Debate: A1 Grand Prix

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The third season of the A1 Grand Prix ‘World Cup of Motorsport’ starts this weekend at the former Grand Prix circuit Zandvoort. Will you be watching?

Started in late 2005 amid much fanfare, A1GP pits drivers from different countries against each other in identical, but fairly low-powered cars. Former F1 racers Ralph Firman, Narain Karthikeyan, Alex Yoong, Christian Fittipaldi, Hideki Noda and Patrick Friescaher, Jos Verstappen have competed in the championship.

What’s your opinion of the series as it enters its third season?

Is it a welcome addition to the racing calendar – particularly in the months when many championships aren’t racing?

Have you watched any races on TV or at the track? Do you think it is trying to be a rival to F1 – and if so, can it ever be successful?

I’ve kept an eye on A1GP and watched most of the races – I went to Brands Hatch for the finale to the 2006-07 season earlier this year and saw some excellent racing.

I definitely enjoy the races but at the moment I think it has too many weak drivers, perhaps because the cars don’t have very much power and hence aren’t seen as a useful step towards F1 for younger drivers.

Perhaps that will change in the future, however, as driver like Nico H??lkenberg who excelled in A1 look to move towards F1.

Read more about A1 Grand Prix at Maximum Motorsport.

Photo: A1GP Media

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Debate: A1 Grand Prix”

  1. I’ve only seen it on occasions previously, but now I have Sky myself I think I will follow it fairly seriously. Partly to fill the long winter months without F1, and partly because I think the series will be a bit fresher than F1, which has gotten a touch stale with all the poltics and dull racing. The two-race format with a longer sprint race and grids both decided on quali times and not race results will definitely improve the show. I doubt it will replace F1 or even truly rival it, either for me or in the motorsports world in general, and I think the national aspect of it is a little bit superfluous, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

    I think the 2nd “mystery pitstop” idea for the feature race is a bit daft though.

  2. a) I do not like the “World Cup Of Motorsport” claims… Sounds a bit ridiculous

    b) I see their major weakness in almost zero interest in this series in the markets they built it for. Watch the Asian races on TV, the grandstands are empty, nobody there … People fill up the grandstands in Europe only… They should move more races to European tracks, but they can’t if they run this series in the “offseason”. Winter time in Europe is not exacactly open wheel racing friendly.

    It does not look like the series makes money or even breaks even. They need to re-think their marketing, perhaps focus more on the drivers less on the countries. Unless some fundamental changes happen or they get somehow lucky, this series may not survive… I read an interview with the Czech team manager few days back. They were already considering not to enter this season. He said they were hesitating for quite a while. At the end they decided to enter in order not to jeopardize the whole series. Other teams were apparently ready to follow their example should they quit … The main income for A1 I believe is from the fees the countries pay to run the teams… If they want to keep the teams in, they will not be able to ask them for more money … Where is the needed cash going to come from ? TV ? They may have to pay the TV stations to show them … Spectators ? 3-4 sell out crowds in Britain, Holland, Brno will not save them …

  3. I am in India, we get to watch it on ESPN or Star Sports channels. I tried to get interested in it, but the racing just does not look impressive on TV. Something to do with camera angles? Even F1 does not look fast on TV – and A1GP often looks like one big mess on the screen where I can hardly figure out which car is which. I was hoping for super television coverage, but that has not happened yet.

  4. It also wouldn’t hurt if A1 did a redesign on the car they use, which in my opinion is one of the ugliest open-wheelers out there.

  5. Its great close racing just a bit amatuer. The first race about 10 cars jumped the start and they did nothing about it. The marshalls are also very silly and dangerous and a safety car comes out in EVERY race

  6. Lots of clowns in the cars.

    The racing’s sometimes quite entertaining though. I’ll probably try to catch the odd race over the winter, as there’s not much else going on.

  7. It’s pretty popular here in NZ as it gets good TV coverage, our team performs well and takes it seriously. I think the criticisms in other comments are fair though and I’d like to see the series mature a bit (and dump some of the old placeholder drivers from some countries in favour of fresh talent).

  8. My opinion of A1 is the same as my opinion of ChampCar, which actually, is pretty good. A1 is hard to watch (that is, hard to find a broadcast) though.

    I also wish their commentators would refer to the drivers by their names instead of having to guess who they mean by “USA tries to get around France”.

    The “World Cup of Motorsport” thing is a gimmick, but so push-to-pass. It doesn’t hurt the product if you take it for what it is. It is not the greatest motorsport in the world, but I don’t think it has to be, either.

    I don’t disagree with the person that wants a chassis redesign; it doesn’t look cheap like the Indy chassis but it hardly carries the “futurism” of F1 or exposed carbon fiber look of the current Champ Car.

  9. I’d like to, but without Sky, I’ve no hope…

  10. Agree with chunter. ‘USA getting around France’ is silly. Looks, yes. Tin can looks. But I suppose with most cars being the same except for setup, the close racing sometimes gets too close indeed.

  11. The liveries hurt my eyes and look like inspirational nationalistic airbrushed paintings from the eighties.

    If they had taste, technology, drivers, a bit more power and actual coverage then it’d be easier to convince the public this wasn’t an experiment. As is, it seems about as successful as a race series with teams based on Futbol.

  12. Another thing A1GP could use, and actually use well, in time…

    Two car teams.

    I think that would bring their field well past 40 cars, and because of that, they’d need a qualifying format that eliminates a quarter to half of them per race.

  13. Alistair Aldridge
    17th October 2007, 3:08

    What if the A1 Teams were issued last years F1 winners car!
    So we could see if it realy is the machine or the man. Then I think all the F1 drivers outside of a drive would JUMP at the chance to race a ‘clone’ of Shue’s 06 Ferrari Mansil, Mika, Damon and even Ralph and Jack, webber, Colthard etal out to prove “IF’ They had That car…” AND the F1 Fanatics would flock to watch, great gage of skill and technology.

    Wow Then I would watch!

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