F1 can learn lessons from NASCAR – Hembery

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In the round-up: Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says F1 should learn from how NASCAR promotes its drivers.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Paul Hembery: F1 drivers need to be kings as fans want heroes (The Guardian)

"In NASCAR the driver is the king. Even the guy at the bottom is a superstar with a multi-million dollar contract. I would love to see our drivers held in that esteem."

Christian Horner's plan for a wind tunnel ban is foolish - Ferrari (ESPN)

"That would be an extremely foolish direction for the sport to take."

Renault took a 'massive step' - Key (Autosport)

"I have to say Renault has made a massive step compared to Melbourne."

Bottas over worst of it with back injury – Williams (Crash)

"He has done 56 laps in intense heat in Malaysia, some reasonably high braking events around this circuit, running at a multiple stop race - so pushing for the whole race - and he hasn't encountered any problems. That is good."


Comment of the day

Friday’s article about grid girls prompted some passionately-argued opinions from different sides of the debate:

I’m a female engineer and work in the F1 industry. I don’t particularly have a problem with grid girls and I certainly never thought that F1 was not for me because of them. I think what was more important for me growing up is that my family and teachers never tried to push me towards “typically female” roles and instead encouraged my love of maths and physics.

However, I had a friend who used to do promotions for various events (not F1 but along similar lines of being paid to smile and look pretty at a launch party or something or other.) It looked like a lot of fun from the photos I saw. When I asked her about it she said that while the money was good and she needed it as a student they were treated really badly and she stopped doing the events as soon as she could afford to. It was long hours, often with no breaks and they were pretty much treated like meat. She said she had to deal with a lot of crap from guys who thought that as she was the skimpily dressed event babe that entitled them to something…

If you look at the modelling industry there’s also a huge problem of abuse and with very young vulnerable girls being involved due to the fact that unfortunately a 14-year-old is often seen by the fashion industry to have a more ideal female figure than a 24-year-old, something that doesn’t happen with men.

I agree that people should be able to choose what they want to do with their lives and in some ways it’s unfair that an attractive women can do perfectly well being a model or a WAG while men don’t generally have that option. I’m sure some women really enjoy being paid to stand around and look pretty as well and they probably have a lot of fun at some events. However, what concerns me is that modelling and doing promotions is sold as this glamorous party lifestyle while often the reality is often very different.

So while I don’t have an issue with grid girls per se it’s what they stand for that worries me – you can make a good living as a young attractive woman but you’re certainly not being employed for your brains or personality so don’t expect to be treated like you have either. It’s not about being PC, it’s about how we value people and the roles that we want our children to see as aspirational. It’s for that reason that I think grid girls have had their day. To the men on here who are in favour for keeping them I’d ask this one question, if you have a daughter would you be happy to see her as a grid girl?

The latest Caption Competition winner will appear in tomorrow’s round-up so you still have 24 hours to join in here:

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78 comments on “F1 can learn lessons from NASCAR – Hembery”

  1. +1000 on that COTD.

    1. Agreed. Perfectly reasoned, fair, and articulate.

    2. COTD is very well thought out and explained. As a father of a 20-something daughter who is very attractive as well as academically accomplished I would hope folks would appreciate her for what she knows, and what type of person she is, rather for her appearance. As she matured into a woman it changed my outlook on this type of issue.

    3. That’s the thing: it’s all very well (us) blokes going “I respect women so this isn’t a problem, stop being silly”, but what matters is how it effects women and what the experiences of women are. Testaments like COTD are what (us) blokes need to read before forming settling on an opinion. Gearbox Girl’s blog has another interesting view on it.

  2. Great COTD Rmc106!!!

  3. kenneth chapman
    5th April 2015, 0:27

    Re grid girls…..i certainly don’t have any problem with them. no one forces these girls to do the job and if they decide that they want to do this then that’s fine. it’s what is called ‘freedom of choice’. i personally never get tired of seeing a pretty face, sometimes it makes my day…..

  4. Tom (@11mcgratht)
    5th April 2015, 0:38

    Quite a lot of truth in what Hembery was saying there. Hamilton and Alonso are the only mega-stars of F1 at the moment and, while I don’t want all the drivers to have to go to red-carpet events just to boost their popularity, it’s not even possible to think of someone like Maldonado as a king of anything…

    1. There are a lot of drivers in Nascar who would get the same (or more) criticism than Maldonado in european media. It´s just that, if you watch the Nascar-feed, they are absolutely uncritical, trying to hype everyone and everything, unless the pictures really heavily force them otherwise. Typically 30 drivers (of the 43 drivers who start) are labelled as having a strong race during the broadcast. Furthermore, all off-track-controversies are absolutely minimal. If teams are downright technically cheating, if some driver beats his wife and is close to jailtime, if the officials just decide to change the rules 2 days before a race, it doesn´t get screentime other than a few seconds in build-up.
      And while that sort of coverage may make sense for something that is mainly about entertaining, I certainly wouldn´t want that for F1. I really hope there´ll be a day when the people of F1 realise the fans want F1 to be a sport, not a show.

      1. @crammond I don’t think NASCAR is alone in having the kind of fawning, uncritical coverage you describe. I think F1 television coverage can be like that a lot of the time, and ITV’s Formula E coverage has certainly been like that.

        1. FlyingLobster27
          5th April 2015, 12:09

          American coverage tends to be uncritical, I find. Not once during the second Indy Lights race did I hear anyone emphasise the fact that Spencer Pigot was holding a former F1 driver behind him (or not that I remember). I’ve heard how the USCC is covered too, and it’s surprising to hear praise for the Mazda Diesel prototype, given how off the pace it is. “But hey, the same passion we have here goes into making the SkyActiv engines you see on the road.” Oh right. Advertising and product placement is the American way, even in the commentary booth.

          1. I agree, but part of that is a cultural difference, like you say with advertising and product placement (the latter has only been made legal in UK TV broadcasts fairly recently).

      2. +1. I totally agree.

        NASCAR is simply more economically viable for teams 1-43 as opposed to those in F1 outside the big 3-4. Granted F1 isn’t as exciting IMO due in large part to new engines, ALO having no chance and the Merc dominance, but paleeese F1 don’t follow NASCAR’s model. Indy Car tried to do it in the mid to late 90’s thanks to Tony George owner of IMS and it’s just starting to recover – albeit slightly – after a tick less than a decade and a half.

        Perhaps F1 should distribute earnings a bit more evenly and create a formula that brings parity within the field. It sounds more like an economic problem as opposed to a race format issue.

        To address Hembrey’s headline quote directly, in all due respect, he is incorrect to claim NASCAR drivers have multi-million contracts. They’re out there but there’s many pay drivers or those teams who are known as start and park operations who take the green flag to collect starting money in the premier class and scrape onto the next race. Try sponsoring Josh Wise with $10k US and you’d have access like Nicole the pussy cat doll had.

    2. Actually Hamilton is only the 4th most popular driver in the sport at the moment. Alonso, Vettel snd even Massa had more following (not twitter following).

      I don’t like Nascar, so I don’t follow, but the little I know about it mades me wish that F1 stays as far as it can from the Nascar model.

      1. @celeste They’re not more popular per se, but rather have been evaluated by Repucom as being more marketable, largely due to greater recognition in their home country. Their study suggests Hamilton is known by 93% of the UK (which is not too shabby, to be honest!), while Alonso is known by 98% of Spain and Massa 99% of Brazil.

        Being marketable will be largely based on appeal to your home country, e.g. if a firm sponsors Alonso, the biggest boost in sales will come from Spain, so it is important for them to be well recognised in their home country. A big reason for Alonso topping the list is because he is basically a national hero in Spain. Brazil has a great passion for F1 and motor racing in general so Massa is very widely known there, and hence sponsoring him would be a good option for raising awareness of your brand in Brazil. However on a more worldwide scale, I imagine his recognition would be below both Vettel and Hamilton, as well as Alonso, particularly because those three are all multiple world champions.

        As well as being well-recognised in his own country, Hamilton is also well-recognised worldwide, as he’s got quite a lot of popularity in the US compared to most F1 drivers, and is just generally well-known for being “the first black F1 driver”. So just because his marketability and home country awareness lags being Massa/Alonso doesn’t necessarily mean his worldwide popularity is lower. Given his very public celebrity lifestyle and (until recently) celebrity girlfriend, I would say he may be ahead of Vettel in worldwide awareness (as Vettel keeps his private life away from the public), and that he and Alonso are probably the two most widely-known F1 drivers. But Vettel is definitely up there as well, I’d say he certainly counts as a “superstar” as well.

        1. Ryan (@ryanisjones)
          5th April 2015, 11:18


        2. Yes, I wasn’t arguing that Hamilton isn’t a star, but to say that only he and Alonso are superstars was way off base.

          We all know how much Hamilton work to be a brand.

          1. Yes, Hamilton does work hard to be a superstar. For the new generation of fans you need to be a well known brand and he does it perfectly. Is more likely seeing Hamilton appears on a movie, if not to say hammer time ony, or mtv clip than any other driver for example.

      2. I disagree with the last section. If there is one thing that F1 needs to due is establish who is in charge. NASCAR has an unofficial motto that started in 1949 and continues to this day. “You needs us more then we need you” Over there, they are in charge. Not the teams, not the drivers, NASCAR is in charge.

        I will not say that they are the best run racing series in the world and there are a lot of things they can improve on. But one thing I can say is that they do not have the level of political BS and drama that comes with F1.

      3. At least NASCAR has a model. F1 has a bumbling idiot as a leader oh and by the way 175 million (yes million) less viewers over the last several years. Bernie isn’t worried though – F1 doesn’t need the up and coming generation which shouldn’t be a problem.

        Losing the German Grand Prix (first time in 60 years) and having the “European” Grand Prix in Khasustan say it all. I’m happy NASCAR doesn’t use F1 as a model. F1 is dying if not dead.

  5. ColdFly F1 (@)
    5th April 2015, 0:42

    I would hardly call it ‘foolish’ suggesting a windtunnel ban when your team is aerodynamically on top!

    1. RBR hardly have the best aerodynamic package at the moment, though.

      1. Tom (@11mcgratht)
        5th April 2015, 8:40

        To be fair, they often (normally?) do

        1. Matthew Coyne
          6th April 2015, 9:59

          This isn’t true I don’t think.

          The more recent races with sky showing entry and exit speeds to a particular corner on the track (Which should be an excellent indicator of a cars aerodynamic performance through the corner) has not shown Red Bull as top of the tree.

          Red Bull tell the world that their car is performing the way it is purely because of the engine, but there is more to it than that.

  6. I would have no issue with a daughter being a grid girl, i would have an issue with the behind the scenes treatment the comment of the day describes. But I think that’s more a factor of unskilled work than specifically women and modeling.

    In my youth I’ve done packing in a factory, data entry and call centre work. You are an asset not a person in that level of work.

    The issue is the kind of awful human beings who become successful and in charge rather than the kind of work because once you are selling yourself on something anyone can do and requires no skill you are just a piece of meat and it’s not unique to just women and just models.

    Grid girls are obviously not going to be around much longer, and the world will not be a better place, people without skills will still need to find work that sees them treated like garbage by the haves.

    1. Red Bull used to have the Formula Una’s at the various races where they would dress young women up in team gear and make them partake in banana eating contests. They would then be dumped at the nearest metro stop when it was all said and done with. At least they got to keep the outfits.

      1. “Entering the Red Bull Formula Una competition in 2007 was the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Rebecca. “From swimming with sharks and flying on stunt planes to appearing in photo shoots and walking the red carpet at A-list events, I have experienced so many amazing opportunities that money can’t buy,” she said.


        Sounds like a bit of silly fun.

        1. Well spotted. Grid girls make F1 look silly.

          1. What’s wrong with silly? F1 is machines going round loops trying to see who can do it faster, it’s all quite silly if we’re getting pragmatic.

          2. Pointless rule changes and helmet change design bans make F1 look silly. The Girls are fine, they get paid and like most people, they may or may not enjoy their work but that is life.

          3. sil·ly
            having or showing a lack of common sense or judgment; absurd and foolish.
            “another of his silly jokes”
            synonyms: foolish, stupid, unintelligent, idiotic, brainless, mindless, witless, imbecilic, doltish;

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      5th April 2015, 13:18

      Very good point there.

  7. RealityCheck
    5th April 2015, 1:16

    I find all this discussion really interesting and always good to hear a lot of opinions that make you think. But this problem is just much bigger than F1 and grid girls!! It’s a society problem and I agree with the COTD… one of the biggest issue is there are still parents/teachers/adults telling children that they can’t do something they enjoy just because it’s a men or women thing. That what’s really need equalisation :P

  8. And maybe a sprint race on the Saturday, an extra product, so Saturday fans actually see a result and podium places.”

    We already have 2 races on Saturday where fans see a result & podium ceremonies, There called GP2 & GP3.

    F1 should remain 1 Grand Prix race on the Sunday, If they started playing around with the fromat & having 2 races or shorter races or whatever then i’d simply turn off because thats not what I want from F1 & not what I think F1 should be.
    I used to love touring car racing but stopped watching because I hate the current multi-race format where each race is so short you don’t have time to settle in before its over.

    As to Nascar, F1 should take nothing from that joke of a non-championship (I don’t consider that joke of a title format they have a real championship) series.

    Instead of trying to change everything & come up with as many gimmicks as possible to ‘spice up the show’, Why not talk about how good the racing was at the last race & about how good the racing was through much of 2014?

    If all F1 & those within it are promoting is what they believe is wrong with ‘the show’ & ignoring whats actually positive in terms of the on-track racing then its no wonder the general perception is that everything about the product is awful.

  9. The COTD actually isn’t a strong indictment against grid girls. She became an engineer in F1 and good on her. Her friends experience was not as an F1 grid girl. So we can’t say her friend’s experience is or isn’t relevant. As an engineer, the COTD poster should, more than anyone, understand that. That’s like saying “hey that bit of aero look good, we should put it on our car.”

    As for how people are treated in modeling, welcome to the world of entertainment, which I’m a part of, and have many friends and acquaintances in. It’s not just models, but actors and actresses are used and discarded. Even below the line talent are facing huge downward pressures and are treated much the same.

    There’s a bit of the baby and bath water with the COTD. Because models can be treated badly, we should get rid of grid girls – even though there’s nothing wrong with grid girls. So what would seem important is that the FIA assures that they are treated with respect and decency, and much a part of the show as the drivers.

    It is interesting that F1/Bernie actually treats the race organizers, etc as meat and just so much money, and is happy to throw them under the bus rather than not exact his pound of flesh.

    I’m sure Rmc106’s friend would not want to see the work she does (modeling, and event promotions) dry up, but see the working conditions improve.

    That doesn’t seem like rocket science.

    1. @uan I don’t think she was trying to make it a strong indictment against grid girls, though.

      It was more like:”Well, I don’t see anything wrong with grid girls, but if it were up to me I’d prefer not to have them, and here’s why”.

      I’m sure Rmc106’s friend would not want to see the work she does (modeling, and event promotions) dry up, but see the working conditions improve.

      I guess you’re right about that.

  10. King’s and hero’s would be nice! But it is never going to happen with modern F1.

    Watching a bunch of rich kids fluff around with acre’s of tarmac runoff is not heroic. It never will be.

    1. Acres of tarmac, true, but I think an even bigger killer of heroics is DRS. Reduce the dirty air effect, and give them tires that are good for half a stint worth of hot laps, rather than two laps worth, and we’d really see a lot more of drivers being racers, not passengers monitoring systems to conserve everything.

      F1 has turned a two hour race into an endurance event plotted out on a computer model for the drivers to obey, for the sake of ‘cost saving’, and costs seem to have not been saved and the show seems to have not improved. What is the saving if sponsors aren’t coming, nor fans.

      And it could be done for very little investment. Back in the day when they brought in grooved tires, Jacques Villeneuve called them a joke, and got hauled on the carpet in Paris for that. He said of the tire issue, and for me it still stands nearly 20 years later…I paraphrase…’Give us back the big fat slicks they had in the 70’s/80’s. They had great mechanical grip, and created so much drag down the straights that you had no choice but to run less wing if you wanted any kind of respectable straight-line speeds. Thus you kill two birds with one stone…mechanical grip, and less dirty air effect holding a chasing car back, due to smaller wings.’

      All this talk of reversing grids, sprinklers, and double points for the last 3 races, as well as Hembrey’s ‘more show on Friday nights and Saturdays’ are meant to mask problems that could simply be removed, rather than have yet more layers of bad paint put over them in an effort to mask them.

      Keith suggests solving the ’embarrassment’ of grid girls by removing the job altogether. F1 similarly could solve some problems by removing, not painting over the addiction to downforce with DRS and intentionally poor tires, that only create a show that isn’t nearly as good as it can be….that dumbs it down and has shown us that the people aren’t fooled by smoke and mirrors.

      With tracks and cars as safe as they are now, it’s time they get back to basics, zero the scales, put it back in the hands of the drivers, and thus put more ‘sport’ back in what also has to be entertaining. All sport is entertainment too, but the entertainment needs to come from the drivers (athletes) showing off their talents with spectacular feats, not trying to fool us that a DRS pass is unique and rare and comes from their years of experience and training.

      Rather than doing the equivalent of lowering the height of the basket in basketball and expecting that to enthrall people more with more baskets, they could just as easily raise the basket now that so many athletes are so tall yet so agile, and make it a little more challenging, and thus enthralling. In NHL hockey there is a bit of talk of increasing the net size a bit because the goalies these days are so big yet agile compared to the past when with less knowledge of training and athletics it was only the smaller guys that were that agile. Now they know differently and fear too many goals have to come from fluke bounces rather than solid plays because today’s goalies occupy so much of the net just from sheer size.

      F1 though has lowered the basket with DRS, not raised it, and increased the net size, with huge runoffs, while complaining viewership is down, and thinks the solution is keep the lowered basket but now make it smaller, and wet the court, and make the better teams play more games (pass more cars) by punishing them for doing well, and…and…and the next thing you know the sport no longer resembles what built it up to be so big to begin with.

  11. The series has to improve a lot of…

  12. Banning grid girls is ridiculous, who came up with that idea anyway? what a stupid argument !

    1. Don de Marco URL
      5th April 2015, 5:29

      I wouldn’t watch f1 if they get rid of grid girls

      1. This is the single dumbest response I have ever read in all my four years of reading F1Fanatic.

  13. @COTD I would if that’s not her dayjob.

  14. @COTD

    To the men on here who are in favour for keeping them I’d ask this one question, if you have a daughter would you be happy to see her as a grid girl?

    Actually, if she makes more money than me (or her boyfriend, or her (grand)mother did at her age, or her siblings, etc) by doing so (and those aren’t impossible), I’d be. Or at least I wouldn’t mind.

    If it funds her study, or if she’s an F1 fan trying a shortcut at getting a paddock pass while paying less than zero (also not impossible), I’d probably also be.

    So I don’t think grid homo should be gone (grid boys should somehow be made to work, though! SOMEHOW:).

    Apart from those, I don’t disagree with your post, especially the perceived glamour and de facto lack thereof part.

    1. @davidnotcoulthard

      Mate, I would be there watching over her like a – uhm – Father, and if my Daughter was ever treated badly I would go through the fence like a hungry wolf,

      And also, sometimes making the $$$ by doing a crap job is just part of life,
      anyone ever worked in pub? Waited tables ? cleaned ? etc,

      But we have to teach our children that there comes a point where the $$$ are not worth the selling out for, that you have to say no to be treated like animals.

      This is actually a brave issue for F1F to bring up when the easy road would be to stay quite,

      We are transitioning from a world where cavemen still exist and refuse to die out peacefully , to hopefully something that means hungry people are a sad memory, it’s going to be a painful rebirth .

      Im impressed by the COTD, impressed ? maybe wrong choice of word, Inspired is a better term,

  15. Hard to believe it has now been 6 months since Jules’ accident. If only he could see where his team is now. Forza Jules!

  16. The problem with Paul Hembery’s take is that once people realised applying intelligence to the sport worked, and once safety became a factor, the driver as a gladiatorial hero was lost.

    I watched an onboard video of a Manx TT rider recently and that was insane. It just didn’t look real. Those guys have full on metal clangers. F1 used to be like that when they raced on circuits like the Nordschleife in cars with more power than grip. But people died and F1 will never return to that glory.

    Nascar is a savage competition, but it doesn’t appeal to the majority of F1 fans, and you aren’t going to match that spectacle with contrived rules to make it ‘a show’ only real danger brings that and at F1 speeds and with none spec series cars it’s too dangerous.

    It can’t be faked.

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      5th April 2015, 8:05

      @philipgb “But people died and F1 will never return to that glory.”

      Reading this, I first chuckled and then I got angry.

      1. @hanswesterbeek

        Ok if it wasn’t clear in my entire post, people dieing or being hurt = bad. I don’t have some blood just and I am trying to say we need to accept motorsports are sanitised demonstrations of skill.

  17. I always thought that that grid girl position was a very poorly used opportunity in F1. Why not auction the grid girl duties to the fans? You might have someone prepared to bid $5000 to stand in front of Lewis, less for Pastor. Whatever auction system you like. The money raised would go to a local charity and it would be a neat way to get fans closer to the action. Grid girl problem solved, money raised for charity, some fans get the experience of a lifetime.

    1. Except when you have $5000 to spent on, you can have more ways to get close to the driver without standing below the sun and can’t move and generally ignored by the team and drivers anyway. And still have some leftover to donate to charities too.

      I think some of the grid girls that love the sport doing it because they can get closer to action when they have no money to throw around. If you have the money, surely a grandstand or paddock club is better experience :)

    2. Pay grid girls is a terrible idea. You’ll get people with money and no talent. It’s bad enough seeing pay drivers let alone pay grid girls. Imagine Pastor Maldonado in Lycra holding an umbrella!

      1. Sauber would end up with five or six grid girls for each car.

        1. or me !!!!!!

    3. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      5th April 2015, 8:07

      On the surface selling the function of grid guy/girl looks like a fun idea. But that’s until at the second race the big teams (e.g., Ferrari, Red Bull) buy all the slots just to have one of their engineers spying on a car they get to stand in from of for a full hour.

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        5th April 2015, 8:07

        − while looking pretty, of course. Wasn’t Newey looking for new challenges?

        1. Newey in bikinis, that should really move TV ratings. I’m not sure which way, though…

      2. That’s the trick. You can only sell the slots to private individuals.

  18. Hamilton is EASILY the most popular F1 driver at least in the US. He has more Twitter and Facebook followers than the rest.

    1. You may be right.
      But looking at the “followers” and “likes” figures:
      Mercedes AMG F1 9.6 million “likes” on Facebook. Scuderia Ferrari close to 3.4 million. So in the real world – Mercedes close to three times more popular than Ferrari?

    2. Hamilton has a following but in the US the name that people still think of when bringing up f1 is Schumacher. I grew up in the racing world in the us, gt1 scca etc. Forget twitter and anything else about social media in terms of the average american, even the average american race fan could not tell you who hamilton or any other f1 driver is. Senna and Schumacher are still the only somewhat known names. It sucks yet true.

  19. Senna’s paddock pass: at least, before Gerhard got hold of it…

    COTD is pretty much perfect. I was much appalled when I found out that the Sebring 12 hours race has a beauty pageant called the “Miss Twelve Hours”, with all the implications that title contains.

    A recent column in a motorcycle magazine said that in the early days of television coverage, only the top teams got any grid coverage. A guy at the back had the great idea of employing grid girls (recruited from local red-light districts) to get the cameras down the back of the grid to please his sponsors. How true that is, I don’t know.

    1. Interesting tidbit there @splittimes, wouldn’t be surprised if it was true (could also be just a nice story though.)

  20. But Nascar has grid girls… They even have cheerleaders. Make up your mind, people.

    1. Hembery’s comment was about NASCAR’s treating of drivers. Perhaps lumping in opinions about other things is a valuable skill in your job, but your comment doesn’t really serve any purpose in either the debate about grid girls or what F1 can learn from NASCAR. This isn’t the YouTube comment section, you know.

  21. A couple of years ago I would have laughed at Hembery’s statement, but he is right in a sense. F1 is doing a terrible job at promoting itself, but perhaps a worse job at promoting its drivers.

    I don’t think F1 has much to learn from NASCAR in the racing sense, which is what people seem to retaliate against whenever something like Hembery’s suggestion is uttered, but after following NASCAR accounts on Twitter, I often have the feeling that I know what’s going on more so than series I see all the races of.

    Then again, it all boils down to too many captains on the F1 ship and F1 somehow managing to increase the number of captains every now and again too. I’m not a fan of Bernie nor Max Mosley, but with those two we at least knew they were the two men in control. Now, the average fan doesn’t know who’s pulling Bernie’s strings in CVC, not everyone knows who’s in the Strategy Group and there are quite a number of FIA commissions around.

    I’d say the main advantage NASCAR has over F1 in that respect, is that NASCAR is free to move as it pleases, as long as the teams find it reasonable. In F1, the FIA can’t move freely, FOM can’t move entirely freely, the teams sure can’t move freely and in the end, the entire governing of the sport has become one tangled mess.

    1. F1 has been poor at promoting itself, and an 84-year old luddite that hates social media hasn’t helped over the last few years. But a big, and a bigbut in my view is NASCAR I find it unbelievably dull to watch and has compensated for this by getting its drivers to fight with each other after crashes and other stuff that will make the headlines, get a gazillion retweets etc etc. Is that where F1 should go – no I believe.

      F1’s other problem to me is that as everyone sees it as the “pinnacle of motorsport” whenever anyone tries do anything to try and make it more interesting loads of fans (like myself sometimes) “go oh my god they’re killing the sport”. Its a kind of no win scenario.

      I know a lot of people talk about WEC as a purist series, but that is the problem at races that last 6/12/24 hours for all but the truly hardcore that’s too much of a commitment for all but the hardcore motorsport fan. (only one I’ve watched in full was a 3 hour one Circuit of the Americas race which I enjoyed, but even then it was quite long)

      I’ve been interested by the way Formula E has approached things, the races have been good, the likes of fanboost are pretty dum but when you get Youtube vids like the Virgin election one you are onto a winner, in engaging people.

      But much like having your drivers physically fight each other outside the car is it appropriate for the pinnacle of motorsport? There in lies the conundrum…

  22. NASCAR is pretty awful as well. I wouldn’t exactly call it a good model. However it does suit many commercial objectives, which I’m sure is of great interest to Pirelli and promoters of “the show” (an equally repellent idea in F1).

    What’s wrong in F1? Several things. Political correctness, hence ERS and “concerns” about grid girls. Events in third-world and developing nations, where there are **almost no on-track spectators**. Slick, computer-generated, boring Tilke circuits. Ever-increasing distance between F1 cars and conventional cars (as compared to WEC, WRC, BTCC, IMSA, etc).

    It is a red herring to say “the driver must be elevated.” The driver has always been elevated in F1, as have the constructors, the teams, the engines, the tires.

    The core problem is this, although many F1 insiders including Hembery can’t see it: “We are in the entertainment business.”

    No, absolutely wrong. You’re in the racing business.

    Hand-wringing about grid girls is part of the same problem. Who cares.

  23. Two answers. Would I be happy for my daughters to be grid girls? Absolutely, if it were their free choice.
    2. The last thing F1 needs is to take any cues from that totally manipulated “racing” series called NASCAR.

  24. I am a fan of both NASCAR and F1. I enjoy each sport for what it is and respect both series equally for what it tries to accomplish. They each have things that they do right and they each have areas that can be improved upon. But this idea that F1 is so vastly superior, it doesn’t need to take any cues from NASCAR is asinine.

    I not talking about how the run the races, but how they structure the series. Teams can come and go as they please. They can expand when they want to and contract when they need to. No team can tell other teams what they can and can’t do. They get their prize money at the end of the season.

    Tracks aren’t in danger of being dropped because of exorbitant fees they can’t pay.

    Drivers are allowed to race and if someone spins because of incidental contact, they aren’t given penalties. They can race their teammates all they want with the only rule being, “Don’t wreck them”.

    I know a lot of you see the problems in F1 and want them changed, but to say that there is nothing in NASCAR that F1 can learn from is wrong.

    1. @dragon86 Asinine? A personal opinion is moronic? Dear Lord… No one has said F1 is in any way superior to F1. It can’t be, it is on entirely different level. “I’m not talking about how they run the races”

      But that’s just it. That is exactly why F1 shouldn’t take any ideas from NASCAR. There’s nothing wrong in what NASCAR do, but it’s not honest racing, at least, not as we know it. If that trickery fools the fans, so be it. NASCAR has a completely different customer base and it connects with fans in an entirely different way. If you’ve spent as many weekends in the infield of Talledega and at the British Grand Prix as I have you’d know the two series are a million miles apart, and I enjoy both for what they are.

    2. Another big thing NASCAR has over F1: full race-replays online on an official NASCAR-youtube-channel. That´s probably the biggest and most important change F1 could adopt from NASCAR: dealing with the internet and social media in a useful way.

  25. Apex Assassin
    5th April 2015, 18:42

    I can’t wait until Hembrey’s Chinese overlords send him packing. I’ll never forget his lies, such the politician, he needs to be out of F1.

  26. To me it seems that Formula 1 fans want to get rid of some of the things that make F1 fun. First they complained about driver helmets, now it’s the grid girls, next there won’t be mechanics handling the pit stops, and before you can blink, driver less cars. F1 is a sport and also a show.

  27. Sounds good but not really practical. Why can’t F1 be as open and transparent as NASCAR or INDYCAR? Simple really. F1 is a constructors Championship. Each team builds their car from scratch. NASCAR and INDYCAR are basically SPEC Championships. There is nothing to gain by spying on your neighbors. Security or secrecy is a major part of F1. You have to protect your innovations otherwise others will copy it.

    I’m all for making the drivers more accessible to the fans and attendance fees. That will eventually happen due to laws of economics. The organizers and Bernie are fighting it tooth and nail, but eventually they are going to have to cave into the demands of their customers. Start lowering entrance fees, or no one is going to show up for Grand Prix weekends.

    If there is one sport that we can compare F1 to, it would be INDYCAR. For the 2015 season INDYCAR has moved closer towards emulating F1 with their new aero packages. Eventually they’ll start moving towards DRS and hybrid technology. Why DRS? Because with high downforce wheel to wheel racing becomes harder. Not because the drivers lack talent, but because trailing cars lose a ton of performance. As a result, the racing has to be influenced through tire strategy or creative devices like DRS, which F1 and DTM have already adopted.

    Anyone watch Round 1 of INDYCAR? It was almost unwatchable because there was a full course safety every 15 laps that would last about 20 minutes before racing resumed. It was over a major crash. Most of them were the result of carbon wings being knocked off the cars. INDYCAR is starting to go through the hell F1 has been experiencing. I will always praise F1 for putting technological advancement and ultimate performance at the top of the list.

    Far too often we make apples and oranges and comparisons to criticize F1. There is no other series that does what F1 produces at a GLOBAL SCALE. Think about that. Futuristic technology on a global scale. No wonder the sport is so expensive. Series like NASCAR and INDYCAR would rather continue with outdated technology rather than man up and challenge themselves. They are too afraid too change. And that is why F1 is far superior. Criticize F1 all you want, but I guess that is just the price that comes with being at the forefront. Critical people want you to get it all right from the word GO! They won’t even contextualize the challenges facing F1 racing.

  28. F1 shouldn’t take anything from NASCAR. NASCAR and F1 are worlds apart. F1 is a race with an event around it. NASCAR is an event with a race in it.

  29. She said she had to deal with a lot of crap from guys who thought that as she was the skimpily dressed event babe that entitled them to something…

    The problem is ‘those men who think they are entitled to something’, not the fact that grid girls exist.

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