F1 is a sport first and a ‘show’ second – Vettel

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says he thinks of F1 first as a sport.

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Verstappen wonders how many more world champions he can dispose of before someone gets suspicious.
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Keith Collantine
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38 comments on “F1 is a sport first and a ‘show’ second – Vettel”

  1. Damn right Seb! Bout time a driver said that!

    1. Apex Assassin
      26th April 2016, 2:08

      It’s a damned shame it isn’t true though. If it were we wouldn’t have seen the Pirelli-terrible tyre era, kers, ers, push to pass, drs, the crazy elimination quali and the constant tinkering with the sport.

      There are too many stupid gimmicks already. I wish Seb was right, but he’s dreaming.

  2. Peeves me to hear F1 referred to as a show. #¤%”& Ecclestone

  3. Racerdude7730
    25th April 2016, 3:30

    I know this is off subject but did anyone watch the indaycar race today? I know it’s short but I’d love to see f1 cars running on an old school type of track. I think it would be awesome

    1. I certainly did watch it, it was a race that really went alive in the last 10 or so laps!

    2. Lovely track. Real ‘show’ to watch cars go around there!
      I wonder, is Indycar willing to take more risk? Considering the small amount of run-off at that track

    3. The end was good but most of the race was boring because for as good as that track is, Its one of the hardest to pass on & the aero on these cars is getting out of hand.

      The only passing we got was down to tyres or the P2P which they have made more powerful this year in order to counteract the extra aero. Its sadly becoming as artificial & gimmicky as F1 in that respect :(

      1. Though I reckon between P2P and DRS, the former is the lesser of two evils. At least with P2P, the defender can counter the move and you can use only a limited number of times.

        The race itself was a bit too straightforward for Indycar’s standards, which isn’t necessarily negative. Nonetheless there’s no argument that the venue is mesmerizingly beautiful!

        1. @shena I’ve been a fan of P2P in the past & do think its a better solution than the DRS.

          This year however they have made it more powerful & it has begun to act a bit more like DRS & become a passing device rather than an overtaking aid & I just don’t really like that they have gone in that direction given how I felt the balance was pretty spot on until now.

  4. racerdude7730
    25th April 2016, 3:56

    sorry if this is a little off subject but Here is my thought on the teams saving and spending money. This is big in the eyes of the fans i think. I think by opening the rules book up pretty far that in the end it would almost save money or at least stay where it is. Since they could look at more options to find speed rather then spend tons on one little bit of aero work on a wing. The benefit of this is the fans getting to see cars that are very different and maybe see new technology that can blow their minds. Now we have teams spending $10 million or more on a new front wing that may gain them .02 secs max. The changes are so small you wouldn’t even notice. Now if the rules were open that same team could secretly develop a active suspension that no one else has and try and beat them that way. If a team feels like having 6 wheels on the car could help then i feel they should be able to. Pretty much what im saying is that the teams will spend the money they have no matter what price savings you do so i fig let them do some really cool stuff with the cars and give the fans something to look at and study. These cars are works of art and id love to see that part of fan interest come back into it. The aero work alone would be awesome to see. some cars my think that the cars are faster without the intake being on the top of the car and go back to having the side intakes. It would be amazing to see some of these innovations come back rather then limiting the teams so much that they have to spend tens of millions on a little wiglet that no one can see or care about. Am i crazy to think this?

    1. The irony is they tightening the rule is because the big teams can spent lot of money on various R&D projects while small teams can only do 1 or 2 projects. The result is big teams can have lot more innovations and have bigger chance to get it right than the small teams, not to mention the ease of them to start copying whatever the trend is. I’m not defending tight rules here, and actually prefer much more open rules, but if you think it will make small budget teams will occasionally have new stuff that will make them competitive to big teams in a season, you will be utterly disappointed.

    2. Well, in terms of spending, certainly less restrictive rules means more spending. Also, certainly, the gap between the teams would increase. And the other problem is, once one team works out how to make the most of your new more relaxed rule set, all the other teams will copy them and suddenly you are in the exact same position as you are now.

    3. The dream of lots of very different cars will never become reality again no matter how open the rules become because at old times they didn’t have the tech to know what is the ultimate solution etc.
      Now they do and they all end up converging. This is a matter of tech advancement not just rules.

  5. lolz.

    Firstly, Vettel, according to that quote above, never says show first or sport first or even implies some sort of priority.

    Secondly, Vettel admits F1 is a show, but he would like it to be a sport. I think that is the most telling aspect. And that which will be completely IGNORED by the people jumping on the bait. Ofcourse F1 is a show, a spectacle celebrating the sponsors and the engine manufacturers. The more people keep calling for rule changes, rules this rules that, the more it will NEVER CHANGE. But maybe we can all celebrate ignorant appeals to the politically correct version of ‘equality’, and keep hoping Ferrari will ever be able to match Mercedes. At the end of the day, the less latitude the engineers have to figure out different ways to solve the same problem, the cheaper it is for guys like Mercedes to destroy the rest of the competition.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      25th April 2016, 6:33

      Doesn’t say 1st or 2nd, but sounds like a clear ranking to me: “I understand it’s a show, as well, but for me it’s a sport.”

      But what most people forget it’s not an Either/Or: Sport is all about the what they do (competing based on physical exertion and skill) whereas Show is al about how it is presented (as a spectacle).
      Therefore, Sport and Show can live nicely together; let’s call F1 a Sportshow or Sportspectacle. @xsavior

      1. “The way I consider it Formula One is a sport. I understand it’s a show, as well, but for me it’s a sport.”

        The way Vettel considers it, F1 is a sport.

        Vettel understands it’s a show … but for Vettel it’s a sport.

        If anything it’s exclusionary, and Vettel wants to think of it as a sport. English not being his first language, maybe he meant something else. But he clearly is saying he understands F1 is a show. But he would like to think it’s a sport.

        Note, I never said it wasn’t a sport. I said “Secondly, Vettel admits F1 is a show, but he would like it to be a sport.” It is what he is actually saying, vs what people believe he said that is being addressed. Again, re-read the definition of sport, it’s for entertainment. I would argue Vettel’s comment is actually nonsense on top of being a tacit admission, which people will choose to ignore :) :) :)

        1. maybe in fact, the statement is indeed trivial, but the real meaning is completely ignored. Just a thought.

    2. As I see it – as soon as a sport has spectators that are not the friends and family of the athletes, it is also a show. F1 is probably more of a show than the League 4 football match but both remain a sport first. And I think that’s how Vettel sees it as well.

      1. Sports events of every kind are a show in the sense that if they weren’t entertaining they would never have taken off…never have drawn a crowd, and eventually never have drawn television coverage, let alone global television coverage.

        I think of F1 as a sport because I like to think of it as driver vs driver, which can be greatly improved on right now with the type of simplification and reduction in gimmicks I think they need. At least they seem to be trying to make the cars harder to drive which should translate into us feeling more of a sense of accomplishment from them having performed a greater feat.

        So of course all sports are also a show or they wouldn’t exist. But F1 can and should put it back into the hands of the drivers and let them create the show on the track with close racing and the sense we are watching gladiator vs gladiator doing something amazing…something more than monitoring tire conditions and being greatly limited by them from pushing themselves and their cars anywhere near a limit that awes us. Having a wing open to allow them virtually effortless passes is nothing awe inspiring and is merely a Trump-esque way of creating a show that is empty of any real value.

        Viewership is down 30% since 08. Time for a change and make it a real show through the sport of real people being seen doing amazing things. Gimmicks have obviously done nothing to help. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all the time.

  6. All the Honda bosses seem to be cut copy pasting the same speech since the last 18 months

    1. Sviatoslav (@)
      25th April 2016, 9:05

      Well, “We moved focus away from ERS” (because we have no idea what we’re doing)” (c)

      This is how it looks to me either. (the comment is not mine)

      1. It’s nothing but non stop disaster at the Honda camp

        1. While I agree that things are not ideal at McLaren @todfod I think there is too much emphasis on Honda’s failings. Honda made a massive error in not focusing enough time on energy recovery. I believe they felt that this was an easy area and the hard part was fuel saving hence the off throttle compression design. It was the nature of F1 regulations that prevented Honda from sorting the ‘easy part’ overnight. It was fairly obvious to everyone that Mercedes would have a sizeable advantage over Honda given they started 3 years earlier and had a full season running with 4 teams. Given the problems of reliability of the new engine Honda had to focus on that area before performance. This was all to be expected. For me it is massively impressive that Honda are as close as they are already. It is also clear that even with equal engines across the top 3 packages and McLaren, that McLaren would still be behind. The last great car they made was 2012 and it will take time for Prodromou to instill his way of working. I simply didn’t believe McLaren would be fighting at the front until 2017 and so it has proved but I think Honda are being given a very rough ride due to fan frustration of not seeing world champions at the front which is as much the fault of the regulations and McLaren as it is Honda.

  7. I understand that the drivers (or even fans) of F1 will always consider it a sport, because from their perspective that’s what’s most important. The competition between the drivers, doing the best with the equipment they have to outperform the others. They work very hard to be their best and when they win it’s through not only skill and talent but hard work and determination.

    But as a whole it really is short-sighted just to call F1 a sport. If anything it’s more of a business competition. The financial management and political manoeuvring, global operations and organisation are just as if not more integral to deciding a victor than the sporting side of the competition. There are reasons beyond just financial that teams have dropped out over the years, a company or organisation might be great at selling, but not at winning, and certainly not the in the cut-throat environment of F1.

    It’s pleasing definitely to hear Vettel come out against the idea of “the show.” (as he has a couple of times now.) I’ve been surprised and a bit astounded really at how Bernie has mentioned many times over the years now about how F1 is all about show-business and not the sport (and the following silence accepting it). And especially the recent obvious rule changes have really exacerbated how out of touch this concept of the show is with the greater F1 community.

    Hopefully drivers and teams continue to make noise about this and stand up against this really weird direction FOM/FIA have taken the sport.

    1. It’s not that simple. You can’t call F1 is a sport as Bernie can’t call F1 is a show. The truth is F1, like other complex entities, is all of those things combined. For the fans and drivers they want the sport side of F1, the engineers want the competition side (cheating is encouraged as long as no one finds out and sportsmanship be damned if it get in the way), team owners want the business side because they invest money not to see the team winning but those wins must bring them profits too, FOM wants the show side so they can get paid by sponsors, circuits, etc that use the business side of F1.

      In the end, everyone will use F1 as they see fit and there’s nothing wrong with that. What we need is to adjust the proportion so neither side of F1 is detrimental to others. Currently the FOM side might gaining too much at the expense of the team business side.

  8. ColdFly F1 (@)
    25th April 2016, 7:40

    As mentioned above we do not have to choose between Sport and Show; it can be both.

    The real problem though is what do we want the sport to be. Is F1 a sport to find the best team which can beat all other teams over a season. Or is our sport finding the fastest driver.
    F1 is probably one of the few sports where we have not made up our mind, and seem to be chasing both. At the end of every race we’re shown both rankings, and we do have a trophy for WCC and WDC.

    There are sports which are purely looking for the best individual (with brand names like Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, Djoko, Williams, etc). In those sports it is all about the individual, and all sporters have access to the same material.
    Then there are clear team sports: Football/Soccer, Rugby, Cricket, Hockey, etc. We all know and barrack for the teams. And even though we know the best players, and have our ‘heros’ it is never ‘all about them’. There is normally not even a pure ranking after each match for the individual (the top scorer is not necessarily the best player, and the Ballon d’Or is only voted on once a year).

    In all sports above Sports and Show seem to go hand in hand; only in F1 we seem to struggle.
    Part of that is due to the erratic remarks by BE. But also a big part is due to the fact that we don’t have a singular view what the Sport stands for: Best Team or Best Individual.

  9. I’ve been an obsessive F1 fan for around 20 years now (and a fan of sorts a little longer), so I’ve experienced a few things… the end of the wide-track, slick era of the 1990s, the narrow-track grooved era, the explosion of technology, the return to slicks, arrival of gimmicks, switch to V6 turbos and so on.

    For me, F1 will always be both a sport and a show. But the way it does both those things has changed a lot in the time I’ve been watching… the ‘sport’ side is now far, far more heavily based on the team and the technology of the car, rather than the driver, and I don’t like that. I actually hate it. Cars were always important and technology always mattered, but those things they drive nowadays aren’t even cars, they’re ridiculously overengineered, ultra-driveable mobile computers, and the input of the driver in terms of actual skill and raw ability has never been lower.

    Imagine everyone on the Tour de France had a motor on their back wheel, linked to a computer on their handlebars, and they spent the whole race fiddling with a hundred settings to make it work to help their physical peddling at just the right times. That’s what I see F1 as now, as an individual ‘driver’ sport… there’s driver input, sure, but not as much as there should be.

    Meanwhile, the show side has moved away from speed and sound, and now focuses more on action and drama… and I think that has been the right move. I no longer fall asleep during races and I can sit and watch the whole thing without hopping over to my computer to do something else… I no longer feel like I’m watching out of habit, rather than desire. If I go outside to smoke, I live pause – before, I wouldn’t have done that, because I’d know the most exciting thing that might happen would be a pit stop. That doesn’t mean I’m happy with what I see… I dislike DRS and I dislike the Pirelli tyres, but I see them as necessary evils.

    I say those things because without the improvements on the show side, I could well have fallen out of love with F1 by now because as a sport, it’s no longer what I fell in love with. Technology has pushed driver ability down the order of things that matter, made it less important… and because I’m unhappy with a ‘sport’ that is becoming more and more focused on computers, settings, sensors and setup and less on the skill of the guy in the cockpit, I need the ‘show’ side to keep me engaged.

  10. F1 is a sports show. It will never satisfy objectively as there are 2 variables, drivers and engineers, is the car the best or is it the driver, it leaves an opened ended question which is very subjective and gets people talking about it none stop. As to it’s popularity and tv viewing figures it seems that more people seem to be talking about it on internet forums than ever before (mostly complaining). What is the traffic on this website like now to say 5 years ago? same, more, less?

  11. The reason they still don’t know how to replace Bernie is that HE makes F1 a show. He massively compromises the sport, by shamelessly tilting the playing field, but nobody walks away. Everybody accepts his agenda and argues about WHICH team ‘deserves’ how much unfair advantage!

    His man Charlie stirs the rules this way and that, banning FRICS or mass dampers or floor tolerances, while turning a blind eye to pre-buckled stays or bendy bits depending on how the show is supposed to develop.

    Bernie rigs the money to keep some teams on the edge of going bust – more drama – and keep the most F1-promoting teams at the top. His secret is he really does not care what people think. It’s a unique blend of charm, humour and off-the-scale toughness. He gets punched at 80 and next day he’s making a joke, and money, out of it.

    And now there’s a whole global media industry generating news items every day from the most brief, obvious, banal statements that don’t mean a thing. And I read them! Why??? :)

    1. Bernie gets to do that because mad Max sold him the rights to f1 for 100 years, so it’s Bernie’s way or the highway.

      1. Yep @hohum and nobody has ever found Max’s slice of the pie. It was some partnership, the 6’3 barrister and the 5’2 used car salesman.

        But now can Bernie see off Marchionne?

  12. That Vandoorne guy is quite special, isn’t he?

  13. I expected Gene Haas’ soap opera comment making the roundup. It’s comment of the year material!


    1. I’m pretty sure that interview was in the round-up a few days ago – it’s definitely not a new quote.

  14. Didn’t get the caption.

  15. F1 used to be a sport that provided a good show. Now its a show that provided a poor sport.

    Mostly priorities are wrong. Sporting regulations should equalize starting points for all teams.

    Say football, 11 players per team, equal size goals, may the best team win.

    F1 is now around 800 players in a winning team, vs 100-200 on tail end of the grid.

    Its like Barcelona would play with 20 players. On top of that Fifa gives most revenue to Real Madrid because they have more pedigree?

    As long as regulations are inherently unsporting, rules aimed at show and not performance.. F1 will be a poor sport. And poor sport is like a poor joke. You can laugh at it but it aint no good show.

    So converge performance…

  16. This is a sport? I thought it was a show?! That’s what Bernie says. It is scripted and plays out like a reality show. Put guys in very powerful race cars, make them coast around to save fuel, give them tires made of pudding, punish them if they try to pass one another, take away their personalities and have them act like PR robots…..Are you sure this isn’t a show?

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