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Help Save F1 Bernie

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I know a lot of you have been critical of Bernie & his initial views of the new V6 turbo formula but he is absolutely right in his opinion that f1 cars need to be loud & this years rules are a mistake. I sat outside gate 1 in Melbourne today where I could barely hear the cars (normally we can hear them from Melbourne's CBD some 5km away) & watched a stream of people leaving the circuit with more than an hour of FP2 to run. It's a disaster and I predict it will continue to be this way for the rest of the year as the rest of the world gets to sample what they sound like. The very essence of F1 even for non followers that go to the race once a year has always been about that awesome sound - nothing else on earth sounds like what they used to last year and now it's been taken from us. I'm calling on Bernie to take action and repair what has been a fantastic sport that he has built over the last 30+ years. He has made F1 the glam that is is or used to be despite some of you thinking he's too old. Next year will have empty grand stands as the boss of Force India said on TV today

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But it's not up to Bernie, it's up to the FIA...Bernie himself has said a few times over the winter that he's completely against these new 'power units'. It's Jean Todt who you/we have to petition to!

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Next year will have empty grand stands as the boss of Force India said on TV today

Of course.

They've been empty at all motor races around the world for years now.

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100,000 people turning up for race day in Melbourne was quite a lot. The Barca GP packs them in, so does the Italian one. The lame ones like Malaysia, China, Turkey, Korea, India, well you know the answer to that. Montreal is always packed. Silverstone get's huge crowds.

It's interesting that the places that get the biggest crowds, are quite often legacy or historical venues in countries with a strong motorsport history and heritage. Funny that.

I can't see Sochi being anything other than a joke. The sooner we are rid of the Bahrains, the Korea's and other tracks the better. I suspect Bernie knows this, but has been going after the big dollars where he can find it. That won't last. We'll eventually be rid of the fly by night GPs I think.

I hope Bernie doesn't leave too soon. I think F1 needs him at the moment.

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100,000 people turning up for race day in Melbourne was quite a lot. The Barca GP packs them in, so does the Italian one. The lame ones like Malaysia, China, Turkey, Korea, India, well you know the answer to that. Montreal is always packed. Silverstone get's huge crowds.

It's interesting that the places that get the biggest crowds, are quite often legacy or historical venues in countries with a strong motorsport history and heritage. Funny that.

I can't see Sochi being anything other than a joke. The sooner we are rid of the Bahrains, the Korea's and other tracks the better. I suspect Bernie knows this, but has been going after the big dollars where he can find it. That won't last. We'll eventually be rid of the fly by night GPs I think.

I hope Bernie doesn't leave too soon. I think F1 needs him at the moment.

Attendance has to be compared relative to past editions of the same race, not to all other venues. I don't have the numbers, so I don't know, but I would guess it is going down everywhere. Even "packed" races like the USGP lost attendance last year.

And it's not an F1 thing. IndyCar's crowds get smaller. NASCAR's crowds get smaller. You can talk about racing heritage, but what race has more than the Indianapolis 500? That place is getting emptier every year, and the NASCAR attendance at Indy is really, really going down.

It's a worldwide racing thing: it is expensive to attend and the TV coverage just gets better and better. They innovate new cameras, for example, like the one on Bottas' car. In the U.S., NASCAR, IndyCar, and F1 have side-by-side commercial breaks now so you don't miss as much action. They don't innovate much for the fan experience in F1 or NASCAR; it's stayed the same. IndyCar's trying some things. We'll see how it goes.

So, one might say the engine noise is part of the experience. Maybe it is, but guess what? Even with loud engines, people were staying away from races, all races, everywhere. That means some other variable is, or other variables are, more important than the engines, and that variable was, or those variables were, keeping people away.

In other words, there's a much bigger issue here than people being resistant to change for the sake of resisting change.

And if you ask me, personally, I'm more apt to attend a Grand Prix now because the sound is less harsh. I realize I may be the only one in the world. But I like to imagine some parent is going to bring a child now that it's kinder, or some fan can bring a non-fan friend now that they can talk a little more, or whatever. That's only imagination, though, because no matter what the noise level is, people aren't attending auto races like they used to. Anywhere.

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And if you ask me, personally, I'm more apt to attend a Grand Prix now because the sound is less harsh. I realize I may be the only one in the world. But I like to imagine some parent is going to bring a child now that it's kinder, or some fan can bring a non-fan friend now that they can talk a little more, or whatever.

Interesting viewpoint here. I need to ponder it more before elaborating, but I agree with you, 100%.

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Biggest problem with going to races is the cost. Cheapest ticket for Silverstone (my home GP) is £190, a ticket for Becketts would cost £325.

So if I go with my Mrs, that between £400 and £650 + petrol to get there + food + spending money + hotel if we decide to stay over. Don't get much change out of £1,000.

Second problem is that in recent years, unless you are a Vettel fan - F1 has been predictable.

Third problem - F1 glitterati have built walls between themselves and the fans - one difference with Indycar/CART was that you can/could get access to the pitlane/drivers more readily.

The alternative is I watch it in the comfort of my own home at a cost of £0, don't have to queue up to get in/go for the loo, won't get rained on and if it gets boring I switch over and watch something else.

Sure, I miss some of the "atmosphere" and you may say that I am not a true F1 fan, etc as I should put myself out, however I think as a package it doesn't sell itself.

If it was £100 I'd probably go, but to spend £1,000 on a weekend? I'd rather spend it to get a week on holiday somewhere.

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If it was £100 I'd probably go, but to spend £1,000 on a weekend? I'd rather spend it to get a week on holiday somewhere.

This is exactly why I haven't been to Silverstone since 2009 - the prices just go up and up, and I can't justify it any more. Shame cos there's nothing like seeing it happen live in front of you, especially at silverstone which is probably second only to monza in terms of atmosphere.

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I completely concur with Grabthaw, I would also add that the biggest problem in F1 in the last few years is Bernie, he has managed to price the average F1 fan out of F1, even being on a decent wage I cannot afford to go to Silverstone or any other race for that point,

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Same here mate, the Australian race is way over priced.

Edited by WebRic

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Mind you, if you put that point to Bernie he could just reply with "well silverstone still sells out every year"

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It very well may, but does he realise how hard it makes it for families who have to cut short there weekly expenditure just to save money to go to these races, it's always easy when your rich.

Oh Bernie:oie_2463918Ocr2ZA6A.gif

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Indeed. The last time that I did go, I only managed it because of my annual bonus. Cost me £350 (636 AUD) for a grandstand seat for the weekend, and that was 5 years ago.

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I agree; the price of the tickets, which is a result of the high sanctioning fees, has to do with low attendance. People will start to blame the engines, or whatever fits their vision of what they personally as one individual want F1 to be, for it next year, but it's something that's been present through it all with the one constant that sanctioning fees, and thus ticket prices, are going up.

And I offer these two things for the consideration of this fictitious Mr. Ecclestone who reads GPToday's Forum:

1) In the U.S., I cannot tell you how many times I hear from people who brought a non-racing fan to the track. The non-racing fan "got it," and started watching on the TV. This happens so much, anecdotally, at least. Very rarely, however, do I hear of, "oh, my friend came over to watch the race on TV; she's hooked." Now, that's just what I hear, so it means little. And that's just in the U.S., which is only a $3,000,000/year English-language TV contract (the Spanish coverage in the U.S. gets more viewers most of the time; if you read that, do ignore the data on cities. Without boring you, UMA is over-the-air. That is, where there is an affiliate, everyone has it. So, 100% of TV households in those cities have UMA. NBCSN is cable; that is, you must pay for a package that includes it. Not everyone in those cities has UMA. Certainly, those are also cities with more Spanish speakers, but it's not a fair comparison).

But my point is this (beyond how superior UMA is because it has no ad breaks): attending a race can be the best advertisement for watching one on TV. In the U.S., where racing used to be a little cheaper to attend, and there's plenty of grassroots stuff, it seems everyone's "how I became a race fan" story begins with "well, dad took me to the local track one night."

I understand emphasizing TV, but you might get more out of that TV if you can get people to races who wouldn't normally go. And at these prices, you sure have to be totally devoted to F1 to consider it, and you aren't bringing your friend who might end up hating it.

2) The move to pay TV in many nations hurts attendance even more. Not because people stop watching; F1's TV numbers are made up (I check the Nielsen numbers in the U.S. every week, and the figures that F1 reported for the U.S. in 2013 were infinitely overstated), so we can't tell, but I suspect a lot of you who didn't make "the switch" are doing things that aren't so legal.

Anyway, now you have fans who have to pay to watch on TV. They had to buy a new cable package or a new subscription service or whatever to watch F1. That's the money they would have used to attend a race. But what do you choose? You can get 19 races on TV, produced very well, I might add, or go to one, sit in traffic to get in, get a sunburn, inhale someone else's body odor, watch most of the race on a screen as it is, leave early when your crying kid doesn't want to wear those pinchy noise-blocking headphones anymore, etc.

So, that's a new strain, and you can't have it both ways in the long-run. You can't tell fans "we're going to increase revenue from TV and from sanctioning fees," because while revenue is wonderful for sustaining F1, limiting the access to F1 gives us less reasons to care that F1 is sustained at all. You get your TV revenue; lower the sanctioning fees so people can attend races. You get your sanctioning fees; cut sweetheart deals to the networks that will cover your sport well and cover it for many people.

Doing both will catch up to them.

Maybe.

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I will be interested to see how many folk go to Silverstone this year, money is tight for many Brits and the tickets are extortionate , I certainly won't be going, the sky package has wiped me out for this year

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by 2016, Formula E will be much more popular than F1 and it's pathetic rules.

Formula E looks to trump F1 sound

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Formula E looks to trump F1 sound

The man behind the new Formula E racing series has insisted fans will love the electric cars' "futuristic" sound after the introduction of quieter engines sparked a row in Formula One.

CEO Alejandro Agag refused to compare the battery-powered engines' sound to F1, but he said they reminded him of the Podracers seen in Star Wars film, "The Phantom Menace".

As Formula E prepares to debut this year, F1's new hybrid engines have been criticised by fans, organisers and top boss Bernie Ecclestone as being simply too quiet for motor-racing.

But Agag told AFP that people would be pleasantly surprised by the sound of the Formula E cars -- and that video will be released online next week to prove it.

"We think the sound of Formula E is going to be a big surprise for everyone. The sounds that comes out is completely futuristic, new, different," he said in a telephone interview.

"Next week we will put video online of the car with the sound and I think this will be quite a shock, the sound that these Formula E cars are making... it's actually quite loud."

He added: "It sounds more like a jet, a fighter jet. Or like the Podracer in Star Wars. So that's the kind of feel we want to give to the fans, much more futuristic. It doesn't sound at all like a combustion engine."

Motorsports enthusiasts are traditionally fans of roaring engines and the row over the new "vacuum cleaner" power units in Formula One has gone right to the top level.

Organisers of last week's season-opening Australian Grand Prix said the engines may be a breach of contract, while Ecclestone pledged to try to make them sound "more like racing cars".

Such perceptions loom as a potential problem for Formula E, a showcase for the potential of electric cars which has high-level backing and now needs to build its fanbase.

Last October, four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel was critical of Formula E, saying "it's not the future" partly because of its expected lack of noise.

"I think people come here to feel Formula One and there is not much to feel when a car goes by and you don't even hear anything but the wind," Vettel said at the Indian Grand Prix.

But Agag said Formula E could be a "game-changer" for motorsports and the car industry when it flags off in Beijing in September, the first of 10 stops around the world.

"The event we think is going to be an eye-opener," he said.

"We want it to be a game-changer for the electric car sector because really the wider public don't have the opportunity to see these cars in action."

He admitted the launch was a "bit early" in some respects with electric car technology still in its infancy.

Cars will race at speeds of about 230 kilometres (142 miles) per hour, slower than F1, and drivers will initially have to switch vehicles twice per race because of the difficulty of changing batteries.

"Remember mobile phones when they were like, one kilo? We are there," Agag said. "We took the decision to jump, basically. We feel like pioneers in a sense," he added.

"We took the decision to go before technology was ready now. Of course, we could have waited 10 years for the perfect solution but then probably somebody else would have already done it."

The long-term, $100 million initiative is backed by motorsports' governing body FIA, and Formula One's Williams, McLaren and Renault collaborated on the inaugural Formula E car.

This year, drivers including Bruno Senna and Jaime Alguersuari will be competing in identical vehicles with the field thrown open to manufacturers in following seasons.

Racing will get underway around Beijing's "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium and then move on to other high-profile sites including London, Los Angeles, Miami, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro and Monaco.

Underlining rising concerns about pollution worldwide, this week Paris ordered half of all cars off the roads after the French capital was shrouded in a murky haze.

And it is no coincidence that the clean-energy racing series will start in notoriously smoggy China, which also this week declared "war" on the filthy air choking its cities.

"It's a game of changing perceptions (about electric engines)," Agag said. "The broader goal is to finish with combustion (engines) everywhere.

"That's a goal that will take maybe a few years or many years, but we have to start somewhere."

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Looking forward to seeing that video. I liked the sound the pod racers!

As a motorsport fan I'll tune in to watch Formula E but I'm still wondering what the whole point is.

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I have to admit that this series is cutting edge for the electric powered car of the future & I think it's great for those fans that are in to this sort of thing. That's why I think there should be a clear difference between what F1 has always been & still has some distance in it for a few years yet & that of the Formula E series. F1 this year has lost its soul prematurely and trying to be something that will please the mass producing car manufacturers and the whole green thing that the world expects but in the meantime robbing F1 fans of its roots & essence that it's been known for for decades........glamour, brutal sounding horsepower, fame & everything in excess like a wow factor glamorous show that it's always been....

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by 2016, Formula E will be much more popular than F1 and it's pathetic rules.

A thread about engine noise turns into Formula E worship at 80 dB. I love it. :P

I like Formula E a lot, but let's play it cool.

1) The Formula E car has a top speed of 120 mph. I like that, but many won't.

2) The Formula E car has a controversial sound. I like it, but many won't.

3) Formula E itself has some rules like fan votes determining push-to-pass. I like them, but many won't.

4) Formula E says they'll allow open chassis and engine development with a budget cap in coming years. I believe them, but many don't.

So, as exciting as Formula E is for me, I'll:

1) Be watching it and F1 together, because the whole Formula E calendar is designed so that it never races when F1 is racing, and so that much of it is in F1's off-season.

2) Not expect things to happen that might not.

By the way, it's an FIA series. They won't let it get bigger than F1. If the technology proves popular and practical, F1 will go electric soon enough. I'm convinced Formula E exists as a no-risk test of ideas they want in F1 some day. Including the fan votes. ;)

Looking forward to seeing that video. I liked the sound the pod racers!

As a motorsport fan I'll tune in to watch Formula E but I'm still wondering what the whole point is.

The point is to see if the many constituents in motor racing will get behind racing with alternative power sources. Far less scary than doing this in F1 or whatever without trying it out here first.

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The point is to see if the many constituents in motor racing will get behind racing with alternative power sources. Far less scary than doing this in F1 or whatever without trying it out here first.

Good point!

My big lump of a Nissan Primera can probably top 120mph, I want to watch professionals mastering super-fast dangerous machines and know I'd probably be too scared to drive one to its limit.

I don't like the push to pass idea but then I'm still against DRS and always have been.

But I do very much like that it's on when we have no F1 to watch! And it's on a freeview TV channel in the UK

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3) Formula E itself has some rules like fan votes determining push-to-pass. I like them, but many won't.

Sure F1 already has that effectively with the DRS ;)

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