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  • #272538
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    MazdaChris
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    I’m not sure I buy it as a reason for declining ratings. I think it has far more to do with a decreased visibility of the sport, and a lack of promotion through social media. Yes there were more outspoken drivers ten years ago, but they’re not outspoken when they’re driving, and the racing from ten years ago was abysmal compared to today. The cars lined up in order of speed, and trundled round for an hour and a half to two hours hardly ever changing position except for the fuel stops, while Schumacher won virtually every race.

    The cars were faster I guess, and the drivers made fewer mistakes because mistakes were more likely to end their race, but then that’s hardly a plus point – I think more mistakes make the racing more interesting and exciting for casuals, and the tons of overtaking we have now would have been beyond the wildest dreams of promoters ten years ago.

    F1 is a measurably better product in virtually every way today than it was ten years ago. The major difference is that F1 has been put behind a paywall in a large number of countries, and it isn’t spread or promoted in any way via social media. Casual fans aren’t going to pay subscription fees.

    The viewer numbers are massively dropping off in the UK despite there being a British driver in the middle of one of the best title fights in living memory, and despite the UK being basically the heartland of F1. The Belgian GP averaged less than three million viewers in the UK at the weekend, despite it being shown on BBC where anyone can view it. A few days later, the Great British Bake Off – essentially a cooking competition – averaged well over 8 million viewers. Nearly three times as many.

    #272492
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    MazdaChris
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    Most of those weren’t Red Bull driver programme graduates though were they. They were taken on or inherited from other teams. Point out one of those drivers who ever looked like they could be even remotely successful at the sharp end in F1. They were never going to make the grade, and so were dropped. But again, pretty much all went on to have ongoing careers elsewhere. Yeah, you can look at it like a production line, but it’s a production line which takes raw karters and then sponsors them throughout pretty much their whole career. Where other drivers are having to scrabble about trying to find sponsorships, those in the RBR programme don’t have to worry about any of that; they just have to focus on the business of convincing RBR that they are worthy of a seat in the top team. And even if they don’t manage that, they are still supported with sponsorship when they go elsewhere, when they will generally have their choice of other series’ to join because of the great reputation that Red Bull drivers have. That sounds like a hell of a good deal to me.

    #272488
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    MazdaChris
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    But you can’t argue with the end result. Yes the highest level is brutal and unforgiving, but it has yielded multiple world championships and race wins, with two of the best drivers on the grid right now. And even those who are cast adrift end up with brilliant careers off the back of it. They’ll have been given chances few other drivers are given, even if the ultimate standard is probably the highest in the world. Buemi now drives for Toyota in WEC, Alguersuari is going to be racing i Formula E next year. The participation in the Red Bull scheme has given them both a fantastic platform from which to pursue their own destinies. At the end of the day Red Bull are trying to find literally the best drivers in the world. As promising as Jev, Buemi, and Jaime may be, you’d have a hard time arguing that they met that criteria, but by the time you’re in Toro Rosso you’ve already reached an elite level and graduated with honours. Enough to take you into pretty much any racing category you might choose.

    #270852
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Helping raise awareness by not mentioning it once….

    #270839
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Maybe this is a stupid question, but how does pouring cold water on your head help any cause?

    #267512
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    If the EU push through tougher sanctions against Russia, as they’re currently threatening to do, it may become commercially impossible for F1 to operate in Russia anyway.

    #267243
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    MazdaChris
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    Thanks for sharing this. If you go to the museum at Le Mans they have model mockups of the start finish straights as they evolved over the years. It’s so shocking to see them just pulling over at the side of the road, right next to 150mph racing. It’s not really surprising that a massive accident occurred, and you can see the little grass bank that was all that separated the spectators from the cars.

    But it’s an incredible snapshot from a very different sort of sport than we see today. Very reminiscent of the film with Steve McQueen.

    #266859
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    MazdaChris
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    Qualifying was (I think) still being run on starting fuel in 2007, so pole position was largely decided by strategy rather than outright speed. Fastest laps is probably a better indicator of the true potential of the car, but there are plenty of other factors. Fast over a single lap does not mean fastest over a race distance. In the end it’s speed over a race distance which matters most.

    I guess the real crux of the debate is whether the poor relative performance of Massa and Raikkonen to Alonso in the Ferrari over the past couple of years indicates that Alonso is a fundamentally faster driver and that the similar performance of the F2007 and the MP4-22 would have to take into account the ‘drag factor’ of Massa and Raikkonen’s poor pace. I think that’s a very simplistic way to look at it, and suggests that a driver’s ability is a constant year on year irrespective of the qualities of the car. Which is simply not the case at all.

    But for what it’s worth (i.e. not a lot) my own opinion is that the F2007 was slightly faster on average than the MP4-22, and it was generally down to the skill of Alonso and Hamilton that the McLaren beat the Ferrari as often as it did.

    #266706
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    MazdaChris
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    I don’t think that it’s right to put the WEC equivalency formula and the BTCC performance balancing into the same category because they’re very different things. The WEC equivalency was brought in as a result of a set of rules which gave a clear technological advantage to Le Mans Prototypes running turbodiesel engines. Hence for a very long time the only two manufacturers involved were Audi and Peugeot since they were the only ones prepared to put development money into making turbodiesel engines for racing at that level. The equivalency formula was a means of ensuring that petrol engines were able to compete fairly with diesel engines, with a similar level of development etc. A logical response to a problem which existed with the rules, and something which is tweaked occasionally to make sure it’s as fair as possible. But crucially unless there was a massive problem with the equivalency, they won’t change it during the season. So this year, Audi have dropped the ball a little bit and built a car which is shy of power compared to the Toyota and the Porsche, and they just have to live with it.

    What it isn’t, is what we have in BTCC, which is an artificial means of leveling the field so that poorly developed cars are put on equal terms with highly developed cars. Things like success ballast, adjustment of turbo boost pressure for individual teams, and so on, and all the nasty political wrangling that seems to go on now with people trying to get opposing teams pegged back. In other words, if you’re unable to build a competitive car, then you can lobby to have a boost, or to have the performance of everyone else pegged back to give you a helping hand. Which is something I disagree with. If you want all cars to be genuinely equal then you should make is a spec series. If you want there to be technical diversity, then you have to accept the possibility that not all cars are going to be able to compete at the same level.

    #266389
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    MazdaChris
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    I’m not sure that the equalisation formula in WEC would really count as a gimmick. It’s about ensuring that different technical paths are all viable ways of creating a competitive car, rather than something to ensure that teams without the ability to develop are still competitive. You don’t see them giving the likes of Strakka a boost to help them fight against the big manufacturers. It’s more about making sure that if you’ve got diesel, petrol, turbos, ERS systems, etc, whatever route you take there’s a competitive solution at the end of it as long as you have the resource and technical ability to reach it.

    #263500
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    MazdaChris
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    Toyota is great, really does drive superbly. But the PP is a bit low, and it’s a fair bit slower than most of the other LMPs. I can’t say for sure whether that’s accurate, though.

    #262929
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    MazdaChris
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    I think it’s a logical approach, but I think it has been a bit patchy when they’ve used it in practice, with how the drivers attack the run up to the slow zone. It might make sense to have the slow zone preceded by a yellow flag sector, so the cars aren’t racing right up to the slow zone, but instead get in line and slow down sensibly.

    But with the enormous length of La Sarthe I think it’s a much better idea than a full course caution where cars are prevented from racing even when they’re several miles away from the obstruction.

    #259302
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    MazdaChris
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    I think the viewing experience is a fundamentally different one. Because the races are a lot longer, it’s not something you necessarily give your full attention for the whole duration. The commentary style is different – one of the best things about going to Le Mans for me is the moment the car gets close enough to the track to be able to pick up Radio Le Mans. Their race coverage is by far and away the best for any sport out there. John Hindhaugh is fantastic, engaging and often hilarious to listen to, while also being very well informed and able to explain exactly what’s happening in the race and why.

    But it is totally different. Watching F1 is something I sit down and do for a couple of hours on a sunday. If I’m not at Le Mans, I’ll invite a bunch of like minded friends to watch the race with me, make a proper event of it. Get beers in, some food (a barbecue if the weather is good!), and the race forms a great backdrop to a more sociable experience. It’s why I love going to the race as well, because I can enjoy time with friends while also enjoying the motorsport. The atmosphere around the track is incredible, and shifts completely throughout the race depending on what’s happening. Whether it’s at the race start with every nook and cranny stuffed with supporters cheering and waving flags, through the night with the grandstands mostly empty but occupied by hardore fans wrapped in blankets, the big surges towards the screens in the Le Mans Village areas when something dramatic has happened on the track. There’s so much to see and do, with this constant thunder of racing cars in the background, like some amazing petrol powered carnival. F1 is great, but Le Mans is something very unique and very special. It’s a true festival, celebrating everything about motorsports. Not just something people do for a day out, but something people do because they all share the same absolute love for the sport. It’s a pilgrimage for the faithful to go and worship at the altar of speed.

    I don’t understand this idea that people have to choose one motorsport and stick solely to watching that. I watch F1, WEC, ALMS, NASCAR, BTCC, WRC, Indycar, and a whole load besides. If these sports become more popular then that’s great, but I don’t think it needs to be a competition. I love them all because they’re all unique and the experience of watching them is so different.

    But my heart, really, belongs to Le Mans.

    #258607
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    Why do you think that boycotting it won’t work?

    #258458
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    MazdaChris
    Participant

    The person who deserved to win the championship was the one who won the championship, in every year bar none.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 271 total)