New F1 Racing vs old F1 Racing

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We’ve had a few discussions here about F1 Racing magazine before – I’ve been consdering junking my subscription in favour of the new-look Motorsport magazine.

This month new F1 Racing editor Hans Seeberg has rolled out a totally redesigned magazine – everything bar the logo seems to have been completely overhauled. Here’s the verdict.

New look

A change from the slightly over-designed look of old is definitely welcome. The brief for the new style appears to have been maximum impact on every page and overall effect is rather like being shouted at by someone: “KUBICA DRIVERS F1 CAR ON THE ROAD” is the leading headline on the revised PITPASS section. Where the old design often crammed several stories into one page, now we usually get a story to a page.

It evokes strong memories of free paddock magazine Red Bulletin, albeit toned down. The photography is as striking as ever and remains one of the magazine’s strengths.

The Grand Prix reviews are now branded as “Peter Windsor’s Race Report” which is a sensible move as Windsor’s approach to race reportage is quite distinctive. And I liked the aerial photograph Grand Prix previews too (although using an out-of-date picture of Magny-Cours this month was unfortunate) and I’m looking forward to seeing the Valencia and Singapore ones.


You-know-who is on the cover looking moody and the editor himself is behind the big interview. Those of you who hated the old interviews where Matt Bishop would give us long lectures in italics on his chosen subject will probably prefer the straight Q&A format now being used.

In Pitpass more serious subjects seem to be eschewed in favour of lighter stories – Michael Schumacher on motorbikes and Kimi Raikkonen buys a car elbows aside the old F1 Expose and F1 Science pages.

I thought the Paddock Spy page showing various new aerodynamic parts would have benefitted from some technical insight into the various developments, rather than lame jokes. And why was the Honda Dumbo wing in it twice?

In terms of correspondents Eddie Jordan’s column is gone (and is not missed), Windsor and Alan Henry remain and Murray Walker joins in with two pages. A net gain, I feel. I do enjoy the new “you ask the questions” interviews which were experminted with under the old guard but seem to have become a regular feature under Seeberg.


My first impressions based on the new style are generally positive. It’s packed with features (but will it thin out after the relaunch issue?) and seems to have a few more historically-focused articles than before.

I know some people deeply dislike Peter Windsor but I find his highly individual style a refreshing break from the norm – and he does root out some insightful details that others overlook.

On the down side, the new look is too tabloid for my taste and Pitpass had virtually nothing of interest in it. I’d rather have the kind of analytical articles that used to be found here, not dated news culled from three week-old blog posts.

Motorsport still has it out-flanked in terms of having a greater number of quality writers with Nigel Roebuck, Gordon Kirby, Simon Taylor, Bill Boddy and more. Its website is also miles ahead of F1 Racing’s.

And, though this is purely down to my own personal taste, Motorsport covers more than just Formula 1. Of course I wouldn’t expect F1 Racing to cover Le Mans or the Indy Car reunification (although there is a feature on the Peugeot Le Mans team this month) but still it’s part of the reason I’ve come to prefer Motorsport.

In the end it comes down to a matter of taste: some people like F1 Racing, some people don’t. I’m halfway between the two camps, but I’m happy to shell out an extra 75p per month for Motorsport, which I still think is the better magazine.

Have you picked up the new F1 Racing? What do you think of it?

Author information

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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23 comments on “New F1 Racing vs old F1 Racing”

  1. I am firmly in the camp of preferring the old F1 Racing. I think it has gone right ‘downmarket’ under the new editorship, in an attempt to gain a more general readership. That’s fine, but it won’t be me on a regular basis anymore, although I’ll flick and choose at the shelf to see if there is anything in that I really want to read – I particularly like Peter Windsor. I’d not bought Motor Sport for years, but in its new format it is superb. I’m with Keith in enjoying the other areas of motor sport being covered and I am a massive fan of Roebuck’s – signing him up was enough to make me switch.

  2. Robert McKay
    17th June 2008, 12:57

    “Those of you who hated the old interviews where Matt Bishop would give us long lectures in italics on his chosen subject will probably prefer the straight Q&A format now being used.”

    That’s a shame: I did like those interviews. It was revealing to know precisely what the interviewer was trying to achieve by asking a particular set of questions, and precisely what they thought of the answer recieved. More illuminating than just asking the question – it was like having a body-language translator.

    Anyway, I stopped bothering with F1 Racing months ago. Not for any particular editorial reasons, it just became increasingly odd to me when you’d have 4 GPs in 5 weeks and the magazine you were reading was left behind so quickly. I tend to go to Autosport a lot more now, partly because of the wider subject range and partly because it’s more up to date, but the internet is more useful these days.

  3. I’m with Robert McKay – those interviews from Matt Bishop were often as enlightening as they were informing. I want to find out about the real characters in F1, not just who their sponsors are!

    He may have been criticised for it, but his rant at Ralf Schumacher last year really gave you an idea of what Ralf is like to deal with.

  4. I used to have a motorsport subscription.

    while roebuck makes excellent articles, too much adverts and too many historical articles for my liking now.

    other publication feel too biased towards certain drivers and teams, I feel Murray Walker, Roebuck, Mark Hughes and Ted Kravitz are the only ones that aren’t.

  5. Kevin Queally
    17th June 2008, 13:56

    I disagree with the comment on the Eddie Jordan article. I think he gives a valuable insight into the modern F1 compared to the last decade and the improvements that can be made to the sport, especially with regard to privateers. Lets face it he’s been there……

  6. Don’t have much to add having never held either magazine, but I wonder if I’m the only one who, scanning a bit to quickly, was caught out trying to figure out the nature of the “car elbow” Kimi was buying =)

  7. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    17th June 2008, 14:12

    i suscribe to f1 racing and i feel the magazine was alot better 10 years ago. back then the race reports were a few pages long. Personally i cant stand peter windsors race reports they center around one driver and he spends more time talking about the practice sessions than the actual race.

    the magazine is also taking the itv approach of disregarding every driver on the grid bar hamilton. im a big hamilton fan but its beyond a joke hes been on the front cover about 7 times already. they made no attempt to get alonsos side of last year at maclaren which would have been a good interview i think.

    i still find alot of the magazine good to read and i will continue buying it i just hope this new look doesnt carry on being so hamilton orientated

  8. I liked the Matt Bishop italics. They were in italics for a good reason, too: If you didn’t like it, you could skip it altogether. But if you like it (which I did), you could dig in and see the interviewer’s thought process at work. It’s also a pretty neat way of learning interview techniques.

    Peter Windsor can be a bit odd. His unusual style produced erratic results (at least for me). Sometimes, his articles were spot-on. Other times, they seemed to be drifting with no real sense of purpose.

    And… ANOTHER Lewis Hamilton interview? Didn’t they just do that back in January? (Although I do understand that Stuart Codling was still the EIC then.) But even so, it seems they’re running out of people to put on the cover, even if they really aren’t.

  9. I like the new issue. I think the articles are fun and interesting to read. I like all the old F1 storys which I love hearing about.

    I also noticed the out of date picture at Magny Cours (tut tut)

  10. I buy F1Racing every month and have been doing so since the August 1998 issue. In that time its changed a lot, and generally I’d say its gone downhill. I’ve not yet seen this new format, but I have a few general criticisms of things that I hope will change soon.

    Its become more of a fashion magazine than anything. The photography has always been first rate, but I have no interest in seeing full page portrait shots of Nico Rosberg looking swanky wearing an expensive suit in a Monaco casino. If I want that sort of thing, I’ll pick up my girlfriend’s Cosmo thankyouverymuch.

    I’ve always thought that drivers further down the grid have gotten a raw deal too. The top four/five drivers in any given season dominate the magazine features, which you could argue makes sense, but I wish they’d give the same sort of coverage to the likes of Sutil and Bourdais. The drivers and teams battling for 19th place put in no less effort and commitment than those that are winning and their stories deserve telling.

    Overall, the magazine seems to be slowly but continuously dumbing-down. There are a lot of well-written articles, but they’re becoming increasingly hard to spot in amongst all the glossy fashion shoots.

  11. Some of F1 Racing’s changes are for the better. But I can’t get over the new tabloid look, its hideous to me, too much in-your-face boldness, I preferred the previous look.
    Also the fact that “F1 Science” and “F1 Expose” is out now is just stupid. Even though most of the time the info was out of date thanks to the internet, some insights were fresh and the magazine picked up on the details.
    Overall, I think it has gone ever so slightly downhill. I miss the F1 Racing before the millenium.

    Motorsport and Autosport are the way to go for me now. I’ve got a supscription to F1 Racing as a gift for Christmas, but I won’t be renewing it when it expires.

  12. I would rather be patronised by Matt Bishop that be treated like a tabloid-reading idiot. Big letters shouting at you, distasteful jokes and an attitude towards Hamilton that is starting to make me hate the guy even if he is a top driver. I was a subscriber until this month but i am finding F1 racing increasingly an irrelevant publication.

  13. Maybe the solution is a new magazine of the shelves – F1Fanatic.

    Written by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts!

    Now we just need a bunch of paddock passes…

  14. Robert McKay
    17th June 2008, 18:09

    “Maybe the solution is a new magazine of the shelves – F1Fanatic.
    Written by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts!
    Now we just need a bunch of paddock passes…”

    Now THAT’S an idea! :-D

  15. I buy that idea…. sounds great. I’m sure anybody here has some valuable points that would turn Peter Windsor’s chronicles into some kind of children story. I have a single idea about F1 Racing. I like F1 because I like what it is: a very complex world where drivers and technology play its part. I want in depth coverage about technical solutions, development, tactical issues and drivers abilities. If I can’t find that stuff inside this each time more donwhilled magazine it worths nothing to me. Easy.

  16. For any fan who wants more than a screaming headline, Motorsport is a better choice. Yes, it’s got NASCAR and some other stuff but when it comes to F1, there is more depth and meat to their articles than an entire issue of F1 Racing.

    I have been picking up F1 Racing for almost a decade – until this year. One issue of Motorsport with Nigel Roebuck and I was sold. Never going back.

    Personally I don’t enjoy Peter Windsor’s writing – it’s incredibly arrogant and self serving. I have a lot more respect for people who can admit when they are wrong.

    Losing Eddie Jordan won’t hurt F1 Racing at all but too little too late for this fan.

    Sorry, obviously I got up on the wrong side of the bed Keith – your topic choice today really unleashed some animosity towards the printed press. Perhaps a fan based mag is in order!

  17. motion carried.

    Keith, begin your takeover of future house publishing now.

    downside, you’ll be working even harder.
    plus side, you wont have to look at our comments.

  18. I haven’t seen the new issue yet, we only get it here by the end of the month or even later :-(

    but based on the pictures you published here, the new layout and design has very tabloid like feeling … can’t say I like that …

  19. Terry Fabulous
    18th June 2008, 10:38

    3 Reasons why I don’t read F1 Racing anymore/

    3. They pretend that F1 racing is just brilliant and won’t accecpt that dull processions where we all watch Kimi tool around behind Felipe for 20 laps, nail him in the pits and take the win, isn’t a hollow situation.

    2. Peter Windsor’s head disappeared up his backside 7 years ago. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr hit the nail on his head, his writing is very arrogant and he won’t admit he is wrong.

    1. Every Piece of news that they print has been published digested, analysed and superseded on the internet before it gets to print.

    And finally,
    Eddie Jordan has been discredited as a man, a businessman and as a F1 boss. Sentiment is the only reason why he wasn’t run out of town, Andrea Moda style.

  20. How utterly boring was the Hamilton interview (main feature) in the latest issue of F1 Racing? Bored me stiff and I blame this squarely on the interviewer. Some dull questions that were being asked this time last year about the trappings of fame and the pressures of his hectic schedule… yawn.

    I’ll give it a couple of months before considering putting a stop to my subscription.

  21. I’m quite mixed about the changes in F1 Racing, and I’m not sure which of those feelings will win out yet. I do know that I’ll be sticking with it for the foreseeable future. Partly this is because of the price difference compared to Motor Sport or Autosport on a regular basis (the former works out over £1 an issue dearer – long story – and the latter, being weekly, is considerably more). Partly it is due to its F1 focus; the only other motor sport I’m sufficiently interested in to be in the market for a regular magazine is MotoGP, and no magazines in the UK do F1 and MotoGP together.

    I can forgive Lewis being on the front cover (and the interview itself, because I’ve never heard Lewis give an exciting interview). For one thing, it’s the British Grand Prix build-up and F1 Racing always has a focus on what it perceives to be the “Best of British” for that issue. Secondly, it’s tough being a mid-market magazine and sometimes compromises have to be made. Also, Stuart Codling (the deputy editor) went to and explained why it was going to happen. It’s rare that sort of explanation is forthcoming, and it deserves some sort of kudos.

    I find Peter Windsor educative but frustrating. He’s very good at explaining stuff no other writer considers writing about, but he also has a habit of assuming stuff (statements prefaced with “Of course…” often turn out to be debatable) and writing false dilemmas, which mar the impression. His reports are good as far as they go, but I still miss (the original) F1 Magazine’s approach of having one page for every team plus a quick summary and stats.

    – The cover is better – since more stories get mentioned, I find it easier to find the issue I want to find a given item of information
    – Murray Walker’s been recruited (and been given lots of space)
    – The interviews are different to before; even the questions on tired subjects seem to be asked a different way
    – A wider variety of topics (this is a big plus for me)

    – The loss of the stats and other analytical section seriously reduce the news section’s utility in forum discussions – it’s amazing how many times some stats from F1 Racing has helped to settle a forum argument
    – Eddie Jordan’s been dropped
    – There seems to be more emphasis on the pictures (attractive for some people, but I buy magazines for the writing)
    – The removal of the explanations between questions (though some linking stuff remains between sections, so the situation could be considerably worse)

    The overall impression is that this is F1 Racing circa March 2001, plus a shiny border on the cover and minus some of the attempted humour.

    mJohnHurt, maybe the “car elbow” Kimi was buying was to defend himself against future collisions by errant rivals…

  22. Change is generally a good thing, but in this case it has been done in a crass and artless manner. A skillful re-boot of the magazine would have kept the hardcore F1 fans onboard whilst pulling in (and educating) the casual punters.

    All this new look does is desperately try to be the Hello of the F1 world, no doubt spurred on by all the new Lewis Hamilton ‘Fans’ (ie people who will have no interest in F1 in a few years/months time once Hamilton mania dies down).

    I am ex-subscriber – but after this new look launch – I am now an ex-reader too.

  23. I finally got my hands on a copy of the new magazine, and I’ve got to say it’s nothing short of crap. Is it actually to be taken seriously as a provider of information to the fan, or is it now just a tabloid, dragged down to the lowest common denominator? Who was the idiot who decided that all titles had to be bolder, dumber and followed by exclamation marks? The “FERRARI COCKPITS THROUGH THE AGES” title page requires reading at arm’s length.

    It’s a tabloid now, a lad mag in drag. What’s next, top 100 hundred sex tips from F1 drivers? The cover of Lewis Hamilton is so badly “airbrushed” that it makes one wonder if he ever stood in front of a camera at all. And the picture captions? They’re British for God’s sake. Isn’t there anyone there with a real sense of humour?

    The only positive that I can find is that the Race Report has been renamed after it’s author. Ugh. it was dying before, I’m thinking it was just taken off life-support.

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