Start, Monaco, 2021

Formula 1 revenues rise to half a billion dollars in second quarter

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In the round-up: Formula 1 has reported its earnings for the second quarter of 2021, during which time it generated over half a billion dollars in revenue.

In brief

F1 revenue recovers in busy second quarter of 2021

Formula 1 reported a massive year-on-year increase in revenue for the period covering April, May and June. With seven races taking place during that time, compared to none last year following the outbreak of the pandemic, revenues over the periods rose from $24 million (£17.3m) to $501m (£361m). F1 attracts the majority of its income through race broadcasts and hosting fees.

The F1 group as a whole made a $43m loss during the period. CEO Stefano Domenicali praised the sport’s response to the pandemic, noting just 38 positive cases of Covid-19 had been detected from 56,000 tests conducted within the sport this year. “Domenicali: We feel confident in our ability to safely deliver 23 races,” he said.

F1 shouldn’t be on phones – Ecclestone

Domenicali’s predecessor Bernie Ecclestone has continued his criticism of Liberty Media’s management of Formula 1 in a recent interview for Croatian magazine Akrapovic. Among various complaints he singled out the sport’s availability on mobile devices.

“I wouldn’t bother the rule with the cost cap,” said Ecclestone. “The manufacturers would find the way to spent their money anyway. I liked the old F1 logo better, but this is not important. I liked grid girls too.

“What I don’t like is Formula 1 races on the telephones and small devices. I believe sport events are much better seen on the big screen. The sponsors don’t like small monitors, you can’t read their logos on the cars or around the circuit. They will soon ask themselves why spend so much money on something nobody can really see.

“And I don’t understand what social media does. I don’t think you can make people more interested in Formula 1 through social media. So I think Liberty didn’t really know what it bought. American people are not mad for Formula 1.”

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Comment of the day

Compensate victims of crash damage in F1? No thanks, says Dave:

This is terrible idea. I say that as a member of the profession who usually benefits from protracted disputes about fault and liability. Or because of it. There are so many reasons why trying to stand up a kind of common law of torts within the sport would be impossible to implement, and result in unending disputes that will certainly spill over into litigation in “real” jurisdictions.

Set aside the question of how to apportion liability (do you want, say, contributory or another theory), and the question of proximate causation and foreseeability, or their analogs in “civilian” jurisdictions. How will you price your homemade suspension uprights or torsion bars made by your staff in your factory? Even if it is a piece brought in on contract, that item is not a commodity and has no “market price.” Will you price it on the price paid or the replacement price, which may be enormous if your vendor has to do a one-off and will renegotiate aggressively on the basis that someone else is paying?

Look at the pit lane accident last week. Haas would surely be keen to get a check cut for their control arms and steering rack and new paint and whatever. Alfa Romeo will dispute every penny of it. Are we going to have discovery/disclosure proceedings to sort that out? No it will just be more carping, and whining, and blaming and costs are large actual law suits in real courts. Let’s not go there.
DaveW (@dmw)

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On this day in motorsport

  • 55 years ago today John Taylor was killed in a crash on the first lap of the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. The race continued and was won by Jack Brabham.

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  • 47 comments on “Formula 1 revenues rise to half a billion dollars in second quarter”

    1. Broccoliface
      7th August 2021, 1:11

      I can see Bernie peering into the mouthpiece of his house-phone as we speak.

      1. @Broccoliface

        Bernie will first have to go through his rolodex and then dial the number on his rotary phone.

        The only thing I can agree with Bernie, I would never watch a F1 race on my phone; life is too short for that.

        1. PS> I would never watch a F1 race on my phone but that’s because I don’t have to. Some don’t have that option.

          More eyes watching F1 the better.

          Sponsors have a very large say and pay the way, if watching F1 on phones was a problem, the sponsors would voice it in dollars value.

          Bernie is becoming as relevant and jacques villeneuve.

          1. I watch FP on my phone as i work on those times the greedy Bernie should stop commenting and go back to farming and let people who know what they talking about doing their thing…

        2. I watch races on my phone frequently.

          It’s much higher resolution than the biggest of Bernie’s CRTs. I don’t have an issue identifying cars or reading the timing tower.

          Ecclestone is, thankfully, irrelevant.

          1. You should have used a better example, CRTS can display any resolution, they arent fixed like modern monitors :-)

    2. The sponsors don’t like small monitors, you can’t read their logos on the cars or around the circuit. They will soon ask themselves why spend so much money on something nobody can really see.

      Somewhere in the back of my mind I have this idea this concern for sponsors by Mr Ecclestone isn’t new. I’m sure some years back F1 had a policy of only putting the leading cars on the broadcast feed that went around the world, and that those who were sponsoring cars at the back of the field were definitely not to be seen unless the car crashed. Now Liberty Media have a policy where many of the cars and their sponsors get seen at each race. I suspect most serious fans would only use a small monitor as a last resort. I think Liberty Media are doing a great job. The amount I have to pay to watch F1 races is about 1/3 of what I used to pay when … someone else was in charge. I suspect I could get it even cheaper too if I went to the F1 website.

      1. If anything, TV cameras are still a couple of meters too high.

        And in the latter laps they tend not to show too much of midfield battles, even if they lead is all but set in stone.

    3. Either Ecclestone is trolling or he is genuinely buried in the past… of course social media casts a wider net for new fans. Of course access via mobile devices makes the sport more accessible! It’s not like people are trading in their big TVs to exclusively watch races on 5 inch screens. Now that I’ve written it out, I’m almost certain he’s trolling.

    4. With every new interview, Bernie proves just how out of touch with the world today he really is.

      1. He was out of touch with everything except perhaps his last comment.

        Liberty are playing a delicate balancing act in that they are quite clearly Americanising F1 as a product.

        Sponsors on the safety car, which means safety cars are used more often, even for trivial matters. The style of presentations, extra awards, driver intros, sound effects for the lights, action music for the theme. I expect more sponsor pop-ups in the future akin to the AWS stuff.

        Silverstone was the biggest example of them experimenting with the laurel wreaths, the truck tour and the “speed king”.

        Their aim with all these changes is that they want to tap into the lucrative US market.

        The challenge they have is to do this without alienating your existing core audience.

        But the big danger is failing to capture that market, (and the american market is hard to crack, F1 has never really managed it) whilst at the same time alienating your core audience. F1 will be in trouble if that happens.

        The changes have only just started too. I expect many more changes as the years progress with much for focus on American style entertainment.

        Whether you think that is a good or bad thing is down to personal taste.

        1. @mach1 Yeah clearly there is more emphasis on things that are more common in American broadcasting in an effort to capture a larger market share. And the results have actually been pretty good so far. F1’s viewership in America has been slowly rising since Liberty took over and now averages only 6,000 fewer viewers per race than IndyCar, which had a long established history. IndyCar has the advantage of having races that take place during time slots friendly to American viewership. So I view that as a pretty impressive metric that F1 viewership is that close to IndyCar given the advantage IndyCar has in both time and “local interest”. Both still trail NASCAR by a large margin, however.

          Personally I’m not a huge fan of things like the beeps for the starting lights or whrrr sounds as the director switches from one shot to another. But if these attract a larger audience and provide more revenue for F1 and the teams I’m happy to deal with those minor quibbles as long as the action on track is still good.

          1. @g-funk are Liberty Media really responsible for that rise in viewing figures though?

            There is evidence that, as far back as 2013 – in other words, four years before Liberty Media took over – viewing figures for F1 were already rising in the USA. Is it necessarily true that Liberty Media are responsible for the claimed rise in viewing figures, or is it more of a case that figures were already going up and that Liberty Media’s influence is rather less substantial than they might claim?

            1. @ anon. I don’t think Liberty are solely responsible for the rise, because as you said they have been rising for awhile, but importantly they haven’t driven off the newer viewers who have less invested with their different approach. And they continue to attract newer viewers. The Emilia Romagna race had 906,000 viewers in the US, which made it the 6th most watch pay TV event ever. Keep in mind that NFL, NBA and NHL playoffs are also broadcast on pay TV and that is a pretty incredible achievement that this race beat many North American sports playoff games. So they may not be solely responsible but they haven’t driven off the new users that have checked them out and they continue to attract more. Which is only good for the sport.

            2. @g-funk the Emilia Romagna race is more of an exception though, as usual figures are closer to 550,000 on average – it is higher, but the increase is not quite as dramatic when you look at the averages (which was around 483,000 back in 2017 before Liberty Media took over).

              There have been those suggesting that potentially more of that increase is due to changes in the way that the sport is broadcast, and in particular the shift to ESPN, rather than necessarily due to the other changes that Liberty Media have made.

      2. “And I don’t understand what social media does. I don’t think you can make people more interested in Formula 1 through social media.“

        That’s just endearing

    5. F1 shouldn’t be on phones – Ecclestone

      Ecclestone shouldn’t be in the press – Me

      I mean, clearly everyone wants to watch F1 on a larger screen, but if the only option I’ve got is a phone, then so be it. Its not like I haven’t paid exactly the same to watch it on my phone (Sky Go App) and I have to watch it on my TV via my Sky Box.
      Is it better that I pay my subscription and then don’t watch at all, cos I’m not at home with my big TV? You think because I see 20 small signs for Heineken that ignore them any less than I do for 20 large signs for Heineken? Clearly Berny needs new glasses if he still can’t see their logos.

      1. Loved your first statement.

        Bernie has also clearly never heard of casting to a TV from your phone app.

        About the only thing he got right was they really didn’t have much idea of what they were buying. IMO they paid waaaaaay to much and will have to work like crazy to even come close to recouping their investment.

    6. Bernie is behind the move to payTV in the main F1 markets, with a strong fall in viewers. ” (The sponsors) will soon ask themselves why spend so much money on something nobody can really see.”

      1. Yep, exactly, he started the move away in the main F1 market, the UK. He only cared about raw money and not about the sport at all. I think at least Liberty now have the property they realise making the sport enticing and modern and exciting is how they’ll make more money. Although I am inc reliably disillusioned with the clamouring for despotic oil regime money.

    7. Having F1 on mobile devices can be seen as a huge positive for sponsors. For example. if you see Heineken sponsors when watching F1 at home, by the time you are shopping you may have forgotten about Heineken and the impact of the sponsorship may have disappeared. But if a consumer sees the sponsorship on their phone whilst they are shopping or about to go shopping, that Heineken logo will be fresher in their mind and could more likely lead to a purchase.

      1. I see the logo it reminds me of its bland taste and I go and buy a decent beer.

    8. Wow it’s amazing how much Bernie is out of touch with the current generation :P

    9. I would never watch a race on a phone… I want too sit down give it space in my day and watch on a decent size TV.

      However never underestimate some people. I saw a guy watching the film Gravity on a phone on the train. If there is ever a film that needs a big screen…

      You do miss a lot when you watch a race on a phone.

      1. This is true, but without my phone I couldn’t watch it live.
        In the UK, Sky TV has the rights. Sky TV is expensive, but there is another way. NowTV. With NowTV and a Chromecast I can watch it on my TV by casting from my phone.

        Until Sky finally release an app for Android TV, it’s phone or nothing.

        And yes – I do sometimes, due to my location, watch practice or quali on the phone itself… But it isn’t easy :D

    10. Old man yells at cloud.

      1. Cloud keeps asking old man for opinions…

    11. More like his predecessor’s predecessor, but BE has a point.

      I couldn’t agree more with COTD.

      BTW, Igore Drive tweet appears twice.

    12. The “Sponsors” of whatever have already taken over my phone and I don’t watch F1 on my phone. I don’t see it making much difference. They just block the whole screen then you click “ok” to continue watching the dive down the inside or whatever is left of it.
      Bernie is both right and wrong. There might be a middle ground somewhere. However an obsession with the fickle minded will only result in F1 losing it’s appeal. One of those daily distractions that get in the way of your tweeting .

    13. My phone has more pixels than any TV in Bernie’s days, and at 30-40cm from my eyes appears bigger as well.
      Everything is clearer and bigger on this screen, except for Bernie who seems to shrink and fade away.

      1. I watch it on my oculus quest 2 vr Helmut. It is like watching F1 on a cinema screen. I can imagine in a few years we will be watching vr in 3d in vr

    14. Wheres an article on one of motorsports biggest ever talents announcing his retirement? Valentino Rossi.

      1. Are you new here?

    15. Hah. Bet Bernie didn’t like Chase and Stefano’s diss track aimed at him.

    16. Thank god Ecclestone no longer owns this sport. I think Liberty have honestly done a pretty great job for the most part. Drive to Survive, huge social media presence (I see a ton of F1 TikToks aimed at a younger generation that would have got taken down under Ecclestone), it has all stirred up interest and a new generation of fans that is growing. Combined with a fresh generation of drivers that are on that wavelength and it sets up long term engagement and crucially money, which is needed for the sport to survive in a world where racing cars might seem anathema. The sport actually seems cool, and trends regularly on race days for whatever that is worth (I think it is worth quite a bit actually).

      Also, his annoyance at small screens… sure I’d love to watch on a 50 inch tv in my break room at work but sadly that isn’t possible, but I can watch the drama unfold on my iPad and it takes very little away from it all. Idiot. Or just an old billionaire out of touch on multiple fronts.

      Oh and the new logo has massively grown on me, another piece of the puzzle that makes F1 just look good, fresh modern, and feel exciting.

      1. @davidhunter13 Bernie was the best man for the job between 1974-somewhere in 2000s-2010s. He made F1 The F1 we have today but his time has gone by. For me Bernie is that guy. His recent and not so recent comments or ideas about F1 go well over the top. He clearly misses those days and when someone has lived their whole life in one paddock it is very hard and almost impossible to let go. These might be just “Old man yells at cloud” sayings and he is getting very old but F1 still owns him a lot and I think Bernie wants to be remembered as the man who almost invented F1 and maybe he still wants to remain relevant by making these comments.

    17. I agree with Bernie about social media. All it does is attract the worst kind of fans who Formula 1 would be better off without.
      Everything else he says is utter garbage. The manufacturers will not be able to avoid the cost cap. Grid girls should have been scrapped a long, long time earlier they were. And, while Formula 1 is better on a proper screen, sometimes big screens are not available, and it is good to have the backup option of a phone. I remember watching the 2013 Canadian GP on a phone, in the back of a car, with no sound, because that option was preferable to waiting one day and then watching it properly. Obviously phones replacing proper screens as the place to watch F1 would be ridiculous, but that is not what is being suggested, it would just be an extra thing for those who cannot watch on a big screen.

    18. I’ve watched f1 on my phone and I can attest f1 should not be on phones.
      F1’s director should be on the big screen. The camera work is so jerky it looks like a bad hollywood film. Worst of all only the main sponsors are in frame, 4 wheels off frame, I can’t see the corners even the silky smooth onboards find ways of annoying the action with a massive cgi graphic.

    19. Ecclestone’s argument about advertising being lost phones is valid, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the social media thing is too.

    20. F1 revenues rise to half a billion dollars in the second quarter and yet teams still cry poverty. Clearly something is wrong.

      1. F1 management money not team money.
        F1 is expensive. A few teams will like for it to be much cheaper.
        Truthfully, if there was no F1 burning up all this cash. The supposed savings will not go into something like public works or any help the needy programme.
        F1 is a business for a few.
        It is sport for some.
        It is work for many.
        It is entertainment for the rest.

        1. Each NFL team gets $321 million from TV revenue alone. Again, in F1 something is clearly wrong.

    21. My 1yr old has, through no prompting, started swiping at fitbits and phones. Learned behaviour from a modern set of parents.

      I wonder if Bernie’s latest offspring is scratching at the gramophone, or marvelling at the amazing new experience of a VCR with a corded remote control!

    22. Thanks god Bernie isn’t ruling F1 anymore

    23. Thanks @dmw for that CotD. I think you showed us almost exactly how it would (not) work in F1 only adding to the mess

    24. JC
      7th August 2021, 19:12
      I wonder if Bernie’s latest offspring is scratching at the gramophone

      Thank you, JC, this was so hilarious!

    25. People watch on small screens, Bernie. They’re less likely to watch on big screens. Do you want sponsors to have their logos seen in small size or do you want sponsors to not have their logos seen at all?

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