CTA's F1 Popularity Working Group


Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
Bernie and the team principals met early on Saturday morning at Hungary where Bernie proposed a new working group to address the falling popularity of F1. Heading the new working group will be, wait for it, Flavio Briatore.

The working group is to consist of only a few team principles as well as media and Flavio. A streamlined think tank that expects less conflict over ideas due to its compact size. The new think tank will meet over the summer break to consider ideas. Hopefully the inclusion of the media in these meetings will help to avoid any clangers like double points races.

The very low spectator numbers in Germany have I feel been a wake up call. This was a country that went F1 mad when Schumacher appeared on the scene. Yet despite Seb having won 4 championships in recent years, the turnout this year was terrible.

The negative stories about the engine noise from the media and some drivers such as Vettel and Hamilton at the start of the year certainly haven't helped entice viewers either.

But it isn't just engine noise that is the problem, there are many reasons why people are turning off, such as pay tv, artificial racing, axing historic tracks and single team domination to name but a few.

So just in case any Team Principals, media people or Flavio happen by, I thought it would be nice if we could give them some pointers. Not just on keeping the fans F1 currently has, but on winning back the casual fans that have left, and attracting brand new fans to the sport.

So lets have it. What can we do to save F1's falling popularity?
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Slightly off topic but has anyone thought the reasons for the low attendance is due to the average German sport lover could have spent all their cash getting to the world cup and celebrating the result after.

Tough economic times and after bailing Greece, Spain and the rest of Europe maybe getting to the F1 this year was just one stretch too far for the average worker.
  1. TV directors should be confident that viewers of F1 can go more than 15 minutes without seeing an attractive young lady and/or Felipe Massa's brother, and concentrate on the action.
  2. If constructing circuits, do note the amount of Finnish flags at the Hungaroring.
  3. Lower the sodding prices, you avarice-bound cretins.
  4. Think about scheduling. The FIFA World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world, so having your summer break contemporaneous with such an event, and race throughout August may increase viewership.
  5. Less aero.
  6. Consider if DRS provides an exciting visual spectacle, or the equivalent of passing on the right-hand lane of an inner city ring road.
  7. Get rid of Bernie Ecclestone.
  8. Track limits. Enforce them in all situations. If you go off, your time is deleted in qualifying. No ifs, no buts. Drive on the freaking track.
  9. Each race is worth the same amount of points as each other, this is not Family Fortunes.
  10. Standardised steering wheels with significantly less buttons.
Eliminate the mandated engine configuration. Do like Le Mans did and set maximums for air intake. Let the manufacturers determine what, in their mind, will be the optimal configuration.

Do away with all of the fancy-schmancy gearboxes and require a manual gearbox. If I and my wife and daughter can shift gears on our own, why can't the self-proclaimed "best drivers on earth" do the same?

Mandate a return to iron disc brakes with no computer assistance. Bring the driver back into out-braking an opponent.

Return front airfoils to the time-honored formula of not exceeding the inside wall of the tires. Also mandate a two-element maximum configuration of the front wings. Do away with the hideous "transformer" look of the current front appendages.

And TBY's third requirement is key!!!!!!
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Precede each race with a "Punch Flavio in the face" demonstration by former World Heavyweight Champion boxers, followed by a "Kick Luca in the nethers" demonstration by former International Rugby goalkickers, followed by a "Wedgie Bernie" demonstration by former Olympic Clean-And-Jerk weightlifters, followed by.....
You get the picture, sorry to take the thread down the Geth route.
1. No double points in the last race. If F1 wants to be treated as a serious sport it needs to start acting like one.
2. Ensure that the drivers speak what they think and not act as a mouthpiece for a title sponsor or a model for a new watch. Why is football so popular?? Partly to do with personalities. Ronaldo, Messi etc. Let us the the drivers' personalities. Only Lewis has come dangerously close to revealing his proper character. Every driver has a different character - lets see it.
3. Less trigger-happy stewards. As we saw in Germany, the stewards have gone down this path and it seemed to work alright. More please!!! F1 shouldn't be a non-contact sport.
4. Greater focus on mechanical grip and therefore less aero. People often go "F1? They just follow each other round". Let's prove them (even more) wrong. Also, you can still have technical excellence without as much aero.
5. No more immediate Safety Car if it's a little bit wet. Granted, we haven't had a wet race in a long time so the stance may have changed, but to take an example, my sister, during the 2011 Canadian GP said this - why is the Safety car thing out for so long, it's not even raining any more!!" Extreme casual fans will think they're a bunch of wusses.
6. Don't restrict it to pay-tv. The situation here isn't ideal, with half of the full live races behind a paywall, but it's alot worse in other countries. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot - pay-tv only works if you are an extremely popular, established sport.
7. Ticket prices. Enough said.
8. Circuit design. If you have a crap circuit - Barcelona, Abu Dhabi - that you can't overtake on, no matter what gizmos you have, you still won't be able to overtake or get into a battle. So modify them or bulldoze them down.
9. Following on from teabagyokel , don't schedule races in direct competition with the business end of other events, especially the British GP in direct competition with the Wimbledon final.
10. Engage with the masses. Facebook, Twitter, etc. Motorsport sites like this can only go so far.

That's plenty to be going on with.
Slightly off topic but has anyone thought the reasons for the low attendance is due to the average German sport lover could have spent all their cash getting to the world cup and celebrating the result after.


Doubr it very much. F1 fans when planning to attend a GP in Europe normally get their tickets months in advance, and they're normally purchased by motor racing lovers, not "average sports lovers".
Hopefully Flavio's involvement won't be cause to re-publish "that" picture. I can't think of anything that would scare away potential new fans more quickly.
As for new fans.

Sell tv rights only to free to view channels. F1 will never get new fans if you have to pay to see if you like it.
I think you hit the jackpot. Having to pay to watch sports events on TV drops viewing figures. This has been shown over and over again. The immediate effect wil be that there are a number of people who will watch it if it's free, but not if you have to pay for it (me being one of them, although it's easy to find a stream on the internet).
The long term effect is that it will be really hard to gain back the viewers who for some other reason stop to watch and indeed nearly impossible to attrect new viewers.
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TV and internet are the two main areas for me.

TV should be free to air without adverts. The cars have enough logos on them already, we don't need the ad breaks that some countries have to endure.

F1s internet service is awful. It has completely missed the point that it is a second screen to complement the first screen experience. For a sport that creates so much data, evocative imagery and action, what they offer up online is from the last century.
I agree jez101 the live timing on the F1 website is a good example. This year you can only get sector times if you have an apple or android phone and are willing to pay for the app.

This timing information was free last year. Talk about pushing people away.
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