Entertainment or technology? Looking into the future of motorsport at CES Las Vegas
Vegas ERace
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jan 2017   |  12:17 pm GMT  |  127 comments

E-Sports looks like a great conduit to bring new fans and competitors into motorsport while autonomous cars will prompt the sport to take some tough decisions very soon; those are the conclusions after a weekend where motorsport was showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

On Saturday I moderated a panel discussion on the main stage in the CES on “Technology and Fan Accessibility”, featuring FIA president Jean Todt, Alejandro Agag, the CEO of Formula E and Zak Brown, who represented both McLaren Technology Group and Motorsport Network, which has just bought a stake in Formula E. A representative of Formula E sponsor Visa was also on the panel.

CES Las Vegas

Also on Saturday the Formula E racers went head to head with the world’s leading drivers from ESports in a US$1 million E-Race. The race was won by another teenage Dutch racing sensation, Bono Huis, ahead of Formula E racer Felix Rosenqvist.

It was fascinating to see the real racers adapting; they had to drive in their socks, for example, as the brake pedal was very sensitive. They also had to adapt to braking without the aerodynamic effect of a real car.

Several of the ERacers present are part of Team Redline, a community of which Red Bull F1 star Max Verstappen is very much part.

Vegas ERace

ESports is developing into a huge business and engages millions of milennials around the world. It is well advanced in many game areas; motorsport games are technologically and graphically inferior at present, but developing quickly. For the FIA it brings in the chance to introduce a new level of licence holders and the federation has been working with Japanese Gran Turismo Creator Kazunori Yamauchi for two years to create an FIA certified Gran Turismo championship.

All around us at CES was evidence of a fast changing world; the Las Vegas Convention Centre looked more like Geneva Motor Show than a consumer electronics fair. Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, Mercedes and Ford all had massive stands and autonomous self-drive vehicles were the clear focus.

CES Vegas

Carlos Ghosn made a key note speech on Nissan’s stand about the importance of autonomous and electric vehicles in the future.

On the Mercedes stand not only were they talking about self-driving Mercedes vans and drones operating a delivery service for goods, like Amazon, but they also contemplated a future where people feel that car ownership is unnecessary and car sharing will become the norm, especially in cities in developed countries.

CES Las Vegas

Car ownership in a country typically kicks in when per capita income reaches US$10,000 to $20,000. By 2025 India is projected to be the world’s third largest car maker and China is moving forward quickly on automotive. So the emerging markets will still have a strong appetite for car ownership.

By 2025 the emerging markets are projected to account for 78m new car sales a year whereas in the developed world the number will be dropping to 34m, from a peak of 37m in 2015, according to a report from Goldman Sachs. And 25% of those cars will be pure electric or plug in hybrid.

Meanwhile manufacturer spending on technology to make engines more fuel efficient will reach an average of $2,600 per vehicle by 2025, compared to just $270 in 2012. The work that is going on currently in F1 on hybrid turbos, which has taken the competing manufacturers close to 50% thermal efficiency, is part of that work.

But there’s no disguising the fact that it’s a story that has left many F1 fans cold.

Ford Hybrid

So the question must be faced – whether motorsport is an entertainment or a technology exercise? Of course it’s both, but which should be the dominant story?

Clearly entertainment is the answer as far as F1 is concerned. So it needs some strong decisions in the next few years to set it on the right path post 2020.

As Ross Brawn said in his book ‘Total Competition’:

“For F1 to succeed people have got to watch it. If people don’t watch it, F1 is in a vacuum and it will just disappear. They watch it because they want to see drivers racing against each other. They want to see all the entertainment.

“..I think that the technological element excites a lot of fans… You have got to have that technical element.”

This topic as well as the move away from people actually driving cars and the accompanying threat to motorsport were hot topics on the CES panel – as well as the opportunity for growth through ESports. Brown argued that society stopped riding horses and using them to pull carriages over 100 years ago, but horse racing and equestrianism are still very popular,

“People will always want to race cars,” said Brown. “Clearly autonomous cars are going to be the future for many of us for our daily commute. But people want to see the personalities and the competition.

“I mean what does baseball have to do with anything, other than it’s a great sport?

“So I think you’ll find that motorsports is always going to be an exciting sport, it’s here to stay and it’s only going to get stronger.”

Jean Todt

The presence of Todt, as president of the sport’s governing body, at CES was a clear signal that big decisions about the future will need to be taken soon. He can see the threats all around; if car sharing takes over from car ownership, for example, then the FIA might need to change its model as the motor clubs like RAC, ADAC and ACI would lose membership and thus revenue and influence.

Coming back to the decision on whether motorsport is an entertainment or a technology story, Formula E plays up its role as the incubator of EV tech, batteries and so on as its core message, which has been effective in building up its standing among host cities and attracting manufacturers. But it’s taking time to build a fan base, partly because the tech story dominates and partly because the drivers are second tier names and partly because of the range issue.

McLaren has the contract to develop a battery that, from Season 5 onwards, (ie 2018) will power the cars for the whole hour long race.

This will be the turning point for the series and the point at which Mercedes is set to enter. If they add in drivers of the calibre of Felipe Massa, for example, after his well-paid ‘bonus season’ in F1 with Williams, then they might be in a strong position to capitalise.

What do you think of the balance between entertainment and technology in motorsport? This will be a theme we will return to throughout 2017 on JA on F1. Leave your comments in the section below

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Balance advanced technology with entertainment? Advanced technology IS the entertainment.

My motorsport high points:
1. Chapman brings the rear engined Lotus-Ford to the brickyard.

2. STP turbine cars.

3. Any season from the original Can-Am series. What will Jim Hall bring this year?

4. The Lotus 79 ground effects car.

5. The Experimental Williams double differential 6 wheeler; banned before it ever raced a GP. Total travesty.

6. Rory Byrne’s Benetton that started the ‘nose up in the air’ aerodynamic trend. This was the point where complex diffuser & wing element design began.


Oh man, I loved Can-Am, thanks for that reminder…..wonder what’s on youtube.


I love all forms of motorsport but F1 and MotoGP are top of my list purely based on speed and they could be using a million rubber bands to achieve it for all I care.

The tech can be interesting but it’s all about Mano a Mano racing for me.

I’ve tried with Formula E but it’s just not fast enough yet, the tracks are dinky and the cars ain’t pretty and then there’s the sound. I’ll get over the sound when they’re quicker than F1.
The Ross Brawn/Adam Parr book is fascinating. Great insights, and highlights an F1 teams ability to react and adapt very quickly to a given circumstance faster than any other industry. Liberty and Chase Carey would be wise to consult with Brawn.
Formula One is where it’s at.


I think they would be wiser to consult with Flávio Briatore.


Brawn has been consulting with LM for several months and could play a role in future


A KMPG survey of auto firm executives published in Business Green finds that 90 per cent of executives surveyed expect the electric vehicle (EV) to dominate by 2025, and 74 per cent believe that most car owners today won’t want to own a vehicle in the near future. Of all those surveyed, 93 per cent said they plan to invest in EVs in the next five years.


It’s what they expect because it’s what they want.

The thing about reality is tha it does not conform to what we expect, even though we all wish it would do so even a little tiny bit more consistently.

Here in Australia they expected 50% green energy by 2020. Now there are talks of going back to coal.


By the way, I’d imagine a few solar farm installs in the outback and you could get close to 50%. Solar farms are quick to deploy. Problem is, they don’t generate many ongoing jobs in mines, rail, trucking. And soon politicians have to count those in solar farm deployments.


Sebee, Indeed, the practical and economic realities are such that the renewables dream has pretty much fizzled out here. Investments are being scaled back, as are subsidies, green is turning out to not be as green as people thought, and at the end of the day energy from renewables costs the consumer more.

It was given a fair trial I think and it just didn’t produce the utopia that it promised.


I do think that future trend moves in that direction. Uptake of EVs in low fuel cost environment and popularity of Uber gives you all the preview you need. These execs aren’t exactly visionaries. Look at Mercedes AMG, were going into 4th year of PU, where is that Mercedes AMG hybrid that delivers all this greenness? Oh that’s right….we have this awesome V8 or V12 AMG car for you instead.


all of those expectations have not happened. ask children if they’d like to own cars in their adulthood..


I teach at a university, and while I haven’t done any serious investigating (which may seem odd since I teach statistics) many of the students have no real interest in owning a car. I suspect it is mostly a case of whether they were raised in an urban vs rural area.


sorry but i couldn’t stop laughing soon after reading your post. a university lecturer of atatistics is using his class of statistics students as a statistical sample to decide whether the global young have the desire to own cars?
come on!
no university lecturer would feel the need to tell me that they are a university lecturer…


Kids can’t afford a car and see cheaper options with Uber.
Never mind the convenience. And you know what? Uber is worth it just in stress reduction alone. You’re basically paying someone else to stress driving while you nap or read or mediate. Automated Uber will take the load off the current driver.


Aveli, I think you misunderstood what I said. You said we should ask children if they want a car as adults – I only mentioned my job because it brings me into contact with 19 to 25 year olds on a daily basis. I specifically said “I haven’t done any serious investigating”. I said absolutely nothing about the desires of “global youth” to own cars. What I said was that of those I talk to “many have no real interest in owning a car.” and this is true, but I couldn’t put a number to “many”. I would bet that when I was a student close to 100% of us would have said yes to that question – I know I would have. The closest I came to making ANY conclusion was that I “suspect” it might be related to whether they live in a rural area or an urban centre, and I think it would be hard to argue that living 15 miles outside of town in an area with no public transit might be a motivator to buy a car.


there are many websites which cater for car lovers and majority of their clients are children. the internet is full of videos and images of cars, topgear is popular the world over. have you heard of fast and furious? most children are keen to tell you which their favourite cars are. people love cars, hence the large number of successful car manufacturers the world over. am not sure where you got that idea of yours but i know 5 university students who own cars. motor shows around the world are attended to full capapcity. all signs tell me your idea is a crazy one prof.


Aveli, I think you are acting on confirmation bias. Don’t make decisions based on anecdotes like “many websites”, ” the internet is full of”, “Top Gear is popular”, or my favourite, “I know 5 students”. You should make decisions based on evidence. So I googled it and found this (again, the first hit 🙂 )….
If you want to scroll down half way there is a bar-graph, but I can give you the highlights. Between 1983 and 2010, in the USA the percentage of 16 year olds with a driver’s licence dropped from 45% down to 30% (a drop of 1/3 or 33% fewer), for 18 year olds it dropped from 80% down to 60% (a drop of 1/4 or 25% fewer), and it isn’t until the mid 40’s that we have equivalent rates in both time periods. There was a lot of research cited in the article, all of which point to a trend of less interest in driving for todays youth.
It turns out the data suggests “that idea of” mine is true, and all signs tell me your idea of evidence is a crazy one 😉


us population is only 300 million. why not look at the same statistics on china or indonesia? 30 years ago most chinese adults rode bicycles, now you’d struggle to find a chinese kid who doesn’t want to own a car in the future.
i can assure you that there are many successful car manufacturers the world over who introduce new models every year. if demand for cars was on a decline in the us why is it then that all the f1 manufacturing teams are pushing to have more f1 races there?
i think you are better off convincing yourself of the real reason for your frustration than just saying anything to belittle motor racing and the motor industry. whatever your frustrations are, only you can decide on being honest with yourself. as far as am concerned it is thriving with an insatiable appetite for more success.


Wow Aveli, how did you get from my saying young people in the USA aren’t as interested in car ownership anymore to I am belittling motor racing or the car industry? Are you insane? You keep making things up, claiming I said them, having a little hissy fit about it and then you have the nerve to suggest I am the one with frustration issues? I bet a lot of your discussions with people who disagree with you end with you making some sweeping overgeneralization like auto racing is “thriving and insatiable”, backed up with “as far as I am concerned” and you some how believing that is a debate winner. Do you ever actually listen to what people say, or consider any of the actual evidence they present, because based on what you just said I am pretty sure you didn’t even look at that article from the Economist? When was the last time you changed your mind about anything?
Now if you want to have a grown up conversation I am ok with that, but if you are going to keep lying about the things I say I don’t think it is going to go well.


by the way pat f1 driver do you consider by far, the best?


I don’t think it is possible to pick a driver I believe is the best ever – certainly not ‘by far’. Of those I have actually seen drive I have to grudgingly say I think Senna is the most talented.


the current drivers.


Based on how you have tended to misinterpret everything I say …..
How would you define and measure “by far, the best”? Should I include fastest qualifying/race laps? Comparison to teammate performance? Points totals? One lap performance vs consistency? Laps lead? Preseason testing performance? How about funding they bring to the team? How much the team pays them? Sponsorship dollars? Their marketability? Entertainment value to the fans? Personal relationships with the engineers/designers/mechanics? Twitter followers? Leadership skills and motivational abilities?
Simple questions can turn out to be quite complex if you think about them.


That’s enough for this thread please. It has become boring – Mod


if i remember correctly pat m, you introduced yourself as a lecturer of statistics and claimed some statistics confirm that car sharing is the future and fewer people will own cars. i woke you up to the fact that you are no lecturer of statistics, asked for a list of successful car sharing organisations and you sited one organisation which barely makes a profit and quickly present a bar chart from the economist which you think proves that the youth of the us are becoming less interested in car ownership as your evidence that it is the case around the world. i point out to you again that your sample size is too small to be used to confirm what’s happening around the world. the population of europe and america is not even half the world’s population. i also pointed out to you that there is evidence that majority of car manufacturers around the world are thriving, introducing new models and making record sales year in year out. there is no evidence which support any of your claims and you have now decided to make personal attacks. you have not presented any evidence that car sharing is on the rise nor have you presented any evidence that the demand for cars is significantly declining.
if it is a debate you are interested in i wonder why you don’t stick to that debate. please be aware that the truth is a lot more natural than lies. i hope you can now conclude that demand for cars is neither significantly declining nor is car sharing on the rise even after all the false claims that increasing car and electricity use are causing climate change.
no need for name calling and personal attacks. keep your cool.
i ithink the strength of an argument is often inversely proportional to it’s abusiveness, and it’s dependence on logical fallacies.


I did not introduce myself as a lecturer of statistics – you said kids like cars just ask them – I specifically said I hadn’t seriously investigated the topic and described the young people I interact with on a daily basis and what their position seemed to be. You concluded I was overgeneralizing based on a sample of one when I had made no real conclusion, implied I was stupid (and indeed it would have been stupid to make any conclusion based on the impressions I got) and then called me a liar (and I am pretty sure you just called me a liar again).
I replied trying to explain to you that I had made no such claims and that you had misinterpreted my reply. You responded with a series of anecdotes and then told me my idea was crazy.
I pointed out your anecdotal evidence wasn’t really evidence and provided a link to an article in the Economist which cited several sources (a couple of which I then went to and read in full) and gave you some highlights which say that the desire to own a car is declining based on the rates at which they obtained a driver’s license (seems like a reasonable measurement to me) in the USA, but said nothing about global trends (I reported US results for two reasons – they are a very car focused country, and they are right next door to me). Quite a bit of research was cited in that overview article, and most of it says that measures of car ownership in developed economies are trending downward. You are correct that car ownership rates are trending upward in the developing world, but since most populations are becoming more urban they don’t expect the same saturation levels as occurred in the US. Admittedly I did criticize your idea of what constituted evidence but I hardly think that qualified as a personal attack after you called me a stupid crazy liar.
You response to this was more anecdotes about children in China and how robust the car manufacturing industry was, you then falsely claimed I had made some belittling comments about motor racing and the car manufacturing industry (which I had not) and suggested I had some kind of frustration issues I needed to work out (sounded a little like personal insult again).
At this point I admit that I was tired of you insulting me, making false claims about what I had said, and criticizing the evidence I presented while you provided none of your own (besides the 5 students you know vs the 100 or so that I interact with on a weekly basis) and I responded in kind, and now after all the insults you hurled at me somehow your feelings are hurt?

And if you want to discuss the relative merits of sample size, you seemed to be willing to conclude car sharing doesn’t work on the basis of one example – Damon Hill. And if you take an absolute position on a topic (and your position seems to be absolute – car sharing doesn’t work) then a single contrary example is all that is required to refute that claim. If you then chose to define success in a different way that’s ok, but you should clarify what that definition is. I made no claims that car sharing was increasing, and would appreciate it if you would stop putting words in my mouth.

Here is a graph of long term car sales in the USA – car sales seemed to be hitting a plateau in the mid 1990’s, and after a decline following the 2008 economic downturn have recovered to about that same plateau. In the states car sales seem to have been stagnant for the last 20 years or so.
I do not claim that it represents global trends, I am not saying I hate car manufactures, and this has absolutely nothing to do with my appreciation of motorsports.


this could go on forever pat m…your post above in which you claimed to teach statistics to university students is still above for your reference.
so is your claim that car ownership will decline and carsharing was the future.. i standby my assertion that car ownership is not declining and carsharing is not on a dramatic increase. f1 manufacturers will not push to have more races in the us if there was a decline in interest in cars…i don’t understand what other evidence you need to convince you of this…
if you weren’t aware, i’d like to point it out to you that it is normal for the positive to be proven but not for the negative so it’s up to you to prove your claim beyond reasonable doubt. not up to me to prove you wrong. that’s how all legal systems operate around the world.
do you now accept that global car ownership is not on a decline and global car sharing popularity is not on the increase?
public transport, planes trains buses and taxis make a lot more sense. no wonder they have been so popular for over a hundred years..


With 25% – 50% youth unemployment in Eutope and Japanese insurance firm firing 30 people and replacing them with AI – IBM Watson, which will provide proof of concept for corporations as well as customer service around the clock and fully pay for itself by 2nd year, first ask yourself if youth will be able to afford a car by 2025, or even 2020.


it’s about whether they’d want to own cars or not. you don’t know how financially successful they’d be.


Resourcefulness is a trademark of this generation, because with the economic realities they face, they have to be more resourceful. Many economists agree that current “children” will never see the type of economic growth boomers benefited from and their economic reality will reflect that. If you read further you will learn that car utilization rate is 4%, 1% if you count seats in a vehicle. That is the developed world’s car utilization rate – 99% not utilized. You think these children are stupid enough to pay for something they will use that rarely? Enter Uber. Enter car sharing. Enter car rental.


That’s where it’s all heading; a society that has nothing, where even the fundamentals are out of reach of the average person, and where everything is shared.

There’s your utopia.


Wasn’t that communism? What’s yours is mine? …you mean I have to share my V10 bicycle? 🙂


Afraid so.

Also what do you mean v10? Surely it doesn’t have a v10 in it?


Of course it does! Vitesses: 10 🙂 It’s in a shape of a V, and it’s a tribute bike to Ferrari V10 F2004 car.

You can see a picture in a previous post comment.



f1 has no need to predict the future. f1 has the capacity to react to any change. there is absolutely no truth in any future prediction model..f1 would be foolish not to wait and see what changes the future brings..


That’s exactly what F1 has done with Hybrid PUs.

They waited nearly two decades, let Toyota corner 3/4 of the market and then they introduced a Hybrid PU formula as consumers bail on hybrid in a big way, as sales sink, as hybrid models are discontinued due to poor sales, and as low fuel environment kills them. They did this nearly 2 decades late and then claimed that F1 is high tech, futuristic, ahead of it all! And you bought it?


I think it’s almost irrelevant to ask about a balance between entertainment and technology. Everything has an essence that makes that thing what it is.

The essence of Motorsport is that you have a vehicle with out of this world performance that becomes an extension of your body and your abilities, and you have to take it to the limit and keep it teetering on that limit for as long as possible, and as skilfully as possible. And humans derive a tremendous amount of pleasure and satisfaction from that. And nothing will change that. There is simply no substitute for it in the same way as there is no substitute for a deep, manningful relationship with a real human being.

You can have robots, you can have autonomous vehicles, you can have virtual reality. But those things are different; they are not of the same essence as piloting a vehicle on the limit or a having a relationship, and they are not a substitute for those other innate needs, and never will be.


If Formula E was shown free at prime time, then i would probably watch this and forget about F1


andrew small, if enough people agreed with you, then it would be.


That’s clearly the plan. 2018 no changing cars. By then some of the recent battery innovations will start to funnel to main stream too. Roborace will be here to this FE season. Series is heating up. It’s going to put pressure on F1 sooner or later.


If we had V10s, refueling, I think I could put up with DRS.

What do you guys think, with the high downforce pedal to the metal V10s that were light, didn’t need to save any fuel and could have all the tires the driver wanted, would DRS remaining be tolerable?


i enjoy f1 as it is. i don’t want to have to wear ear plugs to protect my drums….
let them race as it is, harvesting and recycling where necessary..


How many races a season do you go to?


2 at the most.
didn’t attend any in 2016 though..


So…you went to 2 F1 “concerts” and you were concerned about the loudness? Is that your concern when you go to see U2 for 2 hours?

As for your ear drums when V10s were on TV, I’m not sure anyone lost there hearing for any reason. But it sure as heck sounded like racing was taking place, even on TV.


all together?


“..I think that the technological element excites a lot of fans… You have got to have that technical element.”

At what point has light weight not become high tech?

At what point did F1 decide that putting on the grid a 722kg fat beast with 100kg of fuel, for a grand total of 822kg was more high tech than fielding a 600kg V10 car with 50kg of fuel and refuelling? 172kg difference. 380lbs. High Tech? How about I give you a 25kg laptop, or a 10kg smart phone to showcase some high tech!


f1 went high tech when the carbon fibre monococ was introduced…that made the cars lighter..


Light weight has stopped being high tech when a couple of car manufacturers got the idea to use F1 to market their PUs.

The likes of Colin Chapman are spinning in their graves fast enough to generate enough electricity to power the formula e championship for as long as it exists.


I’d rather watch a V10 car do a formation lap instead of these fat silent PU cars do anything.




Well that is handy, Every other weekend this summer you can just watch a parade lap from 2006 and be done in three minutes 😉


Save 40 hours of my life? Tempting. I work out durring GPs, so it’s just a time filler. Now if I could just comment less, I’d probably save 120hr each season.


the old f1 sound is like the smoke steam and the smell of coal from steam trains.
some people like them but they are a hazard to health just like the old f1 sound is..


do you use a nokia 100 phone?


I have a Nokia 1100. Also an Amiga 1200, all decked out and everything. Plays Grand Prix like a champ in AGA! Oh, and I do enjoy analog audio too. I’m so refined! 🙂


nice, so you do enjoy tech..


I enjoy tech and how we go to this point. I don’t enjoy complex tech for complexity sake, which is what PUs are.


f1 is complex, with numerous factors which can influence the result.


Yes, and there are more and more artificial complexities than ever before.

They want to know why V10 2000s era was the bee’s knees? Because it was easy for viewer to see they have all the fuel they want, all the engine they want, all the tires they want for every GP, and they can go as fast as possible for the entire 2hr sprint. And even if there are 20 passes in the GP, they will play their greatest sounding F1 hits and the crowds will go home happy and wanting more.


F1 will be fine as it will be watched, as it always has been since its inception. The tech is important as the viewers like to know that they are watching the fastest, most advanced series. If there is another faster and more advanced series available, the motorsport fans will watch it instead of F1.

F1 is about to be dragged (possibly screaming and kicking) into the current era from one mans vision … Not much is badly wrong but some new things will be added and a new spin will develop. Its an exciting time!

I think personally that too many changes in the rules, too much standardisation &control of the cars is reducing the appeal. Whats worse is that the gimmicks DRS, double points races and serious sounding articles about spraying water on the track, reverse grids et al make F! sound like its a kindergarten. Plus races held in the middle of nowhere, where frankly most people have no interest. Monaco which in many ways is a poor spectator race, is widely liked in part due to glamour. Not a lot of that in a one off race in Korea or dockland Valencia!

Autonomous cars? No interest from me. I drive myself for fun as much as convenience. No robot controlled electric box will provide that, so until my sight goes I’m harnessed into the driving seat.


Thinking about this article and the last, I believe that for most of us the golden era of F1 was the one in which they started watching. For me that was a long time ago now, and in the years the racing was boring the exciting tech carried me through, and when the tech got boring the racing carried me through (sometimes both sucked and just bull-headedness carried me through), but because of that history I think one of the unspoken assumptions under all these questions along the lines of “What can we do to address (insert problem here)?” is that they just take as granted the part “And remain the multi-billion dollar economic juggernaut F1 was at the peak”. There will always be a core group of those like me who will follow F1 no matter what, and while I understand the investors need to maximize their investment, I am not sure the expectation of a continually expanding market is a realistic one no matter what they do to increase fan base in the ever more diverse media market. And besides – I felt happily superior that I was one of the few “in the know” when I first started watching F1, and if viewing figures plummet in the future maybe I will get that happy delusion back 🙂


I don’t think most people care how a race car is powered as long as it’s fast. Formula E may lag behind F1 currently but I guarantee that changes if ever their cars equal or surpass F1 in performance.


James can you also comment please on the equally concerning (for conventional motorsports at least) development of Germany drafting resolution in parliament to ban the sale of all ICE cars by 2030- and their push to get the entire EU to pass similar legislation.
All that being said I think Zak Brown’s analogy of horse racing is a brilliant one. Karts have no relevance as a means of daily transportation yet kart racing remains popular especially with kids. The baseball comment also is very relevant – very very few sports – whether as spectator or participant – have any relevance to day to day activities. They are a diversion, a fun past time etc. So even if the self-driven ICE car disappears from the everyday world ( which is inevitable one day) this does not mean motorsports will die off too.


car sharing will not work either because it needs to be organised by someone who will need to be paid, taking the cost beyond car ownership as it currently is.


I give you the Apple Car. Coming soon. Changing the world in a blink.


Sebee, it’s been “coming soon” for about five years….


I said this above, but car share only really works if you don’t need it to commute to work at the same time as everyone else. Beyond that car use can be fairly low, and car share is a good solution. How could it cost more to share the operating costs with a group – how much organizing do you think it would take?


What about convenience? How much is that worth? Running 5 minutes late for whatever reason? Then what? Make everyone else wait? Not go to work that day?


I think that is the big question Steve – just how much is convenience worth? If your shared car is not on time taxi is still a viable option, and most car shares have a penalty for those missing the return time deadline, but yes, that is an inconvenience. But a fleet of driverless cars would go a fair distance to overcome that problem.


PatM, there is nothing to stop people car sharing now, but nobody does it. Why is this?


TimW, I think it is convenience. One of the problems we have now is that after I get out of my shared car at the movies (there are actually no car shares in my area…..but anyway) someone has to take the car over to the where the next person who wants to use it is, and then someone has to bring it back to the movie theatre so I can drive it home. Otherwise it just sits at the theatre until I get out, and we are back to cars just sitting around waiting. I think this is the big problem, and self driving cars will take care of it – I get out and the car drives itself off to go pick up Maria and drive her around, then comes back later to take me home.


patM, that scenario depends on governments legislating for driverless cars to be allowed on the roads with nobody in them ready to take over of something goes wrong. I doubt this will happen, they will be too worried about one of them going haywire due to a software glitch and wiping out a bus queue.


TimW, you are right about the first part, but evidence seems to be that driverless cars are less prone to accidents than those with drivers. But some areas are already starting to legislate for driverless cars. There is a city about 120 kilometers west of me that is working on approval for driverless cars in the city limits on a test basis, so I am not sure it will be that far in the future when they are just approved in general.


patM, I don’t doubt that a computer could do a better job of driving a car than I could, but it would be a brave government that lets them loose on the streets. who would be to blame and liable if they did go wrong?


I think you’re right, it would take a brave government, that’s why I think it will probably start in smaller jurisdictions approving it first. That doesn’t even begin to think about the laws around insurance and liability – do I need insurance if I am not driving? And what do you actually program the car to do? I read in an article that while most people believe the car should kill a single occupant over a number of pedestrians if it was an either/or situation almost all of them said they wouldn’t buy a car that was programmed that way 🙂
I sure hope someone in gov’t is thinking hard about this stuff because we will need some answers soon.


damon hill true running a car share scheme which failed.
you may ask him how much it cost to organise.
by the way count the number of people who work where you work and live near you..
the best form of car share are taxis buses trains airlines and ferries.


Saying that Damon Hill failed at running a successful drive share is not the same as saying drive sharing doesn’t work – my sister failed when she opened a restaurant, but lots of restaurants succeed (ok, less than half succeed, but you get the idea – Damon and my sister suck at running a business)
And virtually no one who works where I work lives near where I live – but I will say it again, car sharing really only works if you don’t need it to commute to work at the same time as everyone else.
And yes, the best form is public transit – which is how I make my work commute now, but if I could conveniently share a car for shopping trips, or a night out, or to take my mom to a doctor’s appointment I would prefer that over taking a taxi, which is my solution right now.


why not make a list of successful car sharing schemes then, with uber in the background.


Aveli, a quick google search (and I didn’t spend much time searching so there may be more) shows about 10 or 12 operating in Southern Ontario.
Is there some reason you couldn’t have done the same google search in your area?

Oh yeah, almost forgot……..uber in the background ;).


the key word is successful.


Ok, how about these guys…..
They have been around since 1998, almost twenty years seems successful to me. Also the top hit of my google search.


Car sharing first, then house sharing, toilet sharing, pay check sharing, wife/girlfriend/boyfriend sharing and on and on…

The ultimate aim is to make the a average person dependant on a higher power, except the higher power will not be the state so much, but corporations, which are now vying for power by trying to out innovate each other.

The whole thing stinks of extreme left-wing communism, except this time it had been given a pleasant technological gloss, and is marketed as the next utopia.


nice one lukec but damon hill tried to do it, only to lose a lot of money and came running back to f1. the car sharing idea is not new.


I watched the event and it was a shambles and very awkward to sit through. The software used was poor and glitched out which ultimately had a massive effect on the result. They are going to have to improve things ten fold if they want this to be taken seriously or bring in new younger viewers. the entire chat log on twitch was full of people mocking the event and terrible choice of software.


You think that guy who got pushed to P3 got cheated?


Yes, there seems to be a lack of any reference to the farce of the final in this article, which I’m surprised about.


I keep hearing about this car sharing idea, and okay so there is vast periods of time when cars sit idle.. but, unless our lifestyles change dramatically you will always have two periods of the day when everyone wants their car at once. I don’t think people will be prepared to give up their car ownership unless they know they can get a car at 7:30am and 5:00pm and that doesn’t really seem feasible.
Also it seems every time I read about autonomous vehicles experts say they will be at least ten years away, and yet people talk like they are just around the corner.

F1 does have to address these issues though, and it is particularly vulnerable since it has positioned itself as a cutting edge technology showcase for the manufacturers. Unlike say, Drag Racing which is happily using 1950’s based V8s and will carry on regardless.

One thing is for sure, Brawn is right, if no one watches then F1 will die, no matter how hi-tech it is, and there-in lies the rub. At some point F1 will have to detach itself from the cutting edge showcase thing and become a stand alone sport., because no one is going to tune in to watch autonomous vehicles racing each other.


f1 cannot escape from the technology as long as it is a competition.


if everyone was to take their cars onto the road at once, no one would be able to go anywhere.


I can’t fathom giving up car ownership, or ownership of anything, for that matter. The masters in charge of their slaves would of course like us to give up ownership of everything. That way we will all be dependent on their good graces and they can keep us all in check more effectively than ever before.

Over my dead body.


Yes but if 4 people are going from roughly same origin to roughly same destination then, instead of 4 cars all heading the same way, you could cut traffic by 75% and have them share a car. It’s another way of sharing that may be adopted although I’m sure most of us would prefer the solitary nature of 1 car-1 person. Perhaps future cars for this purpose will feature individual pods. Share the chassis, engine, fuel but not the small talk, smells and music preferences.


@SteveW – I just mean roughly. We can work out the finer points of the “plan” if you really want to 🙂 The vehicle can go between individual drop-off points. People can be dropped off at a point and walk (this is not America, people can and do occasionally walk places). We can construct high-speed, covered travel-ators/waklways to bring people to their doors. Zorb-spheres will be available from the drop-off point to bounce your way to work in dry comfort. Take your pick. Invent new ones. Whatever! This is not happening this year or next but possibly in the next decade or two, depending on how the world turns. Rob Carrier was questioning how we’d possibly have enough availability of “shared cars” during rush hours. This is only a proposal as to how that might work if/when it ever came to be but the concepts of cars, fuel, public transport, even working and commuting and so on may have changed a bit by then. We needn’t get very worked up about it in the short term although I find it slightly alarming that when it comes to this topic, some people sound a bit like the NRA talking about giving up guns in the US. From my cold, dead hand … 🙂 Maybe their sentiments (and mine) are being lost in the ambiguities of the “comment board” where we lack the subtleties of body language, gestures, inflection and so on. Hopefully more interesting articales than this one to discuss on JAonF1 today!


Define “roughly”… What does that mean? You get to 98% of your destination and then what? Walk? What if it’s raining? What if it’s in the middle of the night?


I don’t want to share my car with 3 other strangers for the same reason that I don’t want to share my bed with 3 strangers.

You work hard, you pay taxes, you should be able to afford your own car with which you can go where you please and in the manner in which you please.

The difference between a master and a slave is that a master owns things, the slave does not.


… and, just to be devil’s advocate, you are not a slave to the car and to the motor manufacturing giants’ marketing of “the dream” or the oil companies’ feeding of your petroleum addiction? Masters and slaves though? You sound like you are looking for some sort of caste system, the have-cars and the have-nones 🙂 Some would argue that the mass consumerism (car ownership included) is part of the plan to subjugate the masses and mire them in their own desires. It’s a bit early in the morning for all that though 🙂 I love my car and I love the isolation but, at some stage in the future, this may become untenable due to traffic/fuel/environmental concerns/a.n.other reason(s). This may result in shared cars, public transport only, comfy-pod-drones, who knows. We’ll see, possibly within our lifetimes!


Gaah incomplete comment. Anyway, point I’m trying to make is that personal transport as we know it now may not be possible or ethical in the near- to mid-future but technological innovation may mean that it is. We’ll have to wait and see.


Well, I agree that we should endeavour to make sure that we provide the essentials to those in need. Not sure that I count a car amongst those myself though and the world is changing. Global warning is happening at a faster rate than anticipated


Global warming not happening?


Scientific consensus has now almost universally settled on this as fact. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion but when it flies in the face of the evidence, I’m not really going to consider it as being correct. We’re not going to find any common ground on this.

For clarity (seeing as you keep going back to it), the car-sharing model that I was talking about had anything to do with pizza (and it doesn’t) then it would not involve giving just one slice to 10 children in the same way that it does not involve 3 adults sitting in the same car seat. Again, though, I don’t think that we’re going to find any common ground on this.

I’d like to think that the world will always be progressive in terms of living standards and I’m very much aware of the poverty, economic depression and deprivation that my parents grew up with. It’s not that long ago or far away. Putting global warming aside, there are many other potential threats to the way of life that we know now and, with 7-8 odd billion people striving for the same level of consumerism, there are many other pressures that could impact how we live. They’re not guaranteed to happen, of course, but to ignore their possibility amounts to hubris. Regression may occur and may be beyond anyone’s control … or it may not.


Kieran Donnelly, science is not consensus based. It is evidence based. The scientific consensus once was that the sun orbited the earth.

Plus these numbers are false. Point me to just one peer- reviewed paper that claims that GW is man made. It does not exist.

The fact is that there has been no demonstrable warming for the last 20 years or so. In fact scientists are now forecasting a cooling trend for the next 20-30 years.

The reason we have this GW nonsense is because of the likes of AL Gore, who will not engage in any debates with climate scientist any more, because they can prove him wrong in 5 minutes flat. In fact he is being challenged by Lord Mockington on a weekly basis, and keeps refusing.

Plus his movie ” the inconvenient truth” is a bunch of lies as ruled by the British high court.

The guy is a fraud with dreams of becoming the worlds first carbon billionaire.

That’s right, he wants to get obscenely rich by contributing nothing. In fact he’s after your quality of life. Are you going to let him and his ilk rob you blind? I’m not.


Lol! Happy landings, kid! 🙂


Thank you, if only more people were willing to objectively look at the evidence we could all make better decisions about the future.


Kieran Donnely; it’s now 2017, we elect governments who keep promising us a higher quality of life, companies are trying to “innovate” to bring us all a higher quality of life, so yes, a car is certainly is a fundamental essential.

If someone tells me that I can’t afford to have a car, where previously I could, and where my grandparents could (and more then one) that’s not progress; it’s regression.

Again, bringing your 10 kids a slice of pizza to share, instead of a whole pizza, and telling them that’s it’s untenable for them to have a whole pizza, would not make you a great parent.

As for global warming happening, I think you may want to investigate this claim a bit more, because it’s certainly not happening.

And even if it were, it would not be as a result of your owning your own car. It’s just another excuse to give you less and to make feel as though you should be content with less.


Kurean Donnelly; I’m an advocate for everyone being able to afford the fundamentals of life, one of which is a car, the other is decent shelter.

To create a world where hardly anyone is able to afford these fundamentals, or where these fundamentals are untenable and to “solve” the problem by saying “just share”, is not a solution.

It’s like bringing home 1 pizza slice to feed you ten kids instead of a whole pizza and just telling them to share.

As for being a slave to the petroleum companies. I’d rather be a slave to a master who brings home a whole pizza, rather than one who brings a slice and tells everyone to share, whilst pretending that he did everyone a massive favour.


after a few trips listening to several stories and lines of thought, a single argument will send them running back to their cars.


Turns out I am one of those people for whom car sharing would work. When public transit became not only more predictable for my commute to work, but cheaper than even just the parking costs, I stopped driving the commute. Then my daily driver needed some expensive repairs and I thought why not just try without a car. I taxi when I need a car locally and sometimes rent if I want to go away for a weekend or something. A local car share would work for me, but you are right about the commute – if you have to drive to get to work, so do all your neighbours so a ride share isn’t going to work there.


i cannot believe that question is even being asked. the iPhone turned apple into the biggest company in the world with record breaking sales figures in less than 10 years and that question is still being asked? the evidence is staggering! cinemas have emptied as a result of the smart phone. nearly all iPhone owners replaced the iphones with the iPhone 6 when it was released in 2014 although there were hardly any added functions apart from the enhanced features.
people are driven by technology, simple.
other well established heavy industries, hundreds of years old haven’t got a chance against the smartphone so those talking about scaling back on advanced technology in f1 don’t have an idea what they are talking about. all the talk of engaging the young is nonsense. f1 has never had to engage the young and still attract the young. people like f1 because they enjoy the competition, not because someone else politely offered it to them. all f1 needs to do is let everyone know that it exists and those who enjoy that sort of competition will follow it. the rest is just a gimmick.
as far as am concerned f1 should allow computer controlled moveable aerodynamic components all around the car, wings floor vanes and flaps.


Sounds great, I agree with you regarding all the new tech let the car have everything . Like to see bespoke jet engines in the side pods. Imagine the grid start. Probably send the cars behind swerving of in all directions.

Guybrush Threepwood

I watch F1. I don’t watch an iPhone. There is a big difference.


and we love f1 tech.


this story ties in with the previous doesn’t it? Ross is quite correct, us fans want to see drivers racing each other. This aspect that has been missing since the PUs introduction is not the fault of the engines, rather the inability of more than one team to fully grasp the technological nettle. If we have Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes all close to each other in terms of lap time next season, then we will have close racing. This will eliminate a large proportion of the criticism the sport currently receives, and leave us with the normal amount that is always there. A close race is exciting to watch, the propulsion system is irrelevant.


the high tech propulsion units adds talking points to the sport, making it more interesting. close racing is as a result of the competition being close. so long as other drivers are not as good at leading their engineers to provide them with the right cars, there will not be close racing.
a 100m race is still exciting to watch after all the years of bolt domination isn’t it?


Still a boring mode of motorsport.
BUT !!!!!!
No doubt it will get increasingly more viewers when Sky gets its nasty paws on F1 in 2019 (hopefully Liberty will see sense and rip that agreement while showing Bernie the exit door !!)
I can see it getting more viewers and spectators come 2019. Would be better if they widen the tracks as the street tracks are too narrow and it ends like a Monaco Gp conga.
Make the cars less rickety all you hear is the the rattling sound of the carbon fibre and the spinning wheels. Similar sounds can be heard on Milk Float or London Tube train (when they are running) .
Hear Guts is now joining in the Formula E gang. As Manor in administration equals no hope for him racing in F1.


*Real Racers* – come on. These are kids who dress up in team kit and play games on a computer. It’s exactly the same as cyber sex. Neither go beyond brain and hands. The kids never experience acceleration, braking forces, turning forces or even the smell of a real engine. I get more sensations riding a bicycle. I even raise a sweat, which none of them ever will.


You really want to research sim racing a bit more. Ages range from early teens to people in their 70s. A lot of perfessional drivers use sims as a training tool or physical training with Direct Drive force feed back wheels capable of 30 nm of torque.


I disagree, I think you are commenting from a position of ignorance. Have you ever raced a reasonably good quality PC simulator? Do you know anything about eSports?

Firstly I think you underestimate the mental concentration required to run a virtual car fast. If you do a 20% race distance at Monaco running all 14 laps within half a second of each other, you will be exhausted at the end. Nowhere near as much as the real drivers, I don’t dispute, but it really makes you respect what they do even more.

Secondly, the elation of winning. When one of these kids playing fancy dress win, boy are they stoked. Have they done something as hard as Lewis Hamilton. No. Do they care, No. Does winning feel great? Yes.

Finally, Bono Huis won $200K for an hours work last Saturday. Not bad for a fancy dress nerdy kid playing games. Earn $200K on yer bike, and you’ll get a chapeau from me.


I’ve never competed in sport, including motorcycle events, for money. If that’s the priority of these kids, let them continue spending hour after hour playing games on screen, but don’t for one moment believe it will replace actually doing something for real.

By the way, I believe 20 minutes of cyber sex can also leave one drained.


@aveli – I’ve known about Jann for years, I watched the TV series when he won. Odd that it took so long for him to be mentioned. There have been 21 who’ve won GT Academy, he appears to be the only one who’s still racing. Does he still play computer race games? I’m sure he’s got more sense than to use games to maintain his race fitness as Paul Thomas claimed some do.

As you can see, playing games was only the start of winning for Jann, who was one in a million who tried



Oi! I just finished building a bike! 🙂


But you cannot deny the fact that several very successful pro drivers got their start in sim racing. The Nissan academy is the best example.


Not disagreeing, and I’ve seen video of sim racers being put behind the wheel of a formula ford car and quickly turning laps just a few seconds off of professionals. So, I believe there is some skill involved. But yes, it is still on a computer… there is a reason that Kimi refuses to get into a simulator.


Yeah cause there is no where to but his drink!


I’ll put it like this regarding taking part in motorsports: I bought a steering wheel control, a gaming “race seat” and a video game licence. I run them on a computer I would have anyway, so I won’t factor in that cost. For the cost of those three items, I can race different cars at different tracks at any time I’m available until my shoulders ache. For the same cost, I can pay for around 8h of racing in a kart track (not so) nearby during their limited opening hours.
As for watching motorsports, I’m a lot more interested in the technology and driving technique than in the personalities. Races themselves are the tip of the iceberg. Formula E actually have all three in good measure at the moment (I’m hoping they free the regulations even more, though). F1 comes across as trying to “dumb itself down” to the public, which I frankly think is offensive.


I have a sim setup at home and I play all the most realistic sims available. It’s great, the physics are very realistic, the force feedback makes it feel very authentic, but it’s not the same as experiencing the violence of a go kart, the g- forces, the wind whooshing past the helmet etc.

The best thing about sim racing is that you have access to the best cars and tracks in the world, but given the choice I think everybody would choose the real thing.


Yep. Going karting for an hour really reminds you of the amazing job the F1 drivers do, and how difficult that is, as you spin out for the third time for “no reason”…


Autonomous vehicles are terrible news for the working population: cab/uber, lori, bus will lose their jobs.
On the other hand electrical shared comuters are good for downtow access: preservation and polution.
Sign of times.

I wonder why Alejandro Agag decided to partner FiA.
Was it join FiA or else ?
FiA to launch a rival e-racing series to compete with Formula-e ?

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