Activities over the summer break

As of tomorrow most the F1 circus will be on holiday for two weeks. This means that news will be thin on the ground because almost everyone will be doing things other than F1. The engineers and team bosses will be taking in some sunshine or enjoying a “staycation” and not traveling anywhere. There may be some quiet phone calls and meetings discussing what happens in 2015. You’re not likely to see Fernando Alonso touring McLaren because he’s already been there, but there may be meetings on boats off the coast of Sardinia. That sort of thing. Will that stop the news on F1? Probably not, there are sufficient bottom-feeders committed to producing x number of stories per day and a bunch of websites that are dumb enough to pay these amateurs for the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel. It’s simple, you sit in front of a computer and Google search F1 in different languages and then use Google translate to figure out a story. After a while you know the publications that you can steal from without anyone attacking you. It is a time-consuming business but no skill nor connections are required. It’s theft by any other name.

And there’s Bernie. He wants to keep F1 in the newspapers while at the same time keeping himself out of them as much as possible. This is tricky. Getting into the papers is easy enough. The organ-grinder has monkeys that dance to his tune no matter what the story. They don’t ask questions and they don’t analyse anything. They have sold out in exchange for access, connections and, who knows what else. Amazingly they get stories into supposedly good titles, which just goes to prove that you really cannot trust any big brand publications any longer as they have not even bothered to check to see whether their new journalist is Mr E’s butler. Good for him for being clever; shame on the monkeys for misrepresenting themselves as journalists and shame on the publications for publishing their self-indulgent crap, quoting their own work in other publications and other such underhand tricks.

Anyway, in an empty market, even rotten fruit will sell so be prepared to be fed a lot of propaganda. Slaves don’t get holidays.

But don’t believe too much of it…

72 thoughts on “Activities over the summer break

  1. Hi Joe. Not too sure how I’ll occupy my time over the next two weeks, especially with very few, if any, articles from you, but before you go I do have one question that I’m hoping you have time to answer. Is Fernando off to McLaren, in your opinion?

    Have a great break. Look forward to everyone within F1 returning in two weeks…

    1. I am afraid that I cannot read Fernando’s mind. It is a risk to go, but he has stayed with Ferrari for five years and no real progress has been made, so staying there is a risk as well. It is a tough choice.

      1. Joe, hope you have a good break, me and mine are popping over to France for a couple of weeks – can’t wait.
        As for Fernando, I fancy him going back to Enstone if Lotus get Merc engines.

    2. One factor that may drive Alonso’s decision is the reported reason Adrian Newey gave for declining Ferrari’s offer. It seems he felt it would require 3 years of his efforts to turn Ferrari around.

      What makes it even worse is that they didn’t manage to sign Newey. A light at the end of a long tunnel is greatly preferable to the lack of light. Alonso may see no impending hope to a return of competitiveness.

      If Alonso and Dennis can see past their past, it could be a fine match.

      1. @Random

        Good point. If indeed Newey felt that way, then there would be no point in Alonso hanging around in Maranello…

  2. Hi Joe, just a small question (also to the rest of the people reading here), I don’t even know if you have the details: I must have signed up for some free Motorsport newsletter only half-consciously and after every GP, I get Mark Hughes race report send to me. It’s free and after having read some of them, I find myself liking his style of writing. By no means does that mean I’ll cancel my GP+ subscription, since GP+ offers much more then just a race report, but the quality of Hughes’ work appeals to me and it’s free. I just didn’t expect to be given a free, high quality race report after what seems every race. Of course that’s their way of trying to convince me to sign up for Motorsport, but the chunk of free text I’m getting just seems pretty large.

    Do you happen to know if Motorsport started this only recently as a testcase or is it already this way for years?

    If you do not feel like taking about your competitors, please free to not post this question online. I do feel a bit awkward in asking you..

    I’ll just watch the blog and if you do not publish this question, I’ll try to find a better one for next time. 😉
    Enjoy the time off!

    1. I’m sure that the Motor Sport magazine team (I have no connection beyond saying “hello” at events) appreciate your generous comments. The magazine has determined that racing reporting on paper is no longer a selling point (in years gone by, it was the only UK magazine to report many continental events) so it now gives away its excellent reporting as a loss leader. Most of the historical research, racing car test reports etc do not appear for free via their web site. Access to the archives via the web is a trial service — it is free for now, so use it before a subscription is required. Damien Smith regularly provides clues about the magazine’s strategy in his editorials.

      For its 90th anniversary, the magazine commissioned half a dozen writers to write a piece each about a particular racing era. Without exception, all of them managed to deliver a new perspective about history which has been turned over thousands of times. I don’t think any of them relied on newly discovered information, just on new reflections. It’s a good example of how thoughtful writers approach supposedly familiar territory.

      It’s also a good lesson for column fillers at GP/F1 sites during the arid month of August. That something in contemporary F1 was appraised yonks ago does not mean that it is beyond review. If I was in their shoes, I’d be reading Adrian Newey’s recent comments about active suspension*, reading in the archive and learning about FRIC suspension.

      If I was good at statistics, I’d look at tyre change strategy or mixed weather strategy, to determine whether it is possible to be clever. I believe it is possible to have a genius strategy** — changing tyres outside the expected window — but clever strategy is different. Clever strategy is driven by data — lap times, weather forecasts, tyre degradation — and success depends on gaining a smidge here, losing a bit less there. Using Lewis Hamilton at China 2007 as an example, clever strategy can be some blokes in Woking telling the driver to stay out for another lap when the driver knows that the tyres are worn out; that one didn’t work out well.

      * 20 odd years ago, I tried to analyse active suspension geometrically, and then I’d have a go at the dynamics. It couldn’t be that hard for such a simple link system… After 12 pages of calculation (which required a computer rather than a human analyst to solve), I had enough unknowns (eg shape of the kerb over which the tyre ran over, shape of the road) to comprehend the difficulty of the problem.

      ** There is also an unmentionable Flavio strategy.

      1. Hi Phil, It’s a superb magazine that I first bought in the late 1960’s, and have bought ever since. It went through some troughs a short few years back, but is now almost back to it’s best from the 1970’s and 80’s. I say almost, because the bit missing is the race reports, and I’d like them back. Trouble is that the pool of really great motosport journalists is the same as has been for many decades, but these guys are now old and wanting a bit of life outside motor racing, which is obviously a perfectly acceptable notion, we all need to prepare for retirement coming. So apart from Joe, I can’t think of anyone who could do the sort of job that Mike Doodson, Alan Henry, Pete Lyons, DSJ, Nigel Roebuck, and a very few other have done in reporting races. frankly, I find the current Red Top style of race reporting, just irritating, and don’t bother anymore with Autosport. Dodgy does a decent job with MSNews, but no where near as good as Simon Arron, who I gather, had personal reasons for leaving the F1 Bubble, rather than reasons attached to any retirement ideas…damn I miss his reports!

        1.  Simon Aaron remains features ed at Motor Sport, and writes as recently as May, has been producing some nice historical “snapshots”, but as you say, it appears he’s retired from the race meets.

           Whatever reasons writers may individually have, and I am certain the calendar is over extended, I think that Joe’s grumblings about the trash media are underwritten by a more serious malaise. Not only that so many a familiar names are approaching retirement, or are of a age their families demand more attention. Bernie’s habit of feeding the strays as they sniff the garbage, is a incredibly poor one. Why would anyone pour their heart into doing the right thing, when the solipsistic surfers are so indulged?

           I am sure those who are not used to reports from someone who can report because they were there, are either oblivious to such writers as Arron passing up on paddock pilgrimage, of may even see it as a perverse endorsement that attendance is not required. With the BBC having to make do with highlights, sadly that makes the event feel even the more remote. Watching the highlights to see what DC has to offer, I felt a kind of disconnection, even with Hungary’s action. Is this calculated? Is Bernie afraid of a coherent cohort of talent and insight suddenly speaking forth? Dare I say it, speaking forth with authority, pushing the most experienced to the edge with punishing calendars? I’m sure they’d be more inclined to make the effort, if BCE gave them a lift… journalists are better treated for travel for things as uneventful as launching a new camera. (admittedly some camera launches are significant, for working pros, but very few)

           On occasion, when Joe’s been asked if he fears Bernie would try to rescind his pass, I’ve been often minded to ponder whether Bernie is not concerned, because as a oft lone voice, Joe’s complaints, which ought to signal a vital concern to real fans, are misunderstood as purely personal, and attract adhominem reply.

           The absence of print editions of Motor Sport leaves Autosport the only representing journal in the library. Libraries have enjoyed something of a renaissance, from the impression I receive. A younger appearance of visitors, not only because of my perspective in years. More sociable, even. It’s sad that there is no title on the shelves which proclaims F1 as it’s purpose and enticement. Copies of magazines such as Wired, appear well thumbed, as do many trashy gadget magazines. Why is there no glossy proclaiming the attraction of a native British sport? Bernie’s avarice in “protecting” the F1 “brand” (to a arguable degree, hijacking it) leaves further legacy problems in promoting the sport. Will casual browsers recognize a copy of GP+ on the shelf as immediately F1? When I used to print copies and make a habit of leaving them behind on pub tables, I often got a curious. “what’s that?” as I neatly left it in line of sight for who was alighting as I left my seat. “it’s bloody good, about F1”, I’d say, or the similar “….. ohhhh, F1?” it didn’t always seem to click. You’d see a kind of realization spread across their face, as they flicked a page or two (staple bound by me) … and that is what magazines, printed ones, are good at: attracting unexpected attention and curiosity.

           My selfish and hopeful guess, is that many more talented writers would step up, or return to reporting, if there existed a better atmosphere about the end result of their work, which being how the public perceives the result. I spotted, whilst chucking back issue stacks, the other week, two awful puff pieces about how well journalists are pampered at F1 meets. One was in a engineering design magazine, the other in a marketing communications saddle stitch affair. Both made my toes curl. Free WiFi? That much I know is untrue. They smacked of poor briefing, both from F1 communications and for editorial. What needs to be communicated is not the “pampering” of writers with the bare tools of their trade (saturated cellular networks mean supplied infrastructure matters) but the intense dedication, and for race reporting the actual difficulty of following the race at all. Business trade magazines are not lauded often for their editorial integrity or prowess, but the marketing magazine ought to have been aware of the actual absence of marketing going on in F1, and not regurgitated Silverstone’s PR. These are just random examples of a atmosphere that I think denigrates the task of journalism in this sport, chips away at the edges, dehumanizes just that little… there’s much to fix.

        2. I don’t think Simon Aaron retired much, and good luck to him attending 100 UK clubbies in a year. His magazine contributions and his web photos present him as a good geezer.

          1. Your right Phil, Simon had personal family reasons for chucking in his F1 Pass, I hope that they were sorted happily, for him and his family. He’s always loved the Club racing scene, and doing that made it easy for him to be at home and still enjoy racing at places like Oulton & Mallory Park. I’ve never met him, but have had email comms with him in the past, he comes across as a nice bloke, the sort of person one would like to share a pint or two with.

  3. Joe, I can’t help but notice that the amount of posts from you have dropped away significantly. You don’t even provide practice and quali updates now. I subscribed to your yearly thing last year as I enjoyed the blog so much but never really got into reading it as I had just finished watching the GP and so wasn’t interested in it again for a few days. I was still happy to sign up to it though as I enjoyed the blog and news so much. I used to know that I didn’t need to keep an eye for news because I was a subscriber to your blog and if you haven’t posted it its not news but that is no longer the case. Not criticism, just feed back.

    1. There are no subscribers to this blog. It is free. I do what I can when I can. I have to make a living and pay for the travel around the world and so there are times when the blog has to give way for paid work. If I charged you for the blog I am sure you would all complain.

      1. Joe, What you do is great! A post from you is worth millions from the bottom feeders. Have a good break.

      2. “There are no subscribers to this blog. It is free.”

        I think “subscribe” as written by the previous commenter meant that they subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed, rather than subscribe in the traditional publication sense.

        But it’s an interesting point, now that you bring it up. It might be worth considering adding a “tip jar” for want of a better word (e.g. a PayPal donate button or similar) so readers can give you some money if they feel like it. It’s obvious how much time and effort you put in and I’m sure there are more than a few who would do it.

        Anyway, have a nice break.

        1. A great idea. I for one would happily add to that as what everyone gets here is probably worth 10 subscriptions elsewhere. I don’t know of anywhere or anyone else who covers the topics you do Joe.

          Another idea could be to put some adds around the page. I’d be more then happy to click on a few and if the blog then earns enough to cover the cost of even one race for you I’m sure it would be worth It.

          Whatever you decide I hope you have a great break.

        2. I would like to see the blog expanded in ways that promote GP+, as well as entice people to register with the blog. I think that race reports could be well brought onto the blog, for registered blog readers, in between races, without diminishing the impulse purchase inclination. Race reports, even days after the event, are a significant attraction. Registration with a real name (not required to be displayed) would calm comments. Opening comments onto the race reports I am sure would bring valuable traffic. You’d want to measure that, of course, to know if subs were being affected, but that’s doable, as is “federating” logins between wordpress and the magazine download, including permissions hierarchy to back issues. Some formatting would need to be automated, which is where wordpress is… i’ll not comment on how it is, to avoid a grumpy technical interlude, but we managed to find a way to accommodate magazine spread layouts, albeit only just recently. I imagine then it would make sense to have a “leaky paywall” for further content. (not referencing the “leaky paywall” plugin, which doesn’t in understatement quite do what is my thought here) and we’ve been noses stuck into subject “sieves” to mine descriptive words from bulk articles, so it’s not inconceivable to look at incoming headers that show search terms sought, and “leak” a little trial content that’s pertinent to what the visitor is after. It is worth explaining, however, that WordPress is not wonderfully designed for handling complex page building like that. Facebook just released a much needed formal spec for the language of wordpress’ engine, PHP, omitting support for things wordpress relies on, which is sneaky clever, as I don’t imagine Facebook want their work accelerating websites of bloggers they’d prefer to post to their Facebook page… however even the “gaps” in their spec have been very useful in identifying where to set our, much clarified, gaze.

          Rather than a tip jar, I think it would be better, in theory at least, to entice with a little more copy, offer single issues for a couple of bucks, which is not far above what many free sites’ tip jars get typically, and to open more archive to comment. Correlating logged in users (logged in to get the “leaked” content) would build a “inventory” that might be adequate for intelligent advertising. Whenever blogs get advertising, it seems to not quite work, particularly if it’s inline with comments. But in magazine layout pages, advertising is usually more acceptable. So the “leaky” content could be experimented with on a cost / benefit basis directly, not dismissed as giving away the crown jewels. Free is fine, when the effective contract is well understood. So long as there’s a measured response in subscription sales, I think it is better than merely a experiment. At either end of the spectrum, neither the straight sub model, nor the blog itself, need be changed. “Redesign” is of the most contentious words you can say to a publisher. But adding in accommodation, that pays for itself, for those who may not subscribe because of more casual interest, or are already subscribed to other titles, and disinclined to add a subscription cost until happy to replace, is far from revolutionary.

  4. Joe, I read on that Mattiacci killed Pat Fry with an axe, Caterham are suing the staff they fired for not wearing their Caterham T-Shirts for the contracted 6 months post employment and that Bernie has bought a German Judge a life time supply of premium Bratwurst in exchange for leniency.

    Please don’t shatter my dreams and tell me that none of this is true?!!

    1. Bratwurst now cheaper of course since the German sausage cartel has been broken up and fines levied. (True though hard to believe, sausage prices have been fixed for many years, important in Germany a “nation of sausages”)

      1. Not hard to believe, Cartels & Price Fixing is an established part of UK & European culture rpaco. In the industry I worked in for 25 years or so, there was price fixing of commodities all the time I wasn’t involved, everyone thought it quite normal. Our company stayed out of it, and rowed our own boat, but we got a good kicking now and again, from the big guys. Having said that, although the big companies used to fix prices so their customers had little variance in what prices they paid for supply of products, I used to get good contracts to supply by the simple expedient of a bottle or two of whiskey for a plant operator and a bottle of Martini for his wife/girlfriend. The big guys concentrated on lunching management, I concentrated on good relations with the managements’ workforce….funny how my products got better reviews off the workers, and fewer problems for the users, than did my rivals! Moral of the story was always find & look after the most important people in a process, and those are always the ones at the coalface, not the ones sitting in chairs in offices….they just think they run things!

        1. I have to resoundingly endorse your points, there, Damian.

          I feel this best said with a little story. It’s not a tall story, but I’ve dramatized the style a little, because despite my desperately slow brain did not figure all this out in the same way, I’m genuinely desperately slow witted with people and motivations* for almost silly reasons, approximately the same sequence of realization came to many more than myself alone, to the point this was almost part of a recruitment pitch of mine. Not that well honed, in this version, because I can’t use short hand I would use in context.

          It is indeed those at the coal face who matter. Equally surprising is, as you so righteously point out, the scarily minimal knowledge of vital operating conditions in senior management. This much I figured out, and a MBA was not desperately common as I grew up, I was at my coal face as my contemporaries picked up theirs in a notable rush for those letters. Not that there hasn’t been a few rushes for MBAs, I’ve friends who got theirs from Wharton on the original GI bill, when it was really quite a novel thing to do.

          It’s quite interesting, also, when different people imagine they are each at the coal face. I could write about this forever, and I think sometimes I ought to do. My first ever boss emailed me after we’d lost touch way too long, “so you’ve done the full on MBA Thing, eh, John?”… in a roundabout kinda way, I guess…

          Consider publishing, and I’ll cheerily ignore the tensions that can arise, between sales and editorial, save recalling the day a editor chose to occupy half of my desk, and threw passive aggressiveness at me the whole time, because, heavens, I was being too loud for him.

          Okay, you’re not that lucky!

          I love that particular moment, because it made crystal to my 19 year old self that you put up more than just Chinese walls for good reason! Why was he sat at my desk? Because I’d commandeered a few desks to arrange so I had space for the phones and stacks of directories I needed. he thought it was convenient space in a otherwise at capacity office, and I guess I looked fairly harmless.

          He should have got the hint, though that the number of phones on a desk is highly correlated to how much influence someone likely has on a sales floor… I got my desk(s) back before the day ended… but that was a classical “who really makes this place work” argument. This is important for the story, not my adolescent ego, I promise you 😉

          Before long, I came to learn a whole other coal face.

          I was, and am, a terribly lazy person. And I omitted to think in my puerile mind, rotten with ego and testosterone as only a big headed youth given a little power can be, the possibility that a editor might have influence some place else.

          Now, I was getting used to internecine intervention cutting across my path to personal pecuniary progress. Editorial had a nasty little habit of shifting features about abruptly, without notice. A lead feature would suddenly get crammed into the back of a book (why “book” is or was so commonly used to describe a magazine, I can only imagine being origin a kind of intellectual inferiority complex, I don’t much care if that’s true or not, it rather fits) which would snarl hastily penned deals for “First lead right full page, blah blah feature, first third”, as the relative position usually got loosely haggled on close.

          My deals, and not only mine, I began to notice, were being torpedoed,

          This was happening, I can vividly recall, apparently disconcertingly randomly. (Remember, this was all about me me me, I sure had given this editor guy the hump, not least because I to his irritation I had studied the subject of the magazine, a obvious “challenge”)

          A function of working in trade quarterlies, covers leads and features are going to be liable to change, more so than shorter lead time titles. Still poor management, you do send out editorial schedules upon which agencies are supposed to plan.

          In was quietly indulging a little bit of paranoia, but nothing seems to keep causing my bother. There was a cockup, somewhere, and it could be in one of several places: sales manager bluffing the layout plan, a writer subbing extra copy causing a move of pages, any number of advert related things like accommodating half pages so the editorial would reflow, someone selling more pages than planned for around a feature… I was lost in the possibilities, trying to track them down, before expending what little political capital I had. I might be safe on the sakes floor, but was all too young to throw my weight around any place else, without a very good argument. As if the best argument ever would have changed anything…

          Then, finally, I got to see the real scene, and the scene was of another commissioned salesman, having just had his commission “clawed back”**, deducted even in advance of complaint from the advertiser or agency, throwing a wobbly one Friday late afternoon, in a all hands production meeting, the kind where targets get called out, new targets set, laggards get a berating, people get summarily fired (frequently, if you “blanked” too often, meaning sakes free weeks) And there, in amidst this agitated mêlée of anxious and accusatory voices, then I spotted smuggins tipping his chair lack smirking in the corner, eyelids closed as he appearing drink it all in, satisfied, partaking of the pallets of the palaver, whilst argument passed between salesman, finance guy, and production people.

          I figured it out in a kind of slow motion. When did this feature get trashed to the back of the book? Why was that, when the new front hack feature is dull and we sold no space against it? “Oh, you’re no good at selling that, then?” came the disembodied voice from under his eyelashes. “No, we thought it wä four pages at the back”….. “And we sold three and a DPS against that, so why you move it?” … “WE (in “Royal We” tones) thought Forbes hammered that to death” … cue sniggers that spoe volumes as to how honestly we thought as to whether we competed with Forbes…. and as my brain broke free its atrophy, “But Mark there did his best ever week on that feature!”.

          There was a kind of almost snigger, covered by a sort of choking sound when you half saud something that was inappropriate, but editor smuggling hadn’t quite said anything yet, only he had suddenly stopped chipping his chair and was staring intently at me, and then a glance at Mark, who was being stiffed a dollop of cold hard commission, and then alighted nervously on the managing director. The silent plea for support was so palpable, we all got it eight away.

          Got it! Game over.

          This editor was throwing hate bombs at whomever he thought was looking too smug. Said editor had a habit of coming to the office only on Fridays, otherwise he’d work from home. And Fridays were still resolutely and rigorously refreshed affairs, for a sales floor anticipating their commissions, and usually trigger happy seeking quarry in the accounts dept. seeking, “clarification”… So our lovely editor suddenly surprised me with his real MO. He wasn’t random at all. He was picking off who was on the board with the highest gross of the week, and messing with their positions.

          Because the bugger was plain and simple jealous. I’d heard enough crap talk about being “unprofessional” from this guy, as had everyone. Heck, he barely ever came in save on a Friday. Guess he liked he got bought drinks, heavens a stranger cold have sat with us and been included in a round, it was friendly. Lunch usually communal, also, we weren’t mad enough to drink like that without a proper lunch. And Friday was a field day of trying to reach customers we knew would be equally lubricated, and hitting hard with every pitch and drop close we could, knowing full well most any mistake would be forgotten or forgiven. So we looked to this guy like we were partying, and not only that, even in a pretty bad week, notching up sales on the board, and of course being a fairly young group (I joined this outfit with some pals and between us we brought he age avg. down a load) we’d laugh at, ahem, frivolous ways to dispose of our commission. No less, if the finance director was feeling in command of the cash flows, he might even pay us the same day. Compare and contrast selling on 15% of gross, pages of £5,000 and up, and being paid the same day, with a part time accountant who got in comparison a stipendary allowance. He was unlikely to care for how LNG we worked on opening those sales, which could have been months – you have to think long ahead when your income depends on keeping a lead live, or the “normal” days we’d be in a 6am and not leave until we’d digested delivered dinner so we could catch a call to a customer in a different time zone, or catch up arguing over leads conflicts and all that, or plain researching, because it was bad form to be seen doing “clerical work” in sales, during the day, very bad, stackable form…


          If I left any footnote indicators above, forget them, I let this one go on to long, without coming to the punchline.

          This was about coal faces, after all.

          I shall cut it to simplicity, to a fault,

          The editor may have held sway over the production people, but he did not hold sway over the printers.

          Before the ink goes on the page, plates are made, everyone knows that. But before that, there is a process called “imposition”, where every page is set out to accommodate that lots of A4 or whichever size pages fit within a wide roll of paper as the drums impress the ink. The way the paper weaves its way and is the folded and cut is roughly the reason this is called “web offset” printing, as opposed to sheet fed, where pages come in individually.

          Nowadays it is not uncommon (though surprisingly still hardly typical) for the publisher to do the function of imposition. Even now, imposition layout software is not cheap at all. This usually is hooked to press management and calibration and all sorts that incline even larger publishers to let the printer handle this last bit of pre-press work. (sure Quark or In design do show the layouts for multiple pages, but not the “8 up” and real press position). Then, though, this was definitely a job to “send out”.

          And so it happened the pre press guys happen to drink in the same pub we liked. (lots of local publishers) And a few rounds were had, and, really cutting this short now, sorry the lack of detail rather spoils the geek revenge, but a few beers and a judicious call to the printers later, and the printer found out that the way the pages aligned moving the feature back in the book caused otherwise mono / black and white pages to have to be on 4 color plates, meaning they even had to be calibrated for ink density also, and so the editor’s decision was going to cause work for nothing, and real expense. It was, shall we say, 75% true. But the arguments could not be refuted, not by a managing director who couldn’t tell a FOGRA mark from a screen line offset. Sudden emergency calls got made from the print floor, and the feature was restored to its original position. Even cooler, the files had been couriered that afternoon, and press was booked for the weekend, so the calls intercepted this and got it set out the right way we wanted, never the wrong way the editor had plotted to spoil our commissions, so no actual money way lost. That said, a certain pre press studio guy, the next week, splashed a really lovely evening on my gf and me. There was some mumbling about it being great to be paid overtime hourly to fix a problem they didn’t really have to fix. I’d have loved to see the invoices…

          A few months after this episode, I set up in business on my own, finding ways to trade and sell more efficiently, finding ways of getting “free” pages in magazine layouts, which I could sell so the publisher got straight money they didn’t expect, and didn’t have to pay commissions on…

    2. If you think those stories are silly, I read one ridiculous one that claimed that Flavio Briatore was being asked to contribute ideas about F1’s future!

      No-one’s going to believe a story that far-fetched.

      1. Does anyone actually check that the factories are actually closed, and that contractors and suppliers are also not manufacturing and delivering parts ready to be installed as soon as the factory ‘re-opens’?

        1. I will be in the Force India factory and WT over the whole 2 weeks as I have done for a number of years. I can confirm the place is pretty much empty. Laptops are on desks and PC’s are off.

          Only non car related work is carried out and essential maintenance is done. No car related staff are in: end of.

          I don’t know what they individually do outside the gates but inside they ain’t.

        2. If I understand this correctly, redbull f1 closes down, however redbull technologies which employs newey and his design team isn’t bound by the same rules, hence why they always seem to make a massive leap over the summer break.

      2. of course they are… not that everything that directly contibutes to the performance of the car is done “in the factory” anyway.

        1. That is not quite true benM. All activities that are done on behalve of the F1 teams by suppliers also have the mandatory brake. I remember reading some details about this in an in-dept interview with someone at Force India a couple of years back, as the team really does quite a lot externally.

  5. Well said Joe. (I think) I know what you mean, and it’s good that ethically-minded journalists like yourself give an authoritative perspective – but a lot of us read the crap just to exercise one’s judgment and hone the nose to the smell of crap.

    The downside is that all ‘reads’ become a faceless statistic and the bottom feeders benefit from the number of visits to impress their clients … they maybe shysters and thieves but like a lot of criminals, they aren’t exactly stupid!

  6. Bernie’s German exploits don’t seem to be attracting much mainstream, or specialised press, reportage. Which is surprising, if Sepp Blatter was in a similar position, I’d think the papers would be overflowing with it.
    Anyway, with it being quiet, I expect all the interesting driver stuff will start to play out from Belgium and especially Monza. It will be fascinating to see what develops with Alonso, in particular, as he would seem the central figure in the driver market for either 2015 or 2016.

  7. Yeah never let the facts get in the way of a good story:)
    For me the question of the moment is will the Russian GP go ahead? I do not believe it should!
    Russia has well and truly forfeited its right to such a prestiges event.
    But I am not totally naive. It still has backing politicly and financially.

    If the Russian GP goes ahead I think it will be a disaster on a massive scale for F1, commercially and more importantly socially. Meaning the iphone/Android generations, twitter facebook etc. Basically where the future audience hang out.

      1. Enjoy your respite from my negative, inane ramblings.
        With you not reporting much, guess I’ll have to spend my free time playing LOTRO with this going in the background. 2 hours of awesomeness. 🙂


      1. Ouch! Ted seems like a nice fellow. I enjoy his work. I still read your blog and GrandPrix+ for the real skinny on stuff, though.

  8. Mr. Saward, I really appreciate that you run this free blog and interact with us. I plan on using this break to re read past issues of “Grand Prix Plus”. Enjoy your time off.

  9. Mr. Saward, factories are really closed? I mean, nobody (save security guards) is working now? I assume that people that should not attend the races might work as usual. Does not carry any activities?

  10. Speaking of questionable journalism the BBC recently broadcast a Panorama programme called ‘Lies, Bribes and Formula One’. It was presented by a gentleman called Darragh Macintyre in comical fashion as he drove around London in what looked like a Ferrari kit car… perhaps Jeremy Clarkson would have been a better choice.

    Two journalists were interviewed, one from Germany Klaus Oh? and the respected Richard Williams of the Guardian, both of whom didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.

    We also had the stern school matronly Emily Thornberry MP, the Shadow Attorney General pronouncing forth and the only Formula One insider the BBC could muster for comment was Eddie Irvine!

    A silly and sensationalist documentary from the BBC

    1. Richard Williams has a part time job writing sport at the Guardian — it ain’t
      motor sport but for a good read:

      He has a part time job at Motor Sport magazine, which is a good recommendation.

      Richard Williams, music journo, is the same bloke as Richard Williams, sports journo. Which partly explains why we are still waiting for Williams to deliver his definitive biography of Dick Seaman.

      Williams knows that the Radio 4 Today programme team will spilt their sides when discussing Dick Seaman’s biography, owing to the sound of a name

      I think it will work out all right.

  11. ” Don’t believe too much of it ”

    No worries on that one Joe . Fact is over the last ten years I’ve become so cynical when it comes to the press in general what with the reality that 90% of what they ‘report ‘ is in fact ‘ bought and paid for ‘ by some interested party .. I barely believe anything they have to say about pretty much everything when it comes to sport and industry of late . With my attitudes towards politics and world news rapidly becoming the same . My reverting to the old 60’s mantra … ” Question Authority ” …with it now evolving into a ” Question Everything ” mantra for the 2010’s . e.g If whats reported becomes a 1 + 1 = 3 equation …. and/or differs drastically from what you see .. question it … immediately .. regardless of the source

    Have a nice vacation … see you on the flip side … and don’t forget the sunscreen …

    With all the rumblings beneath the surface and the economic/political realities about to hit everyone including F1 in the face ? Methinks you’re gonna need it this year a whole lot more than most 😉

  12. Hi Joe,

    I enjoy your bitterly honest opinion on the subject of bottom feeders and organ grinders monkeys, however I just wondered if being so forthright puts you at risk of being ‘voted off the island’?

    Keep on banging the drum about F1 needing to sell the upsides of the new regulations!

  13. Keep up the good work, Joe. Good to read opinionated but well-informed and properly sourced material!

    Free “journalism” is a growing curse everywhere – some of what passes for “reviewing” of books or CDs is worse than a joke.

    Pro news outlets often don’t seem to care. On rare occaisions where there are stories on things where I know the truth, they are normally 50%+ wrong…..

    1. May I suggest that all newspaper readers should note the following wise comment from an excellent journalist:

      David Broder, the former Washington Post commentator, defined what a newspaper was. He called it:

      “… a partial, hasty, incomplete, inevitably somewhat flawed and inaccurate rendering of some of the things we heard about in the past 24 hours … distorted despite our best efforts to eliminate gross bias by the very process of compression that makes it possible for you … to read it in about an hour.”

      To which I would add, from personal experience, that the reporters are very rarely experts in the field they are covering at any one time, given the world (literally) of subjects and the (increasingly) limited resources of newspapers and the news agencies that supply them.

  14. Wow, you’re harsh. I can only imagine what has caused such animus.
    Time for another “barium pill” or what ever you call them? (evil laugh)
    The internet monkeys can be entertaining at times, though.
    Are you on vacation, staycation, or working your butt off? Have a good break.

  15. Hi Joe,
    As I work for a French company, you will no doubt move away from Paris, as Paris shuts down completely. I can not always get the bills paid for UK operations !! it is also a chance for me to catch up with my inside spy at Ferrari (number one son works there – so maybe this post should be censored !!)

    Apart from that have a great break, your insitefulness is both refreshing and challenging to some of the more conventional of us, myself included.

    Please keep up the good work, I have withdrawal symptoms without your daily updates


          1. @Ale I really doubt Forbes would hire anyone suspect. TBH I dont even look at the names of writers anymore if I get pulled into an article. Same with films actually.

          2. Well, he may be a monkey… or not… I don’t really know… I know who I know, and I normally don’t have reason to study up on those I don’t know…

            Regardless, he was making a case… not a great case, but a case… nothing in there that’s convincing, but I did pick up a collection of semi-interesting factoids I didn’t know before… at least he did a bit of homework… which is more than can be said about most F1-related articles published in most places…

            I’ve come to expect to learn things I don’t know from Joe (both here and in his non-race pieces in GP+) and sometimes from Scarbs. Whenever I learn something elsewhere, I’m pleasantly surprised…

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s