New F1 Racing vs old F1 Racing

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We’ve had a few discussions here about F1 Racing magazine before – I’ve been consdering junking my subscription in favour of the new-look Motorsport magazine.

This month new F1 Racing editor Hans Seeberg has rolled out a totally redesigned magazine – everything bar the logo seems to have been completely overhauled. Here’s the verdict.

New look

F1 Racing, Alonso article

A change from the slightly over-designed look of old is definitely welcome. The brief for the new style appears to have been maximum impact on every page and overall effect is rather like being shouted at by someone: “KUBICA DRIVERS F1 CAR ON THE ROAD” is the leading headline on the revised PITPASS section. Where the old design often crammed several stories into one page, now we usually get a story to a page.

It evokes strong memories of free paddock magazine Red Bulletin, albeit toned down. The photography is as striking as ever and remains one of the magazine’s strengths.

The Grand Prix reviews are now branded as “Peter Windsor’s Race Report” which is a sensible move as Windsor’s approach to race reportage is quite distinctive. And I liked the aerial photograph Grand Prix previews too (although using an out-of-date picture of Magny-Cours this month was unfortunate) and I’m looking forward to seeing the Valencia and Singapore ones.


You-know-who is on the cover looking moody and the editor himself is behind the big interview. Those of you who hated the old interviews where Matt Bishop would give us long lectures in italics on his chosen subject will probably prefer the straight Q&A format now being used.

In Pitpass more serious subjects seem to be eschewed in favour of lighter stories – Michael Schumacher on motorbikes and Kimi Raikkonen buys a car elbows aside the old F1 Expose and F1 Science pages.

I thought the Paddock Spy page showing various new aerodynamic parts would have benefitted from some technical insight into the various developments, rather than lame jokes. And why was the Honda Dumbo wing in it twice?

In terms of correspondents Eddie Jordan’s column is gone (and is not missed), Windsor and Alan Henry remain and Murray Walker joins in with two pages. A net gain, I feel. I do enjoy the new “you ask the questions” interviews which were experminted with under the old guard but seem to have become a regular feature under Seeberg.


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My first impressions based on the new style are generally positive. It’s packed with features (but will it thin out after the relaunch issue?) and seems to have a few more historically-focused articles than before.

I know some people deeply dislike Peter Windsor but I find his highly individual style a refreshing break from the norm – and he does root out some insightful details that others overlook.

On the down side, the new look is too tabloid for my taste and Pitpass had virtually nothing of interest in it. I’d rather have the kind of analytical articles that used to be found here, not dated news culled from three week-old blog posts.

Motorsport still has it out-flanked in terms of having a greater number of quality writers with Nigel Roebuck, Gordon Kirby, Simon Taylor, Bill Boddy and more. Its website is also miles ahead of F1 Racing’s.

And, though this is purely down to my own personal taste, Motorsport covers more than just Formula 1. Of course I wouldn’t expect F1 Racing to cover Le Mans or the Indy Car reunification (although there is a feature on the Peugeot Le Mans team this month) but still it’s part of the reason I’ve come to prefer Motorsport.

In the end it comes down to a matter of taste: some people like F1 Racing, some people don’t. I’m halfway between the two camps, but I’m happy to shell out an extra 75p per month for Motorsport, which I still think is the better magazine.

Have you picked up the new F1 Racing? What do you think of it?

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23 comments on New F1 Racing vs old F1 Racing

  1. George said on 17th June 2008, 12:43

    I am firmly in the camp of preferring the old F1 Racing. I think it has gone right ‘downmarket’ under the new editorship, in an attempt to gain a more general readership. That’s fine, but it won’t be me on a regular basis anymore, although I’ll flick and choose at the shelf to see if there is anything in that I really want to read – I particularly like Peter Windsor. I’d not bought Motor Sport for years, but in its new format it is superb. I’m with Keith in enjoying the other areas of motor sport being covered and I am a massive fan of Roebuck’s – signing him up was enough to make me switch.

  2. Robert McKay said on 17th June 2008, 12:57

    “Those of you who hated the old interviews where Matt Bishop would give us long lectures in italics on his chosen subject will probably prefer the straight Q&A format now being used.”

    That’s a shame: I did like those interviews. It was revealing to know precisely what the interviewer was trying to achieve by asking a particular set of questions, and precisely what they thought of the answer recieved. More illuminating than just asking the question – it was like having a body-language translator.

    Anyway, I stopped bothering with F1 Racing months ago. Not for any particular editorial reasons, it just became increasingly odd to me when you’d have 4 GPs in 5 weeks and the magazine you were reading was left behind so quickly. I tend to go to Autosport a lot more now, partly because of the wider subject range and partly because it’s more up to date, but the internet is more useful these days.

  3. Cooperman said on 17th June 2008, 13:07

    I’m with Robert McKay – those interviews from Matt Bishop were often as enlightening as they were informing. I want to find out about the real characters in F1, not just who their sponsors are!

    He may have been criticised for it, but his rant at Ralf Schumacher last year really gave you an idea of what Ralf is like to deal with.

  4. Sush said on 17th June 2008, 13:17

    I used to have a motorsport subscription.

    while roebuck makes excellent articles, too much adverts and too many historical articles for my liking now.

    other publication feel too biased towards certain drivers and teams, I feel Murray Walker, Roebuck, Mark Hughes and Ted Kravitz are the only ones that aren’t.

  5. Kevin Queally said on 17th June 2008, 13:56

    I disagree with the comment on the Eddie Jordan article. I think he gives a valuable insight into the modern F1 compared to the last decade and the improvements that can be made to the sport, especially with regard to privateers. Lets face it he’s been there……

  6. mJohnHurt said on 17th June 2008, 13:57

    Don’t have much to add having never held either magazine, but I wonder if I’m the only one who, scanning a bit to quickly, was caught out trying to figure out the nature of the “car elbow” Kimi was buying =)

  7. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr said on 17th June 2008, 14:12

    i suscribe to f1 racing and i feel the magazine was alot better 10 years ago. back then the race reports were a few pages long. Personally i cant stand peter windsors race reports they center around one driver and he spends more time talking about the practice sessions than the actual race.

    the magazine is also taking the itv approach of disregarding every driver on the grid bar hamilton. im a big hamilton fan but its beyond a joke hes been on the front cover about 7 times already. they made no attempt to get alonsos side of last year at maclaren which would have been a good interview i think.

    i still find alot of the magazine good to read and i will continue buying it i just hope this new look doesnt carry on being so hamilton orientated

  8. Journeyer said on 17th June 2008, 14:26

    I liked the Matt Bishop italics. They were in italics for a good reason, too: If you didn’t like it, you could skip it altogether. But if you like it (which I did), you could dig in and see the interviewer’s thought process at work. It’s also a pretty neat way of learning interview techniques.

    Peter Windsor can be a bit odd. His unusual style produced erratic results (at least for me). Sometimes, his articles were spot-on. Other times, they seemed to be drifting with no real sense of purpose.

    And… ANOTHER Lewis Hamilton interview? Didn’t they just do that back in January? (Although I do understand that Stuart Codling was still the EIC then.) But even so, it seems they’re running out of people to put on the cover, even if they really aren’t.

  9. TommyB said on 17th June 2008, 15:56

    I like the new issue. I think the articles are fun and interesting to read. I like all the old F1 storys which I love hearing about.

    I also noticed the out of date picture at Magny Cours (tut tut)

  10. I buy F1Racing every month and have been doing so since the August 1998 issue. In that time its changed a lot, and generally I’d say its gone downhill. I’ve not yet seen this new format, but I have a few general criticisms of things that I hope will change soon.

    Its become more of a fashion magazine than anything. The photography has always been first rate, but I have no interest in seeing full page portrait shots of Nico Rosberg looking swanky wearing an expensive suit in a Monaco casino. If I want that sort of thing, I’ll pick up my girlfriend’s Cosmo thankyouverymuch.

    I’ve always thought that drivers further down the grid have gotten a raw deal too. The top four/five drivers in any given season dominate the magazine features, which you could argue makes sense, but I wish they’d give the same sort of coverage to the likes of Sutil and Bourdais. The drivers and teams battling for 19th place put in no less effort and commitment than those that are winning and their stories deserve telling.

    Overall, the magazine seems to be slowly but continuously dumbing-down. There are a lot of well-written articles, but they’re becoming increasingly hard to spot in amongst all the glossy fashion shoots.

  11. M Smith said on 17th June 2008, 17:10

    Some of F1 Racing’s changes are for the better. But I can’t get over the new tabloid look, its hideous to me, too much in-your-face boldness, I preferred the previous look.
    Also the fact that “F1 Science” and “F1 Expose” is out now is just stupid. Even though most of the time the info was out of date thanks to the internet, some insights were fresh and the magazine picked up on the details.
    Overall, I think it has gone ever so slightly downhill. I miss the F1 Racing before the millenium.

    Motorsport and Autosport are the way to go for me now. I’ve got a supscription to F1 Racing as a gift for Christmas, but I won’t be renewing it when it expires.

  12. Theo said on 17th June 2008, 17:20

    I would rather be patronised by Matt Bishop that be treated like a tabloid-reading idiot. Big letters shouting at you, distasteful jokes and an attitude towards Hamilton that is starting to make me hate the guy even if he is a top driver. I was a subscriber until this month but i am finding F1 racing increasingly an irrelevant publication.

  13. Maybe the solution is a new magazine of the shelves – F1Fanatic.

    Written by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts!

    Now we just need a bunch of paddock passes…

  14. Robert McKay said on 17th June 2008, 18:09

    “Maybe the solution is a new magazine of the shelves – F1Fanatic.
    Written by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts!
    Now we just need a bunch of paddock passes…”

    Now THAT’S an idea! :-D

  15. Architrion said on 17th June 2008, 20:57

    I buy that idea…. sounds great. I’m sure anybody here has some valuable points that would turn Peter Windsor’s chronicles into some kind of children story. I have a single idea about F1 Racing. I like F1 because I like what it is: a very complex world where drivers and technology play its part. I want in depth coverage about technical solutions, development, tactical issues and drivers abilities. If I can’t find that stuff inside this each time more donwhilled magazine it worths nothing to me. Easy.

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