New F1 Racing vs old F1 Racing

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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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 And I liked the aerial photograph Grand Prix previews too (although using an out-of-date picture of Magny-Cours this month was unfortunate) and I’m looking forward to seeing the Valencia and Singapore ones.

Content

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.

Overall

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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?