Nissan GT-R LM Nismo, 2015

F1’s pitiful 18-car grid – and a good week for WEC

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The National Football League Super Bowl attracts the kind of viewing figures Formula One can only dream about getting in the USA. It set a new record last Sunday, and during its traditional half-time show over 118 million pairs of eyeballs were watching.

Advertising slots at this time command top-dollar prices. So Nissan’s commercial featuring its new LMP1 challenger, the GT-R LM NISMO, was a significant coup for the series it will compete in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd1qCi5nSKw

Mawkish pap? Absolutely. But pure gold for the World Endurance Championship – how many of those 118 million people will have been intrigued by the glimpses of the GT-R LM and turned to the web looking for more?

And for those who already have an interest in motor racing, the fourth manufacturer entrant to the WEC is a fascinating proposition which thumbs its nose at convention.

Nissan GT-R LM Nismo, 2015In pursuit of more effective aerodynamics its three-litre V6 engine is mounted at the front of the car and drives the front wheels. Its narrow rear tyres make for an unorthodox machine unlike any of its LMP1 rivals.

This underlined the point made by Nissan’s (since departed) executive vice-president Andy Palmer when the programme was announced last May: “LMP1 is not just an arms race – all our rivals in the class have taken different technical approaches and we will be doing the same.”

The phrase ‘just an arms race’ serves as a neat explanation for why Nissan chose to join Toyota, Porsche and Audi in the WEC over Formula One. Each of their cars has a different solution to WEC’s hybrid engine regulations, while those in F1 are straitjacketed into using the same V6 turbo configuration.

The Nissan “set social media alight”, in the words of FIA commission president Lindsay Owen-Jones. “But from an engineering perspective it also demonstrates that the new regulations have allowed a major motor manufacturer to come up with a solution to a set of rules that is very different from their rivals,” he added.

A good week for WEC got better on Thursday when the entry list for this year’s championship and the blue riband Le Mans 24 Hours were announced. The LMP1 class is now the largest in the field, and the total entry has expanded to 35 – almost twice as many as the meagre field of 18 currently expected for the first F1 race of the year.

Granted, this isn’t comparing apples with apples – the LMP1 entry numbers just 11, and other classes make up the rest of the field. Nonetheless, this is indicative of the health of the WEC, which has expanded beyond its previous maximum entry of 32 this year.

For all F1’s talk about ‘improving the show’ in recent years, those running the sport have failed to grasp that the most obvious way of ensuring more happens during a race is to have more competitors. A larger grid makes more noise too, addressing another recent bugbear.

Jules Bianchi's car, Marussia, Sochi Autodrom, 2014In an episode which encapsulated the depths of dysfunction F1 is now plumbing, the chances of getting the grid up to at least 20 were dashed this week. Manor (formerly Marussia) were forbidden from entering the championship using the chassis they built for last season.

The days of F1’s regulations being stable enough for a team to use fundamentally the same chassis from one year to another are a thing of the past. As recently as 2003 McLaren came close to championship success using an evolution of its car from the previous season.

Manor professed surprise at the decision on the grounds that their previous application to the Strategy Group had already been addressed and they had made no further one since then. However their ‘non-application’ ended up on the table, it was then decided by a group of teams who were presented with the option of having to compete against another rival or potentially getting a share of the prize money which was owed to them.

It’s not hard to understand why any of the teams would take the money – particularly the one which did not attend testing this week due to a reported lack of funds. But what are those in charge of the sport doing allowing it to be run this way?

Meanwhile the WEC’s diverse grid booms and F1’s homogenised arms race dwindles.

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102 comments on “F1’s pitiful 18-car grid – and a good week for WEC”

  1. I’ve been a Formula 1 fan ever since I could differentiate between two drivers and cars, but this year I am more excited for the World Endurance Championship and IndyCar [although that has had a bad week this week too] than I am Formula 1.

    I hear the term “any publicity is good publicity” thrown around a lot, but I really do not feel that this is the case at the moment. All of the bad publicity in recent years that the supposed Strategy Group has generated is really putting me off Formula 1 right now, and the fact that two teams have been left effectively to die has not helped, regardless of how good or bad these teams are.

    At the same time, the World Endurance Championship has bumped the grid up beyond numbers which previously it could not handle. There is also a top-heavy grid for Le Mans (more prototypes than GTE cars) with proposals to extend the number there up to sixty soon. The talent in the World Endurance Championship isn’t exactly lacklustre either, especially at the top, whilst Formula 1 has the ‘pay driver’ problem bigger than ever.

    F1 is not the be all and end all of motorsports, especially in the current state that it is in. With cars barely faster than a Super Formula car, and with IndyCar introducing aero kits this year meaning that they will only go quicker (with talks of 240mph average around Indianapolis) and F1 thinking that 1000bhp is the way to go when Nissan has already laughed all over that with their 1250bhp beast, the technical advancements in this category just no longer excite me any more. I feel that the likes of Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso expressing interest in the World Endurance Championship is hinting towards even the best of drivers are deciding that F1 is no longer all that it is hyped up to be. We all know how much Sebastian Vettel loves the current regulations too.

    Finally, I have tickets booked to go to Silverstone to see the World Endurance Championship in April. I wouldn’t even consider going to watch F1 at Silverstone at the moment. The global TV and attendance figures are dropping in F1 and seem to be picking up in other categories, especially WEC. MotoGP is doing excellently with the attendance figures there too, especially on race day.

    Of course I will watch F1 this year, but I’m nowhere near as hyped up for the upcoming season as I was five/six/seven years ago, even with the big name driver movements.

    1. i feel the same way right now. WEC and IndyCar are developing in the correct direction, whereas f1 keeps on moving in the wrong one. it’s still my favourite racing series, as of this moment, but i fear that if things in f1 don’t change any time soon (main thing being bernie) it will slip down the order.

    2. Why I’ve been moving towards WEC the last few years:
      1) Better races
      2) Races I can watch with commentary on my TV instead of a crappy stream.
      3) Mark Webber (big fan)
      4) Porsche (big fan)

      The only thing F1 has over WEC is the amount of races. I wouldn’t mind WEC adding a few more 6H races on for example Monza or Sochi.

      1. I for one prefer shorter races, I just can’t stand in front of my tv for hours. I like watching its highlights though, but if I had to choose, I’d watch (after F1) WTCC or WRC instead.

        1. I absolutely love WRC but it’ll never have the flair of circuit racing where cars actually go wheel to wheel. I like to see WTCC races but it has never managed to get me to watch and actively participate a full season.

      2. wec races are too long. i dont have the time to dedicate to it. if they were sprint races a la F1 I’d watch it all the time.

      3. Plus, the 919 has the coolest noise in years. When it activates the hybrid system it looks like it’s about to jump into hyperspace.

        1. @carlitox Another thing I love, Star Wars. :)

      4. @xtwl, Surely WEC could increase their fanbase with say 10 x 300Km sprint races a year, the cars certainly look to be fast as well as durable and 2 hours is about as long as most people can dedicate to 1 event in 1 session.

        1. @hohum That would kinda make the ‘E’ meaningless wouldn’t it? Also it would mean three drivers have to run a car in 2 hours for the championship? They should perhaps add 3H races in which each driver has to compete at least 50 minutes

          1. @xtwl – Could create a championship called the WSC, and have no driver changes.

          2. @david-a Well, actually the FIA only recognises four WORLD championships being F1, WEC, WRC and WTCC, so maybe it is indeed time for a world sprint championship for LM-and-GT-class/type cars.

          3. @xtwl, E or S, who cares but I was thinking like @david-a, and no pit-stops. The cars are under-utilised atm.

          4. 3 hour races and the sprint races where drivers don’t change are basically the 2 Blancpain GT championship.

            The race length is the only thing holding WEC back for the non-hardcore fans of endurance racing.

        2. @hohum So maybe like in TUSC where the classes run serperatly for some races? It would also mean 9 of each LMP1 car, whew what a race would that be. I’d pay for a ticket to see that happening at Spa.

          1. @xtwl,” 9 of each LMP1 car” ? are you saying there are only 2 different LMP1 cars, I admit ignorance but I thought there was more variation than this ?

          2. @hohum I don’t understand your question? I ment 9 cars for each team as they have three teams of three drivers (Porsche and Audi)? Then 6 cars for Toyota.

    3. @craig-o This is a great comment, you make a lot of very good points here. But regarding the speed of F1 cars, they should move further ahead of Super Formula in the coming years. F1 cars were expected to be slower in 2014 due to the big aero change that limited aerodynamics, but the times will likely get faster again as engines are developed (especially if they go to 1000 hp) and downforce is clawed back in the coming years (even with aerodynamic progress being limited by the revised nose regulations for 2015, the cars are still predicted to be 2-3s faster this year).
      Also, the IndyCar 240 mph average around Indianapolis doesn’t really mean much. Even with the homogenous chassis they have been using in the past, they would have still been faster than F1 cars around ovals. The reason is because despite having notably lower cornering speeds, worse brakes and slower acceleration, they have higher top speeds (the most important thing for an oval circuit) because they have been optimised for ovals as well as circuits, whereas in F1 they only race around circuits, so a comparison isn’t that significant. But it will be interesting to see how much faster they get with aero kits.

    4. COTD? My thoughts exactly. It’s only Ricciardo and Bottas that are keeping me tuned into F1 this year. And a slight interest in how much faster the cars will be this year.

      1. The only focal point in F1 for me this year is Button vs Alonso. I’ve lost interest in most other aspects of the sport I used to love and breathe. Sad really. F1 should easily be 1500bhp and 150db. I’ll have to have a look at the WEC timetable for races on tv.

    5. I agree. I’ve attended the F1 race at COTA every year they’ve held it, but I won’t be going in 2015.

      The city of Austin is fantastic, the people of Austin are great, the Circuit of the Americas is an awesome track and venue. But F1 has just become boring to me.

      The WEC on the other hand has taken over my motorsport enthusiasm. My friends and I have already begun planning our Circuit de la Sarthe assault. As for Austin, I’ll be returning to COTA, but for the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas instead.

      And if I needed any more convincing, the Bathurst 12 Hours this weekend was incredible!

      I can’t wait to see that NISMO LMP1 car go up against the Audis, Toyotas and Porsches at Le Mans.

      1. And if I needed any more convincing, the Bathurst 12 Hours this weekend was incredible!

        @manjuboy, it was a treat wasn’t it. Loved every second I watched. Also Vanthoor, fellow Belgian, did very good which makes the race even more fun to watch.

        1. It was amazing how Vanthoor recovered on the final corner to go from 4th to 2nd.

    6. I’m with a lot of you here but I will be going to my first F1 race ever, at Monza this year (in time too by the look of things). It also looks like it will be the only F1 race I ever attend. I also have to visit someone to watch it as I cannot afford the Premiums charged to watch.

      The best thing of all about Bathurst was that they had livestreaming and livetiming for it – and I followed they on twitter! Lemans also has that option.

      This is what Bernie will never get, to make money you have to sell it. He’s just leaching.

  2. i want to watch every WEC race this year. last year i watched a few online on internet streams, as it isnt available on free to air tv in Australia. this year i would even pay for it. the Nissan might have more power to weight ratio then an f1 car! 1250hp at 880 or so kg. f1 should forget about road car relevance and return to its roots of being fast, powerful and loud and allowing development. WEC is doing the road car relevance so much better and gaining crowds, while f1 is losing crowds. If even current F1 drivers are interested in WEC, it shows it is doing something right. i think f1 is lucky that Indycar shot itself in the foot when it was so big in the mid 90s, and then split into 2 series. Indycar could have become a world series at that point.

    1. @kpcart, firstly, you should bear in mind that LMP1 cars exclude the weight of the driver, unlike in F1 where the minimum weight includes the driver, so the power to weight figures are slightly misleading.
      Secondly, it’s worth noting that Nissan haven’t actually tested their car to prove it can produce 1250bhp – that is their revised target power output, but reportedly they’ve been struggling badly with their energy recovery systems (a fact slightly hinted at by the fact that the weight Nissan have announced shows that the car is overweight) and their recent tests in Austin were reportedly without the hybrid drive system in action.

    2. @kpcart you can watch a 52′ min highlights of WEC on Fox Sports.

      Take a look at this link here: http://www.fiawec.com/wpphpFichiers/1/press_area/19/234/2014_COTA_TV.pdf

  3. yes. this is exactly what ive been saying for a while now. ive been going to grand prixs for 30+ years and the last ten have been part of a big group of friends. we’ve stopped going due to the extreme costs involved and have decided that when we next venture out for a race we’re going to Le Mans. The last few years have shown that there is no other race on the planet that will give you more racing and drama. …and its a fraction of the cost of a grand prix.

  4. Lots of words can be said about the state in which F1 put itself by collective forces of everyone involved in the buisness.
    In one word – modern F1 is pathetic.

  5. In light of the fact that last season saw the invigorating arrivals of new star talents to F1’s top table, hosted a championship duel worthy of the late 1980s and did so whilst using 35% less fuel and promoted the development of new fuel efficient technologies all the while, I find the mournful accounts of the WEC’s relative success that are especially rife in AUTOSPORT, rather confusing. This is no denial that F1 is not suffering a number of crises, the exits of Caterham and Marussia are among the most grave developments for F1’s structure for years, but does the WEC not have problems? Is it not every bit as unsporting as double points that the 2014 regulations for LMP1 H were specifically designed to disadvantage Audi (as Gérard Neveu has admitted)?

    And is competition for F1 from a strong international series not welcome whilst Marquez and Ogier dominate the other points of motorsport gravity? Competition from Group B in the 1980s spawned perhaps the most prominent years in F1 history in the late 80s and early 90s, and with F1 set for another era of mano e mano, I don’t see why this can’t be the case again.

    F1 does tend to suffer with a cultural negative news bias born of the fact that it is a spectator sport with a strong culture for fan debate. In essence, once Fernando Alonso has been established as the best driver on the grid in a pub debate, the conversation moves on to how tackle F1’s problems. As a result of our problem-solving fan tendencies, one tends to emerge from reading Jonathan Noble’s “newshound” column in AUTOSPORT on the verge of tears.

    Just a theory…

    1. who cares about using 35% less fuel, that fact has made the sport less spectacular to watch. this is f1, they should not care about fuel usage. teh champsionship duel wasnt like that of the 80s senna and prost – they were the best drivers, while not many consider roseberg and hamilton the 2 best. WEC dissadvantaging Audi, good… they at least try to have relative parity to make the sport interesting, and behind the scenes the technology is more interesting then f1 relying on fuel suppliers to develop fuel because the teams cant develop their own engines.

    2. @countrygent, there have been a few problems that have crept up in the WEC, and one issue that has come up is cost inflation. The Wayne Taylor team, for example, have already said that they have rejected the ACO’s invitation to compete at Le Mans because the cost of competing is too high, whilst the ACO has already introduced testing restrictions due to complaints about increasing testing costs.

      It could also be argued that, in some ways, the situation is not necessarily as rosy as the picture might suggest. The number of manufacturers in the LMP1 class has increased, but that is because the ACO, by its own admission, deliberately drove the privateers out of the LMP1 class because they wanted to make it into a “manufacturers only” class by demoting the privateers into the LMP2 class.

      In fact, it is somewhat ironic that FOM is criticised for damaging the independent manufacturers in F1, and yet people throw praise on the ACO when Gérard Neveu has stated that they only want manufacturers in the LMP1 class because it is better for their marketing strategy – a point aptly underlined by the fact that, when Keith was counting up the LMP1 category entrants, he failed to include Rebellion and Kolles…

      It is also worth noting that the ACO has effectively barred independent engine manufacturers from the lower classes. For example, the regulations for the LMP2 class – which is where the ACO has funnelled the privateers into – explicitly states that only production engines (i.e. tuned up road car engines) are allowed, banning independents like Judd or Cosworth from competing. Could you imagine how the F1 fanbase would react if the FIA announced that it was banning independent engine manufacturers from F1?

      The other complaint is that the ACO tends to go far too easy on the manufacturer entrants when it comes to the legality of their cars. After all, in the scruitineering report for the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, they stated that all of the LMP1 cars broke the regulations – but instead of penalising the teams, the ACO rewrote its own regulations to make the cars legal.

      In fact, there were a lot of complaints that the manufacturers were cheating the regulations in multiple ways, with the ACO being very lenient on them – Porsche has excessively flexible bodywork, Toyota had a blatantly illegal rear wing (which Porsche had apparently been complaining about during the first race of the season) and the ACO’s scruitineering reports suggest that all three manufacturers may have been running illegal anti-lock braking systems on their cars.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        9th February 2015, 7:49

        A few things don’t quite fit with me there.
        I agree with you that “P1 for manufacturers and P2 for privateers” is the philosophy of the new rules, but I, for one, rather agree with it, because there is a fundamental difference in structure between sportscar racing and single-seater racing.

        Sportscar racing has always been a manufacturer thing. There were privateers in Group C for example, but they’d buy Porsche 956/962s rather than design their own cars, something which has always been more present in single-seater racing. Proof being that when the FIA imposed F1-style regulations in the early 1990s, the WSC disappeared.
        A class in which privateers can enter with a budget and know they’re not going to be outspent has proved very successful; not so much in the WEC, although things are looking up, but the continental P2 markets in Europe and the US are looking good (that’s another problem though: the hardware may be cost-capped, but you still have to be able to afford to travel the world, and that, for me, is why worldwide P2, GTE-Am and, in other realms, WRC-3, don’t tend to take off).
        Which brings us to costs and your point about Wayne Taylor Racing. Note that WTR are running in the USCC with a Daytona Prototype. To take part at Le Mans, they would therefore not only have to travel there, but also buy/lease an eligible car. CytoSport (Muscle Milk) Pickett Racing would have been a more plausible example: they won a couple of invitations in the ALMS, but never took one. Could be a logistics issue, or simply that the team never budgeted a trip to Le Mans.

        About the car count, Keith did not forget Rebellion and ByKolles. He’s talking about the WEC grid, and not the Le Mans grid, which will have 14 cars in P1 (1 extra Audi, Porsche and Nissan).

        I admit I missed the legality complaints in the WEC, but, on the other hand, innovations in F1 tend to be banned or transformed at the end of the season (DRS effectively replacing the F-Duct for example), if not in-season. Two different angles of attack on possible loopholes, accept ’em or ban ’em, but on that front, an analogous complaint could be made about F1.

    3. @countrygent, F1 history is riddled with rule changes designed to stop 1 team dominating.

  6. It’s not just the cars that are missing, it’s the drivers and their teams of engineers, sponsors and supporters. F1 is maybe 25% smaller as a business than it could be. Shame. But it won’t change unless those who control the money (Bernie, CVC and the big teams) see a hit to their wallets, which won’t happen until current TV contracts start to expire or until more circuits fail to meet the financial demands of the promoters and withdraw. This latter happens already, of course, but replacement circuits around the world are still available (Mexico, Azerbaijan) so the end of the money is not yet in sight. If the glamour of F1 fades further, who knows is that can be sustained? Will the potential loss of a German GP and similar races affect the global appeal?

  7. Not trying to be contrary, but the flipside with WEC is that you need 4 different classes to effectively produce one healthy gridsize. The split on the entry list is 11-10-7-7 across LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro and Am. Being generous and saying LMGTE Pro and Am are effectively one, it still reads on paper as three separate races with small grids.

    There’s no denying that WEC is on the way up and is becoming increasingly popular with manufacturers and fans, however.

    1. the sub classes make it even more appealing to many, the different classes let more manufacturers in. many manufacturers are happy to race in GT classes or whatever then in f1 because of the ridiculours costs and not much chance of success.

      1. I’m not saying the sub-classes aren’t appealing, I’m just saying F1 could run their 18 cars and 10 GP2 cars and 10GP3 cars and have a healthy-looking grid.

        1. 38 cars at monaco would not end well..

  8. It’s tough to say of course, but I’m getting the feeling that F1 is collapsing in on itself. One of F1’s biggest assets has been its history, traditionally it has always been the proving ground for manufacturers to show off their engineering skills. The ones running F1 are realising this and so they have essentially built the sport around teams that are willing to spend millions. The smaller outfits still want to compete, but not only is it becoming more and more difficult for them to survive, there really is no point, because there is no way a team like Sauber or Force India could ever win the championship anymore (unlike say thirty years ago).

    What would make F1 appealing to future manufacturers? Well, it still has by far the most followers of any motor sport. Although F1 makes no effort whatsoever to promote itself, promotion is pretty much based on its historical value, which is still the most effective way to promote itself.

    So why are manufacturers ignoring F1 then? Well, for one, it’s the cost to participate, which is beyond ridiculous. But I think there’s more to it than that. The reason why WEC and Formula E are gaining ground while F1 is losing it, is because these series are way more relevant to manufacturers. The reason why Nissan and Porsche chose WEC over F1 is because they are given a lot more freedom to show their engineering skills.

    If F1 wants to survive, a lot of things need to change. I’ve said it before, but F1 needs to make up its mind whether it wants to be a sport in which competitors build whatever they feel like and see which of their creations is fastest, or whether it wants to be a show with 1000 bhp engine, wider tyres, titanium skid blocks, Pirelli tyres, DRS, standing restarts and double points. If they choose the first one, it will effectively be a monoposto WEC, perhaps even with multiple classes or whatever. If they choose the second one, why not asks Cosworth to produce big V12 engines for all?

    Short summary: the thing that is destroying F1 is the lack of vision and leadership, and unless someone steps in and makes a number of important decisions with a lot of sacrifices, I don’t see how F1 can move forwards.

  9. The small amount of cars is the least of the f1 problems. The real problem is that the cars are boring and unexciting. The racing is good and that is not affected at all by having or not having some useless back marker teams filled with paydrivers who would have no other chance ofe getting into f1 otherwise.

    The sad thing is that in short term the marussia and caterham issues will also make things harder for the proper mid field teams. Lack of payments means the parts suppliers need their stuff paid up front and the no-show of the 2 teams certainly has affected it. Force india had to apparently miss their test because they did not have the funds to pay for some parts because of caterham and marussia ussues. The parts suppliers wanted payment first before delivery because of potential issues happening like with those other 2 teams.

    1. The racing is NOT good, I’m sorry. The UK commentators do make a hell of a job pretending it is, but it’s not. It’s a farce.

      1. A farce? really? I have been watching F1 since 1985 and last year had some of the best races i have ever soon (just watch highlights of the schumacher domination era to see how bad they could be).

        1. f1 wasnt really that great in 80s or 90s either for racing, but it had more appeal, it looked and souded better, and more manufacturers wanted to be involved. the 2000s era with schumacher dominating felt more exciting to watch then hamilton and rosberg dominating last year, it feels less of a show now. in general the racing in f1 is always let down by the disparity in performance between the teams, it doesnt let winning drivers have a shot at winning.

      2. Well that is subjective. Personally I’ve found the last season to be very very good. Every race had a scrap for the win, there were exciting races with weather, the cars looked great fun to drive and event he bad engine sound has its upsides. Can hear the tire squeels and crowd reactions. For some even hearing the electronics is a nice thing too.

        If merc had been little slower we would have had the best F1 season of all time imho. What did ruin it for you so badly that you would call it farce?

        1. Im sorry but that is just wrong:

          Australia: Rosberg 21 seconds ahead
          Malaysia: Hamilton 17 seconds ahead
          Bahrain: Very close to the finish but was that only because of the safety car? who knows)
          China: Hamilton 18 seconds ahead
          Spain: Close battle
          Monaco: Close but expected until Hamiltons vision was affected (9 seconds behind)
          Canada: Exciting until Hamilton retired, then became Rosberg trying to hold on but couldnt put up a fight.
          Austria: Close fight
          Britain: Hamilton 30 seconds ahead
          Germany: Rosberg 20 seconds ahead
          Hungary: In my opinion is the race of the season, battles everywhere all race
          Belgium: Well we all know what happened here, the collision made the race ‘exciting’ because of the drama
          Italy: Battle until Hamilton overtook, excitement faded after that
          Singapore: Hamilton 13 seconds ahead
          Japan: Again exciting until Hamilton overtook, then was overshadowed by the horrific crash
          Russia: Race over by the second corner, Hamilton 13 seconds ahead
          US: Another one where its exciting until Hamilton overtook
          Brazil: Rosberg drove extremely well and kept Hamilton behind him, battle until the end
          Abu Dhabi: No real trouble for Hamilton, was no need to go flat out the whole race

          So when you see that how can you say “every race had a scrap for the win”

          1. Well, compare it to something? Like I said it is subjective and in last season the races were more exciting than in 2013 for example where it was just vettel vettel vettel.

          2. Do the same analysis in any era and you will find 2014 not un-typical.

          3. @socksolid – Every time someone says 2014 was boring people say “oh but it was more exciting than 2013”. Yeah, 2014 was more unpredictable than 2013, but why is a year dominated by 1 driver the benchmark? Why does no-one compare 2014 to years like 2003, 2008, 2010 or 2012?

      3. I strongly disagree with that, The racing in 2014 WAS good.

        There was good battles throughout the field, A lot of overtaking through the field & I really enjoyed 2014, One of the best i’ve seen.

        On top of that it looked much more fun to watch, seeing the cars sliding around more, Watching driver shaving to manage the torque with the cars moving around more under acceleration made it so much more spectacular to watch, Especially the in-car camera shots.
        Go back 10 years & sure the cars had more downforce & lap times were faster but the cars were so boring to watch because they all looked like they were on rails.

        1. Personally I am loving the rivalry at Mercedes. I think that is one of the things F1 needs more of, and if it weren’t for Mercedes being racers and allowing that, last season would have been far less enthralling imho.

          For me F1 needs more rules stability, which thankfully we have at least for this year vs last, so that the teams can get closer to each other in performance. I have no issue whatsoever with a smaller grid, and what would help that is if the 9 teams that are there are all within a second of each other, fastest to slowest, and that would be enthralling.

          F1 has gone far too much toward being about endurance, with drivers only allowed to race when told they can by the pits, and combined with phony, fake DRS passing, there is simply far less to be enthralled about these days.

          F1’s continued addiction to downforce, albeit with minor efforts to curb that lately, but not nearly enough imho, means they have resorted to designer tires and DRS to compensate and ward off the dreaded processions, but F1, as the professed pinnacle, has dumbed down the actual racing with manufactured passing, like that would go unnoticed.

          BE wants the Rolex crowd, not the mere peons that can’t afford to be in or to watch pay-F1, and yet the product is watered down. BE will sell you a Rolex, but once you take it home and take a closer look, it’s a cheap knockoff that only resembles the real thing at a glance but is far from what it could or should be.

          If there is about to be another ‘radical’ shakeup of the regs in the near future, let it be about simplifying, and going back to basics. A sprint with far less downforce and no DRS and bad tires, and far less conservation, so we can actually see drivers as gladiators racing wheel to wheel, for 2 hours…not two laps per stint while the tires allow it. Make F1 enthralling again, not by reaching 1000hp just so you can say they have 1000 HP, like that is going to fool the Rolex crowd, but by going back to putting the car in the drivers’ hands and making them the heroes again.

  10. Great article!

    What amuses me is the fact that WEC is also run by the FIA, and while I’m not as close to WEC as I am to F1, it seems like they are running it at least more professionally than F1. In F1 there’s no other way to describe them than utterly incompetent (eg the 2015 engine tokens debacle). Is it just that they have different groups within the FIA managing each series? Or is it the other influencers in F1 (eg Bernie, Ferrari etc) that cause them to make indefensibly bad decisions/rules?

    1. @fletchuk WEC is co-organised by the FIA and by ACO (which organises Le Mans, ALMS, AsLMS, ELMS etc)

  11. not only failed to grab new casual audience, this ‘sport’ is also in verge of losing dedicated audience patience as well.

  12. Yosi (@yoshif8tures)
    8th February 2015, 13:09

    http://youtu.be/OJbAOMPQB1k
    This is a good promotional video WEC put out.

    1. @yoshif8tures
      Great video! Thanks for sharing the link.

  13. To me F1 has always been the best there is in motorsport. It still is. But living in the US, i somewhat scratch my head when it comes to TV coverage. On NBC, they always talk F1 up like there is nothing else. But for an Indycar Race they have a twice as long pre race show, more interviews,…. I dont even try to talk about nascar. I tried to watch some WEC but havent figured out the exact times they show it. Le Mans gets a really good coverage. Lots of live coverage for the race. Moto GP gets its coverage on Fox Sports, including Moto 2 and 3.
    I don’t like to see another Series take over the title of Pinacle of Motorsports or open wheel racing. There is lots of great motorsport around the world. But in the US, nobody knows about it because you can’t get access to it. I would love to watch GP2, GP3, WSR and others. But there is no access here. F1’s 18 cars are not the problem to me. It is accessibility. I can pay $40 and be up close to the Indycars, meet some drivers and get a good show. TV coverage is good. Mostly just the races but thats enough. Nascar gets you up close without breaking the bank and tv coverage is insane. When WEC comes to the US, you get three times as much racing for a fourth of the price that F1 charges.
    In the end, to me it is accessibility that makes F1 go down and makes other racing series look so much better.
    I went to hockenheim in 1996 and paid 240 Deutsche Mark ($138) for a great weekend ticket at Turn 1.
    In 1997 the ticket price doubled. In 2012 i went to the USGP. I paid $500 for a seat at T1. Great views. The next tear my seat was $650.
    During all those events i never got close enogh to any driver to get an autograph. i went to a Indycar race in St Pete and litterally got every drivers Autograph and a Photo for a mere $45.

    1. it is not the best motorsport, it is just the richest and luckily for fans, still the fastest around road circuit race tracks (not drag strips, offroad, oval). so it is the fastest and most prestigous circuit racing series. but in the modern age, and people more learnt about class differences, F1 is losing meaning – it needs to up its game.

  14. WEC has, for the past few years, had a very positive media campaign, even with Peugeot leaving and Audi winning Le Mans still. There has been a very positive vibe around the series, with smiling faces at races, drivers and teams. The series has been growing in appeal, has noticeable social media presence, they’ve been doing a great job at promoting their series, as well as the teams doing their part.

    IndyCar is in limbo right now, with disappointing viewing figures and attendance, but both teams and organizers are actively and publicly looking for a way up. A lot of people still have goodwill towards IndyCar and they’ve been active on the internet for quite some time, even if streaming has disappeared.

    Lately I’ve been getting into NASCAR more and more, as they’re basically a unity. Sure, teams and drivers have public spats, but their social media and TV presence makes for a constant stream of information, going from commenting on spats to feel good stories from the past or current drivers.

    The three series above also actively try to keep the drivers available to spectators with signing sessions and driver interviews during the main broadcast.

    F1 on the other hand has been a mess for basically a decade. Ever since Schumacher’s domination in the early 2000’s media covering F1 has been growing more and more negative. Calling races boring, jumping on every irregularity like it’s Watergate, calling drivers ‘soulless’ (fun fact: Hakkinen and Schumacher were called boring in the 90s by a lot of magazines) and paydrivers (Inoue or Rosset never won a race), while every opinion piece in major publications heads something like ‘WHAT IS WRONG WITH F1/TEAM/DRIVER’. While I’m not going to deny F1 is in a sad state with teams disappearing and even the German GP in trouble, the media and fans are extremely negative. Every blog, website and person I see-hear talking about F1 basically goes ‘well, that race was nice, BUT here are some negative things I will reinforce.’

    F1 is currently not just disappearing behind a paywall, but behind a wall of elitism and negativity as well. When I was 7 and started following F1, the internet was not where it is now, but older F1 fans did nothing to help F1’s appeal. F1 was boring, Schumacher a cheat and Bernie greedy. But that’s 5 adults versus the wonder and imagination of one kid. Now, you’ve got thousands of people online who will basically discourage you from watching F1 with a very negative attitude, even if it’s partly justified.

    I’m not saying the fans are to blame; I’m pointing out just how F1 has poisoned the well far beyond ‘discouraging new teams’. When I see people on here go from talking about Hulkenberg deserving a better seat to why there not as interested in F1 anymore, you know things are going down the drain, because this isn’t the only place it’s happening. If you find an F1 related article on a ‘regular’ news site, the comments are bound to be even more explicitly negative than on a dedicated F1 site like this one. Imagine being a kid now, googling F1 and one of the first results being ‘teams vote against another team returning’ or a detailed rant on engine noise.

    Right now, F1 is doing nothing at all to appeal to new fans (with Bernie even saying they don’t need the consumers of tomorrow, just the ones around today), it’s doing nothing to appeal to current or previous fans. There is little outreach, it’s hard to find on TV in an increasing number of countries (let’s not forget a casual fan might not want to wake up at 6 in the morning for a race, with less and less European races, that window is also more narrow than in the past) and tickets to races are simply stupidly expensive.

    These are all symptoms of the larger problems: F1 is not going anywhere, while it wants to move in too many directions without any real goal or person to lead them there. Frankly, the idea that the F1 cocoon can just keep on moving around without having to get with the times outside of technology is outdated.

    1. Hear, hear!

    2. @npf1 You’ve summed up very nicely one of my biggest issues with F1. I love it and hopefully will continue to do so, but I feel completely discouraged from engaging with it because the fanbase and media are so unbelievably whiny. I daren’t even read the Rate the Race comment sections any more because the smallest and most insignificant issues get shoved down my throat, and short-term memory issues amongst fans becomes even more and more infectious.
      But at the end of the day I’m still positive about the sport. Just a few years ago (2009?) WEC was criticised for having a dwindling grid, and if they can pull themselves out of it then there’s at least a sliver of hope for F1. @geemac ‘s comment below is also excellent, couldn’t agree with it more.

  15. Unrelated, but in that video, they’re going the wrong way around Austin turn 1. More aesthetically pleasing I guess.

  16. While I agree with everything that has been said in this article, I think it is symptomatic of the state F1 is in now, and has been for as long as I can remember. F1, everyone from the drivers, teams and its press, is its own worst enemy. No sport in the world does such a good job of talking itself down as F1 does. Last season we saw a genuine battle to the last race for the title which we fans where begging for. We saw spectacular racing all through the field which we were begging for. We got highly complex, thoroughly 21st century power units which took over from the glorified sewing machines we were lumbered with from 2006 to 2013. And yet, on the brink of another fascinating season, all we can talk about are the negatives.

    Yes, Nissan and Porsche shunned F1. VAG has been anti F1 for decades and Nissan has never to my mind said it wanted F1. But we got Honda back, that is worth celebrating.

    Everyone wants 1000bhp back, but last year the Mercedes PU put put up to 860bhp and if the BBC is to be believed, they have found another 50bhp this winter. For no extra fuel use, that is worth celebrating! The engines sound great too, the new Honda unit whistles and whines and growls, its epic. Anyone who says they are dull has forgotten just how quiet the original turbos everyone seems to be pining for where.

    In short, the last few years have been brilliant and 2015 is going to be too. Sure there are issues, but what sport doesn’t have issues. Lets just focus on the good and enjoy the racing!

    1. couldnt of said it better myself

    2. Exactly, it’s such an odd situation.

    3. umm, indycar turbo v6s sound better. also honda comes and goes, if they cant win they leave the sport. they saw an opportunity this year with rule changes, but they should not have run off in 2008 – they should have persisted if they are real sports. they could have been world champions in 2009 (as they designed the Brawn car). now they have only returned as engine makers and are relying on a hugely budgeted team to do better then they did themselves 10 years ago.

      1. The Indy V6 turbo sounds better because they don’t recover any lost energy. Noise is essentially lost energy. When you run powerful ERS together with a single turbo and a single exhaust pipe, it will reduce noise.

  17. Who wrote this @keithcollantine

    Twin turbo’s in F1?

    Also this confuses me “The LMP1 class is now the largest in the field, and the total entry has expanded to 35…
    … the LMP1 entry numbers just 11, and other classes make up the rest of the field.”

    1. 11 cars in LMP1, 10 cars in LMP2, 7 cars in GTE pro, 7 cars in GTE am. total 35. Most cars in the LMP1 class.

  18. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    8th February 2015, 17:20

    one thoght: the points system was changed because three teams arrived in Formula One! ok: now that they are gone (and in fact the grid is smaller than 2009!) shouldnt the points system be reverted to the way it was before 2010???

  19. over 118 million pairs of eyeballs were watching

    While having 118 million people watching F1 sounds like a sponsors dream, the current F1 policy seems to be less viewers is better.

  20. I feel like the majority of F1’s biggest problems have developed as a result of the sale of F1 to CVC in 2006. Since they bought the commercial rights they have been taking over a third of F1’s annual income and it’s estimated they have made as much as £3-4 billion profit from their investment.

    There is enough money in Formula 1 to finance all the teams and for every team to make a profit or at least break even. But instead, only the top teams have a chance of making any profit (even then it’s not guaranteed, with Williams making a loss this year despite their great season).
    The financial struggles of certain teams has directly led to the issue of pay drivers, as well as all the negative publicity of teams going into administration and disappearing completely.
    Over the past 3 years it’s estimated F1’s teams have made combined net losses of around £400 million. Marussia have been hit the hardest and it’s estimated they have lost £170m+ since joining the sport in 2010.
    The combined net losses of £400 million could easily be reduced or eliminated by CVC redistributing more of the sport’s income back to the teams, but instead they continue to squeeze all the billions they can out of the sport.

    F1’s circuit owners are also suffering, with Bernie and CVC’s desire to squeeze out as much money as possible putting several traditional circuit venues at risk. Many rich Middle-Eastern governments are willing to pay huge amounts to subsidise a circuit in their country so that they can hold an F1 race to raise their country’s worldwide profile. The large majority of European venues cannot compete with this as they are no longer subsidised by their governments. With their contracts nowadays resulting in much of their weekend’s profits being siphoned by the commercial rights holder, this means that many traditional European venues are having to raise their prices to ridiculous levels to afford hosting the race, which puts them at further risk. Is it any wonder we are talking about declining attendance figures in places like Germany and Italy when prices are over 200-300 euros? MotoGP prices are only 10% of that.

    In Bob Fernley’s words, “CVC have done an absolutely awful job. They are the worst thing that has ever happened to Formula One.”

  21. The WEC field is great, now I think they need to add a few more races, making it up to 10 or 12 races to fill up that massive gap after Le mans.

  22. I’d would like to see Rio Haryanto in WEC..

  23. ….Nissan is owned by Renault… The Wec It’s cheaper and far more liberal commercially, you don’t have to pay £700 to watch it. In terms of rules these are a mess, if you can make 8 megajoules work that should be better for you but if you have a nice 2 or 4 megajoules system you are going to win LeMans, especially if you sponsor your opponents and the whole of Le Sartre. At least people in F1 really want to win, they just don’t want to show up.

  24. Manufacturers are turning up at WEC because it allows innovative concepts whilst having rules on design. Turbo Diesel engine in the Audi, V4 engine in Porsche and now a front-engined (primarily FWD) Nissan….That’s some innovative and diverse engineering.
    F1’s current engine formula is quite good and it’s definitely a step forward. But it’s way too restricted to allow variety of designs.

  25. Isnt the real problem that in many countries you now have to pay to see live races. That is what will destroy F1, and it will stop young people watching the sports. Bernie and CVC need to go for that very reason

    1. The same is true for WEC, Its impossible to watch unless you pay for a subscription service in most (If not all) countries.

      Getting rid of Bernie or CVC will also not get F1 off PayTV because sport in general is heading to PayTV because the cost of producing live sport is now too high for most of the Free TV Broadcasters to afford. Thats why the FreeTV broadcasters like the BBC, ITV, Channel 4/5 in the UK have in most cases voluntarily slashed the amount of live sport they show.

      Within the next 5-10 years I can see paying for sport been the only way to watch it, Its just the way things are going as I say not just with F1, With everything & not just in the UK/Europe all around the world.
      F1 is one of the last to start heading down the PayTV model, Most others have already started down that path & as I say its a trend which will continue, Not just in F1 but for everything.

  26. I agree with a lot of the points being made here. F1 is in trouble, the main problems are the rules which are too restrictive, the cost of entry which is prohibitive and the wealth distribution which is simply stupid. I doubt the main issues would ever be fixed as it would require that those involved would have to base their decisions on what’s best for the sport and not their own best interest.

  27. What I don’t understand is why PU rules were made with cost saving as one of the prime consideration? I understand that it will reduce the cost for the teams, but the PU manufacturers didn’t ask for it! they even asked for more freedom! Why not just restrict the max value that the F1 PU could be sold at a number (let’s say $15M)? If a PU cost more than that, then the PU manufacturers should shoulder the burden, since it’s them that want to splash the money to engine development. Would it make PU manufacturers shy away? Based on current evidence, no!
    Also about chassis, I would also like for them to relax the regulation more, as long as it’s still safe. The key thing is that if a team found a very good aero solution, it should be able to be copied by another team. If the solution is super expensive that smaller teams couldn’t possibly copy it, then they can ban the solution.
    And why they can implement PU rules like in LMP1 or even give them more freedom! We know that the car can run a lot faster for most of the times, but limited by fuel capacity, then why not remove the max fuel capacity and only limit the flow? If a team thinks that carrying more fuel (which adds weight and probably more setup problem because the difference between max fuel and low fuel is bigger) is worth it, then so be it. Basically I want a car that can be run at 100% of their potential most of the time. The consideration of not running at 100% should be shouldered by the team, whether they want to save the engine, or they run with less fuel, or else.
    Overall, it might be biased towards big car manufacturers, but with the price cap on the PU, at least the little guy could enter and choose the best PU solution and probably can compete favorably (like last year Merc powered teams) and team like Ferrari and engine manufacturers like Renault and Honda wouldn’t moan about the lack of development opportunity. Actually I don’t mind the token system as a mean to restrict development, but only if it were done for in season engine upgrades. If next season a manufacturer like Ferrari introduce a completely new engine, then it’s okay.

    Initially though, let’s start with PU price cap and open the engine development with the current engine specs.

  28. There is no point in reducing f1 car development when there is no cost cap, if they allow anything on the cars then we will see the best of the best, right now there is no congruency.
    The other series are giving more room for development and at lower cost so expect the shift to be continuously bigger, as long as there is proper media cover the shift will be effortless. Even formula e is growing, but only F1 is getting smaller.

  29. That is the worst ad I’ve seen for a long time. I couldn’t even work out what product they were pushing let alone brand. Well picked as mawkish pap.

  30. I could barely see the car!

  31. It seems like you’re not the only one to have been spurred by this ad to write an article @keithcollantine : featured on Le Monde’s invited blogs : http://ecosport.blog.lemonde.fr/2015/02/06/la-formule-1-est-elle-en-voie-de-perdre-son-trone/

  32. I think everyone has a different opinion on what formula 1 should be, well it’s a fact, thats life but… The racing isn’t bad… It was pretty wide open behind the mercedes and it’s as if we forgot that part. Picture this crop of pilots and teams when the cars have evolved and mercedes don’t have such a huge advantage. I think formula 1 could be bigger than it is in popularity yes, but I don’t think it’s in as bad a shape as we make it out to be. The sound of the cars isn’t make or break for me either. We’ll never have the glory days or the 90’s / early 2000’s but formula 1 is still a great spectacle .

  33. I have been a fan of F1 since I was about 4 or 5 years old. The roar of the cars, the hundred thousand+ people on track watching the worlds top drivers and manufacturers battling it out on track just amazed me, but the way things are going now I feel like I`m pushed away from this sport. I have been to two races, 2011 Nurburgring and 2013 Silverstone, they cost me a fortune to go, but both races were great and I still remember them as they were yesterday and I don`t regret it. But looking at the prices for this years British GP when the cheapest general admission ticket for Sunday is £155 and a ticket to WEC is £35 for a grandstand! So I`m off to see Mark this year in a Porsche rather than my favorite team back with the legendary engine partner Honda.

  34. Regardless of F1’s faults, i’ve long been saying that WEC is the way forward. Taking just one example, it’s fan access at Silverstone is unprecedented among top level motorsports. There’s a sense that the sport wants you there. And the tickets are a sensible price.

    I’d really encourage everyone who can attend to go to Silverstone this year to see these machines. I’ve been for the last 4/5 years now and each time it’s been great. The viewing experience is different to an F1 race – for better or for worse – but one thing’s for sure, 6 hours passes a lot quicker than you’d expect.

    And if i’m cynical…it’s probably a better option than 2 hours getting in to Silverstone, 2 hours for the F1 race and 2 hours getting out of Silverstone during the grand prix weekend. While those numbers are exaggerated, it’s by less than you’d think!

    1. good for you, hope the WEC sells out Silverstone. It wont, hence the prices and access. Most people who goto an f1 race stay for 2 3 or 4 days, enjoy lots of racing and speak to like minded petrol heads. SO exaggerated and plain wrong.

  35. F1’s problem for the last how ever many years is that it’s run by someone who’s best interests are not in tune with the owners/drivers and instead is worried about making enough money for himself so that his can purchase $50 million and $75 homes for his daughters.

    The owners and drivers provide everything that is F1. Bernie just finds more ways to squeeze more money for himself from cities and countries desperate for attention. It’s sad that at this stage of his life, he is still trying to squeeze the last nickel out of everyone, instead of trying to create a legacy that will survive himself.

  36. @keithcollantine, great article, 1 error to fix before archiving, F1= V6 single not twin turbo.

  37. I keep hearing people go on & on about how great the WEC is, Yet WEC still has pathetically low viewing figures & outside of Le Mans the circuit attendance isn’t brilliant either.

    Additionally the F1 cars are still faster than the WEC despite all this ‘freedom’ the WEC designers have with chassis, engines, Hybrid’s etc…..

    The racing in WEC is pretty dire outside of the GT classes as well with just as much if not more car management, lift & coast, fuel saving & so on that you see in F1.

    The TV package in WEC is poor, The on screen graphics are awful, the TV direction is poor & they don’t have as many trackside or in-car cameras compared to F1 so its not as good to watch (Especielly with the many ad-breaks & awful commentators you get on Eurosport & motors tv).

    I also cannot stand how WEC still allows nonsense like traction control & other driver aids like launch control from the pit boxes.
    Ban those things, Improve the Tv package & the racing & then & only then will i consider watching it on a regular basis.
    Until that day I still see F1 as been by far the better series.

    1. F1 cars are faster because of different weights (F1 minimum car weight is ~700 kg including driver, LMP1-H minimum car weight is 870 kg without driver), so there’s a 250+ kg weight difference which explains straight away most of the pace difference. And it’s all about the car in the end, that’s why certain driver aids are allowed and developed, chassis undergo development, powertrains are developed, it’s not all about the racing. If you want to watch the WEC you have to accept that the cars are at the same time racing cars and auto development laboratories.

      In the end it’s different strokes for different folks, I personally find the tech level in WEC more intriguing than in F1.

  38. I’ve tried watching WEC the past few years but it just doesn’t interest me.

    People complain about dominance in F1 yet a lot of the time WEC races are won by much bigger gaps & there tends to be a lot less close racing/overtaking in the LMP classes.

    The racing in F1 is much better, There’s much more close racing, Much more overtaking & its just better in my view & thats why I’ve stuck with F1 for about 35 years & continue to enjoy every race.

    I also just don’t think the WEC cars are that interesting to watch, There like the F1 cars of 10 years ago in that they don’t move around & all look like there been driven on rails. Toyota may produce something like 1,000Bhp, But that just doesn’t make the Toyota look any more interesting or spectacular to watch it still looks far easier to drive than n F1 car because its not moving around or sliding & the driver aids mean the driver can just plant his right foot & not have to worry about wheelspin or anything.

  39. F1 forever!
    But, would you say that WEC is fast becoming the pinnacle of motorsport? I fear a bit for F1, not sure what from but there’s just always something not right or something wrong. WEC has got me fascinated with the sport

  40. “The days of F1’s regulations being stable enough for a team to use fundamentally the same chassis from one year to another are a thing of the past.”

    Hmm. Isnt Mercedes running an evolution of last year’s chassis? The only change seems to be the nose.

    I know you are an F1 fanatic, and care about the sport. But why cant we celebrate whats good about F1 instead of constantly moaning and complaining (this is pointed to pretty much all media these days not just this website). I think F1 is in a good place now and 2015 will be fascinating with all the driver changes and Honda coming back. I say bring on Melbourne and lets enjoy the racing.

    1. here here. A voice in the wilderness you may be but id rather look at the good too rather than this constant carping

  41. FOM goes around making unpopular venue deals while increasing their own coffers and that of CVC. Insulating themselves by forcing more traditional venues to up the ante just to stay in. FOM does little to promote the heritage and history of F1 to build the image and prestige the sport.

    FOM and FIA are content to let the teams appear to be the bad guy by giving them a chance to vote in their own self interests as all knew they would. The Strategy Group is one of Bernie’s best weapons, especially since he doesn’t get the blame while they carry on quite predictably. FOM and CVC help cause teams to struggle because of not enough reinvestment back into the sport and then get the teams to devour each other in the process. Bernie shows his true feelings by crowing about the shameful poor teams going about with their begging bowls. Then a hasty public relations statement about doing everything possible to help these teams. Then the individual teams and the group as a whole become the bad guy keeping Manor/Marussia out. Game/Set/Match – Bernie. Now he’s off to extract more money from Qatar or Bahrain, or fill in the blank.

    The FOM/CVC – FIA – TEAMS/STRATEGY GROUP is a 3 headed beast that runs Formula 1. Each part of the triumvirate does its best to wriggle out of much blame and responsibility as possible. But, just follow the money and you will find the real overlords of F1. Their interest is not the heritage, history, long term growth and promotion of F1 to be the best it can be. Their interest is only extracting as much cash out of every next deal they make. This is beyond prudent capitalism because they fail to realize that killing the goose that lays the golden eggs will end their run in F1. Only when the goose is gasping for air does there appear to be the slightest capitulation from the short sighted marauders with the stranglehold on the lifeblood of cash that could impact the sport in positive ways.

    Having said all that, we won’t really know exactly what will happen to F1 in the post-Bernie era until arriving there. Whether it still functions as an oligarchy/dictatorship or something more approaching a non-dysfunctional business with a responsible structure for all parties to thrive, enhance harmony, growth and long term sustainability remains to be seen. But that would seem to be a worthy and attainable goal. Formula 1 has a lot going for it to be able to survive, so far, what is going on now.

  42. Steve Campbell
    9th February 2015, 6:54

    There are so many things wrong with F1, many of which I believe would be solved via a generous energy formula. For example, for the race – you have a maximum of (pick a number) 175L of fuel allowed to be used for non-hybrids, and 115 L for hybrids (or whatever is settled upon).

    Then – build whatever engine you want.

  43. Well if you like endurance racing, go watch it. F1 cant keep growing forever and it maybe was too much in the spotlight compared to WRC & WEA. Maybe it would be good to get back to the core audience of petrol heads who will go and support whether or not a Nissan is being advertised during a game of catch a rugby ball. You cant uninvent something and as sure as night follows day, just as in Group B WRC in the 80’s once the WEA arms race gets out of hand it will go the same way as F1 and WRC towards lower power and more commonality in the spec.

  44. Don’t have much beef with this but I think it bears noting that F1’s new formula only looked like a straitjacket until Nissan’s car came out. The F1 drivetrain is very modern and Road Relevant and in fact there is great diversity among engines. Indeed, the big stories of the year were about how teams would make up for fundamental design differences/mistakes with the powertrain. On the WEC side, it only really looks diverse now because for the first time there is a totally different concept about how to get the car around the track. I would also say that the comparison has a critical limit, in that the WEC doesn’t have to run these complex contraptions 20x per year. The running costs of one of these cars for a season would be pretty steep if they had to run 20 times per year. I don’t think that model works out the same way as with F1

  45. A little bit odd to read this column (I agree with btw) and see below a link to an article suggesting that last season Mercedes was right to block the “unfreeze”.

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