Sometimes the messenger should be shot

Reading the F1 “news” today all I feel is depression. For want of anything better to write, the Internet monkeys with typewriters have reproduced a string of remarks about F1 from Flavio Briatore. Lest we forget, the sleazy-looking Italian admitted to fixing races and was slung out of the sport five years ago. I make no secret of the fact that back then I was happy to see him gone. His presence, and that of his C-list celebrity friends, in my opinion, not only added nothing to the sport, it actually harmed it, creating the impression that F1 was entirely peopled with such folk and not filled with passionate, clever people, most of whom believe that success has no meaning if it is achieved by underhand means. The last thing F1 needs these days is a sleazy front man. We have enough sleaze already, thank you…

What F1 needs today is a clean and innovative image. It is no secret that when it comes to leisure spending, it is more often than not, mothers who make the decisions. They want their children to be associated with activities that will make them better people and so the last thing mums are going to do is steer their children towards a sport represented by people like this.

The sport is still producing a decent show, it is still churning in revenues, albeit an increasing amount of it by increasing pay-TV, thus reducing the TV audiences and, more importantly, reducing the number of potential new viewers, who will no longer become fascinated after stumbling upon races on TV. Everyone says that all sports are losing numbers because of the choices available to the kids today, but no-one in F1 seems to make the connection between falling TV audiences and a lack of promotion. For me, the biggest challenge facing the sport is attracting a new generation of fans in an age when the young have so many options and no interest at all in the sleazy old men who seem to run most modern sports. They would rather watch modern Red Bull sports such as cycling up and down ladders, or doing doughnuts around empty factories.

What is required to spark the interest in the young is clever promotion, using the tools that they themselves use: YouTube, Twitter and so on. The powers-that-be in F1 cannot master even e-mail communication… I have always failed to understand how it is that the company that prints money as the Commercial Rights Holder does not seem to think it needs to be the promoter of the series. I rant and rave about the FIA having failed to promote its new rules – which is shameful – but the Formula One group should also be banging on that drum, showing the kids of today that it is producing technology that will have an influence on their lives at a later date. Where are the F1 road shows, going around schools, showing them the clever stuff, inspiring them to get into engineering? Yes, some of the teams do some street demos, and yes a private enterprise organises F1 in Schools (and makes lots of money from it) but why is there not more effort from within the sport?

Find a toddler and you will see that kids still love cars and they continue to until they reach the age when the Internet takes them away to other exotic (virtual) environments. F1 should be fighting for their attention when they are between the ages of eight and 12.

Yes, attitudes are different on different continents, but where is the Formula One group’s promotional division with departments for different regions? Surely, the foundation of a good business is good promotion, not simply collecting money. This week there is a great example of the sort of thing required, which has appeared in the run-up to the World Cup soccer competition. What this does is to highlight the ability of people playing with a football and provides a Wow! factor that everyone can relate to. It brings soccer to their level, whatever that level may be. Click here to see what I mean.People say that soccer is a democratic game the world over and that is true, but cars are everywhere and car ownership is growing all the time and so there should be interest in F1 as well.

Formula 1 drivers are men (and hopefully soon women as well) who have extraordinary abilities and while F1 has the bizarre belief that its stars should be wildly paid yet not do any promotional work, it would be wise for them to be used as much as possible. They are the stars. The inspirations. The role models. And yet the sport’s PR people behave, largely, as policemen, stopping the stars from being themselves. Worse still, the stars are stopping themselves because they think that is what they have to do. Who really knows anything about Sebastian Vettel beyond what he thinks we need to know? Humans relate to humanity. This is why the Hamiltons and the Alonsos are more popular than the Vettel’s and Rosbergs.

F1 is still a great product. It still showcases all that is good in mankind: innovation, intelligence, endeavour, focus and sportsmanship. It is still great entertainment. But we have to get that message across…

175 thoughts on “Sometimes the messenger should be shot

  1. Joe – this is so on the mark that it hurts….F1 will marginalise itself and it is so unneccessary. It should be a beacon to kids for all kinds of reasons ; aspiring drivers, engineers, designers, eco warriors and “petrol heads” too. Instead I fear that you are correct and in 20 years time the chickens will have come home to roost and F1 will be a minority interest event….

  2. It is being run as a classic cash cow, minimising investment in the future, eg the promotion you cite and insufficient payout to teams, and maximizing short term profit.

    An excellent critique of the state of affairs.

    1. Spot on Gary. Asking CVC to develop a promotions department for F1 is akin to asking a dairy farmer to do the same. When the cow stops giving milk, we slaughter the cow and buy a new one; who needs marketing???

    2. There is a report in Reuters today about CVC possibly selling their stake. If that happens and the German judge decides that he and the English court did not get the facts wrong in the last two hearings then F1 may have some hope!

      1.  This is the report I read:

         This description however bugs the heck out of me:

        “Formula One pits 200 mile-per-hour racing cars made by teams including Ferrari SpA and Daimler AG’s Mercedes against each other on circuits from Monte Carlo to Abu Dhabi and Austin, Texas, selling premium race weekend tickets for as much as $4,590 and attracting stars such as actor Will Smith and Prince Harry of the U.K.

         Why is someone not tearing their hair out, at such glib copy? I know there’s little you can do, about one article, but that description galls me. Ought to prompt a wall of PR calls and inundation of the news desks, get the byline writers to a race, pronto. Also a sale to John Malone’s Liberty Media is not to my ears a progressive buyer likely to shake things up. Talk is of a 49% sale. Cable companies are historically rent seekers, extractors. There’s much upside in F1, the state of things has reduced so much of what ought to be done to the obvious. But a minority shareholder is not who immediately you’d think will agitate to get things changed. I could be wrong, but the numbers tilt against big risks, and I start to think we’re being condemned to a longer future in limbo.

         Maybe just fixing what’s obvious will reap handsome profits. But that doesn’t address the generational change. Will kids growing up now care whether they watch F1 or electric series? It may only take one other series to capture a bit of general attention to tilt public interest. Would I watch another series if FA or JB or LH were racing in it? I think I would follow. Such a thing could be a genuine threat before long. I imagine It might be a alternative for a post F1 career for some older stars, even now. I honestly am starting to wish Murdoch had taken over. Someone who would kick backsides, who has media clout to cross promote and keep promoting, even as a minority holder.

  3. You are right of course Joe, if you look at other motorsports like Rallycross, BSB, Motogp and BTCC, there is much more drive to involve fans around racing events, Competitions to win ride alongs with riders. leathers, helmets etc etc the riders do burnouts and throw equipment into the crowd (I seem to remember Francesco Chili regulary stripping off and throwing leathers into the crowd. if you look at the ITV4 coverage of BTCC for instance its a full day of racing and there is a lot of people at circuits in all weathers and a lot of families (especially with family race tickets available, kids under 14 get in free and so on). My love of motorsport began by stumbling across F1 on a Sunday afternoon in the early 80’s and my mums obsessive love of Barry Sheene carrying on from the 70’s meant I had to watch motorbike racing.

  4. If the stars were themselves publicly the sport would likely attract some teenage viewers as well. I mean who wouldnt want to watch and admire fun loving racing drivers who are partying with supermodels!

    1. What a shame that fans of a sport so potentially interesting and exciting as Formula 1 can only think of trite, formulaic and sexist ways to appeal to a new audience. Perhaps if the fan base were not so clearly dominated by sleazy middle-aged men, then women and young people of both sexes would be more interested in what it has to offer. You only have to look at the frankly shocking and occasionally violent racism and sexism prevalent on the formula 1 fan sites (not this one) to see how it could end up as a minority interest, as ordinary families do not want to be associated with these kinds of attitudes. Make more of the world-leading engineering behind the cars and the excitement of the races and perhaps families would take more interest, kindling a love of the sport in the next generation.

      1. To be fair I didn’t say the drivers were men, or the models were women, you just assumed that. And i am not middle-aged.

      2. Sadly, you are correct for the most part. I see “F1 fans” as Jeremy Clarkson type UKIP voters with out dated and bigoted views about race and gender. F1 is full of very professional, brilliant people and it is those attributes and people who should be the face of F1. Making F1 relevant to modern young audiences will keep it thriving and assure its future as the pinnacle of sporting and technological achievement. In any arena where you are selling a product, if you don’t replace the customers who leave then you will go bust.

        I’ve said before, I genuinely feel the Bernie and co will simply milk as much as they can from the sport and when the current business model stops returning profit, they just walk away as it implodes. Who ever takes over then will have an impossible task. The current owners don’t seem to be interested in the sport’s future, only their own limited future in the sport.

  5. Joe you are absolutely right – if you want to see how technology is being promoted in Britain to get the young interested in engineering ( which is a huge problem there are precious few engineers coming through) take a look at Bloodhound SSC they are taking the project to the schools in a big way and its working..

    F1 should do the same but as long as you have the bunch of muppets at the FIA and their cosy relationship with the money men who own F1 and a few senior teams that only play the game for themselves it will continue. Like many others at a time when we should be very excited about the formula I am now looking at alternatives – anyone who watched the Isle of Mann tt this year cannot help but be impressed by the spirit long since lost in F1…

    Its very sad and the challenge is I dont see a change in the forseeable future – unless someone comes along that can take the challenge on….

    Until its very broken and has to start again..

    or worse it meanders in stagnation for many years..

    However Joe keep fighting…

    1. Peter, you’re right – it does work. The bloodhound project visited Northampton College a couple of years ago and inspired my daughter and two friends to do engineering at university (along with the encouragement of a friend who works on the aero side at Mercedes F1).

      Joe this is an excellent, if depressing, article – thank you. Do the “right” people ever check out this blog?

        1. In defence of the FIA’s communications people, the fact they’ve taken the timing app back of SoftPauer has led to it being a better conduit for F1 news – the push notifications to my phone were how I found out about the Q&A with Gene Haas.

          They’ve also been clever about not giving away the race result in their post-race news messages, which has been appreciated when I’ve had to record a race or two.

          Hardly a revolution, but a positive step.

          1. I believe that is the doing of FOM and not the FIA. The new app is very nice, actually and it was only £7.99 at the start of the season, not sure if it still is, though.

    2. Thanks, peter.

      As a youngster in the 1970s, i never felt a passion for land speed record breakers. It just seemed that somebody installed a bigger jet engine to go fast in a straight line. Circuit racing appealed to me and I still strive to learn and understand how one car is faster than another.

      If there had been something like the Bloodhound SSC project at the time, I am sure that my appreciation of motor sport would be different.

    3. That is great, but the schools need to do more. My children’s school does Engineering as a GCSE, but you can’t do it with Triple Science….

    4. Hi Peter, I completely agree with you. I have been involved with the bloodhound in schools initiative and it has been very enjoyable and rewarding. I have been very impressed with the intelligence and knowledge of the kids especially when it comes to F1, sometimes they even knew more than me. It still makes me chuckle when I asked why Vettel was winning all the time (the answer I was looking for was that he had the best car) and one of the kids hand shot up and he answered that he had traction control (this was around the time of the rumours that he had it on his car). But their interest and knowledge was high which was great because there was a lot of cross over between the project we were working on. Their has been a big push from the government to get more kids interested and involved in engineering and it seems to be working (time will tell) but F1 should definitely be jumping on this band wagon and helping bang the drum. With an ageing work force and a skills shortage there is a distinct possibility that teams will move theit operations abroad if the skills are not here in the UK…. This will not be good for our economy or image and more needs to be done. F1 must be doing their part. It is good to see that some of the teams are doing their bit but that is only a small bit and only has their self interest at heart. With the massive financial backing that the sport has as a whole they could do so much more!

  6. I’d much rather watch that than a actual game of football. I suppose I must be the football equivalent of someone who can watch Ken Block but not be interested in a race 🙂

  7. Your too close to it Joe, you spent most of your adult life living it so it’s easy to understand the passion.

    FIFA or mainly football is a great example as you say it’s a pity they let people like Blatter run the show, it’s time these style of people are no longer in charge of our sport. with Bernie it’s a matter of a little more patience, I think F1 is going to change again soon.

    By the way talk about Internet type jockeys seen the latest about Caterham supposed to be gone as off immediate effect.

      1. I’m actually quite curious about those Caterham rumours as well (that they might have to drop out mid-season due to budget issues). You are the closest person to Caterham that most of us can ask, can you confirm that those are completely baseless?

        After selling off their Alpine share I’d think Caterham should have enough to at least finish the season…

        1. You are confusing two separate companies. Caterham F1 is not the same as Caterham Cars. If Caterham Cars has ended its alliance with Renault, it does not mean that Caterham F1 will get more money. As to the financial state of the racing team, I’m afraid I cannot help. They are obviously short of money but that does not mean it makes sense to shut the team down. If a team fails to show up or is declared insolvent it loses its rights to F1 revenues so, logically, it is better to keep a team going until a buyer is found.

          1. Thank you very much for the explanation, hopefully they can keep going for a while…

            Does a team receive revenues at the end of the season or do they have to participate in the next season to get the money for the last one?

              1. Thanks for that tidbit, Joe, I had no idea…

                So, the teams have to wait for their money… not unlike our IRS withholding funds from one’s paycheck throughout the year, then giving part of it back after they’ve had free money for quite some time…

                Are the teams paid monthly, or quarterly, or after every X races, or what?

  8. It appears that those within F1 define customers as being their sponsors, not the fans. It’s about money: sponsors have it; teams and drivers want it. Collectively, they form another millionaires club. Everyday people are invisible to them.

    Shortsighted and bad for the sport… but perfectly sensible if you’re selfish. The tone comes from the top, and the guy at the top is an icon on selfishness.

    Being concerned about the next generation of fans requires a sense of responsibility to the sport that feeds them (and buys them private jets). Who among them has that? Can you name five?

    1. Please allow me to reframe my question in a more positive light:

      Of the F1 people you know who are in influential positions and who do care about the future of the sport, who strikes you as noteworthy in their concern for the sport’s future and their willingness to do something about it?

      1. May I try to reframe a aspect of your thought?

        The sponsors are misunderstood as if they are the customers, when in fact the sponsors do not know how to best use F1 to attract their customers. To sell this sport, the sellers need to think how to do the sponsors’ job for them. It was ever thus, selling sponsorships, but F1 has enjoyed a lot that let it get lazy. As I am harping on lately, you need to do the inverse of the halo effect of the big deals, and build up the base for the normal teams. I’m going to call them the normal teams, because just a handful have non normal conditions. It’s normal to struggle to make $100MM a year to get not much. I mean struggling is normal. The pulse has be taken down the field, even when things are great at the front.

        What I think you were getting at, RShack, is the danger of closed loop measurement, and that is I think more than a theoretical danger right now. I was thinking of a debate I skimmed on Slashdot, a non news non scoop that Cisco were buying and taking apart Juniper kit. Totally unsurprising, boy has that site become just dregs… but the one intelligent comment I noticed before I closed the tab, was how teardowns are useful to prevent management blind spots. As in you have hard evidence to prove attention is required in a certain area. This minute, teams need to be tearing down their own models not of cars but of how they can reach audiences and shoot past the current media. The media is broken, and the echo chamber is entirely third rate websites and non professional. That is almost a death rattle for sponsorship. It is not that some rule change will fundamentally alter the status quo. They have to think past the known audience and media, because this is all contracting too much. You need to entice greater interest and coverage. This is something the smaller teams not only need to do but can make a disproportionate effect with. If they gang together and find answers, I’m only saying I think they should think together, the results they get will actually improve the whole sport disproportionately. If you could have press interest in the rest of the grid, the overall interest levels would blossom. Because there are more teams than the top four. I say the obvious, but expanded coverage expands the number of mentions of the top teams in ratio… the smaller teams should demand support, or at least chalk up some political capital for effort … if you mention any smaller team you probably get a mention of Ferrari, e.g.

  9. Joe, great article. As a primary school teacher I bang my head in frustration at the lack of foresight in educating the young on the wonders of F1. As a father of 2 boys, I am saddened by the fact that they don’t share the awe and magic F1 with me.

    1. “As a father of 2 boys, I am saddened by the fact that they don’t share the awe and magic F1 with me.”
      My kids are the same.
      Maybe if they put a USB port on F1 somewhere kids would get interested…

    2. F1 can be tricky to appreciate for a young mind, complexity combined with secrecy. I’ve been trying to get some young family members interested, my biggest success was explaining negative pressure by blowing through a straw between two empty coke cans and hearing wonder as they came together. Not sure it stuck, maybe, must keep trying. My nine week old daughter hears the words ‘box box box’ everytime she has a nappy change.

      1. That’s brilliant!

        I presume you haven’t got a change down to 2.5 seconds yet though? Maybe if you had 12 people and some clever front and rear jacks?

        1. Yes, twelve people would be useful – with helmets and gloves to protect from the inevitable ‘hydraulic issues’.

      2. As only ever a stand in, thank you, I now have a way of coping that genetic automatic love is supposed to create … I’ve got a substitute in case caught out with my friends’ bundles of joy, if I don’t get the opportunity, just know I’m still giggling!

    3. F1 was certainly missing from my Primary school years, but at the time of course I was unaware of that, concentrating mainly on not getting beaten up in the playground and staying well away from footballs.

      There is now an “F1 in schools project” but for somewhat older students, if only it had been there 55 years ago, still I must be grateful for the “technical stream” at the secondary school which set me on the way to the log log slide rule. (and ultimately to frustration with calculus)

  10. I first came across F1 in mid on a Saturday afternoon mid July 1975 on the TV, I have been following it ever since but now am beginning to feel F1 is on the way down. Sportscars are an increasing interest and I have been to more LeMans 24h than GP ( can’t get there this year). I see Formula E as a possible future top level motor racing series.
    Both have these series have grasped where the future is going better than F1. Sportscars has now got drivers that started out on their playstations. FE is bringing their racing to city centres but we have yet to see how it gets on.
    I also think Bernie Eccelstones current situation is hurting F1 especially for teams trying to get new sponsors.

  11. Absolutely spot-on analysis of what’s wrong with FOM.

    My own pet idea to help solve the problem: regular visits from camera crews to the factories, where teams are obliged to show off their latest toys and ideas. This gives the IT sponsorship (and which team doesn’t have an IT sticker on their car?) room to shine, it shows off the amazing work that goes on behind the scenes, it creates more content so Sky doesn’t have to flog the same 6 reruns all day and the teams can fill up their social media feeds with more personalities.

    TV is Bernie’s focus because he’s got the rights to it. He understands the players. I don’t think he or his team understand the internet at all, and that lack of understanding is costing CVS lost money and the sponsors lost eyeballs.

    1. Yes where are the reality TV shows in F1?

      If the world knows who Orange County Choppers are through their reality show how much more could be done with F1?

      Bernie has done very little with F1 come to think of it…

  12. I enjoyed that read and totally agree. The sport is too cut off from the real world, the stars are largely unreachable. Simple things like making drivers more accessible would do wonders for the popularity of the sport as a whole. I love F1 and probably always will, but its inability and seeming unwillingness to attract new fans is a worry for the future. Being in Australia F1 is not a hugely popular sport despite having two drivers enjoying reasonable success in recent years. The sport has been made difficult to understand for the casual viewer and they lose interest before they see what it’s really all about.

  13. They just need to stop that pay-tv and let people watch the races easely. I often watch races in the Internet.
    Please, give us back a normal engines with normal sound, there’s electrical Formula E up and coming this year in September, so please get all electrical stuff there, give us real drivers, real racing track (like Hockenheimring, Nürburgring, and such, in their original configuration), remove that DRS – let them do real overtaking, not jsut pressing the buttons! And yes, please, we need somebody better than guys like Mosley and Bernie – people with no ethics and with dirty reputations, who only interested in money, and sometimes even human life or death mean nothing to them (look San-Marino GP-94). No one seems to be care of that. Don’t forget – F1 is about RACING. What is bad is today drivers are more like popstars. Too much PR, technologies, too little real driving skills. So people talk about cars and technologies, not about the guys which drive that computers-on-wheels (yeah too much computer stuff on cars, even with computer programs). But many-many years ago there was Drivers. Real guys, with real passion. Where is another Senna? Or another Prost, Mansell? Never again they will be in F1 if situation stay the same. Guess you’ll be disagree. Of course. It’s me (and many old formula 1 fans) who can’t understad how good is it now. But Prost-Senna times was called the Golden Years of Formula 1, and it’s still called like that, because it was time of real racing, real tracks, real cars – and most inportant, real drivers. Maybe FIA don’t like it and wish to erase any memory of that times – but it will never work. Without remembering the past we have no future.

  14. Firstly I have not seen anything Flav as written, your site is my first port of call.

    Obviously most of us here agree with you re the lack of promotion and ask why is it not happening? Well I think the answer lies in Bernie’s methods of working. “If the money is coming in without me spending a penny on promotion, then I don’t need to spend any!”
    Most of the money is guaranteed to come to FOM through contracts with 6 or 7 years remaining, so why spend on promotion? If he could make money directly on the promotion that would be different.

    There is a June 30th deadline coming up which is when Leahman Bros Administration in the form of LBI have to sell their stake in F1 or pay the Lehman creditors (As Lehman Commercial Paper) an amount equal to the fair value of the assets.
    (LBI is a bit of Lehman stuffed with good assets, which is continuing trading in order to pay off the massive debts) The question of whether US Bankruptcy law overrules Delta Topco’s veto on share sales is unanswered.

  15. Marketing has never been an FIA forte. 35 years ago, the FIA logo on correspondence was a double globe in black with FIA picked out in gold. Very swish, very classy.
    However, when faxed (their preferred means of communication) this came out as two black interconnected globes; no FIA script, no globe detail – but it looked like as close to a pair of bollocks as you can get…

    Nothing changes.

  16. I would venture a guess and that is precisely because of the money still flowing in so easily that they feel that they don’t really have to do anything. This is always the case in companies or even countries that go down….they don’t make the right choices when it is going well. Because they get to comfortable collecting money. I don’t know if it was really Bernie saying it but a week a go or so, there was a quote of Bernie saying that social media was a phase and that we would soon grow out of it and that they (F1) shouldn’t be bothered with it. It does sounds like something someone born in 1930 would say…..but I wouldn’t take my advice regarding the Internet from a elderly person…of course Social Media will not stay exactly the same as it is now but it won’t go away either.

    I sincerely hope Bernie will go sooner than later, because he really is hurting the sport more now than helping it. Sadly he can’t see that…

  17. You seem to operate under the (misguided) notion that Ecclestone et al is going to awaken one morning having had an epiphany: “I’ve been doing it all wrong all these years and this Saward chap is on to something”.

    Sorry, but the more likely comment is “During the time this Saward chap has been covering Grands Prix I’ve banked how much?”

    The business model you excoriate is very straightforward: establish an expensive rate card AND transfer ALL attendant costs, including promotion, to the other chap.

    Other than that, you’re 100% on target.

    BTW, as you may well know having spent time in Orlando,Florida, DisneyWorld is aggressively promoted in the local market via tv ads,radio spots etc. Sounds counter intuitive, no? After all, is there anyone in Orlando that doesn’t know about DisneyWorld? Then why do it?

    ’cause it works.

    1. But Bernie is all but done. The new regime has not arrived. The powers that be appear directionless, despite I think the new regs are a proper move. There is no obvious successor. Meanwhile, people do listen to Joe. Take a look at his newsletter’s endorsements. So there is hope. I think a lot of people would not comment here if they thought there was no effect from this website. I’m pretty sure Joe’s website has a effect.

  18. Ultimately motor sports is a hobby for rich people – Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi still accept the poor state of IndyCar as long as they get to play with their little cars on a sunday. Gets them out of the house. I suspect even if F1 falls a long long long way, the owners of the day will still get their kicks. Sad but true.

  19. Dear Joe,

    Formula 1 is an entertainment, people watch a Grand Prix with no reason but to feel good about racing, personalities and, yes, glamor. If the average F1 fan does not feel good while watching F1 no matter how hard you promote, he will not be satisfied.

    Great entertainment needs no promotion that is valid for every Hollywood film. If a movie is a flop even $100m in marketing expenses will not save it. If you need to promote F1, which is supposed to be promoting and selling vehicle itself, you are in a very dangerous zone.

    What worries me is that leading F1 journalists – an elite think-tank with vast knowledge and experience are behaving in a very strange way, denouncing those who dare to speak against the current status quo. Current tech rules have been a financial disaster, leading several F1 teams to the brink of extinction. The technology that was imposed on F1 teams has no link with future road cars – Tesla with 100% electric engine beats hybrids easily. Note that Tesla sells like there is no tomorrow and does not need any extra promotional activity. You do not need your mother to recommend you a Tesla.

    Sincerely yours,

    An Internet monkey with a typewriter.

    1. “Great entertainment needs no promotion”? Movies are certainly heavily advertised where I live (although I don’t see movies as a good comparison for F1). How about the World Cup; seen any ads for that, any marketing ?

      The only time I have seen a Tesla was at a promotional event they did.

    2. I can only speak for myself of course, but I do not now, nor have I ever watched F1 for the glamour.

      Your comments about great entertainment needing no promotion are frankly stupid. Simply this, ” if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really fall ? ”
      The average person likely will not watch a race because:
      (a) it’s stuck behind a pay wall
      (b) race tickets are far too expensive
      (c) they couldn’t care less because they don’t know anything about it. (ie; the lack of promotion).

      1. i sort of agree with you Gar but a lot of the glamour came from men who said what they wanted, lived like it was there last day and people genuinely loved their heroes, not just the monaco glamour for instance but the drivers gave off a feeling of invulnerability but they were allowed to have a personality. Theres a very good BBC documentary “when playboys ruled the world” following James Hunt and Barry Sheene through 1976 season, the circuits were rough the competitors could be rough but they still had a glamour about them. obviously the spectre of death was very real too which because humans are like we are added to it.

        1. Good point, although in the modern era where the drivers are afraid to say boo (for fear they’ll upset a sponsor) what is more important is personality. It’s why most F1 fans I know, like an Alonso, Kimi or a Hamilton. Not the mindless robots who are wheeled around with a list of prepared responses.

          On a side note, I’ve seen that documentary and it’s rather good.

    3. Here in Vancouver Tesla used to have a perfectly serviceable little showroom and maintenance centre just a couple of blocks from my house, tucked away in a leafy inner suburb of the city. They have just spent a lot of money building a very flashy, although not enormous, showroom in one of the most expensive parts of the downtown core. Is that not promoting their vehicles then? Even great products need some promotion or else they become niche “cult” products that people look back on and wonder “whatever happened to them?”

  20. Not only do young children still enjoy playing with cars. With the advent of modern computers and games consoles they can drive them. My son is about to turn 11. He watches the odd race with me, but he’d rather play F1 2013 and actually try and out qualify the times posted by the F1 drivers. The FIA are definitely missing a trick in the way they promote the sport to their future audience.

    It should be possible for the kids to watch the race then download the race into their games and take part in it. Imagine how many kids would be hooked on F1 if they could watch the Canadian GP then took the part of Massa trying to get past the cars he was behind and actually win the race, or making the decision to stay out and try and hold the lead till the end of the race.

    1. Interestingly, EA’s FIFA football series has started doing a loosely similar thing. If you have the current version, it keeps up to date with recent player form, injuries, suspensions, etc. (not really relevant to F1) and which matches are being played next – you can start it up and pretty quickly play your favourite team’s next game with up to date team sheets and tweaked player stats.

      More significantly, given your suggestion, they also provide a weekly “challenge” – a scenario based up on a real situation in a match which the player drops into the middle of. So if some headline game has seen an amazing comeback from two goals down in the last 20 minutes, it’s quite likely to be featured.

      Transposing the idea to F1, it wouldn’t be difficult to do :
      “You are Daniel Ricciardo in Canada 2014, lap 50 : ahead of you, Perez is putting up a strong defence thanks to faster straight line speed. Further ahead Rosberg’s KERS has failed, he’s beatable if you can get past Perez fast enough and put in enough fast laps. You have 20 laps to the flag. Win the race.”

      It would be fun. Not sure it would really get more kids into the sport, but I’d love it.

      1. I have previously commented on something similar on a different websites with respect to the fifa game and player/team ratings but went at it from the angle that they could update the car’s from the development battle. As red bull are slowly closing the gap to Mercedes this could be updated with a performance increase to the red bull car! Also it is not beyond the realms of possibility that you could race in the game live! But that may be a couple of years away. I do like your idea that you could join the race at lap 50 with Perez and Rosberg ahead but this may be more complicated than you think

        1. It’s a sound idea.

          As for picking up a race at a certain point – true, could be complicated. That said, as a player of the various recent F1 games and someone with a real life, I’m hoping they finally get around to adding an option to save & quit mid-race as I can’t easily guarantee 2 hours of uninterrupted concentration. If (and it’s a sizeable if) they can integrate saving & quitting, there’s no reason why a challenge mode wouldn’t be possible.

  21. Lest we forget, the sleazy-looking Italian admitted to fixing races and was slung out of the sport five years ago.

    Is that true? IIRC, Flav fought the accusations against him tooth and nail, but was found guilty by the FIA. He then appealed to a French court and won, after they decided that he didn’t receive a fair hearing from the FIA, and they had no jurisdiction over him. Then, for the benefit of Renault and his employees, he fell on his sword and agreed to stay away from F1 for a time, never admitting to fixing races.

    I believe Pat Symonds admitted to playing a role in the scheme to benefit Alonso, and was back to work in F1 in no time at all, first contracting to Marussia and is now at Williams I believe.

    1. It is true. The appeal was against a life ban and was won simply because the FIA did not stick to its own rules. The rest of what you have written is wrong.

      1. Headline from April 2013: Five years down the line, Flavio Briatore is adamant there is “no proof” that he ordered Nelson Piquet Jr to crash during the 2008 Singapore GP.

        Doesn’t sound like he’s ” admitted to fixing races” there anyway. Can’t find anything more recent relating to the Singapore deal. Maybe I missed it though.

        1. He did.

          “After discussions between their lawyers and those of the FIA, Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds have each made a settlement offer to the FIA President with a view to putting an immediate end to the legal proceedings. Each of them recognising his share of responsibility for the deliberate crash involving the driver Nelson Piquet Junior at the 2008 Grand Prix of Singapore, as “Team Principal” of Renault F1 where Mr Flavio Briatore is concerned, they have expressed their regrets and presented their apologies to the FIA.”

    2. If anyone thinks Briatore isn’t a sleazy guy, I’d suggest you watch ‘The Four Year Plan’ – a documentary about his time as Chairman and Owner of Crystal Palace FC.

      It’s the greatest bit of of self inflicted character assassination you’ll ever see.

  22. I couldn’t agree more Joe. For a sport that is clearly defined by cutting edge technology and the innovation behind that, it’s somewhat puzzling that the F1 powers that be are so far behind the curve on utilising that context to actract new generations if viewers.

    I suspect the FIA would be talking about Facebook when the young’uns have already moved over to Instagram.

    They need to get ahead of the social media curve.

  23. When F1’s promoters understand that the Internet doesn’t necessarily ‘take them away to other exotic (virtual) environments’, as you put it, the sport might gain in popularity. The internet can be usefully employed to overlay the ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’ to make the former more engaging.

    Technologically, there’s nothing to stop a ‘racing game’ simulation being overlaid in real time on an actual F1 event. I’m sure ‘kids’ would love to compete against their ‘heroes’ with the latter, thankfully, being oblivious to the remote competition.

    1. Sony are working on this via their Playstation and Project Morpheus.
      As for Sony sponsorship in F1, Ron needs to lower his rate card…

      1. I’m not in the least surprised . . .

        Looking forward to seeing where the Oculus Rift takes us as well.
        As for Ron – Facebook might be able to afford him!

          1. Facebook only really needs sheep – to populate its database.

            However, its purchase of the Oculus Rift company might signal its diversification into niche markets.

  24. Hear hear! When I was at school, companies and unis came to meet sixth formers and try to tempt us. Kevin Warwick even suggested I apply to his cybernetics course. There was also the WISE bus (Women in Science & Engineering). If an F1 team had been there, as a lifelong fan Id have been hooked! It doesnt need to be a Newey or a Smedley or whoever doing the rounds; even just a company/department that makes steering wheels or wheel tethers or fuel cells or whatever would have been enough to grab me.

    And the drivers should certainly do more constructive promo, but as them, not as puppets.

  25. I suppose it’s likely that if BE is forced to go, he’ll attempt to install one of his buddies in his place. But surely Briatore’s not a threat – would Dennis, Williams, Horner & co let that happen, Joe?

  26. Good article Joe and pretty much how I feel. I think if the current crop of people running F1 were to be put on a bus and driven off a pier the sport would be far better off! But who will volunteer to drive the bus?.

  27. I read the Flabbio article with my breakfast but didn’t have time to write “why is anyone asking this guys opinion on F1?” So that part of your article is a bullseye. FOM doesn’t seem to realise that times have changed. CVC don’t care because its a cash cow and they are getting their cash even while their lead executive helps to rip up its reputation and goes to sleep on its direction.
    Yes, young people maybe interested in F1, if its interesting enough, but they also have lots of other things too so FOM needs to get them, not wait for them to come.
    Joe, I suspect nothing will change until F1 owns F1. Only involved owners have the desire, passion and enthusiasm to renew F1 and renew it year after year. One other attribute would be useful: experience of running group of competitive but independent co-owners. Believe it or not they are not as rare as one might think.

  28. Briatore was just abusing the geeks. He has no chops in the real world. Builds nonsense around himself. I’m sure a lot of people here will get what I mean by abusing the geeks. Inadequate man.

    Sadly, the sport has no clue how to promote itself. See above for how it can be misled.

    This is about moving beyond having a impresario showman lording over everything, and acting like this is the real world.

    Geeks with oodles of money are not going to look outside to what is happening.

    Just look at the useless straw men names proposed by I don’t know who… I think someone is looking for a nice quiet father figure to mollycoddle everything through and bring back the money and toys. I think there’s a display of complete inability to see what people are like and what they are worth.

    I first wrote a vignette of how I recognized who is my half brother who is so blatantly autistic but functioning he scared the life out of me when I was a little boy.., I did not want to be him, unable to look anyone in the eye, I rebelled to reengineer my ability to understand the world. However I never ironed out my nature, I just became a good actor and can disguise my tendencies. That’s why I am angry at the geeks being taken advantage of, because that looks like the whole story, to me. Consider Ron speak, consider all of that team’s profile, and look up aspergers spectrum…

    1. “Briatore was just abusing the geeks. He has no chops in the real world. Builds nonsense around himself. I’m sure a lot of people here will get what I mean by abusing the geeks. Inadequate man.

      Consider Ron speak, consider all of that team’s profile, and look up aspergers spectrum…”

      This has to be one of John’s ( other John ) shortest posts! LOL

      1. Well, your version might have been my shortest post!

        I might have been able to make the same point with just what you quoted…

        Sorry though, that I let through some anger there. Or just disgust. A closed world of engineers I think can easily be led astray. That’s maybe a key lesson to grasp.

  29. I agree totally, and having spent a lifetime in international marketing and advertising it drives me mad that the F1 management can’t see that they are a perfect case study on how to lose a fabulously valuable fan base to other sports and interests.

    CVC just see F1 as a milch cow and aren’t interested, Bernie doesn’t understand New Media and it looks like nobody around him has the balls to point out the benefits.

    Just contrast this with Indycar, who bombard me on an almost daily basis with news, race highlight videos, interviews, previews……and yes I usually do tune in to watch even though I know it’s not comparable to F1.

    It really is quite sad that the people who have most to lose, the employees of the teams who work so hard to provide the cars to make this show happen just have to stand by whilst the heritage of Formula One is frittered away by executives in a hedge fund interested only in the fastest buck possible.

    1. The entire broadcasting model for F1 is a pre-internet model, with TV rights being sold into individual countries via (mostly) terrestrial networks. I suspect that FOM is being censorious of the appearance of video snippets on YouTube etc. because they are obliged to under the terms of the TV contracts. The model is dead, but, like the record companies when digital distribution became feasible, FOM is staring up a place where the sun does not shine…

    2. “CVC just see F1 as a milch cow and aren’t interested, Bernie doesn’t understand New Media and it looks like nobody around him has the balls to point out the benefits.”

      Agreed, but to understand things better we have to look at some recent history.

      CVC never wanted to run F1. They wanted to own the rights for a brief time, appoint a few managers who would improve profitability and then sell the rights. CVC anticipated a short term investment and quick profit but did not understand what they were buying. Today CVC is lumbered with a business that it does not wish to run and does not know how to sell. The one thing that CVC appreciates is the steady income that F1 generates.

      Looking at F1 from the CVC perspective, CVC are doing the right thing. By drawing a generous annual profit, they can present F1 rights as a healthy business — even though they are desperate to get rid of it. CVC have money tied up in a business which they know they can’t manage effectively. They just want their money back so that they can invest it things that they understand.

      When CVC bought F1 rights, they inherited BCE, a circus ring master with permanent tenure. They did not understand what they were buying. Whilst CVC entered the game for short term profit, Bernie perceives that he will be running it forever. Bernie is so rich that he can treat business as a game; beating somebody in negotiation is sport for him. Thus there is an immediate conflict of desire between BCE and CVC.

      My understanding is that BCE swotted up on how television worked in the early 1990s. He learned about the technology and set up his own recording team, about how broadcast rights were sold and then he stopped learning. Like apocryphal CEOs who have email delivered to them on printed paper, BCE never bothered to understand the Internet.

      Counter to initial perception, failure to run a modern F1 rights business works to the favour of CVC. CVC like the money that F1 generates but they want to sell the business. As soon as they can get rid of Bernie, CVC will sell F1 rights to a similar company to itself. The deal will happen because NewCo will see quick ways to improve the business and make money — gaps intentionally left open by CVC who have given up trying to tame the circus ring master.

    3. I get those too and have often thought why doesn’t FOM send me F1 updates too. I agree it’s painful to see such a once great sport being driven into the ground by Bernie and his mindless dollar signs in the eyes greed.

  30. Its not just motor sport or football, have a read of Ted Ligetys (ski racer) about his battle with the governing body its rather to similar a story to the FIA and FIFA.

  31. I suppose it’s a sign of the times but for me a bit sad that even the excellent football trailer you linked in your leader was itself sponsored by a fast food purveyor. Surely football in all its richness can sponsor it’s own adverts.

    Did the Flabby one get his yacht back from the tax man?

  32. I remember watching F1 with the girlfriend a few years ago. She doesn’t really follow it but she happened to be watching an interview with Alonso.

    What she found most surprising was how intelligent the drivers were and compared him with the potential and vacuous role model of Mr Beckham!

  33. Right on, Joe. The lack of interest FOM have in reaching young people is absolutely shameful; the comments Bernie is supposed to have made about social media being a ‘fad’ for example are just depressing.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, F1’s ‘marketing’ people should look at WWE wrestling (seriously) as an example of how to reach the entire family and keep them hooked for life – Vince McMahon and BCE have a lot in common, the big difference being Vince is open to new technology and taking a punt on something new when necessary, whilst Bernie appears (from the public side at least) to be a dinosaur hoping to maintain the status quo for as long as he keeps raking in the cash.

    1. I’m giggling quietly to myself at the idea of F1 drivers as pro-wrestlers. I have this image of Hamilton and Rosberg as a tag team until they decide to just start attacking each other with plastic chairs.

    2. Many people will laugh at the mere mention of WWE, but as a lifelong fan of both F1 & WWE I can say this, you make an excellent point – my 10 year old nephew can’t understand why I spend hours watching cars “going around in circles” but he simply can’t get enough of the WWE.He wants the T-Shirts, the action figures, the video games, etc;

  34. Funny, I used the exact same World Cup clip on my blog’s (that I again won’t mention here) FB page today. Very well made.
    But beyond that, true words Joe. Is it just arrogance? For example, I’ve written some positive things, I’m accredited, but when I tried to contact the media men at Mercedes, they never react. That’s either arrogance or bad management. If a blogger can get several ten thousands to read about your hybrid technology or your Smart cars, you should really answer them. Ir polite and good business….

  35. The Isle of Man TT races- a minority event if ever there was one- enjoy better promotion and advertising than F1 does these days. With their ZeroTT event for electric bikes they celebrate the technology, celebrate the fact an electric bike will go at those speeds on those roads, rather than whinge about the fact they don’t sound like a 1000cc superbike.

    I stumbled on F1 as a ten year old and got hooked, Murray Walker and James Hunt bringing the sport to life. I don’t see how a ten year old today would be dragged in in the same way.

    F1 has some of the most up-to-date racing technology in the world- only the WEC prorotypes are more advanced- and they talk about the noise. Utterly ludicrous. It’s almost as though certain people linked with Bernie want to see the series fail.

    1. The electric bikes are amazing… and advancing like the internal combustion engine did in the 1920-30s! The first TT X in 2009, the winning bike completed the lap at an average speed of 87 mph, this year the winning bike averaged 117 mph. For reference, the winning bike in the Senior TT (the main event at the end of the week of racing) averaged 129 mph. (if you ever watch TT on-bike coverage, you’ll see just how AMAZING this is on public town and country roads!). And the current king of the mountain with 21 TT victories, John McGuinness, won his first at just under 117 mph in 1999.

      So, my main point is that, despite being quite quiet (though no bike is silent at 140+ mph), the electric bikes are advancing fast, and will be reaching petrol speeds either next year or the year after. They just need to increase the race distance from the current 1 lap (37.5 miles) to the 3-6 laps of the various petrol-driven races at the TT.

  36. The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has an education expo at the grand prix to show school students the variety of careers in the automotive and related engineering industries. Schools get free tickets to bring their students to the track to experience motorsport, and there are always plenty of students in uniform enjoying the day and working on scientific projects relating to the cars, such as physics. This is a great way to give kids a taste of what F1 is all about. There is certainly a lot more that the FIA could do to promote F1 though! As a minority sport in Australia with most races being on very late, this doesn’t help of course either. But I’m not depressed – Dan Ricciardo’s fabulous victory in Canada brings much excitement to liven up the sport!

  37. Say what you will about Favio. I liked him. He was entertaining as hell and backed it up with championships . Benetton was at sea when he left and Renault started winning when he came back. All due respect, how many championships have you won, Joe? The man cheated and was rightfully punished for it. There have always been cheaters. Even some from the “non-sleazy” crowd. F1 needs characters.

  38. The internet has had a massive impact on drivers being able to express their personalities…..and in a negative way.

    I remember that during the late 90s drivers were accused of being turned into bland scripted robots and the blame was cast on corporate sponsors. More of the blame should be cast on the haters in the “fan” community…they are now at least as equally responsible for sanitising the sport. Corporations worry about what the public think and now we have an oversensitive public that can be outraged by the most trivial of matters…a wrong word, a mistake, something said in the wrong tone.

    Nowadays any private monkey with his keyboard can spout out hate on someone else’s forum. As I have mentioned in other posts…it is normally hate that is masquerading as having been “offended” by someone or something. Fan “outrage” is then latched onto by some rather shoddy journalists in this sport. It allows them to write lazy articles based on fans being outraged by so and so’s actions. Apologies are issued for offence caused and driver PR teams are on constantly on their guard.

    Unfortunately, I cannot think of any way of countering this. In the 90s people lamented the loss of real personalities in the 80s. We now lament the loss of characters from the 90s. Many haters out there express that they would literally like to see the back of Alonso and Hamilton in this sport. In 10 years time they will truly regret their absence once the sport has morphed into a politically correct sea of blandness where everyone is out simoly not to cause “offence”.

    Joe, I am truly sorry that you have to suffer some pretty rubbish press “colleagues” in this sport who have lowered journalistic standards over the last few years. The bar has been lowered considerably.

    On the subject if the FIA…do these people still prefer correspondence by fax?!!

    1. stay away from Planetf1 then its a bear pit! currently theyve been arguing since Oz about the conspiracy against lewis hamilton (originally a whitmarsh, button conspiracy) at merc by rosberg, mercedes, lauda wolffe etc etc its ridiculous but there is no convincing them otherwise, Merc deliberately let lewis’ brakes fail is just a mild example

  39. Nailed it in one and as an aside, if F1 goes to Pay TV in Australia I for one can’t afford it. Another lost viewer?

  40. Whether you like it or not , there will always be corruption in sport or where there’s vast sums of money.
    If Bernie gets found guilty will you be echoing the same tone of voice??
    You may not see it, but corruption will always be there.

    1. So good to see an optimistic view. Mankind can really make progress with such enlightened people around

  41. Spot on Joe. I’ve loved F1 since I started watching in ’76 and went to my first British GP two years later. Now, I’ve got two sons living at home and they don’t want to know when F1 is on TV, but jump up if I can get them to a race.Of course the cost for the three of us to attend and sit in the stands is prohibitive so visits are rare and their interest doesn’t grow. F1 needs to engage with these seedlings!

    1. get them to BSB, Rally Cross BTCC even drag racing down santa pod (rubbish on tv awe inspiring in the flesh) , its a full day out and depending on age they may get in for free. I know its not F1 but they are supported by formula ford and ginetta a lot of future stars are there right now.

  42. Yes I agree since I gave up dish I watch Le Mans on the Intertubes and you can watch in French or English. I can’t watch F-1. Sad for F-1

    O/T I was wondering now that Long Beach has a new Mayor is there any news from Pook?

  43. Having worked for Renault under briatore and then once it was brought by genii becoming Lotus, I know who I’d rather work for!!!
    Flavio always looked after the guys at the team.
    As for fom, they don’t use email as it’s traced, maybe the politicians should have the same policy!!

      1. I can see your point but at least flav is a character! (Always a story behind him) Also he let his work force use their flair and creativity to do a good job and rewarded them if the performed.
        Who are lotus/genii? A grey secret company led by an evasive Gerard Lopez!

  44. Sorting out ticket prices so fans can afford to take their families to a grand prix would also be a good idea!

  45. It’s just a shame that everyone is so motivated by self-interest. What made me a fan so long ago were the rivalries, risk and fantastic visual of the cars. It was exclusive and glamorous because it was difficult and dangerous, not because there were celebrities in the pits. I’m not saying there’s nothing wrong with the sport that a little marketing couldn’t fix, but F1 does appear to be it’s own worst enemy. There was a fluff piece in the New York Times today on LeMans, positively talking up the hybrid and open technology. Formula One was mentioned, but not positively in comparison to the LeMans machines.

    Instead of shortening the Grand Prix weekends, why don’t they use Fridays as a free day for local schools and families to experience an event? Not every fan needs to be over 50, male and white.

    1. “Instead of shortening the Grand Prix weekends, why don’t they use Fridays as a free day for local schools and families to experience an event? Not every fan needs to be over 50, male and white.”

      One of the MotoGP event organisers in recent years (Portugal?) sold so few advance tickets that they took a gamble. They massively reduced the price of tickets, especially for families, providing refunds to advance buyers. They promoted the race to potential spectators in the region — people who could go to MotoGP as part of a Sunday excursion.

      Giving away tickets to school children is a great idea. Herding children around a racing paddock won’t work but there are other ways to expose them to interesting technology. Why isn’t there an arena of old technology — a moving and varying museum — at every GP? Every major historic racing event manages to set up a tent displaying cars that will not be racing.

      I have been to a few events (more than one country!) where Formula Student had a representative and car in the paddock. Formula Student deserves a more prominent place — something that non-engineering students who support their local project might consider. Formula Student should be put on a stage.

      Before anyone shoots me down as an unpaid promoter of Formula Student, I’ll deliver an anecdote. I suggested to one Formula Student designer that his car might deliver a “Lola limp”, owing to the driver’s feet extending beyond the front axle line. OK, maybe, better materials science would have protected the driver’s legs and feet. Or not.

  46. I watch F1 diligently, but every once in a while circumstances dictate that I miss a race. After the fact it always annoys me that I can’t go to the iTunes store and download the damned thing. Or access a pay-to-view function from the official website. Stupid. And shortsighted.

    1. obviously i dont know what you watch it on but Sky has a catch up option also you can set it to record by mobile if you can set it in advance also skygo . I think iplayer does the same but slightly limited. Although Sky coverage is always an hour too long 🙂 ultimately you should just be able to go on whicever site fom or fia and select highlights or full race but as ever….

      1. This is exactly what I want. £60 a year and i’d pay. I do not really want endless replays on sky and 2 hours worth of pre and post race chatter with an advert every fifteen minutes and the presenters spending 5 minutes every 1/4 hour talking about what’s coming up after the break.. 20 mins pre race then the BBC forum after and that’s all I need. Only see half the races nowadays anyway, as i’m out having a life on the weekend.

      2. I live in the States, so Sky isn’t much of an option. NBC Sports Network (which took over from Fox a couple of years ago) has no such option, as near as I can tell. Annoyingly, I can watch the live telecast on my iPad, but only real time, not after the fact.

  47. Joe: FOM understand YouTube perfectly: As soon as anything remotely modern is posted on there, it’s removed because of copyright infringement.. It’s sad that such a great tool is not used. They could do a 45 minute highlight package on the monday or the sunday night, to be uploaded onto YouTube, i’d watch that in my lunch hour on a monday, when i’ve missed the race on the sunday !

  48. Here’s an idea for you , Joe .
    I was very happy to see you laud Merc for pushing the hybrid aspect of the cars , giving some relevance to the formula .
    How about , when you see something such as this happening , you give it “Joe’s Award” .
    It doesn’t have to be more than that , but just a positive spin , and an additional accolade for those moving F1 in a positive direction .

    So you know this is a serious suggestion , I will volunteer to create some sort of small trophy or plaque to give to recipients of this award if you should desire it .

  49. A few years ago I had lunch with an employee of Mr E’s who had been tasked with setting up an F1 website. The fact that this guy had no background in digital strategy might tell a story in its self.

    It quickly became clear that the brief from above amounted to no more than creating a simple transactional site to shift F1 branded goods (carbon fibre mousemats etc). Fine in itself but spectacularly unambitious given the opportunities. Of course they have become more sophisticated with time but still mainly focused on short term revenue. It’s obvious that Mr E doesn’t really get the new tech (rumour has it that he got IBM in at one point to talk about building a site and he greeted them with the baffling “Hello, thanks for coming in, now you should know that of course we don’t do broadband…”) but surely that’s what delegation is for.
    Still he never did like being told what is good for F1!

  50. Joe: Interesting and thought provoking as usual. Maybe the answer is to be found outside the paddock and FIA. IMG are proving themselves as a very effective promoter of a number of Motorsports categories. Their reach, in sports promotion, is unequalled. They currently have inflight rights for F1, and their own online sports channel. Maybe an outside influence on F1 would be beneficial.

  51. I am LOL because I have just seen a bit of what the Flav has written,
    “Ferrari should move to England”, I bet that went down well with LdM.

  52. But FOM has never promoted the sport ever, yet viewership was going up anyway, so perhaps it is other factors? Show a picture of a current state of he art car and one from 80s or 90s to a kid and see which one he prefers. Ask the teenager whether he wants to grow up to be like sleazy Flav with C list models on each arm or like Christian Horner? I think the age when kids pick this up they’re at a rebellious age where practicalities haven’t come into consideration. They just want to associate with whatever is cool, and the silent ugly F1 cars aren’t cool. Just as you say, Rosberg isn’t cool compared to Hamilton, but then no mother would want to kid to be tattooed all over and wearing more bling than herself! So imo F1 is more about guilty pleasure and fantasy, all the things that we dream about and out of reach for most. As soon as it goes mainstream practical and try to appeal to everyone, the mystical quality is lost and so is its core appeal.

  53. The ACO is selling the international stream for Le Mans in their free iOS app for $11 for Le Mans week. I suggest everyone try it. Wish the F1 had an app that was comparable.

    Awesome to be able to stream practice, weal and the race including timing on my phone/tablet. Pretty good quality on the stream too.

  54. It may be that the long standing contracts between FOM and the various TV companies around the world prevent FOM from broadcasting its product on an alternative media platform such as the internet.

    Times are changing yet FOP (Formula One Promotions) seem slow to move in embracing digital media and technology, unless of course Tata are coming up with something…

  55. Joe, as usual you are right on the button with your comments. I always look forward to reading your blog because you appear to be the single knowledgeable journalist out there. Having followed F1 for nearly 50 years all I can say is that it has now gone to the dogs. The spectators do not matter, the assets are being stripped and the cows getting fatter. I do not subscribe to any pay per view TV. I refuse to so the sponsors are not getting value from me. I do not attend GPs any more because the cost is becoming extortionate, facilities poor and spectators are treated like animals. I could go on but I’m sure you get my message. Keep banging the drum and I hope those who are important get your message. Well done!

  56. Hi Joe. Long time reader and lurker but never made a real effort to comment. Often wondered who you are talking about when you say internet monkeys with typewriters. Not the first time I have seen it here. is it anyone in particular or a group in general?

    1. It is all the people who write F1 news without any knowledge of the subject, nor any contact with the people inside the sport. There are hundreds of these people, who have never had any access and yet pretend to be bona fide F1 news sources.

      1. I get it. You mean scrappy web sites and ‘journalists’ who never seem to write anything (of substance). But there are many of them who have access into the paddock too, no? How do they do this?

          1. There are some who promote themselves on social medias such as Twitter as being in the Formula One paddock yet they have no discernible outlets for their work. At least not that I can find! That is what I mean by how do they do it because they are presumably writing for obscure publications. Bewildering!

  57. One thing that people are missing when talking about internet rights is that its highly likely those rights (if they exist) can’t be used due to the way the F1 rights are sold market by market…

    I know someone mentioned WWE above and while WWE now offer a $10 a month internet package to see old events and the 10 a year PPV events that are produced, members do not see the 2 weekly cable network shows as WWE could not negotiate the price. The odds of CVC being able to do much to resolve that sort of issue is probably impossible until 2019 after the current batch of rights finish.

  58. One of the best articles I’ve ever read, anywhere, including this site.

    Since being fortunate enough to leave the world I used to inhabit, I’ve worked in both secondary and primary schools. I’m not sure Joe’s view of mothers is necessarily correct!

    Acquired cynicism aside, from a lifelong F1 enthusiast’s perspective, the sad truth appears to be that children (mainly but not entirely boys) are indeed fascinated by F1 and love the speed, noise, personalities, cars and the spectacle but that many of their parents, the newly aware young adults, are anti because of all the reasons to which Joe alludes. The next audience is very much there to be tapped but the (perceived?) sleaze is causing them to be “protected” from it.

    That their chosen sports may not be whiter than white and may, for whatever reasons, lead to drunkenness and violence is incongruous but ultimately irrelevant.

  59. Briatore: yep, you’re right Joe. A sleazy type. Ecclestone: devious and greedy. F1 needs a clean sweep by a new broom. But who? Step forward Sepp Blatter. Why shouldn’t we have all the races in Qatar and Russia?

  60. What surprises me is that so many people read the “internet monkey” type F1 sites. Whenever some lurid story does the rounds or some has-been starts making (or has attributed to him) provocative statements, the first thing I do is check Autosport and ESPN. If the sites who actually have a brand name to maintain are not carrying it then it doesn’t matter.

    The problem, though, is that a lot of people take these sites, with their lower journalistic standards, seriously.

  61. Okay, I agree that Flavio is not the F1 enthousiast as team boss that someone like Frank Williams is. So I didn’t mind seeing him go. Then again, he did bring a lot of (sleazy) galmour to F1, drew a lot of attraction to F1 (albeit a by-product of his intensions to draw attention to himself). Although arguably not the best promotion, it still was promotion for F1. It got people talking.

    I really like what Nissan is doing with Playstation. It brings real racing to a lot of young gamers. That may be something for F1 as well (although I wouldn’t want to have something like a talent show like The Voice Of Whatever, where the best contestant gets an F1 seat for next season, for sure that wouldn’t work).

    What also surprised me is that for the WEC FIA is a lot more active in (online) advertising, compared to F1. They (FIA) do seem to think that F1 needs no promotion. (And then should I rant about ticket prices of F1? 3 Persons, 2 days of FIA WEC, including access to the paddock, cost me a total of 56 euros. For that amount I can get to watch an F1 Thursday some 800 meters from the track…)

  62. Why do you think kids would rather be watching ‘cycling up and down ladders’ etc.? Because it’s something within their reach. Just like football (soccer for those countries that inherited the game then re-named it :)) and the World Cup, kids can play it anywhere and be involved at minimal cost.

    How hard and expensive is it to have any involvement at any level of motorsport? £60 for an hours karting? That’s not affordable on a regular basis for most families.

    Schools do promote Engineering much more than in my day but they also have to attain Government standards across the board. There is a bigger picture outside of F1!

    I agree F1 could be marketed much better than it is now but the effects probably wouldn’t be as great as you think.

    1. F1/motorsport in education… in my exposure to it, as a “mentor” it has no chance, what they have to learn and report on is focused 90% on H&S, diversity, fairness and political correctness, and 10% what they’re actually supposed to be able to do to get a job done. Education isn’t controlled by racers, but lawyers/politicians

  63. Enjoyed reading your post. I’ve tried, over the years to get into F1, to see what all the fuss was about, but I’ve struggled. To me it’s just another sport for spoilt rich kids, which doesn’t make it very endearing. F1 is comparable to top level tennis. I’ve stopped going to Wimbledon because it has become so money orientated. One big shop with some grumpy tennis on the side. It’s no longer sexy. Where are the Borgs and the Connors and the Hunts and the Sennas? I watch rugby league now. Real men. Proper entertainment. Come on you Saints!

  64. Joe, while you obviously have a point about Formula One in general, your personal vendetta against Flavio Briatore is tiring. Briatore had his merits and guided Renault to its two double world championship. Discarding that is somewhat of a miss.

  65. My 7yr old loves cars. Knows are the various details of the top supercars. Is he interested in F1?. Not really. He thinks Hamilton is cool but thats about it.

    There was a Playstation game a while ago with F1 drivers in karts. He enjoed that and took a dislike to Charles Pic as he always seems to be his nemesis. The full fledged F1 game though he does car about and says its boring.

    F1 to me seem more about protecting their brands more than anything. No personality in the drivers are allowed to come though. Your comparison with football is a good one. Players seems to have the personality or at least shown in a light the appeals to the kids.

    F1 needs to remember its the kids now that need to be the fans in the future. Heck even if F1 does not care about the fans they need to see that these kids will be the ones making the decisions on marketing budgets in furture

  66. My son and I used to race karts (Honda Cadet, Rotax) but it is horrendously expensive. We don’t do it anymore and it has taken the gloss of motor-racing for me. There are too many vested interests – karting seems to target rich kids in so many ways. Even things like tyres (£135 a set for a weekend) are more expensive than they need to be, the MSA seeming to favour suppliers over karters.

    Karting is not seriously promoted (so no sponsorship). The MSA could lobby for street races (I did one in Australia when I was young), especially is on TV. I cannot imagine an better way for youngsters to get interested. The MSA could create their own TV production company… But they don’t.

    I guess everyone is happy with the amount of money they are making.

  67. Joe, outstanding commentary. One of your best. I concur with all your comments. In my view F1 is far too isolated from the fans. The powers that be will claim that this ‘exclusivity’ is part of the allure of the sport but this elitism is not sustainable in the ‘connected’ world. The more the key decision makers and the spin merchants ‘protect’ the product the more they lose touch with the fan community that funds the show via eyeballs and ticket sales. The move to earn quick revenues from pay TV at the expense of the broader market is a great example of the shortsightedness of the decision makes who see a property rather than a sport.

    1. Some of the young today do not see it that way. There are some interesting stats about youngsters getting licences (or not)

      1. Indeed, there are some interesting statistics about young drivers. Young city dwellers are less interested in car ownership if they live somewhere with good public transport. Suburban and country dwellers may not have much of a choice; for them, access to a car is essential to maintain a social life. In rich countries, new drivers may be getting older, but new drivers may be younger in poorer places.

        However, age is a less significant consideration than opportunity for pleasurable driving. Motor sport has traditionally appealed to spectators who had experienced some fun in a road car — hopefully with respect to laws and personal competence.

  68. Dustin Dean here i am posting this plea for help to assist me in making my wifes dream come true we are a family of four in Vancouver wa. myself my beautiful wife heather and our 2 daughter’s 11 and 13  we live pay check to pay check on a single income due to the fact my wife is unable to work because she has the auto immune disease multiple sclerosis we have been going through the ssdi hoops since 2009 which keeeps getting pushed out further for a court date..heather was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in December of 2000.  It came on out of the blue and it was nasty. her first major episode left her all but paralyzed on her left side.  Fortunately she rebounded and recovered fairly well from that flare up, but she has lost quite a bit of strength and lives in constant pain. unfortunately she still has episodes quite frequently she still has her mobility, but honestly, it is uncertain how long even this will last.  Sadly she has a myriad of symptoms you needn’t be burdened with, cause the list is so long.but suffice to say, the last 14 years of her life have been quite challenging.

    I’m not sure how many of you know what MS is all about so I will provide a quick explanation.  It is an autoimmune disease where the immune system gets confused and attacks its own central nervous system, destoying myelin sheath, the protective coating for our nerves.  This basically causes a short circuit interrupting communication throughout the central nervous system. So with that being said im trying to make her dream of having a home of her own come true while she is still able bodied enough to enjoy it.. she has no knowledge of this page im trying to surprise her. Im currently pre approved just lacking the initial fees and downpayment. Thank you all so very much for reading my story and contributing to my cause.  Words cannot express how thankful and appreciative I am to all of you and know from the bottom of my heart, I THANK YOU.  Any and all donations will help. Please share this page via social media etc if your able. if not a good prayer will do. 🙂

  69. In terms of attracting new fans to the sport, you are dealing with the so called “millennials” who present two problems.
    First, they are convinced our planet is about to spin out of control due to man made climate change. They perceive racing as a sin because it is completely unnecessary to burn fuel for sport.
    Second, the think anything that costs more than $100,000 is a sin because their parents sheltered them from the real costs of life. In their minds, only wealthy, capitalists pigs can afford a $20 million race car. The have no concept of business, partnerships, revenues or success.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s