Hungary brings good memories not only to McLaren but also to a few drivers, as it’s a story of firsts: The first victory for Jenson back in 2006 while he was driving for BAR Honda, and also for Heikki Kovalainen who won with McLaren in 2008 - his first and only victory in Formula One.
Sky F1 - Kevin Magnussen shows around the McLaren Motorhome
Where have the F1 fans gone?
If you watched the race on Sunday you might have noticed that the grandstands were not packed. Actually, there were big empty spots everywhere - a big change from the sellouts of Silverstone and Austria.
What I find really funny is the analysis the F1 media has done of that. Instead of researching into it they’re basically blaming the poor attendance in two things: the lack of engine sound and Vettel. If those were the real issues we would have never had a sellout in previous GPs, huh?
These last few years the reason they used to give when saying the fans weren’t as interested as before was that Vettel was winning too much. This time, they claim the fans don’t attend races because he’s not winning at all.
Because fuck logic.
Sebastian is struggling yes, but there’s another German leading the WDC, who’s driving a German car that belongs to a German team.
They say Vettel criticised the sport so much that some fans have chosen not to attend the GP. Was it him the only one to bash the sport? No. Actually, back in January there were hundreds of articles, features, videos, interviews and so on with journalists bashing the sport in such a way not even Senna would have turned up to an F1 circuit.
They ripped off every single aspect of Formula One: the sound of the
power unit, the new rules, the sporting regulations, the design of the
cars, the liveries. Everything. All we were left to hear before the start of the season was how bad the cars looked like and how awful the sound was.
And then of course there’s Bernie.
If you have the media and the Big Boss bashing F1, how on earth do you expect the public to get interested in the sport?
Not to forget Montezemolo, who runs Ferrari and a few days ago said it’s his ”duty” to fix Formula One. Of course he didn’t mention his team has a right of veto to any rules implemented in F1, a right they chose not to execute last year because they were fine with the new rules back then (mind you, they thought they would stop Red Bull and help them win again). The rules are only right when they suit them?
And he also forgot to mention that his team is the only one to get $120m prior to the start of every season - I guess he didn’t talk about that because he must be ashamed that not even having such privileges they’re able to win a thing since 2008.
But back to F1. The problem I think is these analysis are made by
people who work in the sport. How would they know how tough it is for
us, as fans, to get involved?.
A one day grandstand ticket for Hockenheim was approximately €500. For Spa, a one day ticket for Eau Rouge is €390. For just ONE day. To
compare, a Champions League Final is about £60, MotoGP in UK £70, and Wimbledon Men’s Final £130 (we’re talking face value here).
If FOM charges huge fees to the tracks to host a race, they need a way
to recoup all that money. And year by year it gets worse as all Bernie
has to do is threaten those tracks (like he did a few weeks ago with
Monza), so the circuit owners panic and pay even more.
Add to that the fact that free-to-air TV is slowly disappearing, hence
forcing the fans to head to pay TV. In the UK, a subscription to Sky is
£522 per year.
Oh and what about social sites. The sport interaction with fans is almost non-existent. The F1 account on Twitter is laughable, their site is even more pathetic, they ban every single video they find in Youtube… Are we crazy?!
Bernie says he doesn’t see how he could monetise these new technologies. Are you serious? If you improve your website - just like MotoGP has done - you get more visits. More visits = more money.
You could start a Youtube account and upload the best overtakes,
highlights, quotes from the winners, the podium ceremony of every GP -
and include ads to those videos. More people would see the sponsors’ logos - you can make them pay for that, you know.
You could interact with the fans just like the teams and drivers do.
Actually, let me tell you something. Right before the start of the season, Kevin started following fans and interacting with them. Before the start of the first race he already had plenty of people supporting him just because of that. Imagine what would happen if all drivers did the same?
The F1 page could share exclusive info about what’s going on in an F1 weekend: they could ask fans to send questions, they could hold competitions, raffles… the list is endless! This way you get to find a new, younger generation that will definitely buy your stuff if you look at them in the eye instead of turning your back and expect them to pay hundreds of euros for your elitist sport.
Because that’s what F1 is becoming. They claim that it needs to stay as an elitist sport to claim the attention of people. Well you know what, that’s not quite right. Instead of having meetings with journalists and team principals and VIPs what you should do is contact the fans, ask us what do we want to see, what makes us wake up late at night to watch Free Practice on Fridays.
It’s not that hard to find us, we’re here. The problem, dear Bernie, is YOU are not.
Shots from Germany by Darren Heath
Shots from Hockenheim