Fans, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014

Ferrari concerned over F1’s falling popularity

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Fans, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014In the round-up: New Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene expresses concern over F1’s popularity.

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F1 risks empty grandstands – Arrivabene (ESPN)

Maurizio Arrivabene: “There is a problem over the appeal of the races. We must keep working to give people spectacle and emotions. We must work to bring Formula One closer to the fans, otherwise we risk ending up racing on our own in empty circuits.”

Christmas provides food for thought at Ferrari (Reuters)

“In a rhetorical flourish that [Luca di] Montezemolo would have approved of, [Sergio Marchionne] said the rules appeared to have been written by a bunch of bar room drunkards. But otherwise his message avoided hyperbole.”

Haas F1 acquires Marussia factory (Racecar Engineering)

“Gene Haas has acquired the former Marussia F1 facility in Banbury to use has the European base for his new Grand Prix team.”

Maldonado ‘doesn’t deserve’ bad image (Autosport)

Lotus trackside operations director: Alan Permane: “To work with, he’s one of the best drivers I’ve ever worked with – his feedback, how calm he is, nothing flusters him at all.”

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Comment of the day

Should a driver’s age or experience be what determines whether they get a chance to race in F1?

To me it doesn’t boil down to age at all, but rather the fact [Max Verstappen] jumped straight from karts to F3 and from there to F1. The lack of experience in lower racing classes.

An age limit only tries to circumvent that issue. Because if he was born six months earlier, he’d be of a legal age (depending on where you live). But then people would still be upset over it because he’s so young, they just wouldn’t be able to use the age argument.

What ‘fixes’ this issue is more the experience limits set for the 2016 rules, not the age limits.
@Maarten-f1

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On this day in F1

One-time F1 racer Warwick Brown turns 65 today. Brown substituted for the injured Chris Amon at Wolf in the 1976 United States Grand Prix. He took his Williams FW05 to the chequered flag despite a failing gearbox. Despite some heavy accidents Brown raced on in Formula 5000 and Can-Am, but retired from racing at the end of 1979.

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  • 94 comments on “Ferrari concerned over F1’s falling popularity”

    1. We gather that nothing flusters Maldonado from the fact he is not afraid to crash into anything!!

      I can see a lot of (former) Marussia (and maybe Caterham) employees working at Haas. I think this is a great thing he has bought the Marussia factory but people must not think that makes them the same team.

      1. I would suggest more Marussia, please don’t hire Mike Gascoyne, Haas…

    2. Annoyingly, F1 needs Ferrari. Next season when they’re struggling even more and threatening to quit, saying they “really mean it this time”, something will probably happen to help bridge the performance gap to the British-based teams.

      1. Don’t be cynical yet. I think the new Ferrari will give people the chance to actually be this cynical. The Fiat guy and the Philip Morris cowboy are going to press on F1 harder than Christian Horner. I think Ferrari is going to deserve the bad rep they have now, no more messing around for this money driven people, it’s all about results. Ferrari and F1 are intrinsic, which means that both need each over, they work in symbiosis.

        1. I believe it was Toto Wolfe and Mercedes that threatened to quit if the engines were rid of MGU-H, the exhaust recovery systems that have completely neutered the F1 sound of the last 40 years.

          GP2, WEC, and others are now all louder and more viscerally impressive than F1!

          And this, because Mercedes wants to use F1 as a proving ground for its production ERS systems. That’s not a conspiracy theory, that’s what Mercedes actually says. Repeatedly and clearly.

          So compare the motivations of Mercedes and its stated use of F1 for production technology testing, and Ferrari and its concern about the total racing experience – including that of spectators – and decide which is the true and honest F1 participant.

          1. Definitely Mercedes is the true and honest F1 participant, any team that wants to put noise and crash-bang excitement ahead of technical excellence should change over to NASCAR or V8 supercars.

          2. @Garry ‘Completely neutered’…’viscerally impressive’ are subjective and apply to your opinion and others, but do not make them fact.

            And there’s nothing wrong with Merc using F1 as a proving ground for ERS, but do not suggest that is the only reason they are there. They are also racers through and through, who just provided the globe’s spectators with a fantastic rivalry, which is a far cry from what Ferrari provided for the spectators when MS had his teammates under contract to not compete…in the pinnacle of racing, resulting in 100% predictability at Ferrari, and even outrage from the spectators that climaxed at Austria 02.

            You may claim Ferrari is for the spectators, and for the racing experience, and a true and honest F1 participant, but that is highly debatable, and may depend on whatever suits them to say/do as benefits themselves, often disregarding the fans and fairness all together.

            1. + whatever number this is by the time its allowed on site

            2. Thank you

            3. “And there’s nothing wrong with Merc using F1 as a proving ground for ERS, but do not suggest that is the only reason they are there.”

              OK, sure. Of course. It may not be the only reason they are there, but it’s most certainly the only reason that Toto Wolff has said they will quit, to wit “If we drop the current format I can assure you certain manufacturers would not be interested in supplying any other power unit…. That’s because of the stability and sustainability of the sport, and because of the road relevance of the hybrid technology.”

            4. @robbie
              spot on, as usual. And a giant +1 from me.

          3. The problem with that argument is that had Ferrari won by the same distance that Mercedes did this year, I can guarantee they’d be banging on about how the engines should stay exactly how they are and that F1 should be about technological advances etc.

            Ferrari realise that as things stand, they struggle to make a competitive car, nevermind a whole power unit! They won’t be able to catch up to Mercedes for a while so instead, they want everything changed again.

            1. Paul Sainsbury
              24th December 2014, 9:40

              It is a fair point that anyone with a big advantage would want to keep things the same. The sad truth though is that the cars are indeed thoroughly underwhelming in the flesh now, the old excitement has almost completely been removed.

            2. @Paul Sainsbury Is it that the cars are underwhelming, or is it the way the rules dictate they are to be raced?

              IMHO there is too much emphasis on conservation of tires and fuel particularly. Yes those have always been and always will be factors, but needn’t be so overwhelming in how they dictate what the drivers can and can’t do. The drivers are far too restricted from pushing most of the time. F1 should be more of a sprint, WEC is for endurance.

              I’d like to see further reduction in the addiction to downforce such that the dirty air effect is reduced and DRS be eliminated. DRS passes are underwhelming and shouldn’t be in F1.

              And before folks jump on the usual better-tires-equals-processions argument, I’ve always said that is more because of the addiction to downforce than the tires, so again, reduced aero, better tires, no DRS would make for a much better product on the track which would have drivers racing drivers, not drivers as passengers there to monitor systems and racing when the pits give them permission.

            3. @petebaldwin is right about Ferrari (and also Horner and his whining). They are getting their heads handed to them so now they want to change regulations. Embarrassing.

              And @robbie has nailed the changes needed to fix F1. But I’d go even further: only a single element front wing and stop spending tens of millions on “twiddly bits of carbon fiber”. Also, increase the fuel load by 25% and entirely get rid of fuel flow rate limits and let them run at 15,000 rpm or even higher if they want.

              We’d see some serious racing and with more power and less downforce, we’d see who the real drivers are.

          4. @Garry why shouldn’t Merc threaten to quit? They have put a lot time, effort and money into producing the best powertrain on the grid by some margin. These are the rules that everyone agreed on. It really is the case that because Merc were the only company to actually do a good job everyone else is whining about the rules and pretending it’s in the best interests of the sport.
            As for your comment about the sound of F1 being neutered, well that’s just silly. F1 engines have always varied in sound – are you really saying that you cannot enjoy F1 unless you are subjected to ear bleedingly loud engines? Really? Is that all you enjoy F1 for?

            1. To be perfectly honest, F1 has lost its spark and if far too expensive to watch a boring race and is far too expensive for teams to keep the team like Marussia going with a profit.
              What are the alternatives? Change what you watch; BTCC offers amazing battles! WTCC does is also amazing to watch! If your into longer distance races then WEC is also a blast!
              What im saying here is F1 viewings will drop dramatically until that idiot Ecclestone is removed from F1, then things will improve if someone with half a brain cell replaces him.

          5. @Garry when someone starts moaning about the engines and new regulations I just remind them that the racing is better than it has been in a long time and their argument is blown out of the water. After all surely that is the most important factor. That is all.

        2. Am I the only one here thinking that 26 V6 hybrid engines are more spectacular and emotional than half that number in ICE-only V8s?

    3. The solution to attracting fans is obvious to me: put the racing back on free-to-air TV and cut ticket prices in half. It’s good that Ferrari are recognising the lack of engagement with fans, although I suspect any plans from Ferrari to improve engagement won’t go beyond making the engines noisier.

      1. Agreed, somewhat. Lots of people think F1 is ostentatious. The way to remedy that is to make it a bit more accessible.

        As for “any plans from Ferrari … won’t go beyond making the engines noisier,” that would be a good thing. Do you think that BBC is going to include the 2014 engine sound in its awesome F1 intro? Nope, they won’t. I watched the new ERS cars no more than 20 feet from the track, and you could hold a conversation without interruption as they passed by at full throttle. Just awful.

        1. Paul Sainsbury
          24th December 2014, 9:53

          @Gary

          You have my sympathies, I also had the misfortune this year of spending hundreds of pounds to go to a race weekend (Barcelona). It was pathetic.

        2. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. No, it’s not the soul shaking, ear destroying banshee scream it used to be, but it’s still a powerful roar of a sound and lets us hear plenty of other sounds like the tyres squealing.

      2. Well, Ferrari’s new chief could avoid one of his predecessor’s mistakes, and not claim that F1 is too complicated for the average fan to understand.

        I may not understand Bernoulli’s equations, but that doesn’t stop me appreciating the aerodynamics of the cars, or how DRS works, or keep me from sighing when the commentator says DRS is now available, which should help the lead car go faster….

        The rules aren’t tough– understanding the politics, and the steward’s decisions– that’s tough.

        1. It appears F1 is too complicated for Ferrari as well these days!

          1. I think you may have summed things up nicely there!

        2. Bernoulli is childs play compared to the machinations of the stewards.

          Sometimes think they should have one of those flow chart thingys with yes/no decisions to guide them through consistently applying the rules.

          The key word here for avoidance of doubt is consistency

        3. When the drivers themselves have to to be told who they are racing, what hope does the casual race-goer have?

      3. Exactly! Stop messing with double points, Dr’s etc and just make sure as many people as possible can watch it! F1 just like any sport will make its own spectacle all by itself. However what is the point if no one watches it because they are forced to pay for it. People stupidly pay to watch football on TV only because of the cultural aspect of following your own team and the fact that they would likely have gone to watch it every week anyway. How many people would watch F1 in person each race if it was not in tv? F1 is not football so stop treating it like it is!

        1. Gary Hartstein would probably agree they stopped messing with Dr’s years ago.

      4. Such a simple and clear solution will never be accepted as correct by the F1 powers that be.

      5. F1 is still on free to air TV in Germany yet i believe they have suffered the largest decline in TV figures & Circuit attendance since 2011 (Despite a 4x German world champion).

        With regards to PayTV, To be honest I’d rather it stay there as long as the quality & quantity of content remains so much higher than it was on FTA.
        I’d hate F1 to go back to FTA TV if that meant losing a lot of the content that Sky have been providing us with the past 3 years.
        Having access to so much additional content for every session on a dozen devices with classic races, extra programming using the archives & all the other dedicated shows they produce/air, Best F1 coverage i’ve ever experienced & i’d be devastated to lose it.

        1. Yep, gotta justify spending hundreds on what was once free. You’d look stupid otherwise. So yes, increase the price. That will make it even better value. Sky loves customers like you.

          1. I had a sky subscription 15 years before they had F1 so I don’t have to justify anything.

            Do you want to go back to the bare-bones coverage that F1 always got on FreeTV?
            No additional content feeds for practice, No extra feeds on mobile/tablets, No additional programming outside of race weekends & no real technical depth to the coverage. I certainly don’t.

            The ITV coverage was horrendous, The BBC coverage was better but still lacking compared to what Sky offer now.

            My praise for Sky’s coverage has nothing to do with feeling a need to justify my TV subscription, Its just that I genuinely love what they have brought to the coverage. I love having all those extra feeds on multiple platforms for every live session, I prefer there commentary teams to what the BBC have (I can’t stand coulthard) & I think the rest of there on-air team are also better than what we got before on ITV/BBC (With the exception of Jake Humphrey who was pretty good, But he went over to BT).

            I love been able to pick from one of a dozen onboard camera feeds or go listen to the team radio in the pits feed on tv, laptop or ipad during any session.

            During the brazil race i watched the entire race with rosberg & hamiltons onboard camera feeds up on my ipad & the main onboard mix feed on my laptop. was awesome, cany do that on any of the ftree tv broadcasters because they can’t afford to do a lot of that stuff.

            During practice sessions its great been able to go over to one of the additional onboard video veeds to see great footage like this-
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZrmgeNXTR4

            1. I agree that it’s great to have PayTV and the kind of coverage it brings. But it’s easy for some of us to afford it. For the average fan, that is not the case. And F1 needs eyeballs! No eyeballs, no big sponsors….and eventually no F1.

        2. All the equipment to receive German FTA live races can be bought for less than the price of 3 months Sky F1, says it all really.

          Question is, how long are German TV going to deliver FTA, they have a deal for 2015 as i understand, but then..

          1. they have perhaps the best deal in germany.

            you have the bare bones coverage on free tv but then since the late 90s they have also had a paytv option for those who want the more in-depth, interactive broadccasts.

            while we were stuck with the rubbish itv coverage they had access to this via pay tv-
            http://img839.imageshack.us/img839/9493/c8m3.jpg

            now at least sky have brought uk f1 coverage out of the dark ages-
            http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/4202/p3mpgsnapshot0027282012.jpg

      6. “The solution to attracting fans is obvious to me: put the racing back on free-to-air TV and cut ticket prices in half.”
        Yes Sir, that is!!!

    4. F1 (mostly) stopped going to the fans and started going to the money. if fans were important to the powers that be the sand pit races would be gone and we’d be back at the classic european tracks that got “bernied” out of the equation many years ago. Austria proved that point. more fans at the tracks helps the atmosphere at the races and looks awesome on tv. that in turn would improve viewing figures and bring sponsors back to the sport, which in turn would improve the show and start an increasing spiral rather than the depressive downward one we seem to be experiencing at the moment. its amazing that a sport with so much money and power has no idea how to market itself..

      1. When profit margins are more important than being in touch with what your customer wants and enjoys, this is the result. They saw that bigger pay checks could be earned by luring the more wealthy (well, I guess more willing to dish out) nations, not thinking of the long term. They seem to assume that where their product goes, fans will appear or be made. Though you could argue you COULD make fans where ever they go, the fact that they do not help the area marketers or make it possible that ticket prices are accessible to enough people is what causes cases like Turkey, Korea and China. Even the European rounds suffer parts of this like you pointed out. Ticket prices go up which is mostly due to those race organizers having to keep up with the rising price they have to pay just to hold the race. So they can’t be blamed as much as Bernie and the CVC can. Again, people are more interested in filling their pockets over the long term viability/stability of the product. If they truly cared, they’d be looking at what attracts the fans and making sure as many as possible can make it. That includes putting it in areas where there is the most interest and ensuring the race promoters are the best equipped to get it noticed and get people there. Sure it’s not their job, but it’s like hiring a plumber and telling them to just figure it out because it’s not your job to do their work. You gotta facilitate things, man.

      2. Bernie´s approach to making this a sport exclusively for kings and the wealthy is pushing the sport out of the screen of the fans that would attract big time sponsors, there should be open air broadcasting for the fan that wants to watch racing, exclusive coverage for the more technical savy, the public that attends races in person, detailed coverage for the hard core passionate. These would be accessed trough different platforms, and I bet to any one, that the majority of fans will not make it a daily chore to follow drivers in to the restrooms, in to the supermarkets, in to the meeting rooms, etc. Most people with buying power have a life and a job to concern themselves with and come every weekend to the screen and release their weekly tensions watching a nice race, That this a a sport for a class above approach is not in the interest of Renault, even Mercedes or Ferrari understand that branding to a wider public is better, than just targeting the wealthy who can buy their flagship product. While Toyota, Audi, Honda, BMW, Mazda, Ford, Porsche and others keep throwing their name around to viewers who keep their sales strong. The people Bernie wants to bring to the tracks are scarce, and becoming even more scarce by the day. China, India, Morocco and other tracks have proven that you don´t have enough people interested in becoming Bernie target every where for these ticket prices, the train is leaving the station, other formulas will catch these markets attention sooner rather than later, like WEC, WRC and WTCC are doing in these and most other emerging markets already, Time to accept reality, cable is struggling for customers all over the world, internet is catching the eyes of those who want to watch racing for free, even if delayed, Sponsors have taken notice, The party is over.

    5. Hmm… what could the problem possibly be? Cars that now sound like lawnmowers (the medical and safety cars sound better)? Computer-generated Tilke tracks? Expensive tickets that don’t provide a better viewing experience than television? The intensive isolation of spectators from the track with double chain fencing and “restricted” areas? The hordes of security staff exercising “crowd control” with a cattle-herding mentality?

      Really, one cannot imagine why F1 is losing spectators.

      After recalling my own 2014 experience, and the pathetic sonics of F1 versus the safety cars, Ferrari Challenge, and even pro-racing Minis, I decided to cancel my 2015 hotel reservations and not to bother with buying F1 tickets. Even the long-dreamed trip to Suzuka is gone.

      No worries, Fuji WEC and Le Mans have taken its place.

      1. Because WEC has a much louder earsplitting sound than F1 now does, Oh! wait, I think I made a BooBoo.

        1. There’s nothing that sounds more awesome than a diesel electric hybrid going past once every 3.5 minutes.

          … you know, something about that sentence seems a bit facetious to me. :)

        2. @HoHum There’s several really loud cars, the Toyota has an atmospheric V8 that easily sounds better than modern F1 cars do.

          1. @roald i tottaly aggree with you.
            Just please, do not use the term atmospheric engine. It just sound sonstupid as every engine is atmospheric, but some a naturally aspirated and other have forced induction.

            Some car reviewers have started using this term and it drives me mad.
            -rant over

    6. Sigh, again this argument about racing not being interesting enough?

      What if the prices actually coincided with reality?

      Even if the sound of the cars is rubbish, even if they look like vacuum cleaners or something awkward, even if the wheel to wheel action is absolutely non existent, there’s thousand of people willing to attend a race… IF the prices were affordable.

      Unless you’re visiting places where F1 is really popular and has been absent for quite a while (Austria for example, Mexico surely will be the same), you won’t get full grandstands. No hardcore F1 fan wants to be ripped off. Specially since the television coverage is already expensive enough and it produces a very good experience too.

      Fix that, and voila!

    7. Ticket prices is only one factor, it’s the new V6 sound turning fans off, the so called new way of racing with so much buttons pressing, the fuel saving and the tip toeing that is turning me off. Still I watched the whole season but didn’t feel excited at all, slowly but surely it’s fading for me as a fan. Well we are just fans without a voice and I don’t like Rolex watches at all! F1 is screwed, I dare say. Millions have turned off, tv and trackside or else why is there this news.

      I’ve cancelled my hotel reservations for the 2015 Sepang/Malaysia race already.

      1. +1

        You said it right: the tip-toeing, the impossibly stupid eco-mods and eco-rules, the construction of Bernie’s “show” (even the drivers use that term), and the synthetic Tilke tracks are collectively sending F1 in absolutely the wrong direction.

        Don’t fret, there’s always WEC and GP2.

      2. How can someone be turned off of a sound they haven’t heard live? Most fans can’t go to more than one race a year so hearing them live would be for the first time. Maybe if they saptayed away next year because of the sound might be better said but this year you can’t use that excuse.

        I think the reason attendance is down is because the economy still sucks for most of the world. Even here in the States we’ve seen a drop in NASCAR attendance, why, the economy sucks here.

        1. Exactly. You cannot blame this year’s low attendance on the engine noise. Most people would have booked their tickets before they heard the engines, I would suspect. I certainly did.

          I think low attendance is down to cost and inappropriate race locations more than anything else. Low viewing figures are due to the move to pay TV in the UK. In general, people have less money available. There has been a downward trend in attendance for years, even with the oh-so-popular V8s, so blaming the engines is ridiculous.

          1. @drmouse – “Most people would have booked their tickets before they heard the engines” Very good point. Of course, it doesn’t fit with Ferrari’s mission to go back to engines they understand so they can be competitive again….

          2. @drmouse

            That’s a good point, I think 2015 will be a better indicator of the noise issue.

            Ordinarily I would have visited two or three races, Silverstone plus Spa and possibly Monza or Germany. In 2015 I will have cancelled all my live F1 plans…………..

          3. Are the figures necessarily that bad though? You can spin the argument in a number of ways.

            For example, you can look at the Australian GP attendance figures as one example, where attendance figures have been released since the mid 2000’s. Now, the attendance figures for 2014 were 314,900 over the race weekend, slightly down on the 2013 figure of 323,000.

            However, the attendance figures for 2014 are still factionally higher than the 2012 figures (313,700), and overall the figures for 2014 are better than the figures for 2006 – 2011, where attendance was typically closer to 301,500 on average (excluding 2009, where the figures were 286,900, their worst on record).

            The general trend seems to be repeated over a number of circuits – whilst there has been a drop off between 2013 and 2014, the general trend indicates that attendance figures are still reasonably solid by historical standards. Of course, the German GP was criticised this year for poor attendance figures, but on the other hand the German GP figures have been in terminal decline since 2004, with the decision to alternate the race seemingly having worsened the situation.

            Against that, some events, such as the British or Brazilian GP’s, saw attendance figures for 2014 which were higher than for 2013, with Hamilton’s success seemingly driving up the British figures and Massa’s strong run of form in the latter half of this season seemingly drawing in more fans this year in Brazil.

            A few circuits have reported sharper drops in figures, but those have very particular circumstances. In Malaysia, the race coincided with a period of national mourning after MH370 was shot down, which had an impact across the whole country.

            The drop in sales for the Hungarian GP is thought to be linked to the revival of the Austrian GP – it seems that Red Bull’s advertising strategy lured a number of spectators to Spielberg who would normally have gone to Hungary instead, partially splitting the fan base.

            The other race where figures were markedly down was the Italian GP, although in that instance the drop in attendance figures mainly seems to have been down to poor attendance for the qualifying session, with the race itself being closer to the 2013 figures.

            Overall, I would say that, in fact, the situation is not as dire as being made out – the figures are, overall, slightly down on 2013, but not as badly as is made out.

          4. I agree 2014 cannot be blamed on the noise because many people pre-booked in 2013. I did pre-book & will NOT be going back to watch a race as long this engine stays. I’m not the only one, my parents & none of my friends are going back either.

            I’ve been called & emailed by GP organizers with offers for tickets. It must be because sales are low.

            -Fuel limits
            -Tyres that last the amount of laps intended but only by babying them, being cautious about overheating & just poor grip overall. Yes Pirelli was asked for tyres that dont last a grand prix but they have proven again this year the tyres are garbage. How is it exciting when drivers dont even bother to battle other cars for more than 2-3 corners because their tyres wont last.
            -DRS x2
            -stupid regulations
            -Crappy new circuits with no penatlies for cutting track
            -penatlies constantly for “Causing a collision”

            1. Well I certainly agree that the tyres have ruined the racing, anything gained by reducing downforce has been lost to crap tyres.

      3. Wierd, when Hamilton fans complained in the previous years against tyres you couldn’t push on and having to drive to a delta, they were scorned and told that racing has always contained these.

        Now that Ferrari and redbull are not winning peoples tunes have changed

      4. I’m sorry, but you guys keep complaining about the sound. I went to the US Grand Prix and it sounded fine and it was a relief to be able to watch the race without my ears hurting. And NOBODY around me cared in the least.
        if you look at polls, yes there are fans who miss the sound, but you’re in a minority of those who care about the sound. I’m sorry, but is a fact.
        so that is not what hurts F1 attendance. I know people who are willing to take their kids now because they don’t have to worry about hearing issues.
        the problem has been getting worse for years and the new sound just started this year. So you’ve GOT to apply logic in figuring out what the problem is and stop focusing on your own personal pet peeve.
        A one year old engine did NOT cause a multi-year decline in popularity, attendance and viewing and it’s a silly discussion to say it did.

    8. I love it! Haas said that they had the list of items up for sale at the Marussia auction, and stated: “…I think we’ll be bidders for some of that stuff”. No idea what other odds and ends they wound up buying, but his purchase of the factory building itself (if it’s true) was a bit of a surprise, and probably a good move.

      1. @schooner Haas is basically a replacement for Marussia. They’ll use the same base, same customer Ferrari engines etc. but try and go further, to run Ferrari customer car bases as well as Ferrari juniors.

        1. Well, if not a customer car, the 2015 Marussia updated for 2016 and Esteban Gutierrez as Ferrari pivot towards Mexico. Gutierrez-Marciello? Sutil-Gutierrez would be an ironic line-up…

    9. Oh the shock and horror, a Ferrari guy moaning about the rules because his team made a hash of them.

      Nice to know that even though Ferrari get rid of loads of personnel, they leave the same old broken record on the player.

      1. I imagine it’s a gramophone.

    10. To anybody complaining about engine noise: The ’80s must have been pretty rubbish, huh?

      And of course it’s a shame BRM quit for the H16 sounds better than the awful V8……..

      1. @davidnotcoulthard

        I was watching one of the ‘Classic F1’ races on Sky a few days ago. It was the San Marino GP from 1989, and James Hunt made a pointed reference to how wonderful it was to hear ‘real racing engines again after those turbos.’ Of course, there was no internet in the first turbo era for people to exchange views, but I can tell you from attending races back then that the turbos were pretty pathetic sounding against the N/A cars, although considerably more impressive than what we have now.

    11. F1 popularity is not just falling. It’s almost vanished here in Jakarta.
      No coverage whatsoever. No sponsor left to support broadcast. All F1 news were 2-3 days behind.
      Friends to discuss F1 are now extinct….

      1. @ruliemaulana even F1 racing magazine stopped in October, I remember Brazil 2012 was last time broadcast in local TV, right now I’m watching it in Fox sports.

        1. @ruliemaulana @deongunner Yeah.

          even F1 racing magazine stopped in October

          Wow, didn’t know that.

      2. I hope our new Minister of Youth & Sport will do something..
        “even F1 racing magazine stopped in October”
        With de Silvestro as the cover..??

    12. Ferrari could make a start with making it a proper sporting experience by foregoing their special prize payment and using that to lower the cost for the circuit owners. This would make a more level playing field and help lower ticket prices.

      1. Nice idea, but Bernie would trouser it ;)

    13. “Nothing flusters him at all”, except when someone tampers with his car ;p

    14. Maldonado deserves a fair bit of stick for his accidents throughout the years, but anyone who, with a straight face, calls him the worst F1 driver of all time (or anywhere even close to that) is seriously delusional with that one. He’s clearly capable, as we saw flashes of brilliance from him with the 2012 Williams. If the 2015 Lotus turns out to be a good car, he will shine on certain occasions again.

    15. The trouble is that F1 has been created in Bernie’s image, i.e. as a used car lot. Used car salesmen don’t sell, in the marketing sense, they wait for a punter to stray onto the forecourt and then take them for everything they can.

      It’s such a narrow focus, deal by grasping deal, with no vision for the whole enterprise.

      It’s completely ridiculous that we were watching this year’s thrilling duels with no information about battery use, for example. That driver tracker lags by about 20s and has to be on a third device. That the F1 brand as a sport is constantly undermined by Charlie’s brazen rule fixes and blind eye, and that the prize fund openly slants the playing field. All those years with nothing in the USA…

      I’d love to believe Marchionne might help change it all for the better, but appointing the head of their illegal, unfair and fan-poisoning tobacco sponsorship as Team Principal isn’t exactly a great start.

    16. “Nothing flusters him at all…”

      ….Unless you try to overtake him in qualifying, then of course he’ll use his state-of-the-art machine as a lethal weapon and purposely swipe at you, destroying the hard work of hundreds and hundreds of employee’s.

    17. missed this McLaren/Honda update article in the round-up of the past 2 days.

      Ron Dennis: “The performance is pretty impressive”
      Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai: “I have a strong confidence with our partnership we will win next year in Melbourne” (I assume he expects the partnership will be winning/good, rather than actually expect a race win in Melbourne)

    18. I can’t believe that with all the incredibly intelligent people around F1 none of them can work out the problem of falling attendances is due to the cost. For your average wage earning family which is going to make up most of your attendance going to a Grand Prix is just not financially viable any more, no matter how dull or exciting the racing is.

    19. Do you want more fans? reduce the prices.

    20. New Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene expresses concern over F1’s popularity.

      I think he is right, he should be concerned, and not just him, but every one in F1 should be concerned, because F1 is irrelevant in New Zealand, which is where I live, and the aim of F1 is to become totally irrelevant to most of the world. In a world dominated by the need for media attention, “irrelevant” = no job.
      I know, that “the aim of F1 is to become totally irrelevant to most of the world” sounds very extreme, but I as far as I can tell that is exactly what the owners of F1 want: they don’t want their races to be seen, which also means they don’t want corporate sponsorship, and we know this because that is the way they manage their TV rights.
      My experience is what happened in New Zealand, but the impression I get is it is mirrored in the rest of the world: At one time F1 was very popular here, and people would stay up to midnight to watch the races (and the corporate brand names), which is when the races are broadcast, and the local Free to Air TV station did an excellent pre-race build up, and then there was the race, and then an excellent post race commentary, but now … well … nothing really. Just total irrelevance. No one watches it (nor the corporate brand names). No one cares who won. No one knows who sponsored the winning F1 car. No one saw a corporate logo on the podium. What changed? Was it the boring races? No DRS? Or was it DRS? The sound of the engines? The rate of tyre wear? To many Pay Drivers? What changed to drive all those hard core fans away?
      What changed is F1 chose to make people pay to watch them race their super expensive cars around a track, and not just any amount, they chose to make people pay as much as they could justify to watch them race, and for most people in New Zealand F1 isn’t worth paying a premium amount to watch.
      Think of it this way: if you had a choice between watching F1 and having the internet in your house, which would you choose? In fact, why not go and ask F1 management which would they choose if that was the choice they had? On second thoughts, no, don’t ask them because they would happily pull the plug on the internet and spend the rest of the month watching … well I guess they’d turn off the TV because the premium sports package would be broadcasting other sporting codes which are competitors for the corporate dollars F1 need to run on. So out with the books and the board games. For me, and my guess is this is pretty much how most people would feel about F1 races, I can justify having broadband in my house (which everyone uses), but I can’t justify having a premium Pay-TV channel that no one else would watch and no internet connection.
      One of the expected consequences of the obviously anticipated hardly anyone watching F1 races is the fact that corporate sponsors, who used to happily hand over tens of millions of dollars to see their brand name brandished on an F1 racing car, and hopefully a winning F1 car at that, are now obscure brand names. Now no one is seeing those F1 sponsoring corporate brand names, people are watching other sport code sponsoring corporate brand names!
      So a potential F1 sponsor has two choices: 1) they hand over millions of dollars to an F1 team (which is constantly whining about how expensive their sport is and how they don’t know how to keep the cost down), and have an “insignificant” viewing audience see their logo; or
      2) The can spend less millions on another sporting code that is broadcast on Free-to-Air TV and have millions of people see their corporate logo (and think nice things about that corporate), have a really positive effect promoting that sporting code, and gets lots of thanks and praise from that other sporting code competitors and administrators.

    21. I must certify, in this year there were few people on the Hungaroring than former years.

    22. All people do is moan, we’ve had some of the best racing this year the sport has ever seen. The noise is definitely quieter and different but in some ways I like it, especially in the lower rev range. The same goes for the aesthetics, at first they looked ghastly but I bet the majority of the people thought they looked like any other F1 car once they got used to it.

    23. The biggest pitfall with Formula One is that it has lost touch with its grass root fanbase, the very people who have made this sport what it is. There is a certain amount of disdain shown towards regular fans by Formula One, a certain amount of arrogance, that cannot be said of other major motorsports.
      Bernie Ecclestone once said that he ‘doesn’t like democracy’, and it shows. For years now Ecclestone has protected his interests with a Jack the Ripper like ruthlessness that would make Joe Stalin blush. Even highlights, decent highlights, of F1 races are hard to find online if at all. There seems to be a deliberate gap placed between the ‘product’ of F1 and its fans, and that is a terrible shame.
      I have always looked at amazement at the lavish motorhomes the teams trundle across the globe with, and the surprise shown when teams go out of business. I would rather see F1 return to basics, lose the technology and go back to old style racing. How can series like NASCAR and Indycar field such large grids and F1 not? With all the money available? It quite frankly is embarrassing, and until the ‘cancer’ of this sport has been eradicated I can’t see that changing.
      The fans don’t go to the race to see the motorhomes, team bosses, space age tech. They go to see fast, LOUD race cars. The fastest, hardest to drive, racecars on the planet and the men that drive them. Even if Ecclestone left us tomorrow the sport would not change, it would take more than that. We need this sport back in the hands of real, traditional racing people of the ilk of the late Colin Chapman. Men who are innovators and winners, petrolheads. Not CEOs of major car companies and disgruntled airline owners!

    24. The whole scene has turned completely from what it was a few years back.
      The fact is they are race cars driven by supposedly the worlds best drivers. However, we give then tyres that only last limited laps so they cant push the car for too long, we give them fuel restrictions so they cant make too much power (or get disqualified), we give them DRS so overtaking becomes an exercise anyone can execute without driving strategy, we give them a power unit which is unreliable, over-expensive and boring.
      If I was concerned about green nonsense, emmissions, fuel economy I’d go and watch Toyota Prius racing!!

      The powers which run F1 have completely lost the plot. The cars are boring, get rid of all the hybrid rubbish, KERS, DRS and give them tyres that last and performance that allows the drivers to drive their cars to the limits of their ability.
      Currently was have races which is largely follow the leader for the first 3/4 of the race and then a sprint at the finish.
      When will they wake up ????

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