Bernie Ecclestone, Chase Carey, Baku City Circuit, 2018

Fans say F1 is better now than when Ecclestone ran it – Carey

2018 F1 season

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Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey says fans are happier with the sport now than two years ago when the previous administration was in charge.

Liberty Media bought the commercial rights to the sport from CVC Capital Partners in 2016. Carey ousted Bernie Ecclestone in charge of running the sport at the beginning of last year.

Carey told investors in a conference call earlier this week that their surveys indicate fans are more approving of how Liberty Media is running the sport than under Ecclestone and CVC.

“We’re encouraged by the momentum in fan engagement as we begin to turn around the declining trends in the sport during the last five to six years,” said Carey.

“44% of our average fans are more interested in the 2018 season than they were in 2017 versus only 7% a year ago. 66% of fans believe F1 has improved versus two years ago, just 15% say it’s worse. And 67% of fans say F1 is in good hands with Liberty while 10% disagree.”

While F1’s television viewing figures have fallen this year, race attendance has increased according to Carey.

“Live attendance in aggregate is up 4% year-on-year at the 10 tracks where we [didn’t] race last year,” he said.

“And attendance at the two tracks we did not have in 2017 which are France and Germany, was well in excess of expectations. In Germany, the promoter even had to build new grandstands to meet demand.”

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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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  • 52 comments on “Fans say F1 is better now than when Ecclestone ran it – Carey”

    1. Is there no limit to the size of Carey’s ego?

      1. “Carey says…” so it must be true. What a joke. F1 is digressing to NASCAR levels of cheese and plebeianism

        1. FULL DISCLOSURE: The poll was only for friends and family of Liberty Media employees. ;-)

          This is a cheer-leading speech for shareholders. They gave those on the Titanic too. Carey just wants to keep their attention away from the $8 billion dollar Bernie iceberg.

    2. I think it’s misleading to equate the improvement since Bernie’s retirement with the improvement before he retired. At the end of the day Bernie retired and someone superseded him.

      1. Agree 100%. Plus, a lot of the Improvement has to do with Ferrari putting up a good fight, while the last few years of Bernie’s tenure were years of utter Mercedes domination. The fom had nothing to do with that.

    3. I think liberty media are doing a good job but I wouldn’t say it’s anything special, most of what’s happening with the tracks and cars is based on decisions made years ago.

      Most of their input seems to be making a festival atmosphere which doesn’t matter to the majority of fans at home and their only major(?) changes have been the logo and gri girls which have had a mixed reaction at best and again don’t affect the racing.

      Next year onwards will be when liberty start to make a difference and I look forward to it but I hope they’re realistic and don’t just use selective quotes and polls to show how they’re doing.

    4. I agree with Chevy Chase.
      There is still a long way to go but gone is the erratic stupid selfish decision my the old guy.
      Technical director who understands the sport, better graphics; raw pit lane interviews; serious attempts to get F1TV off the ground before the end of this century, etc.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        11th August 2018, 12:00

        I find the graphics terrible at the moment. I find them incredibly temperamental, unreliable and oversized. The screen is just too cluttered with them compared to a few years ago when they were far more discrete and yet still told you quite a lot of information. I find there are now so many that we see many more problems with them. I thought it was better when they showed 5 drivers positions at the bottom of the screen in the middle with the split times. It was a very narrow bar taking up hardly any room. It moved down to the next 5 drivers in the lower positions every 5 seconds or so then got back to the top 5. Now it is just a massive box on the top left showing all the drivers and the cars keep driving behind it. It just gets in the way IMO and some of the time isn’t even accurate.

        I also find the new way they interview drivers after the races rather poor. Not a good decision to me. Interview drivers within seconds of getting out the car? Give them some time. What is the point of having a cool down room if the first thing they have to do is speak to the media? It was way better when they got spoken to on the podium. It just feels unprofessional now. Rushing around trying to get the drivers attention when they are either really pleased or frustrated about the result. Almost always not in the mood to be spoken to at this stage. If you give them time, after the podium, they may be able to find much better words to use! This is a made up situation, but imagine if someone was clearly going to win and then has issues through no fault of their own and got 3rd at the last moment. If they get spoken to first thing when they get out of the car, there is going to be some bad language. This is just the wrong time to do things, even if a driver has had a great race. I always liked the podium interviews, but they are painful the way they are done now.

        Call me grumpy if you like, but I think so many things have got worse about the coverage of F1 over the last 3 seasons. Some of the things that Liberty Media introduced on the pre race coverage were a total failure. They were just over the top. Can’t remember what race it was last year, but the way they slowly and painfully introduced each driver on the track. That made me cringe seeing that. I don’t know if this is to do with them or not, but the way they show the driver grid line up before the race start is overly dramatic now. Showing pictures of the drivers stood in some strange positions posing for a picture to be taken, making an annoying electric sound every time they move onto the next row of drivers. Also having the pictures of the drivers pictures fade in by having them all blanked out with a red wall that opens up to show each of them. As annoying as a tedious power point presentation Why do they do all this. Is it what the modern world want? Watching the way they did all this about 10 years ago on videos (I didn’t even watch F1 then), it looked to be done in a better, simpler way without overdoing it.

        Am I in the minority here or are they trying to hard to impress the viewers?

        1. @thegianthogweed Agree with some of it.

          I like the race order been displayed in the timing tower on the left side, Far easier/quicker to see who’s where than when we had to wait for the box at the bottom to scroll through the pages. My only complaint with the tower is there constant switching of displays from gap to leader, Gap to car ahead & championship points…. Gets a bit confusing.
          I do agree that the graphics are oversized & that things do feel cluttered at times. I also feel that in general the graphics introduced this year have been dumbed down & are giving us a bit less info than the previous graphics.

          I also dislike some of the beeps & other noises they have added on the graphics, Just find them irritating.

          By biggest complaint however is the font, I just hate it. I still find it difficult to read & less clear than the one that was used previously. Possibly the worst font i’ve ever seen used on anything i’ve ever watched.

          I agree about the new post race interviews, Think they were better when done on the podium.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            11th August 2018, 13:31

            I think I could get used to the graphics being at the side if they don’t over do things. For example, in qualifying, the driver in danger. They put it in bold, show the drivers full name, face, nationality, team and even more. It just takes up too much space. Why do we need to see the nationality of the driver in danger of being knocked out more that the others? This is more than just silly. During the race, I could cope with the graphics the way they are if they kept things consistent. The gap behind the race leader the whole time would be nice. And for the lapped drivers, the gap behind the highest positioned lapped driver would be better too. I also think the font is strange. It is much bigger and yet far harder to read. Really annoying.

            And the beeps just make it feel like a computer game and feel unrealistic.

            1. Unrealistic? 🤨

          2. @thegianthogweed – I agree with some of your points, and more so with @stefmeister . I like the always-available timing tower on the left of the screen, because for boring races, I often start multitasking, and when I look back, I can instantly see who’s where, without having to look at a browser window for the F1 timing screen, or wait for the ticker to run through the field. And I do like the idea behind grouping a bunch of battling drivers within the overall display.

            I do agree that the graphics are quite intrusive, and often end up intruding on the action. And I blame FOM’s choice of typography here to a large extent – instead of using a narrow font like Helvetica, they’ve gone for the obese new font introduced with the rebranding. And when you have to fit 20 lines on the timing tower, it just ends up compromising the overall readability. Honestly, the clarity of the earlier graphics was exemplary, and it did a great job of staying out of the way. The old graphics + an always-on leaderboard on the left (in the style of the old graphics) would be my whole-hearted pick.

            The beeps are useful to censor myself when I swear at the graphics 😉. I see no other purpose for the beeps and swooshy sounds other than to indicate “something happened”.

          3. What I really hate about the tower is that the gaps between drivers disappears about 10 laps before the end of the race just when I want to know that info more than anything else!

        2. +1000000000000

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            11th August 2018, 13:43

            Nice that someone agrees with me a trillion times! :D

        3. Agree. Also chuck in the fact they tell us what the flags mean. Seriously most people know what the flags mean.

          1. They’re trying to engage new audiences. People who don’t actually know what the flags mean.

        4. I agree, and the only thing I would add to your list is the over the top, cheesey Marvel comics music they are constantly piping into the TV and at the circuits.

        5. I have to disagree with most points you make – but it’s all subjective so I’m not going to bother with detail.

          I have a couple of small gripes but overall I like the new graphics and the direction they’re going.

          There are issues from time to time but they’re constantly tweaking it with updates and changes.

      2. Ross Brawn doesn’t understand the sport?

    5. 66% of fans believe F1 has improved versus two years ago,

      That’s probably because of the faster cars with higher downforce, rules which have been approved before Liberty took over, so has nothing to do with Liberty.

      1. @silfen and the utter miracle that two teams managed to build similar paced cars at the top. Imagine if someone had found a sweet spot alone and created a Mercedes-like era of dominance… fans wouldn’t like that, understandably. F1 improved because of it’s competitiveness, not something Liberty deliverately did. Which should show them why they should stop tinkering with rules and let it all converge together.

    6. Love to see the full result and demographic of this ‘poll’ …

    7. Liberty gets a win in the fan department, but the sport is losing money and they’ve failed to sign new races. The overall picture is bleak.

    8. Cooked, eaten and reviewed by the same guy. No, it’s ok, you’re believable.

    9. I’m happier. To be honest, hearing that Ecclestone had volunteered to pilot NASA’s solar probe would make me happier still. But any distance between him and Formula 1 is great.

      1. @david-br – You have just nailed it with your precise description:-) Love it and agree completely.

    10. I’d say under Liberty thus far F1 is better in some areas, The same in some & not as good in others.

    11. This Liberty narrative is increasing worrying, referencing to Bratches’ comments about glamour, Brawn’s recent ones about FE and now Carey all happy. However the funmedental flaws are still here.

      Their biggest win is the fan engagement, there are a lot more videos about the sport, which can only be a good thing. They certainly appear more fan-friendly. Nonetheless, many promised “revolution” changes are often cosmetic and not necessary for the better. The coverage of the races is still questionable, important moments are still missed, the celebrities are a must, CG ads only gotten worse. From the economic perspective is getting worse, pay-TV is only increasing. Ecclestone wanted to have F1 for the rich and Liberty’s target is not so much different, albeit at least allowing the others to catch up some highlights.

      However I think the biggest problem are these new agreements with teams, which gave them so much power. Casual viewers may like seeing Hamilton, Vettel and earlier Rosberg winning everything but others would like to see more/different drivers fighting for the trophies. For example, I would prefer Raikkonen vs. Ricciardo or other title fight, rather than yet another year of the same two guys winning over and over again. We have so many young or not-so-young drivers but all they can impress with is very solid 5th place or lucky podium.

    12. Other than the theme tune and general evolution of the cars, is it much different?

      1. A huge approach to social media. F1 and the teams/people in the sport are now massively more accessible on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook… including videos from within the paddock. There’s now a lot more “free” content via F1.com and on social media which is ironic considering motorsport.com and partners have now all gone behind a pay wall for premium F1 related content.

    13. In terms of TV coverage, Formula 1 needs to professionalize in the same way as football coverage. New dynamic camera angles (low, close-up, panning, maybe hand-held!) that show the speed of the car, better visual quality, never missing the main action (inexcusable). Perhaps hire a decent film director as consultant. My 9 year old watches F1 with me and regularly asks the same thing: why are cars going so slow? It’s ridiculous that the fastest motor sport on the planet can look like cars trundling around a supermarket car park sometimes because of the insipid filming and direction.

      1. Sorry, reply to @michal2009b.

      2. @david-br I think thats an area they have already improved. They have been using lower camera angles & have been holding tighter shots & panning in a way to better bring out the speed. They have also been using some handheld cameras through the year.

        I’ve actually seen people complaining this year that they want them to go back to higher angles & wider shots because they don’t like how claustrophobic some of the newer low/tighter shots feel.

        1. @stefmeister Maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention! I can’t recall much difference. My point is that football (the real stuff I mean, soccer) has developed hugely to cater for global TV. Formula 1 needs more expressivity the same way football had close-ups and slow motion – maybe in cockpit camera shots of drivers’ eyes and hand movements at least – much better and pacier editing, more feel of the noise and air rush. I realize it sounds gimmicky but younger generations are used to high-paced action films with heavy post-production, as well as a similar feel in computer games, and some of that needs to appear in TV coverage to capture their attention – presuming that’s what Liberty want.

      3. It’s mainly because modern tracks are wide as supermarkets due to all safety regulations. When you watch a Monaco race cars don’t look slow at all even though they are going at slower speed than at other tracks. And the halo basically blew t he chance to use a lot of the cockpit-level camera angles that they had previously.

    14. The only thing that did improve is the amount of media available. In other areas there´s not -vastly- improvement yet to say this Formula 1 is better. And if they pursue in changing the format of the weekend and have short races and somethings like that i think F1 would die; F1 is about tradition, that´s what make this sport unique and engaged millions of fans around the world, and have sites likes this.

    15. Expect for how the cake is distributed I am prefer the Bernie era to be honest, at least in his days teams who are already struggling did not lose money as this year there will 23 million cut per team, also there wasn’t any dumbing down as we will see in 2019, F1 is going downhill and especially in the liberty era, F1 ain’t Nascar.

    16. I have mixed views of it. Some things, yes, are better now than they were under the previous management, but some other things not so much. At times, I’ve thought and still think to a certain extent that F1 would be better in the hands of another European company rather than a US-based one, i.e., it would’ve been better to hand the ownership of F1 to some other European company instead when CVC decided to quit holding the commercial rights of the sport.

    17. “Hey I’ve got a great tune to play you” – Nero (whilst Rome burned).

      “How do want the deckchairs arranged?” – Usher on RMS Titanic.

      “Fans love it when I screw ’em, they prefer it to Bernie’s method” – Carey

      Just a few quotes from history.

    18. Well what else is The Walrus going to say?? :)
      @ For a media genius, what’s with the funeral 60’s era pre race borefests ….

      1. ^Doh.. Funerial

    19. I’d love to know who these ‘fans’ are and how they’re selected. Does someone walk outside the F1 HQ and stop random people, do they ask people to fill in forms at races, pay local broadcasters to ask their subscribers, target email surveys to Autosport subscribers, or throw 1,000 blank forms at the work experience kid and tell him to provide a positive outcome?

      (Mostly I’m just bitter that no one ever asked me to do a meaningful survey about F1, but still, it’d be nice to know)

      1. +1

        Anyone from this site actually participated in a survey? (other than one of Keith’s)

    20. I’m not sure that Liberty have actually implemented enough of their plans yet for that question to be answered accurately.
      Lots of people are pleased that Bernie is no longer in charge for the simple reason that they loathed Bernie. But it doesn’t follow that they like the Liberty situation any better.
      Ask the question again towards the end of 2021.

    21. As a TV viewer I’m not seeing much difference. It’s still dominated by three teams – still the same boring results generally speaking. Maybe people who attend are happier but more of us watch it on TV than in person.

    22. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
      12th August 2018, 15:27

      Because it’s a massive achievement to be better than a grasping 87 year old megalomaniac. The time has come to be compare yourself to when you began your plans. Personally I still haven’t forgiven them for thinking Michael Buffer was a good idea.

    23. They gave us a new logo and removed the grid girls. Everything else is the same as the Bernie era.

    24. While watching the superb Austrian motogp on Sunday who should appear on the grid but Ross Brawn. One can hope that he was taking copious notes on how an ailing series can be brought back and become considerably better. Dorna took the bull by the horns and made it very clear who was running the series, which initially upset Honda but who got back in line when they realised it would actually be better. Factories have come flooding back to race, the online streaming set up is excellent and the rules are set to be fair to all, rather than the select few who thought they ran the show. The qualifying at motogp is more exciting than most F1 races. Look and learn Ross.

    25. Yes it is and it’s getting better every year. So far the access that fans have is better. The online content is better and F1 TV is Spectacular! I can now see all the races, practices and qualifying whenever I want for less than $100 per year. That’s a great deal! So yes, as a fan from home, F1 is better. Plus, going back to France and talks about a Dutch GP is promising. Bernie put F1 in some places that did not make sense to make money like Malaysia. Let’s all remember some of the greedy stupid decisions Bernie made for a moment. People may not agree with every Liberty decision but the most controversial decisions are coming from the FIA not Liberty. People don’t seem to understand the difference. Liberty is now in a battle with the teams to even the playing field to make midfield teams more competitive. I don’t know why anyone would not like that except for Ferrari and Mercedes.

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