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.
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).
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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