F1 Fanatic Round-up
Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.
“The word among teams backed by Mercedes is that they will block any upgrading of the final three rounds.”
“However, Mr Malone has not made any formal offer and talks are at an early stage, two people cautioned. Any deal is expected to value the motorsport at more than $9bn including debt.”
“Formula One looks set to become the latest battle ground in the rivalry between media chiefs John Malone and Rupert Murdoch, after Mr Malone entered discussions to buy a major stake in the motorsport.”
Toto Wolff: “He was an iconic leader, and we are going to notice that he is missing when it is getting stressful on race weekends. His leadership and his guidance is something that was extraordinary.”
“There’s going to be a lot more demands on his time, especially making his season debut in Melbourne. He’s an approachable, smiley character, and if he hasn’t done so already, I think he’ll really connect with the Australian people.”
An early ex-James Hunt Hesketh F1 car is being auctioned.
“It?óÔé¼Ôäós hard to believe that a turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 motors could sound better than a normally aspirated 2.4-litre V8s, but they do.”
— F1 Fanatic (@f1fanatic_co_uk) February 4, 2014
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Comment of the day
A sharp analysis of F1’s declining viewing figures from @Coefficient:
For me, part of the problem with F1 is that people just don?óÔé¼Ôäót believe in it any more from a sporting perspective. Yes, there are die-hard fans who will never hear a bad word said and there are those of us who are fascinated by the technical aspects of the category. However, I feel that it is impossible for F1 to hope to maintain long-term credibility and gain respect as a sporting endeavour whilst the the results are to a certain degree fixed or pre-ordained.
I know it?óÔé¼Ôäós the same in football (and Bernie Ecclestone has long desired a similarly commercial product) where the Manchester Uniteds of the world thrash the pants off the poorer clubs but to all intents and purposes when the match starts it?óÔé¼Ôäós still two teams of guys running with the ball and the underdog still has a chance. Formula One’s wealthiest teams have massaged the sport into a situation whereby they are doomed to win and in doing so have removed the most fundamental aspect of any sporting event, i.e. the competition.
People aren?óÔé¼Ôäót fooled into thinking that each car/driver combination have an equal chance because the financial status of each of the teams is flaunted on the TV as presenters saunter past a Ferrari/McLaren/Red Bull hospitality unit in the paddock which is bigger than most normal people?óÔé¼Ôäós houses and then they stroll past the Caterham Transit van parked in the corner.
They rub our faces in it and as with most things like that it has started to wear thin, especially now that we all have to pay an enormous subscription for the privilege. They think we are lack the intelligence to be insulted by their false claims of equal competition and I think they might be heading towards a crisis on two fronts. These being, lack of fan interest/loss of viewership and collapsing infrastructure due to people being stupid with stupid amounts of money.
Don?óÔé¼Ôäót get me wrong, sometimes the category does offer up some stunning, edge of the seat races but they are few and far between and more by good luck than good management. This is plain to see in the post race celebrations as the racers that work in the teams are always openly more gratified and always pleasantly surprised after such events (as are the fans) compared with the majority of races where the cars come in two by two with the rich boys at the front and the less rich boys at the back.
Something else that is a concern is that if the incumbent audience start switching off, who will replace them? Of my group of friends I am the only one who has a strong interest in Formula One. There are a couple of others who have a passing interest and of the ones who aren?óÔé¼Ôäót interested I have tried to get them to develop an interest in it and it always comes down to one thing. ?óÔé¼?ôWhy can?óÔé¼Ôäót that guy at the back catch that guy at the front??óÔé¼?Ø to which I reply ?óÔé¼?ôbecause his car only cost one-tenth of the cost of the one in front to make so it’s not as good?óÔé¼?Ø.
You see, to someone who has no knowledge of the category who is considering watching, the fundamentals need to be in place to attract them in the first place and they aren’t. People want to feel like they?óÔé¼Ôäóre going to watch 24 racers fight tooth and nail on a reasonably level playing field but F1 can?óÔé¼Ôäót offer that so people don?óÔé¼Ôäót bother. It?óÔé¼Ôäós different for me, I?óÔé¼Ôäóm dyed in the wool. I?óÔé¼Ôäóve been watching so long that I?óÔé¼Ôäóve grown up with it and its as much an addictive soap opera as a fascinating technical endeavour to me and for that reason I am more able to tolerate dull racing. F1 sells itself as a racing category first and foremost so people are just confused when there is no racing and give up. Two hours is a long time to sit starting at a foregone conclusion and a maintaining season-long interest/viewers is not going to happen unless people are given what they want.
The world has changed. With the internet etc… people are able to get exactly what they want more readily rather than be told what to want by the super-rich. Customers have more power and have grown very accustomed to that and if they aren?óÔé¼Ôäót satisfied they will look elsewhere. This is something that F1 has failed to notice.
From the forum
Happy birthday to Tom Watson and Ian Hayward!
On this day in F1
Happy birthday to Hector Rebaque who is 58 today.
Rebaque was one of few Mexican drivers to compete in Formula One before Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez came long. After an unsuccessful stint with Hesketh in 1977 he entered his own car in the following two seasons, scraping a solitary point at the Osterreichring in 1978.
Halfway through 1980 he was drafted in alongside championship contender Nelson Piquet at Brabham in place of Ricardo Zunino.
He fared little better than his predecessor yet remained at the team in 1981, still very much a number two to Piquet. While his team mate took the title, Rebaque ended the year tenth, and was replaced by Riccardo Patrese.
After a brief spell in IndyCar racing, where he took a fluke win at Road America in 1982, a high-speed crash at Michigan led him to call time on his racing career.
Image ?é?® Daimler/Hoch Zwei