Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 6th December 2013

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Hamilton pays tribute

A quote F1 could learn from


Hamilton pays tribute

Social media around the world has erupted into an outpouring of tributes to the late Nelson Mandela, a man who requires no introduction. Lewis Hamilton posted this picture on his Facebook page.

The picture had the caption, “One of the most special moments in my life was meeting the great Madiba. One of the most inspirational human beings to have lived & without doubt the nicest man I ever met. I will miss you, we will miss you Madiba. God rest your soul, I love you like a son loves a father. Rest in Peace. Lewis & Family xxx.”

Strong words from another figure who has broken barriers.  Hamilton was the first black Formula One driver, although obviously race plays a very limited role (if any) in Formula One, it is interesting to see how much of an inspiration Mandela was to the 2008 World Champion.  Furthermore, another sign from Lewis Hamilton of maturity.  He has come a long way from his disaster 2011 season, where he notably made certain comments using Ali G’s catchphrase at the Monaco GP.  2014 is just round the corner with a new set of regulations offering a new challenge to the drivers – a level headed Lewis is a force to be reckoned with!

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A quote F1 could learn from

With the news on Wednesday circulating of the final nail in the coffin of the 2014 New Jersey GP, it has shown how far Formula One still has to go to make a lasting impression in the States, despite the success of the Austin GP over the past 2 years. One quote from Nelson Mandela stood out from an article I read in the recent hours.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

The jury is still out on whether the GP will go ahead in the future, with Ecclestone insisting that this is just a setback and not the permanent cancellation. Either way, it seems the New Jersey local government were not bothered enough by the idea of the race to fund (and save) it. So TJ13 readers, how can Formula One speak the language of American motorsport enthusiasts and (eventually) find a place in the heart of a nation where NASCAR dominates?

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91 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Friday 6th December 2013

  1. That’s a noticeably different LH in that tribute photo, Judge. Any idea of year that meeting took place? Only mildly interested as not sure your reckoning on maturity is well founded.

    • ” Furthermore, another sign from Lewis Hamilton of maturity. ”

      Or of good coaching from XIX ?

      • I think you’re both wrong. Hamilton has matured considerably since 2011. That was the year that taught him quite a few things as 2007 did to Alonso as some future year will do to Vettel.
        In 2012 Lewis drove the best of his career and was the best driver along with Alonso (personal opinion).This year, despite the car not being to his liking, he did keep it together. He could have easily thrown a lot more toys out of his pram.

    • Evidence, please, that Lewis Hamilton – former World Champion, current competitor in Formula 1 and race winner w/ his new team (after a bold move to Mercedes that he initiated); supporter of various charitable causes/events/organizations; and national sporting hero – is not mature?

  2. Better advertising, get out in the open… Not 2am. Get a night race on west coast, Vegas is pretty and sparkly at night. lets get Peter Windsor to bring back usf1, and more f1 on tv. Maybe Chalk Talk with matchett on Wednesdays.

    Regarding language of American F1 fans… Just so ya’ll know we don’t all like NASCAR. Just because every channel you turn on is vomiting NASCAR don’t lump us together. Please don’t change F1 just to cater to NASCAR.

  3. Well, first off, what Lewis said. For all he gets knocked, things like this or his work with UNICEF continue to deserve respect, outside whatever weird distortion the bubble of F1 hyper politics and international celebrity scrutiny have inflicted on him. And also respect for James Hunt, who not only spoke out about apartheid on the air, but also supported financially anti-apartheid groups in South Africa, when F1 was still firmly planted lips to arse to Johannesberg (seem familiar?).

    As far as America goes, I would think the language that needs to be spoken is that of the clueless TV producer. Until one of the major networks takes it on in a serious way, F1 will be a niche sport, ala cycling. And it’s not like we don’t love our motorsports here in the good ole US of A, just check out the 24 hours of LeMons, or our various rally series, featuring women actually driving the cars, not just standing about in pretty clothes. Frankly, it will be a niche sport no matter what, but in a country of 313 million that’s not necessarily bad. In fact just being popular in Texas isn’t bad since it’s roughly 2.5 times the size of the UK and has a population of 26. 2 million, roughly a third that of the UK.

    But the real takeaway, is to compare the TV numbers between NBCSN niche cable channel and the NBC channel that is in everyone’s living room.
    4 races were on NBC, the rest on NBCSN. Take Monaco on the main channel, watched by 1.5 million people, 242% higher than the previous years race on Speed, a niche channel similar to NBCSN. Seems good, no? Well it does until you compare the Australian GP on NBCSN 262,000, to the previous years Speed broadcast 518,000. Both numbers include live and rebroadcast viewers. WTF does this all mean? Simple, any niche cable channel will simply fail to pull enough viewers to make a difference because not enough people can afford the packages that carry them. With only 4 races on the NBC channel this year, with no coverage of practice or quali on the main channel, why would the average (or even above average) viewer care? The conclusion: until you regularly put F1 races in most peoples homes throughout the season, America (not individuals obviously, otherwise why would I be writing a small dissertation about this) will not care about F1 as a sport, and therefore, we will not care about having races here either. We might even ask complicated and difficult questions like what kind of return is my massive investment of state money really going to get, and then not believe you when you tell us a hundred million billion percent.

    I still really wish NJ would happen though, as it would be my best chance to go see a GP and the topography is really good (I used to drive most of those roads fairly regularly and they would be fun to race on).

    Whew, time to stop drinking and go to bed…

    • Of course, the instant thought is what is going to happen in the UK when the sport goes off FTA TV and is only available on Sky. If Sky keep their policy of offering it to anyone with the HD pack then it is slightly more accessible, if they lump it in with the sports packs or even make it stand-alone payable then we could well end up with similar – or lower – numbers in the UK.

      Can F1 survive loss of interest in the country which is the base to most of the teams?

    • All good points Matt. I DO NOT have cable TV and will not purchase it just to watch F1. We deliberately gave up cable as the product wasn’t worth the cost, with endless channels of drivel spewing out 24 hours a day. We have Netflix and access to HBO, so we can watch movies if we wish to. I watch the races via streaming Sky or the BBC; I would really love it if FOM did a direct race stream, and would pay a reasonable sum for that.

      I gave up watching F1 on TV because of the constant commercial breaks and the poor coverage, Yes, David Hobbs and company could be fun, but I was very unhappy that they were in a studio somewhere near New York and not actually at the races.

      The broadcast times are also an issue here in the States. European races are on at 5:00 am here in the Seattle area; I actually do get up at 4:00 for most of them, but that’s really not a lot of fun. It’s hard to wait and watch a rebroadcast, but I will probably do that next year. The Asian races are at such ridiculous times I don’t even try to watch.

      FOM does NO promotion that I know of over here. It’s up to the broadcaster to generate any interest, and that isn’t happening. There is never any coverage in the papers or on sports shows. Most Americans don’t even know the ‘sport’ exists, and why should they?

      Good luck FOM; right now you are a HUGE fail.

      • Yes, agree re watching races live, most times are terrible and it’s difficult/impossible without the expensive cable package to keep up with the races. The computer can be your friend however if you know where to look 😉

  4. For starters, organizing the Austin Gp on the same day as the Nascar Sprint Cup at the Texas Motor Speedway isn’t the smartest move i ever saw.

  5. Why do the British/Europeans arrogantly expect America to embrace F1 when they are not prepared to even acknowledge the existence of IndyCars for example…?
    Seems a bit of a one-way traffic to me. Surely Americans are entitled to dislike F1 if they so choose – like this blog’s commenters seem to hate NASCAR…
    …Discuss… 😉

      • My whole point really… Each side tends to feel the other sucks. The difference is F1 would like to be embraced by America. I just feel it’s an arrogant stance to expect this to happen.
        I’m not suggesting you, or anybody else, needs to embrace IndyCars (NASCAR is something else) – neither are Americans suggesting this.
        If Americans are not in love with F1 good luck to them. Maybe it’s their loss…
        But maybe not… 😉

    • “Surely Americans are entitled to dislike F1 if they so choose”

      Because the proposition of turning both left and right is too difficult ?

      • My friend, for decades American sports cars have been ridiculed for their poor dynamics. They are not much more than a hot rod, their European counterparts like Ferrari and Porsche redefine what handling is.
        What chance does the good ‘ol boys club have when they believe corvettes, camaros and mustangs are the pinnacle.

        • Hey Carlo,

          Try a spin in the new corvette. I was amazed at the difference over the old tug boat that was the last model. It really feels good. Honestly!

          • Also the new Cadillac CTS-V and ATS. Both are quick and handle quite well, according to reviews I’ve read.

          • Very pointy front end, feels (to me anyway) well balanced. Engine doesn’t ‘zing’ around the rev counter but decent power and loads of torque.

            Very enjoyable!

    • American sports tend to be spectacular, whereas ‘European’ sports are more tactical – American football vs. football (soccer) or rugby, baseball vs. cricket, NASCAR vs. F1 or rally. American sports are mostly played only in the States, their ‘European’ counterparts are participated in far and wide, by many different nations. It’s worth noting that US attendances at these events frequently exceed 200,000. I suggest that watching sport in the USA is more about the experience rather than the performance, more like having a blast at a rock concert with your mates than being moved by a classical concert with the wife!

    • I don’t understand why f1 believes they need the American dollar any longer. It’s a crumbling economy and has been over taken in Asia significantly.
      I agree with the arrogance about European observers, am I the only one who watched Indy at Rockingham and Brands? I have tried watching Nascar but it’s numbing, in a way similar to speedway..
      I’d suggest F1 has a word with MotoGP because they have no problem selling out venues, or does this have poor viewing figures stateside too?

      Let’s get some perspective here, the average Nascar fan has an attention span of 10 seconds. It’s why American comedy has “witty” lines written in every few seconds, they drive a pick up, and gorge themselves into obesity. Depending on your reading material, it’s designed that way

      • And that’s why so many ex F1 drivers have dominated Nascar, because it’s so easy. Oh, wait…

        Admittedly not my cup of tea, but I’m not going to look down at it either, particularly because unlike the reams of data that F1engineers get, Nascar engineers have to get info from the drivers to set the car up properly. Perhaps if Europeans took time to appreciate the skill and strategy involved in actually winning one of these races instead of reflexively dismissing it out of hand because they didn’t think it up they might actually enjoy it. Plus overtaking. And a fair number of road courses.

        Certainly wouldn’t want reality to interfere with your long cherished beliefs 😉

        • One thing you highlight which I think F1 and other Motorsport would do well to embrace. Let the drivers do the set up, the driving and bollocks to lap deltas.
          I don’t believe any communication between pit and driver be allowed only driver to pits as in need new tyres etc.
          I remember when drivers used to make decisions not their engineers.

          Like everything, we have embraced digital to the detriment of analogue and are reaping the “rewards”

          As far as NASCAR is concerned, I have tried to watch it, as in drag racing and other forms of motorsport but I found the race boring. I must admit I didn’t realise they had moved on to road courses so maybe I should check it out again, it’s ovals, they do nothing for me.

        • I’m a +1 on most of what you say Matt.

          I really like NASCAR, road or oval. The road bit reminds me of Ozzie touring car racing (which is great fun) and the ovals are like looking at Italian football – very strategic and like chess. Brave lads and lassies too!

          Dale Ernhardt is one of my Motorsport heros.

      • That’s a pretty condescending attitude. You don’t know me, nor my friends, nor my community yet you insult me with general statements like that. Nice.

        • I apologise, I may have been indelicate in my remarks, it did not come across as intended.
          I see a lot of American influences filtering across to the UK and I read a lot of different American journalists highlighting the corrupt American system, be it politics, food industry, welfare and food stamps state et al.
          If I caused offence, I’m sorry but I am getting fed up of everybody telling me that we need to succeed in America.
          We

          F1 has been racing in the US for decades and never broken the mainstream. We are arrogant to believe that our product is what is needed. F1 is too engineering led to appeal to countries that have historically followed it, never mind new markets, look at the numbers of viewers falling generally.

          F1 is not entertainment, it’s high speed chess now..

          • Regarding ovals, try watching the last 20-30 laps, that’s when all the actual racing happens. Kind of like the last lap of the sprint in a velodrome. The first 2 laps can take forever, but the last one is a doozy. And it’s opposite to F1, they will use their relative lack of aero to exploit areas of lower resistance for a tow, build up momentum and slingshot for the win. Also similar to a bunch sprint at the end of a long road stage, positioning and teamwork can really matter. I’ve whiled away many a good hour watching the peloton roll through the French countryside, with not much happening. NASCAR is similar, just with cars.

          • Accepted. We’re not all jerks. I raced FF, F2000, and a bit of Atlantic in the day as well as owned a race prep shop and ran rental FF cars; took a customer to the SCCA runoffs in FF2000. I was a composite tooling designer for a couple of aircraft parts places and I’m now a winemaker at a fairly large winery, climb 5.9 rock and alpine, and watch F1 but not NASCAR. And I’m not fat or stupid.

          • Mostly red wines, outside of Yakima, Washington. It’s only an hour to the Cascades and two hours to Mt. Rainier from my house.

          • Do you distribute to the East Coast? What Varietals? If you do a Pinot or a Claret I would love to try it. Our local shop is pretty good about ordering stuff if they don’t stock it.

    • When Indycar was shown in Channel 5 in the UK I always made a point of watching. Unfortunately now it is next to impossible to get hold of in the UK, I’m not even sure if it is available on one of the satellite channels (which I don’t get anyway).

      In general, if you give a sport exposure on readily available TV then people will watch. It probably isn’t a coincidence that having NHL shown on Channel 5 coincided with a surge in interest of the game in the UK. That ended up burning out as the teams spent more than they could earn but it did boost the profile of the sport in the UK.

      If a sport isn’t easily available to watch then only die-hard fans will make the effort.

    • Perhaps Americans sense that what F1 wants is merely the contents of our wallets, and not genuine participation in the sport. Similar to cycling in the ’70s.
      If you really want an American audience then investment in marketing and most importantly putting it on the equivalent of FTA is key, which is not currently the case. Otherwise, you (Mr. E.) just want the race as a feather in your cap before you’re hauled off to the hoosegow and possibly despite our lowly and unedumacated status we’re clever enough not to buy the myth that you’re selling.

    • Hmm… I really didn’t expect such a wide response…
      I feel quite invigorated… 😉
      Have to get back to Top-20 Non-Champions – No.19…
      Have a nice weekend.

    • Well from speaking with American friends who have watched F1, they can find it a little boring especially if Vettel has streaked off into a commanding lead plus the debacle with the tyres back in the 00’s has left a sour taste. If F1 wants to make it in the United States, they have to make the show more exciting and find ways of marketing it to Americans that speaks to their motorsport hearts. Perhaps the new engines will help F1 move towards making the show/sport more exciting. Seeing Alonso, Lewis, Rosberg, Kimi and Vettel fighting it out for the drivers title in cars that are of a similar performance is probably the shot in the arm F1 needs. But I guess Red Bull will find a way to dominate again. That’s just my pessimistic outlook on 2014. The optimist in me hopes we see an extremely close title battle between several drivers. I do wonder if Vettel has prepared himself for things to not go all his own way in 2014, given his comments over the radio in the last race about success not lasting forever etc. If F1 wants to crack the US market, then it’s going to have to spend the money to make it possible. Not just expect a country that has little or no interest in F1 to stump up the cash. But I can’t see that happening given how Bernie likes to operate.

      • Hi taperoo2k (?) – you get my original point: that F1 ‘expects’ to succeed in the Americas (and especially the USA), and thus sees the ‘failure’ from the wrong perspective…

    • The problem is cultural. While people from everywhere in the world understand they are part of that world most Americans still believe they are the world, e.g., IndyCar series was officially named IndyCar World Series while it only had races in the USA; baseball finals are the World Series even when only teams from the USA and Canada participate; people from the USA call themselves Americans and frequently call the country America, while America is actually a continent with 20+ countries.
      Politics in the USA have always been directed to produce in American people the feeling that they are different and unique, people is trained since childhood to be Americans in the way they are, that’s what grants the support of the people to government acts like wars and interventionism that wouldn’t be supported in other countries.
      This idiosyncrasy won’t change because it’s the main pillar of USA’s economy, hence Formula 1 will never be embraced in the USA the way it’s embraced in other parts of the world unless the complete championship takes place in USA’s territory and people believes it’s their series. While people in other countries are open to look outside the USA is too focused in itself.
      I know my comment might be found polemic by some people, I don’t want to start a discussion on politics, I’m only trying to point that Formula 1 will never have in the USA the success it has in other parts of the world for cultural reasons, and trying to change that without understanding those cultural reasons will always lead to failure.

      • I’m an American. And a European. (I hold two passports, but grew up in States.) And I’m a rabid F1 fan. I was also a (vagabond) professional cyclist from age 19, competed and lived all over world including racing (on a road bike) in monaco and on interlagos circuit)…and I agree w/ your basic premise that American cultural pretences inhibit the successful expansion of niche/European sports in USA…and like someone else mentioned above, cycling is a great example of this…just look at how pro cycling has declined in USA since Armstrong’s run of (admittedly-artificial or at least technically-illegal) Tour successes ended…

        One thing that should be kept in mind though is … what defines “success” for F1 in terms of penetration of the American (US) market? I honestly don’t know right now if F1 is doing better “in America” now than in the early to mid-2000s, for example. Would be interesting to learn more on that topic and the business of F1 in general, which is why I try to interact w/ as many of the players as possible (and have found Paul Hembery to be hugely sympathetic on a personal level and it’s pained me to see the criticism he and Pirelli have endured, though not really from His Honor, who always seems pretty fair and balanced in his criticisms).

        One other thing to keep in mind is that, while broad generalities about the distasteful aspects of American culture and Americans are pretty well grounded in reality, even here in America you can go your entire day without interacting with those (extremely off-putting) aspects of American life/society/culture/etc, as long as you don’t watch major network TV lol.

        Take Steve from near Yakima in Washington state, for example (hi Steve!) – he sounds like the typical not-Johnny-Appleseed-and-actually-has-some-culture-sophistication-and-education American. There are literally millions of us (I hope…maybe only many hundreds of thousands…idk! lol 😉 … how many of us does F1 need to reach and extract money from in order to consider its American adventure a success?

        • “… how many of us does F1 need…”
          A very good question… but I suspect greed will determine the answer.

          • Sure, of course they want as many butts sat down in front of the TV being shown the ads b/w racing moments as possible… it would be interesting to know exactly what the approximate (lol) #s are that would constitute success, stability and even growth of the audience in such a way that F1 could be considered to be “making it” in USA.

            Though for its first two years, it’s tough not to regard the Austin race as a huge success, especially in comparison to such pathetic endeavours as Korea and (name another very poorly attended 2013 race?).

            There’s a conundrum in F1 that I hope the Judge will discuss more at length soon: fans of the sport want to watch and attend races at tracks in those regions where fans of F1 cluster…like when there was still a GP in France, and Tilke-dromes weren’t perceived to be popping up like mushrooms (never mind what the reality is)…but the corporate elites who fund F1 are, according to James Allen and Zak Brown, attracted to F1’s global expansion into “new” markets like Russia…and b/c of the sport’s seemingly unsustainable business model, some races in traditional venues like those in Germany and Belgium are potentially threatened or already off the schedule. And against this backdrop of calendar instability is of course the desperate need for cost controls and a more equitable distribution of revenue — anathema to the interests of the private equity owners.

            So against all of this, how to judge the success of the new race in America? I honestly have no idea but thanks for giving me another chance to be long-winded! 😉

          • “seemingly unsustainable”? Hopelessly unsustainable business model I’d have to say. Important to bear in mind that the ethos of modern capital is extractive in nature (mining) not sustainable (farming). None of the folks in charge care what happens to F1 when they’ve extracted all the wealth they can (ever see the aftermath of a strip mine for example). They’ve engineered all the risk onto the sport and taken all the profit for themselves.

            As far as long winded, I’ll happily join you any day of the week, LOL, one of my favorite sports, too.

  6. “White people’s number one freedom […] is the
    freedom to be totally ignorant about those who are other than white.
    We don’t have to learn about those who are other than white. And
    our number two freedom is the freedom to deny that we are ignorant.”
    – J. Elliott.

    To say that race plays a limited or no role at all in Formula 1 is the ignorance mentioned above on full display, as is the backlash Hamilton received for the Ali G quote. The criticism he receives, the notion that he is not deserving of his place in Formula 1 and that he was gifted his position by McLaren, the blackface spanish fans put on to mock him all have to do with race. Formula 1 is a sport dominated by white males, that is no coincidence, and it is all others, with the exception of Lewis Hamilton, don’t have the talent to compete with them. But only a person who is familiar with the subtleties of racism and sexism would know that. All others make use of freedom no. 2 and deny it.

    • Hmm..interesting point, bit to conspiracy theory for me, but interesting point.
      Just a question, does your theory also apply to sports dominated by black males and females, like baseball, football and athletics?
      Or could it just be that black males and females are simply very good at sports that require a high level of physical and athletic ability’s, and is that the reason they don’t choose to go for a mechanical sport at a younger age?

      • I think that money plays a bigger role. Unfortunately, the proportion of black/coloured people who can afford entry to cart racing and lower formulae is way way lower than white folk. And even if you take the colour of the skin our of the equation, look at the countries that are normally represented in F1. How many Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Georgian, Vietnamese, Uruguayan, Puerto Rican, etc drivers have you seen in F1 over the years? But you look at basketball, football, weight-lifting, boxing, etc and those nations are amongst the leading ones.

        • Fair enough, good point.
          But to be honest, the country’s you mention don’t particularly have a racing history, like for instance England, Italy, France, Germany, America etc.
          So the facilities and opportunities to get started or to get involved in motor sports are very limited in those countries.

        • Cypriot Tio Ellinas had to win a televised ‘talent contest’ to get the backing to start his Motorsport career, and has now been picked up by the Marussia young driver program. He’s won races in every category up the ladder, was in the GP3 title hunt last year, and should be in GP2 next year. He had a Motorsport background (his dad is a Cypriot rally champion), and a successful karting career I think, yet still couldn’t get into single seaters without winning his backing. This is just one example.

    • See this isn’t entirely true. People are mad at vettel for wining in the best car. Saying he has to prove that he can do it in a bad car, where as he did go from small teams to a big one. Lewis actually went straight in to a big one. With even the best car in his 2 first years and yet if you point that out somehow you’re a racist. I don’t mind that he’s black. Never have never will. But don’t say he did all of it without help.

      • That is absolutely true, but you absolutely cannot take away the fact that he matched his 2-time (reigning) world champion teammate, and came 1 point away from winning a championship in his rookie year.

        I would happily wager that there are very few drivers that would be able to do similar, best car or not.

        • Agreed. I rate Alonso and Hamilton as the top two real racers.

          For me, Vettel has yet to prove himself as he has rarely had to show his racing skills (leading the most laps since his RBR career means he has not often had to mix it with the racers behind him).

          As for intelligent driving (rather than out and out racing), I rate Alonso as the best and perhaps Vettel will show that he too can use his intelligence (which he has the most on the grid) if and when he is regularly in the middle or back of the grid.

          As for the other two champions, Button and Raikonnen, they just lucked it in their respective winning years.

          • ” For me, Vettel has yet to prove himself as he has rarely had to show his racing skills (leading the most laps since his RBR career means he has not often had to mix it with the racers behind him). ”

            How do you define ” racing skills ” ?

            Is it overtaking loads of other drivers ?

            Or is it being so much quicker than anybody else you disappear of into the distance ?

            Vettel has shown he can do both consistently – and I’m NOT a Vettel fan.

            Or is it something else PK ?

          • The few times when Vettel has been directly challenged by Alonso and co he often gets rattled and makes mistakes i.e. Button in Canada. And he panicked in Brazil last year and almost cost himself the title. Therefore it will be interesting to see how he copes if he ends up with a car that is not the fastest and has to fight for places. Still not entirely convinced that his overtaking skills are as good as Horner proclaims them to be. Basically I want him to prove me wrong.

          • They’ve all had times in poor cars – Lewis (early-mid 2009 McLaren), Seb (2007 Toro Rosso, more a midfield car), Alonso (Minardi), Kimi (Sauber midfield car), with only Lewis’ coming after his first few seasons and not in the first.

            But the telling thing is how they will be perceived by history. They’ve all had times in dominant cars as well, and this is where the results really matter. Alonso dominated Raikkonen in the mid 2000s, as Kimi’s car often had reliability problems. Same with Vettel and Hamilton (e.g. 2012). Next, we could have a direct Vettel and Hamilton battle, perhaps from 2014 onwards. Time will tell if Hamilton is seen as an Alonso or Raikkonen. So far, it has to be the latter.

            Personally, I would say there’s not that much separating all 4, but so far Hamilton is 4th from 2013. Hulkenberg is an unlucky 5th (hope he doesn’t have a Kubica and barely notch 1 win in his career), while Grosjean could be another Heidfeld so far (always coming 2nd, trumped by Hulk in people’s estimations). Di Resta could be the next Davidson and never get a decent shot in a better car.

        • Jacques Villeneuve did roughly the same as lewis in his first two years. And later on wasn’t the big champion that everybody geussed he would be. IM not saying lewis isn’t a great driver. I rate lewis higher than jacques. Dont get me wrong i like his pure racing. I dont think he’s the best out there. But together with alonso and vettel he made the top 3. I was one of the few people who where positive about his move to merc wen it got announced. I even went to the bookie and put him up as champion for 2013. With a 13 to 1 chance he wasn’t marked high. But in the end they where more right than I 😊but i digress. If he’d done worse in his first year it would be a bit of a shame don’t you think? The mclaren was superb that year. Kimi only won because of the mclaren battle…

          • And a.year later massa was champion. Until glock lost a place due to wheater conditions. Otherwise lewis hadnt made it…

          • What odds can you get on Lewis being 2014 WDC? Might be best to get in before the first winter tests….

          • @Iestyn Davies,
            If the Pirelli tires are more conservative, as suggested by Pirelli, Lewis is definitely a title contender.

          • I’ve been saying that for a while now. Both Hamilton and Villeneuve came into Formula1 in top teams and won the championship … and then it went downhill.

            But compare Schumi and Vettel with Hamilton and Villeneuve. The former two are “boring” … focusing on the job and getting their package the best. The latter two… well they are superstars.

            The questions gentlemen.. what would you rather be, a 1-time world champion and superstar or a multiple world champion? You can’t be both and until Hamilton realises this I’m afraid its not going to go well for him.

            And in Merc… I may be shot but I think 2nd in the WCC is about it. I cant say I have any faith in the Trilogy that is Wolf/Lowe/Lauda…

          • @bruznic If I have read that right, then I would put a small bet each on Hamilton and Raikkonen. Hamilton as the best Mercedes bet, Vettel & Alonso have negative odds (you lose money even if they win?), and Raikkonen could sneak it like in 2007, if Ferrari are competitive and Alonso loses points with challengers like Vettel or Hamilton.

            @enzomaiorca I thought that as well, if the return to torque needs a Montoya like aggressive driving style to flourish. We could even see Maldonado being competitive again next year, and thankfully Hulkenberg should be too.

            @Don_Quixote I had a similar in cling, in that Hamilton needs that full support around him to focus him 100% on the task at hand. He even said so himself, noting how Jenson had this in 2011.

            For Mercedes, 2014 is their golden chance, after Brawn has fully set them up; lets see if they do a McLaren 2012, and mess it all up. 2nd best could be the best achievable for all the other top teams, unless they can match Red Bull’s in season development spend any time soon. Only McLaren have come close in the odd year, but now they seem to have fallen away heavily, thus Ron wants to come back to sort out the rapidly sinking ship.

      • “With even the best car in his 2 first years and yet if you point that out somehow you’re a racist. I don’t mind that he’s black. Never have never will. But don’t say he did all of it without help.”

        Sorry, B., but this is a strawman argument that you’ve crafted. No one here has thus far made these contentions (not that I’m aware of) so I’m not sure why you’re arguing against them as if someone had.

        Is someone accusing you of being racist for stating that Hamilton’s first two years in F1 were at a time when Macca had great cars?

        And who is saying that Lewis succeeded “without help”? He himself is the first to heap enormous praise onto and thank his father, and Ron Dennis, but then every driver – champion or not – has always had some form of help from someone, whether subtle or massively obvious, but no one becomes F1 WDC once – let alone 4 times – without being massively, massively talented. I for one am very tired of Vettel’s suffocating dominance, but that doesn’t prevent me from acknowledging that he’s a preternaturally talented driver!

        • The whole first comment, wich started this little discussion, is about race and why the white man only cares for the white men, especially in racing. I’m just saying that vettel gets shot down for being good and Hamilton is made a hero for being (not quite that) good. Correct me if I’m wrong but i hear vettel constantly thank the team and the car. Yet everybody seems the “hate” him. I know every racer has had help and still gets help. It’s a team sport. And the team is bigger than that what you see on tv.

          • I went back and looked at the first comment and yes it seems like they conflate race and racism (“To say that race plays a limited or no role at all in Formula 1 is the ignorance mentioned above on full display…”). I think we need to separate things very clearly and consider Vettel vs. Hamilton on their sporting merits, w/o giving in to the temptation to speak in racial terms, and leave racism as a separate topic b/c supporting Vettel vs. Hamilton does not automatically make one a racist, lol but likewise one can’t reasonably argue that RACE (not racism) doesn’t impact the racial mixture of the grid, and that the colors of the faces of the drivers we can’t even see through their helmets is heavily influenced by their culture and the economic situation they were born into.

            I’m trying to recall what the context was of Hamilton’s comments that seem to have started all this, b/c I think it was that he gave an interview on SKYF1 broadcast during Brazilian GP weekend, in which he said that RACE played a huge role in F1 and cited himself as the only driver of African/negro racial origins on the grid. I’m fairly certain he didn’t say F1 or motorsports were racist though. And that goes back to what we discuss before, that there are economic and cultural barriers to entry that ensure motorsports participants are predominantly of caucasian or European heritage (including drivers w/ ancestry derived from Spanish and Portuguese colonial histories).

            In the USA, it would definitely not be taken well to say that our sports like NFL (American football) and NBA (basketball) are dominated by black players b/c those athletes have a genetic predisposition to success in those games, let alone such as what made African negroes “successful” slaves lol…definitely don’t say that in USA or you will end up jobless like “Jimmy the Greek”!!

            http://articles.latimes.com/1988-01-17/sports/sp-36803_1_jimmy-snyder – Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Is Fired by CBS

            NEW YORK — An embarrassed CBS fired a contrite Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder Saturday after the sports commentator said in a much-criticized television interview that blacks were “bred” to be better athletes than whites.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Snyder

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKtIqXMpHcY

            But it would be fair I think to say that those sports have higher “minority” rates of participation b/c the barriers to entry are much lower, as opposed to motorsports – or even professional cycling – where the equipment costs are prohibitive to athletes from poor or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

            Both Vettel and Hamilton are elite sportsman of the highest caliber and they’ve earned the success they’ve enjoyed. They’re talented, dedicated, disciplined athletes, and how we as fans react to them says more about us and our prejudices than it does about them.

            And while Hamilton has certainly lived his “private” life more in the public’s eye than Vettel, I do not think that Hamilton goes around expecting his fans to have racial chips on their shoulders…likewise Vettel fans don’t merit being called racists unless they’re…racists!? I’m definitely not a fan of Vettel (but I’m also not a hater)! I respect his awesome dominance but I’m tired of it b/c it’s made the sport less interesting to watch, less exciting and more predictable. But I don’t want Hamilton to win and Seb to lose b/c I’m in any way motivated by race. For all I care, Alonso could win the WDC in 2014, or Button, Kimi or Maldonado – just anyone but Vettel!

            Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to engage in this dialogue…

          • Aye, anyone that understands biology knows that ‘race’ as a group does not exist. There is ethnicity, but that is a learned cultural background. Mainly dependent on where a kid is brought up and what their family is like. So, anyone that makes a comment like that guy cited here, is only showing off their ignorance (and thus should be expecting to be fired, but as they are ignorant of the facts they of course don’t know that that course of action is coming to them for saying those falsehoods!).

  7. Far and away more important than any other factor, F1 can be successful ONLY if the races are live at an accessible time. It doesn’t matter how much advertising, promotion, spectacle, razzmatazz and so on there is if the races are on at 0500. People don’t watch tape delayed sporting events here, period.

    Now, I’m not saying the races should be held at different times, I’m just answering the question. Personally, I like il padrino’s suggestion of having them at dinner time Sunday evening euro time, which would mean they would be accessible for the entire continents of north and South America. Of course, that would likely disenfranchise viewers to the east…

  8. As for Lewis ? He’s had to grow up in front of our eyes, he’s matured a lot in the last few years, Ali G comments aside. I hope he’s in a good place and that Mercedes provide him with the goods to win races and hopefully another title. We’ve not really seen Lewis at his very best for a while now. Apart from the glimpse we had of it at Hungary (2012 could have been so much better if not for McLaren’s cock ups). And tbh I think Vettel would probably relish the challenge of having to take on Lewis and Alonso at their very best.

    • “We’ve not really seen Lewis at his very best for a while now. Apart from the glimpse we had of it at Hungary (2012 could have been so much better if not for McLaren’s cock ups).”

      How many times did we see Lewis sitting in a stationary McLaren in the pits, either hanging his head in bewilderment or slowly shaking it side-to-side in dismay at the team’s repeated failures to effectively service his car, or failures in strategy or forgetting to put enough fuel in or…

      Point is, I agree w/ you and it was painful to watch Lewis’s repeated bad luck, like when he had to retire at Singapore from P1… ouch.

  9. RE USA and F1. Steps needed in order:
    1- NEED an great American driver in a top three team in true contention for the championship. During the run up to the driver’s F1 debut, commence massive and intelligent marketing campaign in USA.
    2- Once that driver is in F1, increase to biggest marketing campaign ever put forth by F1 in USA media. This must be cutting edge and executed by the best people in the biz in the USA.
    3- Repeat steps 1 and 2 for a second driver for good measure.
    4- Hire a smart and young American creative director with a love of F1 to put together a broadcast that will actually entertain Americans. Improve online accessibility with low-cost per season access to all live camera feeds, real-time team radio streams.
    5- Need a race in LA or NYC area (1.5-2 hour drive max). Those are the cities with the most true F1 fans per capita. The race should be at a time of the year that doesn’t interfere with NFL entire season, NBA playoffs or MLB playoffs. Referring to point 4, the broadcast must be produced locally by people that know how to make things exciting on screen, not the FOM’s boring world feed.
    6- Hope the racing is fast, tight and exciting and one driver doesn’t dominate (unless its the American 🙂 haha).

    • Drivers – Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly are looking to move into F1 in the next few years with Caterham and Force India respectively.

      Tracks – New Jersey and Long Beach rumours refuse to go away, possibly could happen with more US interest owing to US drivers coming into the sport.

      TV – Not sure how this can be improved, but it generally needs to be. Rumour is Sky are looking at taking over the world feed from FOM.

      Timing – Well, F1 seems to find out clashes, perhaps to generate interest instead of spending on advertising? The latest one seems to be, Austin before NASCAR @ Texas, so TV audiences could watch both (if sitting down to watch the NASCAR, why not check out the F1 on just before it etc.). The college football clash was OK, lets see if another (and closer) NASCAR clash works out.

      Racing – Well, yeah lets hope that improves with the 2014 rule changes! But some areas of F1 seem determined to shoot themselves in the foot (and if it leads to you dominating, then why not?).

      • No one is going to pay attention to Rossi or Daly languishing around in P19. That will do more harm than good.

        • Fair enough, but the problem for the US is that apart from these two, there is no one else trying to make it to F1 (and the vast financial commitment that takes, or significant team backing that someone like Rossi was lucky to acquire (BMW through winning Formula BMW, now Caterham).

          US drivers that could really make it, like Sage Karam, are instead aiming for IndyCar, as the Road to Indy means drivers with talent can make it, even with less backing than others. Josef Newgarden had a go in GP3, but went back to win Indy Lights and really shines in the US as a young driver.

          Heck, even GB drivers with backing are starting to look to IndyCar – Harvey is in Indy Lights next year, and Di Resta is probably replacing his cousin Dario. After Calado, there’s only a few UK drivers with a chance (those that still have RSF backing, which includes Calado and Harvey).

          Watching Karam’s YouTube channel (his reflexes in the Montreal pile up are immense), you can see he is going to go far. He’s very young to be graduating to IndyCar (like Marco Andretti), and I would guess will be in the title hunt in a few years. He must be the great American hope for F1 in a few years time. Andretti and Penske are getting involved in Formula E, maybe he could get backing for F1 after winning IndyCar..

          • I agree with most of your comment. F1 has lost its place as the pinnacle of motorsport if drivers, engineers and investors no longer aspire to be in F1. Perhaps this is the most telling indicator of F1’s health 🙁

    • All your points are totally valid… If the races aren’t on at 4 in the morning! As long as they are, your points remain invalid.

    • Also fire David Hobbs and Steve Matchett, toss out the idea that it’s ok to play commercials over 25% of the race, and treat the broadcast as if adults will be watching it rather than talking down to the lowest common denominator.

        • +1. I’d rather watch SKY on my 150-inch hyper-plasma TV legitimately, rather than squinting at a crappy feed on my computer…but I WILL NOT watch NBC/Speed/any iteration of the atrocious American F1-coverage-from-a-studio-thousands-of-miles-away-from-the-venue…

  10. Great to see so many American points of view here today. Welcome one and all, and please keep making your mark.

    As a European (Irish) I’m always interested in what you guys and gals think of the sport.

    Personally, I’d love to hear more Asian and African opinions too.

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