Grand Prix Legends hit out at state of F1

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Grand Prix Legends\' editorial hit out at the poor marketing of Formula 1
Grand Prix Legends' editorial hit out at the poor marketing of Formula 1

Anyone who’s shopped for F1 clothing, a model Formula 1 car or some other kind of memorabilia will likely have heard of Grand Prix Legends. Their adverts have been running on this site for some time.

Their new catalogue dropped through my letter box today and I was surprised to see they’d given over five pages to an editorial attacking the state of Formula 1.

You can read the full article below.

Grand Prix Legends had the following to say about the state of F1:

There’s little overtaking, little real racing and very few of the drivers ahve any personality to talk of.

The new breed of young photogenic drivers may think they have a ‘cool image’ but often they come across as little more than shop-window mannequins and, as such, fail to engage with the fans.

One day, F1 may regret ignoring its grass roots support.

I haven’t seen any mention of it on their site or the blog run by one of their team.

You can read the full article here (click to enlarge):

Grand Prix Legends editorial - page 1
Grand Prix Legends editorial - page 1
Grand Prix Legends editorial - page 1
Grand Prix Legends editorial - page 1
Grand Prix Legends editorial - page 3
Grand Prix Legends editorial - page 3

38 comments on “Grand Prix Legends hit out at state of F1”

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  1. diseased rat
    22nd July 2008, 15:25

    I think trying to use the sales of die cast Formula 1 cars as an idicator of the overall health of the sport is a rather strange concept.

    Now if a decent F1 computer game is released and fails to do well, that would be cause for concern. But die cast scale models? No.

  2. The die cast models are often overpriced, too. I used to get them when I was a kid at Christmas and birthdays, but eventually it just became too expensive.
    In many ways they’re right about F1, though. F1 fails to market itself in an appealing way, that’s why the US GP failed to maintain its position on the calendar (as well as money concerns, of course).
    I agree totally with their view that F1 may regret neglecting its core support. F1 is in danger of being surpassed by more exciting series, with MotoGP being a prime example.

  3. If people don’t think that F1 has problems, they can only watch this site on a race day. Always comments like “will it rain?”, “hope there is some rain”, “som rain would make it exciting”, and so on. If we need rain to make a F1 race interesting to watch, then there is something wrong with the whole concept.

    And something I commented on right after the German GP. Five German drivers, two German manucaturers involved in top teams, nice weather for watching a race – and still about 20% of the stands empty of spectators.

  4. GPL have a point, but its not just F1 diecasts which are expensive; production car diecasts, touring cars, Le Mans cars etc are often even more than F1 cars. Example:

    Minichamps Mclaren MP4/22 1/18: £49.99
    Minichamps Mclaren SLR Roadster 1/18: £54.99
    Autoart BMW 320si WTCC 1/18: £59.99
    Spark Audi R10 Le Mans 2007 1/18: £59.99

    Both Minichamps, Spark and Autoart have similar levels of quality.

    Diecasts are pricey in general.

  5. Chris Johnson
    22nd July 2008, 17:06

    In America, nearly any department store that sells toys offers NASCAR diecasts in at least 3 scales. They often carry multiple liveries of the most popular drivers, and they seem to sell. NASCAR appears to “get it”, while Formula One merchandise appears to be just a big money grab. Not just diecast cars, but do people really buy the £50 team tshirts and things like that?

  6. If F1 has a “lack of personalities” it’s far from being the only sport to have such a problem.

  7. I think that the GPL editorial is a fair comment on F1.

    Germany was the best dry F1 races in aeons and even then it was only because of an ill timed safety car and botched pit stop strategy.

    The marketing/media side of F1 is absolutely rubbish:
    Online Video – None, not even pay per view
    DVD – End of year season review – when was the last time you watched one more than once?
    Books – Not under FOM licence control so some good ones out there
    Team Clothing/Souvenirs – Bloody expensive
    Die-Casts – Have a big following and are much liked
    Toys – When was the last time you could buy a current F1 matchbox/corgi toy car?
    Games – No new F1 games for quite some time now, Codemasters is the next one and that creeps out next year

    F1 memorabilia is often overpriced and frequently misses the point, with innovative products suffocated by licensing agreements

  8. Well Said Ben!

  9. William Wilgus
    22nd July 2008, 18:06

    I’ve yet to read the article, but . . .

    Should prospective F-1 drivers go through a personality screening first, then if they pass that they can get a driver’s test? I hardly think so.

    But F-1 today isn’t `real racing’, it’s a parade with the wealthy teams at the front. The first thing that should happen is that all of a team’s operating budget come from F-1 itself, and every team get the same amount. The it would be up to the ingenuity and skills of the teams.

  10. Waaah, waaah, no-one’s buying our diecasts! Boo-hoo! Fact is that even cash-hungry Bernie’s merchandise site is often cheaper than GPL. Given that they are the self-proclaimed “world’s leading Formula 1 and Motorsport merchandise and diecast replica mail-order company”, perhaps GPL should look at themselves when trying to explain the state of the diecast market.

  11. I don’t think it’s about personalities or marketing. I firmly feel that good sport sells itself and if people are switching off or less inclined to start watching, it indicates a lack of excitement in the sport in question. I think that, to the layman, F1 has been struggling to shake off the “Schumacer’s Ferrari scampers off into the distance, cars go round track” image which almost turned me off five years ago.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think these past two seasons have been great to watch, but even so, only half the races have been exciting enough to talk about the next day.

    That said, F1 merchandise is ludicrously expensive and considering the current financial climate, I’m not surprised people are buying less.

  12. “Waaah, waaah, no-one’s buying our diecasts! Boo-hoo! Fact is that even cash-hungry Bernie’s merchandise site is often cheaper than GPL.”

    100% agreement there dr. vee.

    also look at the animated advert at the top of this page. it looks like something from the web circa 1999. remember when then internet only handled 256 colours? grandprixlegends certainly does :)

    “we’re overpriced and badly marketed, but don’t worry we’ll blame bernie”

  13. i haven’t got the shelf space for die casts but i do love my t shirts and the biggest gripe i have about the merchandise is that it’s just plain boring and outright ugly. take a look at some of the great looking valentino rossi stuff out there and then try finding an alonso t shirt that doesn’t turn you into a walking sponsor advert.

    prized possession: prost gp bike shirt.

  14. I think the only thing that’s killing this sport impact with fans is the “exclusive” concept.

    Mattel doing ****** Ferrari (and Mclaren too) diecasts preventing Minichamps (and others) from doing a better job.

    Sony exclusive contract for a game that left all PC fans with nothing for years.

    and, least but (sadly) not last, FOA removing EVERY F1 video from YouTube. Videos that couldn’t harm FOA income in anyway, but they could only provide a great pleasure for F1 fans whose only desire is to revive great moments of this great sport.

    That’s KILLING F1.

    Don’t blame anybody but money-starving Ecclestone for that.

  15. anyone seen the Shoemaker special edition?, how hideous is it?.

  16. I don’t agree. To me, it appears that GP Legends is seeing a decrease in their sales and is trying to correlate it to the state of F1. I think the truth is that people are just not inclined as much now to buy F1 replicas when gas is up over $4/gallon in the US and similarly high in the EU, and when commodity prices are sky-rocketing.

  17. A few years a go the 1:43 scale model price was £19.99 now this year they are £27.99 (The Mclarens are £29.99 because of there silver reflective paint!!) the fact that Minichamps have put the prices up wont help.

    I have also been told this by the model shop where I get my models from.

  18. lol keith, no not that one*, one with Shoemaker next to his Ferrari (not sure which model, i’m guessing F2004)… on a plinth.

    they also make a Button BAR04 model with the same hideous plinth and man model next to it.

    *but yeah, even more hideous.

  19. Robert McKay
    22nd July 2008, 22:02

    They’ve made some good points, but for the wrong reasons.

    I think F1 definitely could do with improving in a few key areas. I don’t think you can do much about driver personalities though – pretty much every major sport with a lot of money involved sees the same bland banal competitors. There’s too much sponsorship money and PR to be a controversial figure. The real shame is that there’s not quite enough scope for the drivers to show their personality on the track. Forgetting the actual racing, with its very restrictive regulations, how about the frowns you get from the FIA for doing donuts after a victory! (It’s like banning a player for taking his shirt off in celebration after scoring a goal…oh wait, they already do that!) We’ve been over it a few times, but it’s always worth repeating: engagement with the fans, creating drama and excitement, putting on a show and selling bucketloads of merchandise is NASCAR’s forte….

    The flipside is is that this is clearly a company throwing its toys out of the pram because business is tricky. I guess credit crunches etc. are to blame to an extent, but maybe the problem lies with what they are trying to sell and their target demographic? I’ve no doubt diecasts are pretty cool, but it does seem to me a bit more of a hobby/collection item for the slightly older, pretty hardcore F1 fan. That’s not to denigrate or insult those that do collect them – I just imagine that, for a sport thats meant to be glamorous, fast, and extremely technological, an exacting replica of the aero package of Buttons third place finishing Honda (for example) is always going to be less than mainstream. It just seems a little bit F1 1970’s style to me, a bit anoraky, like collecting train numbers, a bit exclusive as well.

    Like I say – this isn’t an insult. I can’t talk, because I have some, and I like being anoraky about my sport. But I recognise that its gotten quite a niche market now. The official attempts to bring the merchanidising into this century haven’t worked – the videogames have been on hiatus, the clothes ridiculously overpriced. And who wants to pay 50 quid for a carbon fibre mouse mat? If you try to play on the “exclusive” aspect of F1 you’ll not sell things in large quantities, even if it is a defining part of your brand. Having said that, I walked into Tesco the other day, and there was a bunch of cheap and cheerful T-shirts with the official logo blazened across them, right at the front door, so maybe the message is getting across that F1 needs to get a bit more mainstream with its merchandise.

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