F1 Racing vs Motorsport

Formula 1 magazines: F1 Racing vs Motorsport

I renewed my subscription to F1 Racing at the start of the year but soon after I started to wonder if I’d made the wrong decision.

Since its rival Motorsport left the Haymarket stable, started covering contemporary F1 again, and poached two of the stars from Haymarket’s weekly Autosport (Damien Smith and Nigel Roebuck), I’ve found at least as much in it I want to read as in F1 Racing.

F1 Racing is going through a period of transition having lost Matt Bishop, editor of the magazine for many years, who’s now doing PR for McLaren. Its glory days of the late ’90s, when it famously broke the story about McLaren’s trick braking system, now seem very long ago.

But I was starting to tire of F1 Racing long before Bishop left. When Michael Schumacher was dominating the sport in the early 2000s I got fed up with Peter Windsor’s sermons on how wonderful everything Schumacher did was, and why those who dared to suggest F1 should perhaps be entertaining as well as interesting were somehow not real fans of the sport.

Now I feel Windsor has put Lewis Hamilton on the pedestal vacated by Schumacher, and he seems to have it in for Fernando Alonso. I know others found Bishop’s haranguing of Ralf Schumacher distasteful.

My vague feelings of disliked crystallised when I read the season preview issue which included a two-page horoscopes spread. Please…

Meanwhile Motorsport is ticking all the right boxes for me. It’s got a heavy, quality feel, and lengthy articles you can really get your teeth into, by writers of the calibre of Roebuck (who I interviewed recently), Simon Taylor, Joe Saward, Simon Taylor and Gordon Kirby – to name just a few.

Their website is first-rate as well – it’s one of few magazines I can think of that have an effective online presence.

My only concern about jumping ship from one to the other is that Motorsport obviously does not have as much about F1 in it as I’d like. But then I think when did I last get anything out of F1 Racing that I didn’t read somewhere else first?

I’m sticking with my F1 Racing subscription for the time being – at the very least I want to give new editor Hans Seeberg a fair chance (even if, as Doctorvee points out, he’s come from one of those ‘porn for cowards’ weekly lads’ mags). But I bet I’ll find an excuse to pick up Motorsport most months.

Perhaps Motorsport’s getting better and F1 Racing’s getting worse. Or perhaps my tastes in magazines have changed. Do you buy either magazine regularly? What do you think of them?

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28 comments on F1 Racing vs Motorsport

  1. I have only flicked through this month’s issue of F1 Racing so far, but I have noticed one difference since Hans Seeberg became editor — a return of the old ‘paddock postcard’ feature. But this time it covers <em>four pages</em>! Early evidence that under Seeberg F1 Racing will dumb down?

  2. Four pages is dumbing down?!? Wow, what was it like last time? I ask because the only other one like it I’ve seen before was in F1 Magazine, and that only had two pages (admittedly with few or no borders between the pictures, and the pictures being a lot smaller and therefore more numerous).

  3. I regularly buy F1 Racing, but probably shouldn’t comment on its present state overall until Hans makes his mind up what he wants to do with the magazine. In a few months’ time, I’ll be able to make my mind up whether it’s better than what the previous F1 Racing sunk to or not.

    Strangely, since Motor Sport changed hands, I haven’t been able to locate a copy – they all seem to have disappeared from where I live. In fact, the only other F1 magazine I can get is Autosport, which is £3 and doesn’t have enough F1 to hold my interest very often. I pick it up only when it has something that I think will be of enduring interest to me, which these days isn’t very often. I bought it a lot more two or three years back, when it was 30p cheaper and had articles that particularly interested me more often.

  4. Dank said on 26th March 2008, 20:52

    I thoroughly enjoy reading F1 Racing and it’s one of the few magazines that I do read from start to finish within a couple of sittings. Perhaps I’m easily pleased?!

    I enjoy F1 Racing as whilst they can’t obviously compete with the Internet when it comes to how up to date their news is, their articles are of interest and usually in-depth. For example this month the piece on Force India and the likelihood of them cracking the Indian market was interesting.

    I’ve picked Motor Sport up and glanced through it but never actually purchased it. It seems very light on current F1 features. Their 2008 season preview for example seemed positively tame in comparison to others.

    Oh and everybody should buy F1 Racing this month because I’m in it asking Ross Brawn about Jenson’s rampant facial hair. Worth the £4.20 alone!

  5. I was wondering who had the temerity to ask that one! Thanks for enlightening us :)

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th March 2008, 21:05

    Nice work Dank! Didn’t Button promise to shave that ghastly mess off a while ago?

  7. I got bored reading the F1 Racing Mag……but love the Red Bull Mag printed at the races and would much rather pay to read it on the web.

  8. interesting read, the swedish version of f1 racing is said to be closed down. nothing at its website, but subcription is not possible any more. have not seen motorsport at the press stands here yet, but will try.the red bulletin is fantastic although pdf is not the best reading experience..

  9. Wesley said on 26th March 2008, 21:56

    Jenson’s beard just doesn’t look right,it’s too spotty.It’s like a bad hair comb over,if there is not enough there just shave it off.

  10. Architrion said on 26th March 2008, 22:14

    I’ve bought F1 Racing last 4 years, issue after issue, and all I can say is that I completely agree with Keith. I’m really tired of Peter Windsor’s speech on ScHamilton. I also feel the magazine has  lost in deep coverage. Even the technical page of Formula1.com goes deeper than the technical section of F1 Racing. What a pity I can`t buy MotorSport Magazine here  in Spain……..

  11. I don’t subscribe, but I used to buy F1 Racing on a regular basis. I stopped doing so a few months ago and decided to buy the season preview issue that Keith talks about in the post. I still haven’t read it all as I wasn’t too impressed, to be honest.
    I haven’t read Motorsport for quite a while. Like Alianora, I can’t get a copy locally and I don’t go into the nearest big town often enough half the time.

  12. Dank said on 26th March 2008, 22:32

    KB: I agree completely. I absolutely love the Red Bulletin. Great read and so less po-faced than just about everything else out there. Only problem is that unless you’re in the paddock during the race weekend the only way to get your hands on them is either by reading them online (horrible!), printing them off or buying possibly non-genuine ones from eBay.

    They have a group on Facebook and I put the same suggestion that they make it a publication that could be purchased and got no response. It apparently costs Red Bull £1m a year to produce so from a profit point of view it would make sense, perhaps just a subscription based system where they’re delivered via post? Opportunity missed me thinks!

  13. Peter Anderson said on 26th March 2008, 22:45

    Peter Windsor is utter rubbish, isn’t he? It’s not just the what he writes, it’s the way he writes in that stream of consciousness thing, as though he’s trying to get us in the Zone or something.It’s so boring and we read nothing else of the race, just from a single driver’s point-of-view, stacked with assumptions about what the driver was thinking.I’m a bit of a Lewis fan (in Australia, he’s not Lewis Everywhere so we’re not sick of him yet) but Windsor’s fawning makes me want to puke. He obviously likes free rides in the private jets…

  14. Christopher said on 26th March 2008, 22:50

    Minor correction: the link to doctorvee’s article on F1 Racing has the wrong domain in it.

  15. I don’t think Motor Sport is available in my area, and I do read F1 Racing, but I agree that it is in decline. I enjoyed Bishop’s interviews and have no problem at all with his giving Ralphie’s inner child a verbal spanking. Act like a child….

    I remember the original F1 magazine fondly. Aside from the Rubython factor, there was in depth analysis of a variety of issues, long interviews, great photography, the lot. Then Bernie bought it and turned it into a lad mag before shutting it down.

    I’m writing from Canada and I look forward to my monthly does of British "car porn." EVO is tops for me, followed closely by Car. This is the caliber of coverage I would like to see. Knowledgeable enthusiasts who have a real talent for writing being followed around and making green the best automotive photographers. Is that too much to ask for?

  16. Gman said on 27th March 2008, 0:17

    Being new to the F1 party, I have bought the last six or seven issues of F1 Racing at some of the local bookshops. Before getitng to the actual content, let me say that in the US the main issue it faces is being delivered to newsstands a month behind. For example, the interview with Ross Brawn mentioned earlier is not yet out in the US- we just got the season preview issue! Also, the magazine is only available at large booksellers such as Borders and Barnes & Nobel, therefore limiting buying options for American readers. I should note that I understand some of this is due to logistics, as I was once a fond reader of another British-based publication- Air Forces Monthly- for many of my younger years when I was gearing myself towards a future career in the USAF.

    In regards to the publication, I do find it to be of high quality, but since i’m so new to the game I have nowhere near as much experience with it as many of you do, and therefore cannot make the comparisons to it’s earlier days. I did find the horoscope feature to be badly out of place, and I could not even understand the message it was getitng across in the first place. We will see if the change in management makes any difference, and hopefully the publication will rise to a better standard of journalism.

  17. Nathan said on 27th March 2008, 6:13

    used to buy F1 Racing b4 i got the net again a couple of yrs ago!
    thing about the mag i didnt like was the headline would b "Kimi V JPM at mclaren, who will do better" having read the article, which only spoke of the drivers differant driving styles, i was left with more questions about it than i had before i read it! as it doesnt give u an answer, under the verdict it said something along the lines of "too close to call"
    it’s that or about what makes a driver tick, and it’s a story about the journo having dinner with the driver.

  18. Keith, Out of interest where do you stand on Autosport?

    For the record I have a subscription to Motorsport.

  19. Mark said on 27th March 2008, 7:41

    I mentioned last year that Windsor has been the biggest flag waver for modern GP where races are won and lost by following another driver, waiting for them to pit, driving a fast lap and exiting your stop in front. (exactly what Kimi did on Sunday and has done on numerous ocassions. We seem to go nuts about what a ballsy and pure race driver he is yet no-one has brought up how boring and un-F1 that tactic that is!)

    If he and the magazine were real advocates of the Sport they would be
    1. Baying for Max’s blood
    2. Pointing out what a shifty bugger Bernie is
    and
    3. Pointing out what complete rubbish a lot of F1 races are, instead of fawning over them.

    A final straw, they have Eddie Jordan as a contributer. A man whose credibility was savaged by the UK courts. Lets get someone honest to contribute eh?

  20. I’ve been having this very argument internally for the past few months so it’s interesting to read the comments here.

    I’ve had a subscription to F1 racing since ’97, not long after it began. More recently I’ve picked up a subscription to Motorsport Magazine and am starting to wonder if that will be the only one I hang onto.

    F1 racing is still a decent mag, but I think the articles in Motorsport have more depth and variety. I also like the fact that I can open Motorsport and learn something about sportscar racing in the 70’s, or some semi-obscure F1 driver. When I open F1 Racing, there is little to learn other than the topic of their ‘Wheel to Wheel’ quiz.

    I’m a Grand Prix history buff so my opinion will be pretty biased, but I will likely keep my F1 Racing subscription simply because I’m afraid of what I might miss, and not because I think it is better value than Motorsport.

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