LL Cool J, Miami International Autodrome, 2023

Liberty Media understand need for “constant entertainment” at races – Steiner

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says F1 is doing a “very good job” of bringing more entertainment to fans attending grands prix

In brief

Liberty providing “constant entertainment” to fans at races

Steiner is a fan of the efforts F1’s owners have been going to to improve the level of entertainment for fans for attend grands prix, especially in the Untied States.

“I think entertainment here has got a lot better from the old days,” Steiner told media including RaceFans. “In the old days we went ‘cookie cutter’ racing. We’d do one race, we’d do the next one. We do nothing around it – we were racing for the motorsport fan. Therefore I think the sport – before Liberty Media came in – was not successful in the US.

“I came to the US and understood the US more when I moved here, because I didn’t understand it before. But you need to live here to understand. People want constant entertainment – not just sitting out.

“But also the other stuff which is going on – the concerts, the entertainment areas. If you’ve got kids with you, you want to entertain them – not sitting in a grandstand or on a hill, waiting. So I think F1 is doing a very good job in that.”

IndyCar not planning to drop Indy 500 local blackout

Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar owners Penske Entertainment, says the sport has no plans to remove the live TV blackout of the Indianapolis 500 in the city to encourage local fans to attend the race in person, despite living in the age of internet streams and VPNs.

“We have to get people here as they have been here in growing numbers for many, many years,” Miles said. “We’re really clear-minded about the fact that for us, attendance is first, and this spectacle emanates from the vibe here on race day with 300,000 plus people here. I think that’s unique.

“We also, I think, have demonstrated over the last few years that when getting people here is not an issue, either because it’s covid and we can’t bring anybody here, or because the number of people that could come were limited and we were definitely going to have that total here, then we do open it up. We like the idea that people can take it in, whether it’s linear or streaming. But for now, that’s our rationale, and it’s important to us.”

Norris designs own McLaren road car

McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris has received a personalised McLaren 765LT Spider road car that was built to his own specifications.

Norris, who sits ninth in the drivers’ championship after five rounds, chose blue carbon fibre for the exterior, with his driver logo adorning the seat head rests. Norris’s 765LT (short for ‘long tail’) is one of just 765 of the cars being built by McLaren, all of which have been sold.

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Comment of the day

Alex Palou may still be pursuing a dream to reach F1 some day with McLaren, but reader David cannot see that happening…

Every driver knows that if you leave the FIA single seater system, you lose your shot at F1. It’s tough but it’s true.

You can have a lot of success and make a good living out of second-tier series like IndyCar, Endurance and Superformula. But even as a multiple champion you won’t get a chance to return to F1 unless you have a huge amount of backing or some kind of link to a team owner.

I can’t even remember the last time someone came into F1 after a period of success outside FIA single seaters. Do we have to go back as far as Bourdais? He dominated Indycar for several seasons and was then completely outclassed by another F1 rookie in the same car. Granted Vettel turned out to be one of the best talents of his generation but F1 teams aren’t looking for the next midfielder. The are all looking for the next champion.

As ever, the fact that Marcus Ericsson and Romain Grosjean are top contenders in Indycar counts against anyone like Alex Palou getting an F1 seat. He should just make the most of the F1 testing he’s been given. It’s not his fault that Zak Brown has got so distracted by non-F1 commitments that he has let the team stumble again.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Rob A, Warner16, Lotus 49, Warner and Lotus49!

On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today Juan Pablo Montoya took the lead in the F3000 title fight by winning at Silverstone

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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34 comments on “Liberty Media understand need for “constant entertainment” at races – Steiner”

  1. Is there also a hole adorning the seat head rests so that occupants can wear a cap the wrong way round?

    That picture of Zhou looks like it was taken in 2012!

  2. America should have its own F1 world championship. Then the rest of the world doesnt have to endire the prerace and post race barf they create nor the boring circuits. And they dont have to endurebthe racing between their entertainment barf

    1. I am American and I agree, it is total barf.

    2. It already has one – it’s called IndyCar. And ironically it’s way more about pure racing than F1 without the “entertainment” nonsense.

  3. I am afraid that this is the season that Formula 1 is going to jump the shark.

    1. I think that will be 3 shark-jumping season.
      It is becoming apparent that teams will do very little under current regulations – as an effect of the budget cap and the focus on the new cars.
      Then, for 24-25 we should expect something like we are seeing now – maybe Marcedes joining the fight for podia as the rearrange the car.
      So, most people wil get bored on VER wins, Ferrari fracas – with Alonso being a saving grace.
      Finally, if 26 regs dont work, I would not be surprise if audience numbers fall drastically as the shark jumping parabola completes.

  4. “I came to the US and understood the US more when I moved here, because I didn’t understand it before. But you need to live here to understand.”

    But, but, but, I don’t want to understand.

  5. F1 was entertaining enough with a v10 or even a v8. The draw to live racing has gone down substantially for me and I’m not interested in the excess.

  6. Good point, but as North American sports leagues do things their way when playing occasional games in other continents.
    Therefore, an international racing series should do the same, regardless of where they compete.

    I disagree with DC. Three in a single country (regardless of land mass) within a season is more than enough.
    Otherwise, F1 should become more like domestic series such as IndyCar & Nascar, with races only within a single country or continent.
    Besides, the Canadian & Mexico City GPs make the total North American event amount five, so this continent is already well enough represented for an international racing series.

    Good COTD, although Vettel didn’t go outside FIA’s single-seater categories before reaching F1.
    Thus, I’m slightly unsure about this part.
    Otherwise, everything is more or less spot-on that drivers have a difficult time reaching or returning to F1 unless they have backing (which is secondary these days with all teams financially stable) or are in association with a team/brand like Vandoorne & Gasly when competing in Super Formula or Lawson presently, considering he could replace De Vries eventually, etc.
    WEC is an FIA-series, so a different matter unless the reference is about other endurance categories.

    1. I agree with your points here re racing in the U.S. and extra races.

      It would be good if someone well known in the world F1 stood up and said what most of the fans seem to think.

      People seem to have forgotten that F1 first and foremost, is a sport. We don’t need all of this American style hype. Well at least confine it to the U.S.

  7. But then again the man is already a clown…

  8. So the goal is no longer to have a good racing championship, the goal is to conquer the American market and sacrifice all that has made F1 this big. If you understand and applaud this Guenther, you have become part of the problem.

    1. He certainly is.

    2. Hear! Hear!

  9. Steiner makes it sound like Americans have cultural adhd. In constant need of sensory overload without any moment of rest to process or reflect.

    Especially for kids it’s an important life lesson that life isn’t a constant high of impulses.

    1. Dale Wickenheiser
      18th May 2023, 14:14

      I live in the U.S. The marketing here is constant stimulation. That’s exactly what we complain about – nobody is allowed to be bored any longer. It’s exhausting.

  10. If you take a Bic Mac and sell it around the world it works. It’s not the best food out there, nor it is the healthiest, nor the most expensive. But it is delicious and everyone understands what it is. Of course you also have to tell someone who doesn’t know what it is. If you do that well enough then everyone around the world will know what is a bicmac.
    If you take a ratatouille and go travelling with it you can basicilly do the same if you are good enough. The difference is you need two ingredients for the burger. Patty and buns. It’s very simple. For ratatouille you need tomato, pepper, zucchini and eggplant. More ingredients but if you make it right it is delicious. If you try merge these two together it will be a mess. Yes it still is a food but what do you call it. A Rataburger. Sounds cool but the end product isn’t that.
    F1 is about cars and racing. Don’t mess it up with something from overseas. Yes you can add some bits to make it more interesting but for heavens sake don’t try to force something to work together with it and then fake smile it so you can sell it for the rest of the world.

    1. What you fear is going to happen, is going to happen. In the US short term revenue beats all other objectives in the world. Whatever is left after they subtract the revenue is the next guys problem.

  11. you take a Bic Mac and sell it around the world it works.

    Patent that!!
    A pen you can eat instead of just chewing the end off!

    No I get it . I like the analogy.

    1. Great I reported myself. 😔
      A little inaccurate though @qeki.
      Used to be able to get a free big Mac if you fronted up and said
      2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce,cheese, pickles , onions on a sesame seed bun.

  12. I get the sense that most here found the goings-on at Miami cringeworthy and not really F1 as we (whoever we may be) know it. I happen to agree.

    But might it be worth considering if Steiner may have a point? Not for F1 globally, but for the part of it that takes place in the US?

    I didn’t turn on the TV to watch the driver presentation, but skimmed it on YouTube later, just to perversely confirm my expectation of its cringeworthiness. So, now I know that I need not start turning on the TV before the formation lap, and I won’t.

    So it does no damage to me, and if (and that remains an if, to be seen) Steiner is right in a US context, then I am OK(ish) with it.

  13. RandomMallard
    16th May 2023, 11:43

    I disagree with Steiner. I’ve attended 2 GPs in person, both at Silverstone, in 2018 and 2019, admittedly before covid and before the Americanisation was really taking shape like it has over the last couple of years. However, I found the entertainment experience far smoother, easier, and therefore much more, you know, entertaining in 2018 compared to 2019. I felt it was better organised, less chaotic and much more slick in how the village was set up and operated, which meant, for me, the user experience was much more pleasant.

    Furthermore, there was plenty of entertainment already on offer. It’s called support races. Both years had F2, F3 and the Porsche Supercup, while 2018 had the added bonus of a classic F1 “race” (more of an exhibition event, but just seeing those cars was enough entertainment for me). On the Sunday, this was then followed by a drivers parade in classic road cars with interviews (far more interesting than these silly introductions), followed by the main GP itself.

    This is the problem with having 3 F1 races in the US at the moment: they can’t seem to find support categories for them. And it shouldn’t be this difficult. I’m sure GT World Challenge America or GT America would be pretty happy to support and F1 weekend, it would give them plenty of exposure that’s for sure, and I personally would still love to see a potential Indycar or IMSA double header weekend similar to what WEC and IMSA do at Sebring, though I am aware this is extremely unlikely at the moment. Or, they could probably organise a support with one of the greatest motorsport series out there in my opinion, which is the Mazda MX-5 Cup, which has some of the purest and closest racing you will find anywhere. Although I’m not certain “pure and close racing” is at the top of F1’s agenda at the moment…

    1. RandomMallard
      16th May 2023, 11:56

      I also think COTD is a bit harsh on Grosjean. In F1, his pace was pretty decent, and at times it was incredible, his problem was always crashing. After all, he got 10 podiums with Lotus including 6 in a season where anyone other than a RB scoring a podium was a pretty big achievement (especially after the summer break, which is when 5 of his podiums came). He showed glimmers of these performances at Haas, particularly on debut and in Austria in 2018, but he was still very crash-prone. In Indy, he’s shown he still has plenty of pace, but once again his crashes are letting him down. I don’t know for certain, but based off some back of the envelope calculations, I’m pretty sure he would be leading the championship if he hadn’t had his crashes at Texas and St Pete.

    2. I’ve been to twenty-two (22) F1 GPs and never, ever, once did I wish for “entertainment”. BEING there was sufficient “entertainment. NOTE: Did every day of every one.

      USGP – Long Beach 1983
      USGP – Phoenix 1989
      USGP – Phoenix 1990
      USGP – Phoenix 1991
      USGP – Indy 2000
      USGP – Indy 2001
      USGP – Indy 2002
      USGP – Indy 2003
      CGP – Canada 2004
      USGP – Indy 2004
      USGP – Indy 2005
      USGP – Indy 2006
      IGP – Monza 2007
      BGP – Spa 2007
      USGP – Indy 2007
      GGP – Hochenhiem 2008
      HGP – Budapest 2008
      GGP – Nürburgring 2009
      GGP – Hochenhiem 2010
      HGP – Budapest 2010
      SGP – Barcelona 2013
      USGP – CotA 2019

      1. RandomMallard
        16th May 2023, 16:16

        @elchinero Admittedly, what I’m classing as entertainment in my example above is anything that wasn’t directly track related, but almost all of it was still related to F1. Things like the fan store, village with the simulators, pitstops, nice road cars etc. And I stand by saying that all of this was better the first time I visited. I would always make an effort to see every track session, with the exception of the 2018 F2 Feature Race when I split my time between the track action and England’s World Cup semi-final. I don’t really care for all of the concerts, driver intros or anything like that.

  14. It used to be that we went to a motor race to see cars on track.

    F1 races in many places have a lot of other races on track in between the F1 sessions and they are quite entertaining enough.

    Periods in between on track action are great for bathroom breaks, getting food and drink etc or even just getting to know other fans of motor sport from a whole heap of other countries.

    Perhaps if they want more entertainment, the promoters and FOM should focus more on ensuring there’s enough track action.

    1. RandomMallard
      16th May 2023, 11:58

      @dbradock Very similar to what I’ve put above, and I couldn’t agree more. Over covid, I could understand having limited or not support races at some venues, particularly those outside the F1 “bubble” (F2, F3, Porsche Supercup), especially when they were organised at short notice and without fans. But now, any race should try and have at least a couple of support categories. Las Vegas having no support races at all it both ridiculous and not at all surprising sadly.

  15. Nothing says a good time like going to a concert at an F1 race /s
    Last NASCAR race I went to had a concert, it was terrible lol

  16. I think Steiner’s point is in the US they are simply looking to put butts in the seats and many of those people may not be fans of motor sports, thus they have to find other ways to keep them entertained. When I attended races (Montreal GP), I’d go to the track for the on track action, in between sessions, I’d eat and find a place to relax, then I’d go into the city and party my silly brains out. And that was more than enough entertainment for me. But I’d assume that if I went to the race but wasn’t really a fan of motorsports, I’d need something else to keep me interested….like a football game.

  17. We do nothing around it – we were racing for the motorsport fan

    The pinnacle of motorsport was catering to fans of motorsport? What were they thinking?! Surely they should have been appealing to fans of baking.

    Therefore I think the sport – before Liberty Media came in – was not successful in the US

    Are there no motorsport fans in the USA?

    Sorry, but what he says makes little-to-no sense to me. Yes, you want to attract new fans, but you do that by making them into motorsport fans, not by turning F1 into e.g. a baking competition. Motorsport fans are the correct audience for motorsports, and you increase the audience by making more motorsport fans.

    This doesn’t mean the sport can’t evolve, of course. F1 has changed massively over the course of its existence and will continue to do so, both in terms of the competition itself and the event around it.

    1. The pinnacle of motorsport was catering to fans of motorsport?

      As in – anoraks. Not people who typically bring their whole family. Not always people who buy grandstand seating or hospitality booths either, as many of the ‘fans’ he refers to are the roaming General Admission types. The people who already think they know everything about it…

      Are there no motorsport fans in the USA?

      F1 isn’t “motorsport” in the way that NASCAR, Indycar or other typically American racing series are. They are much more focused racing series – focused on sport and entertainment. Giving people something unpredictable and exciting to make them feel happy and want to return – while simultaneously allowing the best performance on the day to win, no matter who they are or which team they drive for.
      F1, on the other hand, is a show where actual racing is a secondary (or lower) concern.

      F1 has targeted a specific demographic for a long, long time and has recently changed to a different one. That’s all.
      Bernie was all about captive wealthy old men – Liberty instead focus on families and attracting new audiences of people who, how did you say it…?

      Yes, you want to attract new fans, but you do that by making them into motorsport fans

      Yep, you have to show them F1 first, to then grow their interest in it.
      Keeping F1 as something they know they aren’t interested in at all won’t do it, will it…

      1. you have to show them F1 first, to then grow their interest in it.

        And yet, the first way most will see F1 is on TV, which is behind a paywall now. Liberty are doing nothing about that. How do they expect to grow the fanbase when you literally have to pay significant sums of money before you even get to see it?

        Sure, a few well-off people may go to an F1 event having not seen any/much before because of the side shows, and some of them may become fans.

        Fix the issues in the sport, the new fans will come no matter what other entertainment is available. You do need to be careful that you don’t alienate existing fans while doing so, but you won’t get many new fans by just making the trackside entertainment sparklier.

  18. If you want to understand the effect of liberty media on F1 just look at the intro before and current
    It was classy and shirt intro before now we have an over the top dramatic music and drivers are shown as some holywood cringe

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