Aftershocks and rumours as life after Bernie rolls on in Formula 1
Innovation
F1 flag
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Jan 2017   |  11:29 am GMT  |  116 comments

“The Ecclestone era ending is a pretty big thing,”

The words of Toto Wolff, current world championship team boss on what has been a momentous two weeks for the sport. But he added, “We need to embrace the future and we shouldn’t be too nostalgic about the past.”

The Formula 1 roadshow rolls on with a new management team and a new ethos. So what will it look like and what does it mean for fans?

They will need to move to new offices very soon, as F1 Management was based in a building in Princes Gate, London that belongs to Ecclestone. Rather awkwardly he lives in the flat upstairs; ‘living above the shop’ as the saying goes.

The new office building on which they sign the lease will need to be future-proofed against the growth of staff over the coming years that will be working there. Under Ecclestone F1 Management had no marketing department and only one person in sponsorship. To match other Tier One sports bodies like the Premier League, NFL or NBA there will be over a hundred across those two departments in no time.

That is how F1 will grow. As Chase Carey the new CEO observed, one of the problems was that everything, from new races, to TV deals to sponsorships had to pass across Bernie’s desk for approval and that inevitably greatly restricted the speed of growth.

But there is also an important strategic point here.

F1 paddock

At Ferrari Luca di Montezemolo oversaw massive growth in the company, but he deliberately had a ‘rarity value’ built into the Ferrari brand that meant he would not allow more than 7,000 cars to be built and sold in a year. Sergio Marchionne got rid of him and replaced him as chairman partly because he wanted to open it up and sell 10,000 cars and more every year. (It was also because he wanted to float Ferrari on the stock market to help deal with FIAT Chrysler debt, which Montezmolo didn’t agree with)

Whist the comparisons between Montezemolo and Ecclestone are limited, the notion of exclusivity value is important to understand. The price was high because Ferrari was exclusive and that’s how Bernie saw F1 and how he built it.

But that only washes in today’s world with a certain kind of person and a certain kind of (ageing) demographic. Millennials hate what is not transparent.

Digital natives don’t mind paying a few dollars or pounds for content they really want, but they want it here and now and without any ‘friction’ in the technology or process that slows down or complicates how they consume it. F1 under the old guard just did not get that at all.

Red Bull pitwall

Today the more nuanced term, which will be fundamental to the new F1 order is ‘inclusive exclusive’, which allows for millennials to feel they can easily access a sport or a property, so they can pick and choose what they want from it on their terms. And the exclusive bit means that they don’t mind paying a bit of a premium for something special, if they are attracted by the exclusivity of it.

So what this all means for the new look F1 is now beginning to emerge; Carey, whom F1 fans are getting to know and Brawn, who has massive awareness and credibility in the field, have been dropping hints and notes about what we can expect from their new management approach.

For example, promoters who are screaming because their race hosting fees are unsustainable will be helped. They won’t necessarily get a discount on the fee, because Liberty’s model requires growth from race hosting fees, not a decline.

But they will get infrastructure support and far more for their money than an F1 race and some Porsche Supercup and maybe GP2 action bundled in. They will be given a week long festival of activity and year round promotion to work with. Over time, collectively the race host and the series will make the pie bigger and both share the upside.

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 11.25.34

Meanwhile Ecclestone, who is not used to having time on his hands, has suddenly found himself with a lot of time on his hands.

He needs to feel at the centre of the wheel, not outside it. So he’s begun to disseminate hints that he is looking to set up his own rival series. He’s also pressing hard on the FIA and its perceived ‘conflict of interest’ in approving the sale of F1’s Commercial rights, knowing that it’s own small stake would net the Federation around US$80 million.

It would be hard for anyone to set up a rival series without Ferrari, as the events at the end of the Mosley FIA presidency in 2009 graphically illustrated. The major teams are all dialled into agreements that take them to 2020, when Bernie will be 90 years old and any major sports series needs a digital growth model.

The last time F1 was owned by a media company it was a catastrophe. Kirsch owned it briefly in the early 2000s and then went bust, which put the business in the hands of the banks that then sold it to CVC, who took billions out of the business and invested almost nothing.

Hakkinen

Along the way Kirsch and Ecclestone did things like restrict on-board camera shots to Pay TV channels only. So the free to air TV in the early 2000s – which needed all the excitement it could get as Schumacher and Ferrari won everything – had almost none of the high value camera shots that fans love.

For example, Mika Hakkinen’s legendary pass on Michael Schumacher at Spa, either side of Zonta on the Kemmel Straight at 200mph, was seen live only from a side shot by 95% of TV viewers around the world. Only those watching the F1 Digital pay channel saw the money shot live on board with Hakkinen.

It’s an example of how not to deal with ‘exclusive’ when trying to grow a sport.

But that is all in the past..

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116 comments

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1

Is Liberty honestly saying that things get done faster in large corporate organizations?

I guess that's why to get anything done smart leaders break out a small too team of 5 or fewer if at all possible to really get things done?

Bernie could get things done in a time it woukd take ti finish a coffee. He was the decision maker. Now it will be meetings and meeting and strategy and power points and meetings and review and plan and meetings...sounds efficient in a quick pace environment. We've seen what happened to F1 when more people had say and when meetings went from 2 people to 2 people plus 12 team representatives plus sponsor representative plus...plus...pus...PUs...PUs..oh no...how did we end up with PUs?

3

On this day in Formula 1 history.................Manor F1 went bust.

Just like 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2015 and now 2017 there will be 20 cars on the grid in Melbourne. Is that a a good thing or bad thing? Well, whatever, Manor F1 have now gone the way of the dodo, the cassette player and the cross ply slick.

Capitalism - the cause (and solution) to all of life's problems.

4

It's OK. The grid is so quiet, we won't notice the difference anyway.

5

Bernie certainly did all the promotion and marketing of F1 in the time it took to drink one expresso....

6

Yup. And sold it for 8B.

Double that of the UFC sale - another 1 man show.

7

UFC hasn't been a "one man show" for a while. There were a couple hundred at one point. White led, but the Fertita's controlled it. The enterprise value of the F1 sale was 8 bil but that includes 4 bil plus in debt. The cash/stock exchange was around 4 bil. UFC, OTOH, had no debt when they sold to WME-IMG. UFC with no debt sold for 7 times revenue. Delta Topco sold for less than 4 times revenue plus an assumption of debt.

8

Dave, you know who's holding this 4B in F1 debt?

9

Sebee: you got it right! dictators move faster than our western democracies by committee, where no one wants to wear the responsibility of making the decision, in case the electorate is convinced there is something wrong with it, thus delay is embedded in the decision-making system. And anyone who says corporations get things done faster, I would suggest, has not been on the inside with an objective eye.
It reassures us that Ross is there, but that could be planned as optics to keep the riffraff (like you and I) under control. Nonetheless, we know how Ross can manage from any place; so it may be interesting to see how the controllership of the new model evolves.
Bernie setting up a rival series, because he is going insane NOT managing the multi-billion dollar show piece business, and... well, just because that's what he does, is interesting.
James notes that no premier series will fly without Ferrari; that may be correct, but with all of the talk about Ferrari getting cut off from there very sweet ($100M/year) deal, who knows if they can't be poached by [Mod] himself?!
Huh?
What if they throw in naturally aspirated V10s with NO REV LIMIT?
Huh?
(calm down, we're not there yet)

10

And yet, true democracies outpace dictatorships in pretty much every stat that matters.

11

You missed the point; its about scale of resources and the actual strategy, With the advertising and marketing departments going from 1 towards 100, it allows lots of initiatives to be managed concurrently. But most importantly, Bernie's 1 man marketing department was indicative of him not really caring about the actual growth of the sport.

12

there isn't a motorsporting series better than f1 in any field, marketing, technology nor shear aesthetics.
how is it possible to achieve that without caring about it?

13

@Aveli ... well if its so great, why does almost everyone on this forum complain about the product? As do the teams, sponsors, circuits etc... Bernie is guilty of not listening to the stakeholders.

And how else do you explain Liberty's drastic actions of increasing the marketing effort hundredfold...??

14

Redline. Not everyone complains about the sport, and not all the people who do complain would stop complaining if everything they complain about was addressed. Some people just like complaining.

15

I'm sure there are folk like you describe but at the same time I know of no other sports where there is such consistent disapproval over the fundamental product. They can't all just like complaining..

16

NickH, i think people complain about other sports, maybe not as much as they do about F1, but no other sport changes as much as F1 does it? The point I was making though was there will always be complaints, in the 2000s the Autosport letters page was full of people moaning about Ferrari domination, team orders, traction control etc etc, go back to the 90s and it was all about Williams domination, driver aiding gizmos and how boring the drivers were! The sport can never be all things to all people, I think the fundamental product is the same as it has always been, the other stuff surrounding it can always be improved, but never to everyones satisfaction.

17

That's it. The bottleneck was one old guy living somewhere in the past. Good, quick decisions made for another era. And the man was a lout.

18

Actually team size matters. A small team of experts will always be faster and better as a one-man-show, provided they can share the work (you can't bring the time to get the baby down to 1 month by adding 8 women to the team). However, if you need to coordinate more than 10 people, things start to get really messy. There is a notion that a "two pizza team" is the best team size, which means: The number of people who can survive on two pizzas:
http://blog.idonethis.com/two-pizza-team/

19

Actually on average things do get done a lot quicker in large corporate environments than in one-man operations. At least once you get past the scale on one man and his van type businesses anyway.

20

Perhaps with good delegation and single decision maker. No doubt eventually scale takes over and there is no choice but to have larger teams. But does F1 need to get more bloated? Will it make F1 faster to change and respond? All these guys...really just out there looking for revenue. And remember, more employees, larger offices, all means more overhead and someone has to pay for that - who do you think it will be? I'm going to bet...the fans! Let's squeeze that lemon even more.

There is a reason why startups have the agility to run circles around large companies. Paypal, Uber, Netflix, Facebook, all disruptors that started small. Apple has become the mega disruptor thanks to good management, centralized decision making and no fat. Apple is obviously a giant now, but at the core it is lean and mean as always.

21

companies merge to survive..

22

'Will it make F1 faster to change and respond' I hope not. It needs to slow down and really consider options rather than jump to knee jerk reactions and introduce things nobody wanted.

23

Is that bearded fellow Flavio?

Oh my goodness! It's happening?

Bernie, I'm full of great ideas for Formula X1. Let me run them past you! 🙂

24

I see you got over that nasty bout of one-post-per-week syndrom.

25

I had a good comment for you, but I guess you can't pretend to be "drunk on comments" and declare the classic drunk love. Hope you got it, and got the joke.

26

Dean, that only lasted one week. Coincidentally it was the same week that Bottas was confirmed at Mercedes, and the Liberty deal was finalised, both of which Sebee confidently predicted would never happen....

27

What? Sebee can't go on holidays?

28

It was a new year resolution, not a holiday!

As I said at the time, not a resolution I supported, so post away.

29

Of course you can Sebee, take as long as you like....

30

Knowing Bernie, this new Formula Bernie will be entirely based on Bernie's memories of how things were done decades ago.

The man hasn't had a new idea since Senna was still with us.

Thank heavens Bernie is gone - just a couple of decades too late.

31

Good ideas stand the test of time.

He can refresh them, update them for today's needs, eliminate all the weaknesses he knows are there. I've given out tons of ideas on Formula X1 in this post:
https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2017/01/no-more-knee-jerk-f1-decisions-ross-brawn-speaks-on-his-vision-for-a-new-f1/

It's amazing what would be possible.

Imagine, a Formula X1 race car, with a V10 in Fan or Fanless configuration.
Faster than F1 car around any circuit, obviously.

Golden Car Qualifying - all drivers use same car to qualify. Cars have large LCDs in side pods to display drivers team sponsor and number. Incredible fairness in qualifying process. 60 seconds between the flying lap to put in your seat and strap in. May have to be 2 cars rotated to avoid TV gaps.
Fan involvement in Golden Car qualifying: we vote on order drivers go to qualify each Saturday.

Fan or Fanless - We vote on what type of Formula X1 race car will be used at next race. Do the drivers get to use the Fanless car with less grip but more power thanks to engine not having to power the fan, or do drivers get to use the Fan car with close racing and no aero disturbance issues in trying to pass being the feature. When have you ever as a fan been able to decide what hardware is raced at a circuit?

Bottom 5 in WDC standing - Fans at the end of each season get to vote in 1 of the bottom 5 WDC standing finishers to continue to the next season. The other 4 are eliminated from the grid and must be replaced by new talent. Or 1 of the bottom 3 if you don't want to be too cruel.

What makes this possible? Low cost. Standard Formula X1 cars that are fastest formula on the planet ordered by the series organizer as a single tender. Someone gets a contract to make 1000 V10s for the season, someone gets a contract to make 100 chassis for the season. Fairness. Standard cars mean no secrets, we can see everything, know everything about every driver, about the entire car. 12 teams would be set up on a profitable model. Meaning, they don't have to go begging for engines paying 22M to have 5 PUs per season. New V10s for every X1 Grand Prix - no penalties for new engine or gearbox or other rubbish. Grand Prix would be 1hour and 45minutes timed flag to flag, not 300km distance like F1. This to avoid this urge to slow down the cars like is the case in F1, to fill the 2 hour Grand Prix TV window. If cars in Formula X1 get faster and do 2 more laps in the Grand Prix timed window, so be it. Teams have to account for higher speed, more fuel needed, refuel accordingly and strategize accordingly for the time window.

There is so much more that would be possible. Play-Off style Championship shootout like the NASCAR Chase could be implemented to ensure a 4 car battle for the championship at final race. Put these drivers under some pressure! It would be crazy entertaining, but most importantly, it would involve the fans in what cars get raced, in what drivers keep their seats - can you imagine that type of fan control and access on social media? What other sport offers that to you? What other sport lets fans decide who's Formula X1 racing carrier is over? What type of car is raced? What would be possible in Formula X1 is amazing. How about a Wild Card Car - if this car wins, $1M to the driver as bonus - presented in cash on the podium.

32

Wild Card Car - Last car on the qualifying grid. If this car wins, driver gets a $1M bonus - that's right! It won't happen often, but it lets commentators talk about something, and it will happen eventually in a fair spec series - and it will be wild for a driver to get $1M on the podium for making it happen.

33

No need for that Sebee - With his new open schedule Bernie can just peruse JA's archives from the last few years 🙂

*three weeks later*

"Ohhhhh...now I see where it all went wrong..." 😐

34

That was all just me working it all out. Proto-typing if you will.

Beta testing is over. I'm ready to launch.

35

Two hundred staff instead of Bernie and two helpers. The corporate army will take over, and that's just for sponsorship. And will Carey Brawn and Bratches continue to agree totally on how things evolve? Is that even possible with three able minds? I only ask

36

Three able minds is perfect - 3x the good ideas, almost perfect democracy (even if only two of them agree on something then they have the majority), then on the odd occasion when they all have their own ideas they can roshambo for it, and then if all else fails then Chase wins by virtue of his moustache 🙂

37

Ferrari commitment to F1 till 2020 doesn't mean it can't compete in Formula X1 as of 2018. Plus, I'm 100M percent certain that Ferrari would enjoy the leverage of being in Formula X1 as a negotiating chip against Liberty.

Is Bernie the master of leverage?

Nope.

Master is not sufficient when describing Bernie's leverage skills.

38

Sebee, never underestimate old dog, just look at the Tramp secretary of the defence ? all Bernie needs a new start up with a V 10 / 12 with no rev / limiter even balance of free to air and pay TV , bear in mind there is a lot of empty F1 tracks the owners would be so pleased to hear from Bernie .

39

Yes, Ferrari can compete in any category it so wishes, be it F1, WEC or even Formula E. But why would Ferrari want to spend millions it cannot realistically spare and share resources on a race series that has no pedigree, no backing and no serious financial future. If Ferrari doesn't have the capacity to compete in WEC, a championship it dominated in the 50s, 60s and up to 72, why would they countenance joining Bernie's unproven series? Ferrari are going nowhere.

40

Colin B, a Alfa Romeo will be a starter, further I believe Liberty are not in it for a long run, they will go for IPO float collect the cash just like CVC done sweet F+++ all for the F1& I don't think Ross Brawn will se the year out. Teams are not buying shares in the upcoming IPO simply put they are not convinced of Liberty intent.

41

You give pedigree too much credit. Tell me about Kodak pedigree.

People like new.
People like different.
People like exciting.
People want entertaining.
Youth...why they may not like Formula 1 purely because it's their dad's thing. They don't want to like what their parents like.

Formula X1 can deliver all of that.

You want backing? You think CVC can put some seed money out there
Financial Future? Bernie can sell! Look at what he managed to sell to the tracks, to the TV networks. And look at the prices! You think Bernie has a list of tracks that could host F1 races if the hosting price was 1/2? You think it's hard to for Bernie to sell something that he has at 1/2 previous price?

And look at that bearded guy - who by the way looks really good with a beard. You know who he manages? And my or my...is Alonso free after 2017? Why yes he is! Here comes a poster boy for Formula X1 to give the series immediate legitimacy. Pull in other top names, there are plenty recognizable racers that could star as of first season.

Ferrari has the capacity to compete in WEC, it just didn't want to go against Audi and Porsche most likely. Ferrari was winning in F1 and had plenty of resources to supply A1GP full grid worth of F2004 based cars.

You guys thing stuff is impossible? Everything is possible! We land rockets on barges now. We have electric cars that have acceleration no petrol car can match. Have you looked at your smart phone and think how amazing it is and how you take it for granted?

42

@sebee, as for youth wanting things differently: I'm not that worried Liberty Media will open up social media, new platforms, etc. I am concerned however that the general F1 show will be pimped up to a noisy, flashy music-embedded festival. Us older guys (check?) just want the roar of engines, the noise of chattering people around the paddock, the occasional transistor radio. Not so for people under 30. Everything has to happen against a constant background of music, tunes and tones.
So the rumours that the new principals rate F1 races as rather old-fashioned happenings instill some fear into me.

My 89 year old mother got operated lately, local sedation. The (young) surgeon asked her: some music, classical perhaps? Solemn funeral cello music set in and he hastened to apologise. That wasn't appropiate. They finally settled for - you cannot begin to guess.
Blondie! I mean, can you imagine? I envisaged the surgeons hopping around her:
( Ooh Denis ) scalpel ( Doo-be-do ) please, ( I'm in love with you ) nurse!
Afterwards I interrogated the surgeon, demanded to know whether this is normal nowadays.
"They work better if they feel fine. Rest assured, they will tune it down as soon as things get complicated."
Same thing with my dentist, only slightly younger than me. 10 years ago music was introduced in the waiting room.
Why? "They all do it", and "people want it."
Last year he even started playing music in the dentist practice. Mind you, not for customers like me, but for himself, the drill's noise is just too awkward to bear.
And this is just my point: most youngsters are [Mod] who are afraid of both silence and natural or machine noise.
Now, if you're afraid to be confronted with a dentist's drill sound, how can you bear the unaccomodated sound of an F1 PU let alone V10 engine?
(come to think of it, the iiinnnggg of the drill is probably more like a PU, but nevermind)

So, Sebee maybe you should not be constantly worried with the right engine (noise). All but too soon the main sound could well be ever-present music and jingles. Ask yourself this question: what would I prefer if the choice would be V10 but constant interference by music vs PU in 'free air' (not free-to-air, but free air as in air free of ambient riffraff noise and chatter).

One musical extension I do wanna see: they shouldn't play the German hymn (MB, ROS) with only a repeat of the first phrase. Always repeat the second phrase as well!
Oh by the way, I do have some cute ideas which music and jingles to use for:
- piling up for FP1, FP2, FP3, Q1, Q2, Q3, race
- yellow flags
- red flag
- blue flag
- incident under investigation
- penalty submitted
- lifting of SC
- press conference
- victor's ceremony
etc.
but since I don't want all of this to be implemented I will not share it here.
(add insult to injury if it's picked up)
In case you or anyone else is curious: my mother is fine and she loved the music! Keep telling myself that her critical faculties get jeopardised once she's bathed in attention.

43

By the way, look at what Formula X1 would be able to do for fan vote in some of my comments here. Single car qualifying order, voting drivers off the grid who finish bottom 5 or bottom 3, voting on which type of car version (Fan car or Fanless) races are a particular circuit.

That's serious real impactful stuff. You think F1 on social media will give you anything close to that? No way - structure doesn't permit it. Formula X1 structure would.

44

Ferrari wouldn't commit to a new series without any history or track record. Even if they did, Formula Bernie would run into exactly the same problems as Formula Fota did - all the F1 ready tracks are contracted to F1, all the F1 friendly sponsors are contracted to F1, all the F1 teams are contracted to F1...

45

How do you know that?

Ever heard of A1GP? Google it. Read about it. Learn. Come back to us.

Does Formula 1 own all the tracks on the planet? It tells all the tracks what type of racing and events can take place on the tracks? Who wrong those contracts with those tracks?

Are al the sponsors owned by F1? Seems to me there are a lot of sponsors cars actually, and last I checked, few is any of the top brands are really visible in F1.

Can teams set up other efforts? Can new teams be brought in? What if the model is for all teams to be profitable like I mentioned here? Bernie would have to go through an applicant selection process. Why he could even make them pay say...a 40M entry fee - BOOM! Funding for the series off the top!

Don't be small minded. F1 is is not the end all be all of motorsport. It's just a brand. And just like Blackberry it was once huge, and now it's fading out. There is room for a new brand in motorsport. There is room for a new format, new ideas, new engagement, new content distribution.

46

Type-o autocorrect. Should be...
"Who wrote all those contracts with those tracks?"

47

So...we've seen teams try to break away from Bernie and fail.

Now Bernie has been "broken away" and is ready to set up Formula X1 perhaps?

Who wants to place a bet against Bernie? I'm not a betting man but in this case, I'd take those bets.

48

Well, what is the bet? Lay out the "winning" conditions for Bernie? Do you honestly believe any race promoter would side with Bernie over Liberty? Bernie gouged them to death!! His own greed has now left him with only chocolate soldiers at his side. Unless Bernie calls up Vladimir and orders some "shipments" of dioxin, then he doesn't have much to fight with.

49

What is it with you people? Does Liberty own all the tracks on this planet?
Does Liberty pay all the bills at all the circuits? Last I checked, Liberty owns none of the circuits and charges them huge fees. Brawn just said there is no intent to change those fees.

Does Liberty provide all the revenue to the tracks it doesn't even own?
Does Liberty have the right to take away potential revenue from tracks?
Does Libery have the right to tell tracks what they can and cannot do with their properties?
Do events at tracks have to be FIA and Liberty sanctioned?

Do you honestly think that Libery tells Putin what he can and cannot do with the Sochi track? Seriously KRB? I think I have to let you go as Treasurer of JAonF1 Canadian Chapter. This is below your standards. 🙂

50

"Do you honestly think that Libery tells Putin what he can and cannot do with the Sochi track?"

Haha I particularly liked that.

51

What are the terms of the bet? You ignored that bit.

Liberty (Brawn) said that they will give more revenue generators to the promoters. Liberty will increase their profit, while Bernie would only increase their loss. It would be totally different if Bernie had shared more of the wealth when he could've.

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2017/01/25/only-one-thing-mattered-in-the-ecclestone-era/

52

I posted the exact Brawn quote here...it is quite enlightening. Liberty generating revenue for the tracks not for itself? I can't wait to see how that plays out. Key to his statement how no tracks will see any reduction in hosting fees.

If Bernie does nothing in a new racing series by end of 2018, I will be banished from JAonF1dom for eva! If opposite is true, I shall as of Jan 1st 2019 (or earlier confirmation) be known as Sir Sebee (STAR) and be recognized as the first 6 star commenter.

If it happens to be called Formula X1, I need a bonus. Put the cherry on this cake KRB!

We need a bet nullifying clause in case something happens to Bernie, God forbid!

Honestly, even I know that a new series is a stretch KRB. But it should be done, because Formula 1 is a weak product - that's a fact.

The most likely scenario is that Liberty fails and Bernie buys F1 back for 25 cents on the dollar. Probability wise, that's probably most likely scenario. But...if Bernie, via Flavio for example, started a rival series, it would certainly speed up Liberty's failure, would it not? Allowing F1 to fall back into Bernie's spider web with ease. 🙂

53

Uh, you do know that Bernie's said he won't do anything to hurt F1, the product that he brought to this point? He quashed the rival series rumours. Of course that doesn't mean it's 100% off, knowing Bernie, but it doesn't sound like he's looking to create a new racing series.

54

A series would need to be baked. No one can take the ingredients from zero to full meal quicker though. These statements could just be buying time KRB. It's too soon for this type of talk. Give it a few quarters and when ready announcements will be made. And I could see it being done through Flavio for example. Who knows? They may have already been working on it quietly.

The ingredients in the Formula X1 idea are there. I'm not kidding you, I believe that Formula X1 would absolutely redefine what motorsport is, especially during this high tech time. It would redefine it around human excellence and extreme theme. Sure, we can send unmanned rockets to space, but it is man in space that captures the imagination. Same with racing - but only if the driver is at the centre and able to go beyond the limit, and there is no way on God's green earth that Formula 1 can satisfy that because of the built-in weakness that is constructors championship and financial model. I would do nothing to compromise Formula X1's extremeness or driver focus or the car's ability to exceed human capabilities.

Obviously main concern is spectator safety at these speeds and forces. I would actually move stands out of the way or not use grand stands that ware in potential danger's path, and I would tell the fans about. "Look, we can't let you sit here for Formula X1 Grand Prix because what you're about to come and see, it is too dangerous for you to be in that area." Since Formula X1 is a closed cockpit design, I would make the cockpit a fully enclosed survival cell that includes complete flipping ability, fence impacts, etc. It's all doable, and I would absolutely engineer the thing for danger, and then mitigate the danger. In Formula 1 halo is a pain in the butt and lame looking and a hinderance to the product identity. In Formula X1 an enclosed survival cell in a car that exceed human capabilities would actually become a selling point.

It is so easy to overcome all the weaknesses of Formula 1 and put it on it's back heels, the path is so clear, I don't know how Formula 1 is allowed to stand on the top step still and identify itself as the pinnacle.

55

Can you imagine Formula X1 drivers being approved to race in Formula X1 by being subjected to Air Race 10G+ forces to get their X1 License?

Remember when F1 drivers were called pilots? Formula X1 would bring that back in spades! Drivers putting on a G-Force suit to race...go ahead, change the channel. I dare you!

56

I have to say Sebee that it's such a shame that you decided to start to cut back on your commenting 😉

57

He’s begun to disseminate hints that he is looking to set up his own rival site; Sebee@V10.com

58

Oh, I saw a BMW M5 the other day, it had a license plate "GOT V10", I laughed so hard! What a great plate. Have a picture of it even.

59

Surely there is no way www.V10.com is free.

60

You know what Random, you're right. I've relapsed. Thanks for the intervention, friend.

Maybe once comment per week is not the right strategy. It just opens the door to relapse and return full tilt to the addiction. I have to quite fully to stay clean, right?

61

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

You do know that if Bernie launches a V10 formula, I'm going to lose my $#!+ like a little school girl seeing Bieber, right?

62

Yes Sebee, I'm guessing that your excited squealing is the only thing we'll be able to hear over the engines 🙂

63

I have no interest in putting money in the pockets of the [Mod], especially if I have to pay an extortionate amount for a bunch of other "sport" which I have zero interest in. And I'm not fussed with fancy camera angles but I wouldn't mind paying some money for a race weekend if it gives me realtime access to *all* the stats on the cars and drivers. Am I F1 geeky enough to wonder what Max's heart rate is or what the temperature of Lewis's right front tyre is - hell yes!

64

So are rival teams, why not ask for design specifications of the cars while you are at it?

65

Design specs are the teams IP, I'm not asking for that. I want to see the realtime information, understand what the team is up to and and see if I can make a better strategy call. Engaging the fan.

If all the teams have to publish the same information then it is the same level playing field for all. With all the information available internally, teams still manage to screw up their own strategy. Just because you have information from other teams it doesn't mean you will necessarily make a better decision.

66

They don't give this to you because of all the secrecy in F1. Only a truly open spec series where there are no secrets could give fans the level of access that we really want. My Formula X1 idea would give you such access, would also provide incredible fan involvement that would never compromise on-track Grand Prix racing integrity. In fact, it would be all about focusing on the drivers and giving them a fair level playing field to compete. In tennis are players allowed to bring technological advantage onto the court that the other player doesn't have access to? In boxing is a heavy weight allowed to fight a feather weight? Why are such unsportsmanlike advantages permitted in F1? Bernie, ironically, should set up his rival Formula X1 to attack those incredible and quite unsolvable weaknesses in the Formula 1 product.

67

What if it's free OTA TV for the new racing series, and then perhaps more and better content on Netflix?

Did you hear? Netflix will spend 6B on content in 2017 alone. Do you already have Netflix? You may soon have Formula X1 included in your Netflix. Would you like that? Nothing extra plus all that other Netflix content too. Bernie doesn't like millions of small transactions. But he would surely like a piece of that 6B Netflix budget and let Netflix bring you his Formula X1.

68

Dream on ....

69

Without Dreams, nothing comes true.

70

Could Neflix platform make it possible to vote for driver qualifying order, or if an X1 Fan or X1 Fanless car is used next Grand Prix weekend? Or which 1 of the bottom 5 WDC finishers doesn't get eliminated from his seat for next season? Absolutely! Wow...Netflix content taken to the next level!

71

PF1 piece...because it quotes other press...

>
According to whispers in the media Ecclestone could fight back with a breakaway series of his own.

BBC Sport’s F1 journalist Andrew Benson reported: “Interesting. Have also been told by a trusted source they expect Ecclestone to fight back v Liberty – with a breakaway series by 2019.”

He added: “Hope these people predicting an Ecclestone breakaway are wrong. Splits are no good for anyone; would be pure vindictiveness.”

Meanwhile journalist Peter Windsor reacted to the 86-year-old’s ousting by saying: “The response today when an F1 luminary was asked privately how Mr E was doing: “He’s setting-up a breakaway series”.

“Don’t laugh.”

Added to that Germany’s Auto Bild is reporting that Ecclestone could revive long-time friend Flavio Briatore’s GP1 concept.

Involving lower budgets, normally aspirated engines and standard chassis, the series would compromise GP2 and GP3 teams but without the FIA.

Red Bull have already made it clear that they have no intention of looking to a rival series should Ecclestone set one up.

“We are fully behind Formula 1 and do not want anything to do with any other planned series,” Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko told Bild.

...seems we found a weakness in my plan, Red Bull X1 racer may not be "given". But what Marko says to press and what DM (who looked at buying F1) would say to Bernie are perhaps two different things. Bernie could just copy the X1 to a degree, perhaps with a blend of X1 and that futuristic car we saw here to come up with a new design. Anyway, designs can't be patented and Adrian Newey put his design out there to be copied. Why even Red Bull is calling it X2010 and X2014, so they seem to have moved away from the X1 designation themselves.

GP1? That seems like a weak brand like A1GP. If you want to take on Formula 1 brand Bernie, I think Formula X1 is a better brand to go with. It has to have the word Formula in it, without a doubt.

72

I rather like like 'Formula BE1' as in 'be one' hahaha

73

Here is the thing about Formula X1 kenneth....

"Me and by buddies are going to the Formula X1 race in Australia this weekend."

"You want to meet at the pub and watch the X1 race?

"You mean F1 race?"

"With those hybrid PUs? Heck no. I mean X1 dude. V10 extreme!"

It just seems like saying X1 is right there. Plus, Bell X1 - first thing to go Mach 1. With the Concorde agreement, we know how sentimental Bernie is about things that go faster than speed of sound.

Bell X-1 flew in 1946. It went Mach 1 in 1947. Bernie knows all about it. He was alive, a teenager at the time! 🙂

74

OK, that's a good one. I'm laughing out loud.

The marketing hook for Formula X1 in my view.... X being eXtreme!

You know...
eXtreme cars!
eXtreme speed!
eXtreme forces!
eXtreme fan involvement!

Formula X1. Season One coming to Netflix in 2018.

Damn, no video behind that commercial, and I already want to watch.

75

why dont you become bernie's advisor!

76

the whole thing has been bricked up behind a wall the last few years.
The viewing figures are low compared to what they were and will stay there.
Im sure BE has contacts in itv or bbc and similar stations round the world that have been priced out.
Sanctioning body? who died and put the fia in charge?
Boxing had multiple santioning bodies. why not a new one based in say paraquay.
There are hundreds of interesting tracks round the world that put on races every week.
He could easily have a 10-12 race series up and running by 2020.
The only thing is wether its worth it for BE at his age but he does like the fun of wheeling and dealing.
At the end of the day its the fans that make the sport not a lot of factories spending millions on a poor show.

77

You know what's interesting? Like super really interesting?

Bernie knows all the contracts. He knows all the weaknesses. He probably made all those contracts so that they give concessions and have steep penalties should FOM/F1 break them, because after all he was charging so much there was never a chance or intent that they would be broken. So if say FOM was to cancel F1 going exclusive behind paywall in UK as of 2019 with no free races, it will cost them because Sky will sue the heck out of them. With all these TV deals that probably carry penalties and restrictions to what FOM/F1 can do for some time into the future, and FOM/F1 not being able to break any track hosting contracts, and not wanting to erode their own revenue, he knows exactly what plays to make, at what tracks, to which TV stations or streaming networks. He know exactly what is needed to make Formula X1 successful. He has intimate detail of every day, because he made those deals.

Can you imagine, this being your competitor?

Maybe that's why Bernie was happy to let Formula F1 have the PUs and didn't fight it as hard when he had a chance last year, because it would take F1 down a locked-in path he could easily challenge with another V10 based product like the one we saw during peak F1. Don't discount anything with this motorsport mad genius.

78

Hey, there might be something in this here Sebee talk!
Just a feint glimmer of hope even, that Bernie could bring this little corporate party to a premature end???
Sure. Pigs will fly...

79

How did you know? Are you standing under my window?

I've been throwing bacon strips out the window for years now...daily.

80

Come on Bernie just go and retire gracefully.
Stop all your nonsensical threats to start a new series.
I hope Europol and German Banks and the EU look into his finances again.

81

I believe Bernie already has another appointment with the courts later this year - more fun and games around the sale of F1 to CVC. He also has HMRC trying to reopen investigations into his tax affairs. Given all that and his not inconsiderable age, there is not the slightest, remotest, outside chance that BE will be starting a rival series to F1 (imo of course).

82

Interesting photo of Briatore, Mallya and Ecclestone. I wonder what their business dealings all have in common...

83

QPR football club.

84

Yes, that is exactly what I meant 😉

85

86 years old, starting a series? Rather, he should remember he helped build F1 and should have some satisfaction in seeing his child grow. Maybe he could, with his millions or billions, support beginner series (karting, etc.), build a really good F1 track (and use some CREATIVE ideas), or start a team like Haas. Something else - many many opportunities for him that are far far more interesting than starting a competing series!

86

...satisfaction in seeing his child grow?

More like finally getting rid of this 40 year old free loader living in the basement that brags about taking out the recycling and saving a few kilo of fuel in the family van when he went to buy some weed!

87

"It would be hard for anyone to set up a rival series with Ferrari" - intriguing.

As to the exclusivity of F1. It wasn't just Bernie's vision that brought that into the sport, the teams also embraced a paddock full of celebritits no one cares about.

Remove the great unwashed and make way for the money. Whilst that works for a company that sells high end product, be it Ferrari, Pagani or Naim, it doesn't work for a product that is essentially a shop window for fizzy drinks, German engineering, whiskey, shampoos etc.

The demographic may be aging but it doesn't make the old timers wrong. On Talksport, many times you'll hear people of all ages phone in and speak of following a team because of father, grand father etc.

If sport is about millenials - I would suggest this is also fallible. It appears that all business chases the new money, be it entertainment, car insurance or mobile phone deals. Once captured they become the customer base and are ignored and generally abused.

Grow the fan base is my seasoned observation, stop exclusivly chasing the new money. Isn't this what CVC and Bernie have done for a decade? Look where the state of the sport is.

I like my race drivers to have charisma, a pair of b**ls and to chew on wasps for fun. I don't want to hear children bleating on about white lines, and how he ran off track.

The cars have supposedly been developed to be faster, to demonstrate that the drivers are heroes. Which would imply that the powers that be realised, too late, that actually these cars are too easy to drive - or it appears they are.

F1 is an easy sport to get right. Whilst technology fascinates many who view it - it should account for very little in terms of race performance.

Sport is about humans. It's about heroes. It's about the superhuman experience of a sub 2 second pitstop for example. It's never about the design of the wheel nuts is it?

88

I think James said that "It would be hard for anyone to set up a rival series withOUT Ferrari".
Just Sayin'
Otherwise an interesting post and I agree with many of your points.
If I may add my twopennyworth, the car industry seems concerned that the millenials aren't interested in car ownership, ergo they are not interested in cars.
As you rightly point out, CVC and BE have chased the 'new money' and in my opinion have alienated many die hard fans who have supported many dreadful races over many years. By trying to tailor the sport to a younger generation in making (some) drivers into 'celebs' the sport has, on occasion, been driven in to second place.
American sport is showbiz driven by big business and advertising revenue. Apart from the necessary sponsorship of teams, is that what we really want for F1?
Not in my household! We want proper racing, informed opinion, racing unencumbered by gimmicks, the input of whichever celebrity is promoting a book/film/album release, or rules that are created to 'enhance the spectacle'. We want excitement and tension that is organic and an integral part of the race. We don't care what dogs a driver owns, or who he spent last weekend partying with.
(Apologies! I just wanted to point out your typo but my passion got the better of me lol!)

89

Dear Liberty Media,
- Please do your best to get out of the Sky exclusive contract signed by Bernie. Otherwise by 2019, there won't be anyone watching.
- Please offer F1 on free to air or as a subscription style service. Free to air will see sponsorship fly through the roof which would generate the same revenue currently earned by F1. This would also increase the audience ten fold.
- Tell Sky to [Mod], forcing customers through a double paywall before being able to watch Formula 1.
- Please share the yearly takings fairly to all the teams.
- Please give Mr Brawn free reign to dictate rules and not be dictated by strategy groups.

#makeF1greatagain

Kind Regards,
F1 Fan

90

wishful thinking at best!

91

I'm sure all the people who've made multi-millions by being partners with Bernie will be queuing up to join him on this new venture.

Here's the list I've compiled -

Paddy McNally

That's all folks...

92

I don't get it, if a circuit is at capacity attendance (Silverstone) how will promotion help?

93

Quite. The revenue equation is pretty simple. If you can't increase capacity ....

94

So....less GA and more grandstand with higher price tag?

95

James, not that it really matters I guess, but Mr Saward says that he has been trawling through the SEC files relating to the takeover of F1 by LM and it says that the offices that F1 operates from are not owned by them - they are leased. Same for the facility in Kent where the TV operations are based. Is it Bernie that personally owns the offices and leases to F1 or has Joe got it wrong?

96

Manor has folded .
To be frank.
It was on the cards.
So who will be the rubber layers for the big teams? Sauber 👍?

97

Breaking News: Manor fold after failing to find a buyer, leaving ten teams to start in Australia on March 26th.

98

I still remember that pass and regard it as best ever. It was a long time ago, but I believe I've seen it live (though I can be mistaken). Guess I was very lucky back then.

Liberty, please, oh, pretty please, give us the ability to ditch TV boxes for some Internet broadcasts...

99

All the talk about millennials is a bit silly. Someone's been listening to too many marketing "experts".

Millennials want easily accessible digital content without "friction"? Sure, but so do 50 year olds. Thinking that the internet,social media etc is a new thing that only millennials identify with is the same crazy outdated thinking that came from Bernie.

100

Who created the Interweb, email, etc. Not the 'millennials' whoever they might be, it was the 60 year olds who have been playing with computers for 30 and 40 years. Just because we don't live in Failbook doesn't mean we're not here.

101

Great article James, impartial and insightful as always. I haven't read anything regarding the contrast of the two approaches as well described as this.

Personally I believe for all the moaning about Bernie, F1 fans may possibly have just as much to moan about once the corporate structure changes hits full stride. Namely the loss of what was so appealing to so many of us. Maybe I am of the "ageing" fan bracket, but the NFL for example with is market saturating and over promoted approach, as well as being dumbed down to appeal to the widest possible audience is not very appealing. The "exclusivity" of F1, while massively frustrating on many levels, was certainly also a large part of its appeal. It has never felt like the NFL, NBA or NASCAR, Indycar, or any other big sport, this is why I was drawn to it in the first place. I feel the changes sure to come on the sporting side are massively needed and welcomed, but the changes coming on the marketing and commercial corporate side, with its growth is everything approach, will be less palatable.

It will be interesting to watch.

102

just as much to moan about...

I have no doubt there will be just as much moaning - I think some of them enjoy the moaning more than the racing 🙂

103

Thanks for your comment

104

James, been meaning to ask you this for a long time.
What is the purpose of Porsche cup before an F1 race? apart from being one of pre-race entertainments for the fans at trackside?

105

If memory serves me correctly, any F1 race I have attended has always had support races, including the Porsche Cup.
Have I missed something in the article?

106

To fill out the programme. To promote Porsches

107

Hi James, just some feedback as I was going to read the comments section but then decided that since it was the Sebee show I wouldn't bother. It's fine to have an opinion but there's often 5 or 6 posts (and sometimes more!) in a row by him. Sifting through his oft repeated opinions to find the opinions of others is pretty tedious and drives me away from this site faster than an imaginary formula x1 car.

108

First world problems.

109

@ NickH Formula 1 is the very definition of First World, so yes it is a first world problem. What, you expect people on here to be talking about the re
@ Sebee the irony of commenting on a comment that is complaining about how much you comment! I like your opinions (even if I disagree) and I like your enthusiasm but sometimes you are just overkill.

110

i suspect ecclestone encouraged vettel to swear.
now that he's no longer ceo, we'll see if vettel ever swears again..

111

I expect the Ferrari boys to carry on using whatever language they want.

112

According to the BBC, we are likely to have more American races, and all events will be a 'Superbowl'.
Added to that they suggest 'a major event of music and entertainment with sport at the centre of it'.
Be afraid, be very afraid.

113

I would like to add one more post here as i think that it's relevant. Very many years ago i was stuck in los angeles en route from new york to sydney and it happened to be Thanksgiving, A client very kindly offered to host me for 24 hrs at his home. During the day he sat me down in front of his TV to watch the 'superbowl'!!! I had no idea what was happening and they commentated in a 'patois' that was incomprehensible to me. What i witnessed seemed as though the actual action was simply less important than the rules of engagement for something like what seemed to be most of the time. Now that experience doesn't sit well with me when Chevy 'Chase' Carey makes his announcement vis a vis the 'superbowl.

114

@ Just sayin.... Hopefully we won't be subjected to the usual US froth and bubble tinged with disneyland style sickening saccarhine. What they determine as entertainment is not the same as mine. To me i have followed F1 for a lifetime and whilst the whole 'show' has changed the essence of 'racing' is still there but in a far more muted sense. There is no more drama. When you can choose to forecast a team and a driver, one of two, who will comfortably win both titles before a season even starts is not what i enjoy and it is really not F1 anymore! Yes, domination has happened before but not so emphatically so as we have witnessed over the past three years.
What Liberty choose to do is still far from clear but please, no Mickey Mouse distractions.

115

If I was to take a cynical view here I'd ask how it is that James has suddenly become a spokesperson for "what millenials want". I don't think I could be such a spokesperson...and I am one (a millenial, that is)!

Overall, though, I'd say it is a really interesting article assessing the strategic dichotomy between exclusivity and total openness. I must admit I wasn't sure how F1 would potentially lurch from one to the other. Interestingly, although the "exclusivity" model is not fashionable these days, it still gets used successfully; I remember watching a documentary last year about music managers where they contrasted Justin Bieber's manager (they put everything online) with Adele's (they are very restrictive about her appearances), yet both are very successful (you can debate whether that's a good thing I guess!) in their own right. I haven't heard of "inclusive exclusivity" but it'll be interesting to see how it works with F1; it sounds promising (it doesn't happen yet but I could see myself paying a small premium to access certain artists on Spotify, for example, if it wasn't too onerous) but we'll have to see I guess.

Also good detail here on the new relationship between the new owners and the race circuits; and on the planned scaling up of advertising and sponsorship personnel. When the numbers are put like that it's amazing Bernie lasted as long as he did, and kind of ridiculous that it is still in this state now in 2017! Yet another "sublime and ridiculous" contrast of Mr E, I guess!

116

This:

"Digital natives don’t mind paying a few dollars or pounds for content they really want, but they want it here and now and without any ‘friction’ in the technology or process that slows down or complicates how they consume it."

Because I rent a house it is difficult to get Foxtel/Sky. I use Foxtel GO to watch races live and sometimes am able to watch on demand, but not always. As I live in Australia it isn't always possible to watch races live.

I'd happily pay for a decent Netflix style F1 on demand service.

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