That’s entertainment

So, Bernie says that Formula 1 is an entertainment business.

OK, so the FIA Prizegiving Gala is an invitation-only affair at the Lido nightclub in Paris, largely for FIA club presidents. Lewis gets his trophy from whom?

Here is how NASCAR does it in Las Vegas.

Of course we’re so cool in F1 that we cannot learn anything from these hayseeds in the United States, but… click on the picture to see how entertainment is done.

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46 thoughts on “That’s entertainment

  1. Thanks for that, Joe.

    For some time now F1 has survived, not thrived but survived, despite itself. Because it’s still fast, aggressive, colorful and sexy. Because humans will always need to go faster than the other guy. Because we need heroes.

    For of all those reasons, I can’t be pessimistic.

    I can be angry at the blinkered, self-absorbed clowns at the helm of our sport. And I can be fearful of how long it’ll take to undo the damage they’re inflicting. But pessimistic? Nahhh. As long as someone still makes tires, and someone else engines, there’ll always be someone to bolt the former to the latter and go racing.

    And I’ll be there to watch, and so will you Joe. And probably a whole bunch of us. Hell, it’ll be like a party. The way it should be.

    See you there!

  2. Those Americans 😊 Thank you Joe, it’s nice to hear a gentleman like Jeff Gordon speak about his career in NASCAR and how much he will miss all of his fans and teammates ..
    F1 could learn a thing or two about taking racing to the fans from the folks in NASCAR that’s for sure ..

  3. Wow, Cole Trickle himself! I wonder what those “hardcore fans” of F1 think right now who e.g. consider even the individual numbers on the cars “too much NASCAR” that “has no place in F1” (<- true story that)

  4. A bunch of self serving money grubbing amateurs compared to people who really know the worth of their supporters.
    Shame on you Bernie!!

    1. Cole Trickle, not a patch on the man himself the original, Dick Trickle.

      “In a time in which athletes were really getting overly sensitive to what we and everyone was starting to do, his attitude was, ‘Hey, you guys made me money, all I’ve got to do is put up with a little giggling and I have to put up with the giggling anyway,” Olbermann said (via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

      “But this is a guy that got in a car, drove it as fast as it would go, that would light up a butt, smoke at 160 mph. There was just something spectacularly old-school about him.”

      R.I.P Dick Trickle

      1. Although the Cole Trickle character was inspired by Tim Richmond rather than Dick Trickle.

        NASCAR was still smarting from a) losing one of its star drivers to AIDS and b) treating the man so appallingly during his final year and after his death. It still hasn’t made much progress towards atonement.

        Days of Thunder was an airbrush job on the Richmond story but it did end up laying the groundwork for a new and much more NASCAR-friendly young buck to come through: J. Gordon, esq.

        It’s also still the best Hollywood effort at a Motorsport story yet seen. That is as a piece of popular entertainment, rather than a loving/indulgent piece like Grand Prix or Le Mans.

  5. Wow, Joe, thanks for sharing that. A great celebration of Jeff’s career, and a fantastic illustration of what we could have in F1. This is how Schumacher’s career could have been celebrated a few year’s ago for example.

  6. In addition to the show, I thought the way Jeff handled himself was also very impressive. Spoke well with real emotion.

  7. Well said Joe, I’ve said it before on the forum and I’ll say it again (one more time 😁) Bernie does Exclusive and the world of entertainment/media has gone Inclusive….

    1. You nailed it. The only problem is it’s hard to be exclusive when the golden goose (the public that votes with their wallet) stops giving a f**k about a fast becoming blasé sport.

      The FIA should be tasked with governing the sport to ensure it’s appeal. The promoter should then have the task of promoting the product the FIA is the custodian of. If the FIA do their job right the promotor should have a great product to promote.

      Perhaps the real issue has been there was no alternative promoter to Eccelstone so the FIA has nowhere to go to shop the rights (even if they could fix the 100 yr deal debacle)

  8. To think it worth providing entertainment you have to care about the spectators, which Berne and CVC clearly do not.

    Pay TV is a surefire way to massively reduce TV viewing numbers, which in turn will drive away the sponsors (good luck to McLaren trying to preserve the rate card in this environment).

    Bernie and CVC don’t care about this in the short term because they get their over large slice of the pie anyway – by screwing the circuits they screw the spectators as prices for entry and everything once in are ridiculous because the circuits are trying to break even.

    Bernie is clearly an intelligent man and must see this – so he’s either trying to devalue F1 so he can buy it cheap or he’s unfolding a burnt earth strategy so it’s ruined when he’s gone. You’d think if he’s bothered about a legacy leaving a healthy, functioning and increasingly popular sport would be what you’d aim for.

    Why oh why don’t the circuits get together and stand up to Bernie – if they lose F1 they can’t be much worse off surely and I suspect Berne needs the circuits more than they need F1.

    Why oh why don’t the teams wade in and demand free to air TV so that they can attract sponsors again?

    I assume that Ron Dennis laying into CVC was not an isolated incident – just one that we heard about. These are intelligent guys and surely even they can see past their egos to stand together to protect their sport – they must care about it even if Bernie/CVC don’t.

    The problem is that when the owners/asset strippers/regulators don’t seem to care that makes it very hard for fans to feel they should either. When there is so much competition for our attention, and so much of it is easier and cheaper to access and engages you better then F1 will just spiral downwards faster and faster.

    If that is Bernie/CVC’s intention then they are certainly succeeding. Shame on them all.

    1. ‘…or he’s unfolding a burnt earth strategy so it’s ruined when he’s gone.’

      I’m genuinely surprised more people haven’t examined this possibility. When you look at his actions (not his words; his actions) over the past few years it’s almost the only logical explanation. The other is gross stupidity, and I don’t think BE does gross stupidity.

    2. Bernie’s legacy will be a museum filled with used overpriced designer handbags accumulated by his wives and attention seeking offspring, what a waste of a lifes work. How noveau riche, not quite the philanthropy of the Vanderbilt’s, Carnegies or the recently enlightened Mark Zuckerberg.

      Who would have thought a London based Brit. at the heart of the original empire would be the one with a family behaving like the Clampett’s from the Beverley Hillbillies.

      Put nothing back Bernie, the London Hillbillies says it all. I hope they all enjoy swimming in the cee-ment pond.

      1. I read a story about Bernie this weekend. He donated serious money to the parish church where he grew up for a new roof.

        Over the years, I have read so many conflicting stories about Bernie’s tightness and generosity that I believe both sides to be true. Over the years, I have watched Bernie interviews about the brilliance of contemporary F1 and the magic of the past. When Bernie talks about Jochen Rindt or Stuart Lewis-Evans (which he rarely does on camera), you hear the emotion. He is a very complex man.

        I’d love to meet up for tapas and a few glasses with Steve Jobs, Bernie Ecclestone and Henry Ford. They all disparaged the past.

        Henry Ford established a museum of American cultural history. Steve Jobs gave away Apple’s history collection to enthusiasts because they would best look after it. Bernie Ecclestone has a fine collection of historic racing cars; he did a deal with Audi for the right to build replica Auto Unions.

        “History is bunk”, remember.

        1. Thirteen years later, however, Henry Ford opened the outdoor history museum Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.( Maybe History was not entirely bunk after all, or was old Henry fairly certain that Legacy wasn’t bunk)

          Perhaps Bernie should have donated some extra funds for a new confessional.

          Bernie seems to wax away fondly over F1’s past because those heroes, legends and myths provide a pedigree to sell F1 and keep the milking going. Modern day F1 is dull and becoming increasingly a hard sell, especially at the prices they want to command to be part of the club and access their ‘Exclusivity’. I don’t care which team it is, once you have a tech dominant team effortlessly knocking out 1-2’s every G.P, season after season, wheres the Racing?

          Modern day F1 is the equivalent of a corporation that shows false growth through expansion, when the expansion stops, no more positive false growth numbers to quote and oops the house of cards starts falling. This economic growth obsession is required to Hoover money out of the sport for Leech venture capitalists, there only hope is that a new venue should be interesting as it is new, no investment in the racing spectacle itself. You can’t just harvest all the time, you have to plant some seeds once in a while.

          Who took money from the V.C leeches initially, squirrelled away the cash and made the deal with the devil? Theres the Legacy.

          Joe to his credit has been applying a healthy dose of salt to these leeches this season in an effort to detach them. The rest of the toothless F1 media credible as well as monkeys should get on board, but that would require balls and conviction – too dangerous.

    3. Shaun Brennan: “Pay TV is a surefire way to massively reduce TV viewing numbers, which in turn will drive away the sponsors (good luck to McLaren trying to preserve the rate card in this environment).”

      A rate card is used to sell advertising to companies which sell products directly to consumers. If you want to buy a full page advert in the Mail on Sunday, there are prices for location and exclusivity. The Financial Times probably works differently.

      McLaren doesn’t have a rate card. McLaren and most other F1 teams sell advertising space to multinational companies. Companies don’t pay for an advert on the car — which viewers blank out — but for the opportunity to use the association in other adverts and promotions. If Brennan’s Irish Whiskey sponsored an F1 team, you’d make sure that the connection was displayed in off licences. Much F1 sponsorship is business to business promotion conducted by people in suits. Some is less formal (less generous), taking the people who sell stuff to dealers or consumers to a race.

      One-off race sponsorship still occurs at a team like McLaren. Assume that the team will demand as much as they think they can get away with, playing off one bidder against another.

      McLaren is in a pickle but I am sure that they still put on a magnificent show for sponsors. When McLaren start winning, they’ll put on a better show and charge for it…

  9. The F1 world suffers from a form of Ameri-phobia. (You’re even guilty of it sometimes yourself, Joe. 😉

    We are all fat, gun slinging, red meat eating, gas guzzling polluters who hate everyone but ourselves. At least that’s how were seen by most in the paddock and those at FOM/FIA/Princes Gate.

    While I’m no huge fan of NASCAR (mainly for eschewing their main fan base in favor of the temporary masses and going too far to the entertainment side of sport) the fans generally do come first.

    So as long as the little man with the 3 Stooges haircut remains in control of the sport, and a pompous little Napolean runs the FIA, America will still be the rebel colonists or the rednecks running in circles, and any hint of learning from NASCAR will firmly be rejected.

    1. I am just so glad that you (and you alone) understand so much about my feelings for your country – and the people who inhabit it.

  10. F1 could do this, if someone, whoever, would put up the money for the end-of-season party/celebration/blow-out.

  11. 100% correct, F1 is ignorant of actually how to entertain anyone, apart from die hard fans like me. How I wish for fresh leadership and some clear transparent rules! Dream on I guess…

  12. Here in the States the Heisman Trophy Award for the best college football/gridiron player (it seldoms selects one who later stars in the NFL but is widely known nevertheless) will be broadcast next Saturday evening primetime. Granted it is ESPN but that’s a popular cable network. It has been on television since 1977. For those who are unfamiliar, college football is very popular, universities such as Michigan and Tennessee draw 100,000 a game (6 or so home dates). How many F1 venues do that?

  13. Hi Joe! Well, the F1 people do it their way because it emphasises exclusivity and the snob value of money, the whole cliquey thing of being part of the ‘right crowd’ versus the Nascar thing which emphasises accessibility to the people who pay for the sport. F1 is all about telling people that they are NOT part of the sport. Nascar and Indy are saying the opposite.

    1. It is amazing how cheap it is to get some level of paddock access at a NASCAR event — and how friendly teams act with the fans.

    2. Its an interesting observation but where does it come from? Ferrari is kind of exclusive, right? McLaren, exclusive. Monaco is surly exclusive. The fundamental names within F1 are fundamentally exclusive, F1 is not fighting against its native values it is in fact promoting them. I personally don’t mind the exclusivity thing, it helps the sport feel distant and give context to a single viewers expectation of experience, as in seeing it all through a peep hole.
      With that said, lets talk about one of the teams which has spent more money than any other over the past five years Red Bull. Do you see the contradiction, I mean, Red Bull, as in 14 year old kids on skate boards already smoking pot. This is down market to a degree its hard to see from the vantage point of traditional F1. But F1 loves Red Bull because of their money and their willingness to spend, so its exclusivity to a point then its all about the money. This is a sign that FOM does want the money but they don’t seem to understand how to get more of it, they are stuck. Red Bull came in and suddenly it was like a waterfall of money spending, FOM did nothing to create this new money and thats their experience with getting more money in the sport, they are lost.
      Personally I would like to see Red Bull gone, FOM is so in love with guaranteed easy money that they have allowed the considerable weight of Red Bull money spending to shift the axis of balance within F1. As I have been saying for years 14 year old boys don’t buy Ferraris, they are the definition of fickle, they are Snapchat for your wedding photo album. If F1 really wants the exclusivity thing they would turn away from Red Bull and the phantom audience they represent. If anyone in the entertainment business tries to build their (ticket selling, TV, sponsor based) industry on the consumers of Red Bull, as F1 kind of has, thats an industry in trouble.
      Now for my contradiction. There is a way F1 can play the exclusivity card while at the same time attracting a larger audience, it dos require real effort in engagement. I am not an expert but many exist and FOM should hire them. It starts with selling what ya got, and F1 should sell the exclusivity thing, but they need to walk the talk as well. This video of Jeff Gordon is an extraordinary view into the right way of doing things, and it losses no exclusivity. F1 should do the year end awards show at the Grand Palais, offer some kind of fan engagement where they can sit in the audience or hand a winner an award, exclusive yet engagement. Social media would be another big player here with created videos that arrive for each team between races, often making reference to something that is in the F1 news. Using humor, history, and other forms of the medium create a product that is consumed in a way a boring race is not. Tell Blackberry to show off their phones by shooting a series with their camera phones etc. Engagement would grow the pie not just the percentage of a slice for FOM. This whole thing could take 30 pages to detail by an expert, it can be done.
      I like the exclusivity but I also think F1 can do better at the fan engagement and do both at the same time. The new power unit has been an expensive flop for fan engagement but a boon to exclusivity, so there’s that.

  14. Self serving pomp and circumstance is one of the best ways of engaging your core fan base and allowing the people in the sport to be seen in a different light. The night before Wrestlemania, they have a hall of fame. Celebrating the history of the wrestling and engaging the fan base. Looks like NASCAR do something similar. At the start of the World Cup final, the players pass the trophy… The trophy is almost iconic and synonymous with the biggest prize in football. In F1, the championship trophies being presented behind closed doors, most of the general public can’t ever connect up the dots. You need to connect the past to the present. The presenters try, but having those images of new F1 champions being crowned being given the trophy, from Senna to Schumacher to Hamilton and Vettel would be a the simplest and most iconic way of bringing all that together. The last race of the year should always feature the presentation of the trophy. They could do it on the start finish straight after the race. The drivers could form a guard of honour. You could actually make a spectacle out of the whole thing. Celebrate the sport, celebrate your history, celebrate the champion.

    F1 does spectacle fantastically well, and then let’s itself down because the people in charge of the sport don’t capture every opportunity to hammer home history, and remind us why it’s so good. The best we have is that when there’s a championship decider, there’ll likely be a picture with the contenders sat on a barrier. Good job F1.

  15. While I’m not a fan of the sport or their direction with it… I am immensely jealous because they know where they want to go, what they are and how to promote themselves.

  16. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Prize Giving ceremony has expanded over the years into its own show, whether it was New York or now in Las Vegas, into Champion’s Week. Circuits and sponsors were each given tickets for fans to win, and included a motorsport marketing seminar for all motorsport circuits, show cars and souvenir sales in another location, fun and games with the Sprint Cup Challenger 16 (though one driver was unable to make it because of a travel ban after knee surgery after a basketball incident – Denny Hamlin is often seen at NBA games), the National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Luncheon (prize giving for certain awards, mostly team awards, named for two brothers killed in the 1950’s NASCAR action, their children and grandchildren are active in the sport today), a makeshift lap around the city, and another drivers forum, before they go to their prize giving ceremony.

    The 2015 Prize Giving was presented by game show host Drew Carey, and under the current format the drivers who advanced to the semifinal rounds were each given a full speech. (Prior to the 2014 changes, the top 10 drivers each made a speech.) The other eight drivers eliminated in the first two knockout rounds are given a short interview in groups. The non-champion in the Championship 4 and the Eliminator Round drivers were given a star presenter to introduce them, followed by a short video, and the driver’s speech. The Champion is introduced by the host, and presented with the ring and charm ceremony, before being presented the trophy, followed by his speech. As is the case, all 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup champions have banners across the banquet hall for the ceremony.

    Gordon’s ceremony was designated important because this was his last prizegiving, and NASCAR planned to award him the Bill France Award of Excellence, which is the Lifetime Achievement Award in the sport.

    An interesting note: Tom Cruise’s character in “Days of Thunder” was inspired by a Hendrick driver (Tim Richmond), and Hendrick provided the cars for filming. Robert Duvall’s character was inspired by Harry Hyde (a crew chief), and the in-movie jokes were based on real stories. City Chevrolet is a real dealership by Hendrick in Charlotte.

    And Eliminator Round driver Kurt Busch flew to Thunderhill Raceway in California after Champions Week ended to participate in a 25-hour sportscar race that is currently happening as this is being written. The team is leading class as of this moment (6:15 PM PT).

    Also kudos to the NASCAR promotional arm. They used the broadcast to plug the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and tickets for the 24 Hours.

  17. No comment from anyone at the LIdo on Friday night .
    It was dreadful, shaming and embarrassing that a world body could do such a poor job. The concession to the world to run the evening in English was totally compromised by using a pair of French-supermarket openers I guess -whose ‘splinglish ‘ was so bad that the native English speakers could not understand it, Heaven knows how those with English as a second language managed.
    The film clips for the various championships were virtually all crashes followed by a shot of the team manager or co driver.
    The liquid hospitality ran out 2 hours before the end but then was available if you paid for more-even water.
    The best bit was when the organisers called Bernie up for the ”Bernie ”awards, and as soon as he had staggered onto the stage they turned the lights off , put on another crash show and sent him back to his table -unamused could not get anywhere near it, he was livid when he came back to do the real thing.
    One of the award winners told me that the organisation backstage was chaos as well they had no idea what they were meant to do on stage.
    The Brit on my table assured me the HSCC put on a better show and the Dane compared it to watching five GP on the trot.
    Re your earlier Joe the topless girls were on duty and got, well, four out of five.
    The FIA nil.

      1. Ah, so there IS a penalty you pay for your criticisms. From the description by Supersox they did you a favor by excluding you.

        Have you been invited in prior years?

  18. Such a touching speech from Jeff Gordon, I’m going to miss him so much next year. After watching Jeff race for 20 years, it will be a very strange sight to watch NASCAR without seeing him on the track. When I was very young and first started watching NASCAR, I could not stand Jeff. As with most NASCAR fans who disliked him in the beginning, it didn’t take long before I was a fan — it was impossible not to be because he was so good.

    I hope Supersox’s comment above is not true. If so, that’s quite depressing. I just don’t understand why F1 can’t get it together with events like this and social media, it’s really not that hard. It’s probably more difficult to this bad of a job than a half-assed one, it’s almost like it’s being done purposely.

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