

94

Ummmm, is a nce shot, but IMO, can't beat the other angle, the head-on at the Wall of Champions in Montreal shows F1 cars at their ferocious and razor-edged best. Is iconic shot, year after year..... but shows sponsor's logo's a tiny bit better :).

95

Maybe he is talking about his very rich grand children living in America. They are on tv & magazines a lot, not once anything to do with F1.

96

For all his comedy act sometimes, you can tell that Bernie is a person who really, deeply understands his business and the business aims. Everything he says about appealing to older people with money to spend is absolutely correct. He understands his business and the aims and business objectives of the sponsors. It's why you don't see Disney or Coca-Cola sponsoring F1 - completely the wrong profile.

However, there is one big failing and that is looking to the future. All brands need to serve existing customers well but also recruit new customers for the future - if they want a brand to continue to grow over the longer term. I can't help thinking that at 84 Bernie probably doesn't really care about the F1 brand in 20 or 30 years time. But CVC should.....

97

" It’s why you don’t see Disney or Coca-Cola sponsoring F1 – completely the wrong profile."

What?!? I hope that's sarcastic. The "wrong profile". What business that depends on sponsorship revenue would possibly turn away sponsors like Disney or Coca-Cola? That's insane. The potential to expand your market with huge global brands like that is huge. Tap into a vast demographic for potential fans.

Bernie, if he's saying what he really thinks, is incredibly short-sighted. 15-year olds may not be able to buy a Rolex, but if you hook them young, they'll follow the sport for life. They'll become the consumers that all the sponsors want to reach. Besides, it'd be interesting to do a poll of readers of this site and see how their age and how many can afford a Rolex. I'm 45, I am reasonably middle class. I can't (or won't) afford a Rolex. Does that mean I'm not a desirable F1 viewer?

98

Nope, "Burn" is owned by Coca Cola.

But I can't see why there shouldn't be "Dr. Pepper" or "7up" branded car in the paddock or why brands like Cannondale shouldn't be advertising in Formula 1, for they build Carbon bikes, use wind tunnels and Formula-1 drivers want the best equipment for their training, you can imagine sports nutrition (that even 16 year old can afford, think whey shakes, think: win a triathlon training with Jenson Button and Weider sports nutrition), there are so many possibilities. Seriously, Rolex and Emirates aren't the only possible sponsors out there, why did Mr E. focus on brands for the rich and famous? Maybe because he is?

99

It's the other way around Coke and Pepsi aren't calling F1. Surely u understood that right.

100

Monster drink is owned by Coca Cola, isn't it? I see their brand right under Lewis' and Nico's chins. I hope for the sake of F1 that Bernie is in full grip of his faculties. Much worse, that he only thinks he's still in charge.

101

Red bull?

Pretty sure kids can afford that...

Rexona, vodaphone, lucozade, gillette, monster...

102

Bernie's suggesting, "the way the economy is going, kids won't be able to afford Red Bull or Rexona in near future". LOL

103

I never, ever read anything BE says and accept it as anything close to resembling the truth of what he actually thinks; he's an old car dealer and to be honest, he's still wheeling and dealing; this would not surprise me in the slightest as another way of devaluing the sport.

If you look at Amg Merc, they're really promoting their F1 presence via social media, more so than most.

104

Makes sense.

If you actually look at it closely, perhaps Mr E knows exactly how much value social media and younger future generation is worth. He knows this will bring large revenues to the sport once its fully embraced.

It seems he knows his time is almost up and he is trying to devalue to sport so he can go out and buy F1 shares in larger quantities.

Once he steps down and someone else takeover and do what's necessary as above. Suddenly he is seen as a ridicolously rich and clever man who ensured his family's wealth for many many generations.

105

Having worked in the digital industry for a few years, I completely agree with your analysis James. What good old Bernie has failed to realise is that digital (all channels) is no longer confined to marketing/pr but is in fact disrupting and reshaping organisations globally. The need for whole companies to be digitally savvy is critical, not just in tech but in strategy pprocess and culture(Look at the digital prowess of premiership football teams, UK govt and Obama's 08 campaign). Bernie talks about young people not being able to afford a rolex etc but if he attracts a younger audience through digital engagement and can accurately say X percentage of the audience is made up of young people then all that can surely do is attract new sponsors to the sport.

107

Exactly... the sport I love will be finished in my lifetime, I fear.

108

The sense I get is a disconnect between the product its self and the consumer. It seems to me that he thinks F1 is fine, and its the media part which should be worrying about consumers. But the media can only use the product Bernie delivers.

As for the oh so hilarious "joke", tragically that could be rewritten in many ways about F1, its not funny.

109

I thought it was a little humorous.

110

As with all things bernie says you cannot afford to take it at face value.

It does look like he is dismissing the younger audience - but I doubt he is stupid enough to ignore the fact oak trees grow from acorns. I assume this is him throwing down a gauntlet and asking others to prove how the shareholders can leverage value. Most people are fully aware that the big brands that survive are the ones the young aspire to - they might be able to persaude their parents tp buy something now but they can be persauded they haven't succeeded until they can buy their own.

Sadly for the technically minded far too much about F1 is directed at the corporate muppets spending their undeserved bonuses!

111

If you never get the Rolex brand before a young person before they can afford it, they will never buy that brand when they turn 40. I am hoping that Rolex realize that when it sponsors a sport like F1 and Golf which it has done for decades, it is not just trying to sell watches in the short term, but building a brand aspiration for the younger generation that cannot currently afford it.

Regarding social media, I think that using tobacco as a comparison is very funny. The bottom line is if F1 does not use its social media assets to bring the sports to young people, some other sport will, and as the older generation begin to pass, F1 will become less and less attractive as a sport, and sponsors will begin to channel their advertising cash into more popular sporting events. Okay Bernie may not be around to witness that demise, but I am sure we can lay that legacy firmly at his door or grave.

112

I have been watching F1 since I was around 14. ( now 44) Back then there was no social media.

I do not believe for a minute ( so I agree with BE) that social media brings anything to F1. What he needs to realize though is how angry I am that I can not consume F1 the way I want to.

In this day and age, I demand high definition total coverage on a platform of my choice with MINIMUM advertising and I am totally prepared to PAY FOR IT. However, I am stuck in middle earth with 1980's type broadcasting philosophies, with standard definition, limited analysis, pre and post grand prix thrown in 20% ratio of advertising during races. I can not feel happy about this, channel 10 in Australia is a disgrace and I have no alternative.

113

Horses for courses i suppose. I first started watching in '97. I was fascinated by the live timing provided on the F1 website in the early '00s. I've bought the F1 app for iPhone every year since its release. I have a twitter account solely for the the purpose of following F1 news. I'm 33, I can't afford a real Rolex, but i attend races every year and i lap up the social media aspect of the sport.

The real beauty of social media is that the fans have a direct avenue of approach to the stars. You see people like Jenson, Webber, Alonso etc engaging directly with their fans. That is simply awesome.

114

The problem is Rolex itself looks at those under 3O demographics and says That's great we arn't paying for that.

115

Ding!!! 70 year olds are not the target demographic for just about any form of advertising, except 60 Minutes on CBS. 😉

116

I don't think Channel 10 is a disgrace. I am glad to have f1 on free to air TV. You might be prepared to pay for it but not everybody else is.

117

Try watching F1 here in America; you have it good but just don't realize it. Coverage here totally sucks and watching races at 5:00 AM is getting really old ( I know races are on at bad times for you also). Bernie keeps saying he wants to grow the American market but he sure doesn't do anything positive about it. I suspect only 1% or 2% of Yanks even know the 'sport' exists, and that's being generous.

118

F1 is justification for a DVR. NBC has pretty decent coverage in my opinion, and their numbers are steadily climbing:

http://www.racer.com/f1/item/109906-nbc-reports-russian-gp-coverage-continues-positive-ratings-trend.

Most race weekends, we get FP2, Qualifying and the race, in full-- that's about 6 hours of coverage, and while Leigh Diffey is not my favorite commentator, Hobbes and Matchett usually compensate.

Granted, it's a bit annoying having to chase it around the schedule and across NBC, NBCSN, and CNBC, but that's where the DVR comes in.

Also note that NBC does pretty well at making their events available via streaming on their websites for cable customers.

119

Hey!

+1

Similar age, but a bit younger.

Advertising in F1 has had profound effect on me as a youngster when I starred to follow the sport in mid 80's.

Started smoking at around the same time, first with Camel and a few years later Marlboro.

Total McLaren and Honda fan from 88, and I remember having a huge Marlboro flag on my wall of the bedroom. Still a smoker, regrettably, to this day.

On a less negative note, I am still loyal to Tag Heuer.

I guess I can afford a Rolex, but have stuck with Tag...

My guess is, I was very susceptible to brainwashing in my early teens, so all I can say is that from now on, I hope F1 has only positive effect on young people!

120

+1

First pack of cigarettes I ever bought as a teenager was JPS in the early 80s, simply because the Lotus looked so cool in their livery.

121

"I have been watching F1 since I was around 14. ( now 44) Back then there was no social media.

I do not believe for a minute ( so I agree with BE) that social media brings anything to F1."

Yes, but there were fewer screens in front of us, and fewer choices on those screens, when we were 14. They got us interested when there weren't as many things to be interested in. It's utterly foolish now to think that what worked then will still work now. As detestable as NASCAR is, they have all kinds of people, from ages 10-100, spending money on it, enabled by the kind of engagement Bernie doesn't understand.

122

Don't put those screen in front of you. They're unhealthy.

123

I imagine that when it comes to F1, there is, in Bernie's head, a little ticker next to everything with a value added figure letting him know what it's worth to him. (Exert of commentary from BE's internal monologue (figures made up), 'and HAM $10m is fighting to overtake ROS $4m, both driving Mercs $40m, and it's been a two lap fight, so that's 3 minutes of TV time $500,000, plus the pictures $100,000'.)

Obviously there is a commercial side to F1, but when the boss seems to think there's ONLY a commercial side, it's not hard to see who's being short-changed.

124

Formula 1 has become a sport which fosters elitism, but it hasn't always been this way. In the 70s, 80s and 90s the world's premier motorsport series had a debonair, risqué and at times almost cheeky atmosphere to it, but now money rules the sport more than ever. On the path of F1 becoming ultra-professional it has inevitably lost some, but not all, of its soul.

Is Bernie to blame for this ultra-professionalism which is zapping F1 of some much-needed personality? Partly yes, and these recent comments from the Campaign Asia interview show just how out of touch he really is.

Many of the F1 fans that I know became fascinated with the sport during their childhood and by Bernie saying outright that he cares little for the interest of youngsters when it comes to his sport sends a terrible message to everyone; sponsors, parents, broadcasters etc. Kids are very literally the future of the sport in terms of both revenue and interest levels, and by not taking into account the younger demographic F1 is allowing more forward thinking series like Formula E, NASCAR, Indycar, British Touring Cars and the World Endurance Championship to steal their audience by embracing new techniques to capture interest from fans by allowing them access to drivers, cars and teams in a manner which F1 simply doesn't accommodate.

And on the executive brand sponsorship comments, the title sponsor of F1's most successful team of recent years Red Bull Racing have a product which is as universal as it gets and I'm sure these kinds of comments regarding social media being redundant and the younger demographic not mattering to the future of F1 will give the higher-ups at Red Bull HQ food for thought on whether they should commit to future funding agreements for both Red Bull Racing and their sister team Torro Rosso.

It sounds ruthless to say it, but the sooner F1 is free of Bernie's grasp the better and more inclusive the series will become.

125

Couldn't agree more. Mr. Ecclestone's strategy appears to be recreating Motorsport's premier formula into a narrow, elitist sport for monarchs, oligarchs, dictators, oil barons and those who support their view of the world. But there's already a sport that's nailed that audience; polo. But polo understands that, by definition, elitism is exclusive, expensive and small. If you want to fill these massive autodromes around the world, you need to be the opposite; inclusive, cost effective and possessing mass appeal. And in places like India, China and Brasil, where infrastructure is shaky, networked technology, including social media, is playing an ever bigger role in society. In India, you now have money, healthcare provision and education, all delivered via mobile. This kind of increasing influence will increase exponentially. It's not a fad, a flash in the pan, it's increasingly the way of the world.

So engagement of these audiences, potential punters at the racetrack, requires engagement via social media.

But, Bernie Ecclestone doesn't care whether race weekends are well populated, only that the promoters pay their money and races are attended by a super wealthy elite.

It maybe the case that - for me - once the technology matures and 2 or 3 world class drivers - the calibre of Alonso, Hamilton and Rosberg - join its ranks, Formula E will begin to look a far more streamlined, relevant Motorsport than sorry, stale, old fart F1.

I don't know whether I can continue to follow a sport where wealthy teams turn their backs on minnows, where weekends are run against a backdrop of violent crackdowns on pro-democracy demonstrations, where races play second fiddle to the arrival of Vladimir Putin in the VIP box and where the kid I was, watching James Hunt, Nikki Lauda and Gilles Villeneuve, is not important to the people who run F1.

126

Just to add a little perspective to all the Rolex comments I've seen in this thread, make no mistake, it is all about the money, but Rolex pays an amount on par with the various promoters of each race (other than Monza and Monaco which get Ferrari-style breaks). So one new race makes CVC the same amount as that sponsorship (Azerbaijan?? really a hotbed for motorsport and marketing?) I became hooked on F1 back at 9 years old, watching James Hunt and Nikki Lauda in that immortal '76 season. Race car driver looked to be a good option as career choice at that age, maybe astronaut as a fall-back

.F1 was the same then as now, just swap apartheid-era South Africa with Mr. Putin's Russia , whats different between those? FOTA had its brief moment to try to change the sport and wrest control back, but perhaps what is needed to shake things loose is action from the other side, where the money does indeed speak? If the promoters banded together in a FOTA-style bargaining unit, me thinks that CVC would come to heel much easier and quicker than any action the teams themselves could. All it takes if for them to see value and profit in doing so (and they aren't running the races out of the goodness of their hearts) . The viewership numbers, etc are important and the trends aren't looking that rosy.... but if the race promoter's demanded change en masse (and thier numbers aren't on great trend-lines either), perhaps then the pendulum can finally swing back to those glory days.

127

Exactly! You saved me typing pretty much the same thing!

128

I'm not sure about funding agreements with themselves (Torro Rosso excluded). Redbull don't sponsor...they own the F1 team. The title sponsor would probably be Infinity.

Mr Mateschitz is probably someone that Mr Ecclestone could take heed of, regarding successful business development.

129

Infiniti....get it right!

130

Being clever as he is, he knows that sponsors and even manufacturers need young audience to justify investments (maybe teenagers don't buy Rolex or USB services but they certainly drink Red Bull). He also knows that social media are not only used by teenagers. So he's probably making a shocking statement on purpose. The question is what is it?

131

What? He's a social media genius. Look at this thread. He has a bunch of passionate aficionados lighting up blogs like this, right at the trough in coverage, the off week. And, we're not even debating Double - Dhabi...

Truthfully, though, I am ready to think that where he and CVC are right now, they have to be 95% focused on 'prolonging the magic' in order to package this up and sell out within a couple of years.

And as far as Rolexes go, most of the conspicuous consumption crap they are hocking in this series is geared towards amplifying feelings of inadequacy when faced with unobtainable wealth. Frankly I'd be happier with the pre-1968 liveries. So I don't own a Rolex, don't drink Red Bull, prefer hairier scotches than JW, but hey, nobody is forcing me to buy them. I watch for the racing, the personalities and the intrigue. I long for more Alonso - like characters that are brilliant yet flawed.

132

Yeah, we need a 'Bernie speak' translator for statements like these.

133

THIS is the most cogent response to this post. Car salesmen dupe for a living, and many here show signs that Bernie hasn't lost it.

134

I think Bernie's way off on this one.

This 70-year old he's trying to attract will be dead in 10 years. Then what...

Young adults in the 20-35 are the most important for lifestyle food and drinks companies so I'm sure Red Bull will be thrilled with this interview.

And the comment "look at what tobacco companies tried to do, get people smoking their brand early on because then people continue smoking their brand forever." if you engage with the younger generation now then you're more likely to get the benefit further down the line. It might just not be the instant gratification you're used to.

135

At 94 he will said even more weird things. F1 with transform into something else, after him for sure.

136

Why Bernie is stupid is that he is promoting HIMSELF as out of touch! As an old man with an employment contract with a company that wants every penny, even a 16 years olds, he might have thought more carefully, especially if he is really doing what he says he does not understand. That has to be the worst sales job ever! Equivilant to saying your jewelry is crap!

137

Isn't this Classic Bernie having his cake and eating it too? He knows he can make real money off traditional TV rights. This has always proven to be a cash generator. When he says something like this in an article, he is communicating to them directly they are his most valuable customer so keep paying me (crazy amounts) of money to get the rights. Knowing full well that kind of revenue will not be there in the years to come.

I guess that is the smoke screen with F1 now heavily investing into social media, which will prove to be the real cash generator in the future. With F1 being so slow on the take with this topic, I just can't help but wonder if the TV companies are not already planning ahead of what F1 and Bernie are doing and have seen the writing on the wall, and are already trying to drive down their prices for future rights..... They too know what lies ahead, and so does the viewer. I am one of them I stream all the races off RTL in Germany in lovely HD. Don't even need a TV these days....

138

"We should use social media to promote F1. I just don’t know how."

How about saying something deliberately provocative that would cause a story to spread over twitter and facebook, making sure to mention the still-very-large TV viewing figures and spending potential of the audience at the same time.

Oh wait...

139

The guy is totally deluded. People are turning away from the sport because of people like him. He needs to step down and let someone else take over. I was 12 when i started watching F1 i cant tell you how many thousands of pounds ive spent on this sport from my parents to now as a grown adult. Bernie you are a disgrace to F1.

140

Whilst I disagree with the short-termist strategy it's hardly a surprise.

Bernie has always been motivated by the bottom line and it's no different now. He isn't thinking long-term (he's 84!), and I kind of admire his honesty and openness.

Things will change (for better or worse) when he passes away.

These are the last days of Rome.

141

So long as F1 is not willed over to his daughter! 😉

142

"The Monaco Grand Prix this year is an example: it accounted for the biggest single decline in TV audience (8.3 million down on 2013 audience) However the market share remained largely unchanged (down just 4%), indicating that the broadcast presented a comparable draw for viewers; there were just fewer people watching TV at this time."

THIS IS THE KEY: Fewer people watch TV. People either stream or watch Youtube ore something else. Bernie is not just old-fashioned, he is risking his baby - F1. Many people don't want to wait for a certain time to watch a two hour TV-show. They want the gooddies.

I'm not a big twitter, but I think time is running away from the traditional way people watch TV. It's as simple as that.

143

If it's a live event, then it can only be watched at a certain time.

144

Really? I've been recording onto a TiVo (now a Humax) for more than 15 years. Even 'live' TV can be paused. 'Live' events can be cached and fast forwarded through the boring bits (or the ad's when F1 was on ITV). As long as you have managed to avoid knowing the result (granted that's hard when every damn media channel is vying to spew the latest information at you) 'live' is when you watch it.

145
Darrin from Canada

Because TIVO hasn't been invented yet... 🙂

146

Not true.

Living over here in Leftpondia, a lot of the races are early in the morning, so I record them on the DVR and watch them when I wake up. That also allows me to skip the adverts.

I'm in my late 40's, and have been watching the series since I was a kid. Perhaps I'd I didn't watch it from the time of my youth, I wouldn't be watching it now. It would be very difficult to get interested in the over politicized, dysfunctional, self destructive world that F1 has turned into these days.

Looking at the USA shows what happens if you don't get young people interested in the sport. The are probably half a dozen people that have any interest in F1 in the company I work in, and it's a large campus. Most of them are middle aged. No new fans = a dying sport.

I used to design parts for F1. I watched the Donington Park European GP from the pits, but even I'm starting to get tired of all the Anti competitive, unfair crap which accompanies modern F1.

Where are the next generation of Garagistas going to come from to upset the established teams? The big teams like Ferrari and Red Bull, with Bernie's assistance, have very effectively blocked any new teams from coming in and being successful.

Perhaps this is the real reason why Bernie doesn't see any point in pursuing a young audience. Young people want to see young upstarts successfully challenge the established leaders. What chance of that happening in modern F1? Even if they do start watching it, they'll quickly realise that new teams have no chance, and go off and watch something a bit more equitable.

147

Thanks James for highlighting this article.

I am sure he is right on saying about 16 year olds and Rolex’s but does that justify ignoring social media, when I find it strange, in my opinion, that the juxtaposition is that drivers seem to be getting younger and younger entering F1 even down to a 16 year old being signed up by RB for Toro Rosso.

148

From a 30 year olds perspective I loved F1 as a kid and that drew me to continue to love it. Bernie doesn't care as he will be dead anyway by the time the youth get to 70 but he's writing off the future of F1. How many 70 year olds just decide to start watching motor racing having never seen it before? I would have a guess most of them fans started from young. So yes not many youths can afford Rolex and Moët but when they get to age they damn well know what the top paid chaps buy and aspire to obtain those goods

149

Cheaper race tickets and more events/F1 shows à la Red Bull road show for the masses in big cities around the would also help. If kids don't see racing cars in real life they won't be excited about the sport; although with politically correct gently whispering hybrids and their so-called "quality" vs. older "quantity" sound invented by the eager press I don't know how anyone (apart from American anti-Nascar fans @ Austin) can feel excited about the whole thing. I noticed more enthusiasm for AutoGP than F1 in teenagers/kids.

It's a sucky engine formula they got themselves, ridiculously expensive as well. Reminds me of the Dumb and Dumber scene where they swap a van for a moped and feel proud of themselves in the cold. Maybe tweeting cars would help solve the problem of converting 15 year olds into hard core F1 fans: "#LOL tweeps, #OMG Deez eez Meercedes hybrid, just pranked #totonator XOXO. Now charging. ICE is 2 loud. #teamLH #blessed #yo".

Formula.Com's level of suckage are incredible I gotta say. It's so outdated and lousy, video highlights are terrible, no audio content, no nothing - forget about it. Images are displayed in low quality, the website is slow. For live timing you need to sign in, it's extremely annoying. It's just the opposite of how it should be.

As for kids' relationship with Rolex, it's generally their parents who take the aforementioned kids to races and Rolex has got nothing to do with it. Meaning kids spend money on F1 indirectly and will be spending their hard earned cash on the sport in the future if they get hooked at 15 or whatever; it's called building your fan base. People who are in the early stages of dementia should follow Malcolm Young into retirement, after all BE is definitely on the highway to hell.

150

I appreciate that James encouraged us to look at what Bernie-E says and understand the background ....but having done all that I arrive at the same conclusion. Bernie-E has to go. F1 needs a competent and relevant CEO. Bernie-E is neither of those things.

Competence: Bernie-E recently acknowledged negotiating the contracts that have led to the problems with inequitable revenue sharing and then said he doesn't know what to do to fix it. This is F1's CEO saying he created the mess AND can't fix it. CVC (and F1) cannot afford to have a CEO who creates problems for the business of F1, and CVC/F1 must have a CEO who can fix major problems.

Relevance: Bernie-E's comments on social media are appalling and the fact that there is behind the scenes work on social media/technology doesn't excuse him. Bernie-E's rationalization for not pursuing a younger audience is ludicrous. When has any 15-16 year old ever known what they really wanted? Why doesn't Bernie-E understand that it is his marketing challenge to find a way to engage the 15-16 year olds so that he has more 70 year olds in F1s future audience? That was a rhetorical question ...the reason Bernie doesn't understand this marketing challenge because he is the wrong guy for the F1 CEO role.

Another one of Bernie-E's HUGE failures is the USA. I relocated here 14 years ago and have experienced first hand the complete lack of F1 marketing effectiveness in this country. As best I can tell, through most of the 14 years (until Austin), F1s main achievement has been generating TV revenues via Speed Channel and more recently NBC. The Austin race is a great addition for the USA market ....but in 14 years ...that's it ...one race?! There must be other things could have been done to build awareness of the F1 brand over here. Maybe F1 could have sponsored a USA driver-development program through karting. Fly the 10 best karter's over for the Monaco GP ...give the local media some reasons to get excited about F1 ....while we waited all those years Austin. Good people figure this kind of stuff out and make it happen. It is appalling that the USA market has been so neglected for so long, and I am sure Ferrari, Mercedes, et al would agree.

So if not Bernie-E as F1 CEO, then who? I think a smart move would be to recruit a CEO from one of the American professional sports businesses. This would give F1 a CEO who fully understands the long-neglected USA market and most importantly would bring in a professional C-level business executive. An interesting candidate could be the current NFL Commissioner - Roger Goodell. He is currently embroiled in a controversy concerning his potential mis-handling of an awful player domestic violence incident, and may be out of a job soon. The controversy that may push him out of the NFL is a sad negative against him but he will no doubt not repeat the mistake. The NFL is an amazingly successful sports business and to have a CEO from that type of organization taking up the leadership reigns at F1 would be a great development!

151

Greetings from Brooklyn, NY. It's been a long time since I posted here. I see the money and politics haven't changed where Bernie is concerned. And why would he change when, by his lights, he's getting exactly what he wants? F1 sells itself on snob appeal and Bernie's been able to sell that very well.

I heard an interesting take on F1 and the USA last night from a pair of young Englishmen I met at a sports bar. One gentleman said that he believes the U.S. is "maturing" and that in a few years, F1 would be huge here. I had to explain to him that once upon a time, F1 WAS huge here. And then Bernie left Watkins Glen. That was like taking the FA Cup Final out of Wembley.

The Glen was the home of the USGP, much as most in the UK feel about Silverstone (Brands Hatch notwithstanding). Since Bernie pulled the race from Watkins Glen, F1, as a brand, has had an uphill fight. What Bernie has done by moving the race hither and yon in the decades since is akin to a football team (take your pick, gridiron or soccer) changing managers or head coaches every other year. You're essentially starting over every time you make that change, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and achieve success. If that lightning doesn't strike, you make another change. You're running to stand still. You alienate existing fans that way, and, since you keep losing, certainly don't gain new ones.

It's not that Americans don't understand F1, much as some believe that to be the case. Americans like all kinds of motor racing, period. In fact, I think that we have the most diverse motorsports culture in the world. It's eclectic. Put it this way: I'm certain that average NASCAR, USAC, Indycar, NHRA, SCORE, AMA, SCCA, GrandAm and ALMS fans ALL know more about F1 than most F1 fans know about these other series. My impression, based on my interaction with the two gentlemen I met last night (and these guys were twenty-somethings, so there's your evidence for the points Bernie and other commentators here have made about the sport finding its own audience, young or old), at least where the younger generation of UK fan is concerned, knowledge of, curiosity about, and respect for series other than F1 is less than I'd hoped. Saying that, these guys were clearly gear heads, and I must give them credit for saying they wanted to see a NASCAR race. When I pointed out that F1 cars weren't the fastest race cars, they acknowledged that handling a Top Fuel dragster is an impressive feat, albeit a different technique than in F1.

When F1 was big here, during the '60s and '70s, curiosity ran both ways. Jim Clark raced on a NASCAR oval, I think at Daytona in fact, not just at Indy or in F1. AJ Foyt co-drove to a LeMans win. Dan Gurney raced everything from F1 to USAC to NASCAR to CanAM to TransAm. Jackie Stewart raced CanAm as well as F1 and Indy. Bernie, throughout his reign, has discouraged such curiosity and cross-pollination. Indeed, in his understandable quest to make F1 "the pinnacle of motorsport,"* he has effectively undermined most other series: From encouraging the end of the old F2 (turning it into the Cosworth dumping ground F3000)*, to enticing engine manufacturers out of sportscars and into F1, to the arrangement that persuaded a burgeoning CART not to expand into Europe, Bernie has successfully kept European audeiences focused on F1 virtually to exclusion of all else.

And that attitude seeped into the paddock at large. I haven't yet been to Austin, but I went to four of the Indianapolis GPs and spent lots of time observing how the F1 team members seemed to feel about being there, especially in their merchandise/fan interaction tents. Too many came across like they were having teeth pulled, there because they had to be, not because they wanted to be. Maybe they were simply nervous at being in a new place, but at the 2000 event in particular, only the Arrows team seemed genuinely happy to connect with American fans. McLaren, in my view, missed a golden opportunity to remind everyone of their successful Indy-winning USAC heritage: It would have been the work of a moment to have Mika and DC pose with the Indy-winning McLarens of Mark Donohue and Johnny Rutherford, given the cars' presence in the Indy museum. Alas, that road was not taken.

So Bernie aside, the teams themselves must take some responsibility for their own marketing here, because Bernie is right about one thing if nothing else: Everyone, everywhere, knows what you mean when you say "Ferrari". They are the only F1 team that doesn't have to market itself to the public at large. Once upon a time, pre-Ron Dennis, American sports fans, not just racing fans, knew what you meant if you said "McLaren" as well. Lotus, of course, had that same kind of name recognition in Colin Chapman's time.

MaxRPM, I agree with most of your points. I believe Bernie's even said in the past that F1 doesn't need the USA. That goes both ways, but it doesn't have to, and once upon a time it wasn't that way. F1 lost its market here for a variety of reasons. I lay much of that at Bernie's door, but he's not the only one culpable here. The teams themselves can and should do more on their own to market themselves here.

*I've always considered this a dubious claim in any event: Those of us old enough to remember or who have studied some of the history know that very little in F1 even now hadn't already been worked out at LeMans, in the CanAm or in USAC years before F1 got hip to innovations such as disc brakes, composite monocoque chassis, hip mounted radiators, exploitation of aero downforce and turbocharging. Chaparral alone had been there and done that many times over. The famous Brabham fan car was a direction Chaparral had taken nearly a decade before, complete with Lexan side skirts to seal the air beneath the chassis. I encourage anyone interested in seeing just how much innovation was going on elsewhere in motorsport during F1's 1.5 litre and Cosworth kit-car eras to hunt down a copy of Pete Lyons' book on the CanAm.

*Untethering F2 from F1, and I'd say that change began in the Cosworth kit-car era, arguably helped drive up costs and also put us into the era of constant rules tinkering. Historically, changes to the F1 formula were first tried in F2. The 2.5 litre era was derived from the previous F2 regs and involved little more than adding an extra 500cc to the engines of the junior formula. The 1.5 litre regs were taken directly from the 1957 - 1960 F2. Had F2 continued, perhaps various changes to F1 could have been tested out in F2 in that same manner. Excessively costly lines of development - like the current "we have it just to say we have it/snob appeal" power units - might have been headed off that way in favor of a simpler formula. Just a random thought.

152

Thanks for your comment! Good to have you back commenting

153

who do you suggest has the ability to do what ecclestone does? ask anyone in the paddock and they will tell you that there isn't a single person they can think of who can replace ecclestone. face the truth and accept it.

154

The bare facts are that someone will HAVE to take over from Ecclestone sooner rather than later at his age. There's no doubt that he has done a lot for the sport bringing it to it's current position, but it does need to be re-structured to give small teams a better chance of survival. I'm afraid age is against Ecclestone now and he will have to be replaced at some point in the not too distant future.

155

@max rpm........more care is taken in making planes than making cars so am not surprised management transfer worked out the way it did. managing f1 is very different as there isn't a more sofiscticated sport than most.

156

My original post included a suggestion for who should replace Bernie. There are very accomplished professional executives who lead sports business in the North America and Europe and that's the type of leadership F1 needs in place of Bernie.

I am not too concerned by the views from the paddock. It is sometimes hard for insiders to to see beyond what they know, and to visualize the new marketplace that is available to F1.

For F1 to jump up to the next level probably requires someone from outside the F1 world. A good example of how well this can work is the Ford Motor Company transformation under Alan Mulally. Before Mulally the `motor industry view' was that you needed a car guy (an industry insider) to run a car company. However, Mulally was recruited to Ford from Boeing and his transformational leadership of Ford has been widely lauded.

I've seen a couple of suggestions that Christian Horner could one day replace Bernie-E. Whilst I am hugely impressed by Horner's leadership of the Red Bull team I don't believe that in qualifies him for the F1 CEO role. As I noted in my post, I believe a professional sports business CEO from the NFL, NBA, Premier League or similar, is what's needed. I'd be surprised and disappointed (for F1) if CVC has not already retained a CEO search firm with a brief to recruit this type of person to replace Bernie-E.

157

ask ecclestone for a replacement pass. am sure he wouldn't mind as he himself is keen to get acquainted with his potential replacement.

158

@ aveli....i was going to do as you suggested but my entry pass to the paddock seemed to have got mislaid somewhere. previously all my paddock friends and acquaintances have shied away from discussing bernard's future so i am a bit wary about bringing it up again.

160

Bernie the Dinosaur

161
not_olivier_grouillard

Nice analysis on what Bernie has actually 'done' in this area. I don't see much value in analyzing anything he says. He'd rather get to the 70 year olds with pots of cash, and yet with the same thought processes he has pushed for gimmicks such as the medals or double points. If he said Good Morning I'd be looking out of the window to check it wasn't night.

162

Except double points happened. V6 happened. DRS happened. Bernie has stopped joking for a few years now.

163

Sadly, I think Bernie's interview exactly exemplifies a large part of F1's current lack of appeal - Bernie has let the game pass him by....

Silly old bugger is over the hill and he should just go gracefully and let someone with an idea of modern marketing take the helm.

164

I don't want F1 'marketing' - I want to watch top end racing.

165

The forums are aflame with people responding in horror to Bernie's carefully-crafted message. Assume, as I do, that he knows exactly what he's doing and why, and that he has done the same thing many, many times in the past. So does he believe everything he says? Not likely, he is a master manipulator in the best sense of the word. So who is he manipulating and why?

This is where I look forward to some real journalism in the next while. Mr. Ecclestone has a strategy and he's working it now. What's really going on? Is the "Red Bull F1 Championship" a genuine prospect? Is Bernie really talking down F1 so he can put together a consortium to buy it back from CVC at a lesser price?

Some of his utterings he (and I) believe. It's tough to monetize a 15 year old for F1. You want to attract them because as they get older they can spend. But at 15 they're unlikely to be an immediate market for sponsors, except perhaps for Red Bull. And anyway, as pointed out above, he is going after them in a carefully calculated way on social media. Don't cannibalize the TV base! We won't miss Caterham and Marussia just as we don't miss .... what was their name from 30 years ago??? And all joking aside it's clear he and his team have carefully considered the world of entertainment they inhabit and their best positioning within it. (Ballet - he has a wicked sense of humour.)

Do I think he has all the answers? No. F1 is at an inflection point and he's both working his strategy and vamping till ready. Is he polarising? Yes, he is intentionally polarising. Why? I'd love to know.

Over to you Mr. Allen!

166
Darrin from Canada

Am I the only old guy on here that plays Electronic Games?

The money generated by the Game Industry already dwarfs the amount spent on ALL movies worldwide.

There isn't a more perfect sport for Video Games than Motorsports.

I am a rabid F1 fan, but I play Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo, not Formula 1 branded games. Formula 1 have made attempts, but clumsy and expensive in comparison - sound familiar?

I didn't want to spend all day on this, so please forgive that these are the figures as of 2011

(4 years ago)

Gran Turismo series overall sales: 58.81 million units

Forza Motorsport series overall sales: 10.04 million units

They don't give these away either.

They cost in the neighborhood of US $65 per unit or...

4.47 BILLION

as of 4 years ago...

Sorry Bernie, I call bulls**t

167
Darrin from Canada

yeah yeah yeah... 3 years

168

ecclestone wasn't joking about anything he said. he has always held those views and simply repeated them.

169

At least you get it.

170

Again, THIS is the astute reaction. It is passingly easy to underestimate an octogenarian, but do so at your own peril with this one, kiddies.

171

What he actually meant by "We should use social media to promote F1, I just don't know how" is "I haven't yet figured out how to make social media companies pay for our content, as TV broadcasters do"

172

As greedy and self serving as Bernie is, at 84 he is still as sharp as ever and still seemingly a very competent businessman. Sad thing though is that he wants an F1 audience just to make money off of. After all these decades, F1 is merely a cash cow to Bernie.

If one was to travel in a time machine back to 1958 and show a young Bernie Ecclestone (who obviously had a passion for Formula 1, although no talent) the passionless, money driven man he would turn out to be now, what would he think? Makes me wonder.

173

Cash cow? Same as the footbore, rugby and cricket promoters want from their 'sports' then.

Money will kill them off eventually. Or rather the lack of it.

174

Never take Mr E at face value. That British judge from the civil courts described Mr E as a "[mod] in other words when you see or hear a sentence with Mr E's name ascribed to it, just smile and ignore!

176

As an avid F1 fan for many years, I do not see myself as a target audience for many of the sponsors - I could not care less about the financial institutions, oil companies, or even Rolex - many are not even consumer brands; they are promotions from one international business to another. Their targets are company decision makers, not consumers.

The use of social media within F1 should be about accessibility to the fans - saturate the media with F1 stories and you provide a hook to keep us interested and bring in new audience. The dedicated Sky F1 channel is an example of this, as are the many websites such as JA and twitter feeds (incidentally I rarely visit the official F1 site as the news tends to be old or purely fact-based).

177

He has a good point young people as a general rule of thumb can't afford to buy rolexes (not that I can either unfortunately). However, it might just be possible to get different advertisers that are selling things that young people want to buy.

OK 1 Rolex sale is worth more than 1 legal high sale (or whatever the "kids" are buying nowadays), however as they say in Scotland "many mickles make a muckle"

178

I didn't know 70 year olds were the target audience for red Bull and Monster sodas. We poor schmucks in F1 are stuck with this $100 million dollar impressario I guess. Surely he's aware that Pepe Jeans can fit a tyro like him. It can't all be about UBS looking for prospects interested in, shall we say, cleaning up and tucking away some cash? Why oh why would the Ferraris and Mercs and Hondas care at all about inpressing 20 year old fans that won't even be avle to buy a used car for like three, maybe four years. Porsche lust is surely a one off. Even Ferrari knows a t-shirt is pretty much as good as an old Modena if you're a ragazzi in training.

Danke Schon indeed, German justice/paygo system.

179

This seems to be a rediculous thing to say. Bernie obviously has a lot of commercial sense, or the sport would not be as lucrative as it is right now. But to say that the F1 doesnt need younger consumers or to consider new ways to broadcast the sport is like Blackberry not being worried about Apple's smartphone developments a few years ago, or Kodak not worrying about digital film. It seems that a lot of the sports issues now are a result of short term fixes and not sensible long term planning. I take his point about young adults not being the target consumer, it's completely valid, but if you are not attracting younger consumers into the sport now then you are restricting your audiences 10-15 years down the line, and you cant tell me that Rolex does not want a middle aged affluent consumer attracted the their brand. Its much harder to attract loyal consumers later on. understanding changes in how people consumer media, and ensuring that there is a healthy flow of people getting into the sport should just be sensible long term planning, otherwise you end up with an outdated sport, that isnt relevant anymore, and whose only fans are getting older and then not with us anymore.

180

"Why don’t they get taller girls?" That's hilarious 🙂 Presumably the next sentence was "That's what I usually do."

181

This is hugely short term thinking from Bernie, Surely the young people of today, are the old people of tomorrow!? Sponsorship is not just about sales, its about PR and brand aspiration. Just because a 15 year old cant afford a Rolex today, doesnt mean he wont be able to in 10/15/20 years time, and if he aspires to own one, he is more likely to buy one in the future.

F1 is meant to be a sport, and not just a money making exercise - Ok perhaps thats me being naive!

182

Poor old Bernie is losing it! High time he retired and made way for somebody without a fuzzy brain.

183

I'm due to turn 40 next year and for the past 35 years, I have been an avid follower of F1. I did have a head start on most people, as my father worked for Renault - moving around various ales and marketing roles, in the UK dealer network.

So, it's fair to say that motorsport and F1in particular, is in my DNA... I've probably only missed 10 or 15 races, during my entire life (mostly on TV but occasionally at a circuit).

Today, I'm CEO of a small but internationally significant digital mobile agency, working almost exclusively with global lifestyle brands. Our core audience is 16 - 29 year olds and we help connect them to brands, that they think are relevant to them. 2 of those brands are Red Bull and Puma, both heavily involved with F1. Additionally, Blackberry support Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton and they have a global messaging platform, which is popular with about 20m 'millennials' around the globe.

I could easily highlight many more crossover brands and products, which F1 teams associate with and that reach and influence 16 - 29 year olds. As for Rolex, the brand is beyond most young people but it drives aspirational purchasing and Tag Heuer is a key beneficiary of this - recognising McLaren's partnership with them and the slightly lower retail price point!

Bernie, also fails to recognise that most of the drivers are active across all the major social media platforms, offering insights about their performance, lifestyle and personal opinions. Meanwhile the teams leverage social media, to promote their partners and engage with their fans. It's naive to ignore this.

Close to my heart, is mobile technology and across race weekends, people of all ages use mobile to become involved in the wider F1 conversation - this platform is the most personal and intimate way to connect with this sport... and could be leveraged much further at the circuit!

F1 has always had political issues and power plays, with Bernie at the heart of them - it's the bit of the sport he can control, keeping him in the eye of the storm but social media transcends his control.

However, I fell his lack of vision regarding young people and developing a social media strategy betrays a slow erosion of his significance. I refuse to see Bernie's age as a barrier but at some point you've got to ask the question; is he still relevant in this modern, eWorld?

In my opinion he isn't... mostly because he's denying a clear revenue stream - bringing new sponsors on board and he's stifling interest in the youth marketplace, who are interested in F1 but want to digest it in a different way.

I hope CVC read this and realise that their product has so much more to give. It hasn't taken me 35 years to work this out!

184

OK, you have an interesting post...but you never touched the subject of Social Media in it. You talk cross platform experience and this is very needed, but following Nico Rosberg on tweeter? I am never going to do anything like this in my life...... I work in the Digital Innovation space for a big multinational company, so I do understand Social Media.....:-) I do not need Social Media in F1. I need cross platform experience, a properly working F1 app with decent content that doesn't kill my iPad/iPhone batter when I follow the race, etc.

185

You seem to fail to realize that developing cross-platform functionality and content availability does not preclude also developing social media - or at least not radically obstructing the exploitation of value via that channel!

Sheesh.

186

Bernie uses the red herring strategy of communication.

It looks like he's out of touch but in reality he's luring in

big fish to help increase his money machine.

He knows he's got the most money-powerful audience going and so do advertisers. What he realy means is I'm easy; sign with F1 and you can use the "new media" however you want. Sounds inviting to those courting the affluent ....but this freedom will cost you.....because I'm "not really" interested, so to speak. There is an old expression, " money marries money" and those that pursue this adage are resigned to living with it, for life. These are the sponsors Bernie is truly interested in, not the the casual types. The large committed sponsor can come play in Bernie's play ground, others need not apply.

187

That made me (almost) chuckle:

> kids are watching things on (tablets and mobiles) but it doesn’t mean that they are watching F1

Of course they are not watching F1, Bernie, because your lawyers will get any piece of F1 coverage that may be shared on the internet removed within minutes.

188

It's called intellectual property and asset protection. F1 is not a charity.

190

Love Bernie's comments, it's like reading continuous comedy, even when he is being serious. Social media doesn't need F1, F1 needs social media. It's not about young people being able to buy Rolex now. It's about a lot of the 15/16 years old buying Rolex with their own money rather than relying on daddy's hand out when they are successful on their own merit in 10/15 years old time. That's what sustainability is called to secure the future.

I commented on railings in the last article. And stand by my comments that the reason for ever declining TV ratings are artificial stuff like DRS, fuel restrictions, horrible sound etc. And also the failure of historic teams like McLaren & Ferrari in recent years. Once the fundamental issues are solved, social media will embrace F1. People involved in higher power make too many expensive mistakes in this sport. That's the fact.

191

So if I can't afford a Rolex I should not watch F1? I have been wasting thirty plus years watching F1.

192

Yep, but maybe you CAN afford a TAG or Tissot or Casio as seen on the actual cars participating! Bernie, as usual, just hasn't thought about anyone but himself, that's why he's just poached Johnnie Walker from McLaren!

193
Darrin from Canada

Back to Grant's for me...

194

Lol. Also if you don't bank with UBS you shouldn't watch F1. We don't have UBS in Australia!!! OMG!!! Why have I been watching since I was 5/6 & working as a banker for 10 years!!! I am 30 now!!! Bernie is entertaining.

195

Bernie nails it ...he is wrong about social media in one sense ...it can be used as a promotional tool the problem is the its being used by those that want to destroy, its ALL negitive..this year has been insane..screams of capitilism,racism,cheating,noise,engine freeze etc ..there is NOT one readable or decent solution to any problem whatsoever, its whine bitch stab attack, and the media then jumps on it and reports it, there:s an old saying DON"T BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU. Is Bernie particualy right in his thinking ..NOPE ..but its his businees and his OPINION.

196

Adding to my previous comment, maybe the lack of historic tracks like Magny Course & Imola is a big a big reason behind the declining rating too. Those tracks may not make a lot money for Bernie, but surely have more viewers than Abu Dhabi (TV or Track).

197

I will jump on this comment to revisit my suggestion of "legacy" venues. If you separate F1 from its history, the product is greatly diminished. Great historical tracks not only provide historical connection, but are better visually, and provide improved challenge and racing than the Tilke-dromes populating the non-European venues. Monaco is an exception as regards good racing, but I argue that it does remain relevant and is part of the same glue as is Ferrari in making F1 Formula 1.

We all have our favorites, but Spa, Monza, Silverstone, etc should be included in an inviolable portion of the yearly schedule, and grandfathered in as is Monaco (apparently). They've EARNED it, and should not be held to the financial gun-point as are the owners and promoters of other tracks around the world.

My 2 pence

198

"but are better visually"

So true, a crucial point missed by almost everyone in the industry: FOM, FIA, entrants, journalists (pleonasm?), many fans

199

Why is social media so often touted as the holy grail of Formula 1?

200

Because it is....

201

in which way?

202

Social media aside, the product itself (F1) is getting harder to sell. Lack of personalities, mild on track rivalries, the technological race is no longer there to push teams onward during a season. With no refueling, park ferme and the tire rules, there is little strategic suspense anymore, races can be fairly well predicted before any wheels turn in many cases. I can see why its hard to attract younger people, twitter etc. is more of a readout of the problem rather than the cause. I find myself watching more out of habit than out of a passion for the sport.

203

Number one reason for me that F1 has become less interesting: Lack of underdog teams fighting it out. A lot of teams have vanished without any replacement: Arrows: gone, Lotus (original): gone, Larousse: gone, Brabham: gone, Prost (Ligier): gone, Simtek: gone, Pacific: gone. Once they were a illustrous, colorful pack with a lot of drivers trying their best, old stars taking a step back fighting new prospects. Formula 1 should be a circus paying every actor who makes a race distance and paying every actor for achievements and resetting the whole system each year.

We don't need DRS, we need less complicated wings and more gound effect (no "wooden plank" floor and deeper diffusers). Plus we should have an auction mid season, where every competitor, that has finished at least one race in the current season, can buy the design of any car as raced last race (one each) and is free to race it, or an improved version, not the current but the next season (adapted for next season's regulations).

204

Cancelling refuelling has been such a mistake. It was artificial? Actually the introduction of boring tyres and boring DRS are very much linked with the cancellation of refuelling. As it didn't work, we now have double points stabbed in our backs. What's boring next?

205

I liked refuelling because the race was split into a number of flat-out sprints between fuel stops.

206

Is he really so stupid to think that getting young people to be fans has no value? In the 80's and 90's Tag Heuer was the official time keeping sponsor and as teenage boys my brother and I most certainly could not afford to buy one! But as soon as my brother got his first real job he went out and got himself a Tag, his pride and joy, a sale made entirely through F1. It still seems odd to me to see Wimbledon (Rolex) at every race today...

207

Same here, I loved the TAG Williams, but could only afford a TAG a few years ago, but that's the brand I wanted, and waited 20 years to afford! And beside it's not just about Bernies brands, Rolex, UBS etc, what abouth all the teams' individual sponsor brands, affordable watches, drinks etc, but of course Bernie doesn't give a toss about them unless he can poach them like he has Johnnie Walker from McLaren!

210

I am 30 and I hate all these social media. I value real relationship with real people, not 500 facebook friends. By the way, I work in the Digital Innovation space and deal with all of these every day, so I understand it, but I stay away in my private life.

The problem with F1 is not Social Media and I could never understand why it is even mentioned. What does it mean for F1 to embrace Social Media? Did anybody ever explain it? James brought this topic not so long ago...but there was nothing specific said in terms of how F1 should embrace social media and what kind of problems this is going to solve.

I do not really care what Button or Rosberg says on Twitter, but I am massively concerned that the car sounds like a lawnmower.

211

I think the main problem here is not necessary the social media use or not, is that BE dismisses young audiences just because he suppose they have no money, so he assumes that adults just turn their TV on to watch F1 and that should be the unique channel to cover. He is wrong, young people can buy products maybe not a Rolex, but what about a Puma shirt? Other sports are using Internet as a complementary channel, why not F1? in the F1.com if I want to see one of those videos I cannot do it in HD because the website is using what I think is a very old streaming protocols and codecs, for a sport based on technology they are very old fashion.

212

@ alex D,..... i happen to agree with what you are saying. i am 75years old and have been an F1 tragic for approx 60 years of that time. i still am, in a way, but a lot of the magic has been drained away over the years. we all know what the homogenisation of F1 has done and it has not enhanced the racing. the 'racing' is what defines the product. if the racing is weak then the product suffers.

i do not use 'social media' often because i don't know how to, it's just that it holds little value to me. that doesn't in any way ridicule the practice, it just seems to put the practice into the rightful category, value.

BE is no fool. despite what many people say and his comments re aspirational followers is very very close to actuality. i can afford a rolex, but i choose omega, and i use 'boutique' banks whenever the need arises. so what? what F1 attempts to show is class/quality branding to put polish/glitter on the institution, that is all.

i think his comment re the 'ballet' was hilarious. you need a special sense of humour to both come up with it and to enjoy it. that is BE. the future of F1 is no doubt in need of some serious massaging and i am sure that it will occur sooner or later. it just needs to look back and see what elements created the original hunger on the watching universe then apply those self same principles in a current and more modern way.

213

Axel, so what do you call a Social Media? People say yes - we need Social media and then ask for ability to Watch a F1 race on their tablet or PC. It has nothing to do with Social Media.

From Wikipedia: "Social media is the social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks"

So what do we need? Yes, I want to be able to watch a F1 race on my iPad anywhere in the world and have a F1 app for live timing, etc. But I do not need all these distractions in a form of Tweets, Facebook posts and etc.

So what do we call Social Media? What do we need? I do not think this forums really knows what we want from Social Media and F1.

214

I second that on both fronts: Social media and car sound. I'm willing to live with the latter, though.

215

Bernie at times seems lost in his own madness.

From his right wing rants to his double points craziness.

& his forgetful bungs to bankers & middlemen. His Billions hidden away in crazy off shore accounts.

Sometimes I reckon he says stuff to create a smokescreen to avoid the real stories in F1.

Now he says he isn't much fussed with getting youth involved in F1 via social media. Well

its the way of the world & the young use it like we used the first digital watch /digital calculator / the first time we saw somebody use Motorola briefcase phone (better known as the brick). Technology is moving forwards rapidly & most kids watch most things online.

There seems to be a mad moose loose in his head 😀 . F1 needs to target the younger generation on all media outlets or F1 will end up where world ralling is

Maybe Bernie & Eddie Jordan go to the same toupee fitters in London as they both sound abit doo dally from the glue fumes 😀

216

Never take Mr E at face value. Let's face it, when a person embellishes and spins so many yawns, that person starts to believe their own fantasy as reality..............

As for Eddie Jordan - yes, another wayward character. He's a curate egg - good in parts (revealing driver line ups) and not so good in others (predictions about relative car performances).

217

He has served F1 brilliantly over the yrs doubt anyone else could have got it to where it is today with or without corruption/illegalities along the way BUT it is time for him to go, dont be surprised to see him gone by the start of next season but certainly by the start of 2016.

218

He is obviously over the flu and firing on all cylinders.

I did like the "Its the same with women and credit cards" One of his daughters recently lost $4m in her shop venture, no idea where it went.

Finally we learn that he is an angel!

If you work out how much money he will need to buy out CVC's shareholding or at least enough to give himself a majority even with his and the Bambino trust's existing shares it is still a huge amount. Of course if the sport is collapsing and the secret rules are broken re the number of cars then the value could come down. If the EU start another commission investigation into what some may surmise are breaches of the last Commission ruling, then we may have a fire sale. That would be ideal for Bernie.

Meanwhile what is Todt doing?

219

Todt= playing the fiddle while Rome (or at least Maranello) burns

220

To some extent Bernie is right particularly about who has the cash to spend, and like him I can't be arsed with Twitter and Facebook. In any event I prefer a low profile personally. If I want to contact someone I either e-mail or telephone. He is absolutely right about who has the cash to spend, generally speaking it is the middle aged or older people that have the real money. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but they are a small minority. If we are talking about viewing audiences how are people in general attracted to F1. In the past I was only mildly interested in F1 until Lewis Hamilton hit the scene, here we had a British driver of the highest quality that was worth watching and so the interest grows, but interest came to me in middle age one might say, and so it is a combination of things. I do think though it is often the high profile drivers that attract people in.

Is social media something that can help or influence F1? - Hmm, perhaps only indirectly.

221
Darrin from Canada

You do understand that you are communicating this opinion via JAonF1, or (in other words) SOCIAL MEDIA

222

I am communicating this view via e-mail, not Twitter or Facebook to JAonF,which is all I want or need. Call if social media if you like, but currently I don't want to get involved in Twitter or Facebook.

223

Thank you Richard, a reflection of many.

I always remember a real estate salesman upon considering to purchase a property.

His quote to me? Its a old money teritory and you do well..

How true he was.

224

In some ways it is kind of contradicting in what Bernie says. On one hand he wants casual viewers, believing it would drive up TV audience figures. These people aren't going to sustain the viewing figures as they'd just tune in when it probably just so happens to be on TV; on the other hand Bernie isn't warming to the teens who are probably diehard F1 fans beginning to get really turned on by what F1 is, and their parents are probably willing to pay for it too.

Besides, who's to say youngsters don't have money? Having worked in middle and tertiary education sector, I can assure you teens/students have plenty of money and lots of ways to make money for themselves too. That might be a regional thing but Bernie can't make a judgement based on a small composition.

Just for the record I do watch F1 on my iPad, replays anyway. If I could watch them live on iPad I would definitely do so too.

Bernie really is getting too old for modern F1, and losing many opportunities to further develop it. Forget going to new venues that are boring (Valencia; Sochi; Turkey) and just expand the old circuits with new media. That'll guarantee more success than circuit expansion.

225

What's the best way to get someone to imagine something in their mind? To tell them DO NOT think about it, and then its guaranteed to instantly pop up in their heads. So what's the kid with money going to do when some old man tell him he can't afford a Rolex? He's gonna go out and prove him wrong. He really knows how to keep F1 in the headlines and people talking about it and his comments, how many other people here saying he's out of touch can claim to be able to do the same?

226

Ah, congratulations. Warmer, indeed!

227

I think the one thing Bernie willfully dismisses is all of the teams' sponsors! Sure very few can afford UBS or Rolex, but what about all the other watch brands that cost around £100, Tissot, Cassio etc, what about Red Bull drinks, Jonnie Wlker, Martini, almost every F1 veiwer can afford those brands, but Bernie just doesn't or won't see the bigger picture, without the teams' sponsors he has no cars going round for the telly to show!

228

imagine Apple bring in mega millions and Bernie wearing an iWatch, vocal tweeting 🙂

229

does that mean they'd start racing in iMercedes/ iFerrari...... cars?

230

James, asking us to pause and read on before reaching for the comments button is a challenging innovation. Having tried it myself just now, I can say it is definitely good advice.

As for Bernie, who can keep up ... who can read correctly which agendas he is playing off against which others? Many have tried over the years only to find out that this is not a labyrinth, it is a minefield.

231

Or, more accurately, a labyrinthine minefield.

232

I can understand F1 is not just a sport but also a business. But where is the sport in all that? Are these people in the least interested in what Fans want to watch? I don't buy Rolex, i'll never be a UBS client, but I actually watch TV and da pay for the app, and I am getting really tired of Bernie. Yes I'm interested in Marussia, and no I'll never buy a Ferrari. I want to pay less for tickets and I don't mind having teams not backed by multinationals. I want the champion to be chosen on merits, not because he'll make promoters richer.

Disgust is not so far away.

233

Come on Bernie, enough is enough. You've done great things for the sport but it's time for you to retire. Maybe you can persuade Sepp Blatter who is another corrupt and out of touch dinosaur to retire with you.

234

I guess what you consider 'young' is relative, especially if you are 84 years old what!

Maybe for Bernie a 70 year old is indeed young and a 15 year old teenager is too far removed from Bernie's radar that he doesn't consider him or her as a serious customer for his F1 business.

235

Bernie says F1 doesn't need young viewers - Maybe he's right, but those young viewers grow up to be the all important old viewers that want to (apparently) buy Rolexes.

Bernie's known for saying things he doesn't mean and I'm sure right now he's feeling very clever and pleased with himself, but if you're the average young viewer who has just read that you're not important and no-one cares if you watch F1 or not then why would you even bother and so once the old rich Rolex buying viewers die who'll be watching F1 then?

Nice one Bernie.

236

Well I think people watch F1 because they want to for whatever reason not because Bernie somehow induces them. As for Rolex well maybe as a dress watch otherwise I'd be too concerned about damaging it. I think perhaps people that buy Rolex pay others to do their bidding on the whole as I can't really see them with the spade out in the garden or building that garden wall where they could put an altogether different finish on their Rolex as they grind it up against the masonary. So I regard that type of watch for the dilettante's of this world not for people that do things for themselves.

237

@ richard...rolex are neither cheap or nasty but they are ugly watches. the 'daytona' is the exception. their sub brand 'tudor' are far more to my liking.

as for the 'dillettante' tag. you are right, it's a big and diverse world. vive la difference!

238

One of my old college lecturers used to say "Rolex, cheap and nasty"! I can't remember what his preferred hand made watch was perhaps some obscure Swiss chronometer.

@kenneth chapman: Actually very difficult to say without knowing an individual, but they talk, they buy, but do little else. - I've know a few in another hobby of mine, but hey it's a big wide world so hopefully there's room for everyone.

239

I'd agree with that, but while people might watch F1 for their own reasons they might also stop watching F1 for one particular reason i.e. an 84 year old with a Rolex fetish 🙂

240

@ richard.....how amusing. i have three watches. an old scratched and dilapidated Wenger swiss military watch for around the house. another chrono for general wear when not working and a choice of four omegas for when i go out. so, am i one of your 'dilettantes'?

241

Bernie did a lot for the sport and help mould it into the global spectacle it is today but it is one more example of people in power who hang around too long, afraid to let go and adapt to the changing markets.

Let his name not be reminded as the person who dragged down an innovative sport which is supposed to be technical expertise and human creativity at its best just because he couldn't come to tems with Social media.

With all due respect.

He needs to GO

242

It's been clear for years that Bernie doesn't want to relinquish his command of F1's business model for fear of losing overall control of the money F1 makes. Bring in social media, different platforms and you invite other players, perspectives, trends, innovations and work models. BE will only bring in changes if he's 100% certain he has control over everything, and more importantly, total control over F1's financial returns.

A 15 year old may not be able to afford a Rolex, but neither would most 55 year olds. The real reason for Bernie not wanting to engage with 15 year-olds is his knowledge of total incompatibility with this age group. Some of us know about BE starting out as a racer and then taking care of the business side of things. That's what he was good at, after all. Some of us also know that he played some positive roles in promoting and sustaining F1 as a sport.

A 15 year-old will probably equate BE to a cartoon network character they had seen growing up. He resembles one of the stooges. That haircut won't be seen as, say, cool by 15 year olds. And, mind you, 15 year olds aren't saints, themselves. Once in a while he gives the impression that he's thinking about F1, its promotion and future, but BE is mostly interested in his empire.

I'm more interested to know what BE is is doing to stay healthy all this while. He is still sharp, at least physically. I remember the last interview where he notoriously said that it was good and tame of Marussia and Caterham not to have made any threats of pulling out. His eyes squinted, brows frowned when he said that. Ladies and gentlemen, the incredible Mr. BE - Joseph Stalin of F1. In normal situations, our good uncle. Happy birthday (whenever that is), uncle!

243

I bet the marketing department at Rolex see good value in generating brand awareness and desirability among young people.

244

In any 'normal' business he would been shown the exit door...

245

I'll bet you any money that rich 70 year old was once a 15 year old with no money (at least money of their own). Oh Bernie.

246

Isn't this evidence for CVC to retire him? Surely he's given them cause.

247

Let it BE. As time passes it will change, in fact it already has as streaming and watching on the computer is gathering pace. I watch more streaming than tv, maybe on races the tv is on but streaming is going on simultaneously.

Young fans are important, you need to replenish the fan base as the older fans won't be living like forever, maybe Bernie has some magic potion we know not of.

For the advertisement I think I have drank Red Bull once and didn't get along with it but it wasn't because of RBR at all, used DHL a couple of times, other than that the rest doesn't interest me, I wouldn't wear a Rolex....it's such a chunky wristwatch.

F1 is evolving all the time from branding to engines to younger drivers, but at the moment fans not all though are pissed of with certain regulations.

All in all as a business it does belong to Bernie so I guess he's entitled to his opinion and he's amassed billions so it can't be that wrong for him. At times I picture him in a Monthy Python sketch, in fact he does look like a comedian. Don't get fooled by him from what he says and he will be reading the comments, it's free platform for his research which is the search for more money. He ain't no old fool.

248

Formula1 are in historic turn about it's future.

249

I understand what he is on about and he might have some fact in it. But i read recently that Facebook had more over 50's then under 20's. The artical was saying how Facebook is no longer seen as a "cool" brand for the youth. But Facebook bosses where not botherd because the over 50's had more spending power then the teenagers and 20 somthings. So they could make more money from adverts. So he maybe correct teens are not going to buy a rolex, but his audiance is on social media anyway.

250

He's completely contradicting himself. On one hand he says the tobacco companies were successful in brand loyalty by capturing their customers at a young age. Then on the other hand he says there's no point in F1 targeting the young because they don't have any money. Surely the young will grow up and have money in the future?

Ecclestone seems to think that he has to choose between the younger and older generations. He doesn't. He can market to both but he just needs to recognize that he needs to do it differently. Peoples habits and interests are set at a young age. Much harder to attract a middle aged person to F1 than a young person.

What does Ecclestone think is going to happen when all his wealthy 70 year olds are dead and F1 is left with no fan base? Of course he doesn't really care because he will have kicked the bucket himself well before that happens. And that is the biggest problem. F1 is currently run by people who don't care a toss for the sport, its fans or its future. They only care about squeezing as much revenue out as possible before it all falls apart.

251

James,in the paddock ,Is there really no plan for his successor?

252

Judging from the responses here, on twitter and on facebook, seems like Bernie's ploy is working.

I'm remembering and old conversation between Michael (in car, on radio, Monte Carlo, in qualifying) where Jean Todt relays to him: "Come on Michael, let's give the press something to write about." Experienced viewers will know what happened next. Though Alonso still took pole (after Michael was pushed down). The point is -- it was talked about for days later on.

I think what's happened here is Jean Todt sat down with Bernie and said: "Hey Bern, look, F1's getting boring. Not many eyes and ears. Let's give the world something that they can take notice of F1 again."

And voila, you have a BE interview where he disses everything and everyone social.

Conspiracy theory? Don't know, just my guess.

Cheers

253

Sorry, what was Bernie's ploy again? To alienate huge swaths of F1 fandom and establish beyond all doubt that he has zero credibility to lead F1 for a day longer, oh, and to extinguish the credibility of the journalists who continue to shill for him?

254

Love it. Classic Bernie. Look at my left hand waving whilst I fleece thee with my right. Problems? What problems? Hey, why don't they just hire taller women and take their credit cards away.

Strip away the very intentional inflammatory comments meant to create some free advertising, and you're left with... the old car salesman hasn't been given good advice yet as to how to make money for himself and his business associates re "new media". Ergo it's irrelevance to all the stakeholders involved. But never mind all that money I'm spending on a group inside my empire to figure this out. Follow the money Woodward, follow the money. Never mind those other issues. What issues? Does UBS even give credit cards to women these days?

Teams going away, third cars without money associated, team money distribution deals awry (umm who did those again?), basic irrelevance in the world's largest market (US) and nearly so in the second largest emerging market (China), cars that scream like a singular flutist on top of a mountain in Antarctica instead of a New Orleans Jazz Band in your bedroom, double points for a race in a desert but not so much for Spa, money masters (CVC) screaming what have you done for me lately and what's my exit strategy (never you mind the billions I've made investing short of a billion to date - I've already used that money to buy all the Rolex's I can fit on my arms)? And Old Mackenzie in the background whispering sweet nothing's into Our Hero's ears..."don't you dare take my money and give it to that sod over there", Dieter Z whispering in Kansas' ear about maintaining the edge in hybrid efficiency his company spent $500M developing over three years and thus that big nicht so schnell from the Toto re engine mods...

And on and on.

So, to recap, the used car salesman turned team owner outfoxed a bunch of other businessmen decades ago, then built a worldwide commercial sales platform, convinced other smart people and governments to sign checks to him for tens of millions of dollars per year just so he could bring 2 dozen cars to race at a track they had to build, that they couldn't even sell advertising at...and then "bought" a "business" that had very "limited revenues" for $100M over 100 years from a bunch of Phd's in Paris and has worked hard to resell this ether multiple times over for multi-billions for both himself AND many business associates (read all the way from teams to suppliers for teams all the way to money handlers the latest being CVC - oh and even in the latest round the Little Man Todt got some walking around money).

I'd say he's done a sight bit better than many others have done (what would poor old Mr Williams give now for having given Our Hero just $10M for his portion of the "rights" back then?). How many times has Trump gone bankrupt?

And people are very quick to look at that waving left hand...

All that said, he's spending money to find out how best to sell to the youngest amongst us - and not only make money at it but not cannibalize the cash cow of today. He just doesn't know how to anymore. And all the smart people he's paying for haven't figured that out yet either. I'd venture Bernie doesn't spend a dime without expecting a million dimes in return. So those people in his office taking money that belongs to him - and worse to CVC - better come up with something soon or there's gonna be some 'splaining to do.

So in the meantime, please look at my left hand waving over here...

255

Great post.

256

To give a proper answer I am thinking how I became a fan to racing to see if it can be extrapolated to other situations. We are 4 brothers and 1 sister, 2 of my brothers and my sister consider a total waste of time watching some cars going around a circuit,my other brother,Alfredo,would go to a race and enjoy it but he would not follow the season or get tickets,he would go if he is invited. I started going to races with him when I was 10 or 11,in the sixties. We are from Venezuela,so there were very few races and very little information,so I started looking for magazines ,and the only ones that had any information were north American ones. So I learnt to read English.

What made me a lifetime fan of endurance races ( Le Mans, Sebring,Spa ) and Formula 1 is a combination of things like : the beautifull cars,their sound,smell,etc, the people around the races, on one side the crew with their overalls and on the other the girls ,the Champagne, “the glamour”. The first time I went to a race in Europe ,was Monza around 1964 or 1966,I had a general entry ticket and the only thing I saw were streaks of color going very fast together with the noise and smell of Castrol burning.Later on I went to study in England and I went to several races there. I remember the tickets were quite expensive for a student,and on top I always invited somebody with a car so I did not had to go by train,bus,etc.,from London to Brands Hatch,which is the track I went to.

I think there is some romantic vein that made me fall for the sport, also a technical aspect , adrenaline ,etc. but it is a combination of factors that grows the true fan. I dare marketing people to find out what is it.

Also I dread that in the pursuit of fans we will see Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber , in the podium,with Degeneres doing the interview ( no disrecpect meant to Ellen ) let fans arise from nowhere through good ,full throttle ,exiting races, no fuel saving, no tyre conservation. If somebody wants fuel economy,slow motion speeds ,please go to your local supermarket and watch the “ 24 hour of suburbia” cars full of groceries,kids and moms.

Let the races keep their magic and enough nuts like me will be hooked.

257

Another day, another comment proving how contradicting Bernie Ecclestone has become, a man so obsessed with power and money that he thinks of nothing else. Like dictators before him, he doesn`t know when to quit

258

What Bernie doesn´t understand is that we´re not asking him to have his own personal facebook or twitter if he doesn´t want to. But for F1 the product is a must have. He can hire a guy to built it and run it.

Someone should tell Bernie that even the C.I.A. has a twitter account. Facebook and twitter are not only children´s toys.

259

Anne, but all of this could be properly made available in one place, like F1.com that should be a great cross-platform experience. You do not need facebook or twitter for this. Making it available on tweeter vs f1.com is not going to improve the experience of watching a f1 race. So far you did nit manage to show how social media will make f1 better.

260

Anne, can you please help me understand how my F1 experience can be improved with the help of Facebook, Tweeter and Instagram? Thank you for your suggestions.

261

Pictures, info, videos. For example Mclaren is testing next year car in Silverstone. You could get official and exclusive videos of the event in an F1 official facebook if you´re a follower. Or pre season testing exclusive broadcast on their facebook or twitter. F1 history with, cars and drivers history. All the interviews that Senna gave since he was a kid. Videos of Gilles Villeneuve races. And of course current events. There are plenty of things they could come up with. If you´re not interested you don´t have to check their facebook page. Nobody will force you.

262

This comment highlights precisely the sad state of F1 and why F1 is like this. For a moment compare F1 with Cricket few years before. There was no social media and people were not able to watch Cricket in youtube live for Indian premier league.

But Indian premier league is super hit on youtube live.

F1 is supposed to embrace new technology in communication and attract youngsters to this great sport. Formula1 cars are (super) fast and formula1 is embracing the new methods of communication at snail`s pace.

This comment definitely will not help to promote the sport. I am saying this eventhough i am not an youngster.

263

I'm nearly 40 years old. I have growing up kids. I have a good amount of "disposable income". I am most certainly not 15 years old any more.

I sort of accept what he says about 15 year olds, but it's not just 15 year olds that use facebook, twitter, instagram etc on a regular basis. He also asked whether 15 year olds will still be using social media at 40 - who knows whether it will even exist in 25 years time or something else might have been created by then- in fact it's quite likely. When I was about 15 "social media" was watching the telly in the pub! 🙂 F1 (should be) at the forefront of everything - whether that is engineering techniques, new construction composites, and yes social media. It should be leading the world just as it should in any other area it resides in, Why wouldn't anyone want that?

264

Nick, so can you help me understand in details....with some examples....how F1 should embrace Social Media. What do you mean by Social Media? Take me as an example and help me understand how my F1 experience can be improved with the help of Facebook, Tweeter and Instagram? Thank you for your suggestions.

265

@ alex D...yes, i would also like to know how facebook and twitter can improve my F1 experiences? i have logged into twitter on numerous occasions and all i see are inane comments that really have no bearing on the subject at hand and if so are so stupid that i move on to something with a bit more 'meat on the bones'. as for facebook...yes, great innovation if you are using it to find old friends etc etc etc but as for F1 ? explain that to me.

what i would like to see is the official F1 site upgraded to give all the relevant data plus some live streaming from aspects that i don't get with the official broadcast. it doesn't seem to need much more, IMO of course.

266

AlexD you obviously loathe social media. Fine. Stop trying to goad other posters to satisfy your own bias and dislike of something.

267

Is young Bernie really 84 he doesn't look a day over 120 to me. Seriously though just because a young fan cannot afford a Rolex they are not worth entertaining, time to check your medication Bernie. That young fan may spend a few years more in education and then be earing the kid of money that brings them into your crowd some day soon.

Anyone is capable of great things if they have the will and application and having loads of money is not everything. The richest man in the world is not the man with a huge bank balance but a simple man with enough wisdom to know he does not need pots of money, just good health good friends and a good occupation to fill his short time on this earth topped up with the gold of the morning sun on his shoulders.

268

you can see what a waste of time social media is by the fact that the BBC went from informative analysis and interviews after races at the start to just answering tweets and other stupid questions

Social media just means everyone soon finds the same moronic level at which to communicate.

Not just sad for F1 but also for the world.

269

EXACTLY!!!!!!! I do not need to listen to 1000 tweets or see Facebook posts. I need a quality F1 app which is not properly working this year and I need quality analysis done before, during and after the race. We do not need 1000 channels to communicate with us at the same time....this is madness....

270

@ alex D...yes, i fully agree with what you just said.

271

Current audience = 1.6 billion

Current annual revenue = $1.5 billion

In other words, the F1 business earns about $0.94 per viewer on average; actually somewhat more since the 1.6 billion audience is cumulative. Not everyone watches every race (unlike we James Allen fans).

The business wants to earn $500 million more per annum, therefore needs to find an audience growth of about 530,000 new viewers at the same average earnings / viewer. What I wonder is why aren't these people watching now? Any single major European or North American country alone could supply this need. I can't see that anyone would actively prefer to watch a race on the tiny screen of a smartphone or a tablet if they had the option of a 40" + television set. You supporters of alternative media however seem to indicate that you don't want to watch anything on a television set. Period. Timezone difference is no obstacle with PVRs, etc, common in the western home. 530,000 more people with a modern TV & PVR in the home should be not to difficult to reach without resort to facebook or any of this other stuff that Bernie & I don't fathom.

272

James, I guess Ecclestone is "hilarious"to someone who depends on the circus to make a living. I find him pathetic. He sounds like an idiot to most of the fans.

273

Agree and I cannot understand that the major F1 shareholders (CVC and others) haven't pushed him out and replaced him with a professional CEO, preferably with a proven track record of leading a major sports business.These types of CEO's exist and could be recruited to lead F1 to new heights for the benefit of F1 shareholders and fans.

274

It shows the weakness of character of all involved. Greed trumps shame. No one seems to care as long as the disgusting bigot keeps the money rolling in and the circus members, including most of the press, keep themselves in "Supremos" favour.

275

Working within this area i can speak from exeriance that there is huge concern as to how we can make money from this newish way of presenting media. I have attended meeting after meeting on how 'we as a company can we tap into this area of revenue'and the honest answer...no one knows. Tv is a dying forn of entertainment, why watch what the media moguls say you must when you can download what you want,when you want...and for free. We have let the genie out of the bottle and there is no way back,its up to us to work out how to make it sustainable. MrE was good at what he did but sadly he is out of touch. The old model of F1 is being left behind and gone are the days of total control of the tv feeds. We only need to look at the black day we had at Japan. Within hours we had feeds going out of the accident all circulated by social media. The FOM had little if no control. In short,my advice to MrE..step down as there is no one answer to this problem so just embrace the change and enjoy what you have made but its now time to let go. Will this happen? James A knows this answer...not a chance

276

Certainly provoked a reaction....just what Mr E wanted.

Stopped the talk about 3 car teams etc. for a while.....just what Mr E wanted.

Just a thought

277

Wisdom of past generations i the reason why us humans enjoy better times in the present than on the "good old days" past. Even though I know a bunch of smart/nice folks past their 70's who are still active and brilliant, I have to say that there's a good reason as to why retirement age is enforced in so many developed countries. Mr.E's interview backs this up pretty well.

It's a shame F1 is ruled under by a person with such short-sighted, discriminatory and retrograde vision of the sport and the world. Even if the sport collapses and resumes after his depart, I am pretty sure it will be a better one.

278

90+ comments in under 4 hours. Yes Bernie, who cares about social media...

I was that 15yr old, still love the technology and unpredictability of F1 as I rapidly bear down on 40. Trouble is, I haven't watched a race in years because I just can't get access to it in my part of the world (Great While North), so make do with watching the highlight move of the race that someone has recorded on their cell phone from their TV on YouTube. Something is broken here.

Not a bad thing though, if it is broken, change is afoot. 21st century F1 will be a sight to behold once the dust settles.

279

Being able to watch a race on any platform in any part of the world is not Social Media. I think people are mixing up things.

280

Bernie's comments on social media are indicative of a widening gulf between his perception what is playing out online, on mobiles and in the global market place. It is not that he doesn't tweet rather that he cannot see the value of using alternative media architectures. He sounds a bit like the music industry 4 - 7 years ago. Everything changes but change itself... and Bernie apparently.

281

Bernie is not the only problem... he is part of the problem

The biggest problem is the greed of the teams... they want to maximize profit at the expense of great racing.

F1 does not have ethical leaders... they are devoid of good values. Greed is rampant in F1, and its a real turn off...

282

I think some people are clearly over-reacting!

Let's think what did he say:

1. Who do we call a young generation? 14-17 year old people? 20-25 year old?

2. What does it mean to embrace a social media? Follow 78 people on Twitter during the race or being able to watch a F1 race in HD on all platform anywhere in the world and follow a working version of the F1 timing app?

We have to be clear what are we talking about.

283

Thank you, Bernie. F1 is very enjoyable and controversial and flowing. Whatever happens, it`s been very entertaining so far. It must be very hard to run a business and please everybody. His intuition has been superb.

I think in regard Bernie we should show only appreciation.

284

There is an article with an interview with BE in the Campaign (Asia) site recently. The stand out quote from Bernie there for me was:

"I took over things in the late 70s but unlike most of the successful business people who tend to think they're geniuses, I think most of us are just lucky and happen to be in the right place at the right time."

I think this says it all. There is no master plan or genius at work here as someone suggested in an earlier comment. Just a second hand car salesman that was in the right place at the right time.

Whilst I'm sure must of the stuff he comes out with is simply for laughs, here he completely fails to understand that people do get into F1 at a young age. Yes, they won't be buying Rolex's and Whiskey, but they might do in 20 years time.

Complete short term thinking that highlights the shed load of missed opportunities in marketing reach and international appeal that F1 is missing.

285

Wow reading this, everything seems so clear now!

286

There are two possibilities here when we consider the words of the 84 year old man whose aspirational worldview was generated 60 odd years ago.

1) He is still a master strategist and tactician and these words are aimed at increasing the success of some incredible plan, one that is beyond the ken of mere mortals.

2) He's 84 years old and no longer in possesion of the mental faculties that served him so well in the past, AND no longer (if he ever was) supported by people who could keep him out of trouble.

The facts are that in the same timescales as F1 has been operating on, the UK has parlayed a working class sport, football into a global phenomenon that attracts the greatest talent on the planet, mangers, players and the rest to something that in 1990 was a crude enterprise, with none of the sophistication and money generating opportunities that exist today.

The US has taken Baseball, Basketball, Nascar and The NFL to ever greater heights, exploiting all of the money generating opportunities available and invesitng in long term plans (the NFL in the UK for example) to further generate massive returns that ensure that all the franchises make good money.

Forget the social for a moment. The fact is that F1 should have every team on the grid being a household name. That fact that it doesn't is a clear failiure. The fact that 2 have gone to the wall and at least another two or three are in trouble is a disgrace.

The fact that he cannot see that the new powerunits represent innovation, genius, excellence and the very pinacle of technical acheivement - facts to be exploited across media platforms he doesn't control but can occupy- is a disgrace. The noise should never have been an issue. NEVER.

The fact that the coverage cannot showcase the peternatural talents of the people that drive the vehicles by demonstrating their skills using all the techniques available in the digital era, is a disgrace.

The fact that pay drivers exist is a disgrace, devaluing the sport this year especially.

He hasn't done a good job in a long time, at least half a decade, maybe more.

I am the target market for sponsors. 70 year olds don't spend money. They've bought everything they ever wanted long before. A 70 year old with a Rolex had it at 35 or 40 at the very least. It's been sitting on their wrist for at least that time, waiting to be handed down.

There are a multitude of incredibly smart people out there who could take this sport and transform it. They would make the circuits rich, the teams rich and the sportowners rich. They would bring back stupidly extravagant unveiling ceremonies, all the cars, wembley stadium, some pop star to crank

some tracks and a whole series of tv events leading up to the show itself. Just check out the draft shows in the US. There would be ultra high value ad slots. Cross linked across all media platforms. Merchandising... Shops in malls in Dubai and Shanghai and the rest, selling aspirational wares, not the shabby rubbish out there now.

He's an old man, with views forged in a time that is two generations past. This is what it is. Evidence that he no longer is capable of running the sport.

288

TV audiences are falling so Bernie decides to alienate the one part of the audience that might still be watching in 40 years - the young fans. 'So this old grandad is telling me that this sport is marketed at 70 year olds and is too rich for me - fine I'll watch NASCAR instead'

289

F1 after Bernie can only be better than this. It's like I'm trying to sell a watch and telling all sorts of people they're not good enough for the watch, that the way they want to look at the watch is wrong, that some parts of the watch are really just beggars and don't deserve to be in it, the list goes on. This man does nothing positive for F1 when he opens his mouth. Pity that he'll probably see the exit of Sauber and has already watched Marussia and Caterham leave. Please retire, Bernie. Please. You're now a liability to the sport you built and I'm losing interest.

290

Analysis is fine but this is so simply obvious: FOM and CVC are in F1 for short term profits, period. Keep that front and center and everything that Bernie does and says makes perfect sense. If they cared at all about the even the mid term health of F1, they would be doing everything they could to go after the younger crowd by marketing items they could afford to buy when they're young and getting them interested in the sport so they could build their future adult audience.

Bernie is an self involved [mod] man: this is the same person who praised Hitler and Putin. If the boss of any other sport did this, he would be forced out in a hurry. His past contributions aside, at this point he is damaging F1 on a daily basis. That CVC can't see this show that they are terminal as the majority owners. There's a limited amount of time left before they ruin F1 beyond repair. YES, it CAN happen and very quickly too.

291

My friends, we all know what the young want:

piercings, tattoos, violent computer games, alcohol.

Does F1 connect with any of these pastimes? ..only very very slightly.

292

@ old and wealthy....you nailed it however you missed strange hairstyles,weird herbal concoctions and formal shoes without socks!!!

293

Adrian Sutil has got a bit of the "violence" and alcohol"