Mark Webber, Porsche, World Endurance Championship, 2014

Drivers hush up frustration over slow races – Webber

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Mark Webber, Porsche, World Endurance Championship, 2014In the round-up: Former F1 driver Mark Webber says drivers are frustrated with the relative slowness of modern Formula One cars.


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Mark Webber: 'I want F1 to be awesome again' (F1i)

"The current drivers are frustrated, they want more, I know they do. I’m not saying undo everything, because even in the mid-2000s there were boring races. But why were the grandstands full back then? Because the fans were watching something they’d never seen before."

Should F1 change start times? (Sky)

"The way that society is now people want to spend time with the family and doing something together, and actually giving up your whole Sunday, which you have to do to watch a Formula 1 race, completely clobbers your whole day."

New Ferrari built to suit Raikkonen (Autosport)

"They said we need six months. I said what can you do in three?"

F1 team Williams remain upbeat despite reporting loss of £42.5m (The Guardian)

"The team languished in ninth place in the constructors’ championship in 2013, when they won only five points; last year they paid each of their 660 staff a bonus of £3,000 for jumping six places."

1980 and the Balestre vs Bernie battle (MotorSport magazine)

"Independent teams designing their own advanced chassis around bought-in engines, gearboxes and all manner of other mechanical components established a robust network that finally gave grand prix racing a strong skeleton, making it immune from the whims of the manufacturers. That network was now the base of Ecclestone’s power and in threatening the latter Balestre was also putting at risk the former."

From flyaway to factory - what happens when an F1 team gets back to base? (F1)

"We have quite a big (upgrade) package coming over the next few events that we need to fit. Sometimes it’s just a case of bolting a new part on, but others include bodywork changes and some quite large changes."

Diageo faces bitter legal battle with Kingfisher Airlines founder Vijay Mallya (The Independent)

"Diageo, the Johnny Walker and Smirnoff vodka owner, is facing a bitter legal battle with Indian businessman and Kingfisher Airlines founder Vijay Mallya."


Comment of the day

Force India has suggested allowing teams to select which tyre compounds they want ahead of each race. Would the idea work?

I disagree with Force India’s suggestion of allowing the teams to select the tyre compounds (although I admit I already thought about this years ago and initially thought it would be a good idea).

The reason is that there will almost certainly be two compounds that will be best suited for a race. If a team gets it wrong, they are essentially out of the race, given the importance of tyres. Yes, there may be a few cases where different teams would prefer different compounds, but those would be rare.

So why are Force India suggesting this? They want unpredictability. They will be happy trading their typical 12th place finish against a 14th place finish in most races if in return they get one race where they get to the podium due to freak circumstances.

For example, they would be betting on an unlikely temperature and choose tyres based on that. If it turns out they got their bet right they would be in a very good position. The random nature makes this less exciting though, and we would get less competitive races in most other circumstances.

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On this day in F1

F1 drivers Manfred Winkelhock and Marc Surer won the second round of the 1985 World Sports Prototype Championship, held on this day 30 years ago at Monza. The race came to a sudden end when high winds blew a tree across the circuit, forcing the stoppage of the race.

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  • 131 comments on “Drivers hush up frustration over slow races – Webber”

    1. F1 does not need to change their start times, the race would be the same length at any given time and there would always be people who can´t or won´t fit that into their schedule. What F1 needs is a freely available online full-race review, be it on youtube or on their own page. That´s what is making me watch Nascar, a motorsport-category that originally isn´t of enough importance to me to plan my schedule around it; I can watch it when and where I want.

      Also, “Independent teams designing their own advanced chassis around bought-in engines, gearboxes and all manner of other mechanical components established a robust network that finally gave grand prix racing a strong skeleton, making it immune from the whims of the manufacturers.” is a great sentence, really like that. However, these independent teams would still need sponsors, and sponsors need attention from as many viewers as possible. Probably the failed PR-strategy was an even bigger mistake than the manufacterer-wave, but both are important factors to the financial difficulties of F1 nowadays.

      1. Agreed, about not having to shorten races or start them later in the day to attract more fans. How about respecting your historic aspects like France, Germany, Italy, England, etc. – even if those races don’t pull in the cash like the others. What they do do is give F1 cache, uniqueness, history. Then have the fly-away’s and new circuits etc to round out the series. Plus, bring back faster cars. It is really pathetic how slow they are going these days compared to 10 years ago. With the positive changes F1 has made recently, it wouldn’t take much to make it awesome again rather than the cliched and tired afterthought that it has become.

      2. A 4pm start means leaving the track around 6.30-7 Sunday evening for the journey home, that seems to me to be perfect if your objective is to bankrupt the remaining circuits. We keep talking about modernising the broadcasting media for F1 but surely the fans should be able to timeshift the TV coverage by now, I mean half of you don’t even know what a VCR is now, but your parents had one and never missed their favourite program just because they had a social engagement at the same time, time of race should be irelevant for TV viewers, but it should be consistent, that way fans only have to know the day and timezone to set their recorder.

      3. Claire’s logic for this time shift might only make sense for European audiences. Where I live – it would mean the bulk of the races will start at 9pm. So right now I can watch them with my kids, who are gradually turning into fans. But 9 to 11 pm before school Monday? No, they’d have to go to bed.

        1. And where I live, it’d move them from 8 AM to 11 AM, and I’d welcome that immensely. The NA west coast folks would probably appreciate the shift from 5 AM to 8 AM even more.

          When your audience is worldwide, someone’s always going to be inconvenienced.

          1. Exactly. So what’s the point of changing it?

            1. Same reason in having lots of European races — more convenient (in theory) for the largest audience.

          2. When I lived in Eastern Time zone (Toronto), I actually liked that the races were early on a Sunday. I would get up, put the laundry in, eat some breakfast and watch the race. All over by 11 AM and then I would still have the full day to be out. Now I am in London, England, I mostly can’t plan anything for Sunday race-days during the day.

            I don’t think there is an optimal time for everyone.

          3. The Australians will be very inconvienienced. European races are currently starting at 10pm and running to midnight on a Sunday, it’s alright, but any later will make it a 1 am to 3am gig. The Americas races are a pain, but it is a World Championship! I personally see what Williams is talking about, but I don’t want it to occur.

      4. F1 is a global sport so changing times would be very tricky and it’s never “the whole Sunday” for God’s sake!

        If you cannot spend 2 hours of your Sunday watching a race because you need time with your family maybe you should either wake up earlier on Sundays or just find a better way to have dinner at home during weekdays.

        What’s next? No more football on Sundays because the bloody game eats over 100 minutes of your “family time”? STOP THE MADNESS!

    2. Most of the races on the mid 2000’s were boring.

      1. Yes anyhow I couldn’t stop loving the cars in motion. In the mid 2000 there was also less cable tv deals and internet was slow so there was less to do with tv and media but also to watch F1 you had to get your timing right, especially for the races outside the lunch time slot.

      2. I remember watching a very boring race, and then at the end of it the announcers said something like, “Well, we know that was a boring race, but every car that started the race also finished it, and that was the first time since 1967 [or when ever] that such a thing has happened in Formula 1”

        1. Yes I think there can always be boring races no matter the format. However, for me the big difference is whether or not one has the sense the drivers are able to push and are being taxed at their discipline. Also, it is often only in hindsight that a race may get tagged as boring. Usually during races anything can happen and often does, so as we are watching we still have some degree of expectation of some excitement. I will keep advocating for less dirty air effect and more mechanical grip for closer racing, and thus excitement.

    3. Having just written another tyre rant in the ” Ferrari, Mercedes duel….” comments, I am heartened to read similar comments from Webbo, but I still think exhaust sound is overhyped and I don’t care if the driver isn’t terrified of the car just so long as he has a few heart in mouth moments trying to catch and pass the car ahead or trying to avoid being caught and passed. How can we be excited when a driver prefers to save his tyres rather than save his position.

      1. Yep, I wonder if a simple change in tyre spec wouldn’t solve most of the problems. Merhi saying the Renault 3.5s on Michelins feel better (see @polo‘s comment, down a bit) is interesting. I hope someone asks Nico Hulkenberg the same question this weekend at Spa.

        I’d love to see how F1 cars would look and race on sturdier slicks that can be pushed and slid around a few times. Either a different tyre constructor, or just Pirelli allowed to make the very best tyres they can. Maybe F1 needs two competing tyre suppliers again.

        15 sec a lap faster than anything else isn’t realistic though, the drivers couldn’t cope with the g-forces.

        1. 15 sec a lap faster than anything else isn’t realistic though, the drivers couldn’t cope with the g-forces.

          Drivers were running ten seconds quicker ten years ago…

          1. Ten seconds quicker than current cars?

            1. Ya FA just said that about the last race which had race lap times of 1:43’s vs 2004 being run in the 1:33’s. I’m sure that is not the case for all tracks though. I also think the driver could handle the G’s as I suspect fighter pilots have to handle more. Going by FA’s example, 15 seconds faster would only be 5 seconds faster than 10 years ago, and I don’t see that adding so many more G’s that they couldn’t handle it.

              Sturdier slicks and/or two makers in F1 I’m all for, but they’d have to be combined with reduced aero to avoid processions.

            2. @robbie; race lap pace isn’t a very good indicator of the speed of a car. Often the fastest car in a race isn’t the fastest car in qualifying because of the unpredictability of race scenarios. If you look at qualifying pace the cars are only 2 seconds per lap slower, not 10 seconds as you said in your reply to me (which I can’t directly reply to for some reason). There’s a tricky limit for F1 today, whereas in the past where F1 cars were close to being as fast as period technology allowed, the fastest theoretical modern F1 car would be something along the lines of the x2010 gran tourismo concept. The FIA has tried to find a balance between speed and road relevance but has probably gone too far towards road relevance. However I think if they increase the fuel flow slightly (still doesn’t have to be anywhere near the V8 fuel flow) then we’d have the most powerful engines since the 80s and if they add a bit more ground effect aero and mechanical grip (very slightly wider tyres) then counteract this with less wing aero then the cars would be the fastest in history and they’d be less held back by dirty air.

      2. When will Mark Webber announce he’s a candidate for the post of Official F1 Basher?

        “It’s slow, it’s all about managing tires, grandstands are empty, bla bla bla”

        1. I thought the Official F1 Basher title was held by DJ Alguersuari, no?

          1. @tim-m DJ Alguersuari LOL!

    4. Answer to Webber’s question – because the tickets were cheaper and why it’s audience drop – because of pay-TV. That’s the reason not DRS, engine sound, fuel flow limit, these are things used by Ecclestone to cover up the main problem.

      1. I have to agree with part of your comment! I still think at least DRS is a problem (and low development allowed). But yeah, there are far more problems outside the track than in the actual racing per say.

      2. why it’s audience drop – because of pay-TV

        IN some regions yes, But TV figures have also been declining in places that still have FreeTV & in places where the TV model is unchanged.

        Germany been the prime example, Its seen a massive drop in TV viewers yet every qualifying session & every race is still live on FTA TV (RTL) with a PayTV option for those who want more coverage (Its been that way since 1997).

        Its also worth pointing out that in the UK while the TV figures have dropped from there 2011 all time high, There still actually on-par with the sort of TV figures F1 was getting in the UK before that.

    5. Sean (@spaceman1861)
      28th April 2015, 0:43

      15 seconds is a big jump :O that would be awesome tho

      1. the wec fastest lap at silverstone was only 3 seconds slower then f1s fastest lap there last year. 15 seconds is unachievable unless the f1 cars have 1500hp and traction control and allow winglets on the cars again.

    6. It’s starting to look more and more inevitable that the self proclaimed King of Goodtimes is soon going to be the King of Jailtime. I just hope that his belligerence doesn’t cost the entire team and all of its employees their jobs.

      1. I am with you in that hope (and the expectation for Mallya) @us_peter, really starting to look messy.

    7. I agree with Webber as far as striking a better balance between overtaking and racing quality, but I suspect with the short-term memory that seems to plague so many fans these days, it wouldn’t go down well.

      1. I think it matters more that the drivers try to overtake than whether they actually succeed.

        1. @hohum Yeah I agree.

          Watching a good racing battle with the driver behind having opportunities to try & overtake that results in a few passing attempts is what builds tension & excitement & makes any eventual overtake even more satisfying because you know the driver behind has really worked for it.

        2. Exactly this @hohum. A race/on track battle where we have a guy trying it and amost succeeding or even succeeding only to lose it again during several laps makes for really good enjoyment of it (see some of the battles around Verstappen, and Ericsson and Ricciardo in Malaysia for example, or the Massa vs. Bottas fight – was that china?).

          The issue is not being able to have a good go and keep that up for a few laps without knowing it will seriously compromise your finishing position because of ruining the tyres in the wake, so that drivers are told to “hold the 2 second gap” for most of the race.

        3. @hohum @bascb I don’t know if you guys remember or not, but I recall a lot of Hungarian GP’s and Monaco GP’s where drivers attempted manouvres, but couldn’t pass. It doesn’t add to the thrill, it adds to the frustration levels.

          1. Oh, yes, I surely remember. But then in Hungary in the 2000s it was exactly the same story of not really being able to run a car close and just trying without much hope of success @dragoll.
            Its much the same issue there. The cars did not allow much for using them to race either. I am not advocating any pink glasses – it used to be better – ideas here.
            I do think tyre management should be part of the sport, and maybe we also had the “lucky” position of just not knowing about it in the past (as Radio was encrypted etc) in the past, but the balance currently does not seem to be right either.
            It does seem that Hungaria is in a better position the last couple of years, although Monaco still is a track where overtaking is not the thing to expect. But I do not think that is an issue, there, it just makes for a different kind of race.

          2. yes, this isnt gokarting, there is something else involved, aero dynamics, and the car behind cant keep close enough to exit the next turn close enough.

        4. I agree. I don’t think too many people will say the 2005 San Marino GP (Schmuacher trying to get past Alonso for 12 laps) sucked. I also wonder if a driver could do the same today without their engineers telling them to back off and settle for second place.

          1. No but ITV’s coverage of it sucked, with an ad break over most of those 12 laps!
            I guess that was basically a tyre race, but without the Pirelli cliff. Today, if the fun-sucking engineers didn’t call it off, DRS would have settled that race right away, of course.

          2. that was a bit one off though, 2 great drivers in 2 great but different cars, that was a real battle, 2 years in a row at that track.

            1. But we should always expect to see at least 2 great drivers in great but different cars, that is what F1 is.

    8. My quick ideas – reduce the turbulent air or introduce IndyCar-llike push-to-pass system or a driver can use DRS a certain number of times during the race. Equal chances.

      1. Don’t forget fanboost, track sprinklers and the ring of fire.

    9. I should first say that I don’t really complain about F1 very often despite its flaws, that I am fine with the new engine sounds and that I still really enjoy watching F1, and that there are still many great races every season. However, I have to say that I agree with a lot of what Webber said. There’s just that special “something” that’s been missing from F1 over the past couple years.

      I have watched back a couple of old races recently, ranging from from the 2000s to the 1980s. Even if a particular race is boring, you get that sense of awe just knowing that the cars are pushing the limit of what’s possible, that they are a giant step ahead of any other race car, and that the drivers are on the limit trying to tame the car. Watching a couple races from 1985, the race itself often wasn’t great, often with large gaps between the frontrunners and only 12 or so cars making the finish – the type of race that would be seen as horribly boring today. But despite that, I still found it very enjoyable just watching Senna drive his Lotus around in the wet, Nigel Mansell wrestling his Williams through high-speed corners, etc. just knowing that – even though aren’t as quick as modern day F1 cars – they were streets ahead of any other race car at the time.

      I’m not saying that everything was better before, and of course there have to be regulations to control the speed of the cars in the interests of safety, but these days F1 cars don’t feel like they’re really that much more special than a LMP1 car, an Indycar, or even a GP2 car – heck Merhi even said that Renault 3.5 cars feel a bit better in the corners than F1 cars, and that you can “attack” much more while driving one. Plus, gimmicks like DRS further reduce the sense of awe when a driver pulls off an overtake.

      These days it sort of feels like it’s mainly a just combination of the legacy, the brand status as “the pinnacle of motor-racing” and the engineering excellence that gives F1 an appeal over the other forms of racing. But with WEC challenging F1 for technological excellence, and with single-seaters such as Super Formula and now even GP2 getting very close to F1 in terms of lap times (often with better cornering speeds, just less powerful engines), you have to say that the “special something” that puts F1 on a pedestal above every other form of motorsport (the thing that kept grandstands full even during seasons with boring races) is ebbing away. I think that they key to reversing F1’s trend of falling audiences lies deeper than simply throwing in gimmicks to spruce up “the show”.

      1. Ditch DRS, reduce the size of the front wing, and bring back ground effects.

      2. Honestly, I don’t think it has a lot to do with quality of ‘real’ racing. I think that DRS might have messed around a little with the brilliance of doing an unassisted overtake, but that in no way is a sport killer. Nor do I think the aesthetics of engine sound, large wings and ugly noses make a difference.

        I think it’s all about seeing great drivers with great teams actually fighting for the WIN. Literally since 2009 we have had one dominant car every year and the championship being dominated by the superior driver in that team. 2010 and 2012 were great seasons to watch due to Alonso’s heroics, but 2009,2011,2013,2014 were all dominated by a machine with a great driver with a teammate who couldn’t really match up to being a champ.

        You might argue that early and mid 2000s were dominated by Ferrari and Schumacher as well, but I can assure you that quality of racing isn’t what got it going then. In India at least, that’s when more sports channels started broadcasting races for free, and there was a certain hype (PR work) around Ferrari and Schumacher that got a load of new fans in. That hype has died down slightly after his departure as well as the downfall of Ferrrari. Suddenly the new fans didn’t know who to support and just didn’t adopt to the new gen of drivers that easily.

        Personally, I think the racing is better since the Schumi era, whether that is artifically created or not doesn’t even matter sometimes. From the perspective of the not so hardcore f1 fans, they probably wouldn’t pay for f1 coverage now, and drivers and teams that they used to cheer for in early 2000s, aren’t really around or winning anymore. It’s hard for the not so hardcore fans to accept the dna of the sport; that a lot of times there favourite cars/drivers are only in the battle if their engineering team gets it right.

      3. I agree. Part of the enjoyment for me was the feeling that only a handful of people in the world could do it and I don’t get that feeling from F1 anymore.

      4. +1 – sensible post.

        Sanitised racing will kill this quicker than even Bernie can make a million.

        Slowing quick chaps (tyre fuel etc are always a management of even lowly super kart racing – yet fast guys win.. Just not in F1 where it seems we must have our favourites win even gifted through whatever design or its ‘boring’) to create a spectacle either by regulation or simply forcing them to drive slow due to crap tyres or whatever. Sorry – noise/engines/aero – don’t give a crap – but crippling talent through whatever means and ignoring the fact some are just better. Well that really is a death wish…

    10. While some of the races from the mid 2000’s were boring the cars were insanely fast (2004 in particular), of course if I recall correctly they had traction control as well.

      The start time business is a tricky one, I mean if a race is in the time zone UTC +1 it means that if a start time is at 1 pm there could be people watching it in a time zone of UTC +11 or -11 (10 hours ahead or or 12 hours behind) so 11 pm on Sunday or 1 am on Sunday which probably means some people will be inconvenienced by a start time.

      UTC +10 — 10 pm UTC +07 — 8 pm UTC +05 — 6 pm etc…
      UTC +09 — 9 pm UTC +06 — 7 pm UTC +04 — 5 pm

      UTC -10 — 2 am UTC -08 — 4 am UTC -06 — 6 am etc…
      UTC -09 — 3 am UTC -07 — 5 am UTC -05 — 7 am

      1. I should add that the USA is UTC -8 to -5 for the most part (as is canada and mexico for the most part) South America is mostly UTC -5 to UTC -3. Asia starts after UTC +3.

        They chose a good start time for a lot of TV audiences, and for people going to the race….

      2. Absolutely, but as I say above, everyone should be able to record the live broadcast and watch it when convenient, making sure not to see or hear the result beforehand.

        1. I think you overestimate the amount of people who can record the races. I’m very sure far from everyone has recording equipment. I don’t know the f1 demographic, but I’d feel safe in wagering a guess that at the very most, 30% maybe has the ability to record races.

          1. You’re probably right: I never record races and I have no idea how to do such thing.

            If I forget to watch a race (yes, that happens …), there are (illegal) ways to find the races on the internet with much better covarage (BBC or Sky) than what I have here in Belgium.

        2. @hohum for a die hard fan like myself, I end up watching at ridiculous hours live. but i’ve become dependant on live timing and F1F live chat to keep me updated with everything going on… Take away live races and I’ll be very upset… As it is now, in Australia to watch the F1 live, I’m suffering a 30sec delay, which is massive when I watch qualifying or the race on live timing, I see who is on pole before I see it on screen. The world is changing, having sporting events live shouldn’t be a hard thing to do in this day and age.

          1. Why are you suffering a 30sec delay? I’m not getting a delay on Fox Sports.

          2. When both La Deux and BBC are showing the race, I noticed a 5 second delay between the two.

            Nothing spectacular but it’s a bit disappointing to know you aren’t watching something ‘live’.

        3. everyone should be able to record the live broadcast and watch it when convenient

          Recording streams is quite difficult, and not legal everywhere. You are assuming people have a TV, but more and more don´t and wouldn´t buy one only for the sake of recording F1-races. F1 is wrong when it caters to TV-viewers, those are the past. It has to be on the net.

          1. That should have been @hohum

            1. @crammond, it would appear that the past (TV) is superior to the future if you can’t even choose when to watch an event, not to mention the size of the screen you are viewing.

            2. @hohum: The size of the screen? Any screen-size or beamer is availiable for PC, my picture is more than 4m wide. And you can choose when to watch and where to watch for pretty much any event but F1, cause F1 is not taking advantage of basic internet-technology.

      3. For me I must say that a start time early in the morning (I am at CET) works best. That way I can have enjoyed a race (or not, depends :-o) by around 10:30 or so and can get on to doing something with the family etc.

        The idea Clair has is right for TV viewers – having the race in the middle of the day does mean that to watch it you have to commit your whole sunday to it. But putting it later in the afternoon doesn’t help that much because who goes out to do something before 10-11 AM on a sunday and gets back before 16 PM? Normally when we go somewhere and enjoy it we would return by maybe 18pm or even a bit later anyway.

        And yes, you are right to mention that the effect on different time zones has to be a consideration too @dstaplet13.
        Not to mention what @hohum mentioned about times having to be reasonable for the tracks as well – see Bahrain crowds going up now that the race is staged in the early evening local time, meaning its not as hot and people are more likely to visit after work too.

        1. I agree. Personally, I like the Asian races that start at 7 or 8 am in central Europe (6 or 7 am UK time). This way, I get up earlier than the rest of the family, and my wife is happy that the race is over before 10 am, so I am available for family activities.

          1. @mike-dee I have to agree. about the Asian races (Australian, Chinese, Malaysian in particular). Where I live (PDT, UTC -8) the races actually start late Saturday night, as I don’t work on Sunday it ends up being easy to watch those races live.

    11. Well, thankfully, we have Webber and Villeneuve voicing enough on every and anything F1-related for everyone else combined.

      1. Both of them are definitely straight shooters. Webber usually talks sense. Villeneuve is another story..

        1. Yeah they both talk sense because they’ve both been there. And that’s why they get asked their opinion.

    12. I find it absolutely funny that Sky asks when to start European races to “increase the sport’s popularity” yet we’re seeing less and less races in the continent, and very few of them with full grandstands. Germany gone, Italy could well follow… and they want to increase the sport’s popularity by changing the start time?

      that’s covering the sun with one finger, really…

      The way that society is now people want to spend time with the family and doing something together” I suppose that’s always been the case.

      and actually giving up your whole Sunday, which you have to do to watch a Formula 1 race, completely clobbers your whole day.” 14:00 to 16:00 once a fortnight (and not even that!)?!

      You want to increase popularity? make the sport something you wait the whole week for. Want to increase popularity? lower the ticket prices so everyone can go with their family.

      It annoys me big time that they just HAVE to adjust the times for europeans, when there are fans worldwide waking up at 4 am to watch the races. And even more when the sport ITSELF is looking for other markets…

      1. @fer-no65 “and actually giving up your whole Sunday, which you have to do to watch a Formula 1 race, completely clobbers your whole day.” 14:00 to 16:00 once a fortnight (and not even that!)?!

        The race itself is max 2 hours, you are correct. But still, it complete clobbers your whole day. I have two small children. One still sleeps at daytime, from 12:00 to 14:00 so we stay at home. After he wakes up, we can go somewhere but not if I watch F1. And when the race is over, it’s too late to go somewhere, because we have to start cooking around 17:00 in order to get the kids to bed in time.

        So I hardly ever watch races live. I wait for the kids to sleep, put my seat in front of the TV, turn up the volume and go! Oh, and don’t forget to put the telephone on airplane mode throughout the day! :)

        1. Frankly her comments really annoyed me. I have got up to watch every race whatever the time and long before recording was possible since I was 6 years old (50 years ago) I have worked participated and enjoyed every such part of the start of a season both two and four wheel.

          Now I can record such and watch it back happily an hour or so later. The fact you can do so for around £25 these days and legally suggests those not doing so are serious lightweights.

          And probably do not visit track at any given opportunity.

          Those that cannot afford such and I accept there are fans that cannot afford am £25 bit of equipment to record races.

          It is not like there is anywhere in the world where at least one race will not be at a time available.

          I remember being in Oman and watching the 96 opener getting over jet lag.

          Claire obviously is looking at a different type of demographic.

          Martini drinkers perhaps :)

      2. @fer-no65

        14:00 to 16:00 once a fortnight (and not even that!)?!

        Exactly, this ignores the fact legions of football fans give up far more time to watch their sport.

        1. @jimbo exactly! and teams play on different days, at different times and even during the week if you’re lucky your team is in the Champions League. Yet I don’t see football loosing viewers or fans asking for more time for their families.

          1. @fer-no65
            Not just that, in the UK coverage of the Premier League and Champions League is split between 3 broadcasters (4 if you include the BBC MOTD highlights shows), SKY & BT are both subscription based services, yet they’re still getting loads of fans watching and making record profits from TV deals with sponsors and advertisers lining up to throw money at them even though there are countless other elite football competitions competing for viewers.
            Given that Bernie is supposed to be the expert when it comes to promoting the sport, he appears to be doing a very bad job compared to his counterparts at the Premier & Champions Leagues.

      3. Lets say you live 2 hours away from the event, so if it starts as 14:00 you are probably going to want to leave at 11:00 to get there on time and be in your seat before the race starts and you would probably get back at 19:00. So yeah it takes the better part of the day.

        However, with an entertaining product a lot of people would make that sacrifice once a week or once every two weeks (like other professional sports, football etc).

    13. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th April 2015, 2:06

      I hate to say this but I almost never watch the races LIVE. Just curious, do all Europeans have DVRs like we do in the States? I’m sure they do.

      I watch them when it suits me and yes it clobbers my whole day just as much as a movie or a restaurant would:-)

      – Ticket prices need to drop. I was thinking of going to Austin Texas but it’s just ridiculously expensive for the whole family. I’d love to go to New York if they ever have a race there but I’m sure the ticket prices will be insane.

      – Sound is very, very important. That’s probably the thing I’ve missed the most with the new engines. I have a great sound system and the V8 engines just sounded incredible although the sound did commandeer the whole house during the race…

      – I cannot stress how great the NBC Sports commentators are. I really, really enjoy the races so much. It’s like having McEnroe cover a tennis match or Ray Hudson cover La Liga.

      1. Currently I either watch live or not at all. Because getting it on TV is far to expensive for my taste, so I watch it from streams and find it too much hassle to look for that online when I already know how the race ended @freelittlebirds.

        But yes, I would say its rather unlikely that people wo do get the footage “offically” do not have either a DVR or even have their provider allow for watching the event more or less when you want. I agree that ticket prices should be a factor, as should be the total fun provided at the tracks and prices/quality of drinks and food offered.
        I do agree that sound is important, but disagree that it should be louder. Afterall, I know of a boatload of events that got in trouble because of local sound limits (Zandvoort in NL for example).

      2. @freelittlebirds – Yes most of us have PVRs (even my parents!). I used to watch all the races live with little exception when they were all on free to air TV, but ironically since half have moved to pay TV in the UK I generally record everything on the PVR including the live races and watch when it suits me and If I’ve already seen the results or read about the race I sometimes even skip watching the recording completely.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          28th April 2015, 14:41

          @bascb and @jimbo If you’re not watching it live, the trick is not to go on Facebook or watch any news:-)

          The Pay Per View fees are really high in Europe… Then again, I pay $3,000 a year for TV, Internet and phone at home (without cellular phone) so I’m not so sure I’m getting a bargain either.

          1. Hm, that 3000 does seem to be a lot, yes.

    14. I like the changes of the F-1. I live in America so to wake up at 9AM or 10 AM to watch the race is more comfortable than watch it at 7AM. This year was launched a new F1 channel for Latin America is very good I must said and that plus the time of race moved two hours is great for the fans in this site of the world. We may not be as many fans as europeans but the numbers are growing.

      1. if you live on the west coast than it’s more like 4-5AM. Which isn’t as bad as catching a race at 1 or 3AM. At least it’s on the weekend ….

    15. But why were the grandstands full back then? Because the fans were watching something they’d never seen before

      Follow the cash, Mark, not the kaas.

    16. Have to say that I completely agree with a lot of what Mark says.

      What he says regarding the tyres & DRS in particular are reasons I have not been enjoying F1 now as much as I once did. I still watch every race, I still enjoy it but not at the level I did 4-5 years ago because I just don’t enjoy the levels of tyre management or a lot of what passes for overtaking now as I did before.

      I used to love knowing that the overtake I just saw was truly hard fought for & that it hadn’t been as a result of tyre degredation, compounds or some button that opens up the rear wing. Watching the real racers pull off thrilling overtaking moves put me in my seat & kept me there.
      Watching dozens of passes today that only occurred because 1 drivers tyres are 2+ seconds faster and/or because the car behind was given an artificial performance advantage via DRS in what the FIA decide is an overtaking zone just isn’t as thrilling or as exciting to me & so I find my interest & attention going elsewhere during races.

      Going to the tyres, I’ve argued myself on this site recently that tyre management (And car management in general) has been a part of F1 forever so i’ve no issue with drivers managing there equipment. My issue with what we have today is that it often seems that tyre management has become the single biggest factor of just about every race & its far beyond any sort of tyre management that F1 has had in the past.

      I’d also put forward that a part of the performance deficit F1 has now is actually caused by the tyres. The tyres are designed to degrade rather than designed for pure performance (Not blaming Pirelli BTW), If you told Pirelli or anyone else who wants to produce F1 tyres to produce the best tyre they could I bet F1 would be easily 2-3+ seconds a lap faster (Look at the performance gain they got going from spec tyres to an all out focus on performance tyre war in the past).

      I think the current power units are mostly fine as they are & the planned changed for 2017 will sort the areas where there could be improvement.

      I think the trickier area is the actual cars. You want more performance & you want them to be harder, More physical to drive then the easiest way is to throw on more downforce, But throwing on more downforce doesn’t do much for the actual racing (As we saw in the past).
      So what they should do is look at ground effects, That will get them the performance but not have the negative effect on the racing that more downforce alone would.

      1. I’m glad you have finally seen the light PerterG, these tyres actually do have good grip but if the driver exploits 100% of the grip they are only good for a few laps, that’s the real problem.

        1. Yup, agree with both of you and MW too.

    17. Isn’t Alonso quoted earlier this week ( complaining the Chinese lap times were 10 seconds slower than 10 years ago?

      1. Total race length-
        2015 – 1:39:42.008
        2005 – 1’39:53.618

        1. There were two safety cars periods in 2005.

      2. Sounds about right: the fastest lap during the race in 2014 1:40.402 vs 2004 1:32.238 (Alonso was with Renault that year). It should be noted that refueling was allowed during that season and they qualified with the fuel they started the race with.

        1. that is the point, the cars are slower, high fuel is something making them slower, but even at the end of the race with low fuel, they are not very fast.

      3. @mtlracer
        yes but he went in to add that, slow or fast times does not matter.
        What matters is the competition and the level of competition. He also said that he loves karting in off times where the speed is around 50kph, but the fun and competition makes it awesome.

    18. Webber is correct in what he said about drivers in F1 wanting more. If you’ve watched the WEC Silverstone 2015 race which lasted 6 hours, it was truly awesome with a sprint race mode. It sure did not feel like it was 6 hours.

      F1 will only be holding on to the hardcore and older fans but I don’t see any new generation younger people following F1. F1 needs a huge change in the social media or else it will fade as it is already.

      The politics and greed has put F1 where it is now. CVC, Bernie, Todt and FIA are all somehow responsible for the huge decline.

      1. yeah, there is disparity between the manufacturers but hours 1:30 to 2:30 are really great, and those tires just keep asking for more. You won’t find that in F1, the guys in F1, right now, can barely try a couple times to get past before the tires fall off the cliff. It’s sad, F1 is too restricted and held back, entertaining the politics more so than the fans.

    19. Really? No News on Red Bull’s apparaently 50 crash tests and 1+second per lap aero gain from their new aero package which wil now be introduced at Barcelona? When might we hear more info about this?

      1. Mind posting a link to that news?

      2. it won’t make much difference if they are not achieving the same level of motor efficiency, they will still be slower at the start of a race and not be able to produce the same levels of energy over race distance.

        1. redbull with mercedes engine would thrash the field. i prefer the old days when the best chassis won. with the engine homologation, they might as well homologate the chassis too and kill the sport entirely.

      3. It was succeeding on their 63rd crash test for the nose @DR where they were apparently expecting a second of laptime improvement with the “agressive” package and short nose. Supposedly even 80mm shorter than Merc have, although I think Mercedes are already very close to the minimum nose length (850 mm from the front axle), so not sure how that would work.

        1. Wow the nose is on the limit in parc ferme then it flexes 80mm backwards to give them a second. Red Bull have brought back a flexing controversy, now for those flexing engines.

    20. maarten.f1 (@)
      28th April 2015, 6:33

      It gets a bit old when former F1 drivers open their mouth and start complaining about how it used to be better in the old days. Yes, there are a lot of things that can be, and need to be, improved. But don’t go around spouting nonsense as if you know exactly what the problem is. There is not just one problem. And it’s not so easy to compare F1 today to F1 10 years ago, because so many things have changed (for the fans, and for the teams themselves). It’s not as simple as saying F1 10 years ago was faster, which equals to more attendance at races.

      Personally, I think F1 is still awesome. Yes, it’s different from F1 10 years ago. But F1 10 years ago was different from F1 20 years ago, and so on. And every generation of drivers will eventually complain that it all used to be better when they were racing.

      1. Except it probably isn’t ‘nonsense’ if most of the comments on here agree with it.

        Alonso has said much the same. 8 seconds a lap even on low fuel? Come on, surely they’ve got a point? Not everything is about the ‘racing’.

        1. maarten.f1 (@)
          28th April 2015, 8:36

          @john-h But is that the main reason why people stay away? Or maybe it’s about ticket prices, or it’s about the complete lack of any marketing of the sport, or the economic situation which has been in decline the past 10 years, or perhaps it’s because we have less, and less European races. There are so many other factors that influence this, not just the racing speed.

          If drivers are so unhappy with the current formula, why does every driver still want to be in F1? Because that’s the place to be as a driver. Not WEC, not Indycar or Nascar, or any other racing series. I’m sure every driver will want to drive at Le Mans, except not at the highlight of their career if they can help it.

          1. Less and less of the European tracks indeed @maarten-f1, but not even because they are European as such but because we are talking about losing some of the tracks that came about over years and had some character too. With new tracks we get more and more of the same idea from Tilke, or yet another “city track” with 90° corners.

          2. @maarten-f1 Of course its only part of a bigger picture, but to say that F1 cars should be hard to drive and have an aura about them is not ‘nonsense’.

            As I’ve said for what seems like ages, these cars need no DRS, wider durable tyres for more mechanical grip, and less fuel saving. The V6 turbos are great, but the cars are simply not fast enough anymore to give the same hairs-on-end feeling as before (IMHO).

      2. @maarten-f1 totally agree.
        For me F1 has only 1 problem. Cost to attend and cost to watch it on pay TV.
        Price of attending 1 GrandPrix is beyond affordability for many. They can’t get new fans simply because the new fans are either students or just working and won’t spend that money to go to F1 race unless a die-hard, save all year attend GP. Hell the price of Silverstone will give me an iPhone.
        So should I attend Silverstone from grand stand or should I buy myself an iPhone is the question new fans shall be asking, not sound or tires.

        1. that is your only problem with f1? serious?

      3. What does Webber know, he hasn’t even driven a modern day F1 car!

        1. Oh please. He only just left F1 prior to ths new generation of cars and knows what we all can see and hear about extreme tire management, DRS etc etc. I’m sure he has all kinds of friends in F1 he talks to all the time too. The only difference is those in F1 have to tow a certain party line and can’t very well complain too loudly without appearing to degrade the entity they work within. Those outside F1 but in the know needn’t hold back on their opinions.

      4. I’ve been a fan since 1965. F1 got better and better each year until the rules began attempting standardization, to the point where they artificially created the results. DRS is a fake that I would expect on a slot car track not real cars. One tire mfgr is like remote control car racing. Limiting fuel flow when you already have a limited amount of fuel is like….. worse than toy car racing.

        F1 sucks wind so badly, it will take a miracle to bring it back.

    21. I Agree with mark, i had same feeling when i read radio transcripts of last 2 gp’s, most of messages were about saving tires, just sad.

      I for one lost interest in going to gp coz of engine noise, some people keep saying thats not an issue, but its a real thing,, noise is big part of live gp experience, doesn’t make huge difference on TV, no wonder ticket sales are dropping. I loved V8 noise, hope they up the noise of current V6’s.

    22. regarding COTD, i don’t agree with it, there are 4 tyres and during testing all teams used them… and faster cars were still faster using a soft and slower cars were not able to match them even on supersofts. With teams selecting tyres for the races we will see a team like Ferrari go for a softer tyre than a team like Merc… this will allow Merc to puch cars harder and tyres would last a bit longer…. while for Ferrari they would make the softer tyre last longer anyhow. Each car, team should be able to decide what it wants to run… what combination may suit one car may not be suitable for other team.

    23. Me and some F1 Friends had a descasion on how to improve the cars last night and this is what we came up with and i like to hear what you think about it. We have decided to bring back tires that will literary work for the hole race and bring back refueling. But we will bring in the regulation that your fuel take is only allowed to be 35 liters.
      We will take away the fuel limit so the cars can run higher revs. We will limit the airo on the cars more. This should not have an in pack on the cars speed due to amount of fuel the cars have. This will also allow for DRS to betaken away.

      1. @koosoos, refueling just makes it even more important to place the cars in clean air and avoid battling with other cars on track.

    24. If fans really want to see F1, they will make some sacrifices. One Sunday getting occupied in a forthnight should not be much of a concern.

      Also like most people have said, you can record races and watch it later as well.

    25. Funny how MANY football fans don’t seem to bother “losing an entire day” to support their team for 90 minutes by going to their home stadium ~20 times a year, but giving up 7 days a year to watch a 90 minute F1 race on a Sunday afternoon from home when Bernie is already bending the start times to suit Europe is too much hassle? It is a bit of a joke really.

    26. Wait, if Europe already is or soon will become “a third world economy”, then why do you care about the European fans so much? So F1 obviously still needs Europe, it is just that today you can make more profit by selling the races to tycoons and rich dictators in other parts of the world and broadcasting them in Europe.

      Anyway, I agree that later starting times would help to attract more European fans but, as Claire Williams says, F1 should also finally start asking the fans what they want. So far it has been a guessing game: We know the fans want something (more) but we do not know what so we are trying to guess. Double points? Fragile tyres? A YouTube channel? Shorter races? Let’s just keep guessing…

      1. VERY good point @girts.

        1. True but as they say ask 12 people their opinion and you’ll get 12 different opinions. I think there are some basic general concepts that they can tackle. I’d simply start by getting back to basics. Better tires. No DRS. Reduced aero. Closer racing. The chance to see drivers being gladiators out on track performing feats most couldn’t. The chance to see them as daredevils, not passengers monitoring systems. Symplify. Make F1 more accessible to more people. But the storyline can’t be faked with these tires and DRS. Drivers afraid to race for fear of killing their tires flies in the face of F1’s DNA. They’re driving to a computer model in order to finish the race as quickly as possible while not falling helplessly into the hands of an opponent not because he is more skilled but because his team helped him manage his tires better. That’s not enthralling. That’s just a moving science project. These drivers of today, IMHO, have had the chance of being categorized amongst the Greats removed from them.

          1. yes, but if you ask 12k people you can let statistics loose on it @robbie and start getting answers you can work with.

            I would harbour a guess that if fans were asked whether to put on MORE aero, keep aero as is, go more towards underbody aero or just reduce aero, the majority would have been in the last 2 or 3 of those.

    27. I hardly think I am not going to attend GrandPrix is because it is 15 seconds slower, or I don’t understand the tires or because I don’t like the sound.
      Hardly those are the main reason, the main reason is only 1, its damn too expensive to attend one.
      Reduce the cost which can be affordable and attendance will rise irrespective of sound or tires.

    28. I have to say it, it is hard to take the rest of what you say entirely seriously when your argument is largely comparing race laps with and without refuelling (Alonso too, not just his buddy Webber).

    29. Last season: We need to move the races earlier to avoid problems with dwindling light, which is unsafe.
      Now: Move the races later in the day. We can get more people watching or attending and we will then generate more money.

      1. Not a problem in the summer, when most of the European races are held.

    30. Luca di Arrivabene strikes again!

    31. the past glory of f1… it had a special auro to it –it had an appeal to it of exoticness and like you are truly watching something great and special… the speed and the sound, and knowing that you are watching the best drivers in the best racing cars in the world, with exotic car engines (12cylinder and 10 cylinders at 19,000rpm were amazing to most people) – oh, and hero drivers. now most of that feels lost, less characterful drivers, crap sound – and knowing the cars have been slowed down from their past glory, with other racing series nearly as quick now which have better looking cars and better sound. my heartrate used to go up on the warm up lap, and then pound when the 5 lights went on, that feeling has died for me and im sure many others, now my heart rate is the same as everyother hour of the day at the start of f1 races. to be honest the racing wasnt that great in 90s and early 2000s, but the sport had that real “spectacul” or “show” feel, it was spectacular – even the race tracks were spectacular – watching the cars do 220mph down the tunnel of trees at hockenheim with the echoing sound of the v10s – just wow! now it just doesnt compare, it has lost its “appeal” and everything about it seems to be getting slowly worse and worse… the future doesnt look much better. I am with Mark Webber, i want F1 to be awesome again.

    32. @Mike-dee CoTD is spot on. The lower midfield and backmarker teams will take a gamble on tyres any weekend there is a chance of the forecast being off by a few degrees. We know how sensitive the Pirellis are to even small temperature changes and i don’t think it’s fair that teams will be compromised because the forecast they looked at 2 weeks earlier turned out to be wrong.

      It would create some unpredictability much like 2012, but in 2012 the teams eventually figured out the tyres and a more normal running order was established in the second half. Unless weather forecasting makes a huge leap forward there would be an ongoing lottery element in the races. In summary, it would be good for “the show”, but bad for racing fairness…. which now that i think about it probably means it’s likely to be implemented very soon.

      Side point: they would also need to scrap the 107% rule as it’s not fair to compare a Manor on Mediums to a Mercedes on SuperSofts (for example).

    33. “The way that society is now people want to spend time with the family and doing something together, and actually giving up your whole Sunday, which you have to do to watch a Formula 1 race, completely clobbers your whole day.”

      Solution: Only marry someone who also loves F1 and brainwash your kids from a very young age. That’s my life plan.

    34. Is there a legitimate reason why F! doesn’t offer a streaming version of each race, complete with commercials? If that didn’t generate enough revenue, I’d be happy to pay a reasonable fee for that, so I could drop my dish.

    35. Have to say, I love Max Mosley’s proposal for dealing with the rising costs of F1. Teams that sign up to a budget cap will have almost free reign over whatever car they want to build, with the only restrictions being safety and dimensions. Teams that don’t will have to abide by the technical regulations. Couple this with Force India’s suggestion about teams being able to choose their own two compounds for each weekend and we’d have such a great Formula.

      We’d have variety between cars, variety between engines, massive innovation, new teams able to enter under a budget cap and compete with the bigger teams, the end of DRS (which would probably no longer be needed), and with such open rules we’d probably also see big changes in the running order race-to-race as the upgrades would likely be more substantial than a new front wing aerodynamic device that only the hardened fans with eyes of a hawk can spot. With that in mind, we’d have more drivers able to show their skills on a day when their particular car is the one to be in. Ah it all sounds so good!

      1. Maybe but over time thinking moves towards one solution. With the computer power they now have that maybe quicker than in the past. When engines were all open they all ended up with v10s. WEC will end up in a similar boat.

    36. Currently, I do agree with Webber

    37. The cars are boring, no question. It’s not exciting to watch cars we could all probably drive. It should be physical, punishing and difficult to drive an F1 car. We should be driving to the limits of the driver, not the tyres/engine/fuel.

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