What?s the point of Formula 1?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Is F1 in good shape - or is it falling apart?
Is F1 in good shape - or is it falling apart?

Tomorrow I?m being interviewed by BBC Radio 4 for a programme called ??What?s the point of Formula 1???

They?re keen to hear opinions from passionate F1 fans about the state of the sport. So let?s have them!

The programme will be broadcast in May. Among the topics we?re going to be covering include:

  • Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing
  • The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR
  • What the appeal of Formula 1 is
  • What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year?s sadomasochism scandal
  • Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport
  • Is F1 elitist ?ǣ or is exclusivity part of its appeal?
  • The importance of technology in F1

What?s your take on the state of Formula 1? Why do you follow it? Have your say in the comments and I?ll make a point of reading them al before I head of to the studio tomorrow.

I had a couple of media appearances at the end of last year on Sky News:

Image (C) Getty Images

97 comments on “What?s the point of Formula 1?”

  1. The politics are interesting to read in between races, unless it’s really ruining the sport.

    There does need to be more overtaking, but I wouldn’t it to be too easy to overtake otherwise it loses its excitement. I prefer Football to American sports where they score constantly, a goal in football is much more exciting because its not as common. Same with the overtaking in F1.

    F1’s appeal is its cutting edge technology, with probably some of the best drivers in the world driving these machines. The use of some classic tracks also makes it more appealing.

    I think Ecclestone did a good job turning F1 into a well known sport, but he’s taking it downhill. Making a street circuit as the potential title decider is insane, imagine if last year’s Valencia GP was the title decider? Yawn. I think Monaco should stay becuase of its history, but the others are bleh.

    1. Melbourne is a street circuit no bleh really :)

    2. Wouldn’t mind Adelaide coming back to be the title decider :)

    3. Overtaking should have a simple metric.

      If a chasing driver can be prevented from overtaking a slower car only by dint of skilled defensive driving; and, conversely, if a defending driver cannot rely on aerodynamic effect to hold his pursuers at bay; then, and only then, is overtaking ‘right’.

    4. Montreal is a street circuit too, don’t hear too many ‘bleh’s’ about that. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  2. technology and engineering is fascinating in F1 along with the best drivers in the world, makes it hard not to love!!

  3. The fact that two drivers can go 18 great races minus a few (Valencia!!) With all the rain and controversy of last year and still finish with only 2 points between each other driving in different cars with different engines, is a testimony to the drivers, the teams and the sport

    1. 1 point sorry, typo but sums up F1 nicely

  4. ECCLESTONE OUT NOW!!! New tracks are ruining the sport, as most are proving to be boring street circuits. I think Technology is very important in F1 as it gives it that extra boost of excitement (no pun intended) and it is one of the biggest helps to the car industry nowadays. F1 is the pinicle of motorsport, beats NASCAR by 10000! F1 is where all the great drivers end up where sponsers are attracted to the most.
    F1 gives job opportunities to many people. ( unless you are Brawn GP)

    Keith if there is a “credits” part say my name plz lol!!

    1. I agree Ecclestone should quit now. He is holding back the viewing enjoyment of Formula 1 buy not investing in High Definition TV. He has the TV rights to the sport, he should be investing in the latest technology. After all that’s what the sport is all about! He is simply creaming off all the cash.

    2. Ecclestone loves money. F1 is just his tool to make as much money as he can. If in the process of making his fortune he kills the sport, so be it.
      Out with Bernie, I say, and the sooner the better. Let somebody who loves the sport be in charge.

  5. I am completely addicted to F1!

    It borders on being my religion, I take it that seriously. I enjoy all aspects of the sport and specifically like all the little meticulous details! I would love to be involved in the sport in some way, and should I be lucky enough to have a child that is interested, I would probably push him to be a driver if he was good enough! The only turn offs for me are when drivers moan and lodge petty appeals, and when drivers aren’t aggressive enough.

    F1 kicks bottom over any other sport in the world and I quite honestly can’t think of anything more exciting. The appeal for me is the speed and excitement, and the unpredicability, even the best bookmakers could not predict the outcome of everything in a race. Although I was originally very sceptical about KERS I think it is very exciting in the race and Lewis proved this on Sunday!

    Mosley seems to have done alot for the sport, but sometimes interferes a little bit too much and can go to far with rule changes, his scandal last year does nothing for me and doesn’t affect F1 in anyway, as we can all do what we want with our personal lives and this was just an intrusion. I do think it is time for him to step down and somebody else to take on his role and this will progress the sport, as it needs freshening up a little.

    Bernie Ecclestone is another person I believe needs to step down, he makes the sport alot of money, but I believe he is too financially motivated to take the sport further and we need to stop losing these brilliant classic races!

    Exclusivity is definitly part of its appeal, only the best of the best should succeed and it should be hard to enter as only the deadly serious should be able to enter.

    Technology is not as important as it should be in F1 and I believe new technologies should be given alot more freedom. If somebody makes a car much faster than anybody else, it should be everybody elses job to catch up. The way they slow the sport down is understandably necessary, but KERs wouuld be tried and tested by now if they left them to it, and people would have no choice but to implement it if they wanted to stay competitive. To slow the sport down they should keep changing the rules like they do, as history as shown it brings out the best of the designers and they find new ways to go fast.

    Formula One is in a steady state but very recently they seem to be internally separating it into separate formuli with the voluntary budget cap. This, i believe needs to be rectified, and they should work with FOTA to find a unified way forwards.

  6. Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing?

    No – No – No & NO – I also watch GP2 & that does not have the media coverage (thus the political side is never explored). Do i enjoy it any less? not one bit… Do i think you can escape it in F1 which is a global sport with worldwide audiences? No.

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    F1’s quality of racing is derived from its worldwide aspect of the sport & teams desire to showcase their design & innovation. I like the history of the sport which was a battle of man & machine, and the tracks were designed as such. NASCAR is built to support advertising & the quality of the action is “super imposed” (for that read spec racing) or forced, which can be felt when watching. Why have 1 overtaking manovure when you can 30, 40, 50? Because the appeal, the excitement & isn’t there. Rather 1 well thought out move over a couple of laps, than 10 forced overtakes…

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    Best machines, with the best drivers on the best tracks

    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    The man has far too much power and the dictorial posistion of Bernie & himself – whilst in the past has been necessary – is now killing the sport – a few more years at this pace the fans will leave thus causing the manufactures to leave and with them the best drivers

    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    Too much power, too much abuse of that power, too much debt & no succesion plan….

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    I don’t understand the question – i believe the sport to be the most watched sport in the world (i am not sure if this fact or common belief?) how can it then be elitist? If there is elitisim in F1 thats only because of the cost, but that is the same as any motorsport formula

    The importance of technology in F1

    Crucial – And its crucial for the sport to continue to allow the freedom of engineers to invent ways, it is not up to the FIA to tell them what to innovate or how to i.e. KERS – only 35% of the grid using it? I think the diffuser breakthrough of the Brawn/Williams & Toyota teams is fantastic & mixes the grid, adds to the theatre and creates an enoyable race.

  7. If you ask “what is the point in F1” then perhaps the question should be “what is the point in sport”. Just because F1 exists in the current financial climate doesn’t mean that it should become extinct. The benefits of the technology do filter down to more every-day usages. And I don’t necessarily mean the stuff put on the cars, I also mean the processes used to create the cars; CFD, CAD etc etc.

    Mosley should not be re-elected.

    Bernie has done a good job in the past, but now is showing signs of senility, delusion and paranoia. JYS has a very interesting take on Bernie in his autobiography.

    As for a season decider on a street circuit – what about Las Vegas? I’m pretty sure that was a season decider and that was held in a car park!

  8. It is the combination of man and machine!

    Its the excitmant of the speed and the adrenaline!!

    Its not just cars going around a track 50 odd times its where you see men risk there lives to preform and do things no off could do!!

    Its the entertainment of the sport to

  9. Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    I enjoy a bit of controversy, and I don’t find it a distraction – if anything I find it adds to the fuel of fire. It’s good to see a driver/team block out issues they’re having to come out on top at a GP weekend, the negativity in the press or whatever, because that’s what F1 (and most other sports) entails – rising above everything else to come out on top.

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    I’m not a fan of NASCAR, but I watch F1 because it is the pinnacle of motorsport, and is international. True you get NASCAR type series across the world, but it’s not the same drivers or anything.

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    It’s hard to answer this question because there’s just too much, and everyone’s point of view will differ – some will like the noise, some will like the glamour, some will like the drivers. Personally, I like the stories of the teams and drivers, the cars, the forefront of technology and motorsport, the top echelon of drivers and teams, the passion (and frustration), and its an ever evolving sport, nothing ever stays the same. If you don’t move with the times, you get left behind, and I like how the eras of F1 reflect the era of the world at the time (mostly through technological innovation, but modernly through the economy and green issues recently as well).

    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    I want to see him out, but I still think that last years episode was an intrusion of privacy that should not have happened, and therefore should not have an impact on such a decision. There’s a billion other reasons for him to be out – let it be for the right decision. I don’t care what he does in his private life as long as he’s not abusing children and such like.

    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    No real opinion, I’m unaware of the commercial success of the sport and the amount of turnover/revenue/profit it makes – chances are he’s doing a good job of running a commercial side to it (i.e. making lots of money) because he’s always selling tracks dates to high bidders and not dishing out an appropriate amount to the teams.

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    Yes and no – yes, in the way that no one is going to get close to the experience of driving an F1 car, or being an F1 driver. No, in the sense that F1 goes around the world, and whilst it may not be the cheapest thing to attend, it’s part of what makes it accessible. I think the exclusitivity of it adds to the appeal – it’s something most of us can’t even dream of becoming a part of, in any way shape or form. In a way it’s almost perverse because it’s like flaunting this spectacular world in front of the world and making people pay for the privilege…Except, I’m not bothered by it, I love it for what it is, and I don’t care if it seems elitest or otherwise.

    The importance of technology in F1

    Extremely – when the FIA have to step in to slow the cars down because the engineers are making too many breakthroughs, it makes you wonder what a car would be like today if the restrictions were even relaxed…and how would someone drive it. The innovation in F1 is part of what the sport is about – finding solutions to make the package as efficient as possible, and doing it better than the team next to you. Every 10th, 100th, and 1000th of a second counts. Yes, it introduces controversy and upset at times, but take the recent diffuser issue for example – you have to be clever to make solutions work. It shows the out the box thinking which help make the sport what it is. It’s not only innnovation in cars, take Ferrari’s ridiculed system of pit traffic lights (something we didn’t see in Australia) – in theory, it saves time but still requires that human element. Which is another thing about F1 – regardless of the innovation, it’s about how it works with the human element. It’s like a man-machine symbiosis that lives on the edge during a race. I think people forget that just because the car’s good, it automatically means champions are made. True, the car has to be good for a driver to become champion – but it’s down to the driver to get the car across the line before everyone else.

  10. On Politics, they are an inevitable part of all activities in sport or general living, and the more popular/powerfull the bigger the politics..
    Elitist? Definitely, adds to the glamour…
    Nascar is largely an American event, F1 is global, however, unless you get some of the top Nascar drivers to swap with the F1 guys it is difficult to evaluate the quality, both are exciting visually…
    Bernies contribution to the commercial side of the sport is enormous, love him, or loathe him, his cleverness should not be underestimated…
    Max has a right to his privacy, regardless of whether you approve or not…
    The technology is a fascinating side to F1, where else would you get teams of people who would spend millions developing hub-caps…I do feel that the tech should be relevant to every day cars, if possible, pushing the envelope with aero? most of us are quite happy to drive on the base of the tunnel…
    The buzz i get from F1 is a big part of my leisuretime, subscribing to forums where like-minded people hang out gives me, and a HUGE no. of people a great deal of pleasure, this is probably my 30th year of following the sport/show, long may it continue.

  11. I do find enjoyable all the political side between races, but it really suck when it gets too much envolved with the sport and the results of it.
    What I like about F1 is the technical side, the development of the cars, the little parts of them, how they changes between races, the competition of who makes the faster car and the regulation changes are good, they give a lot of work to the engineers so they can feel as important as the driver, and it’s coll that this year the cars look preety much differents between each other, and are all kind of close in perfomance (apart for the Brawns, but the rest will catch up)
    F1 its just great!

  12. Politics
    I find the competition politics interesting at times(e.g. diffuser row) as there is a direct impact on how the teams respond in their racing. But the regulatory politics is more of an annoyance as the impact on the cars is far removed sometimes.

    Quality compared to NASCAR
    Before F1 I didn’t watch any motorsport. F1 appealed to me as they had the greatest technology and technical driving. Even now, I have no desire to watch NASCAR, esp. oval racing.

    Appeal of F1
    The biggest reason I avoided F1 for so long is because it was too technical and uninteresting/predictable (every time F1 news came on, Schumi was the winner). With all the controversy and unpredictability in the last couple years, it has made F1 facinating. The background of the driver/teams and rivalries are a significant part of the appeal.

    Max Mosely
    Max makes some good point (e.g. budget cuts), but how he goes about implementing his decisions is despicable. His style of going behind the back of the teams is a turn off to the sport. Some fresh blood here would be welcome.

    Bernie
    If I cared about the politics, then yes, Bernie is doing a good job running the commercial side of the business. But his suggestions/actions quite often have a negative impact on the competition and his stubborness is also a turn off.

    F1 elitist
    I think it’s part of its appeal. As a fan, I want to know all the going-ons of the teams. But not knowing exactly what Ferrari or McLaren have up their sleeve adds a mystique. Quite often the answers come in the racing, which definitely makes it more interesting.

    Technology
    Very important to F1, but a balance must be struck. I’ve come to appreciate that the fact that both driver and car needs to be at their best for a good performance. But the frustration is when there is a big deal over some small aero part (e.g. shark fins, dumbo ears).

    Technology is good to the extent there is a material impact on racing. The 09 regulations have a big impact and is easy to understand by a casual observer. The diffuser itself can be boring, but when it has such a great impact on performance it is automatically interesting. But when I hear that McLaren spent $5M on development before Brazil, that isn’t interesting as I don’t know what they worked on and the performance gain wasn’t obvious during the race. Of course, the race itself was amazing…

  13. Robert McKay
    30th March 2009, 19:47

    Nicely done Keith, it’s good that you’re getting all this recognition for a job well done!

    To the actual question: there’s obviously many different facets of the sport that appeal, and in a way that’s why it’s so hard to govern/manage. It’s definitely true that engineering excellence, technological progress, the “scientific element” are all big factors for me. But it’s a big melting point and those things aren’t the be-all and end-all, because the human element, driver skill and bravery, the passion and history of the teams and tracks, and wheel to wheel racing are also big factors and the technology aspect can stifle that at times (e.g. launch/traction control, auto gearboxes etc.). The technology is good provided it doesn’t replace or override the driver or completely and totally determine the outcome. KERS interests me, because it keeps the driver in the loop by giving him options in how to use it. I think it’s important not to lose the human element under layers of fancy gadgets. Should F1 be entertaining for the fans? Yes. But again, should not be the sole concern above all others, as it would detract from the technical aspect, the engineering challenge and the seriousness if we had frivolous rules solely designed to appeal to people looking for a quick thrill on a Sunday afternoon.

    It’s so tricky to get the balance of all these elements – you couldn’t start a new series from scratch and get all these balanced just right, just like F1 has. It’s had to evolve over a long period of time to get to where it is today.

    The politics is in many ways annoying but I think it’s a big part of the appeal for me, oddly enough – it fleshes out the sport from just ten teams assembling for a race every other week to something much more than that, the continual struggle of the teams to outdo each other, each running as hard as they can to not be left behind by the others. The politics add to the story. GP2’s got some great racing, and often it seems better racing than F1, but it lacks the personality and dare I say it soul of F1, precisely because it doesn’t feel like there’s anything going on outside of the times they turn up to race. Maybe some prefer the lack of complications that gives and you don’t get the frustrations of theings like “diffuser-gate” or “mass-damper-gate” but those things are precisely what I think are part of Formula 1’s blood. Does it distract from the racing? It can do, yes, although I think the.

    The other thing that I like is that it’s a chance to follow an entire sport. Everybody turns up in one place – it’s not like football where there’s other teams playing in other games at other times in other places…the whole focus is boiled down into one place at one time.

    Do I think Bernie is doing a good job of running the commercial side? No, I don’t. I think he’s done a lot of what made F1 what it is today but between him and Max they’ve been in power too long and become a bit too much like that which they fought to replace with their own war against the governing body. Bernie just seems greedy now and lazy with it – if the sport wants to embrace new ideas like HD or the internet it seems that Bernie wants someone else to do it and him to take his cut from their efforts. Tracks aren’t to hold races to make profits any more, they’re supposed to be government-funded, if you listen to Bernie, even though the sport has insane amounts of money swilling round it. The sport spends too much effort and time trying to service a debt for CVC that forces it to make decisions based not what’s best for the sport, but what’s most profitable, which is not a good thing in the eyes of a fan. I’m of the opinion that it’s time Bernie and Max both retired with a sense of dignity and let some new blood come in without feeling the need to manipulate the process and groom someone to carry out the job in their image.

    Is Formula 1 elitist? Yes. It’s got to be, in a way, to be the pinnacle of the sport. Can it be too elitist? Most definitely, it can. It’s certainly off-putting for the fans, if you want to compare it to the accessibility of, say, NASCAR, who are much more proactive in appealing to the fans whereas F1 rather relies on them being fanatical enough to care come what may.

    So, to sum up – what’s F1 about? In terms of motorsport, it’s about balance I think. Other forms of motorsport might do one of the many, many facets that constitute the sport much better than Formula 1 does it. But Formula 1 gets overall balance much better. It’s not perfect, not by a long way, but as a sum of its parts it has no real rival in my view.

    1. Just a thought, But I think that Bernie recognised the fact early on that F1 had to be an entertainment first, for it to succeed as a ‘sport’…He aquired the rights at a time when no-one, including the teams, were interested,his return on that investment became an envied one, and now he is pilloried because of that success. F1 is awash in money, true, that is because of Bernie, if the accountants take over will it stay that way?

  14. I love the political side of F1, it gives me my daily fix of drama. Furthermore, the more I study the behind the scenes action the more exciting the race becomes. Example, following the demise of Honda and Brawn GP emerging in it’s place.

    I’m going to combine these into one answer, “The quality of racing in F1”, and “What the appeal of Formula 1 is”

    I live in America so people often ask me why I watch F1. I always tell people the same two reasons. The cars, and the tracks. The cars are most advances racing vehicles in existence, there design has one goal, go as fast as possible around the track. The reason I don’t like NASCAR is because the cars are not designed for racing only, they still want them to look like a street car of sorts. Open wheel is only about performance.

    Tracks, for one there is a blend of tracks. F1 has Race, Road, and Street. As opposed to Ovals(fail). Oh I’m taking a left hand turn, oh another left, oh another left. F1 tracks have excitement, I like sitting around studying the layout of these tracks; past ones, new ones, young ones, old ones. These tracks are works of art, ie. Spa, Monaco. Now, I do wish the FIA regulation were a bit more lax so we could see places like Laguna Seca, or Mountain road coarse with vicious elevation change like pike peak. But, they are a far cry from the lame ovals all over this country.

    I don’t know that much about Max, and really don’t care. I do care about what regulation the FIA put in place or take away.

    Bernie on the other hand I do have some beef with, seriously, who following the sport doesn’t. We will leave him as a person out of this, but his management style is great for making himself a lot of money, which as a businessman I can understand. Were I have problems is when his greed interferes with the vitality and path the sport takes. Im glad Bernie can negotiate his way to 50 million a race with a country dieing to get into the sport. I have problems because this leads him to demand that amounts great than profitability allows, which translates to if you government won’t pay, “expletive” you. The list is growing USA, Canada, and now Hockenhiem is having problems. So are many of the other race circuits because of the cost. The US, I understand our track sucked, but Canada has a really great circuit that we’re not seeing because the Canadians don’t have anymore lunch money to give.

    And the medal system what the heck. He is trying to cram a system down the throat of the sport it unanimously doesn’t want. His love of dictatorship reminds me fact democracy isn’t perfect but it still beats Bernie.

    The last two go together as well, The sport isn’t elitist, it’s very expensive and is very competitive. Technology is what makes F1 different it’s a sport about the team not just the driver. Engineers, mechanics, and drives all work together. If the care is stock like in A1 then there is less room for the teams to show there engineering abilities. Part of the reason the greatest car manufactures compete in this sport is to show there company has the best talent in making cars. You don’t see grand unveiling of a teams new car in nascar do you?

  15. Robert McKay
    30th March 2009, 19:49

    Sorry, I didn’t realise that was so long, I think I got a bit of typing diarrhoea there!

  16. The political side is a must for F1. It helps keep the interest. F1’s technology is the main attraction for me. The future of F1 looks excellent if budget caps are enforced for ALL teams.

  17. some pepole do it for money it is just a bussines but there is also a bunch a big bunch of other pepole that say racing is all that i live for.
    They are watching F1 not just for the results but for strict racing not only for P1 but every position and when they are watching races thay dont care about politics about money where they are going to race but they just wanna watch it over internet on one tv on pc watching from different points of view manny times watching live timing and sometimes even when they dont have much money they go and watch race live on a circuit

  18. Hope it helps :)

    Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    The fans don’t enjoy the polities, they enjoy the cars, the drivers, the races, not the commissars after race decisions or the bias they can be sometimes…

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    From what I know – it’s better (still). You can compare NASCAR more to A1GP – the pack all together, not a lot of differences between the cars…

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    For me, ever since I can remember as a little kid in the 80s, I loved F1 – when I saw a race like my heart beat faster when the revs shakes the stands, It’s love, because you can’t really explain it. And it’s got nothing to do with A team or One driver… Let’s just say I hated Shumacher and still didn’t miss a race in all those year we all knew he was the winner before starting. It’s got to be love man :)

    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    I think anybody else in any important place in any organization in the world would have disappeared. Even with all Auto Club from all over the world telling him to retire, he (and a very powerful bobby behind him) managed to stay and today it look like nothing happens… It’s incomprehensible he is still there and even more if him run again. But the not good, but better news are that Jean Todd have already cut all ties with Ferrari and said goodbye to everybody. He was rumored as a possibility at the time… I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I just hope he wins and he don’t rule FIA thinking he is still a Montezemolo employee…

    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    I did do a good job for quite some time… Now the answer is a promptly NO. There must be alternatives – I can’t believe nobody else can do we he does.

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    If Formula One is the top of motor sports competitions, of course it must be elitist, or else anybody with 2 arms could drive a F1 car… Not even money buys (I think) a super-license, if the driver is not good.

    The importance of technology in F1

    It’s perhaps the most important role of Formula One in the Global Society, all the new technology we can take from F1 cars to street cars and more. If the powers that be start (as they did) to prevent teams from improving the cars, to find new and better solutions for every aspect of the car, they are killing that very important contribution that F1 can and already has given to Global Society.

  19. Well big questions: 1 – do we like the politics – yes and no – we like to get our points over and you have the blogs to prove that.
    2 – The quality of F1 compared to nascar – the F1 cars do turn in more than one direction.
    3 – There does seem to be a certain glamour/thrill on the better cicuits – some of the newer circuits are boring.
    4 – Max was re elected purely by offering certain deals to non mainstream nations officials – as far as habit of years – pathetic – should be away
    5 – Bernie doing good for F1 – not anymore – he probably has it in hock with this company that took over F1.
    6 – Eletist – yes and no as others have said it has wide appeal rich or poor – remember how the poor of brazil were so wanting massa to win.
    7 – If teams are allowed we can see lots of developments – but also there is a lot of wasted money by rule changes every other month it seems.
    PS – I love and hate it at times – some of the people who try to influence the sport – ie branson – but maily love it because of the speed and clashes of the personalities involved – just wish I had the oney to travel around and see some of the races live

  20. Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing
    I do enjoy it up to a certain extent. I think without all the politics the racing would be a bit dull. It would be the same as covering the race without any commentaries and pre/post race interviews.

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR
    Nascar sucks. That is all I can say about it. It is so American, cheap entertainment, no strategy just pedal to the metal. 100 cars racing around an elliptic track (if you can call it so) for 1000 laps. I don’t see anything exciting there.

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is
    The speed, the pinnacle of engineering, the excitement of not knowing who is going to win, who is going to finish and in which place (except for MS years), all the marvellous looking cars (although spoilt a little bit this year), etc. etc. etc.

    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal
    Mosley – I think he should have stepped down right after the ‘incident’ and not raise hell in media and among fans. But this is just another case when those above don’t give a damn about anyone else.

    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport
    Speaking about Bernie – to me he’s a controversial person in this sport. From one point of view we can partially thank him for what the Formula1 is now. From another point of view, it looks like all those billions that he already has are not enough and he is trying to generate as much money for himself as humanly possible because he realizes that he hasn’t got that much time left to be in this God-like position. At the end of the day he’s 79 already. Usually people don’t even live that long :)

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?
    I guess it is. I like the fact that the teams remain the same as well as drivers. There is always someone to support. I think if it became cheaper (or should I say cheap), then suddenly there would be many others trying to join the scene. We would end up with 30 cars and the crowd syndrome.

    The importance of technology in F1
    Definitely. I personally like reading about all those small details like diffusers, amount of fuel before the race, kers, front wings, spoilers, etc. I think it adds a lot to Formula1. The whole thing would be so much more boring without all those features.

    I guess this more or less sums my thoughts up about F1.

  21. John Alan K.
    30th March 2009, 20:18

    SPEEDTV in the US needs some commercial free competition. We in the USA have to wipe away the fog of commercials and annoying graphics to see only a portion of the race. Air F1 on BBC America!

  22. Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing? Distraction.
    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR? Drivers quality, car appearance and tracks
    What the appeal of Formula 1 is? Competitivity
    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal? Power game…Mosley and Ecclestone have been good sport managers, ethical opinion is a different thing.
    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport? He absolutely is. The only thing I dislike is missing great old tracks.
    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal? It’s a part of the appeal
    The importance of technology in F1? Fundamental.

  23. I think f1 provides interest for a wide public viewing from the casual sunday race watcher to the avid weekend follower. In terms of “whats the the point” of it I think the emphasis is really on the entertainment side with opportunity for sponsorship following this. For its technical importance to the motor industry there is an element but WRC offers the greater opportunity for road car innovation.

  24. what is the point of f1?

    it’s something to look forward to. if you are having one of the worst weeks of your life, saturday and sunday roll around and for a very,very few hours you can just sit and focus on something that doesn’t kick, bite, maime or even really deeply affect you personally and just escape.

  25. Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing
    — As long as it’s not ruining the sport, it’s alright to have a little bit of politics every now and then. In fact, it adds to the excitement of the game.

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR
    — It’s much better than NASCAR because of the diversity. In NASCAR there is little-to-none emphasis on teamplay. Even the commentators have a hard time telling us which team each driver races for. Sometimes they neglect the whole team issue and only focus on the individual race drivers, which is a real shame. Plus it isn’t as diversified as Formula 1 in terms of where each team comes from. Formula 1 is a global league of motorsport teams. We’ve got Force India, next year we’ll have F1 USA, we’ve got McLaren from Britain and Ferrari from Italy, etc. Plus the venues take place all around the world, as Im sure in the coming years we’re also going to see Middle Eastern or more East Asian Formula 1 teams added to the mix.

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is
    — Everybody likes a race, it’s the commonest and simplest form of competition. Plus, it involves vehicles. It’s a modern-day recreation of medieval horse-racing antiquity. It has a lot of prestige in it. Visiting Ferrari’s F1 headquarters is equivalent to visiting Real Madrid’s stadium. There’s a lot of richness into it. The teams have their massive fanbase, according to car-lovers and citizens of certain countries, etc. The overtaking in the races are appealing, the strategies used, the fact that no circuit is completely identical to the next, etc.

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?
    A little bit elitist. Afterall, people of all economic backgrounds talk football. But not everybody talks Formula 1. Football, for example, is a game which often starts in a guy’s backyard or local street. Formula 1 has a little bit of an attitude set with it, it only involves middle to upper classes. Plus, chances of becoming an F1 race driver is lower than becoming a footballer, etc. So all these contribute into making it an elitist sport. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. But is it a good thing? Certainly isnt, since at troubled times, people are more willing to save football than to save an elitist sport.

  26. *The Politcs can get annoying some times, but can add an interesting sub plot to the season.

    *The Racing is by far the most Elite in its Genre, what skill is required for Nascar to drive in a circle all day?..

    *The appeal is that, it is exciting, fast paced, and very entertaining, also you gotta love the booty on display, you see from race to race!!!

    *Spanky, has weirded me out a bit and i doubt any1 can now take him seriously anymore as head of FIA..

    *Bernie is starting to irrate me all he cares about is the $$$$$$ and doesn’t seem to listen to the fans/teams or drivers, some of the race’s hes challenging or has allready dropped of the calander are gettin stupid..and as for his medal system, dont get me started on that.

    *I feel technology is important to F1, but it depends how u fabricate on this, for instance i feel that KERS is a stupid idea, it cost’s to much money and for what worth? It hasnt exactly increased overtaking, if anything it just prevents the cars carrying KERS being overtaken..x

  27. New tracks are all right, but not at the expense of great historic tracks. Although races like Hockenheim seem less important since it was changed. Interlagos is a great finishing race, although to be fair Abu Dahbi may be a surprise. Mosely and Ecclestone seem to be ruining the sport with ridiculous proposals such as wins not points and budget caps. This is the political side I don’t like, and regardless of my dissmal opinion of Mosely, he should not be re-elected after promising to resign.

    Approaching regulations for next year aside, the racing is fantastic. The new regulations seem to be working well, creating better overtaking. This year’s first race and many last year were a true spectacle, and it looks like over-taking will be easier this year. The personalities in F1 seem to be improving. The resurgence of Button has created someone very grateful and less faceless than some others. Kubica’s apparent determination, Vettel’s enthusiasm and Button/Hamilton’s Britishness (always better if there’s a ‘home’ driver to get behind) make the races more fun to follow. I’ve warmed to the look of the new cars too.

    However, although systems like KERS are interesting, they leave a confusing message coming from a sport that on one hand wants to lower costs and help the environment, and on the other hand indulges in systems that cost more than an entire car may cost in a few years (if the two-tier regulations come into effect) and are very un-environmentally friendly due to battery use/disposal.

    I also love the development, so although regulations making overtaking simpler are good, teams’ abilities to interpret the regulations and improve their designs should not be much more restricted than they already are. As someone hoping for a career in F1 engineering, this is very important for me.

    So, F1 is a great sport, fun to watch, and even if minimal technology is transferred to the road, F1 is still a brilliant demonstration of what can be achieved. Like land speed records it can be hard to justify but has the same kind of aim with its ability to push limits, while also providing a great spectacle that can be enjoyed on a more personal level by supporting the highly skilled drivers. I don’t see how there’s any more or less of a point to it than there is to any other sport- it entertains. The only things threatening it is the politics, which seem to go against fans’ real desires.

    1. oh, and fota should have some influence over the introduction of regulations, as they know what’s possible to implement, what’s beneficial to all teams- whether a frontrunner or bachmarker- and seem to know what the fans want.

  28. I could probably write a nice long post, but I think I’ll keep it quite simple:

    F1 is great. But would be even greater without Max and Bernie trying there hardest to ruin it. Thank god for FOTA.

    1. their (sorry… unforgivable)

  29. theRoswellite
    30th March 2009, 20:56

    Congrats on the BBC gig…..they picked the right guy.

    I agree with almost all of what has been written. Obviously some very dedicated and knowledgeable fans follow this site. (Mr. McKay should never restrict his comments)

    I would like to emphasize one point, which comes from an old guy. (following the sport, with passion, since 1959)

    F1 has a long and very illustrious history, and in our modern world one thing you can’t create, even with money, is a true legacy developed over time. As many of the present fans grow older, assuming they will always follow F1, they will develop their own memories surrounding the special events of this sport. Those memories are very enriching and often become landmarks in our own enjoyment of life.

    For millions of us, all around the world, F1 is a passion, not simply an “interest”.

  30. Politics are definitely part of the show. When you follow the sport for some years you understand why Bernie is considered one of the best of the negotiators in the world. (just think back on the way he dealt with the Grandprix Manufacters Association, negotiatoing deals with a few teams, et voila it all collapsed and Bernie won – how will it end with FOTA…??)

    Speaking of Bernie
    he has done very much for the sport, but he should negotiate new countries better: I would say it shouldn’t be that hard to convince new F1 countries that the historic circuits are an esential part of the sport and that therefore the new countries need to pay an even more astronomous sum of money to enter to help finance the historic events. (just think about the extra amount of money for Ferrari -why not extra money for SPA, Silverstone, Canada to name a few)

    Nascar
    it sounds different, and I don’t like the sport. But the sound of Nascars racing an oval is something special

    Max
    private is private. And I hope the budgetcap proposals are just part of the negotiations to make sure that there will be enough teams in the future. For the rest: change of blood would be good

    elitist
    yes: I’ve been only to Hungary, because it is the ceapest race on the calender… just look up the prices for Spa or Monaco…
    But as others point out: it is part of the attraction

    technology
    very important! so I would say: no budget cap at all! Just ‘cap’ other things, like (indeed) tests or downforce or the amount of fuel you can use during a race or …

  31. Aquatic Mammal
    30th March 2009, 21:17

    Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    We love it. You know we do. It’s a soap opera played by billionaires who bear no relation to our lives. Totally engaging.

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    NASCAR has nothing. A bunch of lazy American sedans loping round an oval. Where’s the driver skill? No corners, no braking, nothing.

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    It’s a awesome display of technology and skill. I accept that if you’ve only ever seen it on the telly, you might not understand just how fast / exciting it is.

    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    He makes me want to puke. Right wing, controlling, money grabbing and now depraved too. Yuck.

    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    Bernie uses the sport to service massive debts, which is sad because some of that money should go back in to the teams, who could be less sponsor reliant and back into motorsport, which is sadly lacking in affordable, grassroots formulae. His bent towards Tilke Schmilke is a problem also. F1 can’t afford to alienate its fan base or lose exciting historic races. That said, overall, the Bern has been a very positive force in the sport and has been a great influence in making it the global brand / force it is today.

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    It is elitist. Silly question. All competitive sport is elitist. One Mr Hamilton, though, demonstrates that you don’t have to be rich to get in. It does help though!

    The importance of technology in F1

    Paramount. See NASCAR!

    What time are you on? I’ll be listening

    AQ

  32. Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing It is interesting up to a point – the point at which it interferes with the racing. Most of the politic-ing is an unnecessary by-product of the amounts of money involved and the appetities for power of those involved.
    A little less ego and a little more clear minded management would be a good idea.
    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR
    I’m sure that NASCAR drivers are very skilled, but as it is so difficult to appreciate the actual speed of the cars on a flat-out oval, it’s hard to appreciate the skill. Watching the left-right-left flick down and then up Eau Rouge at max speed is a lot easier to appreciate as real skill. To do that and then pass a competitor on the following straight shows real racing spirit.
    What the appeal of Formula 1 is It’s the ultimate spectator adrenalin rush for me. Nothing else does it like F1. The ear-splitting howl that drums into your chest as the cars catapault passed you on the first lap, the inch perfect driving skill corner after corner and the relentless aggression as one driver stalks and passes another, set my heart beating stronger and faster.
    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal
    Max is an embarassment to the entire world of racing. Try it yourself; “I like car racing.” “Oh yeah, isn’t it run by that pervert who likes being spanked?” Now how do you feel?
    This would only be mitigated if his management style and practice had brought great benefit to racing in general and F1 in particular. Unfortunately his dictatorial, combative, insulting and dismissive personality will only leave F1 confused and divided.
    There is nothing more destructive than someone who believes they are always right.
    His re-election would only be disasterous, and could goad the manufacturers into starting their own series. In some ways I think that would suit Mosely, as he would then find it a lot easier to bully the remaining independent teams and ‘garagistas’.
    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport Difficult to be positive here, but I am aware that Bernie’s first duty is to maximise the benefit for the shareholders of CVC. Perhaps that suggests that the commercial rights to F1 should not be owned by a private company – but that’s another argument. Bernie is a self-serving salesman. He will be economical with the truth, bend the truth, as well as blatantly lie in order to maximise his earning. This is particulalry ugly to watch when he is wrenching unfeasable payments out developing economies for the right to stage F1 races, while knowing that they can only lose money on the event.
    Bernie is fundamentally unsuited to his current role.
    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal? F1 is not in itself, elitist. It has become elitist by virtue of the money involved in it and the hangers-on who follow the money. There is nothing more sickening than the sight of a c-list celebrity helicoptering-in to an F1 grid in order to be seen with one driver or team manager or another. This degrades the bravery of the drivers, the determination of the crews and the skill of the designers. It makes them into show-biz accessories.
    Forget the corporate hospitality tents; the real fans are the ones who walk-in to the circuit and camp the whole weekend so as not top miss a moment of the action.
    The importance of technology in F1 Innovation and invention. Vitaly important in this field of racing. The technical appeal is like an army lining up on the battlefield with a secret weapon. It’s like a having a secret goal-kicker on your team. It’s the push that takes the sport forwards, that gives it vitality and renewed urgency every season.

  33. There is no real point to any sport but it is a release from day to day mundanity. For some its the horses, others football or F1. Man needs something pointless to distract him from the ultimate futility of life.

  34. * Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    I used to like it. it’s now starting to put me off the sport. For the first time ever I was so sick of all of the rubbish coming out over the winter that I just Sky+ the race and watched it when I woke up rather than getting up early. I no longer buy Autosport or F1 racing because that’s all they ever write about.
    Every time there’s something interesting going on it is spoiled by Bernie or Max coming out with stupid statements or the stewards making stupid decisions.

    * The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    Hard to compare although the amount of overtaking isn’t as important to me as the number of chances there are to overtake. In NASCAR the cars can overtake on every corner of an Oval, most modern F1 tracks only have two or three passing places per track.
    The aerodynamic developments have also lead to a reduction in drafting while the reduction in cars racing means the field tends to spread out into several small groups unless the safety car comes out.
    The most telling thing is that the best races are always wet races these days or ones that have several safety car periods, too many dry races are processions.

    * What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    How do you explain Love ?
    The first time I saw F1 on TV as a child I fell in love, while we’re going through a rough patch at the moment I still love the sport.

    * What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    Hate is probably too strong a word to use so I think I’d say I dislike Max a great deal. I don’t care what he gets up to in the dungeon but I find it embarrasses the sport to have the FIA President caught out by the newspapers in that way. His lack of judgement is more damaging than what he was actually doing.
    I hope & pray he doesn’t manage to get himself re-elected as I think he’s one of the most divisive people in the sport and is more concerned about himself than the sport.
    I’d guess most fans think the same way about Max that the British coal Miners think about Thatcher.

    * Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    Ha ha haaa, that’s a good one !
    The guy is stuck in the 70s as far as promoting the sport is concerned.
    Where’s the Hi-Def ?
    Where’s the on-line content ?
    Where’s the engagement with the fans ?

    You do a better job of promoting F1 with this website than Bernie has managed with a multimillion pound budget and all of the commercial rights.

    * Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    Depends what they mean by elitist ?
    Lewis has proven that a “normal” kid can become world champion, hopefully he will open doors to a lot more “normal” kids so they can get their chance to prove themselves in the lower formulae.

    As far as the teams are concerned I used to love the small independent teams like Minardi & Jordan and wish they could still afford to take part in the sport, even if they have little chance of ever winning.

    * The importance of technology in F1

    Again, depends on the technology they’re talking about.
    Aerodynamics are an irrelevance for me and I’d be happy to see most aerodynamic devices banned from the sport.

    Engine technology has stagnated over recent years, every time the teams have developed new technologies they’ve been banned: laser ignition, turbo’s, KERS and many more have all been banned on safety grounds so the teams are all running 15 year old technology for the engines and have instead gone down the material science route but we’ve also seen many bans in this area too.

    Suspension is also stuck in the 80s and since active suspension was banned we’ve seen few major developments in suspension technology.

    Tyre technology development is almost non-existent due to the restrictions of the rules and amplified by the single tyre supplier.
    MotoGP has managed to revolutionise motorbike tyre technology in recent years, so much so that the new tyres I bought for my bike a few months ago made my bike feel like a different ride entirely. The multi-compound technology has made a very real improvement to my riding style & safety.
    F1 has failed in this respect, if you look for new car tyres you’re more likely to check out the WRC tyre makers than F1.

    There doesn’t seem to be any “environmental” technology, even KERS doesn’t really fall into this category because of the restrictions placed on its design.

    F1 likes to sell itself as the pinnacle of motor technology but in reality the Bugatti Veyron is a bigger technological development than a modern F1 car, the restrictiveness of the rules since the 80s has meant the teams are just refining existing designs rather than coming up with something new (this is also the main reason for the huge increase in costs, in my opinion). The only real developments we’ve seen have been aerodynamic and they have tended to make the sport worse, not better and also have few, if any, production car relevance.

  35. I adore F1, as do many people commenting here and I’m sure they can articulate that better than I can. However I believe that Max Moseley has dragged my sport, its reputation, and all the people associated with it through the gutters. He doesn’t even have the decency to resign, and appears utterly unrepentant for having hired five girls for sex.

    This wasn’t him going to a strip club, this was Moseley abusing his power by hiring people, with less money and influence than him, almost certainly without his background and advantages, and paying them to humiliate and be humiliated by him. In short he knowingly exploited others weaknesses to commit an act that, without the money, they would never have agreed to

    Does it affect his ability to do his day job? Given that his job is at least partly based on his ability to deal with others and persuade them of his point of view, and partly to deal with the public, and partly to actually have influence on the morality of the sprot by ensuring deaths and injuries do not occur, then yes, it absolutely affects his ability to do his job.

    Moreover if he is so morally bankrupt as to have no contrition, to not view an act which is considered illegal in almost all forms as anything other than normal what else might he consider normal. One has to ask would he consider taking a bribe to change the rules? Would he adjudicate multi-million pound disputes in a biased and unfair way? I would agure that he demonstrably already has – just look at the way that Mclaren were treated vs other teams caught in similar positions. Look at the decisions that always seem to go with, not against, the red cars.

    So lets get someone in with some morals, some judgement and some integrity in and throw out this rodent in the cheese pile.

  36. Controversial Questions. Controversial answers.

    F1 is the pinnacle of motor racing. Every driver who ever raced knows perfectly well that if he was any good; really good; F1 was and is the only form of racing where he could prove it.

    F1 was always intended to be as equal a competition between the worlds best engineers as between the worlds best drivers. That best of the best in every aspect of F1 can only be elitist, Otherwise it can no longer be the very best. What is happening now is that outside pressures ( environmental, economic, political ) are diluting the purity of the F1 concept.

    It must remain at the very forfront of advances in technical expertise or it will die.

    Ecclestone and Mosley have done extraordinary things to turn F1 into the worlds most important motor racing sport. But the huge beast that they have created is completely different to the narrow specialist sport they started with. They no longer have the skills or powers to develop F1 in the most beneficial way.
    Their time is over. They both must go….now !

    Nothing good in pure motor racing ever came out of the USA. They don’t know how to design and make cars. They don’t know how to race cars. Their whole sporting concept is alien to the rest of the world.
    The world plays soccer. The Americans play a game they call football. A very large proportion of the worlds population plays cricket. The Americans play baseball.
    And Americans will never invent or run a decent motor racing formula.

    Finally, there are people running BBC radio who have a pathological hatred of anything that requires individuals to be superior. F1 produces superior individuals as drivers, engineers, managers, entrepreneurs to a standard and in numbers that blow the mind. So F1 as a concept is certain to be anathema to these social engineers. The very fact that the title of the programme you are to be interviewed in Keith; questions the raison-detre of F1 tells you all you need to know about some BBC attitudes.

    In the rain at Monaco last year. In the rain at Interlagos last year. In the extraordinary emergence of Brawn GP and it’s stunning performance in Melbourne last weekend. In a hundred other amazing F1 races. There is the glory and magnificence of F1. I challenge anyone to better it.

    1. Love this Leon, spot on. Thanks.

  37. * The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR
    > Much better with new regulations; in my opinion. Melbourne was fantastic! You cannot compare F1 to NASCAR!!

    * Whats the appeal of Formula 1 is
    > Technology and Engineering that establishes diversity and competition.

    * Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport
    > From a North American perspective; ****!

    * Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?
    > It’s elitist only because of envy.

    * The importance of technology in F1
    > The most important by default; F1 would not be F1 if not for technology. It would be just another spec race if not for technology.

  38. * Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    I enjoyed this when I was feeling everyone had the same goal, which was the sport itself. Now I feel that some are just trying to make money for themselves without even thinking if that is good or bad for the sport. So I dont like most of the political arguing there is now.

    * The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    hmm, way better :p. No, i dont follow nascar, every now and then i fall on some footage, that bores me so fast. I dont feel as in F1 that the drivers are pushing to the limits. the overtaking moves are too often “easy”, without risks.
    But as you might have guessed, i havnt made the effort to interest myself in it, so …
    I believe nascar doesnt run while raining or wet. that is a little girly I think. :)

    * What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    best drivers in the world pushing the best cars in the world to the limit. real racing it is.

    * What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    joining the first answer, I think they are the worst person right now in the sport, and they are at the worst positions: the ones with great power. Oh boy I would be glad if they would fall in love together and go do their dirty tricks on an isolated island…

    * Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    I start being worried of an alzheimer disease, or some kind of dementia about the man.

    * Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    It might be. But even non specialized people can enjoy what it is : fast car racing each other on different “real” track (as opposed to nascar fake tracks).

    But if you want to go deeper, there is a lot of matter, and that is sweet for all of us F1 fans. The fact that there are politcs and that there is some area that are unknow to the public makes it even more interesting. It is because we dont know everything that is going backstage that we have to inform ourselves on all the things possible to know, in order to make the best possible hypothesis on what we dont know. (hope I’m clear)

    * The importance of technology in F1

    That is clearly personal taste. I find it very interesting. this is the pinnacle of motor sport. These are the best cars.

    What’s your take on the state of Formula 1?

    Max and Bernie are (i dont know why) trying to show that they have power, it is an ego affair. How can they be so out of the line and pretend to do what it is best for the sport.

    Apart the thing already stated above, I find very interesting the budget cap coupled with no technical restriction. I believe it cannot be so simple as that, and there is a need for some basic rules (to be defined), but the idea sounds great to me.

    Why is there still not HD broadcast ? And what official internet stuff ? That is real bad. Surely some genius working too much at FOM.

    Why do you follow it?

    cause i love the racing it gives, love the cars and the moves the drivers do.

    So, have fun with the bbc interview, that is great, you surely are the right person. F1Fanatic is the best.

  39. For me it’s the human stories, they’re better than any soap. Someone’s already said you couldn’t write a film script about the drama of the last two races, Brazil and Australia, no-one would believe it…

    The quality of racing looks promising doesn’t it? The new aero rules give us a bit more overtaking, but not a mindless amount – it’s still a challenge and a mind game to get past another driver. KERS can only add to this for me, because it’s deployed tactically.

    False elements like different fuel loads and silly soft tyres will hopefully go away next year.

  40. 1)All those politics kept off-season interesting, but now I would rather concentrate on racing – until winter comes.
    2)I dont know much about other series, watch it from time to time, but F1 is F1, its different. Of course there are areas where F1 can improve by “stealing” some things from Nascar etc., but these things are in media and fan relations mainly, not the racing itself.
    3)Its European roots, high-end technology, great drivers and its history.
    4)& 5) Both Max and Bernie should retire and made room for someone younger and more open minded.
    6)Probably yes.
    7)It is important to me. It adds another level to the racing, keeps it more interesting.

  41. graham228221
    30th March 2009, 22:05

    Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    I actually do, this close season has been fascinating and frustrating. Along with the glitz and glamour, it adds a another dimension to F1.

    I do feel the Max and Bernie are doing some serious damage to the sport, and Bernie seems to be really losing it the last couple of months. With his age, combined with his ongoing divorce, I seriously think the most dignified thing he could do at the moment is retire; or at least announce a succession plan. Same with Max, this should be his last term in charge.

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    I love the fact there are 20 drivers, and we get to know these really well through the season. I’ve only been watching for a couple of seasons, but I already know a lot about the different driving styles.

    The rivalrys are also really entertaining. I’m on the edge of my seat every time Alonso and Hamiton are close to each other on track. You don’t get that in something like football (you get rivalries, but they only mean anything twice a year).

  42. Nice of you to ask everyone’s opinion on this, but you should just rely on your experiences and well thought out opinions. You haven’t been off the mark on any serious matters, as far as I can tell.

    Congratulations on your continuing recognition. When you get too busy to continue publishing this blog I hope you find a replacement as dedicated to the sport as you are.

  43. Far superior to Naffcar. I love how we have a pair of interesting ideas. A left corner, and a wierd thing called a right corner…. hmmmm

  44. Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    I actually quite enjoy it, strangely. It does detract from the racing but there’s always the hope that my driver will get promoted!! I have never been glued to the websites like the day of the McLaren spy gate hearing or the diffuser row Friday at Melbourne – and also I have never heard as many people talking about F1 as on either of those days.

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    The crashes are good in NASCAR!!

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    For me its the whole package – the engineering, the technology, the drivers, the teams, the history, the future, the personalities…and the racing!

    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    Disgrace for anyones husband and boss to be caught in such an embarrassing situation – very embarrassing for F1. If that had been anyone else involved with the sport Bernie or Max would have had them in court for bringing it into disrepute. The sooner Mosley goes the better.

    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    Yes and no. He’s charging too much for the races and holding tracks to ransom…Silverstone for example. This should be on the calendar as one of the best circuits in the world. Others like Donnington, Valencia, one of Italian and one of German races should alternate as the European GP.

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    I think it is all part of its appeal – I do think things such as races and merchandise are very expensive and so prices should be lowered to enable more fans to be able to experience part of it. The series itself should be exclusive – I want to see the best 20 drivers in the world driving the cars of the best engineering companies and race teams in the world. Even if that means one company supplies another company a car’s design.

    The importance of technology in F1

    Vital.

  45. That’s a tough one to answer in a few words. But may I first say how impressed I am by the beebs choice of pundit. Nice one Keith, deserved recognition of your passion and dedication not only to the sport you love. But also to your blog and how it represents the first port of call for many many F1 fans.

    The point of F1 for me is one of pushing the all boundaries to extremes not found in any other discipline. First of all the ‘Formula’ rule book interpretation. The teams are given this document which they endlessly exploit to the absolute limit of its definition, constantly finding answers to problems. Some may have practical applications in areas other than F1, some may not. But those applications that do may otherwise never be found.

    From this, bleeding edge aero and mechanical engineering discoveries are a result of the intense competition all the teams bring to the circuit, led of course by extraordinary team work, management and business skills that enable a team to pull together phenomenal resources in order to remain competitive.
    All these skills are extremely relevant in pretty much all aspects of life.

    Then we have the ultimate focus of the driver. It’s true that most people do not appreciate the level of fitness and athleticism required from a top flight F1 driver/pilot; The training regimes the drivers have to meet in order to remain strong, focused and calm when under intense physical and mental pressure. These regimes must surely be, as the machines they drive, at the most extreme of human physics.
    There has to be many beneficial lessons in there for all of us. To stay fit and healthy and/or have a good strong mental resolve when faced with problem solving situations under pressure.

    I think this pretty much sums up what I love about F1 and I think many different aspects of life are potentially enhanced from it for all of us.

  46. Whats the point of anything really?

  47. I will address only the question about politics, because I feel it has become the determining factor behind everything else we see.

    Political intrigue has been important and absorbing ever since I first watched F1 in 1976, when McLaren and Ferrari were embroiled in all kinds of wrangling over the rules under FISA. It has always been a part of the game, and the show, BUT….

    Mosley has become an autocrat every bit as bad as his predecessor Balestre, complete with vendettas, perpetual and damaging power plays and the eternal method of divide-and-conquer as a way of maintaining leverage over the teams. Bernie is a whore for cash whose interests are in direct conflict with the teams and their sponsors, who want (for example) access to the US car market through a USGP but find themselves sidelined by Bernie’s need for more cash (presumably to fund his divorce settlement). It has long gone way past the point where the politics add spice and intrigue to the show and it has instead become a succession of farces – partisan and nonsensical rulings, wedge issues like 2-tier technical regs and garbage rule proposals which can only be for the purpose of distracting peoples’ attention or dividing the teams.

    I am personally convinced that not only the recent budget cap proposal but also the FIA’s conduct over diffusers are prime examples of the perpetual efforts to divide and conquer the teams. The disclosure that Helmut Marko of Red Bull states that both Renault and Red Bull discussed the legality of a similar diffuser design with the FIA early last year and were told they can’t use it, prior to it being found legal last week, speaks volumes to me. Perhaps the original advice was sincere but it’s clear to me that the FIA is being underhanded and not merely incompetent when it serially and repeatedly advises teams that certain things are legal, and then says the opposite when a protest is lodged. We had the same thing with mass dampers (legal until they turned out to be illegal at a key point in the WDC fight), tyre widths, Whiting’s advice to McLaren over the La Source passing move, all the way back to Beryllium alloys and brake-steer devices…all legal until they were arbitrarily declared illegal. It has become so habitual that many observers and even teams simply accept that the FIA’s application of rules is a minefield, or say “well, you can’t expect consistency” and assume they’re just incompetent. To me, they are perfectly consistent and perfectly competent and know exactly what they’re doing, almost every case of scandal in recent years boiling down to one of two motives:

    1. To make good on their commitment to bribe Ferrari with $400M over 5 years in exchange for Ferrari’s bailing on the proposed breakaway series in 2003 – all to keep Max and Bernie in power, OR

    2. To keep the teams perpetually in conflict with each other and therefore to stifle the fragile team unity that has recently manifested itself in FOTA.

    Actually, in the bigger picture, those two reasons are themselves the same – the suppression of interests which compete with the absolute, dictatorial and authoritarian power of Max and Bernie. The arrogance of Max and his organization has become so bad that we have found they are willing to simply lie (as we saw at the WMSC appeal hearing after Spa, talking about a case of precedent in an attempt to deny even addressing the subject of the appeal) to protect their turf.

    When disclosures like Ferrari’s extra $80M per year (not for good results, you understand, but for breaking the breakaway) + “other help”, or events like Monza 2006, Spa or Fuji 2008 or the mass damper fiasco come by, I am left with the sense that much of what we see on the circuit is an illusion. Years come and go with the balance of competitive power (between the teams) waxing and waning and until Bernie has an outburst (like in the case of the bribery deal) or someone spills the beans years after the fact (like Max’s comments about the barge board hearing).

    To an extent, these things just add a dimension to our interests, but when politics dominates every season, as has happened the last, well, decade or more at least, results, budgets and power are manipulated and there is zero transparency about it all, it destroys my confidence that I am watching a sport at all. I can still be tremendously entertained by a race like the one we just had, but I’m afraid that such a level of politics sustained over such a long period is very detrimental to the credibility of the whole sport and ultimately to my enjoyment of it.

  48. NASCAR – what is the big deal – is it just me or is every race EXACTLY the same……. ” looks like Ryan is gonna try an draft him down the back straightaway, jus lahk he done at Talledega or some other awful midwestern rust-belt credit crunched Jesus luvin dump”

    1. Well, I think it is you. I dont like it when someone treats NASCAR that way. I will defend it like I do F1 to Americans who dont get it. NASCAR and F1 are the top of “their sport” F1 is open wheel and is the best in the world even NASCAR drivers respect this. NASCAR is the top of stock car. Stop the comparison as there is none what so ever. I love both NASCAR and F1 for diffent reasons and they are not the same and to compare them is wrong. NASCAR is not trying to be F1 nor is F1 trying to be NASCAR. They both have their pros and cons and man after 5 years of watching them I cold write a paper on why they both are good and bad. Steve I just think it is you.

  49. Scott Joslin
    30th March 2009, 23:02

    Whats the point of F1 – Here is a few I have picked up on:

    Cue the music from the Guinness advert

    The Cars, Drivers, Mechanics, The Engines,the designers, the sponsors, the nationalities, the different countries, the rivalries, the politics, speed, the action, the unpredictability, the constant evolution of science, the technology, the races, the circuits, the fans, the pundits, the overtaking, the crashes, the constant changing, the TV coverage, the colour schemes, the grid girls, the pitlane, the tragedy, the tales of triumph, the tales of woe, the FIA, FOTA, the scandal, the racing in the wet, the tunnel at Monaco, the complexity, the simplicity of the will the win, the people employed, the dreams it creates, the aspirations it sets, the blogs, the communities and most important the debate!

    Sorry, was I just meant to put 1 point.

    I can’t I love every bit of it in equal measure.

    Cricket it is not!

    Good luck tomorrow Keith!

  50. To be serious…. F1 = De Angelis, Villeneuve, Clarke, Senna, Mansell, Pironi, Scheckter…. enough said.

    No other sport comes close now that overtaking is back…… my god it felt like the early 80s again like 30 years of dullness had been swept away.

  51. Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    Although it may affect the standings in a bad way from time to time, think what would you do in between the races except for watching Heidfeld feed the orangutan or Webber on the beach. The politics has always been a part of the show and personally I’d like to see it stay.

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    Come on, how can driving around an oval track be compared to the let’s say Singapore GP? I mean come on!!!

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    Every single detail is important to understand F1 in full glow. The personal shenanigans, the tech-race, the politics, the pit-lane glamour personas. Everything.

    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    I don’t really care what the old man does behind closed door, but he should know himself that it’s time to go. Fresh blood is needed to steer F1.

    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    Same as above. One can only get a limited number of ideas through his lifetime. Bernie’s apparently lost the ability to be inventive and has only been repeating the scheme: Tilke- dull venues- loadza cash.

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    Thank god it is elitist. Hope it stays like that.

    The importance of technology in F1

    Technology has always been a core of F1. Once again it should stay that way. This season only confirms how impossibly important it is. The brains behind the projects gave us one of the best starts to the season in F1 history. Keep it up.

  52. OK, I’m going to have to ‘fess up here and admit I haven’t read all these comment yet! However I have just sent them all to my printer (26 pages!) and I’ll read them on the tube in the morning.

    Thanks very much for all your posts though, I’ve had a quick scan and as usual there’s loads of interesting and detailed responses. I’ll report back here tomorrow…

  53. Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    i enjoy the politics, but at it’s extreme it seriously damages the credibility of the sport. i don’t include any sex scandals in this category.

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    the quality of racing in nascar is artificial, because nascar has gone to great lengths to achieve an extreme degree of parity. by comparison, f1 teams have a free hand.

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    it’s the ultimate expression of the automobile, and the (somewhat) best of drivers, competing all over the world for the Big Prize.

    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    i think max has done more good than harm, and will be deservedly re-elected. although i find his choice of kink distasteful, it’s none of my business.

    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    although bernie brought f1 into the modern era, i’ll argue he is holding the sport back, and is deliberately hostile toward business partners, teams and fans. in 2009 there are tv and internet services utilized effectively by other sports which he ignores. his war against classic venues in favor of newly-wealthy nations goes on unabated. in a perfect world, the teams would wrest control away from bernie and cvc.

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    motorsports has always been a playground for the rich, and this is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing.

    The importance of technology in F1

    technology is critical, although i don’t like driver aides. you can’t simply allow unlimited technology into the sport, obviously. i think any high-level motorsport should be used to drive progress in normal machines. racing improves the breed.

  54. • Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    The politics are a part of every sport, but I don’t think the fans enjoy a steward’s post-race decision affecting the outcome of every race. Just think how bad it looks for fans when they see their favorite driver on the podium, only to learn later in the day that the driver was dropped 5 places and given the infamous 10-place grid penalty for the next race.

    • The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    It’s tough to compare the exact format of racing in NASCAR to F1, because they are designed to be two different animals. NASCAR is much more spec-heavy, and is oval-dominated, much different from F1. What I like about NASCAR is how they market and promote the sport- they actually go out and sell the product, whereas F1 relies on it’s own image to attract new fans. We all know how much Bernie loves seeing Hamilton in the tabloids, but has Bernie ever considered sending Lewis and co. on a media tour of new markets?

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    For me, I was very much attracted to the type of racing: road courses with fast, hi-tech cars. I also love the idea of a “World Championship” with races in different countries and pride displayed in the different nationalities, although the lack of a race here in America is infuriating to say the least….

    • What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    The scandal was not a good deal – I consider myself to have a decent moral standard, and believed that Max should have resigned. To me, his continued presence shows just how resistant to change F1 really is. The power brokers are almost completely safe in their positions to do whatever they want, without fear of serious challenge.

    • Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    Bernie is a financial success because he makes lots of money from his ventures. But his concept of awarding races to the highest bidder, while abandoning Europe and North America, is absolutely infuriating. Yes I will be a bit nationalistic here, but the idea of the “World Championship” without a round in the United States is quite insane. I’m not opposed to the expansion of the schedule in Asia or the Middle East, but countries with no motor racing heritage or fanbase should not be simply allowed to buy places on the calendar at the expense of traditionally strong venues.

    • Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    To an extent, yes, the sport is elitist, but that’s because of the spin Bernie and co. put on it. Things such as the mandatory driver autograph sessions are a great step in the right direction, but more is needed to connect with the mainstream fans. As long as the paddock club is full, Bernie and Max won’t care a bit about the regular fan on the street, and that has to change.

    • The importance of technology in F1

    Technology is good to see if it increases the racing quality- I don’t think many fans really care about what compound of rubber is in the tires, but everyone loves a good pass due to the difference in tire tempeture.

    1. But his concept of awarding races to the highest bidder, while abandoning Europe and North America, is absolutely infuriating. Yes I will be a bit nationalistic here, but the idea of the “World Championship” without a round in the United States is quite insane. I’m not opposed to the expansion of the schedule in Asia or the Middle East, but countries with no motor racing heritage or fanbase should not be simply allowed to buy places on the calendar at the expense of traditionally strong venues.

      Couldnt agree more – its awful that there is no race in North America, or France for that matter – a big mistake by Bernie I think – one of his biggest quite frankly. Plus I loved both Indianapolis and Canada – I was fortunate enough to go to both the other year – amazing two weeks that was! Two of my favorite races generally – am trully gutted that neither is on the calendar anymore!

  55. I stayed up until 4,00am, taking in the race whilst the other half lay spark out asleep in the next room.
    I will miss another nights sleep for Sepang, and Shanghai. It is safe to say I will be knackered at the end of it all but it is worth it.
    The difference is, I have been raised on F1. I live in the South Eastern US, where NASCAR is the dominant king of all thing racing, as that is what most people have been raised on.
    I look at F1, and I always think of my idols. The ones I never got to see race, like Jim Clark and Graham Hill. And the ones I did, like Aryton Senna and Mika Hakkinen.
    I look at the old circuits like Monza and Spa and am
    captivated by them. Every corner, named after streams, others after long since departed drivers, give the sport mystic and appeal.
    Some corners, like Tamburello, remind me of tragedy. Others, like Eau Rouge and Parabolica, make my blood run cold. At 2.00am on Sunday morning, when those lights went out, the adrenalin started rushing again. For the first real time since last November.
    I had recently watched the Daytona 500 in the flesh and had loved it, but this by now was a ritual. For a quarter of a century I have watched this sport, and its stars come and go, and everytime I feel the same.
    At the end, I am disappointed. Because I know I have a week or two until my next fix of adrenalin. Even if my
    obsession drives my wife nuts!

  56. Im a sports freak so id watch pretty much anything. But F1 is different. Hemingway said “There are only 3 real sports: bull-fighting, car racing and mountain climbing. All the others are mere games”. This is true. When watching a football game i cant shake the feeling that all the people are watching the game as a distraction from there lives. A kind of escapism. Each game could realistically be replaced with another and it wouldn’t make much difference. Or a rivalry thing. Town vs town. Country vs Country. F1 is truely global because its testing the best Technology humans have, testing our greatest athletes (and anyone who knows anything about f1 would know just how fit the drivers are). We have the best tacticians, best businessmen, best photographers, … it really is the pinnacle of humanity. It can only be compared to NASA and in NASA the engineers have a lifetime to fine tune their projects and make sure they are perfect, F1 engineers have usually 2 weeks till the next race to find solutions. We even have the best chefs in the world. (the michelin star is a byproduct of motor racing).

  57. Wow Keith, You’ve got a lot to go through. Since these answers a close to lengths of an A Levels essay, I’m going to keep mine relatively short.

    I don’t think the fans are interested in the politics, I sure as hell am not, its always throwing a spanner in the works if you’d like. I believe the quality of racing in F1 is unrivalled. Yes, you probably don’t get as much passing, but that never bored me, there are so many things to look forward to in a race, strategy, tyre choices, fuel levels, setups etc. NASCAR may be more raw whereas F1 is refined.

    The appeal of F1 speaks for its self, its the pinnacle of motorsport and motoring technology. F1 teams are arguably some of the best run enterprises in the world. As for Max, I think its high time he stepped down, he’s done his time and its getting a bit stale. Bring on somebody else, Jean Todt perhaps? Maybe even Ron Dennis (scoff scoff), Flavio retires end of season, maybe him too?. Bernie is a business man, he goes where the money is, in the capatalist world that we live in today, there is no other go. I like the idea of new tracks, but the classic tracks shoud not be forgotten. If it wasn’t for Bernie, F1 wouldn’t have this much of a global appeal. I still think more revenue money should go to the teams.

    F1 is elitist and thats whats great about it. My only complaint, no more paying drivers please, the credibility will get damaged. The importance of tech in the sport is huge. I am an Engineer and since my school days, F1 technology has facinated me. Guess how I understood Bernoulli’s Principle? We need it to be at the cutting of tech, thats the only way contructors will be attracted to the sport. Without F1, we may not have the likes of ABS, Active Suspension, Semi-Automatic gear boxes, intelligent engine controls etc. that we see in road cars today.

    Sorry Keith..It did get too long..hahaha. I wish I could listen to you on Radio. My office has barred all media streaming and I’m not in the UK just now! Good luck mate

  58. Keith,
    First off, congratulations on all of this media attention. I was really surprised to see your name in the Wall Street Journal last week.

    I’m an American and I got interested in racing by watching NASCAR every Sunday with my dad. NASCAR is exciting and I still watch it very occasionally. The thing that sets F1 racing and NASCAR apart in my mind is the amount of skill, determination and willpower it takes to drive an F1 car around the track. In NASCAR, there are about five passes on the track for every second of racing. A lot of F1 fans complain about the lack of passing (or “overtaking” for those of you across the pond), but I have never thought the sport suffered a lot from the lack of passing. There is plenty of passing going on in the field. The leaders rarely change positions and there is not a lot of passing in NASCAR for the lead either. Getting back to my main point though, it is incredibly hard to stick to a single line, corner after corner, while driving on a track with multiple turns at excessive speeds. The mental discipline of an F1 driver is incredible and no other form of racing comes close to the skill it takes to drive an F1 car.

    Do I think Max should be re-elected? NO!!! I never thought he should have survived his scandal. Public officials have certain standards of behavior that they should uphold….I’ll leave it at that.

    Is Bernie doing a good job? NO!!! It is increasingly apparent that all he cares about is generating money for CVC. He could care less about the sport of Formula 1 racing. He is in this to hold onto his power and keep producing income.

    Is F1 elitist? Yes. The very fact that the FIA had to make a rule forcing drivers to sign autographs is all of the evidence that needs to be presented.

  59. Keith,

    (a) F1 politics are very interesting to follow and I think they add to the overall mystique of the world’s most popular sport.

    (b) F1 should continue to showcase the best technology in motor sports coupled w/ the planet’s best drivers.

    (c) There is no comparison between F1 and NASCAR, at any level. Like Michael once said “I don’t really see the point in cars going around an oval”.

    (d) F1 is a bit elitist, as is tennis, golf and equestrian. For F1 I think this actually is a plus.

    (e) Bernie should give more to the teams. He is not doing the best possible job for all parties involved, maybe only for himself.

    Go get them !

  60. Hi Keith,

    Can you raise the point of the international fans?…. We cannot watch the online coverage of BBC…Also raise the point of F1 race in USA…..

    Thanks in advance!!!

    1. Hi Varun – I did talk about the loss of the North American and French races. I don’t know what they’ll choose to use when they edit the programme together though.

  61. The unexpected.

    I’m a fan because I can see the unexpected played out in front of me in the racing, the technology, the politics, the business, all of it.

    When everything is pushed to the limits the unexpected happens.

    The unexpected keeps me interested.

  62. Yorricksfriend
    31st March 2009, 5:16

    I hate f1 politics and its ditracts from the racing, you think you’ve seen one result, and then you find out it’s been changed a few hours later..it’s infuriating

    NASCAR is only good when there is crashes, otherwise its the same mundane thing of cars going around in circles. F1 crashes are exciting but you don’t have to have a crash for a race to be exciting.

    The appeal is the best drivers in the best cars.

    Mosley is an ******** pure and simple and should’ve lost his job last year.

    Ecclestone is not doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport, I could make better season reviews and FOM’s tireless removing of videos of F1 races that are 20 years old is just splitting hairs.

    Exclusivity is part of its appeal

    Technology is extremely important in F1 racing, but to me the racing comes first.

  63. I thought I was in the minority on most of these, but reading the posts, perhaps not entirely:

    I enjoy the politics, it’s all part of it and has been for years and years. Sometimes it gets in the way of the racing, but often it just adds some intrigue.

    I think Max should go, I honestly think he’s not really thinking a lot of his proposals and edicts through, resulting in some odd situations (cutting costs AND introducing KERS?). However, Bernie has done a great job, I think he gets a very hard time – he transformed the sport and turned it into the slick operation we have today. I don’t think his influence and positive effect on F1 can be understated. Although I do think his medals idea is crazy.

    As for technology, I’d much rather see ABS ,TC, acitve suspension, open engine regs, etc. The standard ECU didn’t really do that much in terms of racing, it just means that we know no-one’s running TC under the radar. I think the technology is very important, there’s just less and less of it these days.

  64. the racing is controlled by rules but the rules are so vague and ambiguous that the F! scene has been turned into a farce. stewards seem to be allowed to make up the rules as they want and fia are totally lax in allowing this to happen and also denying a team the right to make a protest if they feel that they have been wronged. the overall monetary control by ecclestone is destroying the sport as his dictatorial attitude. formula 1 started off as basically modified road cars, and more of an effort should be made to return it to its roots. eliminate fuel and tyre stops, put limits on fuel (to increase efficiency)

  65. 1.Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing: Yes, it is distracting from the racing, but every sport has its controversies and its backroom rows, and it is useful to know why some people or venues are in favour and others are not.
    2.The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR:There isn’t really a comparison with NASCAR as its a different style of racing. Better to compare it with GP2 or A1GP. The drivers in F1 should be the best in the business, but I don’t think that they all are.
    3.What the appeal of Formula 1 is:
    The appeal is the mixture of fast cars, glamourous locations (the ones that are left) and a truly international field of drivers and teams. Oh hang on, you can get that with WRC,WTCC and GT Racing too….:-)
    4.What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal:Max has proved before, during and after the scandal that he got where he is today by manipulation of the facts and bullying. He has done some good for motorsport in the past, as far as safety goes, but now he appears to be living (or reliving) in the past, and doesn’t deserve to be where he is. The Green campaign is a sham, as most of the car manufacturers where already improving their technology before he got on the bandwaggon.
    5.Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport:
    No he isn’t. He isn’t listening to the teams or the fans and what they want. He appears to be moving the whole F1 series to be based in the Near and Far East, away from the core European markets. He has given up on North America, and his requirements of the circuits means that most tickets are now unaffordable by the average fan.
    6.Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?
    Exclusivity is part of the appeal, but at the same time it should be the best of the best of motorsport, whether drivers, cars or team principles. If the standards slip, its not worth the money.
    7.The importance of technology in F1:Very important. As above, F1 should be the showcase to the world of new technologies, even in the way it is broadcast and presented to the world. The drivers are important too, but the speeds the cars go must mean that help is required and some level.

  66. FuriousA83
    What the appeal of Formula 1 is:

    Best machines, with the best drivers on the best tracks

    Best machines – fastest? Yes. But so ugly it’s annoying. And how uncompetetive they are makes them the worst machines.
    Best drivers – maybe a couple of them. Many of them are only there because of sponsorship deals. Those who have the best cars always win – we don’t really know which of them are the best.
    Best tracks – there are some great tracks, but plenty of dull tracks (Hungaroring ***?)

  67. Christian Briddon
    31st March 2009, 8:52

    The politics are what ruins the sport for me. I love the racing and the tech but Mosley and Ecclestone need to go.

    Ecclestone is ruining the sport by insisting on such stupid things as a medal system and on moving the sport to countries with no sporting history and boring tracks.

    Mosley is ruining the sport with his continuous tinkering of rules when the main body of rules are not specific enough which causes problems when the stewards change results after the end of a race and make stupid decisions.

    We need a new FIA president that will remove the grey areas in the rules and stop tinkering with the car specs and the race weekends. Oh yes, and he should stop having bondage orgies.

  68. * Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing

    Politics are only good to keep the abstinentia between races off :-) Otherwise it is irrelevant and shows some quite dirty things happening. Overall I’d rate it uncool and look for some other excitement in between races, i.e. more transparency on the technical developments? ;-)

    * The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR

    NASCAR is fun to watch … for 10-15 minutes, then it becomes boring. Much like watching a river flow – pretty, nice, but you end up doing something else after a while ;-)

    * What the appeal of Formula 1 is

    The suspense, technology, the drama, the drivers personalities. That said, here’s one more against politics: let the drivers show their personality! Stop the fine-tuned media bull***ting :-)

    * What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal

    The scandal was irrelevant to F1. I don’t like mosley personally, but think F1 in general is evolving adequately and many of the judgements whether it is also the right direction are a subject of personal taste and some times – financial interest.

    * Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport

    He’s doing poor job at ensuring the smaller teams can survive and is turning the sport from a technology competition to a money show-off (bar the Honda’s and Toyota’s wasted money). Here I think Flavio Briatore has the right mindset – that running a successful F1 operation should not cost a fortune and be profitable at the end.

    * Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal?

    F1 has to be the top class motor sport, otherwise it is indistinguishable from, say, GP2, Indy or any other openwheeler.

    * The importance of technology in F1

    Cruicial! Just take Button as example for a good driver in a poor car.

  69. In my view F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, the higher you are the more money is involved, more money = more politics.

    For the real F1 fanatic the sport grabs you and despite at times reasons not to stay with it you are hooked. The Ferrari domination years were a challenge to racing fans. Other people do have cricket or football or boxing as their sport and that is their choice, some people do not like sport at all and enjoy classical music or trainspotting, again this is a free country and they can choose to do what they like with their leisure time. Unlike many sports it is not personality driven though it has its personalities.

    On the subject of BBC coverage (separate topic I know) I thought it was a huge improvement on ITV and when Coulthard and Jordan get more comfortable it could get really interesting

  70. John Spencer
    31st March 2009, 10:25

    Hi Keith, this will be too late for you, but this is my take: In my view the ‘why’ of F1 stems from the technology, so I’ll take the bullet points in a different order.

    Technology
    F1 is different from every other sport in the entire world (possibly) because the teams have to supply their own chassis and engines (or beg/buy/borrow from other teams). The racing tech of F1 is its sine qua non. The talents of the engineers behind the scenes are more important (ie make a bigger difference to lap times) than the drivers themselves. This, for so many reasons, is a good thing.

    Politics
    There is inevitably more politics in F1 because the rules allow teams to develop new cars within a (badly worded) formula, so there is always scope for challenging different innovations. No other sport would have Stepneygate, because in no other sport would a team’s photocopied Haynes manual be so valuable.

    The Appeal
    The appeal is due to the factors the make F1 unique – the most talented drivers in the world, the best engineers in the world, brilliant drivers in slower cars struggling against weaker drivers in better cars.

    Bernie
    F1 would not be F1 without Bernie. He’s past his sell-by, but it wouldn’t be a global phenomenon without him.

    Max
    Max is not as important to the F1 story as Bernie. Spankeygate only goes to show that F1 is a big story. Max was needed to replace Jean Marie Balestre, but again is past his sell by date. His arrogance and twisted logic have led to the paradox of curtailing innovation through cost reduction, but imposing innovation through KERS.

    The Racing
    We all know there wasn’t enough overtaking, but motorsports are about more than that. Racing series with more overtakes per lap are not necessarily more engrossing to watch.

    Elitism
    If this refers to the fact that you have to be wealthy or have a famous father to participate in F1, the answer is no. The last five world champions (Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso, Schumacher, Hakkinen) are testament to F1’s meritocracy. It is elite in that only the best are chosen, but that’s a good thing, surely?

  71. The appeal of formula 1 lies in the fact that it sees the best drivers in the world competing on the same race track. When you see them race flat out for a win (like we did on Sunday) there is no competition from Nascar and the like.

    This may be seem odd, but I do like the odd controversy – it brings a talking point which often involves outside people who do not regularly follow F1.

    For some years I loved formula 1 because it was the pinnacle of motorsport. That is true to a lesser extent now though.

    And finally, though the sport is often badly managed, I do admire the way rules can be effected very swiftly and effectively – not always the case in other sports. In football, fans were quick to dismiss an international fixture.

  72. For me, Loki and Scott Joslin have said it much better than I could.

    Only thing I would add… Max and Bernie… they’ve done great things in the past, but the last 15years they have messed about with it too much, and now things are out of hand and their choices are bordering on the ridiculous… time for them to move on, or is it?

    As much as FOTA listened to the fans and came up with some fantastic and well thought out proposals, major conflicts of interests prevent them from running the sport thankfully. So who is going to replace M&B?? and can they fix it?? I don’t know and I fear for F1 without Max&Bernie more than with… sometimes it is better the devil you know.

  73. With a title like “What’s the point of Formula 1?” my first response is that they are trying to say why have car racing at all? My reply to that would be what is the point of any sport? Or as sport is entertainment for the viewers rather than competition, I would say what is the point of any form of entertainment or art?

    My next response to a question like that would be that they are saying how can any motorsport be justified with the threat of global warming when we should be cutting down our CO2 emissions, as I have seen some people argue this on general letters pages.

    The part of F1 responsible for the largest amount of CO2 will probably not be the cars on track, but the travel involved, not just for the teams going from country to country, but also all the fans going to the races. In this context F1 is no different to other sports as they too will include lots of travel.

    When Honda first launched its Earth Dream concept, I remember the point being made (possibly by Mosely), that whereas all sports have varying carbon footprints only motorsport and F1 in general can come up with technologies which could help reduce CO2 emissions and combat global warming.

    Also, I believe that around this time it was announced that the FIA has paid for Carbon offsetting so F1 has been carbon neutral since some time in the 1990s.

    If you wanted to make the point about the benefits from Formula One, there is also an exhibition on at the Science Museum in London, 20 ways F1 is changing our world.

    http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/galleries/fast_forward.aspx

    I haven’t been as I don’t live near London so I can’t comment on the exhibition itself.

    Regarding the specific topics mentioned

    I don’t enjoy the politics of the sport at all because I think it is doing harm to F1. A lot of the changes made to F1 recently appear to be motivated by politics and not what is in the best interests of the sport itself.

    The only other motorsport I watch is MotoGP, and even that is only casually, I will watch it on TV but I don’t search out websites for the latest news like I do with F1. I only started watching MotoGP a few years ago whereas I have been following F1 since 1991, but if I was completely honest overall in those years MotoGP has put on a better show, partially because of the personalities like Rossi.

    I started following F1 because of Mansell mania in 1991, and I have been hooked ever since, if I was completely new to the sport and had no one to support I don’t think I would become hooked again though.
    There are quite a few sports I can sit and watch if I don’t have anything better to do but the things which limit me from following them more closely are the complexity of the rules to the newcomer and that fact that sport is usually more enjoyable if you want one side to win over the other.

    I can’t stand Max Mosley and the sooner he has nothing to do with F1 the better, however I think he will be re-elected later this year. When a high profile public figure is involved in a sex scandal my usual attitude is if it doesn’t negatively impact upon their job, it isn’t breaking the law and it doesn’t make them hypocrites (eg campaigning for family values) then I don’t think they should lose their job. But because of my dislike for Mosley I was actually supporting The News of The World in the court case.

    I think in the past Ecclestone has done a lot of good things for F1, but now I think it is time for him to step down. As mentioned in previous articles on this site the finances of F1 are all wrong, the way which circuits are chosen to host GPs need changing and I don’t think a medals system is right for F1 either.

    F1 is elitist, simply because it is the pinnacle of motorsport for most people. Motorsport in general is elitist basically because of the costs involved to participate. It will never be like sports such as football where you don’t need much in the way of equipment, and therefore money, to take part.

    Technology is very important in F1, I hope it never becomes a spec series because then for me, it won’t be F1. Formula One cars are the benchmark for all other vehicles, when a new car is reviewed they compare it to a F1 car when talking about things such as 0-60 etc, not a Le Mans car or an A1GP car. I don’t know if there are any comparable lap times with other race cars, but F1 cars should always be the best at what they do, that is the fastest vehicle around a race circuit.

    Well that’s turned in to rather a long post, I hope I managed to make sense to everyone.

  74. Ok i had been an on and off follower of the sport, The Shummi era really almost made me give up following F1 but my big brother being a fanatic that he ’bout F1 in all its glory, slowly but surely pulled me back to the light, man or man after wacthing the rivarly between fernando and lewis when fernando was still with the silver arrows, and the joy it brought me to see the Prancing hourse being tamed by a rokkie(Hamilton),Keith i was completly hooked,Who can forget Bernie and Max and the side show they provide(by the way when are this guys going to have a double heart attack and leave us fanatic’s ,drivers and fota) in that order to decide the direction the sport is going to take.People must i remind all of you how much you were sreaming with both feet on your sofa (ok some were crying) at the last coner of the last lap of the last race of the seoson.By the way i’am still missing hair i pulled so much off from that clasic last lap.

  75. steve: Did you attend the Max Mosley narrow-minded school of my opinion is the only thing that counts?

    You don’t like NASCAR, don’t watch. And leave your USA rust belt bashing comments in whatever second rate part of the world you happen to live in.

  76. Well I’ve done the interview now (here’s a pic of the studio: http://twitter.com/f1fanatic_co_uk/status/1423207425) and I thought it went very well. The interview was done by Quentin Letts from the Daily Mail who is fronting the programme (Leon was talking about ‘social engineers at the BBC’ – I’m not sure he Quentin qualifies!)

    We covered pretty much everything in the list above in about half an hour and I did my best to give an honest impression of how F1 fans see these different topics.

    The final programme will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on May 19th. This presented some difficulties from the point of view of time sensitivity – it wasn’t really possible to talk about the diffuser controversy, for example, because that story will have moved on by the time the programme is aired.

    However if something big happens I may end up going back on to give a few more quotes, so there’s no reason to let the discussion end here! They approached me for the programme because they recognised F1 Fanatic e is the best place to get informed opinions from F1 fans, and I have all of you to thank for that :-)

    1. We wouldn’t be here if you didn’t do such a great job yourself. Can’t wait to hear the show.

    2. Nice one Keith. Give yourself a pat on the back though :) Look forward to the broadcast.
      After all the diffuser ‘row’ is just a typical aspect of F1, especially after rule changes, through the years. It wouldn’t be the same without such a dispute!

  77. I echo mkh1, we wouldnt be here if it wasnt for the great job you do with the site – theres always something for me to comment on here about each day – its great! I love a bit of an F1 debate, its one of the bits I enjoy most about F1 (aside from the racing itself obviously), having everyone follow different people and being very passionate about their support for whoever it may be – would be very boring if we all thought the same – plus so few of my friends actually like F1 so its nice to come on here to waffle on about F1!!

    And to the topic in hand

    Whether fans enjoy the political side of the sport, or find it a distraction from the racing
    I dont find it a distraction from the racing for me, but at the same time I dont like that politics can interfere with the racing – trying to get one over on FOTA with silly title deciding ideas – for a recent example. Silverstone a) being replaced and b) not being considered if Donington cant host it is another – Mr B just doesnt like the BRDC – that one for once doesnt appear to be about money!

    The quality of racing in F1 compared to sports like NASCAR Hard to compare those two i think, but generally i am not sure it is necessarily any better than some of the other motorsports (although this year is shaping up nicely!) as many other series see more overtaking, more battling/scrapping – that said, i would still watch F1 over any other motorsport – even if the racing isnt always at top level – it just has the draw that the others dont seem to have.

    What the appeal of Formula 1 is
    Goodness me what a question! I dont know if i can answer that. Someone decribed answering this question as trying to describe love – a good analogy. I could sit through the most boring race *ahem* Valencia *ahem*, but I will still be there at the next race ready and excited about watching it. To list just some of the many reasons though, in no particular order – the drama; the excitement; the battling; the sometimes shock results; the trying to guess what is going to happening then being completely wrong about it; the arguing; the frustration; the unwavering support for the driver/team you happen to support – and the elation you feel when they do well; the debate; the knowing that I will get up at any hour of the night/search an entire country to find a pub when I am on holiday to watch it; being the only one in my uni year of forty to be an F1 fan; watching the end of a race thinking ‘wow what a race that was’ – that alone makes up for all of the ‘valencias’ we have ever had. I could probably name a whole bunch more thing but i would be here forever!

    What fans think of Max Mosley, his potential re-election, and their reaction to last year’s sadomasochism scandal.
    The scandal last year really doesnt bother me too much – it doesnt affect how he does his job within F1, and whilst I dont agree with his personal choices, that is exactly what they are – personal choices. He might not agree with my love of Kit-Kats! As to his re-election, I am not sure, the FIA are not currently in my favour after all their points systen changes and dodgy budget cap ideas – maybe it is time for a new face less on a path of destruction.

    Whether Bernie Ecclestone is doing a good job of running the commercial side of the sport
    He has done in the past, he has got it to the level it is at today, but he is no longer doing the good he once did. I also dont beleive he just not doing a good job, he is going completely the other way – he is ruining the sport because of his insistence to keep the power his, and in the name of money. Losing classic tracks is a humungous issue in my opinion, the fact there is no race in North America this year, or France is absurd. All the chopping and changing and new rules and stuff has not only confused people, it has made the sport look stupid – as does delaying the diffuser decision, let alone if anything comes of it! And that is just my issues from this year – i have many more!

    Is F1 elitist – or is exclusivity part of its appeal? Yes I beleive it is, and yes I beleive it is part of the appeal. It is a sport for the very best, many people can be champion of motorsport series, only a very few get to be champion of F1 – it is what all young drivers aim for. Nooone will ultimately aim for the GP2 title, or an F3 title – that is just a stepping stone on the way to their final aim of F1 title. Anyone who even makes it to the sport has acheived what the majority can only dream of – let alone those who go on to win the title. We all watch it because it is the best of the best – no matter how good the racing is in other formulae, it is F1 that will in the vast majority of cases will top our lists.

    The importance of technology in F1 I am not the most technically minded person around, by quite a long shot, and technology whilst i know is key in F1, does not bother me too much. If KERS proves good for overtaking then thats great, but technicalwise i know nothing about it. Like the diffuser debate – I only learnt what the diffuser was/looks like since all the uproar about it, and even then I barely know what it does – just that it may or may not give a downforce advantage? I think f1 should be the pinnacle of technology – as it should be in as many aspects as it can be – then it is the best of the best, but at the same time advanced technology is not the be all and end all, and shouldnt take away too much from the drivers – after all it is the driver skill which we really want to test, although it has always been that the best car helps in a title challenge. It is about getting the balance between the two.

  78. HOW is cricket a sport??

  79. The point, seeing how far men and their machines can push themselves, same as any other sport.

    The dedication, training, priming oneself for the race. Has the same value and justification as a 100m sprint race, the skills used are prob more relevant too!

  80. Keith, maybe you should ask the questions again now, post Hamilton DQ :)

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