Start, Circuit of the Americas, 2014

F1 ‘needs six races in America’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula One needs many more races in the USA to attract wider public attention, says the United States Grand Prix promoter.


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Comment of the day

Here’s an interesting perspective on F1’s current troubles from Seppo:

I don’t know what F1 stands for any more.

Time was you could say it was the technological and athletic apex of racing. The best drivers. The best technology. But that’s not the case anymore, and it’s plain as day to anyone who’s looking.

How can you describe modern F1 in one sentence?

Watch as some of the world’s best drivers compete against other drivers who bring money to teams as they manage their tires and coast to save fuel, passing in designated zones via active aero triggered by arbitrary sensors at specific track locations! (Or in the pits.)
Seppo (@Helava)

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Keith Collantine
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  • 101 comments on “F1 ‘needs six races in America’”

    1. No mention of the Ferrari IPO? It’s at least as relevant as driver off-track antics, no?
      Not to mention practically the cheapest way to get something Ferrari-branded!

      1. IIRC, the IPO was for Ferrari Automobili SpA, not Scuderia Ferrari; it’s not really F1 news.
        It’s like when McLaren launched the P1 hypercar; that wasn’t reported here either.

        1. And that entity owns the Formula 1 team. The prospectus states their ongoing success depends on the success of the F1 team. Their ticker symbol is RACE.

          1. We already get lots of articles on WEC, etc. on here – very tedious to scroll past. So what is a few more off-topic articles?

            1. We already get lots of articles on WEC, etc… on here – very tedious to scroll past.

              There have been 1,601 articles on F1 Fanatic so far this year (not including F1 Fanatic Live). Of those, I would say 11 have featured WEC in a significant way, a figure which includes six Weekend Racing Wraps in which the WEC has not always featured in the headline or lead image.

              So less than one percent of articles on F1 Fanatic this year have been about WEC. That is not “lots of” articles. And several of those have an obvious connection to F1 anyway.

            2. Omg sooooo tedious to move your finger an inch or two! Woe is Andy!

      2. I do think its a bit of an omission yeah, so instead of asking about it being not included, let me include a link to the news:

    2. Two races wouldn’t help much. But six could.

      No. It couldn’t. Why should we have 6 races in one country? I have never heard a convincing argument why there should be more than 1 per country.

      And before anyone asks, this includes Spain, Germany, Italy, Britain and all the other European countries that have had multiple races in recent times.

      1. I was ready to complain by saying something like “Muricans think they are the center of the world” but then read the full article and what he says is that F1 needs 6 races in America time zone so you dont have to be up so early too watch the race then you can build up an audience to support F1 in USA.

        1. They’re halfway there. The American Audience is big but they have INDYCAR and that seems to suit their sensibilities more. More races in the US timezone would increase their audience, at the expense of the European audience, which is still the primary target and why flyaway races are held later in the day/ at night.

          1. @selbbin Why would it be at the expense of the Euro audience? It’s prime time in Europe, no? Unless you mean the amount of races in Europe will decrease=less visiting audience

          2. What do you of our “sensibilities”? The answer is “not very much apparently”. As a well traveled lifer in the States I’ll just politely say 80% of the Indy fans I know are from or in the UK where it’s regarded as exotic and the top level for most of their failed F1 driver wanna-bes.

        2. Six in the time zone would be doable. It basically means two more in the Americas: Argentina and Venzuela perhaps?

          But I suspect he really did mean 6 in the US: “this is a big country. We really could stage that many events.”

          1. Snap !
            Got to remember to refresh before posting…

            1. Six seems to be hyperbole, but Texas is still thousands of miles away for many Americans. Still, I don’t think more races would would increase the fan base. Better coverage and accessibility just might, but that would never happen.

          2. @charleski
            I was going to say “but Russia’s a big country, and Bernie wouldn’t dream of hosting 6 GP in Russia”…

            And then I realised it was Bernie I was talking about…

          3. Venzuela? Ahahahhahahahaha. They are the North Korea of South America.

            There are already 4 races in the Americas. Sure one or two more would be welcome but neither Argentina nor Venzuela are socially deserving of international sport. Chile and Columbia however would make great places to host a race.

          4. Six races in the North American time zones (the four primary time zones, anyway) would not work in the fall. They would run up against the NFL. This weekend’s 3 pm EST start time runs even with the last quarter of the early NFL games. We’ll be watching the start of the race and the first few laps, but then we’ll be bouncing back and forth for the 4th quarter of the Saints game, unless the Saints are rubbish this weekend (I’d predict, this year, that they would be, but they’re up against the Colts so there’s no guessing what will happen).

            There is just not room on the North American sports calendar for 6 races that could interest casual US fans. The best time would be in the late spring, right after the Canadian grand prix, but that interferes with the European races.

        3. I’m not sure, he does end with:

          And this is a big country. We really could stage that many events.

          The US probably could host that many events, I’m not sure it’d be the best idea though, I’d be happy to see 6-8 races in the Americas, but I think 2, maybe 3, is the most that should be held in USA.
          I think it’d be reasonable to add a race on each coast.

          1. Agreed, the operative word being “could” instead of “should”. Even now, the Mexican race gives me some mild heartburn about the sustainability of the race at COTA as the crowds the first three years at COTA have been well-populated by Latin Americans and I have to wonder if some significant portion of their demand will be scooped up by the Mexican GP as opposed to the USGP, not in addition to.

            1. ColdFly F1 (@)
              22nd October 2015, 9:59

              I have to wonder if some significant portion of their demand will be scooped up by the Mexican GP as opposed to the USGP

              But then again there are some 34 million people with Mexican origin in the USofA. For them Austin will be closer than Mexico City (it’s even closer to many Mexican cities).

            2. COTA is hardly the greatest circuit in the States, though they do a lot besides host the race (concerts, parties, charity events, historical exhibits, just to name a few), but as someone who lives a couple of thousand miles away I’d much prefer an East and West Coast USGPs.

              I’ll add COTA > Indy by about a zillion percent.

      2. Well “one per country” is awfully arbitrary given that the entirety of the landmass of Western Europe would easily fit in the US and the population of Western Europe is not significantly greater than that of the US, yet Western Europe hosts what, 7 races?

        Epstein’s point isn’t that the US needs 6 races because it’s the center of the world, it’s that in order to generate enough accessibility to capture the US market you need 6 races in the time zone, and that without face time and regular contact with the sport, the US market will always be less interested than its Western European counterparts.

        It’s incredible to see on here the “America thinks it’s the center of the world” sentiment in the face of the actual geography involved. Broader markets in the western hemisphere have no shot given that a whopping 4 of this year’s 20 races take place in the western half of the entire globe.

        All of that said, I don’t think 6 races actually makes sense in the US because it would represent an enormous gamble on Formula 1’s part (and would face a lot of sporting competition) and success is certainly not guaranteed, but at least 6 races in vaguely western time zones is the very minimum of what would be required to provide even a foundational point upon which any kind of real audience could be built in the Americas.

        Instead, the greater F1F fandom prefers, unbelievably ironically, to stick its head in the sand and claim that the sport’s largest untapped audiences think they’re the center of an increasingly non-eurocentric world.

        1. @bob-loblaw This is where many people don’t understand Ecclestone’s calendar building. He could stick with 66% of races in Europe, and he did until the mid-2000s, but that’s just restricting your markets. A balanced calendar would promote F1 as a ‘world championship’, and should grow the sport, e.g. 1/3rd of races in the ‘western’, ‘central’ and ‘eastern’ global time zones.

          The only argument IMO for keeping additional European GPs is to keep crowd numbers up, but then you get a situation where those races are all competing against each other. Not to mention that new countries are willing to pay a premium to join the calendar, something which indirectly boosts the teams’ prize money.

          Looking at the US, there’s easily scope for multiple races, there’s the LA region, Florida with lots of older/rich folk (Bernie’s rolex demographic), NYC, Indianapolis – we’ve only got COTA, with Montreal and Mexico instead. Add in Brazil; there’s easily scope for two more races in the time zone. Seeing as Argentina is broke, and NJ indifferent, maybe Indy and LA? But even without them, COTA is a big investment that should be held onto for dear life.

        2. Thank you for speaking some sense. To capture the US market more races need to be held in appropriate time zones for them. Unfortunately that would mean more very early Monday mornings for me.

          1. As a Canadian on the east coast, I am more than happy with three races in the Americas during the calander year. F1 is an international sport that should be as geographically spread out as possible, sleeping schedules be damned. That being said, how about a Hawaiian GP?

            1. I mean FOUR races! Even better :)

        3. Don’t forget the USA buys a lot of cars. A lot of cars. I won’t bother to do the research but I’d be willing to bet Ferrari, Merc, and Honda sell more cars in the States than any other single country. I’m sure that’s why those manufacturers stated in the past they’d like more than one USGP.

        4. The number of races in the US or in the US time zones may not be needed. European soccer picked up a large number of US fans via the EA Sports FIFA soccer series, so there are other ways to reach new fans. I think the real point may simply be that in order to crack the US market, F1 needs to be willing to be flexible and creative.

          1. I meant, Increasing the number of races…

      3. @keeleyobsessed Some countries do have several good tracks and I wouldn’t be bothered if they held several races in one country. MotoGP does this in several countries for example. After all especially the States is so big it would almost be another country…

        Britain – Donnington, Brands Hatch, Silverstone
        Italy – Monza, Imola, Mugello
        USA – COTA, Road America, Watkins Glenn, Road Atlanta, Indianapolis Road Course
        Germany – Hockenheim, Nurburgring

        1. I’m for Road Atlanta any time. I love the vibe of Atlanta and Georgia in general. I’m afraid that Bernie would demand heavy reconstruction of the circuit and spoiling it in the process is very possible.

        2. I like your USA list, but I’d replace Indianapolis with Laguna Seca. There’s a whole bunch of us Californians that would love a good F1 scrap in our backyard!

      4. As has already been mentioned, the US is so big that different parts really need to be considered as different countries for these purposes. There is no real difference between, say, travelling to COTA if you live in New York, than travelling to Sochi if you live in Germany.

        Having said that, I would suggest that 2 additional US GPs would be the most I would add right now. The core audience of F1 is located in Europe, so you can’t take too much away from there without damaging the fan base. Adding one on each coast of the US would bring it close enough to the majority of the US population. They would need to be spread throughout the season though.

        Another thing to think about is time zones. It would actually be possible to make some European races viewable in the US. The furthest zone is PST, which is 9 hours behind. So if we moved some European races to around 6pm GMT, they would start at 9am PST.

        The US is a big market which F1 should try to break in to. I just hope that, if they do, they don’t do it at the expense of their core fan base.

        1. @drmouse
          I obviously can’t speak for all Europeans, but I quite like races in the Americas as they’re normally on in the evening in the UK so it gives me most of the day to do stuff with the family.

          1. @beneboy

            I’m in the UK. I’m just trying to think it through from a business/growing-the-sport point of view.

            I also quite like the races in the Americas. Having a race on at midday can be a chore at times, whereas I’d normally be home on a Sunday evening anyway. I suspect that applies to a fair few people. A couple of European races in the evening would appeal to fans/potential fans in the Americas. It would also push the races into a prime-time viewing slot in Europe.

            How’s about a Monaco night race? :D

            1. So, to be pedantic, 9 in Europe, 6 in Americas(?), 2 in the Middle East, 4 in Asia, Australia… But where is Africa? F1 could definitely hold more races a year. Although most of Africa would have more or less European time-zones.

            2. And I forgot the solitary South American race.

        2. Additional races may not be needed. If they ran the Canadian, US and Mexican races consecutively with 2 to 3 weeks in between, they could then add free testing days (with pit access) at tracks in between the locations. For example, race in Montreal, free test day at Mid-Ohio, free test day at Road Atlanta, race in Austin, free test day in the South West US, race in Mexico, free testing in North West US, then head back to Europe.

    3. Red Bull should go with the Honda engine and help them develope that engine with McLaren and be strong in 2017-2018

      1. @dam00r McLaren wont allow, i think their contract has some clause to make sure that Honda’s efforts are focused on their works team for the first years. ( Read it somewhere i will post the link when i can find it

      2. Mclaren won’t be very happy about losing their engine status to Red Bull and Red Bull will certainly demand a similar status especially if it helps in developing the engine.

    4. The Telegraph article on Palmer and other drivers has a picture of Max Verstappen and a caption of Jean-Eric Vergne. Oops!

      1. @ambroserpm When Magnussen announced his departure from McLaren Eurosport uploaded a pic of Marcus Ericcsson.

    5. I’ve long thought that the Americas could use about 6 races, but I certainly wouldn’t stick them all in one country…

      1. They’re up to 4 already, so that should help.

        1. It’s definitely a lot better than just the one we got in 2009. I’m quite looking forward to three midday races in a row this year.

          1. I have to get up at 6am!

      2. Western Europe collectively has a 124% of the population of the US but has 700% of the races, but we’re hung up on arbitrary borders?

        1. Sorry, speaking to the Americas that have races currently (North America + Brazil), Western Europe has 54% of the population and 175% of the races.

        2. Gotta love arbitrary borders. If we weren’t so collectively bad at drawing them, the world would be a much more peaceful place.

          1. The borders are no more arbitrary than these calculations. If USA should have 6 races becouse of their population then China should have 20 races.

            1. @rethla A better measure might be size of economy, thus how much people could afford F1 – on that measure, USA and China would be valid places to hold multiple races; it’s no surprise to see bids on F1’s ownership from those locales, as the growth potential is obvious. China has a race in Shanghai – maybe it could also hold races near Hong Kong and Beijing? Add a Seoul race, and that’s 8 races in the Asia region.

            2. If the size of the economy was the deciding factor Germany would have no problem hosting Grand Prixes. I dont think you will ever find any logic in this besides Bernie making shady deals for his own profit.

            3. @rethla True, but Germany should also aim to have low ticket prices and high crowd volume. They’re quite a social sporting country – e.g. their approach to football. Ticket prices are low, fan ownership high, attendance higher than for the Premier League. That model simply doesn’t fit as well with F1.

              That said, a lot of the popularity was also around Schumacher, champion of the working class, while the modern drivers are seen more as middle class or above e.g. Rosberg from Monaco, and hence less popular.

              So, it’ll become tougher to maintain two German-speaking territory races (Hock/Nurb and Red Bull Ring), just like there’s no second British race, or a second French-speaking race (after Spa), depending on how you see Monaco (French speaking? Neutral tax haven?).

      3. Agree. Add Argentina in there and you are at 5!

    6. Unrelated to the round up, but read Kubica wants to try a new challenge next year. Does his arm/wrist/hand have a enough dexterity to give WEC/LMP1 a shot?

      1. There’s more space in a prototype cockpit (just); I think he could

        1. FlyingLobster27
          22nd October 2015, 9:14

          Even more room in a GT. I think he’d do well in a Pro-Am setting to start with, P2, GTE-Am or GT3, maybe even P3 if it can shed some spotlight on the new entry-level class (Chris Hoy has been doing well in that this year). I can’t see him getting a GTE-Pro or P1 seat straight away though (Endurance-Info recently pointed out that there are less season-long works P1 seats than in F1 – I blame Nissan), but hey, you never know. There’s also touring cars, the WTCC could be a good circuit haven for him.

          1. FlyingLobster27
            22nd October 2015, 10:24

            To clarify, I meant that there are less works P1 seats than total seats in F1.
            Nextgen says that Kubica is still “close to Mercedes”, so they speculate that it might be the DTM. For what it’s worth (not a lot IMO)…

            1. 3 seats per car, 6 cars; that’s 18 seats, only two shy of F1. And for Le Mans, the teams often run a third car.

          2. Worse if Porsche and Audi have to pull out.

    7. COTD, if you haven’t already read the entire comment (and discussion) you should do so . Thanks Seppo.

      1. Thank you, and thanks, Keith! :D

        1. @helava

          Well deserved…

    8. The quote on Palmer’s cost per FP1 shows how high the barrier to entry is getting in F1 – and you can double that for Chilton’s per race amount, which could pay for whole a season in GP3. I reckon Stevens is nearer to Palmer’s amount for Manor nowadays, and Rossi was on this same amount (not sure if per race or overall) – so it shows Palmer didn’t want to face off Stevens all year, instead getting any time in a competitive car, even if it was an install lap, or gone through lack of tyres – what a farcical situation to face when you’re paying a house’s worth for each drive (well, at least up north, I don’t know about down south..) in layman’s terms.. big and small cogs and all that..

      1. These are the kind of details that F1 needs to address. Either keep way under wraps or eliminate those kind of sums. They will never attract the kinds of huge audiences other sports do for the sheer elitist money-centric insanity that it all costs. The majority of the fan-base grew along with the sport when it was still ‘affordable’ and the barrier to entry low and talent based. As it stands now, the only new fans are to be had in the exact places F1 is actually travelling to. Adding six races in the US and more publicized facts of the real costs of F1 would be the death knell of the sport.

        1. It’s never been affordable or accessible for regular people, the drivers in the 60’s were rich kids that were blowing the family money away on racing.
          Drivers paying obscene amounts for the opportunity to drive a session is nothing new, it’s always been that way. Unless you have rich parents, or a well funded sponsor, you have zero chance of getting anywhere in motorsport, let alone F1.

          1. A line from my fav movie: “No bucks, no buck rogers!” It’s always been that way and always will be.

          2. Gilles Villeneuve, Keke Rosberg, Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher, Derek Warwick, Martin Brundle, Alex Zanardi,

    9. but we have 4 races in america already.. we only need 2 more… USA.. CANADA..BRAZIL.. and now MEXICO… only 2 Missing.. :)

      1. Costa Rican GP and Hawaiian GP, obviously.

      2. Panama and Cuba! Oh wait…

      3. I’m more in favor to hold one on the North Pole, they should be ashamed to call themselves a world championship without it…

        1. And we are missing one continent entirely! Antarctic GP FTW!

          1. Actually, it has been pointed out above, we are missing 2 continents: Africa and Antarctica.

    10. As an american who has been watching F1 for many years, the advent of DVR’s has certainly helped my level of enthusiasm. I just hit the record button and like magic all of the races are in my time zone – waking up, having coffee and watching the latest F1 race (recorded at some un-godly hour the night before) is a nice sunday morning ritual. Now I just need McLaren Honda to improve a bit….

    11. 6 races in the US, go on then I’ll dream and select my favourite circuits from there:
      -Long Beach
      -Watkins Glen
      -Laguna Seca
      -New Jersey (it would have been incredible)
      -Road America
      -Road Atlanta
      And yes I do know I’ve missed Austin off the list!

      1. Laguna Seca. The corkscrew would look ace with a queue of F1 cars following each other through there.

        If only that track was to F1 standard. It was one of my GT5 favourites on the PS3.

    12. ““It should be easier to follow. We must make better use of technology to communicate with the people on site. And it’s difficult to tell the drivers apart on the circuit – which one is Lewis out there, and which one is Nico Rosberg?””

      I know it’s a throwaway quote in the article, but come on, this again? Hamilton is the one with the white helmet and number 44 on the car. Rosberg is the one with the black helmet and number 6 on his car (and all over his helmet). How thick do the powers that be think people are, it doesn’t take much to work out who is who. I was 8 when I started watching the sport and within about 2 races I could work out who was who. It isn’t that difficult, I’m sure it is the same for anyone else coming into the sport.

    13. can’t help but think Nasr has misunderstood these tyres. hard tyres will not be quicker, they just last longer. all else being equal the current hard tyres are slower than the current medium, soft, and super softs. this is i think the main problem with the pirellis – the only way they can make a tyre quick is by making it absurdly fragile. the way they degrade is completely different to any F1 tyre from the last 20+ years. this is why people have little confidence in them being able to make the 3 second gains they promise.

      1. Don’t shoot the messenger. They are contractually obliged to provide degrading tyres but with 4 compounds across 20 different tracks it is impossible to make them work at every track, no tyre company could do this. If the FIA let them just build a tyre they wanted to build they could do as good a job as Michellin or anyone else, their road tyres are very good and arguably better than Michellins. Of the 3 supercars from McLaren, Porsche and Ferrari 2 of the 3 chose Pirelli over Michelin, the Trofeo R is one of the best road legal track tyres you can get.

    14. Extra races may help the profile – the time and distance separations in the America being so great BUT the underlying racing infrastructures are very different to Europe / Australia / South America. In these territories racers aspire to F1 – I doubt that is true to the same degree in US with so many other successful formulae. Similarly there is a long established manufacturer (Renault, BMW, Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes, etc) and supply base which feeds F1, and of course the constructors are very Euro based.
      Then there is years of history – I can remember racing Vanwall and Connaught dinky cars at school – so have 60 years of Grand Prix (F1) knowledge / enthusiasm.
      To an American seeing their first race none of this background exists so the perspective will be different and continued enthusiasm will stand or fall based on the spectacle on the day and value for money. 5 or 6 good races can only help to build a F1 culture – but they need to be good.
      Having said all that the locally based Haas Team can only help to change the perception.

      1. Let’s be honest, if you were coming into F1 now and watching for your first time, you’d walk away and watch something else wouldn’t you? The history and memories of what F1 can be are what keep us coming back.

    15. Good point about the tyres from Nasr. I think many a fan shares his hope!

    16. Instead of Texas if they had done a street race in New York, it’d already be a hit by now or at least most people would be aware of the race since its being held inside the city. New York is cosmopolitan, so you’ll get a variety of crowd.
      The Americas already has 4 races in the calendar.

    17. So, let me get this straight. The present business model has not proven to be economically viable in the USA for one race, e.g., Indianapolis, et al. But the USA can support six races? This promotor needs to take microeconomics 101.

      1. Well no, if you use that kind of pure economic or microeconomic logic then there shouldn’t even be one race, right? I mean…assuming you are correct with your claim about it not being ecomically viable. I think his point is that one race is barely a blip on their radar, but 6, not that I think that would ever happen, would get people’s attention, create a significant following, and change the economics.

    18. Good COTD @helava

      It’s a good question really – what does modern day F1 stand for… I’d say:

      Watch as some of the world’s richest automotive companies, richest people and richest brands battle it out in board rooms to secure championships in the pursuit of making themselves richer.

      1. That can be applied to any sport or industry.

      2. For me, the most damning thing about trying to describe F1 in one sentence is that most of us won’t agree on what it means. What it *should* mean is that it’s the apex of motor racing. However you describe it. And I don’t think anyone who follows the sport is naive enough to even *try* to describe it that way these days. Which is, I think, F1’s *biggest* problem. For F1 to succeed, you should be able to go to anyone familiar with F1 and get functionally the same description. F1: The world’s best drivers in the world’s best cars at the world’s most exciting racetracks. Period.

        Maybe it’s never actually been that way, but it used to be you could make a convincing argument it was. I want it to be that way again.

    19. I really do struggle to understand the motivation of these pay drivers. Maldonado to some degree I understand. He’s a race winner and if he got his act together I can see he probably has the talent to race up the pointy end. His attitude and consistency keeps him off the radar of the big teams, but if he uses his time that is being bought in the car wisely maybe he can sort it out.

      But Stevens being asked for £10 million to crawl around in a mobile chicane? Palmer paying £250k just to do practice sessions in a midfield car?

      There is a glut of talent struggling to find it’s way into the field on merit. Surely these drivers are realistic enough to know if they are paying for the seat, they don’t really have what it takes to challenge for any meaningful results?

      I mean how much satisfaction can Palmer really be getting from that single session? £250k worth? That’s enough to get you an hour a day, every day for 11 years at my local go kart track.

      1. If the 2014 champion of a series designed specifically to prepare talented young drivers for F1 doesn’t warrant a seat on merit in your eyes, who does?

        1. A series he competed in from 2011. So In my eyes a driver that wins it first or second time out tends to be the golden standard for shining in F1. Vandoorne won the same amount of races that season as him, in his rookie season of GP2 then dominated this year. That is someone destined for a top seat in F1 on Merit, of which there are very few.

          Palmer is an exceptional racer no doubt, but I don’t foresee an F1 world champion in him.

      2. What you do not get is that drivers have to have self belief or else they are better not racing. You may think this guys can’t achieve anything but they do not. They believe they have the capabilities to do it if they get a good chance.
        Btw Manor isn’t asking 10million for a donkey. Next year they will have a better car and a better engine.
        This year they are hugely behind because their aerodynamics are 2014 and their engine is a bad 2014 engine since the Ferrari engine wasn’t good in 2014.
        So yeah they may still be last, who knows, but they won’t be 5 seconds behind.

        Also Palmer isn’t paying 250k for the enjoyment of the session. That money are an investment. His paying that money(well his sponsors are) with the hope that he will make good impression to the team and familiarity and manage to convince them to give him a seat(which he managed and that shows the investment succeeded).

    20. Always interesting hearing from Walter Wolf. Times were simpler back then, although without the luxury of hindsight they were on the leading edge of technologies back then too, as far as they knew at the time.

      F1 has progressed to these highly complicated power units and are highly expensive, which I think then invites politics into what is already a highly political entity. I know there were politics in Wolf’s tenure too, but now it is such big business that it is quite different.

      So it is interesting that now there is the suggestion (from BE I believe) to go back to V8’s for no doubt the noise and the cheapness and availability of good units that would be less polarizing. And they would be a return to the slap-an-engine-in days rather than the current integrate-the-PU-with-the-chassis era we have now.

      I don’t know if they should take a step backwards and what that would look like to the world, but it does seem a shame that they didn’t do this new chapter better, plan it better, and that too many things seemed to have caught them off guard once they were fully engrossed in it. Lack of noise (never been an issue for me though), the expense, the lack of competitive packages, the necessary limiting of development without which would potentially even further isolate one maker from the rest and escalate costs for the smaller teams.

      For all that BE seems to still be applauded as ‘being F1’, he has blown it on this current mandate. Proof of that is the changes coming for 2017, so at least there’s that. But for me I remain steadfast that if there is even the suggestion of a return to V8’s by the likes of BE, then let’s also continue to consider the removal of the integrity killing DRS, as well as the extreme conservation. Simplify. Make the drivers the heroes again rather than them being overshadowed by conservation, division, and politics.

      1. @robbie, I find Wolf’s claim that Newey worked under him to be a little strange though. I thought that Newey’s first job was at Fittipaldi Automotive, which was the team that bought out Wolf when he lost interest in F1 and sold off his team – so Newey never worked directly under Wolf.

        As for the cost of the V8’s, that is, in many ways, a false economy – the V8 engines were not significantly cheaper, and it is worth noting that the main reason for that is because the manufacturers were forced to artificially cap the price of the engines at below cost (Renault revealed that they were writing off €60 million a year – or around half the annual turnover of their engine division – because they had to cap the price of the V8 engines).

        Realistically, the teams which are in financial trouble now were already in financial trouble when the V8 engines were in place – Manor only survived this long because Fomenko, their owner, was prepared to write off around $200 million in debt, Sauber was already in trouble back in 2013 when they were defaulting on Hulkenberg’s salary (I think he still hasn’t been paid in full) and nearly had their engine supply cut off by Ferrari for non payments of debts back in 2012, Lotus has been continuously running in the red since 2010 and the recently defunct Caterham was set up in an extremely wasteful way (Fernandes has been criticised for setting up Caterham with far bigger ambitions than its budget could cope with).
        I don’t see why changing back to the V8 engines now would help them out in any way when we know from the figures that Sauber released that aerodynamic and chassis development make up a far larger proportion of their budget.

        1. Quite correct, although to be fair to Manor the reason they were making 200million loss was because Bernie has no reward system for under 10th. They were racing for 4 years for very little income.

    21. Ralph (@gogglespaesano)
      22nd October 2015, 20:19

      I’m an American and I doubt that simply having six races in the country would make F1 much more popular here. Outside of NASCAR motorsport is just not that popular in this country anymore, and even there viewership is way down from what it was 20 years ago. IndyCar is barely a blip on the sports radar here and if I mentioned IMSA to any of my friends they would think I was drunk and slurring my words.

      If F1 wants to generate buzz in the U.S. it needs a Formula E-style street race. The spectacle of F1 cars racing past iconic landmarks and vistas would definitely pique interest here, and F1’s stateside profile could be raised dramatically with just one, maybe two such races.

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