McLaren hints at customer engine deal as patience with Honda nears its limit

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: McLaren has suggested it may be willing to return to a customer engine relationship after indicating its patience with Honda is almost exhausted.

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Comment of the day

Portuguese fan Joao likes the idea of F1 racing at the Algarve International Circuit:

I know Estorial would have a bigger historic impact, but the circuit isn’t to the required standards, also it sits very close to Lisbon, and that would be a logistic nightmare. Portimao on the other hand is a practically brand-new circuit, it is placed already where the tourists are and the track seems to be quite fun

I can also testify for our passion, pretty much everything that runs on wheels we love it, just check the Moto GP or WRC attendances, hell we even fill the roads for the Portuguese tour, which is a second-grade cycling event. I am sure it will be no different with F1 (plenty of fans around here still) and the atmosphere will be amazing if this materialises, we have been waiting for a long time now, if we can’t have a driver a grand prix will be the next best thing.

Portugal has been recovering lately, and it is even hard to believe that the government has been doing a good job, especially taking into account how they won the elections. They still have to be cautious, it has to make sense economic wise, ticket prices too otherwise it will be difficult to make it a success
Joao (@Johnmilk)

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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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118 comments on “McLaren hints at customer engine deal as patience with Honda nears its limit”

  1. “But right now it looks like you can get Formula 1 without paying anything.”

    Oh the humanity. /s

    This is exactly why Ecclestone needed to go.

    1. @andae23 it’s academic anyway… who’s going to pay hundreds when you can easily watch it through streaming :D.

      Hurray for modern times and fast internet connections!

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        8th June 2017, 10:57

        That’s the problem. If you look at the options, you can either pay nothing or an absolute fortune to watch F1. There is nothing in the middle.

        Once people learn how to easily stream any sporting event they want, it’s almost impossible to bring them back to paying unless you provide a better option.

        With music, it was Spotify. You can carry you entire music collection round with you, almost everything is on it and you can download songs to listen to offline. It’s better than downloading thousands of songs and having to manage and organise them…..

        With Movies, it was Netflix. Again, there are hundreds of movies and TV shows on there, it doesn’t take up any space in your house, it’s reliable and it’s fairly cheap. Again, it’s better than downloading thousands of movies which take up loads of HD space.

        Unfortunately with F1, there isn’t that alternative. What is the advantage of paying for Sky vs watching it for free online? I can happily either stream it if I’m watching live or torrent it if I’m watching later and both methods are really reliable!

        Liberty have been talking about this “digital platform” without going into any details over whether races will be shown on there or not. If they show the races and include other content to build value (classic races, feeder series etc) then they’ll have huge numbers signing up.

      2. I was able to watch the entire Indianapolis 500 on Youtube for nothing, and it was high quality video too. This video was paid for by adverts during the race, which were also in the video. The timing of the commercial breaks often, but not always, happened when there were Yellow or Red Flag events, when there is nothing much to report anyway. There were 300,000 people in the grandstand watching this race. Every car and every drivers fireproof overalls carried lots of logos of commercial sponsors. I don’t know how many cars there were, but there far more than what F1 has.
        Conversely, I pay to watch high quality video of F1 races because I would prefer to be legal and because I don’t like the low quality video one can get for free. The caveat is if I don’t watch the race within the 24 hours of it starting then I don’t get to see it. Where I live F1 cars barely rate in terms of corporate sponsorship. In addition, there are only about 6 cars that have a serious chance of winning an F1 race, while there were far more than that in the running at the Indianapolis 500. As far as I can tell where I live there isn’t any association between a sponsor and F1. This association was ruined thanks to the marketing policies implemented when Mr Ecclestone was running F1. Overall, the convenience of low quality online watching of F1 races is far superior to the paywall options, so one wonders why F1 doesn’t want to adjust their marketing model to the customers desires.

  2. Getting F1 without paying anything seems like a great idea to me Bernie! That’s what made it popular is it not?

    I don’t know if it’s just the way the Reuters article paints it, but there seems to be a severe lack of collaboration between McLaren and Honda. Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault engine departments are all working very closely with everything else to make sure that the engine works as one with the car, but if Honda are just delivering upgrades with no actual programme with McLaren beyond a missed date, perhaps a lack of collaboration is the issue. It’s basically what ended up with Red Bull and Renault falling behind. I’m no expert but if you’re developing the engine on the other side of the planet to where the rest of the team is, I think that might’ve been their first mistake.

    1. true, but maybe the whole problem is with Mclaren rather than Honda?

      1. McLaren don’t build the underpowered, unreliable engine.

        1. What sort of engine is inside a McLaren Supercar?

        2. McLaren do for instance forget to properly fasten the electrical connectors. Which caused Alonso having to push his car back to the pit in Hungary.

    2. @strontium, you may be happy, but if you were the head of a subscription channel that has a contract to broadcast the race in a particular region, such as Canal Plus or Sky, I doubt that you would be pleased if your partner started undercutting you by using social media to distribute free content – that is what Bernie is referring to.

      1. @anon What is this free content on social media, you’re talking about? I’m following it closely and haven’t yet seen anything there apart from short 2 minute clips of pole position onboards and the like. If the “subscription channels” are not happy with that, I suggest they go jump off a cliff.

        So happy poison dwarf is not in charge anymore! The day he was kicked out was one of my happiest days in 23 years of being an F1 fan.

        1. absolutely. I noticed some increase in content but it stays in teasing mode. Race highlights, pole onboards, historic facts, interviews, nothing of that hinders efforts of broadcasters. I think it’s the contrary.

          1. This is important. I’m always going to watch the whole of qualifying and the whole of the race, but my friends who don’t quite share my love for the sport? They see none of it. However, if I watch a session and something amazing happens, and I have access to a highlight clip, or even a gif or something, I’m likely going to show them. Maybe from that small spark, a great interest will grow? Those little chunks are much easier to hook people with than an entire race or qualifying session.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        8th June 2017, 10:59

        I’d be absolutely delighted that the sport is advertising itself. I’d hope some people may see those clips and decide to sign up to my platform to watch the races. Otherwise, the only people exposed to F1 are people already signed up so my customer base can’t grow.

      3. But the broadcaster doesn’t re-broadcast the race in a Free to Air environment, which they could easily do. They have bought the right to use this content and then, once the race is over, forget they ever bought it. How does posting a full video of the race on Youtube 24 hours after the event affect the current rights holder? It doesn’t!

    3. @strontium I don’t know about the (lack of) collaboration between McLaren and Honda, but I do know that Honda used to work using a Lean method such as Kanban (look it up), but has started to drop this method from 2011 onwards, while Toyota still uses it. To me this period already roughly marked the downfall of Honda in general, be it consumer cars or motorsport. I’ve commented in this issue a while ago here, but just look at the lackluster stuff they’ve release up to a decade ago. The new NSX vs. the old one or the Nissan GT-R. The Civic Hybrid vs. the Toyota Prius. The Honda engines in IndyCar vs. the Chevy’s. And needless to say, the current F1 engine.

      All in all, Honda hasn’t had any success with any commercial car, whether it’s the Civic or the NSX. And neither in motorsport. If I compare it to Toyota, which is easy because both are Japanese and both are active in roughly the same markets, you can easily see how much success Toyota keeps having, from the earlier Prius models and the Camry in the US and their extreme reliability to their current line-up which is still going strong as ever. And in motorsport? Sure they stepped out of F1 almost a decade ago, but look at what they’ve achieved in WEC and WRC in a very short period of time. Le Mans 2016 was a shocker and ironically a technical failure kept Toyota from the win, usually their strong point.

      My point? It’s two-sided: first of all Honda needs to get a reality check and to me the only way is if both McLaren and some IndyCar teams such as Andretti stop their collaboration in motorsports. Second is that I feel Toyota belongs in F1 in the current Hybrid era. Of course it’s not something that can be said as a fact, but I’m certain they would be competitive in their second year and engine-wise able to challenge Renault and Ferrari.

      1. Steve Toyoda
        9th June 2017, 2:28

        I disagree with you. Honda as a Company is growing more than ever and their sales are up even when Toyota went down (% wise).
        Honda has been always shown the best consumer cars in each category: (let’s compare to Toyota as you are pointed out)
        Honda Fit is way better than Toyota Yaris
        Honda Civic is also head and shoulders above the Toyota Corolla (Civic won Car of the Year for Northamerica AND outsells the Corolla in US and Canada.
        Here is closer but Still Honda Accord is a better car then Toyota Camry (Accord is the only Car in the 10 Best for Car and Driver’s prestigious award to get it 30 times – No other vehicle comes Close)

        Compact SUV:
        Honda CR-V is a much better product than the Toyota Rav-4 (Won SUV of the Year in 2015 for Motor Trend – And the new Version is even Better – Also the best Selling SUV of all time)

        Mid-Size SUV:
        Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. Closer but check around tests and Honda gets on Top.

        Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna

        No Contest. Honda has perfected the Minivan. It is the perfect Minivan. The Handling is on another Level.

        And even the Trucks:
        The Honda Ridgeline, outruns, outpaces, smoother ride and superb handling compared to the Toyota Tacoma in all tests (except Load). Which in essence is a much better product for Today’s Utilitarian world. (Ridgeline Truck won Truck of the Year in 2006 and Again in 2017 – 2 Generations 2 wins)

        So, no Toyota is not better. Is it reliable? yes but so is Honda, and in some instances Better. You see a lot more Hondas from 25-30 years ago on the Road still going than Toyota’s. That’s my personal Eye test. And Honda Engines (Commercial Vehicles) are jewels. Superb Engines that get to the 300K Miles and more as no surprise.

        That was commercially, now in competition

        Indycar (Honda is the most successful competitor at Indycar Series and it seems like they are going to win it again)
        Honda has won the Indy500 (Most important race in the Calendar) for 10 of the last 11 years.

        Baja 1000
        Honda Ridgeline won the Baja 1000

        Moto GP – No one has won more Titles then Honda in all categories – not even close – Most succesful Ever by a ong shot

        Civic Type R – Just got the Fastest FWD Car around the Green Hell (Nurbuhring) (Beating Times from BMW M seres, Audi RS, Audi R8 and other high-end/high Cost cars)

        Honda NSX beats the crap out of the BMW i8.

        I am confident that Honda will get this fixed. And want to see all the Haters posting here then. We’ll see.

        It is just a matter of time.

        The same thing that I love about Honda, is the same thing that I sometimes don’t like.

        They get to the highest Competitions, Win, prove themselves the Best and then Step Away. As if it as only to prove they will become the best and win it. I would like them to stay as a permanent fixture.

  3. I think McLaren should try and get Mercedes engines for the remainder of this engine formula. During the past three years, Honda hasn’t shown any indication that they are able to build an engine which can compete with engines of the other manufacturers, let alone build an engine that can come out on top. McLaren won’t be able to win championships with a Mercedes engine, not as long as the works team exists. However, I can see them fight for podiums and win a few races. They would surely be in a better position than they have been in, in recent years.

    On the longer term, just podiums and race wins are not good enough for McLaren. So for the next engine formula, I believe it is vital the team attracts a European engine manufacturer back into F1. Ideally BMW or Audi. They should insist the same mistakes Honda has made will not occur again. For instance, Honda’s biggest mistake was not using the ability for unlimited testing before they returned to F1. The engine should have been installed in an old F1 car, and been tested non-stop, on-circuit. It was an advantage they had and didn’t use.

    In my opinion, this is the path McLaren should take. Ditch Honda and have a meaning in this sport again. And I know it’s much more complex, mostly from a financial perspective, but staying with Honda has zero prosperity from a sportive point of view. There has been no indication whatsoever proving otherwise. Honda is lost.

    1. Perhaps Mclaren should focus on developing their own Power Unit?

      They’re already doing that with the road cars, albeit heavily subcontracted.

      1. @jaymenon10 Developing its own PU also means they could be forced to sell engines to customer teams. They probably don’t have the resources to do that but who knows?

      2. Heavily subcontracted indeed. The entire fabrication of McLaren’s roadcar engines is done by Ricardo. McLaren doesn’t have the knowledge to develop an F1 engine. They could attract people for such a project, but it will cost them. Not sure if it would be a wise decision for McLaren to walk that path.

    2. +1

      Since its return in 2000, not only has Honda proved it is incapable of building a winning/competitive engine, but that it also does not have the culture to compete in 21st century F1 (see 2007 and 2008, even 2006).

      I don’t entirely agree with your assesment though, that customer teams cannot win a championship. Since this was proven wrong by Red Bull from 2009 – 2013 (even up to today actually, despite continuing to be a customer of Renault) and by Brawn GP in 2009.

      I like your idea of McLaren (re)partnering with a European manufacturer, since Europeans seem to be the only culture that consistently fits/thrives in the complicated environment of F1 (not even the Americans [Jaguar/Ford] could get the hang of it). BMW looks good – they have the experience and track record of being able to adapt rapidly (both as an engine maker and a chassis manufacturer).

      Or as @jaymenon10 said, the team could/should also look into building its own engines. True enough, they have diversified heavily on applied sciences/technology over the past decades that building an F1 engine/PU should now be within their area of expertise (hire Mario Illien to design the engines, and Mario Thiessen as well to manage the program [the way Paul Morgan did before his accident in 2001]).

      1. Naeem Halim
        8th June 2017, 7:35

        Although I agree with you on most points I must say I agree with SpaFrancorchamps, they won’t be able to win championships with Mercedes engines at least until McLaren is able to produce an aero package far superior to that of mercedes, and as for the red bull era, there was no works team at the time and there were a multitude of other factors involved with them winning 4 years straight, i.e. vettel was heavily favoured by the team, the blown diffuser which vettel seemed to able to utilise better than anyone else, and although it seems sad to say it but at that time McLaren had the pace but not the reliability, Mercedes had some pace and reliability, Ferrari was only anywhere near the front purely because they had this racing genius called Alonso at the wheel, so in retrospect red bull did not have the stiff competition that thankfully is back today. As for brawn gp winning with button in 09 was more of a super up for grabs championship which was more of less at a time when Mercedes themselves we’re out of sorts and dint really have good pace. However I don’t know much of that era so I won’t say much, but yeah, in general I do not believe that McLaren will be what they rightfully should be with Mercedes engines, they need to take risks and suffer a lot of pain, to get where their heritage shows them to be.

      2. @rafael-o, Red Bull is a poor example as, in the period between 2009 – 2013, for much of it they were effectively the Renault works team (Horner mentioned in an interview before the 2011 season that Red Bull were the Renault works team in all but name).

        1. Also, Brawn GP became Mercedes, they ran with a Mercedes engine but never competed against them!

        2. They were not a works team they just had a better chasis they get the same engine as the Caterham and Renault/Lotus. in 2009 McLaren was a works team and Brawn was a customer team. 2010 – 2012 McLaren did beat Mercedes a factory team for fun

    3. Maybe in the midst of all this, and this might be a long shot maybe, Sauber will gain the most. If Honda is in F1 for the long term, lets face it, some day they should sort it out. If McLaren go another route, Sauber would become essentially a manufacturing team, that could give them the possibility to conquer the midfield.

      1. Don’t understand why people keep saying Honda will get it right someday. They are the only engine manufacturer that has gotten worse as time as gone on. It’s not an advantage to be a works team in Formula 1 when you have a GP2 engine in the back…

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          8th June 2017, 11:50

          It would be bloody funny if McLaren went back to Mercedes and Honda nailed it for 2018!

          1. That would be so…….Alonsoesque!

          2. Steve Toyoda
            9th June 2017, 2:37

            ha, ha…true. You know, that will be awesome to see. I do believe Honda will nail it by year 5 (Year 3 already) We forget it took Mercedes 7 years (And by buying the World Championship Team that was Brawn GP – That used to be

            Ferrari had a 21 Year between Championships (1979 – 2000!) Seems like everybody forgets that.

            So, no it is not easy. Just let them develop the Engine and more Testing. That’s All.

        2. that is how development works. at least they are not stuck doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. They are basically in their third new design of the engine.

          @petebaldwin Sauber WCC!! Ericsson WDC, can you imagine? (the horror)

          1. With every design they only fall further back, and take a few steps back on the PU development curve due to a fresh design. PU performance is a development race on a strong platform, not a game of roulette.

          2. they just need to find the optimal solution do develop

            unless they abandon F1 altogether, I’m pretty sure they will eventually get it right

  4. Neil (@neilosjames)
    8th June 2017, 0:34

    “A lot of the TV stations are unsettled and annoyed. We have contracts with these stations which are very exclusive. But right now it looks like you can get Formula 1 without paying anything.”

    Well, a lot of fans have been unsettled and annoyed for years because their favourite sport is being shoved behind extortionately priced paywalls. But never mind, hey? They’re only the foundations upon which the whole sparkly F1 edifice is built…

    And if anyone considers what’s available online to be sufficient to meet their F1 needs wasn’t going to pay for an expensive TV subscription anyway, so the providers aren’t really losing anything at all.

    1. Neil (@neilosjames)
      8th June 2017, 0:37

      Oops. Last paragraph should start: “And anyone who considers what’s available online…”

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      8th June 2017, 11:07

      @neilosjames – Totally agree. If the online streams/torrents etc became unavailable, I would stop watching F1. I think a lot of people would probably do the same…..

      Bernie can talk about TV companies because that’s the argument he’s trying to push today but would the sponsors be happy if a huge number of fans stopped following the sport?

    3. I used to pay the full whack for Sky in the UK. But now I have freesat – I can watch all of the channel 4 races for free. I then buy a week’s subscription for Now TV Sky Sports for the Sky races. I legally watch all of the F1 sessions for 10 x £13.98 = £139.80 per year. I’m quite happy with that! (*actually, this month, it is down to £10.98 for a whole month and includes the entertainment bundle as well). Never looking back.

  5. Please correct me if im wrong. I live in Canada and f1 is shown on tsn which is our biggest sports broadcaster we get the sky f1 feed (used to be the bbc feed). TSN you get with any basic cable or satellite package so you aren’t paying to watch any one thing on the TSN network. So technically we watch f1 for free because we bought the tv package that has tsn with it. Is it the same thing in Europe or do they want to go Pay Per View. How would paying to watch a race on tv work anyway. How do you guys watch f1?

    1. Neil (@neilosjames)
      8th June 2017, 0:44

      Can’t speak for the rest of Europe but in the UK, Sky F1 isn’t available on the basic satellite package, or on its own – to get it, you have to buy the whole sports package. So you have to pay for a basic package at £22.50 per month, plus £27.50 per month extra for the sports package.

      Bit of an expensive pain if F1 is the only sport you want to watch…

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        8th June 2017, 6:54

        F1 is the only sport I am interested in and I find the Sky deals far too overpriced. I hate the fact you have to buy the entire Sports package. I mean who would want to buy 6 different channels for just 24 ours. That is one of the most pointless deals I’ve seen. They should do a cheaper option for each individual channel. They should also do the same with the week and month deal. I’ve worked out that if I want to watch all the races next year on Sky including the practice and qualifying sessions, it will cost about £200. That is actually more expensive than you can pay for a TV license. But with this, you get the BBC channels with no adverts at all! Where as sky coverage still has loads. I still really dislike the fact that they take over free live coverage of F1 in 2019 to 2025. It will result in more money for them, but a huge decrease in F1 viewers in the UK.

      2. I do the basic package plus hd pack at £10 per month which includes sky f1 channel, its still extra but saves nearly 200 per year from buying the sport pack

        1. I do that basic package + HD (£10 a month) to get sky f1 channel … but that package is no longer available for new subscribers, who have to get the entire sky football .. sorry sports package

          1. Fukobayashi (@)
            8th June 2017, 10:23

            I’m a new subscriber as of last year and have Sky Sports + HD and 4K for £12.00 a month. I got it heavily discounted as my cousin is a Sky engineer. The 4K is quite impressive actually so i’m pretty pleased with it.

    2. It depends on the country. In Germany it’s on RTL which is on open air. In the UK people need a Sky subscription, or they can view half the season on Channel 4. In Italy it’s solely on Sky. In The Netherlands it’s only on a subscription based channel as well (€15 a month), or pay per view on the internet (€4 a race). I am not sure how the sport is accessible in other European countries though.

      1. The ORF in Austria is the only free-to-air coverage without adbreaks currently, as far as I know (and if I’m wrong, someone may correct me). Watchable both on TVs and online, with the orf tvthek (the site where you can watch online) being behind a simple geoblock. Downside is no FP1/FP3 and sometimes (when colliding with other things, typically with races in the americas that are late here) no FP2.

    3. Down here in Oz, we get full Sky F1 coverage on Foxtel. This is included in the sport pack, which has a plethora of sports channels, pretty much covering every major sporting series or event. At around AUD 60 (35 GBP), which includes the basic Entertainment Pack (a lot of same rubbish you get on Sky), its not too bad a deal.

      1. I can’t justify $60/month for F1 and the odd Footy game. Especially when I need to have access on two different TVs.

        Although I’d happily pay $10/month for streaming as Carey suggested.

        1. Happily here in Belgium it’s free broadcast but should it end $10/month is an amount I could pay to watch F1.

      2. $60/month is a huge rip off when you only want to watch sport! The sooner Foxtel lower their prices (which they should) the better. Only thing keeping Foxtel in business is the Sports

    4. but, basic package is not free. you pay for that too. so you pay also. FTA is with an antennae.

    5. In Flanders, where I live (Dutch speaking Belgium), you pay € 18.40 for a Telenet Play Sports package, which includes F1, Formula e, MXGP, WRC, soccer, basketball, volleyball, cyclo-cross (very popular in Flanders) and golf. In Wallonia (french speaking Belgium) quali and races are shown on free-to-air tv. That channel can also be watched in Flanders, and that’s what I do. Good for my french!

      1. As Ludwig says, “Les Wallons” cover free to air, and they deliver a decent coverage.
        They talk about things you don’t see on the screen instead of telling us what we can see ourselves. This can’t be said about the Flemish Telenet coverage. I hate coverage where they tell what happened a few minutes ago, except if they explain why something happens, or could happen.

    6. Ecclestone’s reasoning is very flawed and just shows he doesn’t want to understand how things work this day and age. Because unless you get the races on free to air TV, the only options to actually see them is to stream or pay for watching them (Sky package).

      So, in this particular case, it doesn’t matter at all what content we get on social media – watching the race itself is still going to depend on networks for the time being. It’s not like I will suddenly not watch the race because I can see a hundred of short videos from the paddock. I still have to see the MAIN thing, either on free to air, with a subscription, or pirate-stream it – but if I opt for the latter, I’m going to do it anyway, social media will not influence my choice – costs will.

      All social media does is create more awareness and whet the appetite. But in the end, we are here to see races. No amount of social media exposure will replace that.

      1. Oh, and another thing. It seems that Ecclestone believes that network’s exclusivity comes just from showing the pictures. Wrong. It’s what they do with their access and pictures. For instance, I get both Russian Match TV coverage and Sky. And I ALWAYS choose Sky. I know a lot of people hate it here, but I love it. I like Martin’s grid walks before the race, I like Crofty’s enthusiasm even during the most boring of races, I like Ted’s notebook notes, di Resta’s SkyPad analysis, mid-race interviews with teams, and even just seing Hill and Herbert again. This is exclusive content for me.

    7. In Portugal you need to have a basic satellite package first plus the channels that broadcast Formula (Sporttv this year). A basic package will cost you 30€ +/- (which include internet and tv), and the extra channels more 30€. For those who want to watch F1 that amounts to an impressive 60€, which is especially amazing taking into account all the channels that you won’t see, don’t care or simply have stupid content.

      This is even more amazing if I compare with the previous comments, of countries that have superior purchasing power.
      It must be the worst trade deal, in the history of trade deals.

      1. In Spain is a bit better, apart from the standard package you can have an add-on with Vodafone (Vodafone Motor) for 10€, it is a much better deal, which also gives other motorsports

  6. Some interesting insight into Vandoorne’s experience so far in F1 that I think could perhaps be echoed of Stroll’s. Strengthens my resolve that the lad(s) deserves more time, and may be more ready or able than many are giving him (them) credit for.

    1. Yeah, they definitely deserve more time with this new format. Everyone that’s young whom enters F1 isn’t going to be Verstappen.

      1. Verstappen and Sainz are anomalies, with a common feature: their dads being racers who know and learned them to communicate with the tech people. Vandoorne has a few extra issues, not being mentioned though: He has the least amount of laps experience upto now and probably for the rest of the year, if that lawnmower-engine keeps spitting sparks, and he’s got Alonso to be measured against. It’s hard to learn a circuit if you haven’t gotten the time to know the car, and he doesn’t get too much help from the other half of the garage

  7. Please tell me where in South Africa I can get F1 for free, legally.

    BS, Bernie.

    1. That’s his point. You should pay. The only Time Bernie likes free is when he gets stuff for being rich. Normal people should always pay. Rich people should get gifts.

      1. But we DO pay. That’s exactly why what Bernie says is BS. We still pay, but now we get a tiny bit more additional exposure, which actually makes us want to see races even more, thus making us pay more willingly. It just shows that Bernie still doesn’t get what social media does.

  8. Thing is that what Bernie is saying is actually probably correct regarding the broadcasters & it’s going to be the same thing that will hinder any future OTT streaming plans.

    Broadcasters (Both the Pay TV & Free to air one’s) pay for exclusivity in there respective regions & they rely on people watching and/or subscribing to there service to make that money back. IF they start to see more content been put online that they feel is taking away from there respective services then they are going to start asking questions & potentially taking action.

    As to putting it back to Free TV, To be honest it’s not happening (At least not in the form it was) & not because of anything Bernie or anyone else is going to do on the F1 side…. Sport in general is going to move away from Free TV, Live sport especially is expensive to produce, Especially when you have to travel the globe (More races will only make that aspect worse).

    The future for F1 & live sport in general is going to revolve around paying for it in one form or another (Be it a TV subscription or an online platform of some kind), It’s inevitable & unavoidable. Aspects of it may stay on FreeTV but it’s likely going to be either heavily cut-back coverage or more likely highlights only. It’s the trend many other sports started long before F1.

    The fact that for as fan friendly as Liberty have been thay have also been talking up PayTV & online subscriptions with less focus on going back to Free TV tell’s you everything you need to know about where F1 & sports broadcasting overall is going.
    Many will find it sad, disappointing, annoying, a turn off etc… But sorry to say that its just the way things are going & nothing is going to change it.

    1. I’m happy to pay, but I’m not interested in paying $60/month for a service which is less flexible than streaming it illegally wherever (and almost whenever) I want.

      Let me pay $10/month with complete freedom as to when and how I consume and I’ll sign up now.

    2. @gt-racer
      I don’t follow any other sports and I’m not in the industry, but my feeling is that F1 is still a relatively niche sport which is likely to wither if it’s entirely behind a paywall.

      Some time ago I heard of the example of a rugby series (Super League?) in the UK, to which Sky bought all the rights and showed exclusively on pay TV. As a result the series is relatively unknown and has stagnated.

      I heard fairly recently that England’s poor performances in international cricket are at least partly due to lack of interest and therefore a lack of players coming up since all (?) cricket matches have only been shown on pay TV in the UK.

      Really big sports like football (soccer) and American football have such a huge following that the public will put up with having to pay to watch games, but I’m not so sure about F1.

  9. Michael Brown (@)
    8th June 2017, 1:47

    It’s strange but there are people who don’t want to pay for Sky’s cancer.

    1. @mbr-9
      Using ‘cancer’ as a generic derogatory for things you dislike reflects rather poorly on you. The people who started that … let’s just say they aren’t the finest of lads.

  10. You’re all spoiled. Try watching F1 in the States; commercials, commercials, commercials, then ads. And this is on pay cable. I watch the Sky feed or VPN the race later. F1 is a shrinking audience here in the States, and no wonder. The broadcasts just plain suck.

    1. Having watched Indy over a US stream, I simply couldn’t believe the amount of ads you have to put up with. It was comical in fact, especially as the same ad was played at least 20 times. Sorry that you have no alternative!

      1. @john-h
        Oh yeah. Boy, was I happy for having recorded the whole thing, so that I could skip to the less obnoxious parts …

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      8th June 2017, 11:37

      TV in the USA is generally terrible in regards to adverts. It’s really noticeable in the UK because when you watch US programs, you can see where the adverts should be.

      If you watch Indycar, the commentators keep cutting to adverts and then British commentators take over for a while. If you watch Family Guy or similar shows, you can see where the ad-breaks should be but they don’t happen in the UK – there’s just a little awkward pause and the show carries on.

  11. Based on weather forecasts at present its looking like we could be in for a very interesting Canadian Grand Prix this Sunday.

    1. Finally we might get to see Verstappen overtake someone in epic style if it rains!

      1. Not a fan of rainy races personally, but it sure would be fascinating to see if Max could do that again and confirm his rainmaster-dom, or if he was just particularly hooked up that day due to a setup or what have you. Different cars and tires now so as I say it sure would be interesting to see what Max does.

        1. Max is mega in the rain, but also tends to make mistakes. Either way, should be very entertaining.

  12. Here in America the race is shown live with NBC channels that are included in my cable package. I go online to watch the British broadcast. In the end sponsors care about PEOPLE watching their product.

    1. true. in liberty’s model the whole sport makes money, not just fom.

    2. Honestly, if F1 was free to watch online, it would easy to quantify to the sponsors how many viewers there are at any time watching the race. Right now, it’s a murky guess. I guess the question is, ‘what ultimately makes more money for F1?’ – cable tv providers getting subscriptions, or making sponsors happy? I’d guess the latter.

      1. ‘what ultimately makes more money for F1?’ – cable tv providers getting subscriptions, or making sponsors happy?

        Both actually. F1 get’s around a billon $ from both (not including the team sponsor money) and then another half billion from the hosting fees.

        1. The problem is that most of the sponsor’s money goes to the teams, whereas TV money goes (first) to the rights holder.
          Easy to see why little BE always opted for the second even if it was overall a worse deal.

  13. If ever any Mercedes customer is going to win races and championships, then that team is going to be Force India not McLaren.
    I don’t buy the theory that McLaren are a unique combination of the best chassis and the worst engine. Having an exclusive engine deal has helped shield the true potential of the McLaren chassis. The only time Honda have remotely okayish (2016), McLaren admitted that their chassis was not entirely up to the mark (Can’t find a source now, but I definitely remember reading this).
    McLaren are better off keeping this illusion of their great chassis building potential and deflect all the blame on their engine manufacturer. The moment they exit from this arrangement, McLaren’s true potential will be known.

    1. I read somewhere that Honda is footing a $100 bill along with the engines. Without Honda McLaren would be as poor as Sauber is. Let alone paying $25m annually for an customer enginge…

      1. @jeffreyj

        Yep. Honda are paying a $100 mln for McLaren’s expenses a year. Although, the amount of revenue loss occurring due to lost sponsors, lower payout from FOM (due to lower points) and overall brand goodwill lost is probably more than a $100 mln.

        I think McLaren might actually be more profitable or at least sustain themselves during this difficult era if they just paid for customer engines and became respectable again. Going by Honda’s current success rate, they are completely capable of destroying McLaren by 2019.

        I’ve been harping on about dumping Honda since 2015. I think if they do not do it at the end of this season, there might not be a McLaren in Formula 1 for much longer.

        1. @todfod Agreed, I’ve said the same that this is absolutely destroying McLaren as a team and destroying its image.

          Not a hope (and it doesn’t matter what contracts are in place or amount Honda is paying) will McLaren allow this to continue beyond this season if there isn’t a vast improvement between now and Abu Dhabi.

          Zac Brown was brought in partly to get sponsors back on the car. He can’t do that when they are bottom of the standings with no sign of progress. Even Sauber with a 2016 Ferrari engine are ahead.

          It’s a horrible situation for the team.

          1. Zak should ask Alonso what he would do, and then do the exact opposite ;)

        2. Agreed, but look at it from the other angle; Honda’s. What would McLaren dumping them after three years of abysmal failure and inability to produce a powerful and reliable engine do to Honda’s global credibility as a car manufacturer?

          1. Road cars are an entirely different thing than F1 engines…

            If anything, the name Honda is in the news so much that Honda will probably still profit from the brand recognition ten years from now, while most people by then won’t even remember they did McLaren in 2017

          2. In reality probably very little. Honda produce some of the most popular cars in the world, and they have a reputation for making decent, sporty cars to boot, with good engines. However the red badged Hondas account for a tiny proportion of the cars they sell – Honda’s money makers are cars like the Civic and the Accord – essentially white goods on wheels to get families from A to B. Honda’s customer base probably isn’t even aware that Honda participate in motorsport – it’s not the main value upon which their brand is based at all.

            This is probably why Honda are so lackadaisical when it comes to sorting their F1 engine out. For a company that size, the cost is basically meaningless. Barely registers. It’s a tiny fringe activity for the business, one which ultimately means very little one way or the other. Obviously in terms of selling their Type R (and similar) models, there is a bit of crossover, but even then – the Type R brand is built on the strength of small, very high revving, naturally aspirated road car engines.

            As to whether the switch to Mercedes would be good for McLaren, well I don’t know for sure really. In 2014 a podium was scored by a driver in a Mercedes customer car 12 times through the season. Of those 12, only two were scored by McLaren drivers, and those were both in the first race. McLaren finished 5th in the conctructors’ championship, behind Williams who scored 139 points more than McLaren. They only just managed to stay ahead of Force India.

            The terrible Honda engine gives McLaren a convenient excuse at the moment for their awful finishing position. With a Mercedes PU, they would have no excuses at all.

          3. I really think McLaren should think about themselves and not Honda. Honda will survive fine without tasting any success in Formula 1, McLaren won’t.

          4. I do think McLaren can be rather strong with a Mercedes PU.

            2014 was a while ago now and it looks as though they’ve produced good chassis the last couple of years if some of their statements are to be believed and the odd result reflects a strong chassis. I would predict they’d be in a stronger position than in 2014 even by just having Alonso in one of the cars.

        3. Although, the amount of revenue loss occurring due to lost sponsors, lower payout from FOM (due to lower points) and overall brand goodwill lost is probably more than a $100 mln.

          But is it down lo Honda the lack of sponsors? The results seems obvious (while the two years before them McLaren finished P5 on the standings), but the sponsors I don’t think so, check their 2014 car. And the two years before that they had Vodafone, but not much more really.

          1. and McLaren cars sells reached recently a all time high iirc

        4. McLaren will also have to start covering Alonso’s wages if they dump Honda……which aren’t minimal!

  14. Thanks Keith for COTD. Especially this one.

    BTW, how many more of these do I need to start mentioning F1Fanatic con my CV?

    1. @johnmilk
      No idea, but I’ll gladly certify that your comments are always worth reading.
      Ain’t that something?

      1. ahah thanks nase, I will keep annoying people around here

  15. Ferrari_fan
    8th June 2017, 6:58

    I am in India, and the internet speed is good, so anyone please suggest me where to watch the live streaming.

    I used to search in google and get some links, but it will be off streaming every 15-20 minutes, although the quality is not that good.

    Anyone please recommend the HD live streaming would be really great. Thanks.

    1. Buy Hotstar premium account. It is only Rs. 200 per month, qualifying and race HD streaming live plus a host of other content as well.

      1. Also, the full qualifying and race replays stay on your hotstar account until the next race. So, even if you were to miss a race or want to re-watch the important moments, you can do that for 1 or 2 weeks :)

    2. If you are a Jio subscriber, you can watch the race and quali free without subscribing the Hotstar premium.

  16. Great. I thought Bernie was fired?

    Meanwhile, McLaren is extending their most uncompetitive and unreliable streak in F1. Honda should make Sauber their factory team for same budget and develop in peace.

    McLaren should get Ferrari engines for the win.

    1. @jureo

      I thought Bernie was fired?

      He’s currently some sort of Non-Executive Chairman of Breakfast Management, a bit like Lauda’s role at Mercedes, but with even less power and nobody to pat his back and tell everyone how important he is.

    2. Why would Ferrari, Mercedes (or even Renault) supply McLaren at all?!

      The rules state that if all engine suppliers refuse, the supplier with the least custumor teams would be forced to supply the team in need. I.e. McLaren would be right back at Honda.

      McLaren has absolutely no leverage whatsoever, so they will be payng through their nose for a Merc engine on top of losing half their budget (the Honda sponsor money)

      1. Ferrari…..nover going to happen
        Renault….Not while redbull are there to show them up
        Mercedes…..probable if they split from Honda….Mercedes would do it just to get Alonso wearing their logo and there have already been talks of providing ‘help’.

        1. @asanator Yes, Mercedes is the most probabe, but again McLaren has zero levarage so they will loose the $100m from Honda AND pay through their nose for the Merc engine… They’ll be a small budget back of the grid team

  17. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    8th June 2017, 8:52

    If you’re playing the odds/numbers game you’d have to say it’s unlikely Honda will match the big boys, they can barely keep up with the rate of development of the others let alone catch them. A real shame but 3 years is long enough to say they have them a fair chance and have suffered a lot of pain. It’s never ideal to be a customer but if they can get the latest Mercedes engine at least they know it will be the best in the business and they can focus on the chassis.

    1. They are already a customer…..they just don’t know it.

  18. What I love is this new social media and streaming freedom in F1 must be destroying Bernie inside. He must despise it.


  19. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    8th June 2017, 9:50

    I love the F1 coverage I get here in Canada but in the last week or so, I’m shocked I’m paying to hear clueless TSN reporters and clueless newspapers saying “can young Lance finally get that first win”. Shows you the sport needs to grow outside of Montreal in this country.

    1. Yeah true, but at the same time I’m not sure them saying ‘can young Lance actually finish a race’ would do anybody any good.

  20. Talking about broadcast…

    Its easy to understand broadcasters annoyance and concern about the social media ease done by liberty, but its complete lack of vision by their part.

    Broadcasters just don’t have the personnel and the structure to respond to the requirements social media, the immediate nature of it, the speed and type of content and consumption habits consumers have on them.

    First and foremost, the Formula 1 Show is owned by Liberty, and Formula 1’s main concern above anything else is to keep its brand relevant as the pinnacle of motorsport and as the most important Motorsport show in the World.

    To do this in this day and age Formula 1 needs to be the best, most present, cutting edge, interactive and appealing offering Motorsport event on Social Media and online platforms, pure and simple.

    There needs to be an unified and simplified access to important content online that consumers from all over the world can access, wherever they are.

    Nowadays, less and less people restrict themselves to watch television the “traditional”way.

    Where I live, I don’t have access to any form of mobile viewership of Formula One. We get the Broadcast from Fox Sports Asia through cable, but we don’t have access to their online services.

    I would really welcome a formula 1 Channel only for online and mobile viewership. Could be a vanilla feed, 1080p or even 720p, leaving the exclusive commentary , top resolution and broadcaster specific contentfor the broadcasters exclusive online feeds. But Formula 1 should be a show that we all could be able to access online anytime, anywhere, and not limited to a Broadcaster.

    That would be the way spread the sport and make it even more popular worldwide.

    I think Moto GP as some sort of package like this, but with lots of exclusive content.

    Last year, the Macau Grand Prix for example broadcasted online for free, getting hundreds of thousands of views worldwide. Yet, it broke records on the number of channels that picked its live broadcast feed.

    What Broadcasters need to do is to take advantage of the race feed and add additional content to it with special access that could be granted by Formula 1 and Liberty. Not Limit the viewership of the event by locking access through their exclusive licenses, while not being able to provide for the void of online content required to stay as the pinnacle motorsports show in the world.

  21. The question about Maclaren Honday may actually be “how much longer will Honda’s senior management allow the F1 division to continue.”

    The loss of face must at some point become so serious that Honda will quietly exit F1 as it surely must be affecting their brand.

    Frankly I’m surprised it hasn’t already happened. Abject failure is not something that they are known to persist with.

    1. Honda F1 more embarrassing than Toyota breaking down on final lap while leading Le Mans.

  22. Anybody advocating for FTA needs to fly to the US and watch F1 on NBC Sports. You won’t make it through the race as you’ll be heading back to the airport to fly back to LHR, tapping out a Sky F1 subscription on your iPhone.

  23. My experience with East Asian culture leads me to understand that they will lie to your face to save face, even when they know that you know that they’re lying.

    I don’t know how McLaren out up with it.

  24. Although I agree and share Mclaren’s dissapointment for the lack of upgrades for this GP, but you didn’t see Honda up in arms at the result of the Monaco GP, where clearly, the drivers let everyone down where they had their best chance of scoring points and not being the only team to be score-less this year.
    A very sad situation anyway. Hope Honda can pull through and get on top of this.
    But couldn’t agree more with Mclaren that 3 years is long enough to have to wait to be competitive.

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