Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Liberty Media won’t ‘gimmick-up’ F1 to make the show more exciting, says Carey

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 commercial rights holders Liberty Media will not resort to gimmicks to make the show more entertaining, the sport’s CEO Chase Carey has said.

Liberty is known to be considering changes to the race weekend format for future seasons. While this is expected to involve reducing the amount of practice to condense the weekend into fewer days, some in F1 have also suggested shortening F1 races from their current two hour/305-kilometre standard.

However Carey isn’t convinced of a need to cut race distances.

“Maybe I’m too American, I don’t actually think the race is [long],” he told RaceFans and other media at the Geneva International Motor Show today. “Every sport I follow in America is much longer than our races.”

Carey said Liberty will resist the temptation to use “gimmicks” to attract more interest in F1.

“I think we want to make sure we’re always looking for ways to improve the fan experience but in doing that respect the history of the sport and respect what makes the sport great. We’re not going to gimmick the sport up.

“It’s a wonderful sport, it’s a sport with a great history, great fans. You’ve got to respect that but be open to ways that we can continue to create energy and create excitement about it. And you want to do that carefully when you’ve got a sport that has as many fans and as great a history as ours.

“But I don’t think there’s a goal specifically to say short [races] or what, I think there are other ways to energise and excite.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 24 comments on “Liberty Media won’t ‘gimmick-up’ F1 to make the show more exciting, says Carey”

    1. Good because we already have a terrible gimmick in DRS and tyres that don’t let drivers push for more than half a lap.

      1. @tonyyeb and don’t forget the fuel situation, although that may be improved slightly this coming season (fingers crossed).

        1. @bealzbob Hopefully but I still think that is a case of the teams underfilling cars and hoping to save fuel later in the race after using the weight benefit earlier to get ahead.

    2. However Carey isn’t convinced of a need to cut race distances.
      Carey said Liberty will resist the temptation to use “gimmicks” to attract more interest in F1.

      Ah, now this is all good news!

    3. This is the sort of deviation from the “Bernie years” that I like to hear. No gimmicks, pure racing. I still shudder at the last-race-double-points fiasco.

      There will be things to make F1 more digital friendly and engage with the sort of modern ways of accessing sport which some may think are gimmicks, but those things are expected by audiences these days – especially younger audiences developing fandom of the sport.

    4. Damn, now that I was rooting for F1FanBoost…

      1. @m-bagattini – we’re a grumpy lot, we still might do a crowd-sourced F1FanBoos.

    5. I think the fan days run properly are a good idea. The drivers and the teams need to be more open. The drivers need to be allowed to be what they are as people. For better or for worse I don’t want to see robots under the control of media minders.

      1. This!

        Don’t cut down on race distances, cut down on press meetings and end of session conferences… lets be honest, at this point it’s literally THE SAME ANSWERS TO THE SAME QUESTIONS every single weekend. It’s a waste of time and it very obviously irks the drivers.

        And ban those stupid pit lane walls the teams put up to cover the garages – how is that treating the fans that paid good money to be there?

        If F1 want’s to engage more with the fans, as the drivers probably do too, have a random ticket draw and invite a few attendees to ask the questions at the end of qualifying – they’ll probably ask something more exciting than “what can you do from 3rd?” or “do you feel like you got the most out the car on that lap?”.

        1. Both of you are hitting the nail on the head here. I hope they’re listening.

        2. Magnus Rubensson (@)
          6th March 2019, 9:14

          In 1987 I bought tickets to Silverstone plus a pitlane pass.

          I walked right by the McLaren pits – they had pulled out Alain Prost’s car so we could see it up close. I took a picture straight into the cockpit of the Prost McLaren.
          A bit further down the pitlane, Ayrton Senna was signing autographs. The crowd around Senna was a bit too large for me so I missed out on an autograph signature … but the whole experience was amazing and I will never forget it.
          The pit pass did cost a fair bit extra (can’t remember exactly how much), but back then I didn’t really expect to go to more than one F1 race in my lifetime so I went “all in”.

          In the race, when Nigel Mansell came around with the Williams the crowd did the “wave” and it followed his car.

          For the race I had a seat at Stowe corner – in 1987 you could see all of Hangar straight plus Stowe, Club Corner and almost up to Abbey corner – you could see/feel the “wave” when Mansell came by.

          Icing on the cake:
          https://youtu.be/Dwb3ZRkhV8E?t=8m45s

          1. @joeypropane – a genius comment!
            @magnusrubensson– and is yours.

            F1 was much simpler back then of course. I was a teenager when the F1 was in Adelaide and we saw all the drivers, snuck into the pits for the Pit walk where security didn’t really check tickets (try a pit walk in Melbourne next week, dont waste your time!) and if you ventured to the VIP carpark they would tell you want driver had what car LOL- you wont get that now!

            Liberty to avoid the gimmicks is smart and hopeful. I don’t like the DRS but it has given some excitement in some otherwise boring races.

        3. <> Indeed, very much so …

    6. Thank God they won’t be using gimmicky tyres then! Oh wait …
      Well at least they won’t use artificial push-to-pass gimmicks then! Oh wait …
      Sprinklers anyone?

    7. I think we want to make sure we’re always looking for ways to improve the fan experience

      And how is reducing practice/shortening the race weekend improving the fan experience?

      When I attend a race weekend I want to see F1 drivers in F1 cars as much as possible. Doing away with Friday F1 running takes away a chunk of what I attend to watch.

      Reducing practice running and especially turning it into a 2 day F1 weekend just makes it less worth attending in my view & does not improve the fan experience.

      I would also argue that adding more races doesn’t improve the fan experience as it just makes each race feel less special and will more than likely only result in less fans watching every race which again I don’t see as improving the fan experience.

      There are things that could be changed/improved. But the number of races & the overall weekend 3 day format with the current amount of practice are not things that do.

      1. I agree that the 3 day format should be maintained. For me (even when I’m watching from home in some ways) I want a festival experience.

        When I’m at the track on Friday I might not be fully focused on what’s happening on the track, but I love to walk the circuit, take photos, drink beer, bore my girlfriend with tales of historic moments at certain corners.

        When Sky (with their enormous budget) took over the coverage I was hoping that they’d do more to let me live that experience from home, by streaming live from 7am to 7pm all weekend so I could just leave the telly on and zone in and out when necessary.

    8. How stupid to say this right after declaring it’s an immediate priority to get women into the sport.

    9. I’m the same with the amount of track time. Leave it as it is.

      What’s going to happen with support events like F3 / F2 / Porsche SuperCup, etc. Are they gonna cram everything in two days as well?

    10. … while making DRS more effective. Actions, not words Mr. Carey.

    11. A year ago Liberty were talking of making a week long event, now shortening it to two days Then they banned grid girls then in an astonishing piece of hypocrisy they had cheerleaders performing!

      So basically they have no consistent policy, plan or idea.
      Could the rumours of them wanting to dilute their investment in F1 be true?

      Trying to manage F1 is rather like trying to line up a bag of ferrets! They do not conform to American business school methods, they do not act like American football teams. F1 will always be different, difficult and self interested, F1 is not a team to be managed with one set of management, it is it is ten teams who fight over every penny and every advantage, with ten sets of management and four or more other outside entities with their own interests. F1 runs bending the rules, finding ways around, under, over or past the regs, inventing new methods of avoiding the regs. A bag of ferrets may be too simple!

      1. Well, that’s why populist start gaining people vote… No need for thoughtful and definitive planning. Just give whatever the masses wanted to hear…

    12. It seems to me that there is a difference between what Carey says and what Bratches says.

      Good to hear this from Carey. Hopefully they’re beginning to realise that if F1 doesn’t maintain its unique point of difference, it will become “just another Motorsport series” that gets buries in the mass of all the other competitions.

      That being said, phrases like, “maybe I’m too American” conjures up images of long “caution” periods and Super Bowl type events that are artificially long to accomodate huge advertising breaks.

    13. The only thing I would like to see changed is the qualifying format and tire count. For 2021, go back to the 1 hour free for all. 15 sets of tires per weekend, unused sets can be used for,and in addition to the following free practice sessions.

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