Formula 1

Declining reputation of Formula One in danger of reaching critical mass

Richard Williams:

Ecclestone is no ignorant newcomer to the sport but he has always treated traditional fans with contempt. Now so many of them are fed up with the squalid political shenanigans and bare-faced cynicism, with the endless rows and constant changes to the contrived and artificial regulations, and with the spectacle of obscene and meaningless waste, that the sport’s declining reputation is in danger of reaching critical mass.

For many, the switch to Sky could be the last straw. As Ecclestone parades with President Aliyev on the grid in Baku in June, his CVC bosses will count the money and feel that his methods are justified.

Others – and now they even include the heroes of the spectacle – fear that his full-throttle pursuit of profit risks leaving the sport in the same state as Fernando Alonso’s crashed McLaren in Melbourne a fortnight ago: an unrecognisable pile of junk, fit only for the breaker’s yard.

Bernie, it’s time to go.

Fuel-Careful F1 Less of a Guilty Pleasure

John Leicester provides a considered view on the new energy-conscious regulations governing Formula 1:

F1 wouldn’t be F1 without excess. Fans worldwide wouldn’t tune in for world champion Sebastian Vettel driving a Prius. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone got fabulously rich with the sales pitch of bigger, faster, costlier, noisier equals vroooom…

But as road cars become more fuel efficient, with electric and hybrid-engine technology making increasing inroads, F1 needed to reconnect with its time or risk becoming an anachronism, racing on regardless the costs to the environment.

I’m loving the new-look Formula 1. Last season had become too predictable, not helped by the leading team favouring one driver. This year we have midfield teams challenging for podiums, and Mercedes allowing its two drivers to battle for the top step. As for the loudness, the squeal of locking wheels and the roar of expectant crowds more than makes up for the lack of growling V8s, however much the new engines sound like a dentist’s drill.

Hacked Off

Sniff Petrol:

Murdoch’s money brings F1 to Sky. “Are Red Bull running team orders? Let’s hack into their radio messages to find out…”

The Sky’s the Limit

Some disappointing news today for fans of Formula 1. The BBC will only be showing half of next year’s races live, as a new deal means it will be sharing broadcasting rights with BSkyB.