Top of the Flops

A while ago now, in the UK, there was a popular music chart television programme, made by the BBC, called Top of the Pops. It ran for 42 years. It was a countdown to find out what was the Number One that week. It drew a vast audience and every singer and every band wanted to be on it. Looking back now, in the age of whizzbangs and wonderment, it was all rather tame – and the clothing and hairdos were giggle-inducing – but it worked wonders for the pop music industry and kept the toothsome DJs amused with a constant stream of teenage girls, wanting to be in the audience, and willing to do whatever it took to get there… It worked because there was a structure, suspense and if some of the groups were awful (cue: The Bay City Rollers), there was always someone you liked. It was a win-win deal for all concerned.

Formula 1 used to be like that but in recent times it has all been getting rather confused and today, rather than everyone doing what they are told and singing in beautiful harmonies, we have Luca and the High Horses doing “Paint it Black”, Bernie & The Asset Strippers singing “Money, money, money”, Dietrich and the Untermensch warbling “My way”, Jean Todt and the Blazers doing “We are the champions” (without the sequins), the other teams singing “Ain’t no sunshine” and the media doing “Dancing in the Dark” all at the same time. It is a right old cacophony. A lot of noise.

Yesterday I read a Ferrari press release announcing that 83 percent of the fans do not like Formula 1. Fabulous! The team that gains the most from the sport, saying that the sport is rubbish.

Did they teach that one in PR school?

I read with fascination, it was like a chapter from Suicide 101, explaining how to load a pistol and point it at one’s head. I even went to ask the Ferrari PR man if there was any possible logical positive strategy for such a ridiculous release. His argument was not convincing.

Formula 1 is in the process of a brilliant technical revolution that has a real value to the world at large and the people in the sport are all whining and griping and trying to get things changed, because they have other agendas. It is incredibly depressing that the sport is delivering such a poor message to the public at a time when there is such a positive story to be told: the F1 cars of 2014 cover the same distance at the same sort of speed as the cars of 2013, but they do it using 35 percent less fuel. That’s impressive. But where is this great story being broadcast? Why can no-one remember the word HYBRID? The teams are squabbling as ever, the Formula One group does not do promotion (an odd stance for a promoter) and the FIA’s idea about communication is about as useful as a Trappist Debating Society.

It is as if everyone is working to bring down the value of the sport. Some may be, some may wish to drive away the investors so that they can buy the shares. The investors are, sadly, completely clueless. They look only at the bottom line and do not care how it is arrived at. And they don’t have the nous (nor the balls) to run the business as it could (and should) be run and they just don’t care whether the sport spins off into a wall and catches fire, so long as they have their pockets bulging with fivers when they depart. If they had any clue they would realise that there is still plenty of milk left inside this old cash cow.

What happened to the sport that we love? Why are the teams trying to get rules they like rather than buckling down and building better racing cars as racers do? The culprit today is Ferrari, and it is clear that the folk in Maranello have not mastered the new engines as successfully as Mercedes-Benz (major ooops). Yesterday it was Red Bull. They are not winning, so they are whingeing instead. They are trying to change the rules as Red Bull did last year.

They have no respect for the sport.

Well, as a fan of F1, my view is very simple: if you don’t like it, go away. There will always be other racers who will step in to replace these prima donnas. It is just a question of money. If we wish to see the sport destroy itself then we need to let everyone spend as much as they like. The dinosaurs can have a final party, but if we want to go forward, we need to do so with rules that restrict money and ego, just as they restrict wing size and tyre width.

Goodness me, I sound angry.

339 thoughts on “Top of the Flops

  1. Did you read Mark Hughes’ analysis of Ferrari et al’s statements/positioning? Seeking to further lower the value ahead of a consortium majority shareholding take-over so one Mr E remains at the helm regardless of what happens in Munich…

    Clutching at straws?

    1. They have not read the Bribery Act 2010. Nor the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. Nor German corporate compliance…

      1. Bernie doesn’t look like he’s sweating at the moment Joe. And, as Barristers and Solicitors that have worked for me in the past have always told me, when you go into court you’re never worse than 50-50 on the chances of acquittal or conviction. I reckon Bernie will take those odds happily. As I’ve said before, he has done some great things for the sport, however he has been long past his sale date in terms of doing good for it over the last 10 years or more. That doesn’t mean that he is an easy target for some German State Prosecutor.

        1. But he should sweat as the London High Court repelled the Constantin Media action only because they couldn´t proof they suffered a certain damage, not because it was no bribery done. In fact they sauíd it was. And this is not a good sign for Munich.

          1. It’s always 50/50 in a Court, and in a Criminal one, the balance is actually in favour of the Accused, as unlike in Civil Law, the evidence has to be black or white, no grey areas are allowed! I expect Bernie will give them all a good run for their money, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to get one over him, as past history shows.

            1. Here’s a quiz:
              Who was the judge who jailed Gribkowsky and said that Ecclestone had led him astray?
              What is the name of the judge who will hear the Ecclestone case?

                1. Ever heard the expression ” the law is an ass ” ! All I’m saying is that just because Bernie appears to have his googlies in a vice, don’t be surprised if he wriggles out of it….maybe a bit tarnished yet again, but he doesn’t seem to care about that in the least, see last case in London. It’s a fear of BCE that is keeping pretty much all the players quiet on this subject.

      2. So bribery became a criminal offence in 2010.
        When did B allegedly commit this heinous crime? If only it had happened in 2009, 8, 7 ……

            1. No, it was a stupid remark. There are lots of people here who don’t agree but they write sensible things. You did not.

            2. As well as bribery being criminal prior to 2010 via common law the bribery act prohibits those convicted under it from holding directorships. So in effect the comment was double distupid 🙂

            3. Sorry, but it was a silly remark. Bribery, as eny fule kno, has long been a criminal offence and nobody said otherwise in this post.

  2. Fair comment – the cars are technically fascinating again, and not just to those into intricate aerodynamic detail that can only be seen in freeze frame on a 50 inch HD display.

    The noise is an issue, though – it was magnified at Malaysia, with the microphones being further from the cars than Albert Park, the sensation of acceleration is significantly impacted with practically no sound from the car being picked up.

  3. Joe you are on a roll this week – Bahrain must be treating you well because you are in fine fettle!

  4. Hi Joe – whatever you are drinking keep it up. They must have something stronger than flower water around. This may be the best vintage of Joe for the last decade. Hopefully you don’t get beat up in the pit lane or disappear in the desert somehow.

    You are aware that you’ve just insulted at least two billionaires, the crown prince of Italy, dozens of millionaires and you are surrounded by people who work for them? Respect.

    On a side note – I wish they would put about 6 microphones on every car so we can really hear them on the broadcast. Every once in a while it’s possible to hear some very interesting noises during practice. If they are using the same recording setup from last year someone is not doing their job.

    1. Agreed – it’s like the guys in the audio booth – who I am convinced are no dummies – are being directed to make sure that the cars sound as quiet as possible or something… Either that, or they truly had not anticipated the change in dB levels and have decided that there’s nothing they can do? All very fishy to me.

      1. I actually thought the opposite – they sounded better on TV (Malayisa) than at the track (Melbourne) – so I thought they were already faking the sound to make it sound better than what it is, not tone it down

  5. Joe,

    have you considered that when you ask people if they like your new product, and they tell you they don’t, there might actually be something wrong with said new product?

    I get your point about messaging, but banding together and putting a smile on is not always the right solution, at least not if you’re in a ‘New Coke’ kind of situation.

    1. Have you considered the fact that people always whinge about changes and after three months they are happy again. It happens time after time.
      If you don’t like F1 leave. The message will be understood if enough people do it. Right now there is no evidence to back up any such claims.
      In six months time we will have a better picture.

      1. I live on the west coast of North America so most races are after midnight or before dawn and I vote to keep the new rules, including the sound, since this is the first time in recent memory I haven’t fallen asleep two races in a row.

      2. People not liking change in general doesn’t mean they’ll always come around, that was my point. Sometimes by staying the course you just inflict unnecessary pain onto yourself and damage your product and reputation.

        You know as well as I do that if F1 were to wait another 6 months, we’d be settled with the current product for the next two years. If changes are to be made, now is the time to discuss and agree on them, for them to be implemented in ’15. (on that note, what’s the state of the updated nose design rules that were discussed earlier?)

        I find ‘shut up and go away’ to be a less than constructive answer to valid criticism.

      3. Couldn’t agree more. People don’t like change but life goes on, we adapt and we evolve.

        F1 should be about the best engineers giving the best drivers the best cars they can muster. That means so much more if they all have the same start though: same rules, same budget with the only variables being imagination and talent.

        And by the way, I’ve just read an article in the Telegraph about the huge ticket sales boost Silverstone have received from the first two races. It’s being credited on Lewis Hamilton, but whatever the cause it dispels the myth that the “poor” engine sound will send trackside spectators away in droves.Speaking personally, the new sound is a much improved television experience and it also means I’ll now consider taking my two young boys trackside. One mans poison and all that…..

        Great analysis of late Joe – you’re flying a public flag for the silent (and I suspect) majority who are quietly enjoying the “new look” F1 (no pun intended with quietly!). Very much appreciated.

      4. I think you are missing a point here Joe. Ferrari were just delivering the result of a vote. For example, I did not vote there, but I don’t like F1 like I did 2-3 years ago, even thought RedBull were on a roll and I can’t stand RedBull. I like Lewis and I really don’t mind if he wins, even thought I’m an Alonso fan.

        Using 30% less fuel is amazing, but there are all these little things that add up to not like F1 as much.
        Is not as clear cut as you say: “you don’t like it, go away”. If it would annoy me, I would go away, but we are not at that stage yet, and so I’m still watching but if someone would ask me if I like the new F1, I would have to be hosest and say No. What is wrong with that?

        1. As another commenter has said, who in their right mind says “Come buy my pies, they taste horrible”. If you are in F1 and have a survey like that you bin it. Unless you have an ulterior motive.

          1. Yes you ate right, nobody who makes pies should say: “Come buy my pies, they taste horrible”. But Joe, you DON’T make pies ! You review their taste and you feel free to criticize what you don’t like,,,, so why are you so unwelcoming of the opinions of F1 fans ?

              1. Amongst all the views expressed here and elsewhere, I am convinced that at least one team principal actually believes that….’All Animals Are Equal But Some Animals Are More Equal Than All The Others’ to misquote Orwells famous line.

                These people, with names like Montezemolo and to a slightly lesser degree Matesiecht (sic) actually do believe that their teams are indespensible to the continuing existence of F1. And whilst they are allowed to peddle their malign doctrines from inside F1,our great sport will be diminished and tarnished, poisoned. Not one team is greater than the whole circus.
                No matter what their history, financial clout, or fan base.

          2. The Ferrari survey would be called a push poll in politics – it set the questions to basically get the answer that – Ferrari losing = crap to watch. Designing accurate polls is a very complex science as is designing them to get the answer to whatever you want. The poll might as well have said, ‘do you think it’s fair that Ferrari aren’t allowed to win with these crappy engines?’ Leading questions and all that…

            1. Has it occured to anyone the 83% negative responders are probably Ferrari fans? Their team sucks so far this year they expoect Luca to cook the regs to give Ferrari a leg up.

          3. Sounds like a line from Sweeny Todd: “The worst pies in London…….”. It is almost like watching an episode of Keystone Cops. There is no unified “message” coming from the sport. Do you suppose that despite the facade Bernie is presenting to the public, the “elephant in the room” is now first and foremost in his mind, to the point of distraction? It seems like the sport is rudderless right now. Look for Red Bull to start pawing the dirt and snorting, now that Vettel hasn’t made it into q Q-3.

          4. I agree with you on this Joe, but just because the fans say they don’t like the current F1, doesn’t mean you need to bin their views. Ferrari has made this public, so the FIA and the rest of the teams, do a better job in the future. You cannot change or improve, unless you are made aware that the current formula doesn’t work, and here I’m referring to the FIA being aware.

            Anyway Joe, I love your articles, because unlike others in your profession, you are expressing your views and I respect that, There’s always going to be people on both sides of the fence, so I’m not too worried about this. Even if we don’t like some things, we will get used to them.

            I just like to moan because the sound was taken away, and the sound was awesome and to me it was one important aspect of F1.

            1. And me. It’s the sound, or lack of. That wailing, intense sound was one of the signatures of F1, and you could hear if the driver was nailing it. It screamed that it was no ordinary race-car.

              It just sounded like it was on the limit of whatever, whereas now they sound, and I dont mean to be hyperbolic, like a hedgtrimmer with gears.
              There is no peak in the revs that portrays a driver as thrashing the hell out of his machine, it just sounds so calm and tame and boring.

              I must say, the racing itself has been good, so there is something right, but reduced sound can’t have done this.

              And to the pundits who claim the sound is good/fine, why is that signature scream still used on the TV intro’s if it’s so insigniificant? I venture to suggest it is because it IS a unique, unmistakeable sound, which has now been lost.

        2. Ferrari were delivering a vote from their (biased) website, conducted under non-scientific means with no spam/revote protection.

          If Alonso or Raikonnen had schooled the last to races, no doubt the opinion would be different.

          LdM recently said ‘we shouldn’t resort to polemics’ and once again proves why the man is as trustworthy as a snake-oil salesman.

        3. I looked at voting there when it came by me, only to find I had already voted??
          So I looked at the result and found it overwelmingly against what I would have voted.
          This was obviously a completely skewed set up with no cred whatsoever.

        4. That is factually incorrect Bogdan “Ferrari were just delivering the result of a vote.”
          First of all, they had the vote only allowing people to say YES/NO to “do you like current F1”, on their own fan website (surprise their fans did not like the results after Malaysia?). And then they presented it, adding that Fans voted like that because of noise and fuel limit driving. Where in their poll did they get that information from the fans, I ask you?
          Answer is, they didn’t, they used this poll (easily rigged because there was no limit on how many times one could vote) to support something they for some reason had wanted to say.

      5. Those so-called “whinners” who quickly accept the new stuff 3 months later, do so because they realize they CAN’T do anything about it! I don’t remember the last time F1 invited me to a Tecnical Working Committee meeting in Paris to discuss the new technical regulations for the F1 car’s rear-diffuser. That’s why FiA’s recent “survey of stupid fans” was such a slap in the face — making us all think they gave a Damn about our opinions. That was dowright Sawardian 😉

      6. Joe, you really sound like an angry man. Why? Ratner destroyed his business because his jewellery was crap. He shouldn’t have said it. But F1 is not crap. I don’t see any real damage being done by people bad-mouthing it. It’s part of the game. It make F1 MORE interesting in my opinion. Sometimes watching F1 is a bit like Kremlin watching – a great sport in its own right. It doesn’t matter if people talk ****.

        I’m afraid the angry persona is effectively bad-mouthing your own business. Chill out man.

    2. I get your point, although I hate to look at the sport I love as a “product”. However there are, as you intimate, plenty of examples of big corporates getting things wrong, and the customers causing the product to be changed back.
      Whilst I think it great that people can be passionate about their view of the sport, I also think it rather arrogant to dismiss any opposing views and to just say ” if you don’t like it, go away”. As a btw, and much as I’ve always liked the bloke and thought him a great driver, I don’t think JB did himself any favours by being in the ” go away ” camp the other day. At present, if KM continues on his current trajectory, it may well be RD telling JB to do that by the season end! Anyway, back to the current conundrum. I don’t like the noise, it doesn’t matter that it is quieter, it is imho, a horrible sound. Personal opinion, that’s all. But, lots of others have a similar one. Worse, the cars are ugly, ( only benefit being that just until everyone works out what the best nose is, they do at last look different, so 10 out 10 for that! ), they are not just slow, but from driver comments are much easier to drive from a physical perspective. And the fuel rules are as awful as the original Group C rules of 1982. People may watch Sportscar racing for the endurance aspect, but for F1 they want to see the cars flat out for the whole race, and don’t want to hear Engineers going on about slowing down and drivers talking about coasting!
      There are many whingers, not just me, but Vettel, a multiple WCD, Alonso don’t seem too keen, Newey this week, and good old Gordon Murray recently.
      The world isn’t black and white, so all I would say to those who appear to be besotted with the new experience, is simply that you don’t love the sport any more or less than I do, or others who don’t share your opinion. I respect your wish to see racing become a green technology event, please respect my wish to see it get real again, and be an event for seeing the best drivers trying to beat each other and not a fortnightly trip to the Stewards over some complex and pointless rules.

      1. Vettel, Newey, Alonso are on the losing side at the moment so it is quite natural they would complain. It’s always such guys who whinge and complain until their results improve considerably. Then they tend to forget all about it.

        Don’t know what in the cureent F1 has upset Gordon Murray, but I remember him as the man who introduced refuelling pit stops in 1983, I think. Regular pit stops were not at all the F1 style before, however in few months they became a norm and we got used to them. Many complained, talked of the dangers of refuelling, but there were always others who enjoyed the novelty for added drama. And the show went on.

        Murray’s Brabhams of that time were propelled by tiny BMW 1.5l flat four turbo engines whose sound was a definite undestatement compared to its brutal power, especially in qualifying. I do not recall any extensive debate of their sound driving away masses of fans who, by the way, were probably attending the European races in rather bigger numbers than nowadays.

        We need to stay open minded and show some patience. Don’t know about others, but I think today’s race in Bahrein gave so lots of good racing behind the two Merc drivers who even did their nice little part of the show. When I see such racing action I don’t mind the sound at all.

        1. Actually everyone is on the losing side at present, except Mercedes. Pitstops were an exciting innovation then, but I preferred a whole race without them myself…purist in me, although of course in the long races further back in motorsport history, refueling was part of the game. Murray was an innovative designer, like Chapman, and in that period, F1 had many less rules than now. The 1500tc BMW engines, were always straight 4’s, in fact the blocks came from 1600cc road cars. The sight and sound of those cars, was certainly nothing that could be considered as being lesser than these new cars, not imho. As to Bahrain, this was an excellent race, with many battles, which is good. The Merc team is to be applauded for allowing their drivers to race hard, as Mac did with Senna & Prost. Now, you only need 2 cars battling hard, for a good race in many ways, but I do recall that many fans derided the Senna/Prost racing at that time, because no other team or driver, could get near the Macs, and gradually people started moaning that the series wasn’t competitive enough. I wonder how long before all those who complained about RBR locking out the wins, start having a go at Merc? The outlook is firmly locked now into either Hamilton or Rosberg winning the title, and Merc are unlikely to lose the Constructors either. Looking this way in April, is, to me, just as depressing as seeing RBR run away with it every year….and btw, the cars engines still sound horrible, and the cars look ugly! Great race though!

        2. Bojan, Grand Prix/F1 (F1 or F2 is just a formula regulation) have had refueling since the first French Grand Prix, was it 1906? The refueling can be exciting in the pit stop. It was eliminated first due to fear of fires. Indy car do fine with it. Let them have refueling and teams work on tire & fuel pit strategy. Instead of an army battalion to change 4 tires, reduce it to 4 crew and then fast pit work has meaning. You’d save some money, too, in staff and travel. Miss screaming engines? Increase the rev limit. More car control effort?, ditch the wing, but then you lose your billboard… Skinnier tires would help, too. There is more that could be done, but this is a good start.

          1. I see that there is work going to be done to improve the engine noise. Now, I hope they get it right, a bit more volume would be nice in my view, but the more important bit is that the engine sounds right! At the moment I really don’t like the sound, didn’t much like the shrill V8’s either, but the quality of engine note is important, as that is the bit that gets the hairs on the back of your neck rising, when they start and as they build up to max revs…also on shutdown for corners. That and making the cars less damn ugly, and we start to get somewhere better….just need the competition to tighten up.

    3. New Coke failed because New Coke attempted to turn Coke into Pepsi– problem was, people who wanted that were already drinking Pepsi.

      While I think there are problems with the 2014 spec for Formula 1, I think it’s the way forward, and I think the old V8’s are no longer representative of the “pinnacle of motor racing”.

      I’ll dust off a 500 year old comment about change:

      “It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”
      ― Niccolò Machiavelli

      1. Excellent quote and sums up F1 off track so well. The thing is that the car companies who provide the engines would not have stayed without more relevant R&D on hybrid small turbos.

  6. You’re right Joe – the present state of affairs is horrible considering that the new technical rules are the best thing to have happened to the sport since its inception. If it really is to purposely demean the sport, discourage potential investors or buyers, and keep Bernie at the helm, all fans must be made aware of this as you’re doing. These teams and Bernie do not deserve to be in the sport.

    Am sad that my favourite driver Alonso is with such an ugly politics-playing team. I do realize that Alonso himself is a politician, complaining on Thursday that the cars are too slow… Don’t like this game.

    1. PT, Wow!…”considering that the new technical rules are the best thing to have happened to the sport since its inception.” This suggests you seem to prefer racing computers to racing cars.

      When did you attend your first GP?

      1. I have only followed F1 since 2000 and on TV and Internet, and unlike most of the readers here and Joe himself, I live in a part of the world which is far, far away from the heartland of top flight motorsports action. I have not been able to attend a race ever. But that does not mean I am a dud when it comes to F1 and motor racing. I’ve been ardently passionate since 2000 about not only F1 but also CART (now IndyCar), Moto GP, F3 and Motocross. I have studied the history of F1 to a large extent and I know what I’m talking about.

        What F1 is going through now, in terms of the technical stuff, is indeed a revolution and gives a clear indication to the society about how F1 can transform itself according to the needs of the society and the planet, thanks to hybrid technology. This thought process has never been there in the sport before – but now it’s there and that’s why I believe this is the best thing to happen to F1. The goal is only racing but the image that will be projected is that of a responsible sport. This will give it the recognition it needs to a much wider section of people and potential sponsors – the best thing ever. Too bad the FIA and FOM are not propagating the new image of F1 in a positive manner.

        We are not living in isolation in space, but among people of various mindsets and socio-economic backgrounds. It is important that the others think positively about our sport if it needs to grow in popularity again. These technical rules can help this cause if the FIA and FOM think more seriously of projecting them.

        Think about it – covering the same race distance albeit with slightly lower speed but with 35% less fuel – it’s amazing…

        1. PT, Believe me, in some ways you are no closer to “the action” than many team personnel ;-). As for the “personality” of the sport/business in its current state, I think Damian sums it up nicely, above.

          I’ve thought about it… 35% less fuel – amazing? F1 is not supposed to be a softly, softly, economy run ! Or maybe it is exactly what it is supposed to be in this era of stifling regulation. It’s supposed to be a race, unless the definition of “racing” has changed recently?

          Enzo, Colin, et al, must be turning in their graves.

          1. ^ So much this. I don’t care of the cars use less fuel, any more than I would care to watch a bunch of Toyota Prius race around an oval while getting 100mpg. I watch F1 because I want to see the fastest people in the world racing the fastest cars in the world at the fastest pace in the world.

            As for the sound, even if a majority like the new sound, the new sound still alienated a significant portion of the fan base, which is a stupid, stupid thing to do in a business sense. The sound is one of the top reasons for liking F1. This is going to cost billions to set right again, if it can be at all.

        2. These lovely hybrids that are so fuel efficient, how much more equipment and people are transported across the world as the cars become ever more technical just so the cars can save some fuel so they can call it greener racing, utter rubbish. Remember F1 used to be about teams racing their cars as fast as they could and now, all we have great drivers driving around, not even using all the engines capabilities, just to save fuel.
          F1, the new endurance championship

            1. I think there is some mix up over views on these power units. As a btw 30-40 years ago in the quarrying world there were 100 tonne capacity dumptrucks with diesel-electric drive, and brake retarding as well as turbo engine exhaust retarding, batteries were not used but there are similarities. Not much new under the Sun. Anyway, I think the point is not that people don’t regard the power units as not being totally remarkable, they obviously are, the V8’s were engineering masterpieces too, as were the 20/21,000 rpm Moto GP engines were. I think the real basis for opposing views ( apart from the sound aspects ) is whether the fuel flow hybrid formula is attractive to all fans. For me it isn’t. I think you said you drive a Prius, well for me I’d rather drive a V12 Ferrari or similar, than a Prius. And what we have now is effectively a very fast Prius series. Now, you and others may feel it correct to promote F1 as an ecologically friendly series, but I’d think there are many other ways of doing that, and in a lot of ways, hybrids are not ecologically friendly at all. Ultimately, it’s not about you being right, and me being wrong, it’s about the racing, and that, thankfully, was great this weekend…although only really great if you are in a Merc! But that is another area for argument!

          1. I remember what happened when Honda tried to use F1 as a platform for a sensible discussion about energy efficiency and climate change. Part of the message was that the energy burn in F1 was roughly 50/50 between what got used in the factories (autoclaves, wind tunnels, CFD servers and the rest) and what got used flying the circus around the world.

            After that, the most important second order effects were staff travel to and from the workplace, and travel by punters to and from the stadium.

            Just the punters driving to the circuits burned -hundreds- of times more fuel than the 26 or fewer cars driving in circles for the actual race weekend.

            I was there, trying to put that message across. Asking people to put aside their emotional reactions for five minutes and get a sense of perspective.

            And no-one gave a flying one, it was all just a big **** joke. Because, Fast cars! Noise! V8s!

            So if you think that what we’ve got now is a daft response to a real problem, well, guess what, guys. You got what you deserved. {/bitter}

            1. Ah…Toleman! Rave from the grave! Brian Henton, Derek Warwick, Rad Dougall, and then the Belgrano….Derek at the wheel, and the TG184…really good car in Ayrton’s hands….yeah, I was a big Toleman fan, small team punching well above it’s weight, Anyway, I agree with you, for the single reason that, to me, F1 is not relevant to saving the planet. And trying to make it so, seems hypocritical to me ( how many drivers/team owners are using private jets for travel ?? ), it should be about designers building cars to a smaller rule book, drivers using skills to race, not buttons, and entertainment for the fans. Running it as an economy formula is not sensible in my view, and I hope that aspect is removed in the next 2-3 years, as it cannot be done overnight.

        3. Here, here. Originally auto racing was created to highlight and advance this new technology called the automobile. 🙂

      2. Probably, I am just one of many here who is old enough to have attended the first GP in 1974 and continued to do that quite regularly for more than two decades. Seen and heard Ferrari and Alfa 12 cylinder monsters, Cosworth V8s, then Renault and all the other 1.5l turbos which were followed by the new generation of atmospheric V12s, V10s and V8s, and I am quite happy with the current change. Less noise and more efficiency sounds nice to me. And, by the way, I never fancied computer games simulating the real stuff. You might amuse yourself by digging into the F1 racing press coverage of the late 70′ and early 80′ to compare the development of the first turbo era with the current turbo-hybrid one.

        1. My first experience was witnessing the late great Ronnie Peterson in opposite lock power slides around Woodcote in the 72D. Happy exciting days

      3. Ben, my first was 1972. Now I wouldn’t go with “since it’s inception” but I would agree with since the 80″s.

        “Racing computers to racing cars” it seems you don’t understand the new cars.

        1. “I don’t understand the new cars”. On the contrary, having been working at the coal face, so to speak, for 20 odd years, I have been ideally positioned to form observations. Strip away IT and there’d be no cars designed or built, nevermind competing 😉

  7. If even 40% of the fan base (never mind Ferrari’s 85%) is turned off by the “sh#t” sound, DRS, phallic noses, etc., then F1 has a major problem. Rationalizing the negatives, which are turning off that 40%, by pointing out that it’s gee-whiz fuel-economy technology is not going to make those negatives go away, and it is not going to satiate those that are turned off. My suggestion to the FIA and FOM (and Joe) is ignore the data at your peril.

      1. Well, if more are turned on by the new formula than are turned off then you would be correct to say the change is positive. The data does not appear to support that scenario, bit time will tell.

        “CART” diminished itself by morphing into IRL/Indy Car, and there is no doubt that F1 could do the same if it made enough bad moves.

        1. I agree with Nick…ermm, oh sorry! I meant Adrian. Again everyone is mouthing off, and shouting, but that isn’t needed. If we are all fans, we can all be allowed our own opinions, and to voice them without being shouted down.
          Newey is on of the top designers of the last 25 years, and his view is obviously of merit as a designer and race fan himself. As he pointed out, an F1 car is not a street machine, and there’s no real proof that a hybrid design is relevant to F1. As he also said, there’s Sportscar endurance racing for fuel flow and hybrid tech. As to the Ferrari poll, I haven’t seen this but I saw somewhere that it was 50,000 who answered, and that is a sizable reply. The answer was 83% against the new concept. Well, here in the UK, the IN/OUT Euro tv debate between Nigel Farage UKIP and Nick Clegg Liberal Democrat, resulted in a 2000 people poll voting 68% OUT and 28% IN. Most of the Papers and the BBC have since then been trying very,very hard to make out that the IN vote won somehow….I think they are mostly saying that the 68% OUT got the wrong idea? It seems that here, the people supporting the new F1 the most, also think the same way!

        2. Bumper ticket sales for Silverstone this year (since the first race) would seem to be the evidence you’re looking for. Teams whinging because they’re losing isn’t evidence, no matter how effective their PR machinery is. Individual fans saying they’re not happy aren’t evidence either – for every one who moans there is another quietly thinking “this is ok”. But ticket sales and viewing figures are evidence. Early signs are good that F1 has made the right move.

          1. Yet Niki Lauda now says the engine note must change, as GP2 is a better sound….I rest part of my case M’lud, the other bits on fuel flow/ugly cars/ green tree hugging will no doubt be addressed by other F1 people once they get round the excitement of RBR not winning all the time! And…yes it’s nice to see someone else winning the races, but how many fans will still be happy by mid season with 9 or 10 Merc wins, and everyone else still 1 sec a lap slower? Don’t forget that aero changes won’t make up for sheer grunt, and the Merc in it’s frozen state has not been unleashed as yet. But Ferrari & Renault don’t sound like they are going to find more bhp anytime soon. This is ( to me ) in Renault’s case, good news, as they pushed for this concept that I dislike so much, so I think it great that they are in such a poor position. Other than that, one just as well give the silverware to Lewis or Nico now…no one else is going to get near them this side of 2015 imho!

          2. Tend to agree Martin P, I hardly comment, but the amount of complaints in comments on the ’14 format makes me thinking I shouldn’t be silent about really enjoying this season.
            I think the racing is as good as ever, the TV coverage is better than ever, and I like the unpredictability we’re seeing in Bahrain with drivers making mistakes, obviously hard to drive, that’s a good thing.
            Complaints about the series being a fuel economy run are crazy, if they’re just as fast as ’13, and they’re getting there, despite being heavier and using less gas, then they’re awesome motors! Anyone noticed new street AMG models make more power than ever and use 30-40% less gas than old models? Is that a bad thing…?!?!

            1. Completely agree. The dissenting voices will always be the loudest.
              I had a very enjoyable 2 hours yesterday watching the race. If you look at it in isolation (of 2014 regs) then it compares very well to similarly exciting races of the past. I don’t think I once thought about fuel flow or DRS size because I was too immersed in watching the aspects of racing that I enjoy, namely overtaking precision and team strategy. Teams have always managed fuel and tires and pit stops, just now there is a graphic on the TV that people can get angry about.

      2. We are a cigar smoking club trying to appeal to the ecigarette world. There will be those of us who wish only for a proper Havana Monte Cristo.
        We should debate not denounce each other. The internal combustion engine cannot easily pretend to be a computor game.

        1. Ah but these days your cigars would not burn without continuous computer monitoring and control
          Even cigarettes are now “E cigs” (At least they are not “i” cigarettes.)

          1. And wonderful things they are too… I spent 30+ years trying-and-failing to quit cigarettes, to the point where I just gave up trying… then I tried an e-cig that happened to be nearby… it wasn’t exactly right, but it was, um, interesting… so I did my homework, learned a few important things, and within 2 weeks I had quit smoking without any real effort… no remaining desire for tobacco whatsoever… am the only person I know who quit smoking pretty much by accident…

            Plus, I now get to fiddle with doohickeys and recipes… it’s all been easier than was changing from whole milk to skim milk, and a lot more fun… I never would have believed it if I hadn’t lived it…

        2. Ignoring the word “game”. the IC race engine (or any engine for that matter) would not exist if it were not for the IT department. Why? Because It’s designed on CAD, bult by CAM, so if either hardware/softwate fail, which dept gets the “help” phone call?

          1. Er? Think IC engines were being built about 50 years before anyone built a basic computer ( which was enough to fill a whole room ), so the ICE would continue without IT….so would chassis design, that would just need more paper and pencils!

        3. @ Luis Pastilla: that expresses very eloquently the feeling of some of us. Ferrari may want to use this comment for their press release following Luca’s speech. I wonder if you already a member of their PR dept ?

  8. reading Newey said at friday press conference i 100% agree with…..him !
    On the other hand FIA insanes penalties are going to disgust fans as well

  9. Great blog Joe.

    I’ve been a Ferrari fan since the beginning but even I agree with what you’ve said. All their whining and complaining is not doing anyone any good.

    And it puts the sport in a bad spot when its top teams act this way.

    I’d like to see Ferrari (and the other teams) put all their efforts into improving their car rather than making mindless comments…or have they realized that they’re incapable of making a good car and are having to resort to other methods to gain an advantage?

    From a technical point of view, I think that the current F1 cars are brilliant and the noise of the engines isn’t bad either.

    People complaining that F1 is losing fans because of the new rules have to realize that its the infighting between the teams that’s causing people to loose interest in the sport – not the new rules or the sound of the engines.

    How can people be truly interested in a sport when the teams involved criticize each other, the rules of the sport and the sport itself. If all the teams had stood together and highlighted the new rules in a positive way, we’d be seeing something different entirely.

    The so-called F1 websites and bloggers are also to blame. Joe and a few others have been supportive of the new rules and they can see the benefits of the new rules for real world applications. The rest all have been negative towards the new rules. We’re just 2 races down and some of them have already labelled this season as a failure.

    Joe, as always, I enjoy your work and your love for the sport actually shows through in your blogs.

    1. Good points – I always suspected that the technology issues involved and the smaller engine might be an issue for Ferrari – as supercars are probably the last potential place to use it – but the fact is that Ferrari need to up their game not moan about the new regime – it’s not as exciting aurally as the previous engine formula but looks like throwing all the balls up in the air after mid season – which would be a BIG improvement on last years RB borefest

  10. If you add up the ages of all these naysayers you’ll get a number close to the budget needed to run a midfield team! Perhaps it’s time to pension off these geriatric whingers who are only seeking to maintain positions of great power and vulgar wealth. Put a young and proven business upstart in the top job at both the FIA and CVC (assuming we’re stuck with them) and have them apply the same promotional gusto they bring to a new software/app/game company and see what happens. This sport should be about celebrating technical achievement. It should be about man (and hopefully woman soon) and machine in battling in harmony at the cutting edge of speed and excitement. And this is the first time in years where it really is the cutting edge of technology. It’s a real opportunity to promote engineering and technology to the next generation. But they’re not interested because all they’re hearing is old men complaining. I read an interview with the guy running the new formula E and I couldn’t help wishing he was involved in F1. I think he’s probably about 50 years to young though.

    1. With respect Benny, the older amongst us have been around long enough to be able to make informed opinions, observations, and judgements… based on experience. I suspect you have not. You need to get Joe to weigh-in on Formula E, I think you’d be surprised.

  11. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Joe.

    It’s not the first time Ferrari have hit on the we’re doing poorly let’s complain scenario, next will come from Ferrari the line “if things don’t change we will leave”.

    People think F1 wouldn’t survive if Ferrari wasn’t in it. Poppycock I say. Same goes for Red Bull. Any team who doesn’t like the new regulations, sling your hook.

    The simple answer is; If you’re not winning, try harder! Stop whining and knuckle down.

    I would watch F1 without Ferrari and Red Bull. I think others would still watch f1 too. When will they realise that they are not bigger than the sport.

    1. “When will they realise that they are not bigger than the sport?”

      Not until after they sling their collect hooks and watch as the circus carries merrily on without them.

      FWIW, Adrian Newey may well be an “out and out racer” but his pay check is still paid by the whining Dieter Mateschitz and his lapdog Christian Horner. AN in his comments at the press conference on Friday is towing the company line as they all spit their dummies out of the pram.

  12. It must be Analogy Week in Joe-land!

    You’re right, though. The constant bitching from certain teams – and I say that as a. Ferrari fan – is getting tiresome. Let’s just get on with things. There’s plenty else to focus on.

  13. Surely once the 83 % stop liking f1, they stop being fans and 100% of the remaining fans like f1. Hence f1 has 100% approval rating. Keep up the good work lads.

    1. John are we not at 100% fan support? If they leave as the sport finally starts advancing, were they really fans of F1?

  14. Loved the post, Joe. In fact, been loving everything you’ve been writing.

    Funny thing is, the sport survives . . . despite itself. I guess because the colour and noise is just so compelling. The idea of flitting about the globe with no other intention than to race each other is incredibly compelling, perhaps because of its superficial frivolity.

    No matter how badly the spoiled entitled megalomaniacs who run the sport and teams screw this up, there will always be powerful, beautiful single seaters racing each other. I’m not being fatalistic, simply noting that the demand (almost the NEED) for this sport is clear. And it will therefore survive the best attempts by petty silly people with jets and yachts to bring it down.

    Enjoy Bahrain!

    شكر (shoukran!)

    1. Hi Doctor, I’ve been having these niggling pains in shoulder and elbows these last few weeks can you recommend something….. ?

  15. Thanks Joe, great article.
    If Ferrari are basing the 83% on their recent “survey”, even more of a joke. Anyone else on this blog take the survey? According to James Allen, it’s four questions long. The first question being along the lines of “do you like the new formula – yes or no?”. Answer yes, and no more questions appear….

    The new engines and formula are great, IMHO. Keep up the rage, Joe.


    1. I took it Via JA’s site. The yes’s had the lead in 3 out of the 4 questions when I did it. I came away feeling the majority supported the new formula. I thought they were talking about a different survey, yesterday, when they came up with the 83% negative comment.

  16. Not often I feel the need to comment, but well said! I could not agree more… I just hope someone is taking notice!

  17. I agree with you, Joe, that technical evolution, imposed this year with the new rules, is amazingly challenging and overall a very positive thing.

    Two points though:

    – 2014 rules make these car go definitely slower that last year, in spite of what you wrote. In Malesia 2014 the fastest lap was marked by Hamilton at 1’43″066; last year Perez marked 1’39″199. Without taking in consideration the all time record of 1’34″223 or Montoya in 2004.

    – I don’t know what PR school you have attended, but yes: if my money comes from sponsors and sponsors pay based on visibility, I’d rather make sure what I do is followed by my supporters. These are a remarkable share of the viewers who will tune their TV on Sunday to follow the GP and eventually pay a ticket to be on site. Mr. E knows that quite well; therefore, from a strategic point of view, makes plenty of sense advertise this survey before sitting around the table with those who write the rules.

    Now if Formula 1 is synonym of the fastest cars constructors can build and drivers can run, “this” F1, (registered trade-mark by Mr E. & Co.) does not represent it anymore; and whether you like or not if those you call dinosaurs will leave the circus, viewers will follow and cash as well.
    Ferrari has been showing up at 899 F1 GP over 900, they are F1 …and they are not alone threatening, others will follow to create a new circus. The historical teams have talked about this before and it has happened in the past for motorcycles.
    Mr E.& Co. are perfectly aware of this, like it happened in the past when McLaren, Mercedes, Williams, RBR or Brown went bitching and moaning about rules they didn’t like over the past 10 year, strange you didn’t mention that. Someone might think you just don’t like red cars.
    Please note that these strictly commercial approach is wide spread in the paddock, even the relatively “young” RBR claimed few days ago that they will step out if this “business reveals to be unprofitable”.

    All this words, indeed, have sense only if we are keen to admit that when billions of dollars are on the table we are not talking about sport but business and entertainment.
    Let’s not play “naïfs”.
    This is true for many years and applies to motor-sport as well as to all others disciplines.
    If I want to enjoy a sport competition I will go to any of the national formulas that can be found in any country, where rookies and experienced pilot still give their blood, sweat and tears for a tin Cup to hold up on a wooden podium.

    “Today’s F1” is a big show and the rules need to stick with the audience rules to make it spectacular and fair …. and it ain’t easy.

    1. They are slower at the moment by a small margin. They will get quicker. The point that is important is that they not 35 percent slower.

      1. I agree on the efficiency but we should decide if we want to make it only focus or not.
        If it’s the case is not F1 anymore and, please, let’s not pretend this will save the planet.
        We could all happily drive Volts with extenders and let F1 burns more than 100Kg/h for 50hours a year.
        Otherwise we should all watch E-formula race, they do 100% better.

        I am more thrilled by the kers-h idea. Simply brilliant! A real F1 innovating feature, as well as brake-by-wire, direct injection and all the EMC (now PCM) that will be transferred to production cars in the next year…by the way thanks at those dinosaurs like Renault, Fiat and Mercedes.

        So you think 4″ is little margin? they would finish on lap behind if running the same race.
        Every season cars get better as they go, this year probably with higher rate, but they will be still closer to GP2 level by the end of the season.

        1. Let’s get real on how “slow” these new cars are compared to last year’s versions.

          In terms of out-and-out pace these new lower downforce “green” machines are clawing back some serious time on their predecessors over the first three races.

          In Australia this year the fastest lap seen across the entire weekend was a 1:29.375 compared with a 1:25.908 in 2013. That was a difference of 3.467sec.

          In Malaysia, the fastest lap all weekend was 1:39.008 compared with 1:36.437 in 2013. A difference of 2.573sec.

          This week in Bahrain the difference is down to 0.85sec (1:33.180 in 2014 vs 1:32.330 in 2013).

          The new machines are catching up fast.

          Total race times are hard to compare year to year as weather, safety cars, etc. impact on that dramatically. It is interesting to note though that 4 of the last 6 editions of the Australian Grand Prix took longer to run than this year’s edition.

          Efficiency has always been a focus of F1. Just because that efficiency now comes in a hybrid package that is a great leap forward from last year’s engines doesn’t mean that F1 is suddenly all about efficiency. But the great improvement is certainly worth talking about.

          Scaremongering about the green menace taking all of our fun away has really become boring. A couple series ago Top Gear ran a piece lamenting the loss of the super car, Clarkson running a V12 Aston Martin through the countryside to make his point. Move on to the latest series and now suddenly the McLaren P1 is an astonishing new breed of sports machine…and a hybrid.

          Racing won’t stop, but the machinery won’t stop changing. And that is not a bad thing. Joe is bang on to be frustrated with elements of the F1 establishment for attempting to bring the sport into disrepute over this new formula before it ever stepped foot on a track. And they still go at it even in the face of all their worst predicltions turning out to be false.

          The cars are fast, they are proving very reliable, and they sound like the future. They also don’t all look the same anymore, which is a pretty nice bonus.

      2. They may be slower but they need to be driven. I would rather watch a driver fighting his car than see a car glued to the track as we have the last few years. And in case you ask, I watched my first race in 1957

      3. And indeed, they’re slower over the entire lap only because they’re too powerful to control in slow corners. They’re faster on the straights!

        People’s arguments against these cars make no sense in that context!

    2. Red Bull does not sponsor F1 for profit. It is just one big advertising campaign. Probably a tax deduction. Their being in F1 depends on winning. If they cannot win they will quit, just as they did in NASCAR. You can’t buy or complain your way to wins in NASCAR so they couldn’t compete.

      Red Bull are not in sport because they are sportsman. They are in it to line up the next generation of consumers.

    3. /In Malesia 2014 the fastest lap was marked by Hamilton at 1’43″066; last year Perez marked 1’39″199/

      Which means that they are slower by 4%. Being heavier by 7,5% at the same time.

  18. Well said Joe. Racing needs to keep some connection to automobile industry and should not be just a fairground freak show, the new rules are the beginning of way forward.

  19. Well said Joe,
    As a fan since the mid 70’s, the current regulations have produced cars that are technically interesting for the first time in decades. Add the fact they could well pioneer technologies that we will all benefit from a few years down the road and the situation is even better.

    It is shameful that due to vested interests, some teams cannot, or will not, play along because they would rather spend ever increasing millions of dollars chasing themselves down a blind alley.

    You would have thought that the likes of Ferrari would welcome the change, it’s not as if they achieved any great success under the last formula.

    As for the noise: Bernie’s derogatory comments got an awful lot of press coverage; up until the point where he admitted that he hadn’t actually heard the cars yet. Says it all really…

  20. Refreshing to read such honesty aboit the sport all the time :). Is it that UK TV channels don’t have the balls to discuss such issues? Or does someone have them in their back pocket?

  21. It’s so refreshing to read such honest posts about the sport. Is it that UK TV channels don’t have the balls to discuss the issues or does someone (like Bernie) have them in their back pocket?

  22. Excellent post Joe. You missed a song from top of the pops, with the representatives of the new wave singing ‘Shot By Both Sides’…

    Cars slower? They have reduced aero and harder tyres. Last years cars would be slower with these restrictions almost certainly by an equivalent amount. The new cars are remarkable, clearly a huge handful for the drivers, incredible acceleration, great to watch. Sound? To me they come across like the early four stroke MotoGP bikes and they were incredible to hear trackside – not some awful chainsaw whine but complex, gutteral, unexpected pops and bangs on the overrun and so on. These new cars need new sound engineers – since nearly all the debate is taking place amongst people who have not heard the cars and are simply judging them on the tv feed. As for the racing, that will improve when we get to some proper racing circuits that are not just Tilke spawn.

  23. Yesterday the “Guardian” reported on the front page that Colchester in Essex, close to where I live, would suffer the worst air pollution in living memory. Children, those with asthma and older vulnerable people were urged to stay indoors. PM DAvid Cameron cancelled his morning run…..

    It was caused by a combination of southerly winds blowing sand from the Sahara region and particulates in the air (mainly diesel engines) from the traffic snarl ups that are a feature of Britain’s oldest recorded town.

    Never has the hybrid technology of the new Formula One been more relevant, but the only thing I hear, the only message the public sees is how disappointing the “quiet” turbo engines are.

    What a wasted opportunity?

    1. If we wanted to watch a parade of ugly, fuel efficient, quiet cars, we could go sit in front of the Toyota Prius factory.

  24. cars are slower joe ? I rather had the impression they were faster , except around the corners where ,.. shock /horror ….they have to slow down and are more difficult to drive so that driver skill is more important again

    all they have to do is stop the drivers being coached from the pit wall and we will have proper racing once more

    funny … in my view … people yearn to return to a formula where the drivers importance was on an ever decreasing level

    1. Yes this whole “You can improve mid corner speed in turn 12 by apexing earlier.” is complete and utter BS! I was fairly ambivalent about pit-car comms until I started hearing this driver coaching on a regular basis. The engineers should be engineering,not interfering.Just let the drivers drive damnit!!

  25. It’s easy to skew a survey to get the result one wants, while the majority of Ferrari’s respondents will already have been sympathetic to its cause from the outset. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem with ‘the show’, which is evident from the reduced decibels that these unattractive F1 machines now emit.

    The recent Formula E demo run completed by Jarno Trulli (on YouTube) actually sounded pretty good, which is remarkable given the complete lack of octane involved. It demonstrates that what is required in ‘new’ F1 is enhanced presentation, which for TV viewers means mic-ing up the cars, as someone in this thread suggested earlier. Whether this does anything for the audience track-side is debatable, though. I confess that during the handful of races I’ve attended, it was the extreme noise that put the smile on my face. The visual spectacle has always been greater on TV for the average punter sitting in a grandstand, trying to work out what’s going on.

    The carping, bitching and moaning by certain vested interests is unedifying, though only a switch-off by the TV audience will hurt CVC (eventually) and make them consider selling or changing some key personnel.

    You’re dead right in that F1’s message needs to change and some serious central marketing effort is called for. In the FOM hotseat, Justin King could repurpose Sainsburys’ “Live Well for Less” slogan, while using his sales nouse to make punters feel good about paying top whack for quality produce. F1 needs better packaging, promotion, advertising and pricing. King was at M&S prior to Sainsburys, so to borrow their slogan, “This isn’t just racing. This is sexy and technologically amazing F1 racing”.

  26. Joe, do you know the wording of the question that was asked of the fans, as this can make a big difference to to the response?

    Also did he just ask Tifosi, because I imagine they would be unhappy because they aren’t winning.

  27. Joe, I think you hit the nail on the head. Shame you can’t hit some nails into bloated heads and deflate some egos! I think most people I’ve explained the new rules to (I have to explain ‘cus F1 can’t) are very excited about the prospect of seeing these engines developed into road going versions even more so with the hybrids. Most people don’t care about the noise, except the noisy minority, and as you say Joe, they can just go if they like.

    This is most relevant and interesting f1 formula I’ve ever seen and it is so disappointing, though no entirely surprising, that Ferrari and Red Bull, wingers in residence, are so thoroughly trying to destroy it all. I’m especially disappointed with Adrian Newey throwing a tantrum about the new rules seemingly because he hasn’t designed the fastest car. I’m sure if RB and Ferrari had won the first two races they wouldn’t be making a so much as a negative beep.

    Keep at them Joe!

  28. Joe, I agree with many of the points you have made however after attending my 21st Australian Grand Prix in a row, my first as a 17yr old in Adelaide, (as well as many overseas races) one cannot ignore the distinct lack of “buzz” at this years Oz GP, Ricciardo heroics not withstanding. The fact remains the cars sound less impressive than V8 Supercar (dinosaurs) and they look uglier than the Porsche Carrera Cup Cars…and that’s saying something.

    I’m an avid fan of the sport, but this was the first year that I had to attend the Race on my own, after all my friends decided not to return to the track for the rest of the weekend, after because they were disappointed with the product (mostly the lack of sound). Whilst it is certainly not smart to whine and complain about the current state of affairs should you be a team or someone who earns their living from the sport, it cannot be ignored that the cars are significantly less enjoyable to watch and F1 is entertainment, n’est ce pas??.

    There are 2 simple facts that have made a difference here… historically yes, people whine about change and then after a few months they “get used” to it. Trouble is, Joe Public are aware that the spectacle is worse than it used to be… to the point where laymen are also talking about how unimpressive the cars are now, not only in the flesh but the sound on TV is horrendous…surely, F1 is trying to attract new fans at any cost, not turn off the casual 50/50 fan who used to watch.

    And secondly… the public couldn’t care less about a “Hybrid” in the showroom, why on earth would they care about watching them race for their entertainment. 100kg fuel/hour….300kg/hour the guy on his couch doesn’t care how much fuel they use. If the cars sounded and looked impressive, then yes you could bang on about how amazing the technology was, but doing that now is like trying to put a band-aid on a severed limb. The laymen never cared about Active Suspension, or traction control for example…why should we expect them to give a crap about Hybrids, when all they want to do is turn on the TV and get goosebumps when the cars race through the tunnel in Monte Carlo.

    I love your work Joe, as a GP+ subscriber, “Audience with” attendee every year in Melbourne, but I feel you may be missing the most significant point of the debate… people don’t actually like the new cars, not the change from the old to the new, they just don’t like these ones. I have spoken to so many people about this years cars, and I haven’t met a single one who said… I LOVE the new “F1 Hybrids”. They’ve all said the opposite. And if people don’t like the product they’re watching, they will most likely stop. That concerns me, Look at CART/Indycar mid 90’s they were snarling, brutish machines… the series was amazing to watch… then they changed the cars, changed the tracks and they are now pretty much irrelevant. F1 isn’t immune in this day and age….it needs to be cautious.

      1. Some points bear repeating. First, the quality of the competition is better without total domination by Vettel, which is more important than the sound of the engines. F1 fans are not so capricious as to ignore what matters most. But even more important is that it’s not just about keeping old fans (which should be easy), but creating new ones (which is hard). Motor sport turns a lot of people off because of the perception of waste and environmental indifference. If F1 can convince those people that it is not only exciting sport but part of the global solution and not the problem, it would be a PR (and financial) triumph. That is why the current lack of positive messaging is so distressing. A huge opportunity is being squandered by diversions such as engine noise and German legal maneuvers, which are not what matters most, by a long shot. F1 has actually done a pretty good job lately of evolving; it walks the walk, but has yet to talk the talk.

    1. Lorenzo, I think you have watched the most boring segment of F1 history the last 15 to 20 years. All aero dynamics and old engine technology. The engines were so inefficient they had to spin at 19k to make any horsepower. You have been conditioned to relate screaming noise with speed.

      “The public couldn’t care less about a hybrid in the showroom”; well they better. If you don’t think we humans are running out of resources (and demolishing our home), you go on out to the Tar sands of Alberta and see what were doing to get our oil supply. Maybe hybrid technology in F1 will help convert some of the Neanderthals that don’t give a hoot about tomorrow.

      Some people don’t like the new formula. Others, like me, are glad to see it returning to it’s roots. Leading edge engine technology, individual interpretation in construction and a car that requires the best of drivers to make it perform at it’s optimum.

      With drought, bush fires, flooding and poisoned water supplies from fracking, I would have thought you Aussie’s would be a little more concerned with resources and climate change. Just wait until the start developing your shale oil “reserves” if you really want to see man’s peak of water waste and pollution.

    2. I love the new cars. I love that drivers have to fight them into the corners, I love that they skitter all over the place when they try to get the power down, I love that driving skill is rewarded again, and I love that they’re within about 2% of last year’s lap times with only about 80% of the latent speed in the car developed.

      What I don’t love is the pack of selfish bastards trying to scuttle the sport for their own selfish reasons. And if I wanted snarling brutish machines I’d have watched Superleague Formula.

  29. Well put as usual Joe.

    Does anyone else study Red Bull’s comments thinking that they are positioning themselves to pull out of F1? They certainly are having to say some silly things to maintain their media presence.

    On a different note several “bolts” resigned from one of the teams after Australia because it has finally become too much working on the cars and the teams are expecting too much of them. There is a minor uprising from the other direction as well!

  30. Very well said. I’ve long thought Ferrari were far too up themselves in terms of their ‘importance’ to F1 and am still incredulous that they get more cash because of it. They wouldn’t leave anyway but if they did F1 would live on, perhaps even be stronger and pretty soon, like a 10 year old in a sulk having got to the end of the road and realising that mum isn’t running after them, they’d be back knocking at the door.

    Either, as you say, this is part of some long term deliberate strategy to drive down value or it’s Ferrari only looking as far as the end of their noses. Sadly going on history it’s probably the latter.

    As a fan I must be part of the 17% because I love it in it’s current form. I wasn’t sure I would. I wasn’t sure the Hybrids would float my boat or that I’d find energy recovery very interesting. I was concerned the cars would sound odd. I needn’t have worried about any of it.

    I do worry that certain idiot drivers are also jumping on the bandwagon and publicly talking the new regs down. One complained the cars were too slow so can’t be that good at maths. If they are slower round the corners I’d suggest to him he learns to drive them a bit quicker and works with his engineers to give him the tools to do so. I’d bet that within 2 years they will have clawed back all the lost aero as long as they stick to the regs as is and don’t listen to the miserable old man or the johnny come lately fly by nights.

    1. Ferrari have been way too up themselves ever since the infamous ‘garagistes’ comment from Enzo. Cannot stand their sense of entitlement and whinging because they aren’t winning. I hope they continue to struggle and maybe their ego will be brought down a peg or two.

  31. Most definitely. The complaining from fans has surprised me. But to hear it come from those within is simply astounding.

    “Come buy my pies… they taste terrible!” Friggin’ morons…

    1. It should be : “Come buy my pies… but due to rules I have to make them in a way that they are terrible and in our believe they should taste different”

  32. I am very suspicious of the Ferrari figures, because I voted in their surveys, and they showed the result after one had voted. They had two surveys, this was necessary because the first with three questions did not produce the result they wanted. I voted very near the end of it and it was decidedly in favour of the new rules and willing to accept the new sound. I know it was at the end because I went back to check five minutes later and that three question survey had gone and been replaced by a single dumbed down question deliberately phrased to make it almost impossible not to be twisted to support Luca’s rantings.

    This is Ferrari of old, “We are not winning therefore the rules are wrong, they must be changed to favour us” (even more) A good public rant with toys thrown high in the air. The Tiffosi expect this and may be more forgiving after they have seen Luca thrashing about wildly in the media, waving his dubious survey. a court action often used to be the Ferrari way. (possibly now a bit jealous because Red Bull got away with so much histrionics last year and got different tyres)

    They are bringing the sport into disrepute they can leave and good riddance!

    What concerns me is the amount of negative energy being perpetuated behind this behaviour, I suppose it is early days, only 2 races completed. But Bernie has done really well and got it organised as a continuing attack. (there is a rumour that he may try and buy CAV’s shares and wants the price pushed down first, this would end in even more debt added)

    Where attention should be directed now is on what the drivers are doing to themselves to save weight, it is not healthy. In order to counteract this, eventually we shall need a handicap system as used in horse racing, where weight is added to the car to make up the driver to a standard weight. (these would always go the same place in all cars near the centre of mass so as to have neutral effect)

    1. I am also suspicious of the Ferrari figures, as I voted in the survey and the results I saw clearly showed positive support for the new rules. Not surprised then that a second survey was implemented as one can always get the answer they want by phrasing the question in a leading manner.

      I believe the problem with Red Bull and Ferrari right now is that the performance/design is locked in with their respective engines and that any performance increase will need to come from the chassis during the season.

    2. Count me on the suspicious list too. I saw pretty overwhelming support for the new rules in the four question survey when I completed it.

  33. It has to be asked, do you think 83% of Ferrari’s polled fans would still feel the same about the new rules if it was Alonso and Raikkonen driving away from the field in the best car of the moment?

    Seems doubtful.

    That’s not a go at Ferrari fans, that’s a go at Ferrari themselves pushing their agenda by cherrypicking stats from a fairly uncomprehensive survey. Between them and Red Bull with their “everyone’s got to do a better job at beating us…unless we don’t like the way the rules are” attitude the sour grapes are a particular vintage this year so far.

    But the main point is the assertion that F1 is not telling the story of these new cars and rules very well at all – totally agree. In many ways, since fuel hasn’t seemed entirely all that critical in the first two races, maybe we need to lengthen the races rather than shorten them…there needs to be a real, severe possibility of running dry and a real, tangible benefit to maximising the speed you drive at with the efficiency you run at.

  34. Top of the pops is an interesting choice but…..
    Joe is forgetting, or maybe because is too young to recall, it wasn’t really about girls and toothsome djs. Caricatures are fine, but they can breed untruths.

    Singers appeared on that show because they succeeded in selling their product. That dictated who was featured. If you couldn’t sell your record you were not on. It was like F1 in the sense of all out competition. Often the musical product was a short lived noise, soon forgotten.

    I guess the Beatles were the Ferrari. Difference is, alas, that while no one could compete with the Beatles for sales or quality, Ferrari have been trounced on many occassions, including by Merc this year. “Major oops” as Joe says.

  35. Dear Joe.

    If you are a true motoring enthusiast, which Porsche would you rather drive? A 911 GT3 RS with a normally aspirated Metzger engine that revs freely to 8500 r/min or an electro-diesel Panamera that allows you to claim membership of the Greens? (Or do you only qualify for membership if you use a Prius or a bicycle?).

    Fact is that even in Europe the vast majority of motorists DO NOT buy electro-hybrid cars. (Never mind the car buyers in Bernie’s new world markets like the USA, the Near and Far East, South America etc.).

    So who the heck cares about the fuel economy runs being achieved by the new Electrolux Formula 1 racers except , maybe, Jean Todt?

    They will save more than 35% in fuel consumption simply by getting rid of the the 3-tonnes-plus of aerodynamic drag/downforce they currently schlep through the air – for a fraction of the cost of the new “Power Units”.

      1. Ah..the rantings of a trollish imposter? The *real* Joe would never be seduced into any image-over-substance car..or..would he?! 😉

        As a technical bod, I’m finding this years F1 engines quite interesting. Pity that homologation looks like gifting Merc all the prizes though. Good for them by the way..big shame Ross isn’t on the Pit Wall to enjoy the bountiful fruits of all his efforts.

        Big shame too that the BBC got rid of Gary – especially this year. I understand that he might have been a turn-off for many but, for me, he was an F1 highlight (after the real Joe, of course).

      2. Great article Joe. Leon should do his research and figure out that the fastest accelerating Porsche EVER, is the 918 Spyder which is a petrol/electric hybrid. Funny enough; the fastest accelerating Mclaren EVER, the P1, is also a petrol/electric hybrid!

        The only reason most of us petrolheads don’t have these types of hybrids already is because they’re more expensive than comparable gas guzzlers. Making F1 more relevant to the real world world means that the rapid development will be monetised by the manufacturers leading to price drops. Efficiency savings means less gov’t taxes which again means cheaper cars. Can’t wait for a reasonably priced sporty hybrid.

        As these engines get more developed they will get more power at higher revs for the same consumption which will mean more noise! Patience. Take a tame 2.0l and modify it to give massive output at very high rpm and it becomes a screamer. Explaining technical details to the ignorant is necessary … that is why I miss Gary Anderson.

        I can finally take my kids to a race. Unlike the TV addicts passing judgement I actually detested the V8 scream and using earplugs with headaches when I went to see them. I need to find GaryHartstein to discuss our shared passions of medicine and motorsport.

        1. “As these engines get more developed they will get more power at higher revs for the same consumption which will mean more noise!”

          ..except that the engines are already homologated.

          Also, with instantaneous and total fuel flow limits I cannot see this ever happening. These engines will likely already be able to generate much more power at higher revs but efficiency is key and the instantaneous FF limit seals the deal. Having the fuel left to defend a lead or overtake an opponent later in the race is essential. They just won’t ever have the fuel to pour into a high rev (hence higher frictional loss) turbo engine. I don’t believe any of the engines are currently going anywhere near the FIA rev limit in the races.

          It’s like the comment attributed to Bernie roughly saying that the engines will get louder – no they won’t. If more energy is extracted from the exhaust they’ll get quieter! However, the MGUs are homologated too so all the engineers can do is tinker with the software or go to the FIA and play the reliability get-out-of-jail card (which works because F1 is a business and not a sport, in my opinion).

    1. Perhaps a more apt question would be: which Porsche would you rather drive? A yester-tech Carerra GT with a screaming, yet inefficient V10 engine, or an up-to-the-second, bleeding edge of technology slightly less spectacular sounding but even faster (while getting much better mileage) 918 Hybrid? I think the latter is far more interesting, and is likely just as inspiring drive as the former.

  36. I’ve been following F1 since my childhood – i got a little odd in the rally 60’s with the 1.5L formula and the odd excursion of an F2 car amongst the F1 cars, but overall, F1 were ‘machines of wonder’ in one way or another – V12s, H16s, V8s, 6 wheeled Tyrrells, wings, vacuum effect etc etc – this years’ formula on the one hand is delivering a technological tour de force but on the other hand somehow fails to be perceived as such by the eyes and ears… The commentators’ voices are never eclipsed by the sound of the cars (as you can’t hear them), and the ‘fugly’ designs of the cars doesn’t help either. I am forcing myself to the TV and will do so again this weekend…if you looked at Ferrari’s website survey one can perceive the totally contradictory ‘voting’ which must reflect the confusion that many of us are feeling.

  37. I love F1 for all the hot air and noise it creates –
    With the new rules (which I endorse) those qualities have shifted from the track to the blogosphere.

    Saves me the exorbitant ticket prices.
    Keep up the good work!

  38. Don’t worry Joe, your anger is simply a sign that you care for the sport. As long as the FIA don’t buckle and we keep with the current regulations and engines, then they’ll be forced to accept it, then they may eventually shut up – just as they’ve whinged and then shut up when other regs have come in. From a fans perspective, I can’t see what the problem is with them. It’s one of the most exciting starts to a season I can think of, there’s been great racing (despite what other “fans” say), it’s all a great unknown instead of the RB domination we’ve had for 4 years. As for RB themselves, they’ll probably sort it out and then they’ll be right up there with Mercedes. Then they might shut up. If not, then they’ll probably keep on whingeing and if they can’t get their way may leave the sport (I hope) and push their product placement machine elsewhere – hell knows they’ve got a wide enough portfolio of other sports. As for Ferrari – well, they’re Italian. That’s all you need to know about them.

    1. “It’s one of the most exciting starts to a season I can think of, there’s been great racing (despite what other “fans” say), it’s all a great unknown instead of the RB domination we’ve had for 4 years.”

      You must have watched different races then, cause I could’ve sworn that instead of one car dominating F1, we now have two. Different colours though, I give you that, but I’d like to know in more detail where you found the excitement and especially the great racing in the first two GPs.

      1. Different colours though, I give you that, but I’d like to know in more detail where you found the excitement and especially the great racing in the first two GPs

        Try looking at the whole field next time instead of just the first two cars

  39. I share your anger.

    I’m 67 years old and have watched F1 for a very long time. The current “noise” from so-called fans and nose-out-of-joint competitors is, frankly, pathetic.

    The list of F1 personnel who, by any normal definition, are bringing the sport into disrepute is growing daily.

    All of this has been brought about by the underhand scheming of one man. It’s time he left.

  40. Sadly Joe, this is NOT F1 ! In fact it has evolved soooo far away from what attracted us to it, that I can’t believe you would defend Todt who doesn’t want Vettel, or Ferrari, or Ecclestone, and pactically anyone else in the F1 Circus to admit that the new engines and their “vaccuum” noises are crap. Besides, the new engines were Max Mosley’s idea and its plain to see that Todt received Mosley’s support to head the FiA only if he would continue on this insane technological joke! Is everyone taking STUPID PILLS ???? Wake up ! How could GP2 and LeMans and other lower formulae have V8 engines and F1 only have V6 Turbo Hybrids and for F1 dare considered itself the zenith of motorsports ???!! Yeah, its technology is super-complicated but so what ??!! If you need 100 engine specialists and techno boffons to start the engine and it is LESS than the show you put on 1 year ago, than you deserve to put on technical tea parties for the Society of Engineers in Brixton, and not be in F1. If F1 does not go back to “normally aspirated V10 engines” by next year than it deserves to lose 50% of its TV viewers, including me. Eccelstobe will be the captain of a sinking ship, and you will be writing about a motorsport that a few asian nations and the motorsport aristocracy will find “quaint”. Nice demograhic 😉

      1. State of the art automotive technology driven by drivers who are struggling to find the limit. Could not agree with you more Joe, this is F1

      2. um, ya, so how much more energy is expelled making and maintaining all the new gizmos in these new F1 cars over the old ones? And batteries themselves are not necessarily environmentally friendly. I smell poo.

    1. F1 Rea, this is one of the worst posts I have read. It reads like you have a prescription to “stupid pills”.

      “Attracted US to it”. I wasn’t attracted by the noise and I loved the turbo 4’s and 6’s. I would imagine the Society of Engineers (if indeed that is it’s title) has a huge number of members in F1. Engineers are F1. They are the “engine specialists and techno boffons”.

      Hardly a wonder your confused.

    2. Yeah, let’s stick to the past, that has always worked best. The tech part of F1 is what has always been appealing to me, the more complicated the machines, the harder the drivers have to work. More revs would be welcome though. I bet that some teams, Mercedes probably, will find a way to use higher revs without using too much fuel. Keep the pressure on the engineers to eke out more energy from a kilo of fuel and they will find a way.

      “Vacuumcleaners”? Have you been to a race already and listened really to those machines, or do you follow the crowd in this? The TV-stations should pay more attention to the sound they mix, then it will be better at home.

  41. So I guess the thing you are trying to say is that there is no place for criticism in F1 ?
    Because ALL those who are doing it are only doing because of self interest and because they are not winning? That is way too easy.
    Those who are winning and don’t complain don’t do it for self interest??

    Lauda claimed a little while ago : “If Vettel would have had a Mercedes engine and been winning the Melbourne grand prix, he would not complain, even if he doesn’t like the noise…. ” Of course he is true. But at the same time he is saying that those who are winning aren’t complaining anyway.

    I bet that if Mercedes weren’t in front they would have some complaints too.

    Always the excuse “it’s the same for everybody” doesn’t mean that things are the way they should be or that we can’t complain about or criticize some aspects.

    Should everybody just be quiet and don’t say anything and portray a happy F1 family?

    Didn’t the tire explosions at Silverstone show the tires weren’t good enough and thus to some extend justify the criticism RBR had of these tires?

    “..the F1 cars of 2014 cover the same distance at the same sort of speed as the cars of 2013, but they do it using 35 percent less fuel. That’s impressive. But where is this great story being broadcast?”

    That is truly impressive indeed, especially in the time they had. But I guess for besides a few purist fans the majority doesn’t really car about that.

    In the end it doesn’t really matter for the ‘general’ fans what is powering these racecars as long as it gives an exciting show on sunday.

    I agree with the budget cap idea, but we all know how hard it will be to control that.

    Ps. Listen to the sound of the opening page of (they need to upgrade 🙂

  42. Thank you Joe. It needed to be said, so its good that an experienced f1 journalist shows some rare leadership.

  43. I for one love the changes in technology and don’t give a damn about the lack of deafening engine noise ; and I hated the fact that someone as young as hamilton admitted that in his time the cars got progressively easier to drive

    I am old enough to remember someone saying that colin chapman was ruining F1 by making space frames obsolete [ it sounds like enzo but it wasn’t him , never met him ] ; some things never change , do they !

    the argument about the numbers watching on TV are specious , what did they expect when switching to pay TV ? I , for one , wouldn’t give mr murdoch the scrapings from under my finger nails and , for sure , many others take the same view ; if bernie doesn’t care about going to tracks where there is no crowd let him not care about the number of TV viewers

    I first saw F1 as a small child when my parents took me to the cinema , and the newsreel showed these magnificent cars driven by brave men racing around silverstone airfield ..if memory serves it was 1950 ; I was fascinated , still am ….would I stil be if the luddites had stopped F1 being at the cutting edge ? somehow I don’t think so

    and despite being a pedant I forgive joe for saying the cars were slower when he meant they were slower over a lap …or is that just a matter of semantics ?

  44. ‘The cat crept in, craftily crapped and crept out again’ by Mud (a 70’s pop band) is another fitting analogy for F1 today.

  45. The cars are a lot slower than 13’s, which where already slow. That’s what I dislike nowadays, I like the hybrid thing but if they could put a regulation that produce kind of 04’s time I’d be happy. The available recovery power had to be in the driver’s hand too, I don’t care about clever programming by the engineers, I care about cleaver driving by the driver. Not to mention the poor ruling of ugly nose which is a real shame.

  46. Unless you have erotic dreams about Tony Blackburn, which is nobody’s business but yours, I think you meant “toothy” rather than “toothsome” disc jockeys.

      1. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

  47. Hi Joe, while we’re on the subject of music, I hope I don’t sound like a groupie but I totally agree with your piece. Not everyone is a fan of heavy metal. Personally I prefer opera, or Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello or the Grateful Dead. I welcome new sound. It would be nice to attend a GP without needing ear plugs to keep your ears from hurting.

    I live across the river from the circuit in Montreal (I can see the roller coaster at La Ronde – the amusement pack on the same island as the GP – and I can hear the F1 from my home, but not NASCAR . I have friends in the Mile End district of the city which is several miles away who complain about the noise. People walked out the first time Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” was played because they didn’t like the new sound. We know where that went.

    One of the reasons I was attracted to the sport was the technology. In the sixties when I started following F1, fuel injection, disc brakes, overhead cams were found in only a few exotic cars. I have a nuclear physicist friend who questioned my intelligence because I’m a fan of motorsport. Earlier I was saying to him I was more excited about the up-coming season than I had been for a long time (1966 to be exact). “Why?” He asked with disdain. “Because of the new regs,” I replied. Then I explained the change from normally aspired 2.4L V-8 engines to 1.6L turbo charged hybrid engines with 2 types of energy recovery systems and that they were limited to 100L of fuel per race.

    “Hybrid engines?!” he exclaimed. His interest has been piqued. @16,000 rpm (correct me if I’m wrong) revolution is in the air.

    I found the racing just as exciting as ever in the first two GPs. And I liked watching the back of some of the cars step out.

    Just my two cents.

  48. When Renault introduced the first turbo, it was scorned as a “whistling tea kettle”. When it started trouncing the field, that comment disappeared, and then F1 went all turbo. I can’t remember that causing a loss of fans. Not even when the one-lap 1500 hp “grenade” qualifying engines were banned ..

    There seem to be a number of older fans here. Anyone else remember a very brief period in the late 70s or early 80s when, for a few races, unlimited qualifying tires were allowed, and cars put on new boots every time they came into the pits? Some people tell me it didn’t happen, but I was reporting regularly on F1 then and it’s firmly in my memory …

    ..for what that’s worth 🙂

    1. And nobody complained because of the “sound” as the BMW four inline came into F1, in fact in Germany people were happy to see a German F1 engine again after 20 years.

  49. What is the truth about Renault’s new MarkII engine introduced this weekend? In the press conference it was implied it was all new which it cannot be of course, so how have they got around the rules?

  50. Only one line of lyric keeps running through my head as I read the negative views. “The old road is rapidly agin’,
    get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand,
    for the times they are a changin'”. Bob Dylan

  51. There has been discussions for years – that F1 is in some “crisis”. At really the show goes on….

    Seriously, how “close” is F1 to a major crisis – where the show is adversely impacted (financially and structurally)…..

  52. Great arguments from you and the readers here, as expected. But I won’t be watching the show this weekend. I’ll read about it later, since I can’t get excited about what I see on the screen. Maybe if I had Paddy Lowe’s vantage point and could see how the technology wonders were playing out. Maybe if I weren’t being insulted by Niki calling criticisms ‘absurd,’ or Nico calling me ‘childish,’ I’d be more amenable to your own admonishments of people within F1 not slagging the sport. Maybe, if like Adrian said, driving open cockpit, single seaters weren’t so relevant, it wouldn’t be quite so amusing hearing about the good F1 was doing for a world that has had hybrid cars since the mid 1990’s via the Honda Insight and Prius. If F1 really wants to lead, then develop autonomously driven cars, without the starving artists, errm drivers, but race with the real engineers in the commercial world who are actually developing the tech that will revolutionize motoring in the next decade.

    No Joe. I have lost the urge to sit and watch, and I won’t. I will, however, continue to follow the circus, your blog especially. It’s just getting good.

  53. Why can’t anyone understand that the average person responds to visceral appeal. The purr of the these engines does not turn average heads. It is not a signature sound. The average person also does not care or is involved enough to understand the tech behind F1. They only respond to an intense audio visual experience, intense racing, interesting driver personalities and dramatic on track rivalries.
    I don’t think we have all the ingredients right. I will continue to watch of course, because F1 runs so damn deep in my veins. I am merely commenting on how the sport is currently perceived by complete outsiders. Isn’t F1 trying to gain audience?

    1. Sound is maybe worth discussing but any sport that places so much importance in noise is a sick sport.

      1. I was privileged to witness the debut of the Penske-Porsche 917/30 driven by Mark Donohue at Mosport in 1973. Although it had 1000+ bhp, it sounded like nothing compared to the huge Chevy V8s around it. It was a purring cat next to roaring lions.

        That didn’t prevent it from being the most awe-inspiring racing car I ever saw in my life. Sound is not everything.

        1. You are right, it was an awesome piece of kit, which came about because of the demise of 5lt sportscar racing, a series which was also awesome in every respect. However, the point you are missing is that Porsche then proceeded to ruin CanAm, and the series withered and died. These days, when you see Historics in action, it’s the Chevy V8’s that get the adrenaline going. Also, funnily enough, the Mac guys seem to like running up an M8 every now and again.

      2. Formula 1 is more than just a sport as far as spectators on the ground are concerned.

        They just don’t pay a small fortune for a sensory experience, of which the signature shrill engine sound had become synonymous.

        Whilst this may attract other spectators, retaining those that come for this aspect of the show will be more of a challenge I think.

    2. Perhaps an average person never understood F1 at all. To me it is mostly about the tech, strategy, topdrivers, driving in the wet, etc…. sound is just one of those. I must say that at first I found the cars too quiet, till I saw a Jerez video where the sound of the whole car – not just the exhaust – came through very well. That did it for me. So, audio guys at the circuit and tv-stations, the challenge is yours now.

    3. The average person or the averge neanderthal?

      The only thing missing in 2014 F1 from your list above is dramatic on track rivalry…. but there is intra-team possibility there so who knows, within a few races F1 might have hit the jackpot. It’s certainly an improvement on recent years in my opinion and the reduced decibels has not only made TV viewing more interesting (better driver radio, lock up noise to “catch” the ear, etc.) but it also makes it more likely people like me will take their young offspring trackside.

      Why can’t anyone understand all that?

  54. “Loud is fast” is an old racing expression here in USA. Although an exaggeration of sorts most fans believe it. If you think the average fan is going to gush about the quiet F1 cars with “gosh isn’t it cool the cars get 35% better mileage” then you’ve been spending too much time in the media center.

    1. I think the Offenhauser turbos from the Seventies where low revving four inlines. I can´t remember too many people being pi….d off because of their low noise. So how do you explain that?

  55. Brutal spot on, Joe. I wish you would allow me to translate it word by word into Czech language and published it under your name. Because I am signing exactly what you have written. WOW!!

  56. Some people downplay the significance of the engine noise. But engines do not make noise, they ROAR. they roar like lions and bears, which on the most basic level of the universe scares us to death. Here’s a little film by Antti Kalhola, who gets it…

    See? That’s why I watch. It’s the same thrill I get in my own endeavors, which aren’t limited to sitting in a chair and tapping a keyboard. It takes more then colorful butterflies to get me excited.

    Hi CK

  57. Just seen Pat Symonds comments re: Ratners in the Team Principles interview. He hit the nail on the head there.

    1. There is a difference though: Ratner was selling cheap worthless non-jewellery and by owning up to it reduced demand [for a time]… That is not the situation of F1.

  58. Lets deal with some facts:
    F1 2014 cars are hideous. They actually look stupid.
    The V6 turbo’s sound dreadful, even by 1980’s standards.

    I like to think that I’m the typical long term F1 fan. Have not missed a race since 1986, and for so many years lived and breathed F1. Today’s cars make me miserable, period.

    It is my right to just switch off and not complain. To “go away”, as you have so eloquently put it, but I don’t want to. I want a beautiful, noisy, fast spectacle back. Not this dreadful product which has the potential to very quickly extinguish the core of F1 racing in the space of a season. I think it may be too late, as this engine formula will not simply go away. I say replace it with the old V10’s. Make it SPECTACULAR. Relevant, no….but when EVER has driving at 180 mph with wings and slick tyres EVER been relevant???
    As a fan, for me it’s not about relevancy. It’s about the history of the teams and the drivers.

    I respect your opinion greatly Joe, and have been reading your musings for many years, but I wholeheartedly disagree with you on this one.
    F1 is broken. It may never be fixed. A new order of fans will be created by this formula which will be very different to the one left behind. For one, it will be smaller.

    One other thing….
    Do you really prefer a Pruis to a Porsche?

    1. Facts?
      Hideous? Subjective call. Not fact
      Dreadful sound? Subjective call. Not fact
      Do you have any facts in your comment?

      1. He has an opinion, and it is one shared by a proportion of the existing audience who do not find the current formula palatable for reasons, fact-based or not, that are justifiable.

        F1 exists because it has always offered a differentiable product. Differentiable in the sense that:

        – it contains the world’s elite drivers.
        – it races on the best circuits.
        – it offers the best spectacle.
        – it is the fastest single-seater racing Formula.
        – it is the richest Formula.
        – it has the greatest history / pedigree.
        – it is the technological pinnacle of motorsport.

        Now let’s see why some people may FEEL, and I emphasize the word because sometimes feelings cannot be rationalized succinctly, that the current Formula 1 has this year deviated too far from these ideals.

        There is no denying the history, the amount of money involved, and in spite of the pay driver issues, it probably contains the best crop of driver’s available within a single series.

        However, it no longer races at the most exciting circuits; it is also not definitively the quickest Formula on earth.

        More critically, many fans feel the sense of spectacle has been lost this year. The noses are even more ridiculous than the past 3 years have managed to produce, and you can type as much as you like in defense of the new engine sound, but the new noise is quite simply the least spectacular to ever emanate from a Formula 1 car.

        For years F1 has not been very technologically relevant, and it is ironic that the attempt to return it to “road relevance” has contributed to the demise of one of its primary differentiable qualities.

        Formula 1 is ultimately just another form of entertainment, financed by people with more money than sense. There are far fewer tangible benefits derived from racing in F1 than are written about. F1 is not a test-bed for practical road technology, and has virtually zero road-relevance if measured on an expenditure to outcomes basis.

        Many members of the existing Formula 1 fan base are slightly disappointed with the initial results from the new direction the sport has embarked upon.

        We will continue to watch, but you cultivate a rather curious attitude towards people who do not share your perspective, particularly considering where you derive the majority of your income from.

        “Take it or leave it,” is a very crass way of expressing yourself.

        I enjoy reading your blog because you are one of the few journalists who actually has an ability to express an opinion, but sometimes you behave just like a common forum troll.

        1. Jay, I applaud your remarks. We need to be more vocal, or at least those like you who are good at making the argument, need to speak up on these forums

        2. “- it is the technological pinnacle of motorsport.”

          Surely hybrid engines are the technological pinnacle of modern engines? They are the future for everyday cars, providing the range that pure electric cars can’t and the efficiency that pure fuel engines struggle to match.

          I miss the sleek lines of the 70’s cars, the fat tyres of the 80’s, the electronics of the early 90’s. Times change, the sport changes, but so long as two guys can go head to head it will be good to watch.

        3. I tend to agree with most of what you say. One major thing that stands out with F1, and which never, ever gets talked about, are tyre rims and tyre measurements. If we are supposed to have to make F1 relevant for motor manufacturers, and tree huggers, then why are the tyres & rims still 1970’s sizes! I don’t mean exactly the size the were in the 70’s, although I liked those big old lumps of real rubber! But the rims do not accommodate motor industry low profile sizing and low profile tyres. Road car tyres have evolved to decrease drag and rolling resistance, and promote fuel efficiency, and yet F1 sticks to ancient tall rims, so why not low profile tyres eh? Ah! Just remembered in F1 the tyre does most of the work that suspension does on a road car ( not much carry over there guys ) so if low profiles were used, there would have to be suspension movement….like a real car, and which used to be the case in the dark ages of F1! And….what relevance has there ever been in road cars having big wings and slick tyres?? Are those going to be removed to make the manufacturers and tree huggers happier that F1 cars can be the same as a road car?

      2. OK, question…do you feel that the 2014 cars are pretty or even look “right”? I might have designed a better Caterham……
        Do you like the new sound?
        Viewing figures and ticket sales will tell the story at seasons end.

      3. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Personally I find this year’s crop very attractive (especially Red Bull and Toro Roso). btw some of the most beautiful F1 cars of all time on my list are the Maserati 250F, Ferrari 156, Eagle, Lotus 78/79, Williams FW18.

    2. I can certainly appreciate that some folks prefer one kind of sound to another… but this is getting downright ridiculous….

      Jonathan, if you are cognizant of the history of the sport as you claim to be, you would know that downsizing F1 engines is nothing new. You would also know that screaming sounds have exactly nothing to do with performance… as Cosworth taught Ferrari, BRM and Matra, beginning over 40 years ago.

      You might also know that the new cars have a great deal more instantly available power when coming out of corners which, in combination with less aero and grip, makes the challenges faced by drivers more of a test of their ability than was present last year. The effect of this provides what Mario Andretti has been saying for ages that F1 very much needed: more power and less glue so that driving ability matters more.

      So, what exactly is the “core of F1 racing” that you think is at risk of being extringuished? The driving and the racing… or the sound effects?

      p.s. I’ve got a gizmo that can make my guitar sound like a B3 organ played through a Leslie cabinet… maybe the people who know how to do that kind of thing can make a box for those who prefer sound over substance so they can fool their stereo into making the new powerplants sound like V10s?

      1. Joe, during the race do you get to see anything the rest of us don’t… such as the feeds from all the cameras… or are you shown only the same feed that goes out on Bernie-TV?

        1. The media centre is depressingly low on information, usually with just the main FOM feed on one screen and the timing information on another.

          You only get to see the feeds from all the cameras if you are a special buddy of Charlie’s and allowed to sit in race control. This honour isn’t bestowed on the press monkies.

          The only area where the press can get a better feed than the average fan is the pit to driver radio, and even then it’s still only selected snippets and not everything possible.

      2. I am 70 and Pobably watched as many races as most here live but also on television. I have not seen actual racing since DRS was introduced. So instruct me on “watching properly”. I am willing to learn.

  59. Fully agree! The whining of some team owners/bosses makes me angry too. To speak with Monty Python: GET ON WITH IT!
    Indeed, these new F1 machines are marvels of tech, just three races into the season and the phantom of a cripple grid has never materialized.
    Red Bull and Ferrari can start a nice series on their own if they don’t like this one anymore. What creature comes from mating a Red Bull and a Prancing Horse? Whatever it will look like it will be ugly.

    I don’t trust the sport’s bosses to let the rules as they are and that the tweaking will start soon to please the ones that failed to grasp the new reality. I hope that I’m wrong. McLaren and Mercedes could bang on that drum a bit more, together with Williams and Sauber, Force India, well actually everybody else.

    Enough, am off to enjoy the qualifying, unfortunately still with a fan-insulting-version of the Livetiming on

  60. I love the new hybrid formula and I like the quieter engines. It’s a shame that Ferrari and Renault didn’t do as good a job as Mercedes, but that’s their fault. You can actually see that the cars are not glued to the road anymore. Moaners please go away. If that means the sport contracts in some places temporarily, maybe that’s a good thing.

  61. Great post, Joe. Frankly, I think this whole “debate” thing is a joke. The cars are slightly slower as compared to last year. Why? Not the engines. They put out just as much total power as last year’s did, once you figure in the ERS units. They’re a tick slower over a lap because of reductions in aero and harder tires (things that most fans have been asking for for years, when they say “I want the cars harder to drive”). Whatever. The cars are a little less spectacular sounding, but that’s more than offset by 1) the fact they no longer give you a headache in person, 2) they use 35% less fuel as before and, most importantly, 3) the introduction of the new formula makes the sport more attractive to more manufacturers who would have never wanted to get involved with a 10-year old V8 formula (thereby also making the sport less vulnerable to a pull out by one of the existing three manufacturers…we likely would have wound up with all cars being Ferrari-powered by 2016). It’s insane to me that all the people involved in F1 aren’t playing up items #2 and 3 instead of prattling on endlessly about how much the fans don’t like the sound of the new engines.

    My questions to the disgruntled fans: Don’t like the looks of the cars? OK, they’re fixing the regs for 2015 to make them less ugly. Don’t like the fact that one team has figured out their car first and made for a stinky show for the first two races? Oh, well, you must have hated most of the seasons for the entire history of the sport, since that happens more often than not. Don’t like the sound of the new engines? Fine, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I’d also suggest considering the alternative: going backwards in technology and making the cars all identically engined, and probably outwardly identical after a couple of seasons. Do the fans want that? I sure don’t. I am perfectly happy with what we’ve gotten this year, thanks.

  62. Joe, I’m with you on this 100% and I do think it is a case of “biting the hand that feeds you” with Ferrari. While I didn’t see the poll Ferrari ran, what I did see reported was that the fans didn’t say they didn’t like F1. What I read was that they didn’t like the direction F1 was going. I also can’t help but feel that the poll carries about as much validity as the vote in Crimea. In addition, what would you guess the overall investment has been made by the manufacturers in developing the new power plants for F1? Of course the number is something astronomical… and these people who are complaining want everything thrown in the rubbish bin? Really?

  63. Joe,
    Couldn’t agree more. I was one of those people who last year were hoping these new rules would be scrapped. however, I must concede that they have had the desired effect. I have been turned by the V6’s. The running order has changed & this Formula will ensure F1 is around for the younger generation to enjoy also. Yes, they are not as loud but the V8’s were not as loud as the V12’s. Change happens. As much as I liked it, the previous formula was just unsustainable in today’s world.

  64. I’ve always thought that the sound of the cars on TV has been lousy. It pales in comparison to actually standing next to the track. Whether this year, or last, on TV the cars always have a distinctly lower sound than they do in real life. FOM should definitely work on improving sound from within the cars as well as trackside.

    But some of the problem is also the broadcasters – they take the sound feed coming from FOM and then mix it with the commentary. If they bump up the volume of the commentators then you don’t really hear the cars at all. Here in the USA, NBC Sports Network seems to have the FOM feed on low and their commentators on high. That’s not Bernie’s fault!

    My barometer of F1 interest is my wife – she used to be an avid fan, never missing a race, and nowadays she doesn’t watch it at all. I asked her yesterday what changed and she pinpoints that her interest waned when they eliminated refueling during the race. She thinks it just eliminated the key element of strategic race planning.

    I agree with you Joe on how ridiculous it is for Ferrari to gripe. It’s nothing new though – the team that is disadvantaged by new rules is always vocal, irrespective of what the rule is or was.

    However, I do have one gripe. While these new power trains are all about fuel efficiency and energy recovery, etc., I honestly don’t care for it. I drive a Tesla so I haven’t been to a petrol station in ages, but when it comes to motor racing, fuel efficiency is not something that figures in my top 5 reasons to watch. If I want to watch fuel efficiency, I’ll go watch them race toyota Priuses.

    In fact, my top 5 reasons to watch any form of motor racing is:

    1. Thrilling on-track action (i.e. overtaking, duels and crashes)
    2. Very fast cars
    3. Beautiful eye-watering cars
    4. Scary loud volume
    5. Clever technical innovation to gain advantage (examples- active suspension on the williams in the 80s, or the skirts on the brabham)

    Given my top 5, I’m not sure F1 is cutting it right now. But GP2 might…

    What’s your top 5, Joe?

  65. Let’s just wait and see.
    The one thing you can be sure of when change comes is that some people will object.
    I believe all the teams agreed to these regulations some years ago, are we supposed to believe that some of the most technologically advanced companies and some of the most intelligent and experienced engineers in the world are now surprised at the result? This is clearly sour grapes on the part of teams that are under performing, and possibly subterfuge for a hidden agenda for others.
    Regardless, having invested vast sums in the current power plants the only changes that could be hoped for in the next few years will be relatively minor tweaks.
    Personally, I enjoy the sound of the turbos, and all the other sounds.
    In the end though it is about the racing: if the racing is good people will forget the sound, fuel management, etc. If the racing is not good, people will distract themselves with other issues, whether those issues are worthy of attention or not.

  66. Who are these so-called “fans” of F1? I just “watched” Bahrain qualifying – on my laptop, monitoring the F1 Live Timing app. It makes NO noise at all, and yet I was absorbed!

    Things change. In 1961 the formula changed from 2.5 to 1.5 litres. Normally aspirated and carburetors at the start. The British teams tried to launch an alternative “Intercontinental” formula (2.5L), and it failed. And what followed were golden years of F1.

    Then came the age of the Cossys. No spectacular noise there (though I loved the Matra and Ferrari V12s) but those days are what many cite as being wonderful.

    For those that wax pyrogenic about the wonderful days of wheel-to-wheel racing – I think you’ve been watching too many highlight reels. F1 is, perhaps, like a football match – long periods of motion where you have to understand what’s going on (and enjoy that), with occasional, brief flurries of incredible excitement.

    Where we are today – a couple of things:

    1. I too will reminisce fondly about the absurd crazy noise of the V12-10-8 engines. The first time I heard a modern one of these (in a Minardi of all things) is etched into the brainbox. Yes the turbos are disappointing in ways – I was very underwhelmed one year going from an F1 race to an Indycar race.

    2. I don’t understand why there is all this bowing and scraping (and money paying) to Ferrari. “F1 needs Ferrari”? Well, perhaps. But i would argue that Ferrari needs F1 possibly more! What would they be without F1?

    3. Back to my theme – there is so much to become absorbed in; stop the whining. It’s Formula One, folks. Even if they were racing tricycles – it would be the best (ok – a stretch, but you get my point I hope).

    4. These people (LdM, AN…) remind me of some political parties that, when the opposition attacks, whimper under their chairs. And thus lose – because of their wimpyness. ( in USA read Democrats and the Affordable Care Act). Not a political statement, talking about behavior. Stand up to the challenge for crying out loud.

    We have some wonderful developments this year. Let’s have fun.


  67. I sometimes think the smartest sports organization is the NBA. They never talk about how few teams have a chance to win a championship. They talk about the skill and talent of the greatest players in the world. Ferrari et al should talk about the talent of the drivers, the high level of technology of its vehicles and F1 is the most followed league in the world.

  68. The cars are saving energy up to 35%, but F1 wasted a lot of that running at night, full lights on, at Bahrein. Pretty little stupid thing

  69. I am surprised that you failed to see this coming.

    You sell the sizzle and not the sausage. Hybrid technology is just a sausage with a different flavour. 7 mpg is not going to save the planet, but it is unlikely to excite new and younger fans either.

    Newey is probably right in saying that this formula has very little relevance to road car technology, so why waste the money.

    We know the answer to that Is that F1 just loves finding ways to waste huge sums of money, so that only BE & CVC can be the short-term winners.

    1. I do not agree. Is Newey an expert in what car companies want? No, car companies are experts in what car companies want. They asked for this.

      1. I thought that only Pure and Renault wanted this. Mercedes and Ferrari were not enthusiastic, but complied provided they could have a V6. Pure fell at the first hurdle. My guess is that Ferrari remain very unenthusiastic and that Renault may fall by the wayside. Sure Honda seem interested, but if fans don’t “get it” the formula will not last.

        Great (close) racing is the sizzle that will sell F1. A dominant Mercedes will be just as big a turn-off as a dominant Red Bull has been for the last 4 years.

    2. There’s two separate aspects I see here. The petrol engine and the energy recovery units (ERUs). I don’t see much use for a V6 1.6 litre turbo petrol (too heavy and inefficient at that cc) in a road car but, correct me if I’m wrong, I think 4 cylinder engines were originally suggested then ultimately (sadly) rejected by F1. However the ERU systems will be of significant interest to motor manufacturers. You can make an argument for anything you like in F1 at the moment. What a laugh.

      I just wish the MGUs hadn’t been included in homologation so development of this useful technology could have continued at F1 levels. Renault might well have wished for this too but I doubt Merc would!

      It’s great to see that so little has really changed in F1.

  70. I think your rant is spot-on Joe and just don’t get the reactionaries that want F1 to be stuck in the past; the series’ motif has always been to advance technology and that’s exactly what it is doing now with this new set of regulations. It’s exciting to see who’s got it and who doesn’t and sorry, Ferrari, you just don’t get it – yet.

  71. I think we should forget about Ferraris so called “fan-poll”. I was voting too about two weeks ago and at that time it was about 42 % “whingers” against 38% who merely liked the new regulations, although the questioning was suggestive and stupid. So this is no representative poll which should be taken serious but only a political instrument in the ongoing power battle led by Ecclestone who irresponsively is against the new rules merely because they are not his child and cost money. And he fears loss of power. Well done, reminds me of Erich Honecker before the fall of the Berlin Wall `89. And who thinks the V10 and V8 rip-roarers will show up again in F1 should join the “Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands” and try to re-establish GDR. 🙂

    The question is: In any other company, what would the supervisory board do with a CEO who repeatedly drags down their own product?

    It even could be Ecclestone manipulates the TV sound via FOM for his “sound debate” to manipulate poor fans who don´t realise being used, or what´s your explanation for the poor sound quality this year, although we already have race 3 on our belt? Eg, if you watched the Bahrain practice you might have noticed that every time a car revved up the camera was leaving or the sound was damped, only in braking zones were cars run on low revs the microphones were tuned right. Or on pit exit, where the cars rev up most, and the cameraman stands beside them there was hardly any engine sound transmitted. Coincidence??

    And who drags down the Formula 1 championship and the important new regulations down in an impropriate and uncouth way like most of the “sound whingers” in www do, just because of the loss of a few dB(A) – please stay at home or go elsewhere, other real fans will follow and take your seat.

    I can understand Mr. Sawards anger.

    1. Love your comment…” who thinks the V10 and V8 rip-roarers will show up again in F1 should join the Sozialistsche Einheitspartei Deutschlands and try to re-establish the GDR”….there’s a certain Mr Putin who may just try that out at some point, given his current successes at recreating the old USSR!

  72. I think hybrids racing cars are fine for Le Mans and WEC. They are not suited for the F-1 World DRIVER Championship. We have already the Shell Eco-marathon to push the boundaries of fuel efficiency…


      1. Does F1 really sell road cars? In the 70’s almost every1 was running Cosworths and it was amazing racing. Noisy and irrelevant! Love it!!

        1. But this question holds about any form of advertising. A few famous names in advertising have made enemies among their peers by opining that the data is ambiguous, that a strong case can be made that sales causes advertising rather than vice versa…

  73. To all of the people moaning about F1 going hybrid and being more quiet — I’d love if I could see your facial reactions after re-reading your comments in 10 years when most, if not all Ferrari and Porsche cars (just to name a few) are equipped with some sort of hybrid power unit, and are not only more fuel efficient than today’s cars, but more powerful.

    As for Bernie’s “new world markets” as someone in another post put it, there is something (somewhat) calmly happening here in the USA, and it’s called Tesla. I strongly believe their impact on the automotive world is going to be massive within the next decade, similar to what Apple has done to consumer electronics over the past decade. It’s really a no-brainer because something has to change — the big makers are too caught up in cranking out the same old cars. Old people wanting noisy, smelly pre-historic cars are not getting any younger and a lot of young people have little interest in current cars and dislike buying gas. Humans worldwide of all ages will either adopt a new way of living or the world will no longer exist!

    1. Well put and said Mike C. It can take a while for the flock to figure out why the leader has chosen this new path and not the old one they were used to trot along for so many years. Of course the guy charging for the old checkpoints doesn’t like it as he has to relocate too.
      Fast forward = F1.

    2. Well said Mike C! And if we generate the electricity to power those cars using the same energy source as the French predominantly do, we’ll have a damn sight cleaner environment too.

    3. Mike C, your (somewhat arrogant) comment suggests that do not understand the “racer” or “racing” mindset.

    4. Maybe Mike, but I’d bet that the young guys using Teslas will also be the ones seeking out Camaros and Mustangs for enjoyment…and motor racing is principally about just that, enjoyment. Also ,these Tesla cars need fuel, in their case electric power and that comes mostly from burning fossil fuels….nothing new under the Sun, just a different way of using the resources.In the UK we’ve spent billions in cash, establishing huge Wind Turbine Farms. However we have also run down our Fossil Fuel & Nuclear power facilities to the point that we are almost on a balance of having power Blackouts. To counter this, the government has allowed investors ( Hedge Funds ) to create Mini Power Stations in various parts of the UK. These consist ( wait for it! ) of banks of Diesel powered generator sets, around 1250-2000kva per set, and synced with 20 or so sets combined. These sets will, so the Gov hopes, help prevent the lights going out here, by cutting in and taking the stress load at peak times. For this privilege, the Gov is paying Nuclear & Wind Power rates per kwh, to the Hedge Fund owners, and so the Renewables Saga becomes exposed as not just absurd, but more expensive than anyone could have imagined….but the Land owners of the Wind Farms and the Hedge Funds walk away laughing….morale of the story, you don’t get owt for nowt in this world….!

      1. It takes time to develop technology. The current way of living is obviously leading us in the wrong direction, so something must change.

        1. The world and the human race just evolve. Always have, always will. The current obsession with renewables and hybrids etc, is just another passing example. People are starting to understand that the renewable industry is just that, industry… a means for people to make money. If you have something to scare people with, I.e. all your grandchildren will die unless we build these windfarms, then you can bullying and frighten people to sign up. Only when the get to pay the bill, and find out that they have been ripped for no improvement, and then you get a backlash as is starting to happen. Hybrids, well it’s another way for car makers to sell their products, when you look at the whole picture though, the carbon footprint of a hybrid doesn’t stack up. I heard someone say that they got advice about buying a hybrid car, the advice was, run it for 4 years and sell it before the 5 year warranty runs out…..not a great picture really!

          1. Time will tell if renewable energy and hybrid technology are passing trends. Personally, I don’t see any indication of these slowing down. As I’ve said before, something has to change because we are currently living very destructive lives and have been for quite some time. Unfortunately, making a significant change to better the future is going to require more destruction, but this option is short-term and is a better option than doing nothing at all and destroying until there is nothing left. That is, unless you or someone else have an instant, affordable and realistic solution to the problem. If so, please enlighten all of us.

            1. There’s nothing new under the Sun Mike C. The technologies needed to bypass Fossil , other than Nuclear, will come in time, but Batteries are not the future, especially when producing these items causes death to those living around the mines that produce the component materials needed for the battery…or is that a satisfactory cost for us all to feel smug and green?

              1. There’s always something new happening under the sun. Unfortunately not all of it is positive, such as the rise in deaths from producing oil and gas, which have increased in the US by over 100% since 2009. Look it up, this is a fact.

                1. More people have died mining coal than from nuclear accidents, however nuclear is regarded as far more dangerous. For me nuclear is a no-brainer, but people can be easily moved by propaganda. Just the same with hybrids. The story is that they are the future, but the dust to dust story does not bear that out. However for now it makes money for those putting the futurism story about.

  74. I’m with you Joe, I’m enjoying F1. I’m impressed with what the manufacturers have done this season, and I think everyone’s making a mountain out of a molehill with respect to the new engine sound.
    I just watched Bahrain qualifying and they seemed to have turned up the in car volume. That’s all we needed

  75. Clarity and courage! Quite a unique piece, triggering great debate (mostly).
    Objectively the new cars are an amazing tech achievement, which will produce an amazing season.
    Please Joe never give up, and keep us genuinely informed, you are an enabler of knowledge and judgement.


  76. Although I do not care much for the TOTP analogy, I otherwise heartily agree with everything you have said in this post!

  77. Kudos Joe
    Some of your posts are absolutely breathtaking. I’m amazed that you can be so independant and still get access.
    I’m going to take a break from the comments though, because despite my patient explanations of why some people are wrong, they keep disagreeing with me.
    love and peace

  78. Very very well said, Joe.
    All that is just a joke… what bad loosers these are…
    Rules are the rules, they are the same for everyone, and there will always be some racing whatever the cars are.
    Mercedes is at the front at the moment because they did a better job than Ferrari and Red Bull… So what? So what ??????????? Aren’t we in a free world where hard and better work usually pays???
    Montezemollo should better worry on making his people do a better job… or go to North Korea to settle his own championship, with his own rules, his own cars, a red ferrari + a yellow red ferrari + a green red ferrari + a blue red ferrari + maybe a purple red ferrari, he’ll win the races and the championship… He’ll be happy and will shut up.

  79. I personally like the sound of F1s this year. I found the howling of previous years ear-bleeding. I like fast cars but prefer them to be silent. I drive a Bentley W12 Continental GT. Fast, but quiet. I now find that sitting in my living room watching the F1 race is similar to sitting in my car watching the world go by. Love it.

  80. Joe,

    In one of your replies to a comment, you mention “ulterior motive”.

    Luca and Bernie conniving is nothing new. Driving down the value of the sport, scaring CVC away by stirring up a crisis and setting up the purchase of their assets by the top teams with Ferrari leading the pack alongside Mr. B.

    Science fiction or possible course of action?


  81. Assuming Ferrari are simply politicking for a change that benefits them,
    i’m not sure how it is surprising that teams are wanting rule changes for their benefit instead of the good of the sport.
    This is motorsport 101 ,from karting to the top level, if you cant beat the guy in front, you think he’s cheating, if you see a change that would work in your favour, you will try and get that change.
    F1 has a long history of teams and others (FISA, FOCA, FIA, FOM) playing politics like this, and it adds to the soap opera that is F1, giving us heroes and villains. (eg: I love to hate Ferrari 🙂 )

    “But where is this great story being broadcast? Why can no-one remember the word HYBRID?”

    F1 has been the big loud dumb rock concert for a significant amount of time.
    It has not been the educated man’s ballet or opera.

    A certain percentage of the fans do care about and understand the technology, but F1 has never tried to market to them, taking their support as a given (In many cases its actually gone against what the true fan would want)

    It has introduced gimmicks like DRS and KERS to make the sport interesting to a wider (Dumbed down) market.
    And that wider marker will never understand or care about the complexities of a power unit or coasting to save fuel, they want action packed racing and the rock concert turned up to 11. (While the technical fan wouldn’t care if the races were processional but would notice if the rear wing end plate had an extra vane)

    Le Mans* has long been the place for diesel and hybrid innovation, fuel efficiency has not been F1’s core message before , so its a big switch that may take on some new fans in the process, and may lose some others, will take time, or may go by completely unnoticed by the public.

    *And isn’t Le Mans lucky they have multi class racing so there are glorious sounding V8s with the silent diesels/hybrids 🙂

  82. I am so sick of Luca’s whining; he seems to take no personal responsibility for the level Ferrari has been stuck in for a while, which actually isn’t so bad. He’s the boss and if the team isn’t winning, it is his responsibility. Instead, he blames it on the FIA. Red Bull is in a tizzy because they aren’t winning race after race, so they blame it on the FIA. The only top tier team that is handling their relative lack of success with class and a sense of responsibility is McLaren. As a Williams fan, I am enjoying this season immensely. The only valid complaint regards the aesthetics of the cars- they truly range from fairly ugly to hideous. The rest of the whining is all useless, self destructive noise.

  83. What is a journalists job? I get the feeling that we are being told that F1 is something different than what we see.. But being a journalist does not require objectivity any more than those of who respond to blog posts.. So read this knowing who gets paid and who does not.

    1. What a strange and absurd comment… you are missing a few things:
      1/ this blog is not a newspaper or a magazine, this is Joe’s own blog, he does what he wants to,
      2/ you do not pay for it.
      You dont like it? Leave it.

  84. Dear Joe.

    I’m pleased that so many fans of “Joeblogsf1” have confirmed the divergence of preferences and opinion between ‘petrol heads’ who will always adore a Porsche GT3, as against the ‘new wave’ for whom a Porsche Electrolux is a more attractive choice.

    And yes, hybrids are sometimes quicker than conventional cars – but Newey is still correct to point out that their dust-to-dust energy life cycle cost is often higher than that of a conventional car.

    Dust-to-dust, a simple and fairly economical car like a Jeep Renegade or Kia Rio have been proven to be more carbon cost efficient than your (I trust only hypothetical!) Prius Electrolux.

    It will be fascinating, and feasible, to see the results of a dust-to-dust energy consumption life cycle study of a 2013 F1 car versus a 2014 F1 car.

    I suspect that there is a good chance that the energy/cost consumption of all the new gizmo’s built into the 2014 model, plus the costs of all the gear etc. to maintain and operate the new thing, is going to make its predecessor look surprisingly carbon efficient, despite it using 35% more petrol.

    And won’t it be extremely funny if the noisy, stinking old model turns out to have a more efficient energy life cycle?


    1. I guess the question is whether Newey would have raised the point at all if his team was doing well. Probably not, and so I think we have a right to feel disappointed by his comments

    2. There was a carbon study showing teams had cut emissions in 2011 (From 2011), but importantly it didn’t include Ferrari, Red Bull, Torro Rosso or HRT
      (Links might get stripped out in this blog, so that link may not work)

      Fuel use was pretty minimal, Electricity and Raw Materials were huge

      And wont it be amusing if the worst polluting aspect of F1 is not the fuel use but the enormous electricity used by the tyre warmers?

      The trickle down effect is all well and good, maybe someday we’ll see this tech in our road car (Or maybe it will come from Le Mans diesel/hybrid instead), but we’ll probably also get a BMW M3 style fake engine sound to go with it to make us happier with our choice

    3. Leon you equate noise with power and that’s fine, it’s wrong. but noise is “manly” to some and obviously you’re one of those.

      If you are going to use Newey’s words then he should be quoted in context. Personally I wouldn’t put much weight on the statement of a man who’s job has never had anything to do with being economical.

      Your statements on “carbon cost efficient” is just a bunch of stuff you made up or hope comes true.

      The biggest complainers, of the fans, about the sound always seem to be the least informed about the technology.

      Leon, I think anyone who would buy a gas sucking vehicle, be it a Porsche, Ferrari, Corvette or a V8 pickup truck or whatever else, unless it is necessary to earn a living, is a jerk.

      The propaganda campaign for the tar sands (one of the largest oil reserves in the world), here in Canada, says it will provide energy “for decades to come”.
      Decades, not the centuries to come, but decades…then what?.

      1. In the real world, the oil industry since commencement, has always stated that there is only around 30 yrs oil reserves left on the planet. I can recall this being said 40yrs ago. Yes, one cannot remake a resource, but this planet has an abundance of resources such that any shortages will only really become an issue in probably 1000 yrs or so. By which time there will undoubtedly be other usable substitutes. There are coal and oil reserves that are simply vast all over the world, keeping the lid on this helps keep the prices up, simples! That’s what the oil people like! As to Newey, he actually has spent most of his life being economical with airflow and drag, things that have impacted far more on cars, than hybrids have so far. And he is entitled to his opinion like all of us, including you. The carbon footprint issue is another real world point, there was an exercise conducted by a UK car magazine, whereby they took the life cycle of a Series 11 Land Rover Discovery, vs a Toyota Prius, and if all aspects of manufacture, operation and scrapage are taken into account, the Discovery has a lower Carbon Footprint than does the Prius. It might not be the answer that some people want, but it’s true, and the truth does tend to hurt. Other than that, why should anyone who drives a fancy car or pick up or 4×4, be a jerk? That’s your opinion of course, but it sounds rather North Korean to me.

  85. People cribbed when the V8s replaced the V10s (and when the V12s were gone before that) and we all got used to that sound just fine. People are mixing too many issues with the engines and the ugly noses – the noses were not pretty last year either. Constructors have had just a few months to test things out in the real world with this new technology and we are already seeing qualy times this year starting to be less than 1 second slower than last year. Given the current rate of progress it won’t be misplaced confidence to expect the new formula to at least match last year’s technology, if not beat it.

    Add to that we have a new engine manufacturer in Honda who is only considering the sport because of the new regulations. This says enough that it isn’t all doom and gloom as some teams might want you to believe. This new technology means that F1 is no longer a dinosaur and has great hopes of roping in another big name constructor.

  86. “Formula 1 is in the process of a brilliant technical revolution that has a real value to the world at large”

    I argue that this is not true, though it may appear as such. Formula 1 has had virtually no road relevance for decades now. It does not contribute to the development of technologies for road cars. Instead, they adapt technology from road cars for use in racing. The fact is, compared to an automaker, F1 teams have far less engineering resources. Less money, less people, less facilities, and way, way, way less testing. Add to that the extremely restrictive rules, and they simply do not have the capability to develop new technology beyond superficial things that have any value to the world at large.

      1. I have to agree to the above comment to the extent that F1 is probably not the best influencer of road car technology _today_, but it is rather Le Mans P1s. F1 – until this year at lest – was virtually a superbly expensive series to cars built to a spec., no relevant marketing to any of the so-called manufacturers involved, other than the e.g. “buy Mercedes” PR-thing, but that doesn’t necessarily need R&D to get the message through.

        On the other hand, Audi managed to (re)introduce such terms to motoring as TDI, hybrid, quattro, and just “Diesel” in general through its Le Mans program alone.

        Even if Le Mans has never reached the same sort of audience F1 does, it does the people who count and take notice

        Frankly, I cannot see how V2G has anything to do with F1. The hybrid revolution started way before F1 took note, but has to be said: they were the first ones.

  87. I may be in a minority, I like the progress F1 makes, I don’t like technology freezes.. I like engineers to be given a budget and a basic spec, and see what new things they can invent… different sounds different looks and then let different driving styles see which works best in any given car… this is progress… as an aside I’d love to know the age of the naysayers…

  88. One of the main attractions of F1 (in my view) is watching what the teams and manufacturers will come up with next. Particularly new technology that might eventually find its way onto our road cars in future. The new power trains are a wonderful example of that, and the fact that the sound no longer pierces my eardrums does not detract from the excitement. If anything, watching RBR dominate the last 4 four seasons with a superior aero package, and with limited engine development, was more boring. How is a rear blown diffuser or wasting fuel to channel more gases through the rear aero systems relevant to anything that the average punter can relate to or a direction where the sport should be going?

    But what’s most appalling is the way this sport is being governed. A show run by an 83 year old man, who’s indicted on corruption, with no apparent succession plan, a commercial rights owner that’s looking to offload the sport for more $$ which cares very little for the future (including BE publicly talking down the new engine concept! WTF??!!), and the FIA rule makers who aren’t doing much to sell the sport. Why would any big multi-national corporation want to be associated with that? Good luck trying to sell that to shareholders. And I’m not talking about a wealthy energy drinks magnate …. Plus, when the sport’s own world champion publicly criticises the new concept by saying the new engines sound like s### (nice choice of words Seb), with apparent impunity, it’s a pretty poor reflection of the sport we love.

  89. Any truth in the rumours of Renault leaving at the end of 2015? Potentially with Red Bull buying their F1 engine division?

  90. Newey’s comments struck me as being born out of frustration. He feels he’s designed the best car on the grid (again) but it’s being let down by a poor power unit. Hence he blames the change in the regs. More and more road car manufacturers are looking at hybrid cars, so I can’t see an argument this new engine formula is not relevant. As for the noise? Two races in and I can’t say it’s bothering me now. And I’ve stood at Stowe with my ears bleeding as Ferrari and Lamourghini V12’s came down the Hanger Straight!

  91. However, I do agree with his comments about being green. I’ve always thought it odd people pride themselves on having an electric car when the electricity comes from a fossil fuel burning power station. If the electricity comes solely from a wind/solar/tidal generated source then that’s great. Not sure I can agree that getting your electricity from a coal burning plant is particularly green, given the pollution the power plant caused to create your electricity.

        1. Interesting in theory if you have a hybrid car. However in the UK there isn’t a lot of option for reduced rate non-peak time charge. Surely it must damage the batteries sooner if you’re constantly draining them to sell electricity at peak time, then buying at a cheaper time? Just a thought.

      1. Vehicle to grid? F1 wants take credit for tech and regs that force power companies to to buy watts from cars? Oh dear oh dear. I am rolling on the floor reading how today’s formula is so current and will lead the way for motoring. What F1 is doing now has already been done. Hybrids are done! Ready to go. Ooh, an electric motor to spin up a turbo; Audi has it and Borg-Warner has it on the way. F1 must be kidding, despite what your anorak crowd asserts. Why not solve a real tech problem and have autonomous cars fight it out in track. Nico can go eat cupcakes again. Some milky, too?

        And please think of better insults than suggesting I go away if I’m displeased with the current state. Think of Ferrari’s and RB’s brand; they sell passion and excitement. Do Merc and Renault not see that? I won’t go away from the sport I’ve followed for decades, but I’ll only read the results.

          1. I agree mostly Joe, except that storage of the spent fuel is a logistical nightmare, and production cost of the energy is about the highest there is, apart from Wind. With engines, I have always preferred mine to be lots of cc’s and naturally aspirated….not necessary to have mega revs, a Chevy 5lt at 9/10,000 revs is just as nice to hear as a 2lt BDA at 8,500 in a forest. It’s the type of noise Joe, not the dB.

      2. It will be interesting to see the long-time effects on the rather fragile batteries of today. There is also an efficiency problem, where V2G achieves approximately the same power efficiency of a good internal combustion engine (this without taking into account the power loss of long cables).
        Furthermore it will only sharpen the range anxiety, what if you need your vehicle at an odd hour for an emergency and find it almost energy depleted due to selling the electricity…

        It’s a nice vision though, but I doubt it is the way forward.

    1. Depends where you live. Here in Quebec province at least, our electricity is all generated by hydro power. We have a lot of big rivers here and have a surplus which we sell to the our neighbouring provinces (Canada) and states (U.S.).

  92. While I’m at it…. Toto Wolff:

    “We are 0.8 seconds off pole from last year, with a heavier car that is 25% down on downforce, with much harder tyres. We are at the beginning of the season, with 30% more efficient car, 30% less consumption, with more power, more torque, and with better straight-line speed. So what we are we talking about? We are in a brilliant technical revolution and we talk the sport down.”

    Hear, hear.

    1. +1 I still can’t understand why they don’t make more of the fuel savings for virtually the same speeds. If I could drive 35% further on the same fuel with only a 1% average speed reduction I would be very happy.

    2. Coasting used to be common practice on the road. But it is banned on UK roads these days, so are we now going to follow F1 and coast down hill and into corners to save fuel? I’m sorry, but to me racing and fuel economy are matters for Le Mans not F1.

  93. Plenty of F1 journalists cannot see the wood from the trees with these new rules.

    It’s a fact that these are the most ugliest and weak sounding F1 cars in the history of the sport. I went to Melbourne and saw them live. The only car that was impressive was last years Red Bull doing speed demonstrations. Even the Porsche support races were louder. I’ll certainly vote with my wallet next year and not attend.

    Few fans watch the sport for the relevance the F1 cars have to whatever sits in their driveway. Engines revving to 12k RPM in a sport such as F1 is a joke.

    If you want the sport to be relevant, why do they race on such artificial tyres? Michelin proved in 2005 you could build faster tyres that would last an entire race distance.

    The F1 engines are frozen from here on in, so just how relevant will they stay?

    It’s a joke, Ecclestone and Newey were totally correct in saying these rules belong in sportscars, not F1.

  94. more a question than a comment

    with the onset of the widespread criticism of the new formula , I presumed that it was the BOF’s like me who were the most critical , but I have since formed the impression that it is in fact the younger , TV watching , blog following section of the F1 audience who form the majority of the whingers

    by and large I think it a truism that the older you are the less likely you are to spend your time corresponding on the internet , personally I wouldn’t know how to tweet as I am not interested !

    am I alone in forming this impression ?

  95. Totally agree Joe. There are too many people pulling in different directions with only their own interests in mind with very few actually concerned about the sport they are involved in or the fans that support it and help to line their pockets. I agree with everything you’ve said and I’ve caught myself thinking many times over the last few years that I’m only following F1 out of habit not because I love it and find it fascinating like I once did.

  96. A very good Article Joe thanking you for keeping us informed of the background activities in F1.
    I see where Bernie has been saying that the current state of F1 is “unacceptable” saying that race promoters that it is unacceptable to fans.
    I have read elsewhere that ticket sales for the British GP are up on last year.

    Is it Bernie trying to help out some of mates who’s teams are not doing so well at the moment.
    I think the basic product in terms of racing is good at the moment if it was promoted properly by those who’s job it is rather than the opposite.

  97. I remember reading some 20 years or so ago the late great LKJ Setright’s CAR mag article arguing that a modern Citroen whatever (let alone his beloved Honda Prelude) was far more technically advanced than F1.

    Perhaps it is time to bring it up to date but if there had been some form of noise regulation it would be more than a Sunday lunch afternoon with the papers as recommended by Stephen Bailey. This is pretty much how I view most weekends -except with a work laptop- and the noise would make you look up.

    Sadly they just don’t do it this year apart from the odd tyre squeal and whilst the hardcore may look on with disgust unless you can hook curious viewers then it will be difficult to keep the numbers up.
    Telling them “this one has a twin gizmo electric motor but that one doesn’t” simply doesn’t cut it. Watching the race you can’t see it, hear it or smell it. Zero interaction. Besides the pitcrews shield anything of any possible interest in any case.

    Like a modern family car, lifting the bonnet is pointless. No one recognises anything and it’s all covered by plastic. Gently closes bonnet and walks away.

    ironically making the TV turn up the noise (can they make it go to 11?) is an admission that noise is part of the spectacle whatever one may think. If it is then it has to be part of the problem and solution.

    Whilst B.E. maybe seen as an out of date, out of touch luddite it’s not quite as simple as that.

  98. The discussion about the technical layout of F1 cars is interesting, and I think it’s not restricted to the sport. We are in the middle of a social revolution.

    Over a century ago, the automobile did what the internet did in a more recent history: it shrunk the world. The car has had some serious social consequences: it redefined personal freedom. People can live 50 miles (or more) from their job now. There are very little rural communities left: the rest of the world is always within a full tank of gas.

    Enthusiasts of cars and racing are referred to as petrolheads, because the internal combustion engine is an inseperable part of the car. Or rather: was! That’s the revolution were in: the internal combustion engine is a dying breed. It might take a couple of decades, but we all know it is a technology that served us well for a long time, but now has to be replaced by something better. What the next mode of propulsion will be, remains to be seen. One of the solutions could be electric motors powered by a fuel cell, but who knows.

    In the 19th century farmers strongly objected to the construction of railways near their farmlands, because they feared the noise from the steam trains would cause the cows to produce sour milk. This kind of objection to new technology always occurs, in many different forms. In the F1 community it seems to have taken the form of ‘lack of noise’ or ‘boring fuel saving races’ complaints.
    The cows never cared about the trains. The F1 world will either quite complaining and move into the future, or it will die with the internal combustion engine.

    1. Ermm, mate, the ICE was going to be gone 40 yrs ago. back then it was the Wankel, the Sterling Engine..oh and Nuclear Powered cars…waahey! That would have been a laugh. But the good ole ICE is still pottering along and long may it do so!

  99. Hear hear, and hear again, Joe. To me, the problem isn’t that people are complaining – they always will. Neither that the rules should change – they probably should in the longer run, if Renault and Ferrari fail to catch up: even if it would be unfair to Mercedes who did a better job, one engine dominating isn’t healthy for the sport. I suppose F1 has always been a cluster of piranhas at each-other’s throats so conflicting opinions are nothing new (but you know this infinitely better than I do), Bernie dividing and conquering also is as old as he is… There have for the longest time even been people – who often seem to feel the need to attach a political view to their comments – whingeing on about going faster (apparently blissfully unaware that a racing car going at its maximum would probably generate so much g’s that it would kill its driver). Somehow F1 has always survived and it will do so now as well.

    Funnily enough, I read the latest bit of drivel from Ferrari and had that sinking feeling you must have had, too. It is quite depressing that F1 is making such strides and nobody seems interested in highlighting that. People talk about F1 being the pinnacle of motor sport and in this day and age that means something like efficient speed, not just speed outright. Newey may be right that this hybrid technology isn’t the best way to achieve that, but that’s why these are prototypes: to try that out. The timing of his comments in the middle of all this hullabaloo, however, is either ham-fistedly political (“I would have said the same thing if we’d been winning” – maybe, Adrian, maybe) or mind-meltingly stupid. Ferrari’s survey is about as serious as a political manifesto from Silvio Berlusconi (or an “I didn’t do it” from Flavio). Such a shame, and such a shame that so many people (commenters included) feel the need to whinge about irrelevancies without seeming to want to look at a bigger picture – or even give the current picture a little time to settle. F1 is a big, Italian opera and that is part of its charm, but sometimes it is wearying when it seems so hell-bent on destroying itself.

  100. I like the new Formula 1.
    It is exiciting to me. The Pecking order is shifting. Mercedes has done a great job, not only with the power units but with the whole package. Lets not forget that there are other teams using their power units and they are miles away.
    Races, lets face it , are kind of boring more often than not, unless its raining, or there is a safety car or some nuts jump into the race track (silverstone some years back). Malasya was a bore fest, Bahrain incredibly entertaining.
    In 1988 nobody complained that Maclaren won 15 of the 16 races. Monza being a homage to Enzo Ferrari, if not it were been 16 races for one team. What about the Scumacher years.
    I totally agree with Joe in reference to the main gorillas trying to kill the zoo. It’s non sense.
    If I could change something in F1, I could change BE. CVC, LDM and send them into retirement together with the folks at red bull, Marko and Matestich (Die rich making shit).
    If I only had a magic wand.
    BTW. Especially loved the first paragraphs Joe!! Magic Realism.

  101. There’s a rock-star Danish architect called Bjarke Ingels, (website, make of that what you will). He recently coined the term “hedonistic sustainability”, capturing the notion that trying to save the world need not be just a chore…there can be joy too. Until recently the automotive poster-child for sustainability – and vehicle-of-choice for taxi drivers where I live – was the Prius. Now it has to be the Mercedes W05. That can’t be all bad!

  102. Well said Joe. A key point that many people seem to be missing with the “economy” argument “not being F1” is that the cars need to be slowed down, due to the limits of the human body. The “Formula” is one that keeps lap times within that appropriate window that is near the limit of what humans can do. With the money that goes into formula one, gradually limiting fuel seems a fairly decent way to do it, and hopefully a more productive use of the billions that get spent on R&D in F1 to mankind.

  103. Ferrari are full of it. They conducted a survey after the Oz Gp to find out what people thought of it. See 56% said they enjoyed the race. 46% said the new regulations were clear, 38% said that the rules were reasonably clear but the race was hard to follow and just 16% said the new rules were not clear at all. How on earth do they extrapolate from that that 83% of fans do not like the new F1?

    Now it may be that 83% of Ferrari fans are not keen on seeing two highly paid drivers in a car from one of the best funded teams in F1 racing in the midfield, but that is not the same thing.

    1. By that data set; 44% of people didn’t enjoy the Australian GP, 54% find the rules too complicated; 38% thought the race was too complicated and 16% dislike the new regs = 152% of people don’t like 2014 vintage F1.


  104. Hello Joe,
    I am expecting mountains of humble pie to head your way following Bahrain!
    The moans that arise at the beginnings of every season about the way the cars look following safety or aerodynamic changes are soon forgotten and the noise debate continues that same old sad pattern.Give me Exciting racing like that and I don’t care what the cars sound like!

  105. Joe, well written article (as usual). You’re not angry, you’re a Fan.

    Whether we like it or not, the world is changing and we must adapt. I just don’t understand what’s got all these people’s panties all in a wad. The racing is awesome right now and the teams are trying to design around their problems. This is perfect and I’m loving it.

    I started watching F1 back when I was a kid with my dad. I loved the sound of the cars back then as well but what turned me on was the Engineering skills it had to take to create the rockets.

    I’d say that 83% of the Big Red machine fans don’t like it that their team just sucks right now. They’ll get over it…

  106. This hipocrisy is somewhat of a joke, coming from Ferrari.

    At the Paris launch of the hybrid LaFerrari a few months ago, an older customer Ferrari Enzo was unceremoniously parked outside on the street curb. While both cars are each pinnacles of their own respective eras, there was absolutely no doubt as to which one was going the way of the dodo. The Enzo exuded an almost crude and rudimentary presence with it’s now backward facing method of generating power.

    Funny how the production side gets the trend…

    I have to say though that this new formula rocks! As we’re all seeing now, it sets things up very nicely for a number of closing stage showdowns after some seriously smart driving and engineering. And, all the while remaining technologically relevant. Heaven forbid we go back to the time when the finishing orders were determined at the first corner or, worse, on a saturday afternoon right after qualifying.

    Keep up the great work!

    And Joe, one last thing; thank you for this line: ‘They have no respect for the sport.’ Someone had to say it.

  107. Thank you Joe for a brilliant post that captures my thoughts exactly. Thank heavens there are folk like you and I was encouraged to hear the words of Ron D when interviewed by Martin Brundle and Niki Lauda’s post race comments. These guys are proper racers who love the sport as you do! Keep up the good work!

  108. I agree 100% – god knows why the sport seems incapable of promoting the fact that it has moved to a more relevant type of power. F1 has always evolved, and I can’t grasp why so many people want to keep F1 in a time-lock, and refuse to evolve the way the motor industry and the world in general is heading.

  109. All this bluster about the new regs and talk of fans leaving the sport in their droves reminds me of the annual hysteria that used to always follow the Spanish Grand Prix, every year the teams would turn up in Barcelona, a track they all knew every inch of and has no overtaking places, and every year the race would turn out to be an incredibly boring procession. Autosport would trot out a suitably sensationilist “F1 in crisis” type headline and all the talk would be of the terrible state of F1, and how major change was needed immediately! Then the teams would all go to Canada and we would have a good race there, and the crisis would be forgotten. This happened every single year for the best part of a decade, right accros the V10 era that people are so winsomely reminiscing about through their heavily rose tinted spectacles. My point is I have lost count of the number of “crisis” that have threatened the sport over the years, and yet the sport continues, the noise about the noise has already started to subside and soon nobody will worry about fuel saving and over complicated cars. Remember all the pre season predictions about what would happen if no cars reached the flag in Melbourne, or that the cars would struggle to beat a GP2 car?

  110. I remember a remark that Max Mosley made in the aftermath of Crashgate. He said that Ron Dennis will tell anybody that he cares deeply about F1, but he doesn’t: He cares about McLaren. Montezemolo is built from similar timber – no matter what he says he doesn’t really care about F1, he cares about Ferrari and what F1 can do for Ferrari. Oh… and right now he probably cares a bit about his own career because Ferrari, if anything, are going backwards despite having a massive budget and two of the best drivers in F1. They are now getting beaten by second-rank garagistes.

  111. Very interesting article from the perspective of someone who is present in person at each race. I think many replying here would do well to take on board the opinion of someone who has been at every race since the beginning of time (only joking Joe!).

    From the point of view of the F1 fan not able to be at the track, things are slightly different. This year there seems to be a distinct difference between the engagement one feels depending on whether you are at the race or watching on TV.

    Other sports such as football have been able to bridge that gap by making the audience ‘feel’ like they are there, through clever attention to detail in bringing out more sounds form the atmosphere of a live game. Think of a pub for a big game covered by Sky. It’s loud, it’s atmospheric, you feel involved. Think of the sounds within that broadcast… it’s at least half the experience. The crowd yes, but the more subtle things that they have been able to do like hearing the ball being kicked, the crossbar being hit, the referee’s whistle, all the aural details that help bring the sport to life on TV.

    Fan coverage from testing in Jerez at the start of the year sounded great, with very few people and whatever values a camera phone has (that is different to the TV sound equipment), we were able to hear more of the quality that you would get at a live event. I thought the cars sounded really good… but then Melbourne came on our screens. God… It. Was. Awful.

    Short version of a long story then… get the Sky Sports Permier League football sound guys on it Bernie, really get that sound across to the TV audience, and job done.

    As regards the rest of the rule changes, it’s all good stuff in the medium/long term. Short termists understandably hate it, but looking further ahead with autonomous vehicles, hybrid tech and electric power, hydrogen etc. becoming the norm we are going to look back at this era and think this was the tipping point.

    1. Autonomous vehicles, hybrid tech and electric power, hydrogen etc….God I hope you’re right and this is the tipping point moment…with some luck and common sense maybe we can tip back and have some ICE power with grunt, and lose the Vacuum Cleaners! What the hell? Hydrogen powered F1? Hey why don’t we get Stephenson’s DNA out. clone him and build Steam Powered F1 cars!!!! Please, just let me be a Luddite!

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