Daily News and F1 Comment: Tuesday 13th October, 2015

F1 TV audience continues to plumet

The 2015 Singapore and Japanese GP’s were a disaster for British TV broadcasters as viewer numbers fell by between 25-40%.

So the UK TV audience figures for the Russian GP is eagerly awaited, given more bad news may see average F1 viewers in the UK dragged below that of last year with little hope of a bounce back.

Meanwhile back in Russia-land, the race promoter is claiming they had 149,000 visitors to the Olympic Park over the weekend and that 62,000 tickets were sold for the race on Sunday. This is 7,000 up on the inaugural Sochi event of 2014.

7,000 souvenirs were allegedly bought and 117 tonnes of food consumed.

The price of a weekend ticket was about 323 euros though the collapse in the Russian currency since Putin annexed Crimea meant it would cost 21,000 hard earned roubles for a Russian to attend.

Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia was brought in to warm up the crowd and most fansite ‘rate the race’ votes appear to believe the F1 race was better than the one in 2014.

Formula One had a lot of competition for eyeballs last weekend, as both the MotoGP and the WEC were in Japan, whilst the BTCC  and the Blancpain Sprint Series were coming to a climax. For those V8 lovers – the Bathurst 1000 was also on Motors TV.

Drum roll…..  (figures from the F1 broadcasting blog) And the viewer numbers….. ARE…

Another big disappointment for Formula One.

The BBC had live coverage of the event and their audience fell from 3.22m in 2014 to 2.79m, down 13 percent on last year’s figure.

SKY F1 faired much worse. In 2014 665,000 watched the race live, this dropped to just 497,000 – a whopping 25% less viewers year on year.

This has to be of great concern to Bernie Ecclestone, because less eyeballs means broadcasters either want to pay less to FOM, or may not even renew contracts at all.

The BBC is currently tasked with cutting its spend by £700m and TJ13 has learned the £30m paid to FOM plus the production fees are ‘under review.’

To put this in perspective, BBC 4 costs a similar amount to the F1 spend by ‘Auntie’.

SKY recently announced they will slash £6m from their F1 production costs, by combining the production teams for their English, German and Italian platforms.

Red Bull hierarchy disagree

Christian Horner made it clear during the 2015 Sochi weekend, that even a return to Renault power for Red Bull Racing was not out of the question: “Nothing is fixed, everything is open.”

The RBR team boss also intimated should Dietricht Mateschitz pull out of Formula One, he would “give it a go”. The insinuation he would ‘do a Brawn’ and buy the Milton Keynes team.

According to both Mercedes and Ferrari, they will not supply RBR with an engine for next year. So a return to some kind of relationship with Renault appears inevitable.

However, Adrian Newey tells Reuters “unfortunately, our relationship with Renault is pretty terminal — there’s been too much of a marriage breakdown, so we have no engine,” said Newey who did not attend the Russian GP.

Newey reveals Renault rebuffed offers of help from RBR and outside ‘expert’ help.

“We’re possibly going to be forced out of Formula One,” Newey concludes. “Mercedes and Ferrari have refused to supply us out of fear.”

Alain Prost is also dubious about a Renault Red Bull Racing collaboration in 2016. “I’m not sure if that [relationship] can be repaired.”

But a contract is a contract – and a breach by either party will see them forfeit millions in damages to the other.

So is the door open for a Renault/RBR through gritted teeth collaboration as Horner suggests? Could Renault buy the Milton Keynes outfit? Or is it game over as Adrian Newey appears to believe?

Jenson Button explains McLaren Honda deficit is around 45 kmh

“We knew that we would were going to get trounced in the race from Lap 1 really having to fuel save every lap. Even with the two Safety Cars we had to save a lot”. F1i

Ecclestone powerless to do a deal

Bob Fernley claims Formula One is powerless to get its house in order before the EU investigate the sport’s governance. “If they do decide to investigate, I think it will be quite rapid that Formula One will feel the effects of the EU,” added the Force India Team Principal. Reuters

A human rights appeal to the future F1 owners

F1 published a human rights statement in April this year, then shortly afterwards it announced a 2016 Grand Prix in Azerbaijan – where in 2015 the already worrying human rights situation has deteriorated rapidly – it remains unclear how seriously the company is taking these commitments. The Guardian

The WEC held round six of the championship in Fuji, Japan at the weekend.

An epic duel between Fässler in the Audi #7 and Webber for second place developed at the two hour mark into the race.

Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard claimed a third consecutive WEC victory in the No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid to emerge as the new championship leaders.

The next round will be in Shanghai on the 1st of November.

Read the full race report

Alex Zanardi takes class victory at Ironman World Championship


Former Formula One driver Alessandro Zanardi has taken class honours at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

The ex-Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams driver took part in the annual Ironman World Championship, finishing first in the ‘PC’ (Physically category).

Read story
Vlad goes for a fist pump and fails

Either that or he’s just lost a game of scissors, paper, stone.




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28 responses to “Daily News and F1 Comment: Tuesday 13th October, 2015

  1. “We’re possibly going to be forced out of Formula One,” Newey concludes

    Oh come now, Ade… don’t treat us like morons. #Disingenuous

    It’s comments like that which make me think Cyril’s “liar” accusations earlier this year have some truth.

    Ade’s a little flexible with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

    He’s have been an interesting witness to question on the stand. Maybe we should revisit Imola ’94?

    Or maybe it’s as George Costanza said when trying to mentor Jerry through an impending polygraph to ascertain whether he (embarrassingly) watched a famous soap. “Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”

    Adrian Costanza?

  2. I think that we’ll be saying goodbye to live F1 on the BBC in the near future. The fees seem unjustifiable. Very sensible of Sky to combine its production teams though; big waste of cash having one from each country. Let’s hope that the production doesn’t suffer.

  3. Red Bull forcing Red Bull out of F1. They had no genuine backup plan in place before they decided to hand Renault the divorce papers. Now they’re make it look as if this all because of Mercedes and Ferrari.

    When Ferrari sacked Aldo Costa, they didn’t say…….’if we don’t get Newey we’re going to leave the sport’….

    I guess they thought that either manufacturer would just happily hand over the main piece of equipment that’s behind their competitiveness.

    • @fortis Cut nose off to spite the face…me thinks. Redbull have only themselves to blame and should have taken note of the saying, we win as a team lose as a team. Did the offer of the customer power unit from Ferrari fade into nothing? I cannot blame the manufacture’s for not wanting to partner the bulls as even before they have started they are pulling the same stunt as they have with Renault and as a customer team you will always be cap in hand to the builders of the power train. This is one example of the short sighted move into these motors, in the era of the v12,v10,v8 we had the likes of Hart,zacspeed,Yamaha,cosworth and such. These were smallish outfits who excelled in taking a small budget and gave the teams a chance to play with the big boys. This was a time you could concentrate on the chasis and pretty much bolt anything to it….and now it all seems such a long way from the mess F1 finds itself in today.

      • @oddball
        in the era of the v12,v10,v8 we had the likes of Hart,zacspeed,Yamaha, and such.
        scrap metal

        • @Iain R8 I can understand where you are coming from but I had the pleasure of working with Hart and Brian and believe me, there was so much passion and blood in those engines. I took down a Cosworth DFR that had seen better days and even with my wife’s hold on the family fiver he worked his magic to tune and fettle the failing lump. Even after 20 (cough,cough) or so years I have never had a failed firing..its been in the kitty litter a few times and I have had the rear bearing weld itself tight but his work still speaks volumes.. As for the others?…well yes,Yamaha managed to Rob an Arrows of a win but the concept was a very neat engine

    • It baffles me what they are up to. I can imagine some plans:
      – they want out and look for excuses not to pay the fine of 100 million per year before 2020 (500 million)
      – they thought they had Audi, but then Dieselgate came along
      – they wanted to force F1 into arranging something with extra tokens.
      – they want Renault to buy them, instead of Lotus.
      If it’s not the first, they are acting really stupid. Or am I missing something?

      • Maybe I’m missing the fact that Lotus, Force India, Sauber and Manor are on the brink of collapse. So RB still Has a Card to play with two teams which could be needed to fill the grid.

      • I’m sure they did not have Audi (yet). Maybe RB had some indication that Audi would consider entering in 2017 or 18, but apparently that’s unthinkable now (when I still think that the exposure of Audi through F1 would help them in a positive way, showing they have left their poluting diesel days behind).
        I guess RB gambled on getting Ferrari or Mercedes for a year, but should have made sure they bought new shoes before tossing out the old. If I was a supplier, I would seriously doubt if I wanted such a unreliable partner.
        But imagine if RB stops F1, that would collapse all their single seater racing involvement, because their junior programs make no sence anymore. RB would lose a huge amount of exposure, which is the sole reason they entered this game anyway.
        My guess is RB will run Renaults at least next year, and STR will have 2015 spec Ferrari’s…

  4. A bit unrelated to today’s news.

    There were quite a few posts yesterday bashing Lewis about his past comments over Vettel’s domination and that he doesn’t say anything now. Well, I beg to disagree. I don’t ever remember Vettel saying that he longed for a fight with Lewis or some other driver/team. Lewis though does say that, he’s genuinely gutted when he doesn’t have the chance to race Rosberg or Vettel. He wants to race with the best and come on top. Of course those who really dislike Lewis will not see that.

    Apart from all that, I really enjoy the banter between Lewis and Seb. I honestly think they’re good personalities and fun to watch. Yes, there can be petulant moments from both of them, but nothing like the underhand tactics and hidden agendas of others, past and present (Schuey, Alonso, Button).

    • It’s not a matter of not liking or bashing the guy, he’s just the most widely reported-on guy in the paddock whose comments are most often little more than limp-wristed social expediency (imho). He’s just saying what the fans want to hear without regard to alignment / consistency with previous utterances.

      Vettel never said he longed for a fight because he was happy to be winning and held no sympathy for those in his wake. He was happy to throw darts at them, in fact – “balls in the pool”, etc. Now that was funny.

      Lewis says he longs for a fight – safe in the knowledge that there’s no chance of a fight any time soon because the engine regulations basically prevent it.

      Unless a journo calls BS on Hamilton and he pushes back with a reasonable explanation of his change of heart then he is guilty of false bravado of the highest order.

      Then again, life is a Rorschach test and I doubt we’ll ever agree on what we’re seeing.

    • I think both observations are fair:
      – Lewis doesn’t talk about domination and boredom anymore.
      – he wants to fight in track.
      I like his comments and style in general. He’s interesting – and bloody good.

    • Lewis is the master at putting his foot in his mouth. Let’s just remembered that he asked for competition and see how it plays out when his car isn’t 2 seconds ahead. Will we he turn back into mr Nicole aka super diva Hamilton? Telemetry tweets? Smashing his car into the podium boards, pouting and almost crying in front of the royal family?

      One can only hope!

  5. Another unrelated thing.
    I find it quite amusing how quiet Jackie Stewart has been since the end of Seb’s domination. I still remember him bashing Hamilton and Button and regarding Vettel the best thing since sliced bread. Conversely, Mansell has appeared out of the woods now that Hamilton dominates; quite ‘funny’ people all these experts, ex-champions.

    • Sir Jackie is not a fan of Hamilton, I think that’s pretty much been established. He was rather dismissive when he broke his wins record and I doubt he’ll be too pleased when he draws level on titles

        • I’ve said it before, Lewis Hamilton could possibly be the last British driver to win a WDC in probably the next 10-15 years or even longer and his stats may last way beyond that.

          If we look at all the young and upcoming drivers, the ones getting all the headlines are from mainland Europe.

  6. It’s not a matter of disliking Hamiton per se, I just see his comments as limp-twisted expediency, saying what he thinks his fans want to hear regardless of alignment / consistency with past utterances.

    Vettel never said he longed for a fight because he was happy winning and held no sympathy for those in his wake. He was happy to chuck darts at them, in fact – “balls in the pool” ☺

    Lewis says he wants a fight while safe in the knowledge that there won’t be a fight any time soon because the engine regulations effectively prevent it. False bravado of the highest order.

    Then again, life is a Rorschach test and I doubt we’re ever going to agree and what we see.

    • You know what’s amusing about that statement, everyone uses it to bash and chastise him with, whilst conveniently ignoring the other statement he made in that interview…

      “I want to be able to challenge Seb, I want to race him damn it, he’s having it too easy out in front”…. (Along those lines, not a direct quote)

      But people only use the arguments that fits their objectives. It would’ve been ok to refer to that statement continuously if he knew that few years later he’d be in such a dominant car, but since he didn’t, then it’s an irrelevant comment.

      “Vettel never said he longed for a fight because he was happy winning and held no sympathy for those in his wake. He was happy to chuck darts at them, in fact – “balls in the pool” ….

      Or was he just scared to say it?

      • You need to start thinking more deeply about things, Fortis. The detail-obsessed, nit-picking, gain-saying “arguments” in your responses don’t increase the depth of the debate.

        Hamilton’s comments back in the day are completely / entirely / absolutely relevant to his situation today.

        He was making a point back then about the effect a totally dominant team / driver has on the fan experience of F1. Schumacher / Vettel was that guy, now it’s Hamilton.

        I heartily agreed with his original comment. The extra bit you added was and still is a throw-away line that adds nothing to his general point about dominance and is irrelevant.

        Right now he looks like a politician who bags out the sitting government before an election then immediately changes his tune when he wins.

        BTW, if you are right about his comments being irrelevant because he didn’t know he’d be the one dominating one day then he’s a pretty shallow guy.

        So take you pick. Is he a hypocrit or is he shallow?

  7. At which point will TV audience fall enough for F1 to implement official online broadcasting straight from its corporate site? Like MotoGP.

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