The lurid world of F1’s ‘fake news’ farms


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Animal lovers loathe the term “puppy farm”, which gained recognition after various media outlets published reports on an unsavoury industry which exploits our natural affinity for furry friends. A court judgement defined the farms as: “A dog breeding operation in which the health of dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximise profits.”

Online, we have “content farms” – sites which churn out purported news stories with little regard for accuracy. By taking stories from other sites, sensationalising the reworded content in order to appeal to readers, overheads are kept down. Profit from advertising is therefore maximised, with little consideration given to the accuracy and consequences of the regurgitated ‘news’.

Much as puppy farms exploit the affections of dog lovers, F1’s content farms exploit the deep passion of motorsport fans worldwide.

Seldom do such sites send representatives to grands prix, simply as most don’t come close to fulfilling the accreditation requirements. They may make the excuse that news also breaks outside of race weekends, but genuine journalists source from both in and outside the paddock; being on-site enables contacts to be cultivated and off-record insights to be shared.

Plus, of course, attending races costs money, and doing that would eat into the content farms’ profits.

It is far easier to lift genuine news from those who foot the substantial sums needed to follow Formula 1 from Melbourne to Monza and beyond, maintaining solid relations with teams and drivers needed to break original stories. Few farms bother to credit where the information for their articles originally appeared; fewer still go to the trouble of correctly identifying the original source for a story, often merely ‘crediting’ another farm.

Worse, in their determination to disguise the origin of ‘lifted’ material they regularly distort headlines and sensationalise content, doing the subjects no favours in the process.

While many dedicated motorsport fans have learned to distinguish between real news sites and content farms, many unsuspecting readers lap up the sensationalised stories, in process generating substantial income for the ‘farmers’ and extending their reach.

We regularly discover stories which originated on RaceFans appearing on other websites, regurgitated into something quite unlike the original. This happens because, while content farms appear superficially similar to real news websites, the motivation behind them is entirely different.

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We understand we are constantly judged on our ability to find new, compelling and important stories and report them accurately, or our readers will go elsewhere. Content farmers, however, target news aggregators which present vast lists of links to undiscerning readers, and social media platforms whose algorithms ensure the strongest clickbait gets the most attention.

Already this year several of our original stories have been taken, sensationalised and so rehashed they cannot fail to have misled anyone who mistook them for real journalism.

Correa criticised recent coverage on Instagram
Only last week Juan Manuel Correa, survivor of last year’s horrific Formula 2 crash which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert, took to Instagram to lambast the sensationalised second-hand reportage of an interview he’d originally given to a German television channel. In the original interview Correa criticised the FIA, accusing the sport’s governing body of “not being concerned” about his welfare. Many outlets seized upon the quotes and rushed to reprint them with little thought for the wider implications of the story. None bothered to contact the FIA or the doctor to get their side of the story. One went as far as accusing the FIA of apathy, then explained why the driver was ‘so angry’ – all without having spoken to him.

As RaceFans readers will be aware, last week we exclusively published the views of the doctor concerned on Correa’s claims. Predictably, the next day the scrapers lifted the story, with headlines stating that the doctor “hit back”.

It was at this point Correa issued his Instagram clarification, directing him criticism at one particular website, albeit granting them the benefit of doubts they do not deserve by naively suggesting they acted with the best of intentions. Did this prompt a correction or clarification or even an apology? Of course not: they simply removed the story en bloc in the hope it would be forgotten. To do otherwise would draw negative attention to their practices.

Another such example from earlier this year regarded information we received from sources that F1 teams had expressed “concerns” at the crammed timeline for Liberty Media’s planned 70th Anniversary Fan Festival. This was scheduled for the weekend of May 16th/17th, immediately following the back-to-back Dutch and Spanish Grands Prix, and followed by the Monaco round which, of course, begins a day earlier than the others.

Our story pointed out teams had raised objections, but one copy of it on another site insisted Liberty’s plans were “unraveling [sic] according to RaceFans”. We had written nothing of the sort: Expressing “concern” is absolutely not synonymous with the plan being in jeopardy, while attributing such blatant misinformation to RaceFans unfairly tarnishes us.

Confronted on Twitter, the ‘author’s’ response was that they would “fix” whatever was “wrong”. Obliging, no doubt, but an obvious admission they had ripped off our story and not attempted to obtain the information themselves, much less ensure the copy was accurate.

Benjamin Durand, Panthera, 2019
RaceFans broke the news of Panthera’s F1 plans
Simultaneously the same site – plus others – claimed Haas and Williams had announced their 2020 launch dates, having scraped another story from RaceFans. But they managed to mislay the most basic of details: The teams had not announced anything at the time, we discovered the dates from other sources of information.

Yet the headline on one ripped version proclaimed: “Williams and Haas the latest to announce launch plans”. Ignoring the questionable grammar, the claim that either team had announced their plans was, at the time, utterly incorrect. The teams in question announced their dates publicly a week later.

The article also referred to Alfa Romeo’s launch plans, which had been announced earlier by the team. When we drew the publisher’s attention to the glaring error they removed all reference to Williams and Haas from their story, then revised the headline to read “Alfa Romeo announce launch date”. No apology, no explanation: tomorrow simply provides another copycat day…

Social media has played a role in encouraging the spread of this coverage, but also helps shine lights on the worst offenders. Such as another site, which has pilfered several stories from RaceFans without so much as an acknowledgement, including our August 2019 scoop on Panthera F1 Team’s plans to enter the sport.

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Following criticism on social media platforms, the editor-in-chief emailed solemn undertakings that protocols were in place to prevent repeats. If they had, they were obviously overlooked last month when another of our original stories, this one concerning our report on plans for a pre-testing group photoshoot, appeared without a credit.

[smr2020test]Once again the site was contacted. A credit was later added, though in such haste the copy was butchered into the following: “Liberty Media want to do a photo with all the 2020 Formula 1 drivers and their cars to mark the start of the decade. However, this plan was not approved by all of the years ahead of the winter testing according to RaceFans.”

There is a depressingly familiar pattern to the behaviour of these publications when challenged over their indifference to accuracy and readiness to steal material without attributing it. Slapdash edits, removal of paragraphs or even entire articles is par for the course. Expending the time and effort to check with sources before publication is apparently never a consideration.

Search engine algorithms evidently do not take into consideration how frequently a publication retracts its stories before promoting them to you. News aggregators dumbly compile huge lists of links with the newest stories at the top and no consideration given to accuracy. A notable exception is aggregator-cum-social platform Reddit, whose Formula 1 community has blocked links to a number of sites it considers “low-credibility”, and periodically adds new offenders.

But where interest in a story is especially high, and available information very low, content farming goes to its most bizarre extremes. Farms begin feeding off each other, and old quotes dredged up into new stories which bear no relation to reality.

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2012
There is huge interest in Schumacher’s condition
One of the saddest Formula 1 stories of recent years concerns Michael Schumacher’s prolonged state of deep unconsciousness as a result of his skiing accident in December 2013. Regrettably, this too provides numerous examples of click-baiters putting sensationalism ahead of sensitivity and journalistic accuracy.

As arguably the most popular driver in F1 history, any snippet about the health of the seven-time champion is eagerly snapped up by millions of fans of the driver and the sport, making his condition an easy target for sites whose existence rides on the maximising of clicks regardless of ethical considerations.

In the middle of last year one site claimed Schumacher had watched the German Grand Prix with FIA president Jean Todt, citing two other publications as its sources. In fact, none had conducted the original interview with Todt in which the details of his visit came to light, and the regurgitated version of the story was wildly wrong.

Todt had described his visit to Schumacher in a lengthy interview for German outlet Bild Motorsport in December 2018. They had gone to great lengths to interview FIA president Jean Todt – former team boss to Schumacher’s during his Ferrari championship years and in regular contact with the family – ahead of a feature timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the skiing accident.

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During the conversation, conducted most respectfully by both the experienced journalist and the measured Todt, he revealed that he was in regular contact with the family, and had watched a recent race “at Michael’s home”. In fact, the headline to the article, written in German, strictly translates as: “Todt watched GP at Schumi”.

The race in question was not last year’s event at Hockenheim, but the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix. How many Schumacher fans have been misled by the subsequent report?

Misinterpretations of Todt’s account continue to be dragged up by the click farms. One last week included a prognosis of his condition provided by a doctor who has never even treated Schumacher.

Yes, many fans are desperate for news on Schumacher. But that is no licence to prey on them by publishing twisted untruths and deliberate misinformation, and worse, to do so at the expense of his suffering family, which surely deserves a break after six years.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Interlagos, 2019
Drivers meet the media face-to-face at every race
Content farms survive due to the news aggregators – Google News, etc… – and social networks – Facebook, Twitter and the rest – which sustain them. Until those platforms take steps to penalise those who peddle inaccurate coverage, the problem will largely remain. Do not hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

That leaves the motorsport fan seeking reliable coverage wondering how to spot the difference between accredited journalists who have much to lose by disseminating nonsense and scrapers, who simply shrug aside criticism, then continue? There are numerous pointers, including reportage that attests to race attendance – diaries or selfies, etc. It may strike readers as vanity when outlets include shots with drivers or team bosses, but photos also provide authenticity.

Non-accreditation or attendance is, of course, not concrete proof of scraping, for most scribes have solid sources and deliver accurate, professional work despite doing so remotely or due the costs of travel.

The more sensational the stories, the less likely the platform has sourced them, for they need to sex up content to disguise origin and attract clicks; equally they don’t need to fear the wrath of teams and drivers over inaccuracies as they don’t face them every fortnight (or, increasingly, week). Nor is their media access at risk, simply because they don’t have any.

Is it not strange that they criticise those who do travel and have access, yet have no qualms about stealing stories. Such double standards are, though, to be expected from such folk.

Of course it is not the case that accredited outlets are infallible. We are certainly not making that claim for ourselves. But there is a difference between an honest mistake made in the pursuit of a accurate, original reportage, and serial inaccuracies resulting from a desire to produce the most sensationalised version of someone else’s story.

As ever the lesson is: caveat lector – ‘reader beware’ – for although first prize is always to be fully informed, it is surely far better to be uninformed than wilfully misinformed.


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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...

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66 comments on “The lurid world of F1’s ‘fake news’ farms”

  1. Puppy farms? Is this meant to be ironic sensationalism?

    It’s hardly an ethical comparison. The intentional sustained suffering of animals for profit versus some misled motorsports fans?

    1. Scott.Montanari
      5th February 2020, 12:58

      Mate, did you read anything beyond the first sentence? Never mind even the whole of the first paragraph?
      There is a lot more substance to actually discuss.
      The point was in the definition by a court judgement, which aligns with that of what these Content Farms are doing.
      ‘A court judgement defined the farms as: “A dog breeding operation in which the health of dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximise profits.”’

      I have been very lucky to spend an evening listening to Dieter Rencken talk and discuss F1 and what goes into a weekend from many different perspectives.
      He is a very well thought out man with very concise explanations for anything and everything he states and discusses. I think he is a very authoritative person, and anyone who has come across any other site besides can tell you that he is the last journalist to over-sensationalize a topic.

      Unfortunately a lot of people base their opinions off headlines and opening remarks, and that is where these content farms are so dangerous, and not only in the world of sport. There goal is to sensationalize, to cause an emotional response in you before caring about inaccuracies of their content. Its about getting the clicks.

      Even more sadly, I think people actually want this type of sensationalized news… They want to feel like they are living in some kind of reality show. Something they can argue over, point fingers and feel like they actually involved beyond being just a fan.
      The journalists you follow should not prioritize ‘entertaining’ their audience, as soon as they try to do this, question their motives.

    2. Scott Montanari (@)
      5th February 2020, 13:57

      There is a little more to this article than the first sentence… Read it within context and it will make sense.

      It’s about the definition: A court judgement defined the farms as: “A dog breeding operation in which the health of dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximise profits.

      Journalism is one of the most important institutions of our civilization. Without it we are uninformed and lets the worlds powers go unanswered.
      So in saying that, A Content Farm is a content producing operation in which the truth is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximise profits.
      This is very scary and is a great threat to our society. Not just F1 but worldwide.

      Dieter is writing about his job here, a threat to his industry, and on top of that, we should be concerned as the readers and support the journalists we believe in.

    3. ‘will no one think about the children!’

      Be off with you

    4. @psynrg Speaking of ironic sensationalism, nowhere does Dieter compare the sustained suffering of animals to misled motorsport fans. Only you have. So you’re the sensationalist. The comparison between puppy farms and content farms is to highlight how people (fans of puppies and fans of F1) can be manipulated from the truth.

      1. One being significant, the other, so what? Which one being which, do you think?

        1. I think you have missed the point.

        2. Scott Montanari (@)
          6th February 2020, 6:49

          The abuse of journalism is never a ‘so what’. In essence, content farms are probably also harming animal rights initiatives with exaggeration of stories, misinformation etc., so please read within context, but the abuse of animals is probably secondary to the abuse of journalism, as the abuse of journalism can have far more wide reaching effects which will have a direct effect on animals right activists and the work they are trying to do, as well as politics, to sport etc.
          For example, you just need to look at the sensationalized headlines of PETA who are known to distract from real issues as well as actually use their ‘initiatives’ to distract from the abuse that happens from within their walls.
          So if you want to talk about how significant the abuse of Journalism is compared to the the abuse of animals, you will be able to see how it effects animals as well as everyone else and is probably more pertinent in the world of animal activism than it is in F1.

    5. I believe you are doing exactly what Dieter and Keith are lamenting other “journos” are doing. Taking from the text, skipping all the precautions, and making a twisted news out of it with little to no point with the original story in order to generate a reaction. Well played :)

      1. Thanks @tango, I thought I made it clear in my first paragraph, but it hasn’t gone down well…

        1. Lol I don’t think he was complimenting you, unless your goal indeed was to purely be a sleazy sensationalist.

          1. To me pSyngr is demonstrating willingly and knowingly what Dieter is saying and I thought it was well done. If however pSyrng was indeed dead serious then my comment still holds (weirdly).

          2. @tango But as I pointed out, Dieter is not saying what psynrg is demonstrating. He is not comparing how animals are treated, to how motorsport fans are treated. He is comparing how people can be fooled by the content farm akin to how people can be duped at a puppy farm. This has nothing to do with the treatment of animals for the sake of this discussion. It is about the treatment of people via misinformation. If he was kidding, it wasn’t funny nor made any sense, and if he was serious he’s more of a sensationalist than he accuses Dieter of being. If to you “well played” means say anything to get a reaction, and if you get a reaction then you win…then ok…guess so. Isn’t that the problem?

          3. @robbie , yeah it’s the problem. I thought it fitting that it would appear on the first comment as an illustration (and i believe it was a social comment comment if that makes sense). The fact that we don’t know wether it’s a joke or not is a fitting reflection on where we are at.

        2. Scott Montanari (@)
          6th February 2020, 11:41

          I don’t think so… IF it was that, then you would have left it as the single first sentence.
          Even then, just looks like someone who didn’t get past the first paragraph in this article.
          Cant say something the emotionally evocative and then play it off as a joke…

          I believe @tango, you were more right in pSynrg being ironically the exact type of person those articles target…So in that sense you are right, as i know when i got here, that was the only comment, and it just looked like a slap in the face of this well thought out article.

  2. Interesting points, and whenever some rumor or claim appears that seems even slightly strange or questionable, I’m always careful with how much I buy into a claim. For example, earlier this off-season, came a reported rumor by a Spanish newspaper Marca about Seb and Mclaren, which I, of course, didn’t buy. The weird thing about that, though, was that Andreas Seidl didn’t use the opportunity given to clearly, directly deny the validity of that rumor, something he should’ve done even if that’d been a lie. Dr. Marko, Hulkenberg, and Gasly all dismissed the truthfulness of the rumor concerning the latter two ahead of the last Canadian GP when given the opportunity. Everyone should always do that, irrespective of if the matter in question is true or false.

    1. Scott.Montanari
      5th February 2020, 13:05

      I personally feel Andreas Seidl was smart.
      Why deny a top-line driver having interest in your team?
      To me Red Bull deny anything and everything that is said or suggested, even when they coud just decline to comment, and a big part of me doesn’t really take Helmut Marko seriously after all the backtracking he has done.
      I respect how Seidl handles the politics of F1. I think there is an exciting future for the refreshed current team at Mclaren.

      1. @Scott.Montanari But declining to comment instead of just denying the validity of something precisely is what one shouldn’t do in these types of situations. Better to go with the direct no-answer option (even if it’d be a lie) than not say anything. Not saying anything usually just adds more fuel to the fire, i.e., gives more reason for speculation and questioning rather than less.

        1. Scott Montanari (@)
          6th February 2020, 6:38

          You say that, but after that one article about Vettel going to Mclaren, i didn’t see any other news about it, besides from the content farms. Whenever another team has denied something, it has always ended up as a headline like ‘Seidl-Mclaren say no to Vettel’ or some ridiculous collection of words like that. Except, the news ended there, which i think shows Seidl did real good.

  3. Great article Dieter..
    That’s why I only trust you and Joe Saward.
    You were right on the money with your Aston/Stroll story way before anyone else.
    And even Joe was sceptical.
    That is why I subscribe and support you guys.

    1. Yep, my thoughts exactly. Racefans and Grumpy Joe are my only sources.


    (pic of rosberg in front of a massive fireball)

    1. Here you go, @fer-no65 ;)

      (All in good humour, Dieter & Keith)

      1. @fer-no65 @phylyp I see what you did there…

        1. No offence intended, @keithcollantine, but feel free to delete the link if you wish.

          Also, that image is marked as “hidden” in imgur, so it will not appear to anyone just browsing through, they’ll need the specific link to see it.

          1. No one will see it, @phylyp, but the scraperbots now trawling this thread for the latest content farm manure. ;-)

      2. RaceFans memes are my new favourite thing

  5. caveat lector – ‘reader beware’ – for although first prize is always to be fully informed, it is surely far better to be uninformed than wilfully misinformed.

    The people who are more likely to be cautious with their news sources (F1 and wider world) are often those who are less likely to be misinformed in the first place. Conversely, those easily misled are not the kind who learn to be more cautious of the news they consume. I think many of us will have experienced the pain of trying to get – and often failing at getting – a family member/friend to stop sending patent rubbish over WhatsApp or social media.

    And applying a “no rubbish” filter is hard. I myself fell for the fake Prost story when I first read it. And that is from someone who is almost exclusively only on this site for F1 news.

    Content farms survive due to the news aggregators – Google News, etc… – and social networks – Facebook, Twitter and the rest – which sustain them. Until those platforms take steps to penalise those who peddle inaccurate coverage, the problem will largely remain. Do not hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

    I totally agree with this bit, and expecting them to provide a solution is unlikely to happen, since they profit from clicks as well as the sites themselves. Maybe if ad-blocking becomes more mainstream it might be the change we want to see, although that’s a “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” type of solution (I think I heard Keith gasp as he read ad-blocking).

    Nice of you to call out reddit’s F1 sub and the process they have in place. It’s also neat to see RaceFans scored a 3/3 on their list (I was surprised to see The Guardian at 2/3, though, higher than I expected).

  6. Those three headlines in the top image, have they been mocked up for this article, or are they actual headlines? One can’t really tell the difference!

    1. … which underlines the message of the article perfectly. :-(

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          5th February 2020, 17:40

          Caps (not the F1) and exclamation marks are dead giveaways. None ever needs to read a story with those in the headlines.

  7. There’s a clear distinction between content creators and content regurgitators, and this affects every media who generates original content – it’s easier to spend ten minutes generating a click-bait article misconstruing one original article than to spend hours fact-checking.

    I also find this happens a lot with FaceBook ‘media pages’ who only share article links for likes and clicks.

  8. It isn’t anything to do with Formula 1 – it’s just the modern standard of journalism in general.

    EVERYTHING has to sensationalised, exaggerated and blown out of proportions to grab peoples attention… Or try to grab more attention than the paper next to it.

    Just look at how coronavirus is being covered – you’d think it was the 21st century’s bubonic plague – yet nearly every time I tell someone that normal flu kills literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people every year, they are genuinely shocked (and that’s without even getting into the daily tally of deaths caused by stuff like famine, suicide or alcoholism).

    It’s why I literally cannot bring myself to create a twitter or facebook account, I just cannot suffer the torrent of trash that masquerades as “news” nowadays…

    1. Even sadder is that the future of entire countries is being decided by people that read and believe the sort of sensationalised, or more often deliberately misleading, information that is spouted by those sites.

      Hell, one country’s president has made it an art form.

    2. laurent Gaudillat
      5th February 2020, 23:41

      quote of a “life time” right there!

  9. Racefans (and F1 Fanatics) has been underrated forever. As far as I am concerned, it has been right on par with the best in motorsports journalism. And since Dieter joined, it has gotten even better. Kudos.

  10. Who’s been spreading the fake news that F1 is ‘carbon neutral’?
    Most of the sponsors are pumping oil out of the ground for the other sponsors to burn it in their vehicles. And then there’s all the luxury goods and electronics sponsors who ship over from China.

  11. Thank you Keith, thank you Dieter, it’s indeed a horrendous ugly jungle out there ! we do appreciate the quality of your work and thanks for standing up to the cheap unethical media ” cowboys ”
    Please do name and shame them

    1. Oh please… first of all, this is hardly the worst thing going on in the world. Come on now.

      Second, the bottom line is that clicks and views are leaked to ‘competition’ and this is an attempt to frame the discussion into ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ by one of the involved parties. It’s meant to ‘educate’ you, the end-user, to choose their product over that of the competition. It’s not about which ‘side’ you’re on. It’s about who created the sides in the first place and why.

      1. No, that’s not the (only) point @jeffreyj, it is also about attempting to do real investigative, responsible reporting, or not. Good journalism might show us the animal harm (to go back to that first comment here on the page) that happens at puppy farms, and better journalism also tells us why and how they work and are still around, despite being bad for animals. For F1, it gives us an understanding of where teams, drivers are at, an understanding of how and why the are involved in the sport, and thus an expectation of what they want and what we can expect them to try and do, beyond the obvious of winning as much as possible.

        As in any endeavour, mistakes might be made , for example, though Dieter says he’s standing behind the Mercedes/Aston Martin article, I do understand why Joe Saward thinks it is sensationalist to post it when Mercedes (a publicly traded company, so no official lies are allowed) CEO strongly denies it; I guess we might know more in a week or two, or not; but, I do pay this site, because more often than not, they bring me information as direct from the source as possible, while trying to give context, background and clarity as to where they speculate versus what is fact.

        Google in contrast proposes me F1 related stuff that I already know, and, because I am Dutch, a lot of Verstappen related stuff that I either already know or don’t care about much in the weeks after a race, which has led me to telling it I don’t care about F1, because looking up the sources I trust by myself is a lot less effort.

  12. It certainly is an uphill battle…and not only in motorsport journalism. But the reality of our time is that people increasingly get their ‘news’ (and everything else) on their smartphones…so quick headlines are preferred to lengthy articles. Quite a difference from having to wait until Thursday for the weekly magazine to read the race report from previous Sunday…which is how it was when I started to follow F1.

  13. I think (real) F1 fans know where to find legit/confirmed news. I find it has become normal actually, to sift through each questionable headline/article, depending on which site/platform you read it.

    The problem concurs only with newer F1 fans, who think that they can get the latest F1 news from Facebook.

  14. Sorry but this article is rather cynic. You write off other outlets for profiting and exploiting your scoop in a manner that only adds more fuel to the fire, no wonder the comment section is already at arms.

    1. @peartree How does it add fuel to the fire? The article merely highlights that there is tabloid F1 fake news out there and reader beware.

      1. Tabloid journalism is nothing new and hardly earth-shattering. And you know what? Race fans doesn’t ‘create’ Dieter’s content either. He’s a hired gun. A freelance journalist like Dieter is about the money just as much as the next guy. He sells his articles to outlets willing to pay his price. RaceFans is one of them but other outlets get to publish the exact same articles as well. Nothing wrong with that, but the ‘holier than thou’ act is misplaced imho.

        1. Absolutely incorrect: I have contracts in place and sell to only ONE outlet per language group! I have NEVER duplicated the same material within the same language group! Please don’t distort the truth scraper-style.

          1. Well, thanks for the response I guess. You are moving the goalposts though. I didn’t say that you sell your articles within the same language group or different ones for that matter. I said that you sell your articles. And you do.

            I don’t care though, it’s what free-lance journalists do. Better yet, I don’t know why you should even care what I think either way. My 2cts is just that discrediting parties that compete with you for clicks and views is not a good look, that’s all.

          2. @dieterrencken So

            ONE outlet per language group

            means that you sell the same content to different language groups. Which means that Jeffrey is not “absolutely incorrect”.

      2. Look how much talk an article about the industry about “drama” @robbie has generated. Others profitted and exploited from Dieter’s original article, they may have crossed the line however one could say that, in a sense the article does much of the same. I’m no kiss ass I say it as I see it. Regardless of intentionality, this isn’t just about jounalistic values or the truth, I reckon this is above all esle about ego, and fails in similar ways to the accused. Personally I just think this is just like poiting a finger.

        1. @jeffreyj:

          My 2cts is just that discrediting parties that compete with you for clicks and views is not a good look, that’s all.

          Which is why I responded to you, not because I’m bored: where there is a seller/buyer relationship there is added value, and as the scrapers don’t pay for something of value but simply lift it, they are by definition thieves.

          Hence I’m not complaining about someone competing for clicks – believe me there are many reputable outlets that compete for clicks, and I respect them all within the spirit of competition – but that the scrapers do so unethically. If you don’t get that, go read them with pleasure.

    2. @peartree

      Tabloids and MSM TV often think they are above the readers and viewers. They are usually Narcissists, which unfortunately the average Joe find fascinating and has them glued to their screens.
      Race-Fans is noticeably different. So it’s got to sting a bit.

  15. Thanks for addressing this. The F1 stories in the iphone feed are atrocious. A real clue is when they write, “Ferrari is literally, or Max just literally, etc”. Yes, they are literally reading an accredited journalist story & re-writing with the embellishments of their own imagination, muddled through a lack of knowledge filter.

  16. I like that this well-written article tries to raise awareness to authentic journalism. Where the writer does some real work to write the story. But then I was finished reading it on my tablet, and right under the name of the author there were these clickbait articles like ” “Men forget the Blue Pill!!!!” or “New ‘Legal Steroid’ Turning Men into Beasts!!!” or “Anyone with diabetes Should Watch This”… and I lose hope that all the effort that went into making the article will actually change anything or anyone. At least don’t allow that kind of trash on the same page.

    1. @vishnusxdx

      ads are normally tailored to your search history. If not, you might as well change your settings to ‘stuff you might like’
      I get loads of gadgets sites and car parts.

      1. Well that kind of blew a hole in his day @bigjoe!

        Really nice of you to point that out….


  17. it doesn’t take much to work out which sites are producing original content and those pushing out recycled, sexed up nonsense. I am surprised to see one of the black spotted sites claims to be partnered with Sky Sports. One ‘fan’ site admits to publishing articles written by their readers, mostly from their bedrooms. They also admit they want more readers to “…get our Google ranking higher…”.

    In part, I blame Bernie for the proliferation of these sites. We know he stopped journalists from writing many stories about F1 for fear of them losing accreditation. Lurid tales were censored, now it’s much more difficult and these joking sites live off the back of that.

    1. I operated for almost 20 years under Bernie – and he never tried to block me or my work. I had a few tense discussion with him, but there was never a situation where I considered my accreditation to be at risk – and I was the first to reveal F1’s revenue structures and publish Concorde clauses. He is not to blame for this scraper scourge.

      The blame lies with google analytics, which reward on a per click basis.

  18. Minus the inaccuracies, isn’t what Dieter is complaint about exactly how this website existed up until recently? From memory, F1 fanatic put together some great data analysis (which it hasn’t done for a while) and then referred to news stories published by others.

    1. Well, for me @guybrushthreepwood, the reason I trusted F1Fanatic then, and now, is because Keith did a lot of work to analyse the data – which in principle we all could have done, but he did the work, and wrote about it in a fair and balanced way – and he posted the round-ups and or information from team which was (is) always clearly sourced, so the PR stuff from teams was posted, but all the articles were referred to on the original sites. And during testing he and/or a photographer would provide coverage of the tests in the same solid way he did the data analysis and race reviews. While not with inside the paddock access, to me it was clear journalistic effort and to encourage that and because I was tired of ads, I subscribed to the site.

      That is still the case, though with Dieter here now there is another source of information with closer ties to the actors in the F1 paddock, and with that more knowledge and deeper information – in a way, the solid foundation Keith built, enabled him to increase resources and do a more solid, deep job of providing information and insight into motorsport/F1.

      So, the difference between and click-bait sites to me is not (just) that Dieter has those contacts and uses them to get real, and directly sourced, information from within the paddock and motorsport world, but much more the clarity and levelheaded attempt of providing an unbiased reporting of facts and analysis, ie. Journalism, that Keith started and built up that opened up the way for him to also be a knowledgeable and informative motorsports commentator and which provided a platform for Dieter to feel he would fit in with the site in providing improved coverage along those lines.

  19. Minus the inaccuracies and minus sensationalism and minus ‘stolen’ content is what this website was…what had always impressed me about Keith is that he did none of the above AND properly quoted sources. That is why I joined him when I decided to leave Motorsport Network in early 2018.

    1. Indeed (as I tried to, not so succinctly,.write above), and that’s why I paid, and still pay, my subscription to this site @keithcollantine and @dieterrencken

  20. I used to do some F1 writing, producing mostly analysis/editorial content about ongoing news, and I sourced and quoted to the same level I would in an academic essay. It quickly taught me which sources had value and which didn’t… can recall a few years ago, there was a story doing the rounds about Schumacher supposedly improving, based on a mistranslation that first appeared on one of the sites running mass-produced stuff from that large F1 content farm (forget the name, three-letters, included grandprix and others), that was picked up by every scraper and most of the UK mainstream press (including usually reliable ones). Yet this site, Saward, Autosport, Motorsport Magazine and none of the trusted Twitter journos mentioned it, and it took me 20 minutes to establish it wasn’t real.

    My current default for F1 searches is ‘F1 -Express’, as that seems to be the most prolific fake/misleading news producer in my search results… would be nice if there was a way to permanantly block certain sites from appearing.

  21. We see the same happening on this site though. Most articles here also consist of a few quotes from an “interview” and then a whole article is created based on that fraction of actual content. Almost always with conclusions that reach (much) further than the actual quotes do. Or they even go against the quotes.

    Especially when it’s related to one of the hot-button issues of this site (ie females in F1 or bonus payments)

  22. The Express headlines may be poised for shocking LEWIS HAMILTON reveal as half truths and conjecture are SPUN INTO WALL of sensational clickbait. Unrelated quotes BY VETTEL did not deny any foul play.

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