Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2016

European races “critically important” to new F1 owners

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula One’s new owners says the championship’s heartland European races are vital to the series.

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When it comes to what Formula One’s new management needs to do better, @Fer-no65 reckons they need to start with the basics:

I don’t know what will happen but the product needs to improve, fast. What I want when I watch any sport is getting the feeling that what’s done there, what I see on the telly, it’s impossible for a normal human being to do.

I was watching Moto GP’s race at Silverstone yesterday, a replay. Watching those guys slide around corners, millimetres from each other, you just realise they are heroes, they do the impossible on board of those bikes. You don’t get the same in F1 anymore. You compare F1 to those onboard cameras from IndyCar, and it’s like F1 drivers are sitting in a sofa in their living rooms casually moving the steering one way or the other.

And the way they show it, Moto GP has multiple cameras, gyro cameras, they were showing the battle for 2nd place and there was a window showing Viñales, on the lead. It’s like they care a lot more about the viewer, they show more, they don’t miss any action. F1 spends 10 minutes replaying the starts every GP, on lap three.

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A furious Fernando Alonso said he “no longer considers F1 a sport” after being penalised for impeding Felipe Massa during qualifying at Monza ten years ago today:

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Keith Collantine
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  • 46 comments on “European races “critically important” to new F1 owners”

    1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      9th September 2016, 0:37

      How true Fernando.

    2. COTD is spot on. MotoGP itself is on another level. Those riders are crazy, and amazing to watch them race so close, the risk factor is huge.
      The broadcasting also gives you more of what you want to see.

      1. Also in MotoGP/IndyCar you hardly ever see cameras cut to celebs or driver’s girlfriends staring vapidly at the screen, pretending not to relish their 10-15 seconds of camera time.

        1. @pastaman However that might have something to do with the fact there is always something interesting going on on track too.

      2. I do agree MotoGP has some nice camera angles, but the TV edit is usually not very good. In F1, if Massa and Hulkenberg are squabling over let’s say 9th place, the director will show the fight. In MotoGP all you ever see is the lead group. After the race you never have a clue what happened from place 5 or 6 down, as if the midfield pack doesn’t exist at all.

        1. The Blade Runner (@)
          9th September 2016, 9:31

          Totally untrue. On Sunday they hardly showed Maverick Viñales once he cleared off into the distance. It’s the same whenever that scenario occurs.

          Some of the innovation in the MotoGP coverage is phenomenal. A few stand-outs:

          * Rider POV shots which show the rider in front, the speed they are travelling at, their distance and time from the POV rider and the angle their bike is at when cornering
          * Picture-in-picture – A box in the top left corner might show the leader whilst the main picture shows other action
          * Last weekend they used a 360 gyroscopic degree camera on Rossi’s bike. This gave amazing footage of overtakes
          * 4k slo-mo shots at key turns

          1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
            9th September 2016, 13:13

            The slo-mo shots are insane. My favourite part of their coverage over what F1 do. Rossi is equal in hero status to Schumacher – he is a legend. I enjoy MotoGP races far more than F1 these days (past 10 years)

            1. The Blade Runner (@)
              9th September 2016, 18:27

              Likewise. I can’t wait until San Marino this Sunday. Sadly it’s been quite a while since I felt the same way about an F1 race.

          2. Slo mo/hi def shots in F1 seem to only focus on the tyres – occasionally moving bodywork. Perhaps there’s a field of view issue with the tech. It would be nice to see some of the action that way.

          3. @thebladerunner
            I hope you watched the San Marino race and see my point. From outside the top six there was one very brief on-board with Crutchlow, one shot of Pirro (but not his pass on Crutchlow), one shot of Aleis Espargaro in the gravel, one of Pol Espargaro and the Aprilia’s. From place 5/6 the tv-director showed the initial Dovi/Vinales battle for about a lap, briefly showed the penalty for Vinales, but didn’t show the final overtake of the Suzuki. In fact the 2nd half of the race mainly showed the 2 leaders. Rabat and Lowes crashed, we didn’t see it. There was a further overtake in midfield, not shown. Now there wasn’t much happening this race, but the tv-director could at least do a simple run down of the field once or twice.

      3. And pleased COTD mentions Indycar – it’s probably just the lack of power steering combined with the bumpy tracks, but it’s exciting just to sit onboard with those drivers as they wrestle the cars around. F1 onboard shots just seem serene, and frankly a bit easy.

        @fer-no65 really hits the nail on the head, a spectator of any sport really should feel astonished at what athletes can do. Apart from perhaps Monaco, F1 has lost that quality.

        1. Your 100% right about the F1 onboard shots. The overhead camera is so steady it really makes it look like my nan could drive one of these cars. I’ve been much happier to see the over the shoulder camera come back this year. I don’t know if it moves around a bit but it seems unsteady and gives a much greater impression of speed

          1. Agreed! It was mega seeing the over the shoulder shots at Monza, the way the car was bumping and moving around was incredible to watch and really gave a sense of “I couldn’t pull that off”

          2. The over the shoulder camera shot never went away, It’s been used plenty of time over recent years.

            I’m not especially fond of that angle to be honest as it gives you what murray walked used to call ‘a one eyed view’ as you have hardly any peripheral vision so if a car is alongside (Especially on the opposite side of the car) you have no view of it.

            i prefer the t-cam on the roll hoop as you can see a lot more than you can from the side views.

            1. I agree, the FOV on that shoulder cam atrocious. It’s worse than ‘one eye’, more like a quarter eye. There seemed to be a reasonable compromise on Ricciardo’s car last weekend, his onboard was pretty cool. But no, the camera on Vettel and Nico/Lewis (?) lately has been really dreadful and claustrophobic. You get much less visual information on the balance car and what the driver is doing to it.

      4. Disagree. Sliding a car and fighting with the steering wheel is not super-human. Just because you get a visual doesn’t mean it’s exceptional. With respect but that’s a bit basic.

        Exceptional in F1 is staying on the very edge of what the tyre can take for the entire sting, and producing scintillating steady lap times while managing all the complexities of the car and strategies, then having enough in hand to plan and excecute a pass f.i. It’s a mental challenge as much as anything and newcomers in F1 say it can be very tough indeed. I very much enjoy the ‘chess’ aspect of F1 racing. Brains AND brawn.

        No one thinks kicking a football is something extraordinary, but people still love to see the best doing it.

        About the TV presentation I agree. It can be very frustrating at times. (why do producers love the pit cams so much?)

        1. @balue
          “No one thinks kicking a football is something extraordinary, but people still love to see the best doing it.”

          Kicking a ball is no more extraordinary than driving a car, but controlling it the way Van Basten, Cruyff, Maradona, Messi, and other great players can is just as extraordinary as the way Senna, Schumacher and Prost push cars to their very limit.
          Modern F1 doesn’t allow that any more, and the sport is becoming ever more ordinary as a result, and watching drivers going so slow throughout the race that Alonso can throw on a new set of tires and get the fastest lap in a dog of a midfield car only serves to demonstrate how far from the edge the sport has moved.

          1. @beneboy
            “and watching drivers going so slow”

            Not sure they are slow Beneboy (that’s actually my best mates nickname lol) but we need them faster, that’s for sure! 2017 should be better but lets hope they can overtake without a special button!

            And per other post, yes curving a soccer ball is impressive please don’t compare it to driving an F1 car :( Not in the same ball park!!

    3. “Critically importance”? Someone needs to work on their English. :)

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        9th September 2016, 6:19

        probably sticking key on @keithcollantine‘s computer ;-)

    4. Americans talk a whole lot but don’t do much, or sometimes even something else. This has been my experience living here in America. But hopefully the Port Imperial/NYC GP will be a reality with these new owners…

      1. I lived in Port Imperial until a year ago – the would be UNREAL for the cars to race there (and maybe up the hill and back down).

        By far, the simplest thing Liberty could do to get a return on their investment is to have a serious and sustained investment to maintain 2-3 races in the US. If F1 could get a proper foothold and viewership there it would take it to a whole new level.

        1. Agreed. Hopefully a race somewhere in Los Angeles (Long Beach maybe?) or San Francisco would be ideal, IMO.

      2. I don’t even know how to take this statement…

      3. You’ve just described Trump lol…so judging by his big popularity, I believe you are right sir…
        A race in the east cost surely needs to be placed, but I would love to see F1 at Watkins Glen again!!

        1. That’d ruin Watkins Glen

    5. Interesting that despite being widely tipped for a Jaguar Formula E seat, it is Mitch Evans, not Alex Lynn headlining the squad. Could then Alex still be in contention for the Williams seat? We know Pat Symonds is a fan, and if he has made a good impression in the tests and simulator running he has conducted, could that undermine the toils that has marred his GP2 campaign this year?

      1. I think the fact that Lance Stroll has massive wedges of cash behind him is doing more to undermine Alex Lynn’s chances of landing a Williams race seat…

        1. Yep, it seems to be between $25m Lance Stroll and $20m Nasr.

          Nasr is a proven also-ran in F1 with little potential to become more. Lance Stroll is a mediocre driver a jr level wich doesnt bode well either. Mitch Evans wouldnt be all that great either imho.

          I’d prefer they’d take a Frijns (F.BMW EU champ, F.Renault 2L EU champ and F.Renault 3.5L world series champ) or give a guy like Kvyat a go (GP3 champ and proven speed in F1 prior to his demotion) but yeah, neiter has any budget.

          1. I think Kvyat needs a year or two away from F1 to regroup and have another go like Grosjean did. He clearly has pace – in 2015 he was on pace with Ricciardo and his record in the junior formulas is very good.

            He just seems to have completely lost the plot since bring dropped by Red Bull.

          2. It’s to soon to write Nasr off based on his results on F1, but his abundant of 2nd and 3rd places and scarce wins at GP2 had cast a doubt over his true potential

    6. This quote from Jenson Button in the Telegraph article interested me:

      “At the moment our audience is people that watched me start in Formula One and they are still watching Formula One. We don’t really have a young audience at the moment.”

      Jenson’s first line is 100% correct I think, but the second line is very problematic. How do you define what a “young” audience is? I started watching F1 when I was 8 and am now 32. I have grown up stuff to deal with in life like a wife, baby, a job and a mortgage, but I still adore F1 and I am pretty sure that I am still fairly “young”. In the future will F1 be targeting the 8 year old me, 16 year old me, 32 year old me or even the 45 year old me? The answer to that question is really quite important, because different things attracted me to the sport at different times. The 8 year old me wanted crashes and fire, 32 year old me not so much, he’s all about watching nuanced, pure racing between the best drivers in the fastest cars. If F1 is targeting 16 year olds, does that mean that race reports on will be written exclusively in emojis and that Martin Brundle will now have to start saying things like “totes”?

      The first things Liberty need to do are (a) work out who their audience is and (b) work out who they are targeting, because saying things like “young audience” is very misguided. Compared to Bernie, Chase Carey is young…

      1. This is the main problem:

        The sport hasn’t been interested in attracting young fans and this combined with the fact that it has been horrifically boring for several years, there is no social-media presence, it’s locked behind a pay-wall and it’s too expensive to watch races live, we’re left with only those who are hooked still watching.

        Talk is cheap but the fact that our new owners are saying “If we reach them using digital platforms and some of the tools that haven’t been exploited aggressively, we can build a whole new generation of fans” as opposed to “young fans are irrelevant because they can’t afford Rolex watches” suggests that things are going to go in the right direction.

        1. @petebaldwin It’s not just F1, every form of automobile racing has declining fans. Kids nowadays (generally speaking) is not interested in cars anymore. In 80’s and 90’s having supercar poster is norm, but no one do that now. Also, cars being easier to buy and most family could have more than one now means they losing the “exotic” item status. And if you want to aim for the supercars, the prices is basically out of your reach unless your parent already rich enough to buy one as birthday present anyway.

          That being said, the sport itself need to improve its presentation, but they not really mistaken to targeting people who can afford Rolex, because most of the young people who still loves supercars will come from that demographic anyway.

      2. “Young” in this context would most likely mean children and young people, with the upper limit being vague. It can reasonably be assumed if “our audience” saw Jenson start in F1 16 years ago, then the children/young people audience is not being attracted into F1 – except, perhaps, if the more extreme young/old dichotomy rule is in use, where “young” can be as high as 45 years old.

        It is also clear that different age groups will want different things. I don’t think it’s necessary to write in emoji or throw lots of slang terms about. However, it is necessary to get F1 onto channels young people watch (which in most countries, means free-to-air as the primary contract-holder*, and in others tends to mean a near-ubitiquous channel). Then, F1 needs to get the channels to broadcast it in a way that doesn’t cause boredom; not having excessive or excessively-long adverts, having good explanations for things in plain language and having the interesting parts of the race pointed out well (which would be expected to change according to the merits of that race and that season – and yes, this will sometimes be the technology, or something else that might not immediately seem to be centre-stage in typical thinking about sports).

        Then, F1 needs to largely get out of the way. No need to pander to the press by such extreme things as changing the format for them, but not doing things that hinder its success. Keep things reasonably consistent. Make decisions on race actions that make sense in context and according to the rules. Make sure people know what all the relevant rules are (I’m not sure anyone in F1 does these days). Give sensible answers to sensible questions (which tends to encourage teams and drivers to at least somewhat follow suit). Test things before mandating them. Some of these are big and some are small, but all of them help rebuild what seems to be a shattered confidence in F1 from the media – and media that doesn’t like what it sees tends to be quite harsh.

        One thing young people have in common, pretty much regardless of generation, is the effect live experience has on them. Either F1 needs to become affordable to families, with cheap tickets the norm rather than the exception, or it needs to promote other series in motor sport as a “gateway” into enjoying motor sport as a whole, and hope that youngsters attracted by that experience save their pennies for one or two F1 experiences later in life as adults. The latter is better for motor sport as a whole but would leave a lot of potential income on the table. The former can get that income – if an initial sacrifice of short-term income is accepted while less harsh, more “pay by income” (for example, taking 70% of the face value of tickets sold, sponsorship obtained etc. instead of setting an exhorbitant initial fee) systems are accepted instead. Also, requiring every team to do a demo in a city that doesn’t currently have a F1 race within a certain distance from it could help build audience that route. Maybe even something to encourage people to take up karting or (age-appropriate) volunteering at their local FIA-recognised motor racing venue, would help with getting more young people connected with the live experience that makes F1 feel less like a live-action role-play of a computer game and more of an authentic sport with its own original attractions, that happens to be so compelling as to make people want to make computer games about it.

        * – Japan used to have a system with free-to-air carrying qualifying and the race for every round to a minimally acceptable level, and a pay channel doing the “everything you ever wanted to know about F1” approach. I think this could work well for F1 if reintroduced on a global level.

    7. You could argue the isle of Man TT race is another level to Moto GP. You could argue the guys who climbed Meru (theres a brilliant doc worth checking on them) are at another level again. You can always find something more ‘out there’ if you try. The only thing im bored of really is the 2 wheel fanboys popping their heads up on f1 boards saying how rubbish f1 is and how brilliant Moto Gp is.

      f1 isn’t a pure sport and its not purely about the driver. Whether that’s as it should be is another argument. Part of the issue with’ how it looks’ to armchair critics is the tracks are constantly being re-laid to get them billiard smooth but also their was a concerted effort in the 1980s to make the cars easier to drive so the driver could concentrate on making them faster. This has definitely been a huge factor in how hard it looks.

      Fundamentally though, the COTD is right, the wow factor is not there, that often. Id like to think next years faster bigger booted cars will address that and reduce the new national pastime that is moaning about what f1 isn’t rather than enjoying what it is.

      1. When you youtube ‘Raikkonen Spa Qualyfying’ you’ll see a 2004 or 05 lap back when it was 1 lap qualy. The sound and speed, the look of the car going round is utterly awesome.

        Even when you type COTA Vettel 2013 and see his onboard pole lap you’ll see him brake later into the corner, carry way more speed through the corners (especially the s-es in sector 1) than the ‘sluggish’ looking cars of today and evnthough it’s V8 it sounds way better too.

        The current era cars accelerate quicker and go about 30kph faster on a straight so overall their one lap pace isnt too far off of cars 10-15 yrs ago and they are significantly more fuell efficient. BUT MAN! They look/feel slow and sluggish. If you watch that footage of the previous era’s you realize we are seriously missing out imo

        1. Agreed, and FA’s fastest race lap was about 4 seconds slower than Barrichello’s lap record at Monza from 12 years ago. So if you think the cars look slow and sluggish over one lap, they truly do during the race too. There is no impression these guys are performing great feats out there. Hopefully that will start to change next year.

        2. True, However just because a car looks/is harder to drive or more spectacular doesn’t mean its more entertaining.

          In 2004 for example the cars were arguably at there most extreme in terms of overall performance & as you say watching laps from those cars is impressive….. However the racing was awful & all you heard through that year from fans was how boring it was.

          It is also worth remembering that even back then there was plenty of complaints regarding the cars looking like they were on rails & easy to drive.

          1. Every era has had its faults and I’m sure people complained back then.

            However, not this fan! I liked the epic upsidedown rocketships, intriguing strategic battles with fuel loads playing out over several stints.

            The races were like a good books with suspense and an uncertain ending. Now anything longer than a tweet is deemed too long to read, and people want instant gratification.

            That mindset got us DRS and there are more overtakes to me it’s severley diminishing the art of overtaking completely. Which is also why Verstappen’s Brazil pass on Perez and on Vet and Rai in the rain at COTA in a Torro Rosso were so epic to me.

          2. @PeterG I think more spectacular cars do indeed add to the entertainment. I want to watch, no matter what is happening at any specific moment, be it processional or preferably otherwise, knowing the drivers are taxed. I hope they’re physically stressed and battle warn more, so that it is harder to concentrate near the end of a race.

            I hesitate to compare to before, as we haven’t had these torquey engines married to this width of car and tire and with the degree of technology present. There’s a leaning back toward ground effects too, so to me there is much potential for these cars to be tweeked to handle dirty air and race closer, more sustainably.

            To me, F1 must make it their mandate to strive for a point of discarding DRS, such should be the drivers’ ability to be gladiators on the track, with cars finally freed of so much clean air dependence.

      2. I love MotoGP and there are a number of things that they do better than F1. For a casual viewer it is no doubt more thrilling.
        But for me MotoGP lacks depth, what you see is pretty much all there is. After a fairly short single stint, the race is over. Unless there is a drastic change in the weather or the track condition, there are no pitstops, no strategic moves to talk about, you just go and run like h***. Only occasionally you can watch a strategy-based victory, like the impressive win in Sachsenring last July by Marc Marquez.
        F1 is much tougher to watch for the casual viewer. Not because it’s processional, with too few overtakes. But because there’s a lot more strategy involved with the tyres, the fuel, the pitstops, what fans call the “chess” part of it. There’s a lot more than what you see. I can’t think of watching a F1 GP without my app showing the sector times, the purples and the greens, the kind of tyres and how old they are, the pitstop numbers. I have a similar app for MotoGP but rarely have any use for it.

    8. If Ecclestone really believed that Europe was ‘a thing of the past’ as he has previously said, then we would have even less European races already by now and the Australian Grand Prix would start at 4AM, not 6AM CET. Even if Ecclestone believes that the importance of the European market is going to diminish in the future, he surely is aware that F1 still needs Europe today. However, F1 can make more money in short-term by selling races to corrupt dictators outside Europe and Ecclestone has been happy to do that.

      So the real question is if the new owners 1) are thinking long-term 2) believe that there is a strategy (e.g. making F1 content more affordable and / or more diversified for the European customers) that could ultimately let them benefit from F1’s presence in Europe. If the answer is yes, then Liberty Media will definitely try to ‘build the sport in Europe’. If not, then we might soon find out that the German GP has been replaced by a race in Qatar or Saudi Arabia despite all the hopes for a change.

    9. So every move ecclestone has done over the last year which is the basic time period of first approach through due diligence and contract formalities will have been done to significantly alter the price of the sport in his and CVCs favor.

      This is and has been clear and is always his behavior.

      Yet we still have long time fans complaing about his behavior. It’s like being mad at a dog for barking. the thing to complain about is the fan bases lack of awareness.

      1. Unlike a dog, one can’t tighten mister E’s leash as a fan though. So you have to throw the fans a bone here 😉

        1. With the new owners l would like to see some of the old sections of the euro tracks revitalised, the cars and drivers are so much safer now.
          Hock, Monza and Spa ect.

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