Cynical promotion…

Formula 1 can be so amateurish when it is supposed to be a professional sport. Standing restarts, for God’s sake! What are these people on? What will this achieve? It’s a bit like titanium skid plates? Why not fireworks on the winning car as it crosses the line?

Standing restarts may cause a few more accidents. Brilliant! TV numbers go up when people get hurt…

My view is that if you are going to be cynical, at least have some ambition. Forget Jean Reno and Dominic Cucumberpatch, have some ambition! Invite Obama and Putin for a Paddock Club Summit in Sochi. Tell Israel that they are not invited, but Iran can come. Invite Max Mosley and the cast of The Rocky Horror Show. Or just take a page out of the Kardashian instruction book: Mercedes should order Lewis Hamilton to go on a date (snogging allowed) with Katy Perry (53.9 million followers on Twitter). They can talk songwriting, tattoos, ringtones, who cares? She can then come to the next Grand Prix and meet Nico Rosberg. Hey presto! The following week Hello, Ola, Voici, Voila and other rags should have pictures of Katy and Nico canoodling behind the bike sheds.

At the next GP Katy should sing the Azerbaijan national anthem on the grid (upsetting for the locals because we are in Sochi) with Lewis (now with blue hair) and Nico staring intently at her. This should be available (sponsored by Durex) on YouTube. Katy can then Tweet: “This. OMG #confused. #lovecrisis. WTF. TBH gr8t guys both. #toughchoice.”

That would do it…

Fernando’s girlfriend should then run off with Justin Bieber (52.5 million Twitter followers) and Luca Montezemolo and Marco Mattiacci should appear on the grid, dressed as a pantomime prancing horse, to cheer up the grumpy Spaniard. Luis Suarez should rush on to the grid and bite Montezemolo’s bum.

To try to win the spotlight back for Mercedes (and attract the really young car buyers), Toto Wolff should dress up as Barney the Purple Dinosaur and get Lewis and Nico to sing: “I love you. You love me. We’re best friends like friends should be. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you. Won’t you say you love me too…”

That’s proper cynical!

187 thoughts on “Cynical promotion…

  1. Watching a random race from the late 60s or early 70s isn’t much different from watching any of the races today.

    I think the difference is made in the back of the mind of people. When a car crashed back then, there might have been a 50% chance of the driver dying or walking away.

    And that was the thrill, the bloodsport aspect. I think that played a huge part in it.

    1. NO!!!! I watch F1 for the technology, (which seems to be spoiling the “racing” at the moment), to see the strongest driver win the title, and my team to win the constructors. I dont want to see no crashed cars and no people hurt !!

  2. Nod, utter stupidity.

    Beyond this into potentially slightly more sensible territory I’m not seeing the logic in modifying the regulations for Saturday such that parc ferme rules apply from the beginning of FP3 rather than from the start of qualifying.

    What is this intended to achieve, and won’t it just prevent anyone from doing meaningful running in FP3, removing any incentive for fans to turn up or viewers to tune in?

  3. Apologies for having to waste time moderating this comment, but this made me shoot milk through my nose. Very funny and a point well made!

      1. This article is very amusing, however what is happening to F1 is not in anyway funny. I reckon Joe has me down as a Luddite Dinosaur, but I’ve been saying that F1 was on a course to oblivion, for many years now. It looks like my thoughts are bang on the money, unless someone, or some group with only the interests of the series, the fans, the circuits and all of the teams( not just the big teams ) actually rallies together and tries to get the whole series back pointing in a sustainable and entertaining direction, one that we can all enjoy again.This latest World Council gathering has just posted a collection of purile and pathetic new rules, that it should be ashamed of thinking up. The possibility of maybe 1-2-3 restarts from the Grid, in a single race, is frankly so unbelievably stupid that only someone with the mental capabilities of an amoeba could have thought of it, and thought it should be a new rule. It’s all madness!

        1. Regarding multiple standing re-starts, don’t forget that the rolling restarts were only introduced in the early 1990s (and were derided as an import from the more entertainment focussed world of North American racing). Before that we had standing restarts and the oddness of aggregate race times. It’s not exactly unprecedented, although I agree the new rule increases danger to the drivers (which is unacceptable).

          What I also don’t get is why they’ve combined the safety car with standing restarts – is it so the cars can keep some temperature in tyres and brakes? Why bother trundling around like that – possibly passing through the debris from whatever incident has occured – if you’re only going to stop again anyway? Would it not be safer for drivers (and marshals!) to stop the field and while the clear up goes on? Have I misunderstood? Do we retain the option of rolling starts for safety reasons (e.g. wet races)?

          1. No you’ve got it right – it’s basically because Mercedes sponsor the safety car and medical car. I can’t see ANY reason for them to roll around for a few pointless parade laps and then do a standing restart.

      2. And yet my Romanian F1 team mission statement got censored…and that was just as funny! 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t actually be surprised if we had fireworks go off from the start gantry/in the background as the winning car takes the flag…

  4. In an FIA office: “Mr Todt? I’ve just had a great idea…!”

    Although the idea of someone telling Katy Perry she can sing is pushing it, Joe. 😉

          1. I can picture the spinning propellers, but what is that advertising space going to cost you. A year of Hamilton’s salary?

  5. And how many drivers will be persuaded to let the Prancing ‘Nando pass them on the restarts?

    Not that that happens on the regular starts, as far as ‘Nando knows. Hee hee

    Well played Luca. Take a bow

    1. Advantage to Fernando was my first thought too!

      Everyone knows he has a slow car and without an engine development miracle will likely have one next year too. However, he’s also damn good at starts!

      Someone inventive at Ferrari came up with this plan didn’t they?!
      Bet they must have wished they had someone Ferrari-sympathetic running the FIA to bring the rule in!

  6. Joe, your humour is often very subtle and understated. This post is the opposite and is the funniest thing Ive ever read on f1, ever. Incredible reading

    1. You got that right. F1 is becoming NASCAR. The next change will be to ditch the double points (which was stupid) and institute “The Chase for the F1 Cup”. Sure, we all want exciting races, but this just isn’t the way to go about it. The powers that be must think we are absolute idiots. If I wasn’t so crazy about motor sports, I’d have to consider switching the television off. Many more changes like this and I probably will.

    2. I think this is spot on. Like NASCAR, if a driver gets too far ahead, there will be any excuse to have a restart to bunch them all up again.

    3. Yeah, but NASCAR is what it is and they’ve always been up front about it. They never even pretended it was about technology or the best cars…hell, they still used carburetors till the 2000’s. Their target was family based *entertainment* and they went after the same fans that loved WWF/WWE and tried to add a bit of real competition to the show…as long as it didn’t interfere with the show. But again, it is what it is and they never pretended to be different. LOL

      F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor sports, real racing. I’m embarrassed.

  7. Tell us more Joe Something must have upset you
    Common sense seems to be disappearing fast from the industry is the prospect of jail causing Bernie and his acolytes to lose their marbles.

    Save money only let them set up the cars in the wet .

  8. Hold on, we still haven’t heard from Niki, paternalistically telling us nothing can be done and to mind our manners.

  9. Why would anyone of sane mind invite Putin? Never forget Berlin, 1936. NB Yes, I do understand Russian well enough to get there is only little diff, if any

      1. Next up…new FIA rule, all races to have 30mins of water sprinkled onto 35.9% of the track in 4.5min bursts at 14 min intervals in after 50% of the race has been run…….well Bernie did say once……

  10. It struck me over the Austrian race weekend that maybe the radical thing F1 needs to do to pick up more fans or at least make it easier to get casual fans more hooked is to move the races and qualifying.
    This is not the 1960’s and modern life has too much else to do than sit inside and watch sport.

    I missed the Monaco race because I needed to attend a family barbeque, I avoided social media and the news all afternoon and caught up with events only at 2000 in the evening.
    Canada was great, I spent the day on a bike ride with the family, cooked a roast and then sat and watched the race live. Fantastic.
    Last weekend, the weather was stunning, the kids demanded we go to the beach. I was the boring sod who left at 1240 to walk home to watch the F1.
    I have friends and family who are big F1 fans but who have to work weekends so rarely get to watch a European race. Indeed I myself worked weekends between 1999 & 2002 and lost touch with F1.
    The morning races are fantastic, I can sit and watch racing with a hit mug of tea undisturbed by the kids. However casual fans won’t get up early and watch these races.
    The 3/4 evening races are great as I can enjoy a full active day and watch F1 on prime time TV.

    But the races and especially qualifying that is on at 1300 in the UK are always disruptive, you need plan your day around them.

    Yes it is a great time for the fans trackside but for the TV viewers, F1 needs to be on Primetime. It is those fans that the advertisers are paying for! That will see the fans return.

    Heck, a Friday night race would be fantastic, or a public holiday Monday.

    1. You have some seriously good points there. Evening races are the best: everyone’s back from a day’s out, and I get to see my favourite sport. I mostly watch Qualifying at 18h on Saturday.

      1. I agree with you, I have two young kids myself and 14:00 CET is the worst possible time to show races on TV. Either I have to completely miss the races, take it in turns with my wife, or completely abandon the family to watch it in the pub, with punitive tasks served by wife afterwards…

      2. evening races may be best for you, but where? F1 is a world sport. Different time zones. The Montreal race traditionally gets high tv ratings because it’s in prime time in Europe. In Montreal it’s 14.00h local time. The European races are 8h Montreal time. The Austalian GP is on 2h in Montreal. Depends where you are in the worls.

    2. Your kids obviously get up later than mine! I miss the old night races – it was easier (in some ways) to get up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night than to keep Sunday afternoon free…F1 has gone to a lot of trouble recently to put races in a slot in which they’re harder to set time aside for.

      1. Might be great for euro timezones, but a few other countries would be affected.

        In Aus you watch a euro race at 10pm Sunday night, so if it was an evening euro race it would be at some ungodly hour Sunday morning.

        1. I was more thinking that we should have just left everything at a suitable local time and worldwide tv audiences could sort ourselves out.

          Bernie’s been on a drive recently to move races to slots he considers convenient for European audiences. I’m just observing that (in my own case) the new arrangements are less convenient.

    3. Totally agree. I’ve missed Malaysia, China, Monaco and Austria so far this year cos I was out doing other stuff. If there was a way to catch it recorded without using net based catch up services, later in the evening that would be great, but that would require innovative thinking from the short (soon to be in prison) one.

  11. Joe. That’s marketing!!! You are getting better than ever. No irony intended.
    Only if the Dinosaurus at FOM FIA and CVC would listen to you……

  12. There is nothing wrong with restarting a race using a grid start, after all this is how it has been done for many years until recently, but adding one proviso,

    The proviso is stop the race and cars don’t run around behind the safety car. Instead to maintain tv interest the mechanics will be required to randomly change the wheels between their 2 cars in the race and if 1 has retired they will have to do press ups.

    To avoid over running the maximum 2 hour race window for tv a number of laps will be removed from the restarted race and this will be decided by callers phoning ‘09000 make Bernie money’ (double premium rate) to vote.

    Or maybe not!

  13. Great piece. Tomorrow, on some cut and paste site, the fight between Hamilton and Rosberg will have switched focus from a championship to a woman.

  14. Alright, bugger it, my patience with the buffoons who run this sport has reached its limit.

    Time to set up Formula Real. Get the ACO to sanction it — races at Brands, Magny Cours, Portimao, Mosport, Watkins Glen, Sears Point, Imola, La Sarthe, Donington, Zandvoort, Oscherschleben, Aida, and Adelaide — hard budget cap of $60 million, a limit on the bhp that can be delivered to the drive wheels at any instant, and stipulate an open wheeled single seater and modern safety standards — and that every entrant must build its own two cars. I’d watch a series like that…

    …It grows ever more likely that i’m not going to watch a field of double-pointed, standing-restarting customer cars driven by dangerously dehydrated but very pecunious drivers in a selection of interestingly oppressive regimes while a little man with a strange white barnet jumps up and down telling us to pay no attention to the prosecutor behind the curtain.

  15. Haaa, Lewis and Nico staring intently at Katy Perry and her twins… It reminds me of a Saturday night of the US GP at Watkins Glenn. It was in a bar and a mutual friend introduced me to Keke, Nico’s father who was entered in the Super Vee race. Keke’s one and only source of interest was this blonde with humongous attributes. The more things change…

  16. “That’s proper cynical!”

    Not even close in my book. 😛
    As Hammer once said: Can’t touch this. 😆

  17. You forgot the Clown Car! Why have an old fashioned safety car when you could roll out a clown car and see how many FIA officials you could jam in dressed up like Bozo the Clown!

  18. Thanks for being the voice of the fans Joe. Otherwise we have no meaningful way to collectively shout “YOU SILLY DIMWITS ARE KILLING OUR SPORT!”

  19. F1 has long gone from being a sport, please gent back to racing, as soon a bernie is found guilty and we can get back to racing as supposed to what fills the bambino trust purse the better, let’s hope the German judges do what is required and john Todd grows a back bone as he had with Ferrari the better…….

  20. So, not a fan of the idea, no? I can’t tell, your post is really rather ambiguous in a fish slap in the face kind of way.

    Some of you may have already gotten there, some of you may not be there yet, but for me, today was the day when I finally felt ‘WHAT are they doing to our sport?’

    DRS… not a fan but I could let that one go. Flakey tyres… we asked for them, we got them and we moaned about them. Double points… poor choice but so be it. But these standing restarts are crazy. Totally undermining the efforts of the drivers and teams up to that point. Strategies – irrelevant. Fuel saving – irrelevant. Good(proper) start like Hamilton at the weekend – irrelevant. Spot on, super fast Pit Stops – irrelevant. How many re-starts will we see at the likes of Monaco and Singapore? An utter joke.

  21. Joe,

    I am against gimmicks to improve the show, I want to see racing. As an American, i’ve always felt that standing starts have been the best part of European racing.

    Imo, if you defend F1 being the pinnacle of motorsport then this is one change you should support. Standing starts are far more difficult than the rolling restarts we see in the USA.

    F1 needs less gommicks but I support this change.


  22. This is the best I have read from Joe. Absolutely smashed it. The powers of the sport are clearly rotting in their head.

  23. Topless grid girls. Cars that release coloured smoke like the Red Arrows. Airhorns on all cars a la the Dukes of Hazard. Pastor Maldonado guaranteed a drive for as long as he wants on the condition that he dresses as Dick Dastardly and is accompanied by a sniggering mutt. Get rid of trackside marshalls and employ some of those amazing dancers as used in the IPL cricket league. Ban ex-drivers from becoming pundits and employ cats instead. Oh, and decree that certain races are worth more points than others.

    Spot the obvious patently absurd idea.

  24. I’ve never understood why Benedict Cumberbatch, aka Benzedrine Pumpkinpatch, was asked to do podium interviews. I assume it’s his modest status and that the cameras loves the sharp lines and angles that make up the silhouette of his head. Poor chap looks like a late 1990s 3D rendering from a videogame.

  25. It was plausible up to the “Nico canoodling” with Katy Perry. Jury’s still out on that one.

  26. fair enough to have your opinion, but in my opinion it’s OTT. I raced karts for years and this is how races are restarted.

  27. Very very funny if it weren’t so serious. Maybe Joe you need a stiff drink a paracetemol and a lie down before your next post. Enjoyed the cynicism but also worried about the reality of it all.

  28. A very strange (and silly) blog post. After all, you are the one who has consistently promoted the notion that F1 is a show.

    1. Putting on a good show is important. However we clearly have a different understanding of the range of what a “show” means and we obviously do not agree on the word “humour”. However I will endeavour not to insult you… Kindly do the same.

  29. I like the fireworks going off onboard the winning car as it crosses the finishing line… classy…

  30. Joe, do you think someone is purposely trying to undermine or disgrace the sport? That’s how it seems to me…it’s beyond me how respected people (including various team owners) could think of totally mental ideas like trumpet exhausts and skid plates? Is Formula 1 a gimmick sport? Is there some kind of conspiracy Joe to destroy the essence of the sport, to make it look gimmicky?

  31. Wow Joe You are the best! Having watched a driver die at the start of the Canadian Gp. I could not agree with you more. What are they thinking! You are the best!!


  32. Imagine the Canadian GP with the leaders having problems. A standing restart would have destroyed their hopes and ruined a great turtle chasing rabbit race

  33. NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday averaged 413,000 viewers for the network, making it the third-most watched F1 race to date on NBCSN and up 58% versus the channel’s 2013 F1 average race viewership in that window. This comes on the heels of the channel’s broadcast of the Canadian Grand Prix on June 8 which ranked as the most-watched F1 race in seven years with 1.462 million viewers. For the first six races of the 2014 season on NBCSN, Formula 1 has drawn 377,000 average viewers, up 111% from the first six races of the 2013 F1 season NBC and NBCSN’s eight Formula 1 telecasts in 2014 have combined to deliver 588,000 viewers, up 43% from the 2013 season through eight races. This is from today’s Cynopsis sports.This years F1 is doing fine in USA Heloo Bernie are you keeping up with TV ratings?

  34. Who asked for the change? I don’t get it at all…

    Yes ok, rolling around behind a safety car is boring, but it serves a purpose. The cars don’t overheat and at least there is some rolling action. It will take at a guess 10 – 15 mins of static “action” before a restart.

    Also, standing starts are the most dangerous part of the race, yet they want to increase them?

    I thought the FIA was about trying to increase safety…

  35. Agree really. I slowly get dissappointed in F1 racing and maybe won’t watch it next year really. Everything looks so ridiculous, i’ll better stop watching this…
    And you’re right on Katy Perry – Gran Prix races look more like pop-show, than sport.

  36. And then comes the post-race show called, “I survivied a japanese F1 game show race”… BUT, I draw the line with Barney… “shudder”

  37. It’s fun to make fun, of course.
    But if we get serious, I can’t help thinking this is all heading for a big showdown in a not-so-distant future.
    The current situation with the 100 year rights sale, CVC, special post-Concorde team deals, and what not, has reached complexity where untangling all this web is not feasible. I can’t see Jean Todt liking to be a puppet of this system.
    So the logical course of action would be to bring all this structure down, and then rebuild on a fresh foundation. Seems to me, Luca di M. also is thinking along the same lines, just with himself laying that foundation.

  38. Look Joe I only suggested the FIA men wear clown costumes, it seems to have tipped you over the edge.

    But yes its all so obvious they only have to look at the yanks!
    But our problem is that there is no one responsible for promotion of F1. Bernie thinks appearing in court is promotion. The money comes in, why do more?

    The FIA has no F1 promotions manager, maybe a political enforcement officer, but no promotions manager.

    The teams, well Red Bull did well last week, but the others, nothing!

  39. Joe, ok, you make a good point, I really believe the problem with F1 today is that it is actually too much like a computer game and thus cannot compete with the ‘real immersive” games people play today. I actually think what is needed is a re think of the F1 concept, to bring it back under 100% human skill and judgement, with no electronic or computer driving aids. Yes, the currant power units are very relevant, but track side engineering controls are not.
    I think F1 should find a direction that is driver focussed, as road cars get more and more automated, F1 should show off the ability of humans to cope, adjust and race at amazing speeds over long distances.

  40. Hilarious article although I’m not sure what the problem with standing restarts is.

    It needs to be another tool in a toolbox for Charlie (I heard it was an option but confess I haven’t read the final wording so don’t know if it’s compulsory).

    Sending the field at high speed through debris on the grid as they catch up to the safety car always seemed daft to me (starting with Imola 94!)

    I remember they brought them through the pitlane in Indianapolis one year to avoid debris but if memory serves that was only the second time through and they’d already gone at high speed through the debris.

    Being able to stop everything under yellow (wasn’t that what red flags used to be used for??) and restart them seems like not a bad option.

    I guess the only counter point is that the restart could be under the safety car again but even safety car starts aren’t foolproof as there have been quite a few where the field bunched up too much because the leader was trying to get an advantage, which caused collisions further back.

    Lets not forget they introduced the safety car mainly to stop start line pile ups and their associated restarts interfering with the TV schedules.

  41. Great article Joe – had me dripping coffee down my chin! But underneath it all brings up such a concern that we all have. I can’t make your Audience With tonight, but if I could I would ask what can be done? Surely the millions (and I don’t think I’m exaggerating there) of fans have *some* sort of a voice in all of this madness?
    For me, the best solution I can see is to submit your CV to CVC…

  42. This idea just merely continues the downward slide that started quite a few years ago….skinny tyres, tyres that degrade quickly, overtaking zones, double points (even you liked that one Joe!). The reality is the F1 has jumped the shark and viewing figures and interest will continue to fall, even if Barney sings!

  43. The Glassblower is a good pub too – or at least it used to be – would often end Friday nights in there 🙂   Will do my best with the weekend….easy time before we go to Tunisia on Wednesday….   Speak soon and take it easy!

  44. Joe, sorry for being presumptuous but reading between the lines, carefully thinking about what you said and analysing the word order used through several specialist programs. I think you may not be a fan of this? I’m not sure if its just my gut instinct though :oD

  45. Joe – the Pinot Noir coming out of 2012 Chile is very good and may be enjoyed with some wise words from that known sage Katy Perry:

    “Boom, boom, boom,
    Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon,
    It’s always been inside of you, you, you
    And now it’s time to let it through, ooh, ooh.
    Cause, baby, you’re a firework
    Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
    Make ’em go, “Oh! Oh! Oh!”
    As you shoot across the sky-y-y.
    Baby, you’re a firework
    Come on, let your colors burst
    Make ’em go, “Oh! Oh! Oh!”
    You’re gonna leave ’em fallin’ down-own-own.”


  46. . . . Which highlights the fact that F1’s promoters think the issue lies with the format of the races rather than the format of the remote fans’ access to the sport. Tata Communications must have a lot of spare capacity with regard to F1 at present.

    Does anyone at the ‘top’ realise that we live in a world of digitally interactive choice rather than mere blind consumption?

  47. Standing restarts following safety car periods are just another gimmick yo artificially improve “the show” and attract viewers, much in the way that DRS has. It will certainly help to penalise the lead driver who has had whatever advantage he had built up already removed by the introduction of the safety car and lead to an increased risk of more safety car periods.

    1. As a longstanding F1 fa, I can live with DRS – but only because it wipes out the effect of another longstanding problem: the aerodynamic blind alley that F1 has gone down that (without artificial assistance) was rendering ‘normal’ overtaking all but impossible on some circuits.

      Any chance of an aerodynamic re-boot on a scale comparable to the engine rule change this year? My vote would be to eliminate wings altogether and use underbody tunnels to generate downforce – iirc correctly these should be much less sensitive to dirty air, car ride height and pitch, allowing cars to race closely without artificial overtaking aids.

  48. Maybe after the podium interviews Bernie could entertain as the Organ grinder and Jean could dance like the little monkey.

  49. Superb Joe, and surely the end of every race needs Bernie or Todt being chased by 100’s of scantily clad girls, played back at double time to the Benny Hill music!

  50. I agree, this is just silly. I think a standing start could be open to abuse…Imagine Rosberg having a 25 second lead in Monaco with heavily worn tyres, whilst Alonso is 3rd on fresh tyres. Then Raikonnen accidentally collides into a Caterham….

    1. Leaving aside the inherent unliklihood of any F1 team doing such a dastardly thing (cough, cough, Renault, cough) you can do the same thing with a rolling restart.

  51. Joe, you owe me a new laptop! Old one fried itself when morning coffee spewed from my nose upon reading today’s blog!

  52. Nice analysis all, of how F1 is rapidly becoming more cartoon than car race.

    But just FWIW before we put the boots into NASCAR, I happened to tune in to the NASCAR race at Road America (a 4 mile/6 km road circuit in Denver) this morning, and was gripped by the sheer racing drama in the closing 15 laps. It was the equal of anything I’ve seen in F1 this year, even Ricciardo’s win at Montreaul. If NASCAR could consistently produce racing action that good,
    watch out F1…

    1. Road America is in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, near the Great Lakes, North of Chicago, not in the Rocky Mountains.

    2. There’s a difference between a NASCAR road race and oval. Personally I don’t care for the oval racing, but I love watching those NASCAR racers sliding around on a road circuit.

  53. Some of those tweets and re-tweets from fans could be super-imposed over the start/finish line every lap; so boring just watching those cars going round and round in circles.

  54. I’m in two minds here (I think!). Standing starts are accepted at the start, so why not standing restarts? However, if we are going to have a standing restart, why not just show a red flag and not bother with the safety car? Is the safety car there just to reel the laps off and ensure the TV schedule is not compromised, as a red flag would lengthen the programme time….? If it’s safety related, why not red flag it and ensure the safety of the marshals, etc, working to clear any debris etc. The only benefit I see of safety car followed by stop on the grid and then restart is that (hopefully) there would be no working on the grid, such as changing tyres, that won Vettel the Monaco GP in 2011. Sorry if this is a bit muddled, thinking on the hoop while the printer runs.

    1. There has to be a headline here of Jordan re-entering F1 paddock..or would that be the other way…no forget that thought.

  55. Firstly, awesome article, very amusing indeed. However, personally standing starts seem fine to me. It’s just a rule, no reason to suggest that it’s a bad one….

  56. I’m not in favour of restarts instead of a safety car but I wouldn’t have minded so much if they had promoted the change from a safety point of view and all that – gives the trackside staff time to clear the debris without having to constantly having to fear cars coming round the corner, etc. But the only line I saw about it and what could pitifully be passed as promotion was that restarts would improve the opportunity for overtaking. Honestly!

  57. Dont understand why this is getting such a negative reaction. It means we’re less likely to get races where the SC leads the most laps, improved marshal safety while cleaning up the incident. Drivers will get more start practise so will reduce the riskiness of the start.

  58. The fear of accidents because of standing starts is massively exaggerated I think. The cooling down of the tyres and brakes during the safety car period can be easily solved by introducing the following mandatory measures that were developed by the Fire In Action Workgroup:
    “Each car performs on the start grid three donuts a la Vettel, combined with wheel flame bursts a la Hamilton on all four wheels to warm up the brakes and flare off the fuel saved under the SC”.

    Further to this the following will be introduced as well: “Points are given by the audience on the grandstand in front of the start grid for the performance of the cars during the restart “donut & flare” procedure.
    All attendees to a Grand Prix will receive an Audience Response box at the entrance. This allows them to vote up (Like) or down (Dislike) drivers as they come along, and the results are taken into account for the allocation of the race points. A special FIA “Committee for Audience Drivers Likes and Dislikes” will develop a proposal for the exact formulae that will be applied. The new system will be introduced at the last Grand Prix of 2014 as an add-on to the Double Points race.”

    Great proposals I think as we need to bring back magic and thrill to the racing.

  59. And there was me thinking you were joking re starts and skid plates – restarts yes maybe – although I don’t think its fair to rob the drivers of their hard effort up to the safety car – the safety car being bad enough already at bunching up the field – but the skid plate with sparks is just plain stupid – lovely for following drivers not

    I’ve got one for them – how about all drivers being randomly allocated their race car after qualifying is finished – that would bruise a few egos

  60. Thank you Joe, tried to come up with some other marketing whiz-bangs, but me thinks you have them all covered.

    You know SOMEONE will take you seriously and drop comments accordingly.

  61. WOW can I have some of what your smoking Joe :D….great ideas, though don’t let Bernie see them, I like Katy Perry maybe we can forget Susie and Simona and get Katy a super licence.

  62. Joe, surely the real issue here is that the FIA are being too timid and have missed the obvious rule change – they should require the race to be stopped and restarted from the grid every 10th lap. Simples!

  63. Powerups! And hidden cheat code on the steering wheels. Live tweets from the drivers! And more cats.

  64. ESPN article today, relevant here…. a couple of excerpts: “Apparently artificial sparks and standing restarts are a couple of the answers to F1’s falling viewing figures, two gimmicks which alone are unlikely to make former fans and people who have never watched the sport before reach for their wallets and splash out on subscriptions to F1 coverage….”
    “It says everything you need to know about Formula One’s current grasp of social media that its official Twitter account has fewer followers than the Brazuca, the official ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup….”


  65. Great work Joe – I hope ‘they’ read it. I see a lot of comments that are kind of negative towards NASCAR, and while it is not my fav, it is racing, the fans love it. The people that run NASCAR seem to give their fans what they want. I have no complaints about the current F1 – I love it on TV and at the track. I’ve noticed that there has been some great passing this year without DRS i.e., in the first laps. Is DRS even needed anymore? Maybe it would be stupid to take DRS away for next year or 2016, but no more stupid than standing restarts (and stop-go penalties that can’t be taken during safety car – make a 5 sec penalty a 7 sec penalty under SC).

  66. Well said that man.

    The lunacy that we, real fans, are subjected to beggars belief. F1 needs to connect with the yoof of today, absolutely (I’m not that old) but get a grip, fake sparks and inevitable crashes on restarts (do we really need more that one ‘real’ start per race? I sit there every F1 weekend in anticipation of the start shouting at the telly, hoping that the original Red cars [no Bull] will do well – much to my kids’ bemusement) are an insult to our intelligence and our commitment to the sport that we love and follow.. The genuine, life-long F1 fans will probably never switch off (even when young families get in the way and coverage goes pay-per-view – I actually like Sky’s coverage, there’s lots of it!), the transient ones will unless there is a real move for coverage to join the 21st century, social media..ever heard of the internet Bernie?? End of rant..

    Joe, I read every post intently (often on the loo at work – sorry, that’s probably too much information), as you cut through the bullsh*t that we get pedalled on a daily basis by the massed ranks of the crap [no pun intended] media that I no longer read. Keep it up old boy!

  67. Wow Joe ! I can hardly believe my eyes . Two posts in a row finally taking the FIA to task . Well … as a matter of fact …. I always thought you had it in you and was wondering how long it’d take for you to come around ! Damn Joe ! I just might have to start reading this regularly again . Keep it up and I might even circumvent our household ban on internet transactions and subscribe ! Damn !

  68. I wouldn’t vote for standing starts if I had a vote. But I will wait to see it in action before calling it a terrible idea.

  69. One of the rare topics where I agree with Joe on every point.

    What a ridiculous idea
    Sparks are also a funny idea, but I don’t really care if they don’t interrupt the racing, but I do wonder what they do to a street circuit tarmac

    Instead of going to a Le Mans style car enforced safety zone (Which I thought F1 been trialling by limiting the cars from race control?) to interrupt the race less, they choose an option that will interrupt the race more.

    We might have a 30 minute break after any safety car to get them going again.
    Not to mention, when they do restart – how many engines will overheat on the grid with no cooling after running hot for 60 minutes?

    Its also going to look pretty stupid if you’ve had a few retirements already, a standing start with 10 cars will look a bit lame.

    And of course the obvious question, isn’t a complete restart what a red flag is for?

    Surely this whole thing cant be true and is a ruse for something else? (Maybe FIA and Ferrari getting an urgent engine change?)

    What I don’t understand with all these changes to make the racing more exciting; Why they don’t actually change the one thing that would make a difference: The single race 300km race format

    Double points at Abu Dhabi – I think what everyone is opposed to is it is double points for the same race distance and effort.

    So why not make it a double distance endurance race, or 2 x 1 hour races one on Saturday and one on Saturday
    (Fans get more value, more chance of differencing outcomes in each race with different conditions)

    Barcelona a bit boring, make it 3 45 minute sprint races for the weekend.

    Spa could be an endurance event, make it a single 400km race worth 40 points.

    Some shorter races could have mandatory pitstops, some could have no stops (Who drops off the cliff first) or they could just only have to use the option tyre and make it a complete sprint at some tracks.
    V8 supercars does this pretty well, while some experiments at some tracks have failed, they seem to be honing in on a good Formula that keeps the races and the championship interesting.

    1. Forgot to mention the other V8SC thing that works with multiple races: Separate qualifying session for each race. This tends to occasionally mix up the pack, and also allows drivers to recover if they did mistake in the first qualifying, instead of starting in a bad position in both races.

  70. Another excellent piece Joe, I see it as the “Rule Makers” getting so far away from the Sport that the only end is somebody getting hurt or worse + the difference between Cynical Promotion (but it works) and Poor Promotion is the current difference between F1 and MotoGP Grid Girls.

  71. Joe, this has got be your funniest post (that I have read at any rate) and required reading for the powers that be in F1. Keep on keeping them honest!

  72. What I always want is to get the safety car out of the way as soon as possible. So I don’t like standing restarts either, it will take too much time. The main point is tha again the cost cap is missed. Will we have to wait for 2020? For sure then there will be no more Bernie and hopefully some sensible people will act. Just five more years…. But these might be too long for Caterham, Marussia, Sauber and Torro Rosso…

  73. I have been watching F1 since 1976. You want to – excite me? Remove the chicane(s) at Monza. Separate the men from the boys……

    The stuff is too contrived, sterile, and anti-septic………

  74. F1 clutches couldnt handle 3 restarts! Really bad idea, you can tell Bernie isnt running F1 anymore. If F1 wants to turn into a playstation game, fair play, personally I think it needs to retain some dignity and a sense of the grandeur of its history. F1 is becoming boring because it is becoming full of fake ‘solutions’ It should take skill to overtake not the press of a button.

  75. Joe, very late to the party on this post but on ‘Ted’s notebook’ on the weekend he interviewed that lovely guy from Marrusia who said that this standing start rule wouldn’t be mandatory and it would be at Charlie’s discretion as to when he would start behind the safety car and when it would be a standing start. Has that changed now or is it just not being picked up by anyone??? Ted K was taken by surprise by him saying that?

  76. Great organisation, Silverstone, Wimbledon and Waddington all on the same days. And it’s scheduled to rain all day Saturday and Sunday morning.
    Yes I blame the Bernie man and the FIA for not interfering enough, it’s their series not his!

  77. Hang on a minute, why did no teams object to standing starts at the F1 Commission? Or did they? Shall we see the minutes?
    Or maybe they are like the SMMT minutes used to be and only record the event, not the discussion.

  78. Great piece Joe on a sad sad tale of woe!
    All these artificial changes are cheapening the sport more and more for me and turning it into a joke. It started for me with DRS though I do like the idea and technology behind (which should be mentioned now and again for the wonder it is!)of the new engines and I don’t even mind the new sound but this sort of thing…..
    I thought the silly season was meant for driver changes etc not this!
    Just one thing on the restart change apart from the safety issue in all seriousness. They all only have four engines per season and they are asking the leaders to sit and potentially overheat/damage one of them waiting for everyone to form up behind them.

  79. Oh no. Just seen AND heard footage of F1 cars at Goodwood yesterday posted by friends on Facebook. Now that’s just what F1 cars should sound like, not the rather limp engine, sorry power unit note that we have to suffer for now at least. Those who try to tell us that the new sound is wonderful rather remind me of Hans Christian Andersen and his tale about The Emperor’s New Clothes. For me the cars were such a disappointment audibly when we were in Monaco recently and no doubt many UK fans will experience the same thing live for the first time at Silverstone in a few days time.

    1. F1 is not just about the noise. People watched it in large numbers before the engines screamed and they will watch it again. The new noise is different but it is also very interesting.

      1. I fully agree, Joe, that F1 should and is about far more than the noise made, but, as Paul explains below, it is in danger of losing some of its core customers by throwing away one aspect which made it so different. Most attendees at this weekend’s BGP will have heard current F1 on television already this year, but they are nevertheless in for something of a culture shock when the cars whisper, whistle and pop by rather than scream. Most of the club level racing I reported on from Oulton Park last weekend made more noise.

    2. Hi Graham,

      I pulled up a few races from last year on digital recorder last night just to see the differences between how they looked and sounded as a reminder amongst all this debate of the noise of the new engines.. I have said from the start that this year, has been a disappointment regarding the visual and visceral qualities of F1 2014 and I stand behind this outlook.

      Yes people sometimes don’t like change, but change when it is not an improvement creates disappointment, which I believe to be the case here.

      Joe has argued to some effect that F1 is not all about the sound, and I have agreed with him on this point, however, it seems that we differ on how much of an impact the reduction / change / quality of sound in the noise department has had on the ‘x’ factor of what f1 means to people, especially track side viewers. In my view it is one of the key USP’s of what makes modern F1 what it is and separates it from other types of motorsport as an offering. If the core audience, has this similar understanding and / or expectation, then they will be disappointed also with the new offering.

      The core issue is that for a long time – ever, f1 hasn’t bothered to invest in promotion of it’s offering and has relied mostly on mystery, and history to maintain its mistiaue. This works to some degree if it meets the basic expectation of the audience whom one can describe as ‘entrenched’. ie. long term fans, who over the last few decades have grown to know the qualities of the offering as it has been from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s onwards. To suddenly change the product, without testing or consultation, and to then force it upon an entrenched fan (customer) base, with no promotion or in depth program of explanation is pretty much the worst possible thing you could do and always guarantees bad results, ie. complaints, less viewers etc.

      So F1 has no one to blame but themselves for the mess it finds itself in. It has lost its way and strayed from its core offering that was clearly defined and understood by its customer base. To now cobble together a string of short term gimmicks only further serves to erode the respect and understanding of the core customer, while almost certainly not attract new ones.

      Sad Really.

  80. Having the cars emit colored gas when the driver hits the KERS button (or whatever it’s currently called) would be outstanding. Standing starts, on the other hand, not so much.

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