Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, Interlagos, 2015

Lotus urges rethink of F1’s business model

2015 F1 season

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Formula One faces an uncertain future if it does not rethink its financial structure, Lotus’s deputy team principal has warned.

Federico Gastaldi, whose team has faced several financial problems in the second half of the year as it awaits the outcome of a potential takeover by Renault, says there are problems throughout the sport and underlying concerns about its popularity.

“I believe it is crucial for Formula One to review its business model,” said Gastaldi. “There are so many financial issues throughout the sport, whether for teams or promoters, that it is hard to see where things will go.”

“I know that both Mr Ecclestone and the FIA have been trying to change things and I also know that teams aren’t always the easiest to work with when we have to join forces. Our agendas and situations differ too much and are almost always preceded with self-preservation.”

“Additionally, and I have said this before, we have to do everything that we can – all of us – to help promoters sell tickets. Without fans, where would we be?”

Despite Lotus’s well-publicised financial problems, Gastaldi believes the team has enjoyed a “positive season”.

“I can’t say that I am ecstatic about our season in terms of results, but it’s certainly much better than last year and while under much tougher circumstances,” he said.

“We aimed for fifth in the constructors’ championship and stayed in the fight most of the season despite the year’s constraints. Had things turned out differently, we had the car and the people to take us there – and even further up the order – no problem.”

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

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  • 9 comments on “Lotus urges rethink of F1’s business model”

    1. Federico Gastaldi … says there are problems throughout the sport and underlying concerns about its popularity

      One of the problems F1 faces is that while people want to watch it, a lot of people have to pay to watch it, meaning it discourages popularity, meaning it also discourages the amount advertisers are prepared to pay, which is part of a team’s income.
      There are other racing series that are free to watch, and a free to watch series will be more accessible to viewers than ones they have to pay to watch, so people will become interested in those other racing series and not F1.
      So while there is more TV rights money from a sport supported by Pay TV, the downside is the audiences are smaller, the teams are largely unknown to the public, so names like Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, etc, are less well known, the visitors to this website like this one are less, all around are advertisers wanting to pay less, and also the attendances at the race tracks would be less, so cities are less willing to pay hosting rights.

    2. The problem to me is simple. Everybody complains about so many issues about F1. Many problem hate the same things about F1. I’m sure msot agree teams need to be given more money & less needs to go to FOM.

      The solution??? Stop watching, stop going to races. The only way we will get back the sport we love is to make FOM take notice because they are loosing money. If you guys keep watching nothing will change.

    3. It’s amazing how impending doom sharpens the mind.

    4. The malaise affecting formula One is the same that affects the rest of the world: wealth inequality. While Bernie Ecclestone amasses unimaginable fortune, many teams, the ones that put that show up, get very little or nothing. Formula one is a sound business, but the distribution of the revenue stream has to be reengineered.

      1. I agree 100%! At least in this situation we can collectively try to enforce change. How? Not watching and going to races. Only when viewership crumbles and FOM looses money will they be forced to fix these problems. In this situation I believe we have the power to enforce change but not if we continue watching/supporting this nonsense.

    5. “we have to do everything that we can – all of us – to help promoters sell tickets. Without fans, where would we be?”
      Please somebody send this words to Godfather Mr. E. and Mesiè Todt.

    6. Well, at age 85 Bernie’s life expectancy is 6.2 years. We just need to wait.

      1. There will be no Lotus next year, Renault Nissan it will be.

    7. This is correct. Formula One has a problem that goes beyond its administration, the rules or anything sportive. Formula One has no idea what it wants to do. It has no idea what its target audience should be.

      Bernie Ecclestone once said

      “I’d rather get to the 70-year-old guy who’s got plenty of cash.”

      That’s a fair statement in itself. An older audience is your target audience. Not inherently wrong, especially with the gentrification of society and the reduced interest in cars in the younger audience. However, Formula One as a whole is not acting in a way that fully appeals to said target group. What mostly appeals to said audience? Luxury and nostalgia. With execptions, both are verily lacking in Formula One, with unknown tracks in god-knows-whereistan and “plebians” such as Lewis Hamilton being the stars of the series as well as unorthodox developments such as DRS and purposefully “bad” tyres. On the other hand, F1 is not working towards the young audiences either, because whilst said Hamilton appeals to the youth of today, the slower cars, relatively long races and the lack of new media and interactivity (such as, at the risk of giving a lot of visitors to this page an aneurysm, fan boost) are not very appealing to the general young audience.

      Right now, Formula One needs to do some serious soul-searching where it is supposed to go as a brand and then adjust the rules and organisation to fit those needs. Regardless of which way they’d end up going, if they would follow a plan and not just throw feces at the wall and see what sticks, the rest of the issues plaging this sport would be taken care of. To use a German saying, “the fish stinks from the head”: we can’t expect the end product to be good if there is no plan in creating it.

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