A sad, but alas, inevitable day has come – a stalwart of journalism with a long history, Autosport will cease to exist as we know it.
Twitter today has given us a foul rumour, but one that at least appears true, that the juggernaut of international motorsport reporting has decided to take Autosport away from the shelves and 2019 will be the last time motor racing fans can pick up a copy from their newsagents.
Motorsport.com is owned by the now-infamous Motorsport Network, very much like the Mercedes F1 team, a new player on the scene and one that has fast grown into a behemoth, devouring and dominating all and sundry around them.
The privately-held business was founded in 2015 with the acquisition of Motorsport.com, at the time a relatively minor player in journalism, particularly when compared to the likes of Autosport and other well established traditional outlets.
All one needs to do is look back using the various archived website services found online to see just what a minow motorsport.com was, often using GMM stories (Global Motorsport Media) – a cheap method of producing content from a service who sell their stories to many dozens of websites, sometimes inaccurate poor translations from non English speaking sources.
“We’re fans, and we’re fan-driven; make us your destination for motorsport content on the Internet today!” – was the naive and rather unprofessional written claim from the motorsport.com ‘about’ page from only five years ago.
Their very long list of semi-professional and fully amateur writing team listed with their various Gmail and Yahoo accounts, controlled by a chief editor by the name of Rainier Ehrhardt. No doubt the only full time paid member of staff.
And yet in 2015, motorsport.com suddenly started producing content written by respected traditional print copy producers such as Jonathan Noble and Adam Cooper. The sign that a purchase of the website had happened and a lot of money had been invested into a demure website with a very marketable, therefore desirable URL.
Very quickly the motorsport.com tornado sucked in others and became the Motorsport Network with Zak Brown heading up as CEO (before joining McLaren), a big cheese within the organisation.
The network very quickly acquired others, including its major competitor in 2016, the Haymarket Publishing portfolio of motor racing brands, who owned the renowned Autosport businesses. Autosport as a publication being nearly as old as Formula 1 itself having been established in 1950.
Thus far, the Motorsport Network has bought out or created:
Autosport.com (including Autosport Magazine – founded 1950, the Autosport Awards & Autosport Int.)
Motorsport Network also supplies news stories to other country’s traditional publications such as Germany’s Formel1.de, as a ‘partner’. Never before has our sport’s news reporting been held by such a monopoly, championed by online only content from the Motorsport Network.
Autosport, F1 Racing and Motorsport News cease to exist as we know it
The news was hinted at last night by Haymarket Publishing Automotive’s Editorial Director and former Deputy Editor of Autosport Jim Holder, tweeting that although unconfirmed, 2019 will be the last year of which you can buy a printed copy of Autosport, F1 Racing and Motorsport News.
Written only as fan (of the sport, journalism and above all the people) but as everyone reflects on a brilliant Rally GB I also hope they pause on the rumoured demise of the bulk of the UK media covering motorsport – Autosport, F1 Racing and Motorsport (Motoring) News.
— Jim Holder (@Jim_Holder) October 6, 2019
What is quite astonishing, and rather Ecclsetone like, is the method of which to take down Autosport et al. According to Jim Holder next week’s Autosport will be £10.99, next F1 Racing £16.99. knowing they won’t sell as they want to drive everyone to motorsport.com
Motorsportbroadcasting.com David Nelson has written today that Autosport’s special events manager Laura Coppin, confirmed in a tweet that Autosport will remain online via Autosport.com, therefore confirming earlier speculation about the magazine’s future.
That tweet as since been deleted.