New F1 Racing vs old F1 Racing

New F1 Racing vs Old F1 Racing, 470150

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 And I liked the aerial photograph Grand Prix previews too (although using an out-of-date picture of Magny-Cours this month was unfortunate) and I’m looking forward to seeing the Valencia and Singapore ones.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

New F1 Racing vs Old F1 Racing, 470313

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. I’m quite mixed about the changes in F1 Racing, and I’m not sure which of those feelings will win out yet. I do know that I’ll be sticking with it for the foreseeable future. Partly this is because of the price difference compared to Motor Sport or Autosport on a regular basis (the former works out over £1 an issue dearer – long story – and the latter, being weekly, is considerably more). Partly it is due to its F1 focus; the only other motor sport I’m sufficiently interested in to be in the market for a regular magazine is MotoGP, and no magazines in the UK do F1 and MotoGP together.

    I can forgive Lewis being on the front cover (and the interview itself, because I’ve never heard Lewis give an exciting interview). For one thing, it’s the British Grand Prix build-up and F1 Racing always has a focus on what it perceives to be the “Best of British” for that issue. Secondly, it’s tough being a mid-market magazine and sometimes compromises have to be made. Also, Stuart Codling (the deputy editor) went to Sidepodcast.com and explained why it was going to happen. It’s rare that sort of explanation is forthcoming, and it deserves some sort of kudos.

    I find Peter Windsor educative but frustrating. He’s very good at explaining stuff no other writer considers writing about, but he also has a habit of assuming stuff (statements prefaced with “Of course…” often turn out to be debatable) and writing false dilemmas, which mar the impression. His reports are good as far as they go, but I still miss (the original) F1 Magazine’s approach of having one page for every team plus a quick summary and stats.

    Good:
    – The cover is better – since more stories get mentioned, I find it easier to find the issue I want to find a given item of information
    – Murray Walker’s been recruited (and been given lots of space)
    – The interviews are different to before; even the questions on tired subjects seem to be asked a different way
    – A wider variety of topics (this is a big plus for me)

    Bad:
    – The loss of the stats and other analytical section seriously reduce the news section’s utility in forum discussions – it’s amazing how many times some stats from F1 Racing has helped to settle a forum argument
    – Eddie Jordan’s been dropped
    – There seems to be more emphasis on the pictures (attractive for some people, but I buy magazines for the writing)
    – The removal of the explanations between questions (though some linking stuff remains between sections, so the situation could be considerably worse)

    The overall impression is that this is F1 Racing circa March 2001, plus a shiny border on the cover and minus some of the attempted humour.

    mJohnHurt, maybe the “car elbow” Kimi was buying was to defend himself against future collisions by errant rivals…

  2. Change is generally a good thing, but in this case it has been done in a crass and artless manner. A skillful re-boot of the magazine would have kept the hardcore F1 fans onboard whilst pulling in (and educating) the casual punters.

    All this new look does is desperately try to be the Hello of the F1 world, no doubt spurred on by all the new Lewis Hamilton ‘Fans’ (ie people who will have no interest in F1 in a few years/months time once Hamilton mania dies down).

    I am ex-subscriber – but after this new look launch – I am now an ex-reader too.

  3. I finally got my hands on a copy of the new magazine, and I’ve got to say it’s nothing short of crap. Is it actually to be taken seriously as a provider of information to the fan, or is it now just a tabloid, dragged down to the lowest common denominator? Who was the idiot who decided that all titles had to be bolder, dumber and followed by exclamation marks? The “FERRARI COCKPITS THROUGH THE AGES” title page requires reading at arm’s length.

    It’s a tabloid now, a lad mag in drag. What’s next, top 100 hundred sex tips from F1 drivers? The cover of Lewis Hamilton is so badly “airbrushed” that it makes one wonder if he ever stood in front of a camera at all. And the picture captions? They’re British for God’s sake. Isn’t there anyone there with a real sense of humour?

    The only positive that I can find is that the Race Report has been renamed after it’s author. Ugh. it was dying before, I’m thinking it was just taken off life-support.

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