Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 3rd February 2014

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Who sounds the best (09:30)

F1 Fans vote with their eyes (09:30)

Innovations of 2014 – McLaren suspension challenge (12:45)


Who sounds the best

During the test last week in Jerez, TJ13 took some footage of the cars around the circuit, some of which has already shared. We also ran a poll asking you, the F1 community, what you thought of the sound. Here are the results.

Option % of votes
Surprisingly, I like it! 34%
Too early to say 28%
Better than I expected 23%
Dreadful!  15%

So while there is a slight margin between those who like it and those that are still undecided, what do you think of the sound of each manufacturer? We have now had time to pull together a compilation of the footage we have that you can listen to below and vote on.

Please also comment below saying why you voted the way you did.

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F1 Fans vote with their eyes

F1 TV audiences around the world are falling according to the annual global media report. F1 viewership has dropped by almost 50 million to 450 million in 2013. Further numbers quoted by Christian Sylt from the WSJ claim the viewership in Germany fell by 8.7% while in Brazil, “F1’s biggest single viewing market, also suffered as the audience dropped to 77.2 million from 85.6 million.

Mr E has an answer of course and in the report puts this down to “the less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds.” This is now toted as the driver for the double points at the final race of the season (or possibly the last three races).

However the report also recognises that pay per view has had an impact on the viewership numbers. In China and France there were 29.8 million and 16 million viewers lost respectively. It is not clear how many viewers are left in China but in France there remains about 10.2 million viewers, meaning the latter lost c61% of it’s viewership!

It appears that a mixed broadcasting schedule between pay-per-view and free-to-air works although one has to be careful with the numbers. Acknowledging that the viewership in the UK dropped during the first year both Sky Sports and BBC broadcasted F1 the report claims it rose by 1.7% to 29.1million viewers in 2013. But how much did it lose in 2012?

In its drive to secure future revenue from subscription channels is FOM busy killing the goose? With less eyes watching Formula 1 it will be even harder for teams to find sponsors and from the outrage about the double points idea one has to ask the question:

Will double points draw more people to Formula 1 or will they be put off by the look and sound of the new cars and the need for, in most cases, pay per view access?

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Innovations of 2014 – McLaren suspension challenge

Something we will hear a lot off during the buildup to the first race and possibly throughout the season is the interpretation of the rules and what is deemed as within the ‘spirit of the regulations’. And with that we can expect formal protests and not so formal protests in the form of ‘requests for clarification’.

Last week TJ13 reported the first salvo of challenging innovations has been fired by none other than Adrian Newey saying “I have not seen the photos but as it is described, it sounds as though there are eight suspension elements, where only six are allowed. Moreover, there are clear rules for the width of the suspension.

However, when asked by F1WEB.it if they have officially protested the suspension Red Bull replied, “We have no problem with it.” Hmmm… does this mean that the new version of the RB10 Newey is rumoured to be working on will have McLaren style rear suspension and a Lotus pitchfork nose?

As for the eyesores that are the noses of the 2014 creations.. afraid they will stay for at least this year. As ever, Mr Todt rules through silence and none provocative means. Bild reports that according to FIA sources the governing body has shelved the issue [of looks] for 2014 and that the nose designs are legal, albeit ugly, and that clarification to the rules can be expected in 2015.

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39 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 3rd February 2014

  1. I preferred the Merc. It has a sound that reminds me of footage of the old “boot polish” cars….

    Although I have the say the sound of the Waste-Gate on that Ferrari got me slightly aroused…….. My idea of mechanical porn……..

  2. The fact that half of the 2014 cars can’t be shown pre-watershed without pixelating their exposed gentleman areas won’t help viewership numbers either. That’s at least. Ecclestone and his posse don’t learn until you hit them where it hurts – in the wallet.

    • some words got eaten by the dog. It should have said:

      That’s at least what I hope.

  3. F1 should concentrate on keeping the fans it has rather than trying to encourage new ones with gimmicks like double points.

    As for the engine noise, I’m going with the Ferrari, but they all sound great to me!

    • I also believe they aren’t doing anything really useful to attract new fans -double points can attract some casual viewers but those don’t stay anyway- but a lot to lose the existing ones.

  4. I voted for the Ferrari even though I think the Merc sounded much smoother and more refined, the Ferrari just had that ragged sound of a racing engine. And no, not a Tifosi either.

  5. My first event was the 1982 British Grand, I was 13 years old and the field was made up of turbos and DFV’s mainly.
    For the next six years I went to all British races, tyre tests and the Italian GP in 86 and hearing these cars in Jerez reminded of my favourite era of F1.
    I’ve experienced 3.5 litre V8’s, V10’s and V12’s as well as historic racing events and the Goodwood FOS and their sound is spine tingling but these things are guttural and I cannot wait.

    After experiencing the practical silence of Audi’s at LeMans I’m grateful that F1 hasn’t gone down that road!

  6. As per my broken clock message, I still think they move to pay TV happened as a way to make F1 look better for the stock float that was planned before they decided an indictment would be a better choice, LOL.

    And the answer is no, although FOM will be more profitable by charging hardcore fans for access, the teams will lose big time through dropping sponsorship values (fewer eyeballs). It doesn’t help that they also go after YouTube clips and other things that might help boost popularity of the sport. This also, of course, pits the teams directly against FOM, not a healthy situation.

    For the ultimate end game, boxing in the US makes a good comparison, particularly if you also include a sport like MMA which has gone out of its way to make itself more accessible to fans who can’t pay. The lessons are there if F1 wishes to learn them.

  7. For me the double point final is a very good idea!
    As the cars are ugly as hell and the sound is like a broken old R5 Turbo i only have to watch that last race to be informed about the F1 Champ 🙂

  8. I wonder if we’ll see two drastically different Red Bull cars this season – assuming such a thing is within the rules.

    As Renault are unlikely to get a working engine for the first third of the races, Adrian might as well cut a few holes in his current car to try and get it to the finish but then dump it completely and redesign based on the lessons he can learn from the other teams. 15 weeks should be enough to do a whole new car ready to mate with a working Renault engine….

    • …….and they could still go on and win the championship due to Bernies double points in the last 3 races scheme. Something only the rich teams could do.

    • IIRC the chassis is homologated at the start of the season. That might make it a bit difficult to build a whole new car………

      • There’s nothing stopping them from designing a new chassis, just that it has to go through all the same tests and whatever else as the original did.

  9. This is the problem F1 finds itself in.
    The lust for broadcast revenue is diminishing the viewership. Obviously with less viewers it doesn’t make economic sense using F1 as a corporate advertising platform.
    Unfortunately, the captains of this boat are getting more shortsighted with age and can’t see the impending doom. Then again, they are probably too old to care, as they perhaps don’t have much time remaining and can happily leave the mess for others to sort out.

    • Very valid point John. I fear that greed will kill F1… Then again, maybe the German prosecutors will do us a favour and remove the dictator.

      The issue though is that CVC sees F1 as a cash cow and the teams keep on fighting each other. Will CVC reduce the money they take from the sport?

    • But it’s the very model that the hedge fund captains and banksters subscribe to. Essentially it’s a simple game of musical chairs. Buy business. Run up short term stock price. Refinance so as to extract maximum wealth and either sell while stock looks good or enter bankruptcy and sell off parts while walking away with the money you extracted.

      If you get stuck with dropping stock price you lose.

      And it’s CVC the hedge fund that has already refinanced F1 debt once that wants the pay TV because they don’t care about the long term. They will extract maximum wealth and move on, which has always been the flaw of the extractive model, there’s no concern for the consequences once you walk away.

      • The problem isn’t CVC but of the structure of the original deal that that Mosley gave Ecclestone. CVC simply are the beneficiaries. No reputable sports organization sells off their TV rights for 99 years without a clause which allows them to re-negotiate terms at fixed intervals ,nor do they give those rights holders the ability to determine how much the teams will get as a percentage of the revenue.

        CVC simply saw F1 as a business opportunity and you can rant and rave about them as much as you want, but had it not been for the Mosley and Ecclestone CVC wouldn’t be in the picture.

        • Frankly they should have leased the rights subject to review on a set basis to ensure fairness for the teams interests, you are absolutely correct. And it’s not just CVC, this is the basic way all of these players are doing business. It could have been any hedge fund that wound up with the rights (not according to Munich, but for the sake of argument let’s set that aside for the moment) and they would have done much the same. The original money made by Bernie running the show has been extracted from F1 the business by means of refinancing its debt. Any halfway competent financial player would have done this.

          My argument is with the destruction the extractive models yield, in that they don’t encourage long term thinking nor care taking of an actual business that makes or does things.

    • I totally agree with you and I’m all for F1 being on a free-to-air channel. BUT, they’re obviously looking at the Premier League and they think that this works. And looking at viewerhsip figures in F1 at the moment, yes, they’re down, but not by much compared to the ’09-’11 numbers for example. During the Schuey years we were nearly a third down the numbers compared to now.
      I’d really like someone to show me viewership stats for the Premier League over the years and explain why it is/it is not similar to F1.
      I will change my mind of course that F1 should be on free-to-air TV, but I’d like a real, unbiased, critique on whether this is really the wrong direction strictly in terms of financial sustainability.

      • Can’t compare F1 to Premiere League. The sports are consumed totally differently socioculturally.

        Also, if you are creating a “walled-garden” paywall, you better be damn sure you have the best “players” and “show”. Sorry for being cynical, but to me F1 does not have this at the moment, nor do they seem to be working towards acquiring it.

  10. THE NUMBERS …….

    Formula 1’s annual Global Media Report offers detailed analysis of each of the individual markets where the sport is broadcast.

    While a majority of nations endured a drop in audience figures in 2013, some countries did enjoy a boost in viewership.

    The figures also reveal that market share that F1 enjoys in each of its markets, based on the entire television viewership for each country.

    The Winners

    UNITED STATES – F1’s biggest audience increase was in the USA, with an 18 per cent jump in viewership following the switch to NBC and NBC Sport. There were 11.4 million viewers in total (4 per cent market share)

    UNITED KINGDOM – Despite there being one race less, UK audiences watching on Sky and BBC were up 2 per cent with just more than 29 million viewers in 2013. (48 per cent market share)

    ITALY – Enjoyed a slight increase in viewership to 35.8 million viewers as the result of dramatic expansion of race coverage on SKY Italia and RAI. (62 per cent market share)

    The Losers

    FRANCE – Dropped from around 27m viewers to 10m following switch to pay TV channel CANAL+ (18 per cent market share)

    GERMANY – Lost a 10 percent market share with 31 million viewers watching on RTL and Sky Germany (42 per cent market share)

    POLAND – The absence of Robert Kubica from F1 has not led to a dramatic switch-off in fans, with viewers shrinking from 12 million in 2012 to 9.6 million last year. (26 per cent market share)

    SPAIN – Viewership was down only slightly at 30.2 million, which is encouraging considering there was one less home race last year than 2012. (70 per cent market share)

    BRAZIL – Brazil has the largest single nation audience for Formula 1 with 77 million viewers watching last year, although this was 5 per cent down on 2012. (41 per cent market share)

    CHINA – A move away from state broadcaster CCTV to a host of regional broadcasters led to a dramatic drop in audience figures. Just 19 million viewers tuned in last year, around 30 million less than 2012. (1 per cent market share)

    JAPAN – F1’s audience figure dropped just 2 million, which taking into account the shortened calendar shows the viewership is holding up (23 per cent market share)

    RUSSIA – Audience figures dropped 10 per cent to 12.3 million as coverage was shared on Rossiya 2 and RTR Sport. (10 per cent market share

    • Overall viewing numbers are only important for a government / public broadcaster. For a commercial broadcaster unless the viewing numbers are broken down by demographic, how long they watched and when they watched, overall numbers are pointless.

      • They would also be fairly worthwhile to a corporate sponsor of a team as well I would think. As a way of measuring.

  11. RE Sounds – I voted Mercedes but really its a super close tie in my mind between them and Ferrari. The Renault sounds like a broken industrial device of low order.

  12. I voted Mercedes. Sounds more like a F1 car to me.

    BTW, just watching yesterday’s Top Gear… and after reviewing the new noses (specially the Toro Rosso), they have renamed the category: Formula Strap-On. Brilliant.

  13. I am clearly biased, but I like the Renault sound when it’s not sputtering. For all engines, my favourite part is when they swoosh – that’s awesome 🙂

    The Ferrari looks like they worked on its sound which is quite good.

    The Mercedes sounds terrific in the deceleration phase.

    I don’t care that much about the noses, in fact they look like “noses” – if they are supposed to be penises why do they point downwards? I don’t understand the big commotion.

    This season looks like it will be interesting.

    • The Judge hasn’t commented… I suspect I’m not the only one who believes that a quick answer to an annoying reporter when you are participating in a fishing event isn’t the most convincing and formal retirement announcement.

      • Could that be because the judge can’t see the screen at the moment from having to wipe all the egg off their face after telling bookies to stop taking bets on Ross Brawn becoming Mclaren leader!!!

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