Start, Spa, 2017

“Fundamental” F1 changes being considered for 2021 including shorter races

2021 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Formula 1 is considering “fundamental” changes to the format of grand prix weekends from 2021 which could include shorter races, a new qualifying system and less practice time.

Sporting director Steve Nielsen, who worked for Renault, Toro Rosso, Williams and other F1 teams before joining Formula One Management, explained how fans have been asked for their input into the proposed changes.

“There are some fundamental questions being asked, of all of us, as well as fans,” he said.

“For example, we’re asking about what kind of weekend format we should be pursuing; how much free practice should there be; how many races should we have; should there be more than one Formula 1 race on a weekend, what should qualifying be? We have our own ideas but we want to gauge opinion, as many opinions as possible.”

F1 must be open to change in response to dwindling audiences, said Nielsen.

“Viewing figures were declining. There has been an improvement but Formula 1 needs to change to engage with a wider audience.

“There are many people under the age of 30 for whom Formula 1 is of little interest. We need to retain the core values of the sport, while at the same time appealing to a younger audience. If we neglect that the sport will be in trouble.

“It is a difficult line to walk but that is what we have to do. Perhaps that does mean shorter race, or slightly less free practice, more sudden-death situations. People engage with sport in a lot of different ways and they don’t necessarily want to give up a Sunday afternoon or a Saturday afternoon to do it. So every idea has to be on the table.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Nielson believes the race weekend can also “make Formula 1 cheaper without affecting the show.”

“There is an awful lot of time and effort that goes into F1 that in no way contributes to the show,” he explained.

“If teams work until midnight on a Friday night no one sees any of that. Teams do it because the regulations allow for it. If those eight hours of work was suddenly limited to two hours, well, F1 teams are very smart organisations and they would very quickly modify their procedures to fit with that.

“In terms of technology, if a Formula 1 car has five types of front wing and three types of rear wing, the viewer doesn’t know that when he watches the race on a Sunday. It makes no difference to the show.”

Cutting the overall length of race weekends could also help teams by reducing the demands on staff, Nielsen added.

“Purely on the team side there are fewer and fewer people on that would choose to make a career out of being a Formula 1 mechanic or engineer, because it’s less of a sustainable career choice than it perhaps was 10 years ago when there were 16 or 17 races.

“The chances to draw breath and spend some time with family that happened four or five times a year now only occur in August, during the shutdown, and the more we expand the calendar the more that shutdown is going to get squeezed.

“Ultimately, if we were to leave the race weekend as it is, there would really be a very limited number of people that want to do F1 as a career choice.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

122 comments on ““Fundamental” F1 changes being considered for 2021 including shorter races”

  1. COTD:
    “In terms of technology, if a Formula 1 car has five types of front wing and three types of rear wing, the viewer doesn’t know that when he watches the race on a Sunday. It makes no difference to the show.”

    1. I notice, I even like that stuff.

      Seeing the special wings teams take to reduce drag for circuits like China, Montreal, Spa & Monza & the different solutions teams use to achieve that is a part of this sport I actually really enjoy.

      Watching a team develop a car over a season by introducing new styles of front/rear wing’s etc.. is the same, I find it super interesting & it’s something I like that is different & somewhat unique to many other categories.

      1. Ok, but it is not explored on the broadcast or visible on the screen.

        1. It is on TV and online. Ted Kravitz’s “Development corner” is great. Scarbs now does some great stuff on YouTube with, most recently about Ferrari’s battery.

          1. Thanks for the tip!

          2. Which only proves that the complex technicalities of aero and most of the vehicle components
            which make F1 vastly different from other race series need more and more of Ted Kravitz’s
            work. We need to know much, much more about the complexities and conflicts of F1 design.
            Most casual viewers of F1 are generally totally unaware of the staggering complexity of these
            amazing machines. So that if the field is, as envisaged, expanded and intensified there needs
            to be less secrecy about technical trends in engineering complexity.

        2. It’s funny– When NBC lost the contract for F1, I expected more detailed analysis of the tech of F1. In reality, Matchett and Buxton did a pretty good job of covering the aero and the technology compared with Sky.

          By comparison, Crofty spends too much time shouting, because we might not have noticed him talking otherwise, Brundle has some good observations about the car’s handling, and Anthony Davidson seems to know less about F1 technology than I do.

          Kravitz’s coverage seems to not make it over here very often.

          1. THIS is the comment of the day…at least as far as I’m concerned. I expected much more tech analysis from Sky. I’m one of those types like @stefmeister who really enjoys those geeky moments. But it turns out I got a lot more of that from Matchett and Buxton than I’m getting from the entire Sky broadcast.

            I’m assuming there’s more pre-race where they cover those aspects in the UK that is not being broadcast here in the US? I can understand ESPN not showing that as they are making little/no money on this.

            But I even paid for the F1TV….and I get NOTHING for my money. NOTHING and I mean NOTHING! They show the same broadcast as ESPN plus some old races I can find on Youtube for free anyway. so again…I get NOTHING for my ~$90. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am with that coverage.

          2. Thank you. Yes. Too much shouting, and not enough Martin Brundle.

      2. I am not in favour of shorter races or changing qualifying. I like both as they are. I love the technical challenges and the different approaches used by teams and I don’t want that to change. Apart from the grid girls I am in favour of a lot of the changes Liberty are bringing and I see them adding to the show but if they go to shorter races I will find something better to do on those weekends.

        1. Longer races would increase the drama, I think

      3. Totally agree @stefmeister I also love the technical side of the sport, the articles that are on Autosport, motorsport and indeed on the official F1 website suggest that it’s not just us that have an appetite for it either.

        So apparently we, the fans are being asked about what we want from F1. Where are these surveys being carried out?! Any idea @keithcollantine? The last fan survey that I remember was a few years ago, surely they need an up to date survey seeing as F1 has had a few changes since then. This seems to be reaction without any reliable data to base it on!

        The people considering all of these changes keep talking about F1’s declining viewing figures and how they need to react but don’t seem to understand that the main drive for the declining figures is the move to pay tv and the fact that tv is incredibly competitive nowadays. It was different in the 90s and early 00s when F1 used to be on the main terrestrial channels and a significant proportion of the population was restricted to 4 or 5 channels. We have so much more choice now, the move to pay tv moved F1 from easily accessible and free into a large competitive market. Instead they seem to think that it’s all to do with the Millennial Generation not having the same attention span.

        I personally love the current qualifying and race formats. The race length is great, it gives time for strategies to build up and play out. In my opinion, the main thing that needs to improve is giving the cars the ability to follow each other closely in races and they’re working on that already. I may now be unknowingly in the minority, but to find that out they need to ASK! I’d love to give my opinion and at least have it considered, as part of a well advertised/publicised survey that is properly analysed. Not just what they think we want

        1. I’m also one of the geeky fans, @3dom so I enjoy the same things. I’m starting to wonder if they actually do need to do some of these things to get the younger fans though. Not all the steps they’re talking about, but they do waste a lot of money/time on small fidgeting items with front wings that are so very expensive they keep mid field teams (and especially low budget teams) from ever having a chance to compete.

          Like you say, they’re being unrealistic about the size of the viewing audience. The world has changed now and they’re going to have to find a way to attract large numbers of young viewers through social media and shorter clips or even highlights that might eventually draw them into the full on sport. I was really hoping F1TV would start that trend but it’s a total disappointment to me so far.
          Just a really bland “me too”, short version of the Sky coverage.

          1. @daved it’s good that they’re moving towards limiting the complexity of the front wings, despite how interesting they are technically, the way they work at the moment contributes towards the difficulty following another car.

            We definitely seem to agree that the people in charge need to listen more. In reference to your reply to @stefmeister, regarding what we get during a broadcast, a few years back in the UK, the BBC had Gary Anderson, former F1 engineer, contributing to the broadcast by giving technical analysis on how certain parts of the cars worked. The following year, the BBC was making cuts so straight out of the door was Mr Gary Anderson. Nobody seemed to care that the fans may have really benefited from his contribution. I just don’t think we’re listened to enough. We just get told that they’re taking fans opinions on board but we don’t seem to be asked. It’s quite frustrating to hear of these proposed changes that we never asked for or want but are apparently being brought in on our behalf

          2. @3dom
            Completely agree on all your points.

            As much as I love the tech/geeky bits…I feel strongly that the front wings contribute hugely to the problem of cars being able to follow closely.

            And I keep hearing about how they “listen to the fans”, yet I wonder where this input is coming from? They never ask anyone on the F1 forums/blogs I follow. And it’s been a couple of years since they did any type of open questionnaire. I assume they have focus groups but even so, it would be good if they shared that with us and the results they’re getting. I just feel like a mushroom right now and suddenly they’re espousing some rule change to “improve the sport” and I have no idea why they propose these things.


    2. But what’s the proposed solution? To allow teams just one front wing and one rear wing? Because then casual spectators would wonder why suddenly a car that was flying in a high downforce circuit (because the team decided to go for a high downforce configuration) is barely fighting for points against other cars that went for a medium/low downforce configuration.

      As @stefmeister mentions, that’s exactly one of the reasons we “hardcore” fans like the sport. As for the casual viewer, well, that’s what journalists should be doing in the broadcasts, isn’t it? Explaining the differences between high downforce and low downforce tracks, long/short wheelbase cars, high or low degradation… that’s part of the sport. Same as in MotoGP, there are big differences between the different manufacturers.

      1. @stefmeister and @warheart – I also love the innovation and the detail of all the different parts of the bodywork, wings, power units, brake ducts, diffusers, tyres, etc. However, I do understand the need for F1 to appeal to a broader audience in order for it to be able to carry on at the level it is at.
        And, no matter how much the broadcasters break all this detail down for the audience, if you are not a ‘hardcore’ fan (or if that stuff just doesn’t interest you) then you are likely to just tune out! But that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate good racing – just that you’re not into the innovation behind it.
        So, to compromise, I see no problem with having maybe 2 sets of wings/bodywork configuration – Low and High downforce. This would mean that teams decide at the start of the season how to best suit the maximum number of, or the important tracks for them. This could lead to some really interesting choices and maybe allow for some of the midfield (or lower) teams to pull out surprise wins by focussing on a particular track (at the expense of others). Also, it could potentially mean the mid downforce tracks, teams could choose, grip or pace by running the High or Low downforce car!
        It’s just a thought, but this would satisfy me and maybe keep things more straight forward for the more casual viewer?

        P.S. Despite thinking the above could work/be quite cool, I think the more obvious reason for the decline in viewing figures is directly correlated to the decline in free to air F1! Be cool to see some of the data on this I imagine it is blindingly obvious the impact pay-walls have had on F1 and other sports!

        1. @ginja42 I fully agree that casual fans won’t care much (or at all) about the most complex parts of the sports. However, I honestly nobody will care if teams have two or twenty different front wings as long as there’s good and entertaining racing on sunday afternoon. There have always been different high downforce/low downforce configurations over the years, so I don’t think that’s the issue. Fixing the dirty air issue will improve racing, and a casual viewer will still just see a front wing and a rear wing.

  2. Highly doubt the weekend format is the main problem here… races could be half an hour long and people would still avoid to watch it if it’s not interesting enough. It’s the quality of the content that’s worrying, not the quantity.

    1. Well said. I really doubt making the race one hour long would make it that much more exciting. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the race distance, and it boils down to the nature of competition rather than the time spent watching it. Tennis matches can go on from 2 hours to 5 hours on average, and a great match gets more exciting if it goes to 5 sets. As you rightly put it, it’s down to quality more than quantity.

      I understand their concerns regarding the staff being overworked, and I can understand if they want to keep the season slightly shorter because of it or have more breaks for the staff, but when you’re actually at a race weekend, changing the length of the race or the number of sessions might affect viewership and the quality of the show. People spend a lot of money to come and watch races live, so they really want to get a bang for their buck as well. Making people travel for hours to get to a circuit for a one hour race will see their race ticket sales plummet.

      I think it’s a case of Liberty focusing on fixing what’s not broken again. If they do want to keep changing race formats on their agenda, they should keep it at the absolute bottom of their priority list for now. If they manage to fix the other issues regarding the sport, they might realise that this doesn’t need much fixing.

      1. I wholeheartedly agree with you. If the race weekend format is altered I would find it very difficult to justify spending hours travelling, days spent away and putting out hard earned monies to attend an event. Nothing is wrong with the race weekend format(Qualy is perfect), just do something about overtaking and have a plan to make all the teams competitive ie., better distribution of the prize monies and stable rules around the parts that may be standardized.

    2. Precisely, the weekend format is fine and nobody complains about it, really. Is the fact that a couple of teams and drivers dominate for year after year, because the others are driven to the brink of bankruptcy. The corporate/political correctness obsessed PR makes it hard for people to identify with the drivers…much less see them as their heroes.

  3. It would be a big change but I’m not against shorter races – or against longer races when appropriate.
    Two 100 miles races (SAT/SUN) would benefit Australia, Barcelona (maybe), Monaco, Hungary, Abu Dhabi.

  4. I trust the result if they are consulting the fans as indicated. I also know that some of the old-school fans will cry bloody murder regarding anything Liberty tries to do that doesn’t make F1 look more like 1984. But this too shall pass. I am just glad to finally see some disruption in the sport. Some of it I like, some of it not so much. But I am glad we’re now having discussions about it.

    1. @ajpennypacker The problem with consulting the fans is the way they seem to be doing it.

      They sent out a survey recently which I got which had many leading questions in it effectively pushing me down a route to make it look like I was in favor of something i’m not.

      They asked a question regarding a sprint race & I answers that I didn’t like it but then next dozen questions that were there were all worded with the only answers available been as if i’d said I was in favor of a sprint race. I ended up feeling as if i’d just told them I wanted a sprint race when I don’t.

      Was a lot of stuff like this, No neutral answers… Just stuff presuming you were in favor of a sprint race even though i’d said I wasn’t.

      Was the same with a question about the points system. How many cars should score points with nothing to allow me to vote for what we have now (10) or less, It was all based on 11+.

      The whole thing felt like it was worded & setup to give them the answer’s they want. It didn’t seem balanced at all.

      1. I’ve taken surveys too. That’s just how you do surveys though. Those questions allow to segment participants. Depends of what they were trying to study. I’ve never gotten those questions before for example. Everyone is worried that they will ruin the show, but I so far I’ve seen nothing but pretty good stuff. The sort of thing that fans on the track on average seem to enjoy, but that get derided in comments sections of F1 news websites.

        It seems pretty clear that Liberty is in for the long haul, and they seem quite conscious of the worth and prestige of the F1 brand. I see no scenario under which they would do something to tarnish that brand by making it look like Nascar or Indy, or anything like that. There’s a reason brands like UBS, Heineken, Chandon, Boss, Johnnie Walker, and many others are in F1 and not in American categories.

        I didn’t have patience for Bernie’s do-nothingness and greedy approach to every damn aspect of the sport. I have a lot of patience still for Liberty, they are yet to dissapoint me in anything that matters.

        1. I’ve taken surveys too. That’s just how you do surveys though. Those questions allow to segment participants. Depends of what they were trying to study.

          They’re called closed questions and are designed to guide & corral the participant to a predetermined outcome. It is a well known marketing tool used by many companies to prove support or popularity of a product. A grain of salt should be taken with all of these ‘surveys’.

      2. I saw that same survey and complained that it was leading in an associated forum thread.

        The counter-claim given by the forum admin was that it could not have been biased because “The survey was quality checked by a leading market research agency”. They seemed rather upset, and not a little confused, that I wasn’t the only person to notice and state that the resulting survey was not up to scratch.

        We did discover, though, that a survey construction issue contributed to the situation – the “how many cars should score points” question was supposed to only appear for people who, on the previous question, agreed or strongly agreed that the number of cars should increase (because the surveyors wanted to know how much increase was wanted). However, even people selecting “strongly disagree” were getting the “how many cars” question, and of course they needed different options to the expected responses…

        I am yet to decide on whether this is an improvement on the old way, when we were told that our survey answers would influence policy and then the “resulting” policy would be presented to us before the survey results were analysed.

        * – (I could have mentioned about the seeding of multiple questions on the same screen providing an “ambience” of one set of answers being preferred, but the atmosphere was already tense in the thread so I stuck to things anyone with a school-leaver’s maths qualification that included statistics should have been able to confirm objectively).

        1. (I’d also question whether giving the survey to a market research agency was sufficient or even helpful in this context, as market research surveys are not exactly hotbeds of neutral, high-quality information acquisition).

      3. @stefmeister @alianora-la-canta did you have to be invited to the survey or could anyone take part. I’d have loved to have participated if I knew about it

        1. @3dom Sorry for the spectacularly late response. In theory, anyone could join. In practise, it was necessary to go to a specific site ( ), register, and then pick that survey in “Boost Your Points”.

          The good news is that there is generally at least one survey a week, each on different aspects of F1, so it’s not like they’re asking once and then waiting a year to ask again.

          1. @alianora-la-canta thanks for this :-)

    2. As an old school fan I assure you I am not crying bloody murder over everything Liberty do, I have been crying bloody murder over everything Bernie did but my pov was always swamped by the views of the teenage fans who could not believe that anything in the past could be as good or better than what they first experienced, be careful what you wish for, teenagers are as intelligent as they will ever be but they lack experience and don’t know what they don’t know.

    3. The fans they are referring to might well be the people standing in the paddock and have been invited by sponsors. You need to please those guys and your sponsors right?

    4. @ajpennypacker “Consulting the fans” is exactly what gave us the nonsensical changes that we have seen over the last decades which were then reverted back again (or not and we still “suffer” from them today)

      Fans really have no clue what would improve the sport. They just think they do with easy answers to very complicated problems.

      1. @patrickl I will be the first to admit that fans shouldn’t not be the ones making decisions. There is a lot of stupidity that gets proposed all the time. You see much of it in comments sections like this one. HOWEVER, I do think it’s important to ‘consult’ the fans. Gauge reactions and responses to certain proposals and initiatives, etc. The Bernie approach was to do whatever the hell he wanted, usually whatever yielded the most cash for him and the private equity partners. Nothing wrong with wanting to make money. The problem was that he no longer had a long-term vision for how to grow the sport. He refused to modernize certain aspects of Formula 1. It’s crazy to imagine that it took over a decade for Formula 1 to have its own website.

  5. Less practice = No.
    Changing qualifying = I think it’s fine as it is.
    Sprint races = Really not a fan.
    Shorter races = Definitely not!

    the more we expand the calendar the more that shutdown is going to get squeezed.

    Then don’t expand the calendar!

    “Ultimately, if we were to leave the race weekend as it is, there would really be a very limited number of people that want to do F1 as a career choice.”

    I’d have thought it used to be much worse than this back when they had unlimited testing, No curfew’s over the weekend & no summer shut down….. Didn’t seem to make F1 unattractive as a career choice then so I don’t see why it would now.

  6. As a lifelong fan who gets to watch 1 race each year live on television (AUS GP), if you want more viewers either go back to free to air or provide a reasonable online streaming production.

    Dumbing down the show will just disenfranchise the ‘hardcore’ fan base, who love the technical side of the series. Not that I want more complex front wings as I think they are inherently damaging to close racing. But stifling the engineering creativity of the teams won’t create a better show, just cause frustration.

    I’m glad Liberty are asking questions of the establishment, I am however worried about the direction they will take.

    1. Same here @ross

      1. Agreed. Put things behind a paywall and yes audiences go down.

    2. Agreed! That will be our situation in the UK next year and onwards, one race, unless you want to pay Sky an extortionate amount for a service centred around football.
      If they had offered OTT we would have adopted that and paid a fair fee for it per race. £5 not the £30-40 that Sky require.
      A young dumb ADHD audience is what they appear to be aiming for, good luck with that, they will kill the sport stone dead.

  7. Please no changes to qualifying. Maybe little tweeks, tire rules, whatever. Qualifying is often the best part of the race weekend.

    Race length is also perfect in my opinion. I might enjoy a special longer race, but that really can’t work without major technical changes.

    I hope they don’t ruin the sport by changing things that are already very good.

    Now changing the cars so they can follow, that would improve F1.

    1. Provided they manage to lower costs, I would love to see more of these:
      – More in-season testing to allow for more young drivers to show themselves
      – An extra car for the weekend in case of failure. I remember so many times a driver having a failure and rushing to the pit lane to take the spare car
      – Remove limitations of tyres and let teams use as many as they want
      – A chassis that allows for closer racing

      As bonuses I’d love to see these:

      – A karting race at some venues featuring participation from former drivers, young drivers, a few lucky fans… I think it would be fun and get a lot of fans tuning it
      – Aggressive on-board cameras that convey the vibration, speed, turbulence on an F1 car. Like the on-board cameras you might recall on Schumacher following Senna in 1992

      1. @ajpennypacker

        Aggressive on-board cameras that convey the vibration, speed, turbulence on an F1 car. Like the on-board cameras you might recall on Schumacher following Senna in 1992

        The reason some of the in-car cameras vibrated about as much as they did back then was more due to the way, Well more specifically where on the cars they were located.

        Back then the cameras were fixed to the bodywork of the car as it all came off in 1 piece-
        As a result of that most of the vibration/movement in the cameras was coming from the bodywork it was attached flexing.

        Since 1993 teams moved away from having the bodywork come off in 1 piece so cameras started to be fixed to the roll-structure which is far more rigid which is why the cameras move/vibrate less now than they used to.×691.jpg

        Another factor is car/circuits, Circuits tended to be a lot bumpier than we see today & the cars were also a bit stiffer sprung which also came across on the in-car cameras.

      2. RP (@slotopen)
        6th June 2018, 0:15


        I especially like the first one and last two. I don’t know how all the details work, but a spec series kart race would be sweet.

  8. Don’t change the format. It’s good as it is.
    More “sudden death situations”, “no difference to the show”. It’s a sport, not WWE.

  9. Maybe if people didn’t have to spend a fortune to ‘officially’ watch race weekends their viewing figures would start to increase!

    That’s a fundamental change they need to make. Chuck the pay-tv deals.

    1. My thoughts exactly. If they want more “eyeballs” (and I’m sure the advertisers on the cars do), then stop with the pay-TV deals. I don’t want to pay $40+ a month to Foxtel to see one or maybe two races.

    2. This should be the next Quote of the Day.

    3. Indeed Calum that would help a huge amount.

  10. Good grief, just read the damn comments!

    *most* fans hate the halo and they hate the sound of the cars. When did the numbers start to dive? When the sound disapeared.

    This will be the first season I wont be attending a race since 2003. I have dozens of amazing photos I took at those races, why on earth would I want a photo of a car with a stupid looking halo sitting on my desk?

    Change the sound, find something better then the flip flop and maybe fans will be more interested. The spectacle is lost.

    1. @marksch Sound has nothing to do with it, Attendance and declining tv ratings had started long before 2014….. Really started to tank after 2011 when DRS & Cheese tyres were introduced.

      In fact in some regions (America for instance) tv figures have risen since the v6 turbo hybrids were introduced.

      1. Youre joking about the sound not dropping numbers right? With so many people complaining about it do you think it somehow has increased numbers? “Hey this really sucks, LETS GO!” All these crap “power units” have done is turn the grid into a penalty fest. They are way too complicated and sound awful. Why do you think they are trying to bring some of it back for 2021? This farce of the cars using less fuel is somehow beneficial to mankind (Todts words) is so absurdly hypocritical. The dude flys around in a private jet burning more fuel then F1 uses in a year all by himself.

        As for increased American viewership you can thank the move to NBC for that, and now ESPN for using the uninterrupted Sky feed…which is slightly annoying as not everyone is from the UK and loves Lewis.

        Mostly im talking about at track attendance. Who would pay to see these abominations that sound like glorified Dysons. Not me, not my friends. We’re certainly not alone.

      2. PeterG, The reason that viewing ratings have dropped is because only pay tv viewers can watch F1 in more and more countries. Before it was on public TV and everybody could see it.

    2. @marksch, actually, the sound has had a pretty negligible impact on viewing figures, despite how bitterly some whinge and moan about it.

      The tend for declining viewing figures in most markets dates long before the changes in engines – in Italy, for example, the decline has been fairly constant for nearly two decades now, and more recent changes have had no measurable impact either way (the average Italian couldn’t care less what is in the car – whether it’s a V10, V8 or a V6, they are turning away from the sport anyway).

      Furthermore, fan surveys have shown that your assertion that the fans “hate the sound of the cars” is false – the majority of fans are fine with the sound – suggesting you are projecting your own personal biases onto the rest of the fan base and making the mistake of thinking that they must think in the same way that you do.

      There has been one dominant factor influencing viewing figures, and that is the availability of a free to view service. When you look at the falls in viewing figures in recent years and map that to the withdrawal of free to air broadcasts, what you find is that the falls in viewing figures are almost all entirely down to that one factor.

      To give an idea of how dominant the free to air effect is, in 2013 it was noted that the annual global viewing figures dropped by 50 million – however, out of that figure, 46 million, or 92%, of that decline occurred in just France and China (16 million in France and 30 million in China). Both of those falls were directly linked to those markets switching from free to air to subscription only services – other factors were basically negligible by comparison.

      Again, the same phenomenon was observed in Australia and the UK when those markets partially removed free to air races – when you compared the drops in viewing figures that year, again a sizeable chunk of that was down to viewers in those markets turning off when the races were subscription only.

      Sports as a whole are noticing a trend for declining viewing figures as a number of them shift to subscription based services which a declining number of people are prepared to pay for – the wider motorsport spectrum has recorded falling viewing figures, and even competitions such as the Premier League have reported falling viewing figures in recent years (and it is not as if people have suddenly started complaining that football matches “lack spectacle”).

      1. i agree.

      2. @anon “Furthermore, fan surveys have shown that your assertion that the fans “hate the sound of the cars” is false – the majority of fans are fine with the sound – suggesting you are projecting your own personal biases onto the rest of the fan base and making the mistake of thinking that they must think in the same way that you do.”

        Are you sure you’re not projecting YOUR personal biases?… Cause thats exactly what you are doing. Do you not remember Mercedes putting a little trumpet on the exhaust to make it louder? Do you not hear Ross Brawn in almost every interview he does lately talk about getting the sound back? Why do you think there are getting rid of the MGUK or whatever the heck they call it. Sorry dude, I’ve heard the V12’s and V10s and even the V8, they were glorious, fans loved them. You truly felt the power of those beasts. If I wanted quite cars I would watch Formula E.


        Almost forgot, not only did Merc try the trumpet, F1 thought they would just some microphones. Talk about nonsense ways of fixing a problem that shoulnd have ever happened.

    3. @marksch, you provide a perfect example of what’s wrong with fan surveys.

    4. Come on @marksch, they want to expand their audience: a lot of races in the last years are completely unappealing someone who didn’t live the golden era. F1 is – for an outsider – fricking boring. It has nothing to do with halo, sound and so on.

      1. Do me a favor click this link and move to the 15:00 mark and watch 2 minutes of this video I shot back in 2006.
        This is the pretty much the only thing I remember of the race. Absolutely bonkers. And what made it bonkers was the sound. Ive been to plenty of races since and have never had a feeling like that moment. Based on the comments to the video Im not the only one.

        Going to an F1 race is very expensive. If Im going to shell out that kind of cash I want to spectacle… which is why in just over a week I’ll be going to Le Mans again. I had a chance to hear the new 911 at Long Beach this year, good grief, loudest car I have ever heard bar none. To see them in the pink pig livery and classic rothmans AND sounds that good? Yes, that is car I want to photograph and hear. To some this is important, to most of my gear head friends this is very important. I honestly have no desire to see or hear the current F1 cars. My favorite sport has alienated me to the point I just dont care. Happy to read these blogs and see the results and for news that hopefully change is coming but thats it.

        Go ahead and tinker with the format Liberty, you’ll just lose more fans.

        Oh, forgot to mention to the reason F1 is down in Italy is squarely because Ferrari hasnt won a championship in ages.

        1. @marksch Sounds like it is all about the sounds for you. And that’s great. But you are definitely assuming most are at your level of outrage about it and that simply is not the case. And just because they have tried, and will continue to try to make the pu(s) louder, because enough people have complained, does not mean that is THE reason for viewership fallout. Audience was already declining well before that, and not just for F1. For me I’m fine with the current sound and I’m fine if they get louder. They’ll not be going back to the screamer V’s. There are so many aspects of F1 I enjoy and appreciate, so sound was never going to be a deterrent for me. And I’m well used to the halo as well. Meanwhile, there are actual hard numbers that can relate to viewership declining starting years ago, (the global recession starting in 08 hasn’t helped) as well as the effect of moving away from ‘free’ to air TV. There are several factors going on at once, and sound is only one small aspect compared to some much bigger issues, a few being the TV coverage as well discussed, closer racing, and predictability from domination by one team. Complicated rules…gadgets…

          I’m fully confident Liberty will improve many things over the coming years. Nobody is more aware of all that needs to be addressed than Liberty and Brawn.

  11. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    5th June 2018, 22:41

    I think liberty should take a look at what has happened to NASCAR over the past 10 years. Trying to reach new fans is a great idea but if you alienate your core fanbase with gimmicks you’ll ultimately do more harm than good.
    These changes fit that exact blueprint.
    Less gimmicks, closer racing at reasonable prices for the casual fan and the viewership will increase and sponsors will flood back in.

  12. i think the ~90 min racetime is good as it is.

  13. How did the come up with the shorter races idea?

    The same people he is referring to are happily watching nfl/nba… that can stretch 3-4 hours with commercial breaks and and halftime.

    1. +1 Have plenty of mates who take most of the day each weekend watching a 90 football (soccer..!) game. Plus beers before and after and another cheeky match if its on the telly.

    2. Do they have cheerleaders at those things?

  14. The race length is perfect, I would not want to see races made shorter than they are now. Or longer, for that matter. 2 hours is just right, in my opinion. I’m a NASCAR fan as well, and I wish they’d reduce their race times. I’d prefer 2 but would settle for 3. Some of the races in that series take over 5 hours, which is too much.

  15. Qualifying and the race format is fine, no need to change that. Maybe tweak the tyre/pitstop rules. I’ve enjoyed that aspect more in Indycar this season. I’m not interested in choreographed 2s pit stops. You’ll get more drama and viewer intrigue with fewer pairs of hands.

    By all means make the aerodynamics simpler to improve the racing and being able to challenge an opponent. But leave the ability for the clever folks to make a difference. Just not in a way that means more money = more tenths of a second saved.

    As for careers in F1 on the decline… rubbish. Up the investment in educational programmes worldwide rather than spending more money on poorly created “fan surveys”. STEM for boys and girls, with team work placements, open days, competitions (virtual too), open source some software, etc.

    Also, standardise the boring bits. I’m interested in what I can see or what effects that shape (internal build) but there’s a lot on an F1 car that doesn’t need millions of investment x 10 teams.

  16. I preffer a single race with 15-20 minutes less of time and more fuel to go flat out, not a fan of 2 races per weekend and i also think that liberty should do some special races if they want change but with this halo garbage i dont think they want to do that…

  17. Its called a Grand Prix race. That is NOT a short race or two races. Its means great prize. Mess with that, and its game over.

    Do what you like to everything else, but messing with that is like making football have an oval ball and different goals.

    1. I think having couple of difference types of races during season is fine. Indy has shorter and longer races and races ovals and road courses. Wec does 6 hour races and 24 hour races. Ice hockey and soccer has difference sized rinks and fields and tennis has courts with different surfaces. Some sports are played both outdoors and indoors. All sports have some variation and not always is the event exactly the same everywhere.

      F1 can and should try different things in some races. Monaco could be easily divided into 2 shorter races just like australia, abu dhabi and barcelona races could be. F1 could easily do one longer 2.5 hour race on a track like spa or canada. F1 could adjust the race lengths so the differences races are more closer to each other or more different. Even try heat races during some weekends. The season could start with one by one qualifying. F1 can and should do it because all other sports do it.

      1. Why? F1 already has the variants that you ascribe to other sports such as track layout, surface, length, temperatures.

        I don’t mind no overtaking at Monaco, the race tension or drama can come from elsewhere. As far as I can see the main problem is that somewhere along the line someone decided to start describing the race as ‘entertainment’ or ‘the show’ which it never was or has been.

        F1 must be open to change in response to dwindling audiences, said Nielsen.

        “Viewing figures were declining. There has been an improvement but Formula 1 needs to change to engage with a wider audience.

        REALLY?! we all know the reasons for this and the solution is to return F1 to FTA. Stop trying to blame the “product” for a fundamental mistake by the commercial rights holder made in the pursuit of ever higher profits!

    2. Sounds like Australian rules footy :)

  18. Our qualifying format is great, I also think race length is just right. Why change either???

  19. Spec aero would dramatically affect my interest in Formula 1. The reason I fell in love with the sport is the engineering battle, it’s half the game. Wings could be drastically simplified and still significantly reduce costs. Add spec ground effect to make up the difference, it isn’t visible to the fans.

  20. The reason for decreasing viewer numbers is the move to pay to view channels. In short term it makes a lot of money because cable companies can pay more than free to air tv networks. This means that while bernie and co raked in the money the viewership slowly stalled and then went down. This has two catastrophic results.

    First one is the obvious one. Less sponsorship. Sponsorship is all about getting people to know your brand. The more viewers f1 has the more sponsor money it will attract. And the less viewers the less money. F1 has lost a lot of value for sponsors. It is simply too expensive to buy visibility in f1 when with the same amount of money you can reach many more people doing something like formula e or anything else really. Less sponsorship means less competitors, bigger gaps between teams and lots of negative press.

    I’d also add the constant talk about cost savings as a negativity. People don’t want to hear about cost cutting. People have to deal with it in their own lifes already enough. When the sport makes that its main talking point it is just depressing. People want a show. A sporting event. Not a debate about economics. Managing costs is important for the sport so it can survive but it won’t make anyone watch the races or buy channel subscriptions or streaming services.

    The second is little less obvious. When the show moves to pay to view channels you lose a lot of the younger fans. Only people with disposable income can get your service. You don’t have as many young fans because they don’t have access to your sport anymore. This kills any growth you can expect from younger audience. More people grow up without ever seeing f1 race. If people don’t grow up watching your sport they don’t pay for it when they have disposable income. In a way sports is like religion. You follow the one you grew up with.

    I think another reason why f1 has lost viewers is because the spectacle of the show has diminished. In any sport the hook needs to be obvious. I don’t mean dumbed down or simplified. When you watch a boxing match the hook is obvious (pun intended). Same with mma, football, ice hockey or tennis. Back in 15 years ago that hook was the otherworldly noise and spectacle of the race. If you were watching tv you could accidentally switch to a channel showing cars revving to 20k rpm blasting at 350kmh speeds. “This looks fast, expensive, difficult, loud and extreme. Wonder what is going?” Wondering whether driver can win or even finish a race. Is there a pass or not. If you were there on the circuit watching you could feel the cars. Nowadays it is all hidden away. The cars are just computers on wheels, the sound is like from a leaf blower and all passes are slamdunk drs with no skill. Just faster car moving ahead of slower car and one or two teams winning everything. You could just as well watch formula e races. 15 years ago nobody would watch formula e over f1 even if the races themselves were not that exciting.

    But it is hard to get excited about fuel saving and fuel economy. It is easy to get excited about loud engines and insane performance. It is hard to get excited about about cost caps, cost savings, road relevance and limited number of engines and 15 different colors of tires. It is easy to get excited about hearing a team spending half a million to change the gearbox after every session or team using 4 engines during a weekend. It is hard to get excited about hearing a driver doing a day of simulator training and blogging about his new bicycle. It is easy to get excited about hearing a team possibly fixing an issue in a week long sweaty testing or seeing a b-spec car in action in some spy camera pictures.

    To fix f1 is simple. Do anything to get more viewers = free to view tv and internet. Fix the cars. Louder, faster, less road relevant, more race relevant. Stop talking about cost cutting. Talk about the tech, show the tech, show the tech, show more of everything. Use the internet and its technologies to show more, everything. Not fight against it. It is almost a total failure how a sport can lose viewers during a time when everybody carries a satellite tv receiver/transmitter in their pocket.

    1. Jeroen Valkema
      6th June 2018, 1:37

      Spot on!

    2. @socksolid : Exactly.

      New owners looking in the wrong places to solve old owner’s problems. At least LM appears to be keeping that F1 tradition.

      Pay Walled series. Short term money for Bernie – dwindling audience long term. FTA everywhere would draw more fans, more sponsors, more funding for teams.

      Over priced tickets to live races and yet most promoters can’t break even – again, thanks, Bernie!

      $8 Billion dollar used car with high monthly payments. Again… thanks to Bernie, LM must keep far more than their fair share of F1 revenue – and continue with dubious, but well-paying government-sponsored venues to keep up the payments.

      1. Yup, it’s the capital structure (the +$8 billion, which requires a return on capital), and the root cause of that is Bernie and CVC. FOM needs the pay TV and the exorbitant, uneconomic hosting fees in order to recover the cost of capital and support the teams. This is why FOM wants the teams to be forced to lower costs, so that some of these issues might be addressed without harming the required return on capital.

    3. This COTD! One could almost swear the actually want to kill F1 they way they are planning the future!

    4. Agreed!

  21. Personally I think most people want to see action IE crashes and such ….hence the best viewing positions on the bends …. Bring back fueling during the race and make it less technical so drivers have to use their brains more .

    1. @Tom Refuelling was detrimental to on-track overtaking, though, so bringing it back wouldn’t really be worth it.

  22. These ideas, plus Chase Carey’s “street circuit” idea sound like a crappy version of Formula E.

  23. While i do welcome shorter race but not less free practice, already teams complaining not enough test period hence some teams use the practice session for testing. A more sudden-death situations? Oh please……

    I believe part of the reason viewers drop is due to charge to view. F1 used to free broadcast races till money get over head. Another major problems teams facing was tough time getting sponsors, i do believe it is time to relax rules of sponsorship, maybe allow tobaccos and alcoholics sponsors return. Maybe not with brand name but colour themes. Those are the one with huge pocket waiting to spend.

  24. Nothing wrong with the race weekend format, so no need to alter it. ”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  25. The race lengths are fine.
    The qualy is the best format I’ve ever seen.
    Three practice sessions are a bit much, but there’s less testing these days, so that balances out.
    Maybe the paywall has become too high to see over?
    Maybe the corporate nature of modern F1 marketing has made the sport less glamourous?
    I just want to watch the best drivers in the best cars race at the best purpose-built tracks in the world, and much of the time that’s what F1 provides.
    If Liberty panics and tries to “freshen up” the show for a theoretical increased viewership, then they seriously risk alienating the actual core fans, including myself.
    Maybe instead of changing the weekend format, Liberty could reduce the number of races in a season. Fourteen seems about right, maybe even less. Then the races would be more special, and host countries might compete for them more.
    I have a feeling that Liberty is needlessly rushing into unsound decisions, and that is a turn off.

  26. Sigh. If they introduce sprint races, then I’ll be done for good with F1.

  27. I think they are getting close to the answer, but still missing the mark. Taking a cue from Americas Cup racing and the new milleniums, I think EXPANDING the technology aspect would draw more viewers. This is the oppisite of NASCAR and Indy ( if you want a different result, don’t repeat the same mistake) . So if I was king, make F1 appeal to the STEM students. Have outreach to high school and college engineering programs, maybe make each team mentor a college student or have a relationship with an engineering program at a university. From Americas Cup, at the end of the season, have each team reveal thier cars’ details; maybe even have drivers from other teams drive the cars. This does two things: it keeps teams from spending too much on development knowing the technology will be given way at the end of the season, and keeps the lower cost teams from getting too far behind. Once this in place, remove the 3 engine rules and let the engineering teams develop, develop and develop. So thoughout the season the cars technology advances. This gives fans a draw for each race; have the commentators highlight the changes as part of the build up. I fell in love with F 1 for the technology advancement; it is simple, may the best team win; pure racing.

  28. Please no changes to the race format! One of the greatest aspects of a Grand Prix weekend is that as it evolves, every day gets more special until we reach a climax on Sunday afternoon with the Grand Prix. One driver goes home as the winner and is remembered for that one result. Having two races completely dilutes the importance and prestige of winning a Grand Prix.

    Also, at present it is not too difficult for many of us to be fully invested in the sport by sacrificing 90 minutes on a Sunday to watch the Grand Prix. I haven’t missed a race for 24 years and wouldn’t think of doing so as long as the one race per weekend continues. My fear is that by having two less important races it will be easier to miss one and eventually interest wanes. Look at most sports and they run for at least 90 minutes. Don’t destroy what we currently have with more short term gimmicks.

    1. joe pineapples
      6th June 2018, 8:17


  29. Its like going to the doctor… ” doctor, doctor! I have a head ache!! Doctor replies:” ok, lets cut off your arm!”

  30. “There are many people under the age of 30 for whom Formula 1 is of little interest.”
    That’s because they never heard a field of 28 V12 F1 cars, or a field of 30 Formula 5000 cars take the green flag.

  31. I read all of the articles, and I have just read through all of the 48 comment that have preceded this one. This may not be a popular view, but I think all of this uncertainty, all of these issues we’re discussing, and all of the problems in F1 have single cause: The people who have been in charge of the sport have for years exerted no control over the sport. As a result, the sport has become a monster driven by unlimited spending and a constant escalation of just about every parameter. What was a fairly straightforward business of finding a race track, getting the cars there and going racing has become a logistical and financial nightmare. Race promoters have had to pay ridiculous fees. Teams have grown like a cancer to the point where Hamilton claims there are 1800 people working to put his car on the track. Drivers are being paid $50 million a year, and are these guys really generating that amount of revenue all by themselves? Anything that can be done to rein in this monster should be done, and done without delay. Set a budget cap of $150 or $200 million and tell the teams they have until the 2021 season to prepare for it. Don’t wait until 2021 to start phasing it in. They need to drive down spending immediately. If that means coming up with a formula that eliminates the most expensive technological areas, just do it. It isn’t “dumbing down” anything. It’s simply giving teams a new set of parameters and a new challenge. The bottom line is that the sport is completely out of control, and someone needs to take charge and start making rational decisions. Analogies? Metaphors? Don’t let the inmates run the asylum. Don’t let the spoiled children in your family dictate the rules and program the parents’ behavior. I’m hoping Liberty Media act like the grownups in the room and make as few concessions as possible heading into 2021.

    1. @gwbridge I do take your point, but I don’t agree that the sport is completely out of control, nor that they can nor should set an immediate and draconian budget cap. We’re just in an unavoidable time between Liberty as new owners dealing with the way it was with BE, and trying to improve upon it but with the fallout from the BE era still very much present and with many contracts still in place. It is a great opportunity for Liberty as well, and of course a huge challenge. But they seem up to it and have only been talking the right way. That they are floating ideas now is exactly what they should be doing. But the core ideas of simplifying and heading back toward a more affordable less complicated series to play in, and closer racing for the fans, are great concepts to hear and in which to take comfort.

      1. @robbie I can’t disagree with anything you have written except the use of “draconian” to describe budget caps. I believe that Liberty Media view Formula One as a long-term investment which they want to be stable and profitable for years and years to come. It follows that they cannot allow a situation to exist where one or two or three teams effectively control a business they do not own. Liberty Media is owned by John Malone who has been compared to Darth Vader, and I am pretty comfortable that he is not the kind of guy who is happy listening to Sergio Marchionne or anyone else speak as if they can hold Malone’s business hostage. Malone doesn’t play games in the press. The teams are players in this game, but they do not own the game.

        You wrote: “…nor that they can nor should set an immediate and draconian budget cap.” You raise the issue of whether LM “can” set a budget cap. I’d be interested whether you question their ability to institute a cap or whether you are implying that it would not be good business because some teams object and might choose not to participate after 2020? Who owns Formula One? The FIA own F1 as a long-running racing series as the sanctioning body and essentially the creator of F1. However, the FIA essentially sold away the business of F1 by entering into a decades-long lease of the commercial rights. Liberty Media owns that lease and with it control the entire “business” of F1. They have absolute control over financial aspects of the sport and the FINANCIAL terms under which teams may participate in the sport. As you rightly point out, there are pre-existing contracts made when Bernie’s people were in charge that Liberty are subject to. One of those contracts is the present Concorde agreement (and any two-party deals that exist with individual teams), but you and I both know that those obligations expire at the end of 2020. Beginning with the 2021 season, all bets are off. Liberty Media is trying hard to retain all of the present teams and perhaps add others, so they are negotiating and trying to find common ground, but in the end Liberty Media will decide what the financial terms will be post 2020. A lot of people seem to think that the teams will be voting to approve the financial terms of the sport post-2020, which is ridiculous. The teams will “vote” with their feet, and that’s all. Liberty Media will try to make an offer that is attractive to the teams in order to convince them that it continues to be to their advantage to participate as competitors, but in the end Liberty’s position as commercial rights holder allows them to simply say, “Here’s the deal. Take it or leave it.” They could certainly decide to impose a budget cap, and even Toto Wolfe has said that a $250 million budget cap would be acceptable. If Liberty decided to impose a $200 million budget cap for 2021, the only teams that would leave are teams that have other reasons to leave, and a $200 million cap might make the sport more attractive to teams who want to be truly competitive without having to spend half a billion per year to be relevant. That would include people like Porsche and who knows what other big names.

        1. @gwbridge Great stuff. I agree with what you are saying. By questioning whether they ‘can’ impose a budget cap, I was really just following through on what we have heard for years and years, albeit BE years, about how hard that would be to police. But for sure under BE the teams would not have felt any need nor motivation to play along, and rather have just always been free to consider only themselves and their own best interests, spending at will, as they do to this day. Sure they have not been allowed to spend on nearly as much actual testing for example, but then those that have it have replaced that spending with simulators. Limited components needing to last way more races etc etc all meant to do some small thing in keeping the ‘have’ teams a bit in check and a bit closer to the ‘have nots’.

          So to then segway to what you have said above, I do think this all has a different feel now. You are absolutely right that Liberty is the boss, and could always say at any point this is how it will be, take it or leave it. Every indication seems to be that Liberty is asserting themselves in certain ways. I agree there needn’t be a vote on this as it does seem that something must be done no matter what.

          Setting my own questions aside about how they would instigate a cap and police it, I would like to think that what is happening is that discussions are ongoing and that Liberty and especially Brawn would much prefer that they all come to agreements, rather than them having to impose anything and draw a line and say take it or leave it. It does seem to me like the teams have come around to it, and it’s just that $150 mill would be too drastic a cut too soon. I am very confident that through ongoing discussions with the teams, cap levels can be agreed, gradually achieved as opposed to suddenly imposed. I don’t think there is any longer any thought by any teams of leaving. Liberty would have to have some ‘draconian’ lol change in philosophy for that to happen at this point imho.

          This all presumes that they have some good ideas on how to effect a cap and police it, which I’m assuming they, being the post-BE they, do indeed feel they can instigate it. They could, if it came to that, say here’s the number and take it or leave it, but that wouldn’t matter much if they couldn’t also police it or if the teams were just going to buck it after all anyway.

          1. @robbie I believe SOME kind of SERIOUS cost control needs to be implemented because I feel it is crucial to both the “business health” of the sport as well as its credibility as a sports competition. I freely admit that I don’t know how they are going to police a budget cap, but I am weary of being told that it is impossible to do so (not that you are necessarily saying that). Too many people seem to dismiss the idea of a budget cap out of hand. They say it is impossible to police, but I have seen no proof of that. Certainly, it would be NICE to gradually phase in cost controls, but (as I have said) we are two or three years off from 2021, and these teams could certainly voluntarily phase in cost reductions, or develop plans to deal with a cap in 2021. To wait three years and then BEGIN to phase in spending caps is simply to wait too long. In the meantime, some of us feel that the sport is continuing to go downhill (if not down the drain).

            Liberty Media is currently in a position to take direct and immediate action as the Concorde Agreement comes to an end. I hope they don’t let the past dictate the future, because the past was nothing more than a collection of short-term get-rich deals driven by money moving the between the off-shore accounts of some of the principal players. I’m and advocate of fairness and rational thought playing some role in the future of the sport.

          2. @gwbridge Well said. I definitely think a cap is possible when all the parties involved are on the same page and that is not something that they have been in the past, at least not with the budget file. So I think the sentiment of impossibility comes from the BE era. But this is a new chapter.

            I think we can agree they already have started a gradual cap in terms of the lesser spending on on-track testing, the lesser engines and transmissions needed etc. although for sure those haven’t stopped the teams that have the resources from just spending that which they can’t spend in one area, on another area.

            I take your point about them starting now and not just starting to phase it in in 2021, and I will just trust Liberty and the whole entity of F1 to do as they see appropriate. Why I am so positive about the future and don’t see F1 going down the drain at all is because this is just early days of Liberty’s chance to put their twist in the plot, and they’ve spoken about many changes that mostly sound positive, the teams seemingly mostly on board with, and they’ve also spoken about not springing surprises (knee-jerks) on the teams that would only advantage the more resourced teams that can adapt to sudden changes more quickly.

            In general I’m happily giving Liberty and Brawn the patience I believe they deserve to work with the teams and improve F1 overall, and for me one of the biggest hurdles was just getting rid of BE. That’s already a huge positive. And to have Brawn in charge is an added bonus. I see huge potential in the sport.

  32. F1 must be open to change in response to dwindling audiences, said Nielsen.

    This isn’t quite correct. F1 wanted a smaller, elite, audience, and so they made it difficult for any but the elite and exclusive to view the races. F1 is managed by experts, so they knew exactly what the consequences of this plan was: the audience would decline. Now, as the viewing audience declines, they should be happier than they were before. I don’t know what will happen when hardly anyone watches the races or goes to them, but I suspect they’ll be laughing with joy. There isn’t any need to change.
    If, on the other hand, they want a larger viewing audience, then they should put their races where more people can see them. Again, there’s no need to change the format, just move away from the “elite, exclusive audience” model and move the races to Free to Air channels.

  33. oh gawd

    please shoot me now

  34. Martijn (@)
    6th June 2018, 8:54

    Talking to the wrong audience here. Here is only the hardcore fan. They won’t like US style gimmicks. Hopefully Liberty will find some balance, but I know from experience that Americans are not top notch when it comes to finding balance. But Bernie was not working anymore either, so.. let’s see. Should the news ever reach us that Brawn is leaving Liberty because of irreconcilable differences, then we’re fully f…..

  35. If teams work until midnight on a Friday night no one sees any of that. Teams do it because the regulations allow for it. If those eight hours of work was suddenly limited to two hours, well, F1 teams are very smart organisations and they would very quickly modify their procedures to fit with that.

    Yeah nah. I thought teams do it because very often they need to have their car ready for Sunday.
    All of these press releases and interviews are designed to test the waters to a degree. The mention of mandatory active suspension and the Prescriptive parts list that may now include diffs, gears, hubs, brakes but nothing confirmed. Is just a bit of a fishing expedition.
    It will be interesting to see what the engine regs are going to be. They could easily be formulated to be highly restrictive and coerce the teams down the “world” engine path. All in the name of cost saving and increased competition.
    I must admit that I am a little worried about the future of F1 if this new direction gains traction. The comments made in the story and from previous stories absolutely point to Liberty looking at using the Indy or V8 supercar model for F1. Yes that is dumbing it down!

    I agree with several of the posters here, in that I believe it’s the advent of the pay wall that is the nemesis of F1 not the cost or the length of the race or the perceived lack of action.

  36. And I find races to be too short. I surely don’t want two-race weekends. Seeing someone who qualified 10th on pole position is what prevents me from enjoying certain series, even if it is just for one race out of two. It makes no sense what so ever, and it’s purely for show, but against sport as such. Two races would only be acceptable to me (as fan) if starting grid would make sense for both races, based on merit.

  37. I mentioned something in a previous post (with a very good response from @spoutnik) about encouraging the younger generation into watching motor-sports:

    Perhaps then there ought to be greater focus on F2 and F3 than there is now (live streaming or maybe even having them on FTA TV) giving younger people the opportunity to get to know younger drivers that way and follow their careers through to F1. That way you would have younger viewers “growing into” F1 fans as their favourites grow into F1 drivers.

    This could also help build the F1 audience as the commercial rights holder wishes to without giving the F1 crown jewels back to free to air (unfortunately I know).

    1. I think the idea has merit, @ahxshades. There certainly has to be a slightly longer-term approach to growing the audience for motorsports into the future.
      But are you sure that Liberty has the commercial rights to any of the lesser series (F2 – GP3 etc)? If they do not hold the rights, I can’t imagine the actual rights holders (who have paid for them) making their property ‘Free to Air’ even if it’s for the benefit of motorsports in the long run.

      1. Thanks for the reply @nickwyatt, I am not sure who the commercial rights holder is – i thought it may be Liberty (based on the fact that it used to be Bernie), but I cannot guarantee that (even after a bit of a web search). If it IS Liberty then they could use the junior formulae as mentioned above, if not . . . . who knows !

        I agree entirely with your point about it being a long term approach because we have seen in the past that knee-jerk fixes sand snap decisions often have a detrimental effect. Also as Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) mentions in a post above, they should be concerned that in making changes to chase some new viewers they are not going to alienate the base viewership that they already have as happened in NASCAR (Another series I follow).

  38. Predictably reactionary response on here. Is any change not met with cries of “If X happens I am DONE with F1 FOREVER”

    In reality people said this before grooved tyres, before narrow track, before parc ferme was introduced, before 3 stage qually, before rear wings on stilts, before the reintroduction of wide track, before the halo… it goes on and on.

    Less practice sounds great to me and will almost certainly mix up the field come race day. Sprint races equal more actual racing which im fine with. And less time working on the car imho once again, puts more onus on the truly great drivers to wring the best out of the car even if its not optimised to death.

  39. As I read articles like this it’s becoming clear to me that I am not the fan Liberty are targeting. As a result I sadly feel that as they slash and cut their way toward their vision, I will be left behind. I’m not one to “threaten” to stop watching, but I fell in love with F1 for a reason and it now feels like F1 is going through a mid-life crisis and I’m being dumped for someone younger.

      1. What are they slashing and cutting?

  40. The format is not the issue. The inequality between teams is the issue.

    Fix what’s broken. Remember the last qualifying format change? That worked well.

  41. Personally I am against any fundamental changes to the main parts of a Grand Prix weekend, although if I wouldn’t mind if they altered practice sessions, it could be argued that less practice time might even produce better races as the teams will have less data and less chance to prepare for the race.

    Qualifying should be about finding out who is the quickest on that day over one lap, with the drivers and their cars been pushed to the maximum, I remember in the 2000s F1 went through several different qualifying formats, such as qualifying with the fuel for the first part of the race, before they settled on what we have now which in my opinion is pretty much spot on.

    There may be room for small tweaks but not major changes such as qualifying races, reverse grids or the knock out qualifying they tried a couple of years back before it was quickly dropped.

    The race itself should also definitely not be shortened, I realise races used to have different lengths but from my perspective, as someone who started watching F1 in 1991, an F1 race should be the current length of almost 200 miles or a maximum of 2 hours, anything else just isn’t F1 to me.

    I read a comment somewhere, probably on this site, where someone said they had recently completed an online survey from Liberty about the future of F1, however the person said that unlike other questionnaires about F1 over the last few years the questions were very leading and seemed to be trying to get people to go in the direction of shorter races with their choices etc.

    If that is the case it seems that Liberty have made up their mind and are just trying to look for evidence to support their decision.

    It is all very well trying to get new fans and grow a sport but it should not be at the expense of the fundamentals of the sport or the existing fans.

    The loss of audience F1 has suffered in recent years is partly due to changing habits of people in general, there are a lot more sources of entertainment competing for our time than there used to be, but mainly it is due to the loss of free to air live TV coverage.

    For me, as someone from the UK, F1 was always live on free to air TV until Sky came along a few years ago.

    The fact F1 was on free to air TV and that the races were shown live was a crucial factor in me getting interested in F1, along with Mansell mania, back in the early 1990s.

    It has not been announced what will happen with regard to F1 on free to air TV in the UK next year when Sky get full exclusive live rights, will they show a highlights show similar to what Channel 4 do at the moment or will it be a half hour show broadcast a day or two after the race or even nothing on fee to air at all?

    If any of those options had been how F1 was covered back when I was younger then I seriously doubt that I would ever have started to follow F1, no matter how entertaining the races themselves were I simply would not have had the chance to see them to get interested in the sport to start with.

    I remember I started to watch MotoGP in the mid 2000s when it was broadcast live free to air on the BBC because I was channel hopping on a non-F1 Sunday with nothing to do and so started watching a race.

    Eventually it got to the point where I would watch every race, including the Moto2 and Moto3 support races , unless it clashed with F1, but then coverage moved to BT, initially there was a highlights program on free to air on the Monday evening after the race, the trouble with that sort of scheduling is that you will almost certainly have found out the result before it is shown, I think I bothered to watch the highlights show once or twice since then, now I still look out for the results and I think there is still a free to air highlights show but I don’t even know when it is broadcast now or on which channel

    As I am a bigger fan of F1 than I ever was of MotoGP I will make more of an effort to still follow the sport but I think it will be inevitable that my interest will wane, and if the highlights show is not broadcast on the same day of the race I will not be able to avoid the result as I currently do and so will probably skip a race if reports say it was not that great such as the last time out in Monaco.

  42. AJ (@fifthlion)
    6th June 2018, 19:21

    The answer to why we’ve had falling viewing figures isn’t a difficult one to work out! We went from free-to-air to now having to pay to watch all races live., naturally that means you will never get the same viewing figures as before. F1 is the type of sport where you have to watch all races to get an idea for the ups and downs of the season otherwise you just become passive to the sport and eventually lose interest. I don’t know why the question of dwindling viewing figures is never put to bed.

  43. Liberty is aware that the hardcore fanbase is old gits like myself who have been fans for 30 years or more. They need some younger types to replace us when we die. They are gonna loose me when FTA ends in the UK anyway!
    My thought is to involve the younger fans in eRacing, for Liberty to run a parallel eChamionship with equivalent teams, Races in large stadia with giant screens teams to have engineers and drivers and maybe managers. Points to be awarded in the same way as the real races. eRaces to be re-played on Saturday mornings on Utube. New eRace Saturday night live online. $1 or $2 to watch live. Full length races, same rules as far as possible.
    Blue sky session: Add points to real teams! Allow eRepairs, rejoin race after 30 seconds. All things can now be included like fuel load and tyre wear. We already have brake balance and car setup in existing games. Do a showbizzy intro before eRace. Stunt driver etc.
    Oh and leave F1 alone, it is just fine as it is thank you!
    There, hack it to bitz (note that I’m dahn wit te modern spelling)

  44. “We need to adapt F1 to be appealing to a wider audience…” What if there is no “Wider audience…”

  45. Casual fan here. Been ‘watching’ F1 for probably 15 years (mid 2000s), but I’m no car nut. Never been to an F1 race here in Australia (too costly).

    I appreciate the technical stuff and try to understand it, when I’m interested. Noise of the cars don’t concern me because a) never seen it live at all and b) don’t remember the sound of it year after year.
    The two biggest things are:

    1) Viewing races. I see about 1-2 live races a year, if I’m lucky on TV. Otherwise it’s alternative measures from unofficial sources to view…if I can remember when a race is on. Pay-TV is killing F1. In Australia we also suffered 10pm race starts, which means I watch 30 minutes before going to bed. But you can’t change that because we don’t care unlike the European market.

    2) The spectacle. As a casual racer, I want more exciting races, more overtaking and jostling for position. I don’t want a fast (yet much unlike) funeral procession a la Monaco (that course is iconic yes, but generates dull races for the rich to be seen at).

    So as a long time casual fan, I don’t care what qualifying is (I used to watch but Pay-TV), practice doesn’t concern me or the ins and outs of details. I just want great contests on Free to air. Even if I saw 6 races live a year, I’d be happy with that (just don’t make it Canada and Brazil where’s it’s 2am viewing!).

  46. F1 Spec fuel?
    Wrap your mind around the science(cost) that goes into fuel preparation.
    In Northern California, for the past 3 decades, there are Aero-jet employees who have mastered the art of “Rocket Fuel” that passes all same day, at track testing methods. Thats why so many young west coast drivers have been able to build resumes of winning during this time. The winning has given them opportunity others do not get. Many are very talented, some are winners by cheating with daddy’s money but are not suited to compete with upper level competition. It started primarily in karting, but has moved forward to other venues. The difference is THE FUEL.
    Does anyone know about the fuel oversight in F1?
    Scientists are very tricky you know.


    Assuming they are actually going to listen to the fans this seems to be the best way to be heard. If nothing else do the polls which cover all these topics.

Comments are closed.