Mercedes plan to appeal Rosberg penalty

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In the round-up: Mercedes are preparing to lodge a formal appeal over Nico Rosberg’s post-race time penalty for breaching team radio regulations.

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More reports of how F1’s pay television drift is harming the sport’s popularity:

We were watching the Austria race over Wi-Fi on the town square in a small mountain village in Italy, while on vacation. Nobody else in town seemed to watch F1, while Saturday evening the whole village watched soccer outside. This is the effect that F1 on pay TV has had in Italy, which is Ferrari’s home ground. Before pay TV the Italians were absolutely crazy with F1.

The worst about shifting it to pay TV is that after that only maybe one in twenty have seen the race come Monday morning. At work and school people stops talking about F1, and the fan base dries out eventually. Economically the value of commercials on TV also dries up, and the only income left is rich countries, who wants an F1 race, no matter the cost, and the pay TV channels, which is also dying big time, because people shift to streaming, Netflix and other means of watching video.

In Denmark where I live, it has become very difficult to find people, who are interested in F1, after the shift to pay TV. Only the occasional Danish driver participation (Kevin Magnussen) has been able to revive the interest some

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On this day in F1

Pedro Rodriguez, the first Mexican driver to win a round of the world championship, died on this day in 1971 following a sports car crash at the Norisring in Germany.

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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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43 comments on “Mercedes plan to appeal Rosberg penalty”

  1. petebaldwin (@)
    11th July 2016, 0:28

    Agree with COTD. This site is the only place I ever talk about F1 anymore! The numbers at work were dwindling throughout the last few years but the last one gave up this year. :(

    1. I second that. The COTD seems to outline a logical chain of events stemming from the pay TV switch that could, scary as it sounds, kills F1 in the future. We might think in the far future, but if it’s a generation that is switching off, we may see a sudden drop in viewership as the previous generation simply passes away. (We’re still probably 20 years from that, but still. It’s a bedrock we’re laying out for that time right now.)

    2. Agreed. Now there are only two people in my school year who watch F1. Back in 2007, I remember that at least 70% of my year watched F1. The sooner Bernie leaves, the better. This pay TV is ridiculous. I’m having to watch streams online which really shouldn’t be necessary.

      1. Excellent point. If the only people watching F1 are those who can afford it – in other words old fogies like me (I’m 53) – then the future will be a steady decline in viewers with an obvious result for the sport.

        The least FOM could do is offer live streaming like Le Mans, or MotoGP.

        But the best bet would be a return to free-to-air. More eyeballs on screen. More sponsors. More cash for the teams.

        1. Since I don’t watch football/soccer, can someone tell me how many matches are available over free-to-air or the UK/EU equivalent of basic cable? Because I have to have NBC Sports and had to have Speed to watch F1, but that came with a slightly upmarket TV plan.

          1. @wushumr2
            The Premier League has never been on free to air TV in the UK, it was established with SKY TV to get around the football league’s restrictions on televising live games.
            We get FA Cup, League Cup, Europa League, and Champion’s League football on free to air TV, as well as International tournaments that the home nations compete in.
            We also get highlights of Premier League games on Match of the Day.
            The big difference between football and F1 is that almost every pub in the country shows Premier League games, football also accounts for at least 75% of the sports pages in our newspapers, and if you like watching football enough to pay for it, you get to watch at least four Premier League matches a week during the season, plus lots of other club matches from Spain, Italy, Holland, and other countries, so you could watch at least two games a day throughout the season.

      2. That’s true if you believe that whoever will take Bernie’s place will not continue with his or similar policies.

    3. @petebaldwin, when exactly did the Italian market switch from free to air over to a subscription based model? I recall seeing another forum with the viewing figures for the Italian market that showed that viewing figures went into decline back in 1999, which I believe precedes the switch to a subscription model.

  2. Yet when Lewis asked if he was doing the right thing in Baku.. That wasn’t ok??

    1. well they didn’t tell him anything, they actually told rosberg to not use 7th

    2. It’s only engineer–>driver that has the clampdown. I’m sure Lewis could ask or say whatever he wanted to over the radio, and as long as the engineers don’t respond or give a response that sounds like it might be a code then there’s no sporting violation.

    3. The rule banning radio traffic has gone way to far but it is the rule, when Lewis asked for help in Baku he got zilch from the team yet when Nico asks he gets two messages, the first of which I think was within the rules … however the second message telling him not to use 7th gear is definitely driver coaching, given the fact that he would have retired without input from the pit wall I think 10 secs is quite lenient.

      Personally I think the rule in it’s current format sucks and the FIA really need to sort this out for the benefit of those fans that pay their money to go to race days and for the millions of fans that watch “Pay TV” (which sucks more than the stupid radio rule).

      I fully agree with banning the use of radio’s for coaching drivers but the passing of technical advice to overcome issues with the car has got to be acceptable. The FIA have got to be, either sensible or ban all radio transmissions period.

      1. it’s yet another of those wishy washy rules that make F1 quite unappealing at times. rosberg was in clear breach of the rules so he should have been disqualified, or at least his points should not count towards the constructors championship (he didn’t really do anything wrong, it was his engineer).

        instead, like horner says, people will start trying to game the system e.g. if you are +10 seconds ahead then there’s no reason not to risk breaking the rules. it’s all so unsatisfying.

      2. Actually, Nico received 3 messages, and it may have been the third one that did him in.

        First message was “default chassis 0”, or some such, which I assume is the equivalent of “reset”. Since the car would have been parked without it, that’s “Critical”, although, for everyone ranting that Hamilton should have learned the manual in Baku, knowing that you can reset the chassis to get it out of a stuck gear is the sort of thing that OUGHT to be in the manual that Rosberg “supposedly” knows.

        Second was to avoid 7th gear– That could, I suppose, be justified as “critical” information.

        The third message was to explain what was meant by “don’t use 7th gear”, which should have been obvious to someone who’s supposed to be such a genius at understanding the complexities of a modern F1 car.

        The ruling said that Mercedes transmitted information that was permitted under the rules (they didn’t say what), then followed it up with saying Mercedes transmitted information which *was* a violation of the rules. But they didn’t say what.

        1. I independently came to the same conclusion as you did, the penalty was for the third message where Rosberg asked about double-shifting.
          I was surprised to hear Rosberg asking that [I mean how else is one to avoid 7th gear, reprogram the ECU while driving?], and even more surprised to hear him being answered after all the trouble with radio ban we had seen before. “Sorry can’t help you there” might have saved Rosberg’s second place.
          I get an impression that Rosberg is not that quick on his feet. I know that some people need time and then they might come up with even better solutions than the “quick” ones (I had a friend like this). There were reports that he spends more time than Hamilton analyzing things, perhaps preparing for various situations beforhand. This might be also the reason for some of his strange reactions in races when he faces unexpected situations.

    4. I’m still at a loss that Rosberg needed to be told to shift through 7, it’s such a common problem in terms of gearbox reliability and it’s cropped up historically and famously (think senna at brazil) many times. Surely a driver of Rosberg’s calibre should know that if 7th gear breaks, you double shift from sixth?

      1. Baffles me too @naz3012

        1. How do yo know he wasn’t wondering if he needed to stay below 7th and not dare shift up or down through it? How ridiculous to make Nico out to be some amateur. Do you then also think Mercedes are that amateur to have him on the team and be about to re-sign him?

  3. Honestly, it is a shame that F1 is no longer free-to-air in the UK. Quite honestly, the race, qualifying, the grid walk, the post race interviews and some coverage should be free. However, the really-in-depth coverage, the practice sessions and the other special stuff (i.e. Sky’s coverage) should be on pay TV. That stuff is for the kind of person who is far more passionate and willing to pay. The casual viewer, who doesn’t care about F1 that much but likes to watch the races shouldn’t have to

    Over here in the USA, however, F1 is on pay channels also- only a few races are free-to-air here. Monaco and COTA are 2 races that are free-to-watch.

    1. *a pay channel that is part of a package of channels

  4. Agree with COTD but I don’t think the fall in popularity it is entirely due to tv rights. To give a stupid example, here in Argentina it’s pretty common saying “Hey, you think you are Schumacher” to anyone who tries to drive faster than the average speed on the streets. Schumi retired 10 years ago (not counting the comeback) and nowadays even though we have drivers who have won a similar amount of championships (Vettel, Hamilton), there are nowhere as popular here as it was Schumacher, or even Hakkinen. I bet if you stop 50 random persons on the street, they wont be able to name more than one current driver (the one named being probably Alonso or Massa, or someone who thinks Barrichello still is active).

    1. Oh and forgot the point LOL: Tv coverage here has been the same since late 90s, (cable TV), only in the last couple of years it became PPV.

      1. To be hontest, phrases that pass into popular parlence do have a life of their own. I do not see this as definitive proof as to the popularity, or current popularity of the sport.

        “Who do you think you are Nigel Mansell” still does the rounds in the UK. Before that it was probably “…..Sterling Moss”.

        These sayings tend to linger for a generation or two before slowly being replaced with “Who do you think you are….Max Chilton” :)

        1. You really made my day with the Max Chilton comment :)

  5. “I feel sorry for the fans who will never have the chance to see these kind of circuits that we used to have.”

    No you don’t, Bernie. Stop playing us for fools. We all know the reason why classic circuits are disappearing from the calendar and we know exactly who to blame.

    1. @jackysteeg this. The interview actually made me feel sick just how much rubbish was said.

  6. Bernie should be feeling sorry for all the children that will never see any F1 track because they don’t have the right package on pay tv or only fta tv. I saw a doco on tv the other week on longevity, apparently 1 of the main factors for becoming a centenarian is small stature due to less resources being needed to repair and maintain mind and body, Bernie may well see a few of us out before he pulls the pin.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      11th July 2016, 9:38

      he’s certainly using minimal resources to repair his mind ;-)

  7. On the topic of Redbull and engines… shouldn’t they be praising the wonderful “Tag Heuer” engines for allowing them to be so competitive? All the mudslinging they had for Renault last year was pathetic and it’s compounded now by not being able to give credit when credit is due.

    1. I have seen quite a few comments from Horner about the big step Renault has made. Actually mentioning Renault by name.

      And this statement not being prompted by a reporter.

      They may not be screaming it, but they are giving credit where it’s due.

    2. I laugh every time journalists and TV commentators refer to their “Tag-Heuer branded Renault powerunits”. Renault is actually getting more exposure at the moment (and positive exposure at that) despite not having their name on the power unit. Surely that defeats the purpose of the Tag-Heuer branding?

    3. “Allowing them to be so competitive”. Yeah… They’re not as bad as they were, but still not good enough. This was very visible during the race: their wet weather performance showed that the car and chassis is fully up there, their dry weather performance showed that the PU is still lacking quite a bit.

  8. I don’t think that there will be a penalty, as the penalty is under rule 38.3, and the regulations state that appeals may not be made against this rule.

    1. I think it’s interesting that Mercedes appeal the decision @mattb, let us all hope that this creates a bit more clarity and starts to make the radio rules less convulted (because I see the purpose here to define what is allowed when facing a critical issue).

    2. Apologies, I meant “I don’t think that there will be an appeal”. Typing faster than my brain can work!

  9. F1 is a ‘sport’ of the 20th century. Good luck underestimating and conning the next generation.

  10. “Q: Coming to another topic: people wonder how you run the business on a practical level these days. The internet and all its choices will change sports in the future. How is Bernie Ecclestone handling that? How many hours a day are you glued to the internet?

    BE: I am still a telephone man. I haven’t got time for that kind of waste. Watching what?”

    And there we have the reason F1 is in the state it’s in, the rest of the world is twenty years into the digital revolution, and the man leading the sport doesn’t bother with the Internet, or even have an email address.
    Bernie is so stuck in his ways that he thinks he can keep on acting as if it’s the 1980’s, and that everyone will just buy whatever he’s selling.

    I also find the comments about young people quite hilarious, festivals have become huge business in the UK and Europe, with millions of young people spending billions of pounds to spend a weekend staying in a tent to see their favourite bands, there’s no reason we couldn’t have them going along to Grand Prix. If they were worth spending your money on.

    1. Comment of the day.

      1. Agreed, it is a sad story of what can go wrong, when the ruling form is dictatorship.

  11. I hope this time he will get a proper disqualification, I mean the FIA gave a joke of a penalty on a race he should not have finished on the first palce (look at Perez a race earlier) yet they find a valid point to appeal.

  12. COTD is spot on. I’ve been watching F1 religiously since 1993, watching every race live. Since 2011 I have tended to record the race, and watch the following evening (I also got married in 2011…co-incidence?). I used to find it really really hard to avoid hearing the result! Even intense “media blackouts” (no TV news, no radio news, certainly no Facebook, glancing away from newspapers) weren’t always enough — the 2011 Canadian GP was ruined for me when a photo of Jenson on the winner’s step appeared on a daytime TV programme!

    Recently, though, I find I don’t have to do much to avoid hearing the results. None of my friends comment on Facebook. The Metro doesn’t put a photo of the winner on its front page. None of the new bulletins after Sunday evening mention the result.

    This isn’t very scientific at all, but for me it definitely shows that F1 is simply not as popular as it used to be. Which is sad.

    1. Ha, same here. Hard to avoid but not that hard anymore. @danielh

      There are still two places that spoiled it for me a few times. The first one is a general news app, which during an F1 race or qualifying shows the top two positions live. I look at that news app without thinking about it so got spoiled a few times. The second is that I am subscribed to the FIA press release RSS feed on feedly. Google Now uses content from the feedly app and shows the posts it think I would find most interesting on a Google Now card. So if I want to check traffic or the weather on Google Now, they put the post with the news conference. The problem is that it always shows the picture of the top 3. So even if glancing on it for a tenth of a second only, if there is no one in red, you know that Ferrari did not end up on podium. Red Bull are easy to recognise as well. White overalls generally mean Mercedes but could be Williams as well but do you expect them on the podium really?

  13. Mercedes decided not to appeal and accepts the 10 sec penalty. They will however schedule a meeting with team owners etc. to discuss the implementation of the rule.

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