F1 Winter Break
Analysis: What happens when F1 drivers form themselves into a union?
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Dec 2017   |  2:53 pm GMT  |  220 comments

It’s very interesting to read today that all the current F1 drivers are now signed up to the Drivers’ Union; the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association.

This has not been the case in the past for various reasons, with some drivers staying outside the group, which meets regularly to discuss issues facing them as stakeholders in the sport.

It was originally formed to discuss safety matters, but increasingly other factors, such as commercial and image rights as well as the future direction of the sport have made them take the union more seriously.

There were always drivers, who either didn’t think it was worth joining, as the sport didn’t listen to them anyway, or who couldn’t be bothered or had other reasons for standing apart from their peers.

The GPDA was founded in 1961 and played an important role in the 1970s when Jackie Stewart and others were crusading for safety. After a hiatus through the 1980s, it was reformed during the ill fated 1994 San Marino GP, where Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna were killed.

How will GPDA raise its unified voice?
The GPDA is led by directors Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean and its Chairman is former driver Alex Wurz, who has an operational role at Williams, but who also convenes the drivers’ union and is an eloquent and motivated chairman.

It is a notable success that the Austrian has managed to get all 20 F1 drivers signed up, for probably the first time in its history.

He can use this as a strong platform for future roles in the sport – there have been suggestions he may even try to run for FIA president in 2021 – and it will be very interesting to see how and where the GPDA chooses to make its voice heard in 2018.

It has intervened a few times recently, such as after the death of Jules Bianchi, after the Pirelli tyre failures at Silverstone in 2013 and most notably when the 2016 F1 season began with farce over the qualifying rules it called the leadership “broken”. It also led a Global Fans Survey in 2015 with Motorsport.com.

As the tectonic plates shift ahead of the 2021 relaunch – with F1 owners Liberty Media working alongside the FIA to frame rules to make F1 more competitive and entertaining, drivers increasingly want to protect their interests. They want to have their say on that as well as to consult on the increasing commercial and promotional demands on them from Liberty, for events like “F1 Live” – of which five are planned worldwide next season.

“All adjustments to the sport should only be done and conducted in the best interest of the sport and not of any one individual, and this is what unites the drivers, this sheer will to keep F1 as the pinnacle of motor racing,” said Wurz.

“We consider F1 as sport, not show. A driver, rightly so, calls himself a sportsman and not showman, because it’s still about the most natural human aspiration – to go faster, higher, quicker.

“Great sport is what we love to see, if great sport is embedded in a suitably created show and race experience, that would indeed be good.

“If the sport sucks, everything around the sport itself is only expensive, inauthentic and semi-irrelevant. We need on track competition, but not artificially created.”

It wouldn’t happen under Bernie
When sub groups in F1 form themselves into strong unions, there are usually ramifications. In the late 2000s the F1 teams formed a union called the F1 Teams Association (FOTA), which even hosted a press conference and show of strength in 2009 in Geneva.

Bernie Ecclestone, who rose to power as the shop steward of the F1 Constructors’ Association, a forerunner of FOTA in the early 1980s, wrestled the commercial power away from the FIA as a result. Knowing the power of unions, he saw FOTA as a threat and made sure it was brought down.

He did that by doing bilateral agreements in 2011 with the two Red Bull teams and Ferrari, which cut the legs out from under FOTA.

He was quite dismissive of the GPDA, but as it never represented all the drivers’ voices, it wasn’t seen as a major threat.

More recently, after he was eased out of power by the sale to Liberty, Ecclestone attempted to get the circuit promoters to form themselves into a union, to stand up to Liberty and even to negotiate collectively. So far that has not materialised.

What do you think of this development by the F1 drivers? Leave your comment in the section below

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Excelent Idea! We did that with OSCA in the 80s and 90s and it had the effect of causing all of the competitors to see themselves as being in the same team, so-to-speak, and they were all encouraged to “tell tales” on each other if they saw any breaches of rules/ cheating going on by a fellow competitor, etc., etc. Everybody seemed to get on better than before and things were much smoother.
I believe all forms of motor sport should have a drivers’ association!


One more ship in the soon to be great battle of Trafalgar F1 style.



Probably nothing…


Time to bring Ecclestone back, if this is the case.


I thought one of the points was very interesting “F1 is a sport not a show”. With the way liberty seem to be going I think this could cause contention. Watch this space…


What happens when F1 drivers form themselves into a union?

They demand higher wages, decide they shouldn’t have to work as hard and the whole business collapses?


@MiGi I personally don’t think that any current F1 drivers conform to Labour Party standards!



“I find a fence a very uncomfortable place to squat my bottom.”

Bob Hawke


Good luck to them.
It’s interesting that the drivers don’t get a cut from the profits of F1… (sure, if you’re good enough you can get a pretty decent salary but a lot still pay to be there)and they’re the ones actually putting their gonads on the line. The drivers only get paid what the team will give them… they should get a share of the total revenue.


This is a good example of just how deluded all the drivers are.
There was a time in F1 when a driver could make a huge difference to a cars performance, but nowadays we all know that an algorithm (or the person that wrote it) has more influence than the driver.
A thousand people to build a car……
Honestly it’s not a show or a sport it’s an engineering orgy.
Ask %99.9 of people what they think of technology and they’ll say they don’t care as long as it works.
The drivers are only concerned about themselves and are simply keeping thesis enemies close in this time of change.


@ F1canmaker…You can’t blame them for trying to have a voice. If, as Daniel Ricciardo has stated, that currently he sees the split as 75/25 being car versus driver and that he’d/ they would like to see at least a 50/50 split in the future. Surely, if they can exert some/any pressure for this then we’d all benefit? I applaud them for at least trying to effect change that would be of great benefit to the F1 farce that we currently endure.


Ahhhh yes The whistle goes and everyone downs tools and it’s a closed shop.
Welcome to Maggie (Awful Woman)Thatcher who broke British Industry and outsourced ship building to South Korea. Broke the Unions and Shredded Wheat hair Scargill.
I assume the Drivers Union has abit more money floating about than Unison 😉


You should all thank Maggie Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch for taking the country out of total union control!!! Trailblazers for freedom of choice by the individual.


The driver’s, like team bosses and manufacturers, have they’re own interests at heart and as such the ideas and beliefs they push aren’t necessarily what the sport may or may not need to move forward in a manner beneficial to the sports long term growth.
I’m all for them having a collective voice when it comes to safety, racing etiquette and the like and if they focus on those things they can serve a purpose.
If they start trying to use the power that a collective voice can provide to push agendas outside those areas its then that problems can begin to arise.


@ Sars…Did you read the list of things that Wurtz said needed to be addressed?


It is about time that the drivers got their act together. They can bring to the table issues that are relevant to the racing, hopefully independent of the teams and their individual demands. Those demands often have little to do with racing in a truly competitive sense. With Liberty driving change the drivers have a unique opportunity to be heard. Much and all as i despise unions this group are, IMO, totally devoid of any socialistic leanings and as such can contribute to what fans would like to see. Better racing and not borefests that we see too often.


..So Lewis finally joined…good on him!

Interested to hear his reasons?


@ LKFE…He’ll be able to give them a few tips on [F1] fashion!!!!!!!


Lkfe, Lewis and Kimi were the long term none members apparently, not sure why they both decided to join all of a sudden.


Well, we know Kimi’s previous position would have been “apathy”, but now??? Maybe the marriage isn’t going so well….
As for Lewis, i saw a leak of his first agenda point…
* race suits to be changed to tartan.
Apparently JYS is co-sponsoring!


Lkfe, JYS and Lewis working together? Sir Jackie would have to suck on a few lemons first!


@ LKFE…Yes, i saw the same pics…. what a disaster. Makes SJS look like a Savile Row model of sartorial elegance hahahaah


Well, he’s entering the final stages of his F1 carrier, nothing to lose, and plenty to gain in opening the doors going forward. Look at Alex, he’s here as GPDA Chairman and is blazing a path to FIA presidency. You don’t think Lewis would want to be “President”?

President Lewis!


I very much doubt that he’ll ever be ‘Sir Lewis’ after his jet affair!


Sure, not Sir Lewis, but if previous presidents are any indication, tax avoidance won’t impact his ability to take that gig.


2 sebee…..Would that be Kennedy/Bush/Reagan/or the peanut farmer?


I’ve no idea whether Lewis will receive a knighthood. But if he did, I’d be very surprised if he was the only Sir who organised his tax affairs in an advantageous manner – plenty of titled folk have done far worse things.


Knighthoods make me laugh.

Actually, I have 5 stars. From now until end of 2017 anyone with 5 is a Sir.


@ C63…It is everyones right and some might go as far as to say, ‘personal’ obligation’ to minimise their taxes. It is an indictable offence in most Western Countries if you ‘avoid’ taxation. All i am saying is that the British Inland Revenue said that they’d be casting a close eye on what had transpired between the claimed variances between business and personal use which, prima facie, seemed at odds with the current law regarding the payment of VAT. It may well be all hot air but then again maybe it isn’t… I’m certain that far worse tax matter are on the top of their pile ATM. The Paradise Papers are a fountain of knowledge and it will take possibly years before they are all fully scrutinised.


Tax avoidance is the legal exploitation of the tax system to reduce current or future tax liabilities. It’s tax evasion where you are likely to get your collar felt.
What most people seem to be missing with regard to the Paradise Papers and Hamilton is that the authorities would have been well aware of the situation. Hamiltons advisers would have submitted the accounts in question years ago and HMRC would have seen the arrangement regarding his Jet registration etc and presumably have accepted it – after all, his lifestyle is hardly a secret and the use of offshore companies to avoid tax is not something new. The only thing which has changed so far as I can see [with the release of the papers] is the information is now in the public domain.


C63, Sir Fred Goodwin paid every penny, didn’t he……?


I don’t see what all the fuss is about to be honest. If I was in a similar situation I would do the same thing, and I’d be surprised if all those who have been ‘outraged’ would say no if the option was presented to them either.


C63, my understanding is the Isle of Man government decided to chase the private jet registration business, and were offering a good deal to get it. Hardly the fault of the people who took them up on their offer.


Exactly right – these so called loopholes don’t appear by chance, they are there by design.


See…this is where not being on social media, nor following anyone or reading any gossip rags is a bonus for me. I don’t know about Lewis’ jet affair, nor do I care about his jet affairs.


@ Sebee,,,So JA on F1 is not part of the ‘social media’? Besides the ‘jet affair’ comment was a throwaway as it had been mentioned a few times a week or so ago. If you are not aware then that’s fine but others may be interested in the concept of what constitutes the difference between tax ‘avoidance’ and tax ‘minimisation’ by an icon of the British followers of motorsport. The self same guy who drapes himself in the British flag at every opportunity, His dodging the VAT may be legal but then again it may be questionable..who knows? A work in progress or so it would seem.


Remember when JYS moved to Switzerland to avoid income tax? Remember when Jim Clark and Graham Hill used to get paid by Lotus through a shell company based in Monaco to avoid income tax?


Well, that’s always funny to me, with the nationality of driver when they bail out for other better weather and more importantly tax law jurisdiction.

I honestly thought the Lewis jet affair was something entirely different than taxes!


Sebee, did you say the same when Michael moved to Switzerland?


I thought MSC moved to Switzerland because he liked skiing – now you are suggesting it was to avoid taxes, I don’t know what to think anymore 🙂


2 C63 hahaha…then why change the habit of a lifetime.


C63, maybe it was his love of cuckoo clocks that took him there?


love of cuckoo clocks

And Toblerone, apparently he was a massive fan.


I don’t see this ending well. Don’t get me wrong, I support the drivers and think it’s a good idea for them – but my gut feeling is that the way Liberty are closer to the American way of doing things, and corporate America are very anti-union, I can see them trying to do something to stop this. I don’t see them doing something stupid and not going short of banning drivers who are part of a union, if one ever causes them problems, just to get their way.


That’s a good point Tim. It may well be a reaction to the american ownership. If you look at the other major sporting codes in America, the “players” have had cause to find strength in the their numbers to ensure a fair go -particularly when it comes to the distribution of television rights. Think about the lockouts and players strikes in the NBA, NFL, and MLB.
Could this a be a pre-cursor to a new “American” financial model post 2020?


Won’t be surprised if Bernie phoned Lewis and Kimi up and told them to join lol


SB, that really did make me laugh out loud.


I think you nailed it mate 👍


About time. I’m not a huge union fan but it’s been clear the drivers were an obvious interest group that were underutilized. Interested to see where they take this.

James, any insights on how Bernie may have prevented the GPDA from unifying all drivers? Or what changed from the drivers’ POV that got the stragglers on board? Was it largely down to Wurz’ leadership or…?


Pivotal to any group’s effectiveness is leadership: “. . . its Chairman is former driver Alex Wurz, . . .is an eloquent and motivated chairman.” A positive assessment, indeed. He has been around a long time, knows the ropes as well as probably any driver on the current grid. How they choose to use influence and their potential (“strength”) is yet to be seen.

Some European “unions” are known for their approach and confrontational bent. Also true of some American bodies. Strikes and such only inconvenience the wider and uninvolved market.

How they decide to manifest their abilities will be key to retaining the “sport” within the “show” it would seem. Hopefully it will be toward that goal as stated by Wurz and shown by the organization as a potential player inside the body.


“We consider F1 as sport, not show. A driver, rightly so, calls himself a sportsman and not showman…”

I think Alex may want to look up the definition of sport in the dictionary. Since I know people want things spoon fed, here it is:

Sport – noun
an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

That’s right Alex, for entertainment. And you know what is your direct competition? Every other “show” on TV and netflix.

And you know what takes away from the show? When the show is on MUTE a la PU engine. Also what takes away from the show? When drivers are placed behind bars and out of sight in closed cockpits. Wanna know the biggie that really kills the show? AUTOMATION – that’s right, engine modes that make your united bunch have huge chunk of their “sportsmanship responsibilities” done by the software geeks hidden in the back of the garage.

Let’s see your first united task be immediate removal of driver aids, engine modes and automation in the cockpit. Why? Because we want to drivers to SHOW us they can still operate these things on their skill alone.


Well “For entertainment” can mean “for ones entertainment”, as in a leisure activity and “for others entertainment” as in a show, so why are you so sure that it means the latter.

You can look at the other definitions – “Success or pleasure derived from an activity” or “An occasion on which people compete in various athletic activities” or “to amuse oneself with some pleasant pastime or recreation. “

An athlete or sportsman plays a sport because he/she finds it challenging and the thrill it gives him, (the fame,money and success are always welcome) and not because some armchair critic can munch popcorn and say he wants a SHOW.

We live in a world where more people watch sports, rather than play sports. So the need for a show cannot be underscored, but that is not expected to be the driver’s viewpoint. In a way, Kimi’s enduring appeal is probably down to him being an old-school sportsman who comes to compete, have fun and couldn’t be bothered about the “Show”.


“fame,money and success”

Do you know why this happens? Because we watch the SHOW. And because companies pay these guys to front their products to us.

You want to be like Lewis? Are you a real fan? Buy a Mercedes AMG, wear Hugo Boss clothing, hook up your Q35 Bose headphones and tell me what time it is on your IWC watch.

Now you’re a real fan!

Now, post it on IG or FB and put on your own show for us.

Kimi? You don’t think he plays the game well with his image? Here is a recap reel for you.

If Kimi derives pleasure from an activity, he doesn’t need to do it the way he’s told here, as a #2 driver on a team. He’s here for one reason only. Same reason he wasn’t here for a while. Pay check.

These guys don’t exist without you and me watching. In fact, the are as obscure as you and me without us tuning in.


yes please


And yet the drivers never complain about any of those things. Strange…


You know Andrew, it’s actually quite strange, because they should know that this path leads to extinction of their skill set. Does it not?


Well there have been driver aids for a generation and they’re still going strong, so I doubt they’re that worried – it’s not like there’ll be no F1 before any of them retire.


Yes, driver aids. But this is these engine modes are aids of aids!

TC was kind of a preventative thing, and just cutting power from the wheels. Now we have ERS acceleration deployed by software, recovery deployed by software, capable of braking and changing brake bias via same software, we have software dictating shift points based on preset software fuel delta goals. It’s seriously the worst it has ever been, and at the same time the media talks the least about it, ever. Which is interesting.

I hear what you’re saying, but you know how change goes. You increase the temperature on the frogs little by little so they don’t notice it. Next thing you know, they’re boiling. These changes from full driver control to full automation are gradual, but don’t think for a second we’re not progressing toward automation more and more. And I hate to brake the news to you, but at this point, we’re basically mid way there with these engine modes. What remains to be automated it minimal really if you give it some thought.


Sebee, the reason the press don’t talk about the things you mention is they are either untrue, or unimportant.


I dunno about engine modes but maybe the driver should have less aids in energy recovery and deployment.


Jdr, why? What difference would it make? Ers is 160 bhp out of 1000, the drivers do have the option of manually deploying the battery power if they want, it’s just one of the things that cars didn’t have before, and so drivers didn’t have to deal with before.
You shouldn’t believe things that Sebee says, remember he has an agenda underpinning all of his comments, and you should always check his ‘facts’ for yourself.


100% jdr!

Immediately and easy to implement.


F1 has always been progressing towards automation, this isn’t anything new. I’d definitely argue TC (which certainly wasn’t just a preventative thing, drivers could floor the throttle with impunity knowing the TC would auto-correct their inputs, it wasn’t nearly as passive as you’re making it sound) and active suspension were bigger driver aids than the engine modes (which aren’t new to the PU era by the way – there were several articles in 2008 about how engine modes/maps were being used by teams when the standard spec ECU was introduced). I also think that saying what remains to be automated is minimal is pretty laughable. I would prefer to see KER energy manually deployed by the drivers again though, a la 2009.

I’m sure some day there will be software that can drive F1 cars faster than humans, it’s inevitable – if there was enough incentive to do so, I’m sure it would be there already. But I don’t think it’s coming any time soon, and even if it is I don’t think F1 will suffer particularly as a result.

(Oh, and while we’re at it – the frog in boiling water thing is an urban myth).


I agree that it’s not black and white on the TC, but I still don’t view it in the same light as engine modes because engine modes involve shifting instructions, braking application through regeneration engagement, and actual deployment of throttle with mapped ERS. But no disagreement, drivers learned quickly that TC bailed them out and it definitely removed their need to not treat the throttle as a binary on/off thing.


I’m sure some day there will be software that can drive F1 cars faster than humans

Did you see that Guy Martin programme [about autonomous cars] that was on a few weeks ago? They had a car which was being developed for autonomous racing……it was absolutely hopeless in comparison to a human. The human programmers had to gradually ramp up the speed as the tyres warmed up – the car’s software had no idea – and when the programmers forgot/overlooked the tyres would have cooled whilst they were fannying around before a hot lap, it went off on the first corner. Even the programmers and the team behind the car admitted they are a long way off matching a human brain which is very good at sensing those sort of things (the limit of the grip). They also crashed on a demonstration lap at one of the Formula e races. If that programme is anything to judge by then the day when an autonomous car will out race a human is a long, long way off.


I guess you didn’t see this


And Roborace is making huge progress. See it here.



Roborace that should have started this year, but couldn’t because the technology is nowhere near ready? What is this progress? That when they put two cars on track for a very brief demo run, only one of them crashed?


You are absolutely correct Tim – the technology is nowhere near ready. Not even close. The car in the Guy Martin programme was about 10 seconds off Guys best time…..its laughable to suggest that an autonomous car could match LH pole lap times.


Let me ask you a simple question?

Do you think that Mercedes have enough data from Lewis’ car to repeat his pole lap without Lewis in the car?

Do you know how easy that would be? If you put a sufficient reward on this right now, they would give it to you by February 2018 test. The tech is out there already.

I actually think the reward is there for Mercedes to do it soon too. If they want to pull a marketing stunt about how good their automated driver is in their autonomous cars, what would be better than sending out an F1 car at a track and having the automated Mercedes AI post a lap faster than Lewis? Of course they would do this right as they are pulling out of F1, and they don’t have to name Lewis at all, just point out the fastest lap the car at hands of a human driver ever set. They can do this as a final gesture before they pull out of F1, to show there is nothing here in Formula 1 for them left to conquer. Ends their F1 program and opens the door to end of F1 too, no?


Sebee, you talk as if F1 only exists to see what sort of lap time the cars can generate, and as soon as they can do this by themselves, then it’s bye bye drivers! Even if the technology did exist to match Lewis’ lap times, who on earth would want to watch a bunch of driverless cars droning around? I certainly wouldn’t , and I would be willing to bet that a fair few million others would feel the same.


No, I don’t think they could do it that quickly. And also, there’s no way Mercedes (or anyone) can really win this one, unless you have automated drivers actually competing against the human drivers and winning the world championship, a la Kasparov/Deep Blue; there’ll always be a caveat (sure, they can do it in lab conditions, but can they do it in a race with variables etc etc). How would an automated driver programme cope with racing into turn 1 with Max, for example, or a mid race downpour?

I think technology/automation ending F1 is a long, long, long way off, and won’t happen in my lifetime. If it happens after that who cares 😛 I think Formula E is a much bigger threat, and I don’t consider it that much of one over the next decade or so.


The point is that with Deep Blue beat Gary, we knew the game was no longer ours, as in human’s. Machine could do it better.

The incentive for Mercedes is to illustrate the might of their autonomous AI. A marketing stunt, but also at that moment proof that the game is no longer ours.

The complete solution may be a bit off, But the purchase of the lot and coffin should be arranged the minute a manufacturer like Mercedes wants to pull out, and before they do so they use the tools at their disposal to belittle the game they are leaving as no longer worth playing. Mercedes F1 car lapping faster than Lewis is exactly that type of an easy play, easy move. The AI doesn’t have to be complete and final. It will always be a work in progress. But the fact that it would capture pole says enough.


Sebee, and what happened to the game of chess when big blue won? Did everyone stip playing? Did the world championship stop taking place? Did the shot put event lose popularity when the cannon was invented…..


Capturing pole or beating the track record would be a coup, no doubt about it. But it wouldn’t be the end of F1, or anything close to it. They’ll have mastered one aspect, but that’s it. I’m pretty sure there are machines out there that can serve faster than any tennis player in the world, but we haven’t seen the ATP tour pack up and go home. If a robot could beat Roger Federer in his prime, that’s a totally different story.


Isn’t Paul Ricard back this year? The perfect place to rent and pull that stunt by Mercedes in 2019 before they decide to pull out?

Roborace is working on the other software algorithms. It’s just code. It’s all just a bunch of code and responding to data from sensors. It will be done. You can be 100% sure. Sooner than you think.


I’m pretty confident that Mercedes will not have a robot/automated machine driving an F1 car by Paul Ricard 2019. I’ll also handily bet that Mercedes will be in F1 after 2020; Ferrari too.


Mercedes will be in F1 after 2020

Well, as a matter of fact; right now, Mercedes at Brackley are extending their car park with another 250(iirc) spaces and they are also running a re-furbishment programme for the factory and offices. It would be an odd thing to do if they were thinking of packing up imo.


Heck take a step back then because everything that’s electronic is a possible driver aid. Standardising that will be a hard sell to the teams tho.


Their job is made easier. They have less responsibility at their jobs.

Do you ever hear anyone complain when that happens at their job and they still get paid fat coin?


Yes. Doing nothing in a job and getting paid for it is not fun for type A people.


Good point, apart from the fact they pushed for the 2017 aero rules that made the cars harder to drive.


When you have more aero, isn’t the car more planted and “sure”? And it is harder to pass, and as added bonus you can blame aero for not having to do so. Passing is hard and work, and there has been less than…quite a while, with most of it DRS induced. So there is that whole wheel to wheel battle that’s eliminated – that’s less work. The increased speed makes it look harder, but is it really…with all this engine mode magic doing the acceleration, the regeneration/braking/brake bias mapped out perfectly lap by lap by lap, instructing drivers for the ideal shift point as well? I wonder.

The forces increased, but they are more planted and sure and have to do less passing thanks to these regs. So I’d call it making the job easier, at worse it is a neutral change, certainly not harder.


I think my previous reply has gotten lost in the midsts if time, so I’ll just summarise – cars that have much higher cornering speeds and G forces are suddenly easier to drive? Max had to virtually double the size of his neck to drive these cars…


As I said forced increased but has level of work? Less passing, more DRSing, less wheel to wheel, more round and round lap countdown.


Thanks for pointing out the inextricable link between sport and show! Does anyone think that F1 would be as big as it is, if it was as exciting as watching paint dry? If there was no show, it would happen on a border-line club level and nobody else would be paying any attention.


When the cars were most spectacular, the viewership was highest. V10 era was Peak F1.


Sebee, all sports ratings peaked in that wra, and they all dropped by a similar amount thereafter.


did you see Abu Dhabi? that was pretty damn boring


Yes it was but Abu Dhabi is always boring.


I did. Besides all the usual fanfare of going to Abu Dhabi by the hangers-on, it was as boring as any race on that circuit (that includes 2010 by the way, which when you remove the championship context that had been built up over the previous rounds was actually quite terrible).


Sebee. Why don’t you tell us what you think engine modes are, what you think they do, and when you think they were first introduced?


Engine mode is HPP 11 where Bottas in Mercedes can use and blast past a Mercedes car on a long straight, see Baku Bottas vs Stroll that was engine mode at work and no driver skill involved.


There must be some good modes on that motor, as I remember Hamilton and Rosberg creating their storm in a tea cup about using modes that the team agreed they wouldn’t.


And add to this that not only do they have all these modes, they are instructed by the pit wall to deploy them correctly.

Remeber when they had to do the engine mode selecting on their own and couldn’t be told which, when and how? WDCs were looking foolish. Quite telling. Quickly rule reversed to give the power back to teams. Another thing the driver is not doing.


Bighaydo, that was in 2014, Nico used the quali mode in Bahrain, and then Lewis used it in Spain. Allthe engines have different modes, and have done for a very long time, I just don’t get why people seem to think this is some sort of terrible thing.


or tell us about the time when modes were banned in a failed attempt to hobble (sp?) RBR. Sorry, they were called “maps” then.
I remember mapping being banned but I don’t remember it being relegitimized (sp?). Seems it was.


On Sebee’s engine mode/automation/PU complexity & domination/ taking away from “competes against another or others for entertainment” point:

The statistics over the past 4 years for converting Q3 laps to pole for all the Mercedes drivers combined gives enough evidence of the issues with engine modes and these PUs killing off sport and competition at the majority of races.


Clarkes, Captain risky and Rockie. Sebee clearly doesn’t know the answer to my three questions, so why don’t you more knowledgeable chaps answer on his behalf.


answer on his behalf.

Silence, or did the replies not pass MOD? 🙂


C63, I’m not suggesting that people have got their knickers in a twist about something innocuous that they clearly don’t understand, but……


If engine modes were banned, I bet it would make no difference at all to the pecking order.
It’s wishful thinking on the part of the supporters of those drivers not in a Merc, hoping it would put their man in front.That’s what it all boils down too.


@ C63…you might think that but you really cannot say that with any degree of certainty. So then to test your theory take my suggestion, that whoever gets the front row must run the race in the ‘mode’ that they used for qualifying. Would that make any difference to the pecking order?


you might think that but you really cannot say that with any degree of certainty

Which part? The pecking order not changing or the motives for people wanting it? 🙂
The Merc PU is fundamentally the better unit (I think we’d agree on that). It’s more powerful, generally more reliable and it can run closer to it’s maximum power output for longer. In race mode it’s still more powerful than the Ferrari and Renault units are in the same mode, so if they all ran quali in race mode it would still be the best unit. If Ferrari or Renault turned up the wick to gain an advantage in Q3 they’d surely pay the price in the race – so they’d be obliged to turn the wick down (just like Merc). I can’t see what would change as a result.


@ C63…I was referring to the pecking order which i’m pretty sure you understood. Regards the use of ‘Modes’, my idea was that whoever took the front row had to run the race in whatever mode they used to set their fastest lap. All others could start in whatever mode they desired. Now, by my reckoning, there would be many different strategies to consider. If one team had a super ‘killer’ quali mode could/or would they be able to run that mode for the entire race? Probably not so that would pull them back in quali and make the race more equitable to those who chanced a mode somewhere between 9 & 10 maybe. Who knows? At least we would see some closer racing IMO.


I was pulling your leg regarding which part you meant – hence the 🙂
As for penalising the front row only (I didn’t realise you meant that) I would not support that as it’s just a gimmick. No different to adding weight to the championship leader or reverse grids imo. Whatever the authorities do to promote closer competition they need to do it to all the teams equally or it will just be false.
F1 fans need to decide what they want – do they want a spec series or do they want competition between the manufacturers? F1 has never been a spec series and one of the attractions, for me at least, has been the development race between constructors. At the moment Merc have a slight edge on the PU but in the past it was other teams with aero, tyres, or whatever. If it was Ricci who was sitting in the Merc (remember he might be in 2019) would you honestly be unhappy and still be campaigning for measures to rein their performance in? I don’t think so – hence my belief that it’s all about who is winning that is the problem and not the perceived lack of competition – of which there has been plenty.


@ C63…Again you miss the thrust of what i was proposing. The ‘racing mode’ being the mode used when a driver set the fastest time to take the pole [position, and the same for second] is not aimed at any specific team but whoever gets the position. It could Ferrari for instance, it could be Mercedes, it ‘may’ be Red bull. What it does is close the front up somewhat. Secondly, you say that Ricciardo may be in a Mercedes in ’19. Well i suppose that is a possibility but it matters little in the scheme of what i am proposing. Yes, i would very much like to see him winning but i also would like to see Sainz/Alonso/ Ocon etc also being in with a chance to shake the branches a little harder. You can believe anything you want likewise i believe that you voice opposition to anything that would provide competitive racing and threaten your favorite driver’s current domination.


kenneth, it’s transparently clear that your suggestion is intended to rein in the performance of the Mercs. I don’t know why you are denying it – it’s not a problem (nor is it a secret).


@ C63…your attempt to twist things for your own benefit are patently obvious. I certainly don’t want Mercedes to win every season up until ’21….a desire expressed by a good many others as well. In the fog of your all embracing Hamilton fandom you fail to accept that there are some people with a diametrically opposed views. Bias tends to exacerbate this issue as you so ably demonstrate in your post.


Bias tends to exacerbate

And you say this with a straight face and no hint of irony 🙂


@ C63…you’ll just have wear it…..


Nope, I want to see a race for victory in as many races as possible, plain and simple.

I want to see the top drivers competing against each other.

As you get older you tend to care less for the driver and more for the sport, for good competition, for the wheel to wheel racing.

It would be equally rubbish if it was Seb and Bottas, or Alonso and Bottas in these PU dominant Mercs.

No fun when a great drive by Alonso gets him from 2s a lap behind the Merc to 1.2s behind the Merc. No fun when a brilliant upgrade from Newey brings Dan and Max from 1.5s to 1s per lap behind the Merc. No fun when they cannot make a difference at any track.

Equally, no fun where the Merc drivers don’t have to work for an overtake, just wait for the drs zone and use their 12mph in some cases faster grunt, waltzing for the majority of races unchallenged to another pole and victory and championship.


Clarkes. Many years ago you decided to start following Formula one knowing that all the cars were different, maybe this was a factor in you choosing to become an F1 fan. Now you have aged, your tastes have changed, but instead of following a different sport, you want F1 to make a fundamental change to its dna to suit you. Sound fair?


@ Clarkes4WD…a good post. i would like to see that as well.


Oh c’mon kenneth, don’t try and claim you don’t care who is winning so long as the competition is close. That’s clearly not so.


@ C63…same old same old. You’re like a worn out piece of blck circular vinyl.


@ C63….. You still persist with this outdated and overused dogma. I want to see anyone challenge and beat Mercedes who have driven any competition into the ground decisively. I believe that Ross Brawn also believes this in his attempt to introduce the CLF factor inrto the series.


You tell me I’m wrong and then agree with me in the same post! You don’t like the Mercs winning – I get it.


No you don’t get it! I simply want to see top drivers getting a crack at winning the title. If it’s Merc who currently are doing the damage then so be it. Have you voiced your displeasure of this aspect to Ross Brawn? Why do you think that he’s introduced his ’21 engine wish list? Why do you think that Ferrari and Mercedes are squealing like a bunch of adolescent schoolgirls? That’s what you are sounding like.


I do get it kenneth, I really do. You want the pecking order changed as you don’t like who is winning. There has been plenty of close racing and the title has been decided in the last race on 2 occasions – therefore your criteria has been satisfied. It is who is doing the winning that is clearly your problem. Clear as day.Transparent like glass. No mystery shrouding this one.


I want to see the top drivers competing against each other

Vettel was ahead for over 2/3rds of the 2017 season – at one stage by 25 points. The Ferraris’ and Red Bull took 8 wins this season – should have been 9 if Vettel hadn’t screwed up at Singapore, 2 of the last 4 seasons the WDC has been decided at the final race of the season.
Are you sure it’s not the ‘wrong’ driver winning that is your problem, as it seems to me like there’s been plenty of close competition. If that is all you truly desire then you have got what you want – why are you complaining?


@ C63…nice try but you’re still way off the mark. You really need to think it through before you post. For four years we’ve had total domination of the series by Mercedes. I’m certainly sick of it and so are many others…including Ross Brawn. But then again you know better.


total domination of the series by Mercedes. I’m certainly sick of it

At last you admit it. It’s Mercedes and Hamilton winning that irks you. That’s fine – why not just admit it in the first place?


@ C63…what did the WCC finally look like?


what did the WCC finally look like?

Ferrari are only interested in the WDC – it’s not really a surprise the WCC was one sided .


@ C63…..Really? Is that what Sergio told you? So running a second car is superfluous to their needs? Why were they so vocal about Raikonnen needing to step up to the plate more often if they weren’t really racing for the WCC as well.? C’mon C 63 you can do better than that…i think.


Is that what Sergio told you?

No it was James Allen who said it! It was one of his replies to another poster earlier in the year. I could find it for you if you really want me too.He said Ferrari are only interested in the WDC and not the WCC and he knows because the team told him so.
The teams frustration with Kimi was his apparent inability to ride shotgun for Vettel , not his inability to score team points for the WCC.
There, did I do better?


@ C63…So if James Allen says so then it must be taken as gospel? So the share of the prize money in the WCC is of no importance to them? You’re dreaming pal. Of course they want the WDC but to say that the WCC is of no importance is clearly ‘ weapons grade tosh’.


I am a little surprised that you would call James a liar, especially as this isn’t a matter of opinion – we aren’t discussing the nuances of an incident, this is simply a matter of fact. Straightforward reporting of what has been disclosed. Seeing as you weren’t there I don’t really know on what grounds you have decided James is making it up – perhaps you could enlighten me.

Anyway, here’s the comment from James where he confirms this fact:

I think it’s the other war around James- Ferrari cares more for constructors not the drivers championship…

5:37 pmMay 30, 2017
James Allen1 Star2 Star3 Star4 Star5 Star
I know for a fact that is not correct, they 100% are about the Drivers’ title.

oops kenneth ……


@ C63…those words are yours not mine. My comments re James were simply to confer that there are other aspects to be taken into consideration and he has reflected purely on one aspect. You have, in your rush to condemn, avoided the relevant points that i’ve made regards Raikonnen! Only 36 hrs ago Marchionne was issuing some very critical comments re Raikonnen. Now why would he bother about that if all he’s interested in is the WDC? I would venture to say that the WCC title is very important to Ferrari and yes, they may be 100% behind winning the WDC title but they may also be 99% behind winning the WCC as well. You conveniently forget that there are two separate and different titles on offer. Winning one does not guarantee the other. Go peddle.


My comments re James

Hold on a second – you said JA’s comments should not be taken as gospel. What does that mean if you are not saying he is lying? Do I detect goalposts moving here.
As for which of us is rushing to condemn – I took around 31 hours to reply to your comment. You, on the other hand, took 43 minutes.
I rest my case…..


Let’s try it then C63.


@ Clarks4WD…I don;t know whther you saw it but i suggested in another thread that if Mercedes continue with this killer range of Quali and race modes the it can be partially neutralised by changing the rules. We already have a rule that says the top ten must start the race on whatever tyres they used to set their fastest laps. Why can’t we say that the front row must race in the same mode that they used for quali. That would rather neutralise these ‘killer’ modes. I seem to recall that the FIA a some time ago changed the rules about off throttle diffuser blowing in order to bring Red Bull back to the others! If they could do that then why not now? The Ham/Mercedes fans will squeal and claim that the others are just not good enough and why penalise them but the same argument applied to the RB scenario when it occurred but the FIA went through with it. Will it happen? Never. Todt will not upset Mercedes……..


Yeah, good simple idea, not expensive to enforce and improves Saturday F1 and has potential to give more racing for victories.

Ironically, the Ham/Mercedes fans would squeal but it’d probably do his image no harm to battle like crazy and use racecraft for a good victory or second place, rather than engine mode best PU pole for a clean air cruise with no teammate battle and a “managed” 5s gap so no need for overtaking all the way till Toto’s over the top celebrations and comments on how “tough” or “close” the race was 😉


More whining and disingenuous imaginary claims of lack of competition for Hamilton ; from the person who has advocated that the intra team competition of 2007,should have been negated,and the rookie artificially shackled, and only Alonso went for the tittle. Why? Upsetted because a certain driver was allowed to showcase his talent on a level playing field 😨😨😨.


If you guys want to know what quali would look like without the extra modes, just watch q1. I would warn you though, that the guy you both would clearly like to see hampered by this rule, would still be ahead.


@Clarks4WD…. Give Ross a call and see if he can arrange it for the start of next season. Shouldn’t make any difference to the build at all.


That’s if Lewis’ battle skills/racecraft is as good as it once was, he hasn’t had to exercise those muscles much in the last few years! 😉


Bighaydo, apart from in Brazil….and Belgium…..and Spain…..


Pressing the DRS button while planting your right foot to give extra MercPU power is not the kind of racecraft BigHaydo means 😉


Clarkes, Lewis made overtakes without DRS in Bazil, maybe check out his battle with Perez for an example of good racecraft. You won’t bother of course, as you aren’t actually interested in the truth of anything to do with Hamilton.


Don’t forget Austin.


Andrew, yep and Baku and Austria……


kenneth, I’m a never say never kind of a guy. Obviously (V10). I think software requirements are so easy to change it is something that can be sprung on the teams in February 2018 before start of the season with ease by the FIA with one of those directive letters. If they have any brains about improving the track product with ease, while saving money and taking control out of the software team’s hands, they will do this.

Here is the issue. Formula 1 has been exploiting these engine modes to make itself look faster than it is on Saturdays, and also the teams have been using it to not look like fools out there running out of fuel or blowing up these complex PUs. Engine modes are not just taking control out of driver’s hands. They are putting the control in the team’s hands at the same time. And like taking 100m way from Ferrari it is not going to be a fight that teams yield to with ease . Even Liberty may not want to decrease the speed of the product by locking in these modes. After all, hyping the speed of these cars has been paramount, even if the are quietly allowed to brake all the fuel flow rules on Saturdays to achieve it.

I just don’t think that their interest outweigh the fact that the driver’s cannot be belittled by these engine modes. Nipping this in the bud ASAP is the right thing to do. I hope they have that moment of clarity this off season before we go testing in February.


@ Sebee…appears we are all out of sequence but in reply to your laest [in my inbox] regarding “event’ i don’t know what you’re looking at. My copy of the ‘Sporting Regs’ states that ,under sect 23.5…’an [F1 ] event comprises of P3, Qualifying and the race.


I was looking at the 2018 regs. Are you what year are your regs? WHY would they take out the “Qualifying” detail as definition of event from the year you looked at to the one I looked at “formula_one_-_technical_regulations_-_2018.pdf”


@ Sebee…I am confused by your post? You won’t find any reference to qualifying in the ‘Technical regs’ for the obvious reasons…so why look there? The ‘Sporting regs’ issued 0n 21/9/17 for the ’18 season clearly define what i posted before under Reg 23.5. If we pursue your original comment ‘that they are quietly allowed to BREAK, the fuel flow limits’ then you should indeed go to the Technical regs dated 21/9/’17 for the ’18 season and you will see under reg 5.14 that the ‘max allowed fuel flow’ is set in concrete. If you read on Regs 5.10.3/10.4 and 10.5 add further weight to this and of course the monitoring of same. All of this is my reading of the R & R and i may be mistaken so i will place a caveat on what i’ve posted.


If quali is not defined as part of event, do the rules apply?


Great, my file states this too. But now it doesn’t include quali in the definition of event.

Look, I’m not saying this is 100%. But it is one of the things that is likely to explain the lap times on Saturday that try to grab those headlines and create hype about speed. Speed which is not repeatable ever under Grand Prix conditions.


Sebee, are the teams breaking the fuel flow limit in qualifying? Quite a statement, what makes you think it might be true?


@ Sebee…. ‘Breaking the fuel flow limitations on a Saturday’? Anything further to support that? Very interesting comment considering…..


You know kenneth, it actually starts with this. It’s not what it says, it is what it doesn’t say. Here is a definition of “Event” to which the FIA rules apply. Notice how it specifies practice and race. If it is getting that specific, why doesn’t it specify qualifying? Are you telling me that this is not open to interpretation? That there is no interpretation loophole here?

Any event entered into the FIA F1 Championship Calendar for any year commencing at the scheduled time for scrutineering and sporting checks and including all practice and the race itself and ending at the later of the time for the lodging of a protest under the terms of the Sporting Code and the time when a technical or sporting verification has been carried out under the terms of that Code.


@ Sebee…I have done some research and believe that it would be very difficult for teams to tamper with the fuel flow at their own discretion seeing as the latest models are solid state Sentronics and mandated by the FIA. These are ultrasonic devices which i would think are preset at mandated levels, Seeing as the cars are under parc ferme rules from the first lap of quali i fail to see how they could be re adjusted to the FIA mandated levels post qualifying and prior to the start of the race. Of course nothing is impossible but if they were caught they would be instantly disqualified. You might like to rethink your original comment or if i’m wrong then point me in the right direction.


Start with the approach that this is allowed for good of the show.

And even that mysterious device, it needs power to function, right? And does it limit flow or just measure to catch infractions? What happens when you simply cut power to it? Full open gate? And look at that new definition of event, excludes quali.


@ Sebee…That’s even crazier than some of your other posts!!! Really. I still don’t know why you are still excluding Quali from the definition of “event’ as explained in sect 23.5 of the sporting Regs. published in Sept’17 and relating to the ’18 season?.


Sebee is just trolling kenneth – he will frequently argue black is white and day is night. Facts don’t bother him in the slightest when he is on a ‘mission’ like this. For what my opinion is worth – you are completely right on this point. There is no way the FIA would turn a blind eye to fuel flow transgression – it’s a cornerstone of the PU formula and the idea that they (and other teams) would let it go for the good of the show is preposterous.


@ C63….Yes, you are correct, to a certain degree. I do sometimes agree with certain aspects of Sebee’s outlook. He sometimes looks at the series from a different perspective and that is welcome but not always rewarding. Freedom to speculate can be entertaining……


be very difficult

Nigh on impossible kenneth. Isn’t the fuel flow data also monitored in real time by the authorities (Red Bull were warned during the race about exceeding fuel flow limits back in 2014 iirc) – as you say, any team exceeding the limit would be disqualified. Sebee is talking complete nonsense…again.


C63, this conversation is priceless! I have never seen a Canuck squirm so much! Go Kenneth!!!


Lol – it’s unusual for you and I to be supporting kenneth I must say 🙂


@ C63…some things in life just don’t appear to have a logical explanation do they. Enjoy…….


kenneth, why are you looking for a complicated solution like this? Does it have to be all calibrated and re-calibrated? Or can it just be bypassed/removed for the quali and popped back in after quali with the 100kg/hr setting? Unlimited is unlimited, you don’t need to pass it through a measuring device if it’s unlimited. Flow baby, flow…as fast as you want through the little pipe!

For the GP, back to 100kg/hr to show our efficiency!


@ Sebee…that is about the most silly comment that i’ve seen from you. You do know of course that the fuel flow meters are embedded within the fuel tank.


You’re making it sound like we’re making a time machine here with letting the fuel flow.

So, this thing is so embedded in the car that it is impossible to over write it or remove it or replace it? Even if it failed over the weekend?


@ Sebee….I don’t quite know why you are still banging on? Yes, the fuel flow monitoring unit is embedded within the fuel tank and i’m certain that it could replaced if and when necessary, so what. My point was intended to convey that is simply wasn’t a bolt on/add on and it would be extremely difficult to bypass or manipulate as you have suggested was being done. I would also think that the FIA tech rep placed in the team would be watching like a hawk to monitor any activity involving this piece of kit. After all it is one of the most sensitive issues within F1 racing as it governs a basic tenet of the Formula. I do think that you’ll have look further afield to explain why the variances between Quali and Race times exist.


Kenneth, the fuel amount is all about showing “efficiency” but it can only be deployed on Sundays and talked about on Sundays. The fuel flow limit is there mostly to save the teams from themselves and not run out of fuel. Have you noticed how no team has ever run out of fuel? And have you noticed how they never manage to get close to quali laps even on fresh rubber and great track conditions? We’re talking about many seconds each time, not tenths. 3-5sec tends to be the gap between pole and fastest lap posted often by drivers who were close to pole or on pole. Even when fuel use age limits are eliminated through many SC laps, they can’t knock out those quali times.

F1 had a problem of speed perception with these PUs from day one in 2014 and Saturday is the opportunity to brag about the speed. But how to get this story? How to get this speed? At a time when no car can run out of fuel, and they are light and can quietly go to garage and top off between runs I believe they let the fuel flow in those sessions, for the show, for the story lines, for the impression of speed. This is never achievable on Sunday when cars can’t get more fuel and can’t run out of fuel due to the preceived embarrassment and immediate conflict with the efficiency claims.

I was meaning to check if the rules demand fuel flow limits for grand prix only or at all times to see if this is a loophole no one talks about or if it may be quietly allowed. I just didn’t get to check the official rule book wording around this fuel flow rule. Guess we’re gonna look into it now with this chat.


“All adjustments to the sport should only be done and conducted in the best interest of the sport and not of any one individual”
“We consider F1 as sport, not show.”
I love these ideas and principles very much, but really?
1)Why have so many of you accepted DRS then?
2)Why there is so little reaction about Charlie’s selective rule enforcement?
3)Ferrari is given billions of extra money every season just for painting their cars red and showing up. Why do you play along this…show?
4)For years, so called strategy group has decided over regulations…again, the reaction has been mild.

I can go on with these examples, but looking back to the weak actions from GPDA over the last, but very critical decade, it is hard to believe much improvement.


I disagree F1 is a sport and a show otherwise why watch?


In complete seriousness I think DRS is the best thing to happen to F1 in two decades. Since it’s introduction drivers have to actually defend their position, instead of driving around as normal whilst turbulence defends their position for them. The number of formailty passes it creates is trivial to me next to the number of marginal passes it makes possible.


the drivers don’t say any negative comments about the issues you raise because they’re scared they’ll lose their seat.


The drivers actually have no formal input into the rule making process. Rules are drawn up by FIA, the teams and other parties – sponsors, tyre supplier and so on. But not the drivers. So…
A) We can’t hold them responsible for DRS. They might loathe it, but they didn’t suggest it and their approval was not necessary.
B) Maybe this is why the GPDA is strengthening – to try to get a voice for the drivers.


Good comment. Also, if it is a sport, why do the competitors have so much say over the regulations? Can anyone name another sport where progress and competition is restricted as much when the players lobby as strongly as they do in F1?


Well I thought it would never happen, we are returning to 1973 song by Strawbs I am a union man amazed what I can say, since then we have Internet, mobile phones & things that goes on & on, what ever happen to the modern world we live in, Perhaps the drivers Union will tell Mr Todt his ( Halo ) add on, . is not what drivers want and he can SHOVE IT.


“If the sport sucks, everything around the sport itself is only expensive, inauthentic and semi-irrelevant. We need on track competition, but not artificially created.”

Quite – as we saw in Texas, Liberty seem to want to turn F1 into the four-wheeled equivalent of WWE – all spectacle and no substance. That driver intro lasted 15 minutes and added no actual value at all.

That approach might appeal to certain audiences, but I don’t want my sport dumbed down and turned into such a show. Superbowl lasts four hours, only a quarter of which actually makes up the game. Spare me that crap, for gods’ sake.

Make the cars and stars more accessible yes; embrace the power of digital media yes; turn it into pure circus and I’m switching off.

I’ve never understood why the people who best understand what makes for great racing – the drivers – are not central in policy-setting.


That’s just Texas. It seems to work there. What you didn’t see there was other events like concerts being staged at the same time.

I did think the announcer was WWE but I was corrected. He is a boxing announcer.


@jdr…and that’s where he should stay. The cheap and nasty ‘iron chef’ intro was pure tat.


A lot of emotions there Jim, also passion.

You got to remember one thing, there will always be someone unhappy. Here’s a stat for you, Bernie’s last 5 years recorded declines in attendance and tv ratings. This year the attendance up by 8% and increased tv ratings (can’t remember the number). You need to give Liberty a little more time before judging either way. From a racing point of view they were at least able to put the teams on the table to discuss the engine issue, which Bernie left it to the ever powerful team. Yes, I don’t go to races for all the out of track rubbish myself, but my 2 year old might when she grows up. All I’m saying is that, give them a chance.


You got to remember one thing, there will always be someone unhappy

Ain’t that the truth!


I can’t disagree with that; but based on what’s happened so far it’s not looking that promising.

Bernie was a liability, I just hope we haven’t ended up with something worse. With no disrespect intended to any US contributors here, it does rather seem that American sports are often rather heavy on the showmanship. I think it would be a shame if Liberty invested in that in preference to addressing the issues on a (currently) declining sport.


Yes they are heavy on showmanship but all make money. F1 could use a little of that but not as much as Texas.

F1 is a sport. All professional sports are also shows.


After the lows reached, 8% bounce back is nice. But don’t credit Liberty for that. Credit Mercedes for playing ball and sharing.

Since in the end their goal is to get more people to watch their glorious exploits, I expect a similar script on 2018. Sharing and illusion of competition and then Mercedes steam rolling when it counts to a WDC and WCC.


I think you misunderstood what I was referring to when I was talking about my 18 months old. As a lifelong F1 fan, I take things personally when trying to engage my family and friends to F1. Whether or not they engage is irrelevant. I feel that it is our responsibility to engage the young ones. Yes you are right, my 18 months old (now 2 yo) isn’t the target market. But do you think she will sit on the gre and stands on a hot day wearing her cutest little Ferrari outfit watch car go around? Her attention spam is same as Trump pretty much. So, no she won’t. The only way I could engage her is to give her a reason to enjoy something while the product F1 is there for me to enjoy. It’s not about changing product my friend. I don’t think the product F1 will never change its core. It will always evolve off track. I will give you a similar example; the current WACA ground in Perth holds around 25,000 people max, the facilities on the ground aren’t that crash hot. So, the government spend in excess of $300m to build a new stadium with off the chart facilities, bars, restaurants, mini cricket grounds for the kids to play, function rooms, cricket museum and really high tech stuff for people of all ages to engage in. At the same time the new stadium will hold more than 70,000 people. Adelaide oval did the similar thing a couple of years ago (renovate) and success had been amazing. It doesn’t change the product at all. The show is still about the players and the sport for us die hard followers. It just gives the younger audience that fascinated by off the ground stuff. F1 is no different to that. The winner is F1 in my view in the end.


I hear you. You’re doing your best to cultivate the passion for F1 in your little girl. I get that. I commend you for your efforts, but to be quite honest, I never understood little children at the Grand Prix. 8, maybe 6 years old…OK. but there is nothing about a Grand Prix that fits infants, and only makes the parents not able to unwind and enjoy. I feel they bring them either because it is free or because they couldn’t find a baby sitter/wanted to give significant other a break. They won’t remember the experience and would have more fun at a nice park with play structure and other kids.

The product is changing on the grid. It is changing in the name of catering to small demographics. That is part of the problem with fan loss. I mean, hybrid share is less the 2% now and mostly people over 50 buy this things. What demo is this that F1 would go after it at such cost? And Mercedes AMG’s ambitions are 100% electric, which are abvious and yet here they are, driving the sport into irrelevance with these PUs. 2018 TV viewing grew or shrunk? Everything I’m reading says flat or shrunk, right?


You know last year for the first time in 6 years I didn’t get volunteer as marshall in the Melbourne GP, this year was the same. Last year my daughter was 6 months old. So this year I took her to the GP. Obviously a 18 months old doesn’t have any clue about F1 or anything related to F1. But she had the best time just enjoying the off track stuff. She loved the color, the music, the shops, the old cars and a lot of things I never paid attention to. It made me realize that we need to give people of all ages the reason to be involved in the sport that we all love. Hope you understand where I’m going with it. It doesn’t matter who takes the credit for the success. I will take the success from this year and hope it will be better going forward.


Jim- mostly with you on this one BUT the drivers are NOT what makes great racing- it is the formula. With a formula that provides an advantage to the car in front (as the current one does), racing will always suffer. I do agree that the drivers should have a central part in policy making as they want good racing and have the best insight into how to make the formula good- but with a poor formula you have crap racing.


Cartwheel, I didn’t say drivers make great racing – I said they UNDERSTAND what makes great racing! I think that if they had had more input into the formula, we wouldn’t have the differential we have now, with some teams being paid millions just for rocking up, and reaping the benefits in their R&D and subsequent race performance.


@ cartwheel…that being the case [ crap racing ] who better than the drivers to be able to voice their opinions on what needs to be done. They look at F1, in the main i should think, purely from the racing. That is their job. Yes, there will be certain drivers who will use whatever means there are to reflect their teams positions, as benefits there benefit them individually. One would like to think though that, overall, their contributions would be a benefit and not a disadvantage. If Liberty is smart then they will pay attention to what the drivers have to say and incorporate those ideas into their plans for a better racing future governed by a better formula.


If you look at what the drivers say, then it’s very similar to what the fans want.


Liberty are only new at this, but so far the changes they’ve aimed for aren’t good ones, IMO. And for the most part they seem to be rubbing fans the wrong way.


so glad Bernie is gone


Well, let’s see…

He was doing the job of many men as we now know.
He was generating a better profit and more funds for the teams.
He made F1 what it was before CVC told him to make it sellable, thus giving all these concessions to the teams, including PUs, veto, etc. in exchange for their long term commitment.

So far, what has substantially changed…really, since Bernie left? Oh yes…Halos. You’re welcome.


Actually the profit thing has as much as what Bernie did than Liberty.

Most of it is from the track hosting fees. It should be from media like every other sport/show.


Halos And Drivers in Smoke Filled Tunnels. That’s a biggie.


Like everything he did, Bernie is a very divisive figure. Look at the votes here. 50% are happy he’s gone as eric says. 50% recognize he did a lot of good.

Since we’re not likely to get that seasonal Bernie Christmas card, maybe we can make one for him in a form of a vote for or against Bernie?

It would be actually interesting to see this as an off-season vote James – are you glad Bernie is gone? But just Yes or No, none of that third option “I’m not sure”. If you’re not sure, don’t vote.


Bernie was pretty smart to sell and made a fortune and yes he did make F1 into the most watched motorsport in the world but all get old one day.


So far, what has substantially changed…really, since Bernie left?

This question needs to be answered by people who keep saying they are glad Bernie is gone, the sport is tanking and Liberty to me has no direction for this sport other than being active on Social Media.


Liberty is trying to increase funding by all types of media. Growing the sport from mostly track hosting fees can’t be taken any further.


Just give them some time.. lots of F1 contacts are for years. It’s a bit naive to think Liberty can change things overnight.


Seriously people blame the old man but its the fia who’s been making silly rules over the years…who came up with this stupid engines..Bernie hated it from day 1…people just want to blame someone. F1 business is pretty fractured that’s why they don’t get anything done. This is how its going to be in the future as well.


Wasn’t his hand forced when his ex wife sold the trust he gave her and thus had to satisfy the demands of CVC?


Yeah the FIA is really out of touch.


Unfortunately when CVC came in it all went to pot – they were siphoning any sign of profit out to their other business interests, invested nothing back into the sport and the relationship became quite parasitic. F1 lost a lot of momentum when they were in charge.


Good on the drivers, but I’ve always felt the Italian car industry for one has been denuded thanks to the interfering and bully boy tactics of the Italian unions. The Alfasud is a classic example – thanks to the thuggish, braying attitude of the unions and the Red Brigades, Alfa and FIAT were forced to open a new facility in Naples., an area which has no automotive pedigree what so ever………….you may as well have opened a facility in Alice Springs…………

……………as a result, build quality and general design was poor, Alfa’s reputation plummeted, FIAT made huge losses, there was industrial chaos, people were even murdered – and all because of interfering unions……..

Unions – not always a force for good……


Gaz, you are aware that when the Alfasud was introduced back in the early 70’s, that Alfa was state owned?

It was the Italian government that built the factory in the south (SUD is Italian for south) due to the area having high unemployment.

Like it’s British counterpart British Leyland, it was a catastrophe…

As to FIAT, they bought the Alfa concern from the Italian government in 1986.

Hope you don’t find the facts unreasonable


Naples is the ‘headquarters’ of the Mafia, who have murdered more business owners than any union. Don’t let facts get in the way of a daily heil rant will you.


@ Jonno…The real ‘mafia’ is headquartered in Palermo/Sicily. The other mafias are headquartered in mainland Italy, such as the Ndrangheta in Calabria and the Camorra in Naples.


Good ol’ capitalism! Unions are bad, a travesty and subversion to the sacred invisible hand that dear Adam Smith dreamed up… lobbies on the other hand… well, as Tony the tiger would say: they’re grrrrreat!


Arthur Scargill……………..Derek Robinson (“Red Robbo”)……………….the Red Brigades (“Brigantte Rosso”)…………….how do you plead? Guilty your honour!


Given the number of stakeholders (FIA, Liberty, Engine Manufacturers, Chassis Manufacturers, Drivers, and last and least the fans) this situation seems closer to the British Car Industry in the ’70s, and you can tick all your boxes.
1. Unions lead to Poor Build Quality – The British Leyland that were reassembled by the owners
2. Policy decision to boost employment in deprived areas leads to relocation to places with no engineering tradition – The Hilmans built in Scotland
and even add a few more
3. An autocratic boss losing touch with the developments around him – Bernie Ecclestone as the new William Morris
4. The Class War / Show War – Liberty wants more Show and less differentation while, the Engine manufacturers don’t want spec engines and the drivers want to remain sportsmen.

You just hope that it doesn’t go the same way, and that Brawn and Bratches’ new F1 keeps the fans’ interests in mind.


As with most things the key is a good balance of power and co-operation. If the union has too much power the employees will drive their employer out of competition and ultimately out of business to protect their way of working (see: the British coal, automotive industires). If the owners have too much power they will drive their own employees to destitution for the sake of every last penny of profit (see: Walmart or the entirety of Chinese electronics manufacturing).
A lot of F1’s current problems stem from Bernie dividing and conquering so effectively. He turned F1 into a system to generate as much income for Bernie Ecclestone as possible as quickly as possible, at the expense of the teams (especially the midfield), the venues, the spectacle and most of all the fans. The drivers having a relatively unified voice is not necessarily a bad thing, I very much doubt we will see a return to the days of driver strikes, which were mosty down the tracks being cartoonishly dangerous.


I don’t think the drivers will be driven to destitution. It sounds more like a guild than a real union yet.

I think the drivers should be given a say when everyone else is given one.

I think as of now they want everyone to succeed so it seems to me it’s a win win because from Vettel to even Hamilton being part of it and saying what they want is pretty much what the fans want, why not?


Spot on!


Future F1 Tongue-in-Cheek Headlines:

FI Driver’s Union Strikes Monaco GP

Teams Scramble for Replacements – Lauda To Drive for Mercedes


Ha, comments don’t look like they have grasped how serious this is. Serious in a good way. Wurz has achieved something new, and I think this could make a big difference (hopefully all positive) to how F1 is run.

Looks like there is concern F1 could be turned into a kind of ‘forced’ International Goodwood Festival of Speed!

The operative word there being ‘forced.’ As if F1 owns the drivers. Quite a few have jumped ship when things in F1 have not been good. When at least one drive died a year, Stewart retired early (with none of his friends alive – G Hill, Clark, Rindt, Courage and Cevert)!

Witness the wing car era. Hunt and Lauda bailed out early too. Then, Scheckter was gone pretty quickly too. Who did a 10 year stint in F1 in those days? Fittipaldi. Who else?

Then, we lost Montoya, and Raikkonen for 2 years.

Watch this space!


what do we want…..I don’t know…..when do we want it…..now!!


@ Jungle…..Yesterday!!


… he’d probably win, then!


😉 Yep, Merc engine mode for Q3 at Monaco would be enough to take pole for Lauda.

I’d like to think Prost would challenge him in his Renault before the PU lets go…


for Q3 at Monaco would be enough to take pole for Lauda.

Well,it wasn’t enough for either Bottas or Ham this year….


that was before the Merc PU upgrade, plus, they’re no Lauda 😉


@ Clark’s 4WD…and if the Ham/Mercedes fans have their way it won’t get any Lauda in the future either.

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