A near-miss in Monaco

I had a bit of a near-miss on the grid at Monaco. It was really rather frightening, I was minding my own business, chatting to Christian Horner about his “mini-moon” ( a short honeymoon) and grabbing other team bosses who are easy targets when they emerge from hiding. Suddenly a high speed vehicle came straight at me. I had to jump aside at the last minute.

I watched this human pantechnicon pass by. It consisted of some harsh-faced security people (I don’t remember if they were male or female), followed by three bland-faced girls, who looked like they had just left school. They were holding hands and wearing Mercedes hats, and they all looked a bit lost. They were followed by a middle-aged lady, who I presume was a PR handler, as she seemed to be barking instructions and then some tail-end-Charlie security people, lest the convoy be attacked from the rear.

This whole charabanc was followed by a very serious-looking Bradley Lord, the Mercedes F1 PR man, who looked like a man sent to guide but hanging on to keep up. I asked a few people if anyone knew who these people were but all I got were shrugs and “couldn’t care less” responses. No one knew, and worse, no one cared. I presumed in the end that they must be friends of Flavio, as he is generally the person who brings the fakest celebrities into the F1 Paddock.

You can rent pretty much anything in Monaco (If you’ve seen Pretty Woman you’ll get the reference) and I wondered if perhaps Mercedes had dropped into the Monaco office of RentaCeleb, but I could not find any such organisation on the Web. All I got were links to Oscar de la Renta Celeb dresses… I even considered buying the domain name http://www.rentaceleb.com which appeared to be available.

I figured I would ask the Lord (of the Bradley variety) after the race, but as it turned out he was rather busy with his PR fire extinguisher, and it was only on Tuesday that I noted that Lewis Hamilton had spent his post-race evening with the said school leavers that I learned that they were called Kendall, Gigi, Bella and Hailey. This was about as useful as being told that their names were Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail (although at least I know who that lot are…)

So I retired to Wikipedia to identify the anonymous starlets, while wondering how they got so many passes to be on the grid? Passes are a major issue in F1 these days with major sponsors having to fight to get their VIPs into a paddock that is often rather too quiet. Why? Not even the Lord knows the answer to that one…

Anyway, Wikipedia informed me that Kendall Jenner is “an American fashion model and television personality” and “part of an emerging trend of social media modelling”. Her only apparent claim to fame is that she has appeared in “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, which I am told is a completely fabricated reality TV show about people with big bottoms who are famous for being famous. The others were all recent high school graduates who have turned to modelling and are already famous enough to have bodyguards.

Totally awesome, I thought. Is this the best F1 can do for celebrities? Where are Hanks, Cruise, Law, Damon, Pitt, Depp, DiCaprio and Clooney? Where are Lawrence, Jolie, Theron, Cotillard and Johansson? Surely F1 can do better than a bit part player in the Kardashians?

The odd thing is that real talents will trade their presence for coverage of their latest projects, if the right approaches are made. Talkshows the world over trade like this every day of the week. Why not F1? Particularly given that the Cannes Film Festival was going on just down the road…

F1’s attitude is to try to stop the media finding out what celebrities are attending an event rather than using them as a way of promoting the sport.

Figure out the logic in that…

170 thoughts on “A near-miss in Monaco

  1. I agree that they are nobody’s Joe – but in fairness they get shed loads of global coverage and are pretty damn popular with Millennials/Gen Z. Having them there and snapped positions F1 as a truly relevant and 21st Century sport (we know that isn’t true, but they can at least pretend).

    1. Surely there are members of the new generations who are famous for something other than being famous?

    2. I was amused some years ago when the race commentators in the US couldn’t figure out who the celeb on the screen during the grid walk was. These two F1 types couldn’t recognize footballer Roberto Carlos even during his heyday. They wondered aloud who that guy could be.

  2. I was invited to cover the Amber Lounge fashion show and party on Fridy, and I was on a tight budget, so I was spectating most of the races from next to 57 Rue Grimaldi, outside the fence. Saw a few celebrities pushing through next to me, and the only reason I knew they were celebrities is that they had a cameraman stuck to them from behind.

    Just before the race, Ari Vatanen walked by the street and no one seemed to recognize him. I was literally left speechless, because the first image that always comes to mind is him drifting up on Pikes Peak in the Peugeot 405, driving with one hand, blocking the sun with the other.

  3. You are not alone Joe – Martin Brundle was similarly nearly bulldozed by the foursome on his Sky F1 Gridwalk. Does seem ridiculous to have people who have no interest or appreciation of where they are and bring no interest or appreciation from the viewers of who they are taking up space at such an event.

  4. Quite simply F1 wants to be “too cool for school”. The only thing more attractive than an accessible and well marketed brand is one that is inaccessible and doesn’t need to advertise.

      1. Maybe it does .. We’re talking about them. What was it again that Oscar Wilde said about being talked about?

    1. “The only thing more attractive than an accessible and well marketed brand is one that is inaccessible and doesn’t need to advertise.”

      Hmm.

      To sell the “glamorous party you’d sell your grandmother to get tickets for”, there actually needs to be enough glamour to sell, and someone still needs to sell it.

      Given that Kendall Jenner would go to the opening of an envelope, I think F1 needs to try harder…

    2. F1 is also too expensive for school. For some of the teams and most of the fans and spectators.

  5. That’s all well and good Joe, but Kendall is Hamilton’s latest squeeze and the others her friends. So it wasn’t rent a celeb, it was a chap bringing his girlfriend to watch him work at a glamorous race, who just happens to be a model. Nothing more, nothing really less. He’d spent the previous, and following, few days with her to.

    You’re a journalist, not in fashion, I can see, but you really should have checked all that through before the tirade. It’s like complaining Massa brings his brother, wife, kids, dad et al to the track.

    1. It’s not a tirade and if Lewis has a new girlfriend, then you are obviously better placed than I am to know. Are you a close personal friend or do you just read about it in a publication that may or may not be right?

      1. It’s well reported and I guess photographic proof is as good as word of mouth. It looked like a tirade, to be honest and maybe you weren’t to know. However, she was on his boat 3 days before, and 3 days after and they were ‘close’ lets say. My wife told me this, I looked it up. It wasn’t all that hard to find out from several media outlets and it’s the reason I responded.

        The point stands; it’s just like Massa taking his brother, wife, kid, father, dog to the track, isn’t it.

        I think you need an atitude realignment Joe; you’re a good read but blow me you get aggro quickly.

          1. Translation –
            ‘I think you need to passively and uncritically accept the world for what it is; your insightful commentary is worthy of my consumption but obviously you’re angered by the charade that F1 has become and I fear for your health’

            1. The fourth girl was there too, but I saw only three in the thundering pantechnicon. The fourth was probably hidden behind a minder,

          2. And I thought I was the only one who was “Old School” here! I can only guess at a translation… And if I’m right, it’s not pretty…..

          3. I could be cocky and say QED; what I mean is that you’re quick to anger, so post pithy replies. If ever people disagree with you, you get defensive very quickly and reply aggressively.

            I hope that doesn’t require more translation.

        1. When Filipe brings his family, they stand at back of garage and with no cameraman surrounding them. Also, these young ladies are not the Rolex wearing, UBS customers that BE claims are the target audience.

        2. Pot – kettle I think Paul, Plus, royalty and important people wander around the pit quite happily without a huge entourage clearing people out of the way, so why should some two bit nobody, famous for now’t much have preferential treatment? Keep up the attitude Joe, “with the greatest respect”!!!

      1. She’s a bit young and a bit rancid too. I like to think he has more class than to have a long-term association with her! Maybe a night or 2 is forgivable (hey, this was James Hunt’s sport after all!) but christ I hope it’s A) false media-hype or B) a short-term thing so I don’t have to read about it every 5 minutes!

          1. I seem to have wandered into a frustrated male chauvinistic corner of the blog. Really Joe, juvenile fantasists who love to demean women should be directed elsewhere more appropriate?

              1. Thanks Joe. Nice to see that balance, the Pro PC world is already in full swing. Let’s have a bit of reality from time to time as you say. And yes, I am pretty sure she wouldn’t decline an offer when I have employed all my jedi mind tricks 🙂

            1. Not sure alluding to a very large age difference is chauvinistic. For me, that works both ways.

              And regarding plastic surgery, those are my feelings – irrespective of the person – but admittedly this is not exactly the place for my thoughts on vanity driven plastic surgery.

              1. Of course, discussing plastic surgery to increase a driver’s aerodynamic profile is acceptable, right? Soon, we’ll be reading about drivers having their heads liposuctioned so they can wear a smaller, lighter, and more aerodynamic helmet…

              2. Sorry Leigh my reply wasn’t directed at you per se more comments made before. Joe seems to have cancelled my right to reply to T.H. for some reason, mores the pity, as it was less objectionable than his/hers! No matter, it seems that the internet, for some at least, gives free rein to be disrespectful to others while hiding behind an anonymous ID. I may not ‘approve’ of certain aspects of so-called celeb culture and the actors within it but I draw the line at personal insults particularly those against women from chauvinistic men (or boys, who knows?) who should know better. You only have to scratch the surface sometimes……..

      2. I would suspect seeing as she is a 19 year old ‘super model’, Lewis is more interested in other abilities she may have.

        Saw this in the dreaded daily mail (sorry..):

        ‘Asked if Arrivabene was a character, Ecclestone said: ‘Only for himself and not for Formula One.’
        Ecclestone added: ‘Let’s put it this way: I am happy that we have somebody like Lewis. I also couldn’t be like Lewis. I don’t like gold jewellery!’
        Asked who he would prefer to be stuck in a lift with – Hamilton or Rosberg? – Ecclestone said: ‘I wouldn’t mind. But I think I would find it easier to talk with Nico than Lewis, as Lewis is into things that are very distant to me.’

        Those things the Lewis is into are what ‘the kids’ are into these days Bernie. You know.. that world wide web thingy ma jig and that ‘twotter’ what-sis-it.. The man is a dinosaur !

        1. I thought the difference between a model and a supermodel was that one had looks and the other had looks and discernible character…

    2. Hm, Paul Hallet. I have seen the daily whatever and Sun splash pictures of some bikini clad teenagers looking at phones on a boat too, and have seen that the mother of one stated to someone that she’d like it if Lewis dated her daughter, because she apparently knows him and thinks he’s a good lad.

      In those pictures Hamilton looked more like a brother/nephew showing relatives his toys than someone in love. I’d say its possible sad mom wanted some attention for her stable of gals, and someone was willing to give them some PR time and get F1 in that kind of media.
      But honestly, it doesn’t matter much either way. Made me feel sleazy even looking at the “article”

  6. Brilliant article Joe. Well written, sarcasm at its best and without any hint of haughtiness.

  7. Thanks for this piece Joe. I had been wondering about these teenagers (and say the daily mail or something like that used a “story” showing off bikini clad kids with Hamilton on a boat), thinking “this is exactly what BE mentioned is lacking with Rosberg and Vettel”.
    And how Hamilton seemed mostly “polite” about it, although he might be enjoying it, swimming, jumping off boats, taking the jet-ski out are all fun to do especially with adoring girls around (some of them constantly).

    I guess that fits nicely with the thought about VIP passes and FOM getting into social media. Shame its (again) such a half bungled effort.

      1. lets the tabloids speculate 🙂 not really interested it popped up on my trending part on facebook

  8. Hi Joe, thank you for making me laugh so much I spilt cereal over my shirt!!!
    ” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”, which I am told is a completely fabricated reality TV show about people with big bottoms who are famous for being famous” Sublime Sir and spot on 🙂

    1. I am reminded of the wonderful line from “Men Behaving badly” when describing a girl, it went “Like Beyonce, but with a normal arse”

      I am happy to say that I have managed to avoid all Kardashians.
      In fact I did not even know there was such a place as Kardashia, but no doubt we shall have a GP there soon!

        1. Maybe I’m wrong ( wouldn’t be the first time ), but weren’t the Kardashians some Alien race in Star Trek? I guess that would fit anyway one looks at it….guess I’m really getting old as parading these non-celebs isn’t the same as Princess Grace having a chat with the drivers is it?

  9. You missed that their sole purpose in life is to find and marry some rich guy.

    The UK papers were full of the said teenagers’ mother saying that they would be a good match for Lewis..

    Lord help us.

  10. This just made me howl with laughter, tears rolled down my face. I wholeheartedly agree…!!!

  11. Good article Joe… I know you get fed up with me going on about F1 being dragged into the vacuous chasm of “celeb culture”, but this time it could have caused you a serious accident :-(.

    And, by whatever association, connection, or otherwise, unfortunately it’s that #1 driver’s name appearing again.

  12. Well done Joe, as always. And to the guy who made the most ridiculous comparison, Felipe Massa, who Bernie probaly doesn’t like either, doesn’t parade his dad, brother, wife or kids to the press nor transport them through the grid. Felipe is a racing driver who entertains me by being involved in a sport called motor racing not an entertainer looking for press inches.

  13. HA HA! What a bunch of slugs. One of the Kardashians came here to Key West and wanted a table at a well known outdoors restaurant. They made it known who they were. The greeter wrote their name down and said it would be about twenty minutes. They came back about two minutes later and asked if their table was ready yet. The woman again told them that it would be around twenty minutes. At this point they wanted to make sure the greeter knew who they were. She knew who they were, but said” Oh you have a TV show? That’s really cool. It’ll be around twenty minutes”. Now they asked to see the manager and when he arrived they informed him who they were. “Oh really? Welcome to Key West!” He said “In that case, let my look at the log here for you and see what we can do! Okay! You have eight parties ahead of you so it’ll be around twenty minutes”. That’s the typical attitude one finds here. Pretentious behavior virtually doesn’t exist.

  14. Hmm. Given the nature of the “Management” of F1, I wonder if Bernie & Co are thinking “If the FBI are prepared to go after FIFA…”

  15. “the Lord (of the Bradley variety) … was rather busy with his PR fire extinguisher”

    Too funny that.

  16. At Indianapolis they issue a list of the celebrities who will be attending on raceday, why they are famous, and when the media will have opportunities to interview them.

    At Indianapolis, they also have a rather large crowd…

    In Formula 1 the identities of some celebrities used to be available over the course of the weekend but then that helpful bit of information sharing was specifically stopped. Much better, of course, for people to find out about these things after the event…

    1. Must say that while some of the aspects of the Indy show seemed completely over the top, and some made me itch, they DO know how to put up a great show indeed Mr. Tremayne!

      Calling out the all the drivers with some nice introduction, having an astronaut from the space station live, the jets and the fanfare really gave one the feeling of this being a truly great event.

    2. Frankly DT, I don’t think you missed out on much by not knowing who these ” famous ” kids were….I expect by next Monaco they will be long forgotten!

  17. I think Brundle spoke to one of them on his grid walk, some dead eyed celeb idiot who didn’t seem to understand what she was being asked, very embarrassing, if they must talk to people other than those involved in F1 then at least let them be famous so we know who they are.

  18. Obviously, that´s the way the sport is managed. But we have bigger issues nowadays: customer cars, noisier engines, stock market launch on cost of the small teams, Briatore delivering his pearls of wisdom. And so on.

    It´s time for The Eccxit.

  19. Im sure its nothing new that there’s a bunch of models on a F1 grid! Also F1 has been (at least on the surface) pushing Celebs recently – Cumberbatch, Schwartzeneger, Cruise et al. But its good to see some up and coming celebs (in this case models but you know they all count I suppose) appearing in F1.

    F1 is in dire need of youth – its an old mans sport and the men aren’t getting any younger. (Im 26 and at least in Britians its still a fairly popular sport but once it disappears behind paywalls that will disappear once and for all)

    1. I don’t disagree with that. I am just asking for people who are exceptionally talented and inspirational

      1. The problem is Joe, and it’s a sad one, is that the ‘yoof’ are not interested in talented celebs. Those 4 non persons will have got more 14-24 yr olds aware there is something called ‘F1’ than if every Oscar winner for the last 20 years had taken part in a naked running race up and down the pit lane. There is no logic to it, well not for those of us the wrong side of 40 anyway 🙂

        1. Great, they can all stay at home and exchange social media messages. If they don’t actually meet one another, one would imagine there will soon be a dip in the world population.

        1. Why? What is wrong with having talented and inspirational youth celebrities rather than a modern version of the cast of Dallas, all Twittering and having wardrobe malfunctions?

  20. Mate. Brands Hatch GP 1975 and one of the girls I was with got her T-shirt signed by Hunt and Jagger. Never realised that this should have been a media event.

  21. There was a great photo on the BBC website recently, Peter Sellers and Brit Ekland on the grid at the 1966 Grand Prix. He was crouched down taking a photo (I assume because of his interest in a racing car).

  22. Stuffy old blowers used to harp on about Hunt showing up to races with a different girl every meet, yet today older F1 fans moan the passing of his cavalier attitude.

    Well here it is back again folks.

    Someone stitch a Breakfast of Champions badge on Hamilton’s overalls.

    1. I think that you have missed the point. I don’t have a problem with Lewis having a busload of totty waiting on a yacht (if they wish to queue up for him), but having them on the grid was more about them promoting themselves than them promoting F1.

    1. I have my own idea in this respect. We know that Grand Theft Auto is big with the kiddies so what we need is a virtual Lewis Hamilton in a Merc with a white hat, and a virtual Fernando Alonso in a Honda with a black hat and a bunch of Kalashnikovs in a beaten-up town like Detroit. That would get the kids watching…

      1. I had thought that HAM would be asked to act as a “Brand Ambassador” for Mercedes after winning the title last year, which would have required ditching the bling and taking up golf. Clearly I need to concentrate harder on my zeitgeist homework.

    1. Like that analogy – I think they are strapping the water Skis on at the moment, but there is still time I hope.

  23. Well that’s Monaco isn’t it? The car race for people who don’t like car races. It’s a crappy track for a race, but who cares eh? Meanwhile Spa is perpetually under threat…

  24. There you go – Bernie issues the passes and as Lewis is his favourite……. Still, the girls are prettier than Roscoe.

  25. As a young (under 30) American F1 fan who happens to follow the fashion industry, I also found these young “it” IMG (their agency) models to be a surprising guest list for the Mercedes garage.

    I think its worth noting that often the modeling agency will try to make the most of their girls’ amfAR gala appearances in Cannes (they are flown in just to walk the runway for the event), so they may have worked the sponsor angle — these models have all walked shows at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Hadid is also one of the models of the 2015 Pirelli calendar — and the stepdaughter of a famous music producer (we all know Hamilton is passionate about music).
    If inviting them to the garage was a conscious effort to convert young fans to F1, then it’s a misguided one. Not because of the dubious reasons why these girls are “famous”, but rather because none of them are interested in promoting anything beyond themselves.

  26. James Hunt may have had his women, so to speak, but this claptrap beggars belief. If F1 is supposed to be about professionals and those who admire their work, not a focus on preening celebrities and their infantile entourages

    All I can see of F1 now, is its insidious and deepening slide into the poisionous depths of this IT-fuelled technology and the culture it has propagated. God knows, a reset is vital. I hope you can agree with me on this Joe.

    1. Difference was BenM that Hunty had beautiful women around him all the time, not a bunch of airheads with silicone filled butt cheeks!!

  27. With a combined 33 million followers on Instagram and however many on Twitter/other social media outlets i can’t help but think Joe slightly underrates the reach these “non celebrities” might have. Compared to Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks whose official Twitter followers don’t add up combined to top Kendall Jenner alone.

    Maybe the types of people that follow these girls aren’t the right people for F1, I’ll let that be up to the marketing people but they say any publicity is good publicity. Just a shame F1 doesn’t get more.

  28. I travelled from Nice to Monaco by train every day. The carriages were full of F1 fans and it has struck me how old the average fan was. Very little teens and twens. F1 and Monaco are a bit expensive, of course. I fully agree on the non-stars in Monaco, and the absence of real stars.

      1. I’m afraid I’m too old to judge :-(. Ten years ago we had Naomi Campbell. If Kendall is the new Campbell, than that’s fine for me and probably for F1. The F1 fans are ageing, but that goes for the paddock and press folk too.

      2. they honestly don’t care. I deal with fashion/music people daily – the aforementioned trendoids at the “cutting edge of the scene” and they literally could not give a fuck about racing. they care about kanye and kim, and occasionally TMZ or what sneakers are dropping on thursday.

      3. “My question is whether Kendall Jenner will change the demographic?” I think the answer to that is, only if they make the races no longer than 5 mnutes, with a break in the middle so the new ‘fans’ get a chance to check their phones without the distraction of all those cars going round. Brilliant article, Joe..us grumpy old buggers need to stick together !

  29. Since we’re on the subject of Lewis and his non-racing activities…..

    I was a huge fan of his when he first appeared on the scene at McLaren. His talent and potential were clear for all to see and he has continued to thrill and impress on track ever since. I am now agnostic about him and his success behind the wheel because of all the off track bullshit he indulges in! Gold chains, dogs in the paddock, pictures of his private jet and now vacuous bimbos on the grid. As Coulthard hinted recently, it will be his undoing at some point.

    Shouldn’t think he cares less what me and my generation thinks of him but it’s a shame to see he’s cheapened himself and I was delighted to see him lose to Nico and Seb on Sunday. Bernie says he’s good for business, but this is the same man who said he’s not interested in attracting younger viewers to the sport because they can’t afford Rolexes.

    C’est la guerre!

  30. the old guard vs the new talent. the eternal debate. my parents hate my music, and their parents hated theirs and so forth. F1 needs to be on the radar of the youth.

    you wont get that by having tom hanks on the grid. here in NYC the Daily news reported the link between Kendall Jenner and Lewis. If it werent for that there wouldnt even be one sentence written about the monaco GP here. so, in this case, theyre doing it right. and hamilton is doing it right.

    people hate elitism. and f1 should be careful navigating the line between “glamourous” and “elitist”.

    BTW, tom hanks instagram 31k followers vs Kendall Jenner 25m. boom.

      1. irrelevant. she’s more of a celebrity with more fans and exposure to youth. thats all that matters here. the world changes.

        1. I am not questioning that the world changes. What I am asking is whether this will help F1 in any way at all? If you can provide me with an answer to that then you will be useful. If bot, then it is all hot air, isn’t it?

          1. what’s useful is people that had no prior knowledge of f1 will google lewis Hamilton and be introduced to this world. it’s just a plug. how f1 utilizes it is another question.

              1. Joe, I read a lot about engaging and attracting young people to the sport. That we need to be doing things to bring young fans in etc.

                However, it’s telling that when a younger fan does get involved and contribute to the discussion his opinions are almost immediately dismissed. If you want to know how to bring young fans into the sport the first thing I would think you need to do is to listen to them, and then give them some credit for what they say.

                Your reply to av’s point about Jenners twitter followers highlights the issue well. You completely disregard what is an extremely relevant point. Further you do so by ignoring a fairly conclusive reality about celebrity popularity and countering it with a fairly irrelevant quip about income. Hanks doesn’t make whatever dollars they pay him because he’s bringing in young people to the box office, he makes that money because he is a safe bet for the old folk, and I say that as a 46 year old who has always thought Hanks appeal was just another sign of how lame and predictable the Hollywood machine has become.

                When Jenner posts a selfie with Lewis at Monaco GP 25million people will see that, if Hanks did the same it would be 31,000 people. Additionally the demographics behind those figures will show that Jenners followers are in the age bracket you want to attract, Hanks are in the generation you’ve already attracted, and are now losing. Brain dead morons or not (for Ben M), that is still 25million potential viewers, merch purchasers etc. indeed a significant portion of these 25million morons are the ones who will buy team clothing if they are into a sport unlike most of us in our later years who probably commit our discretionary income elsewhere.

                Comparing Hanks and Co to the Jenners and Kardashians of this world it’s like what you constantly say about WEC…
                no-one is watching…

                I’m not a fan of the new celeb or the old celeb, but then I’m here as an F1 fan, not a celeb watcher and I think the general concept of needing celebs promoting the sport and the amount of text dedicated to it in this comments section shows how completely out of touch we’ve become. If that is what you, and many others by the looks of it, think is needed though, you have to get your head around dealing with names, people, trends etc that have no appeal and make no sense to you. Otherwise you are just selling the same old message to the same old folk and rearranging the deckchairs.

                You won’t attract young people by telling them they are wrong just because you can’t see the sense in what they have said. We all need to accept that if we don’t understand what a younger person is talking about then it’s a good chance to consider things from a different perspective, most likely one that is more relevant to the world today as opposed to the world we believe we grew up in.

                1. I’m not telling anyone they are wrong, but I don’t see four bored looking girls bringing Generation Whatever to F1. We need a strategy and proper stars. And people between 50 and 90 are not going to know how to do that.

                  1. On the contrary Joe, what we need is a series that excites people to come and watch, but that excitement cannot just be confined to one series, it needs to be encouraged by pulling spectators into club events all over the world, and building interest in drivers from the lower classes as they move up through other formulae. Just to try to attract new fans to one series i.e. F1, is short sighted and won’t cure the long term problem, which is about motivating people to view motorsports from karts upwards. My first hero in motorsport as a very young boy was Jochen Rindt, and that was because of his giant killing acts in F2, the fact he got a Cooper F1 seat didn’t impact on me anywhere near as much as did the fact that all the Graded F1 drivers who ran against him in F2 were getting a drubbing. I spotted Gilles in FAtlantic, before Hunt raised his profile from running against Gilles at Trois Rivieres. And as for Senna, everyone who saw him in his first year in FF1600, new there was magic there!
                    So, apart from making F1 a series that is more watchable and interesting, what is the real issue for long term audiences for F1, is getting people enthusiastic about Karts and lower Formulae. The lower classes of racing, all the way upto GP2 have all been dumbed down over the last 15 years or so, BTCC is a prime example, a series that used to produce real excitement but which is now just dross….WTCC is the same, back in the day, you used to report, if I remember correctly on the ETCC and in those days the cars and racing in the ETCC were terrific. Further back one had the Cologne Capris and Batmobile Beemers, real proper racing cars….would I turn up to watch Honda Civics and VW Passats as the BTCC is now, no, not remotely interested in fact.
                    Going back to my point about the lower formulae, I clearly recall that in the 70’s and 80’s and 90’s, I used to latch onto rising stars, there were many, some you just knew were going to be really good. But now, there’s no excitement in say FF1600 or it’s modern equivalent, and there’s no sensible F3 to look at and compare drivers from national F3 championships. The whole structure under F1 has more or less collapsed and that is the real reason why F1 is suffering a lack of followers, quite apart from the costs involved to the fans and the paucity of real racing, which everyone at the pub complains about after every race. F1 has sucked all the money up and there is now nothing to support the F1 pyramid, that is the issue in a nutshell.

    1. “BTW, tom hanks instagram 31k followers vs Kendall Jenner 25m. boom.”. Quite. Because the number of brain-dead morons will always outweigh the rest.

  31. How is the presence of models, etc., any different from any other period in the history of F1? Check out many photos of James Hunt, for example, and he was almost always surrounded by similar characters.

  32. Sorry if it’s already been mentioned (I got tired of the banter about a third of the page down) but if she is Lewis’s new squeeze – she hardly brought him good luck!

    1. Hey av2290, I wouldn’t normally waste my eyesight, but looked up the site you tagged, and cast a look over the comments section, amongst the gems was this comment on LH regarding his relationship with the Kardashians, I quote ” well at least he’s not black “…unquote!! Does anyone in their right mind actually want to attract someone so pathetic into our sport as a new fan?? No, I thought not! Please let’s drop the ” z list celeb angle ” and just promote motorsport as an exciting sport for everyone to want to watch!

  33. Joe, I am NOT a Kardashian fan, in fact, a pox on their houses except for Kendell Jenner — she has, on her own, made it to the top of haute couture fashion modeling. OK, that may not be criteria for a true ‘celebrity’ but this girl has earned million on her own, and believe me, those $ were earned. A model’s life is pretty miserable (except when they see their faces on a magazine cover or walk a Chanel runway).

    1. I expect that is why she looked so miserable. I smile all the time and I’m an underpaid journalist

      1. An underpaid journalist who has spent the last couple of decades flying around the world watching a ridiculous number of GPs live. I reckon you’ve got plenty to smile about Joe.

        1. I agree but it would be nice to have made decent money as well! It is only the wealthy who say money isn’t important!

          1. Agreed. As a fan of the sport and of the work you do I’d like to see you receive some greater financial reward. So much money in the sport going into hands that don’t need or deserve it, shame some of it isn’t directed your way. Your f1 blog alone does so much more for the sport than the FIA appears to do. I also appreciate that there must be many times stuck in an airport lounge or hotel lobby where no amount of money makes up for not being at home with loved ones. I imagine that despite your obvious love the sport there would be days where you must think, do I really have to get on a plane and deal with customs officials today.

      1. That surely is a matter of opinion. Personally she did nothing for me. I like life in a human being…

        1. “That surely is a matter of opinion. Personally she did nothing for me. I like life in a human being…”

          I agree Joe… but judging from her status & followers (the ones I mentioned earlier), we may be in a minority !

  34. Jeez, I am 64 years old and I know who Kendall is. You know, Bruce Jenner, transgender story. It’s on that inter-web thingee. It’s next to the VCR Joe!

    1. Oddly enough, I don’t have a VCR. I have heard of Bruce Jenner as an athlete but did not know about the transgender thing until today. Obviously you give a sh*t about the likes of Kendall. I don’t care. I prefer to worry about the important things in life, like finding good strawberries, cepes, wine and so on. I live in France, you can keep your plastic celebrities…

      1. the one thing I love about france and everyone in it is the prevailing attitude of “it’s great here, don’t bother about discussing your petty little country, and please don’t annoy us with your tiresome language either”. it’s the only place in the world where snobbish elitism is so well deserved. they call australia god’s country… and they’re wrong.

      2. “you can keep your plastic celebrities…”

        But F1 IS plastic celebs, or at least rapidly evolving that way 😉

  35. Thank you. This article describes well what to me as a humble F1 fan is a nightmare feast of excruciating boredom: the growing celeb involvement in the race coverage.
    But I don’t have a discriminating eye for celebrity. I don’t have a list of names to salivate over, while scorning others. To me all are unwelcome intruders into my TV screen during the race build up, and few have been as objectionable as those you describe here.
    Martin Brundle was instructed to go and chat with one of them on the grid. Unpleasant for him but much more so for viewers, and what a totally vacuous person. I wasn’t prompted to consult wiki.
    Does anyone recall the days when his grid walk was about the drivers and the team personnel? And what about the sight of Todt emerging from his hideout in a Moss Bros suit looking like a banana republic despot…. and the compulsory silly line up of drivers to salute heads of state and flags and such like.
    So thanks again for the article, but not for the reaction it inspires in the silent suffering majority of fans…( That’s my guess 🙂 )

    1. In Brundel’s defense I think his phrase probably sums it up.. “Vettel, he does not talk on the grid anymore… moving on”. He tries to find the drivers and personell, but they are either not there or not talking, especially in the tight Monaco grid.

  36. Thanks to films like TAKEN, the gaggle of bodyguards might be the only way these kids’ parents might feel comfortable letting them wander round such crowd-intense places like the F1 Paddock and Cannes.

  37. So you were almost run over by the Mole, some new Penelopes and they were being chased by some American reality show girl? Why, isn’t that strange…

  38. I suppose one positive point, (if there is one), is that these American Celebrities are at least famous for being famous, which is one step up from the trend here in the UK, where our Celebs are famous for being morons or train-wrecks..Joey Middlesex, Jade Baddy and Kerry Kadaver spring to mind..maybe there is hope after all.

  39. I was already sighing to see that ‘levigne’ with her shallow attitude on the grid… and then they had to take my cringing to the maximum with those three nobodies.

    The ‘plastic’ glamour of Monaco these days are rather a pain to watch… doesn’t help that Sky F1 is going with it so much.

    The problem for me is mostly that they take themselves so seriously and think they are so important. The amount of bodyguards alone was laughable seeing how many popular or important people were there without any.

    1. Common get a life. I remember Prince Bira and hallowed Sir Stirling Moss with hands all over the girls at the NZ Grand Prix at Ardmore in the “50’s……………..

      1. I fail to see the relevance of what groping in the 50’s has to do with me having a problem that these ‘nobodies’ take themselves too serious compared to most of the other persons attending a GP.
        (that being said: two wrongs don’t make a right)

        I don’t mind them being around, F1 has always been filled with celebs. It’s the attitude they displayed.

  40. I fail to understand the fascination people have with celebrities. Just a bunch of spoiled brats and attention seekers.

  41. The only Kardashian I know is Robert Kardashian, who was OJ Simpson’s friend/lawyer. Very memorable for the look of utter disbelief on his face when the ”not guilty” verdict was read out despite him being on OJ’s defense team.

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