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Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico. Sunday 29 October 2017. Sean Bratches, Managing Director of Commercial Operations, Formula One Group, and Chase Carey, Chairman, Formula One, on the grid. World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Images ref: Digital Image _J6I9948

As many of you already know, we’ve been asked by Formula One Management to find another home. As I have stated before, in 2014 we relinquished our claim on the www.formula1blog.com domain due to trademark issues which we certainly understood at the time.

Part of that deal was that we could use the domain going forward and all content belonged to us. The intent here was that we were promoting the sport for free and I think at the time, Mr. Eccelstone felt that was a good thing.

Last week, we were asked by the new owners, Liberty Media, to cease using the domain altogether. The initial legal email was then followed up by another email from their communications director asking for a phone call to discuss the situation. Many of you have asked about that phone call and what the resolution was.

Pleasantries aside

First off, the communications director was a very nice man named Norman and he did a nice job of explaining their overall situation as the domain owner and the multiple implications of their ownership with regards to our content. The be perfectly fair, I understand their point quite well and I understand their reasoning for wanting to change our relationship. Sure, in a perfect world, I’d rather not but this isn’t just about me, it also has to make sense for Formula 1 and in their new model, it doesn’t.

Now, before you scratch your head and ask how free promotion doesn’t fit anyone’s model, let me explain a bit more. When you own a brand, you want complete control of that brand, how its promoted and how it is seen. Heck, our current struggles alone show you what happens when you don’t own your complete brand, right?

Imagine if I went crazy, which isn’t a big stretch by the way, and I started posting all kinds of vile stuff on the site. Any sponsor who would do a domain search would discover that it belongs to Formula 1 and that could cause issues for them. They are only protecting what they own and want to limit risk and liability. I understand that, I really do. Now, I will always be independent but I would never post vile stuff about F1 and you know that but they don’t, they don’t know me at all and have no reason to trust I wouldn’t.

I think Mr. E was willing to do the deal because he had a different model and approach to digital media and you could argue that perhaps it may not have been as robust or completely vetted as Liberty Media would do.

Onward, Upward and Inward

I have no interest at all in being at odds with Formula 1, I love the sport and I think that should be very obvious. In fact, I would like to work closer with them and bring you more inside content and a better line of sight to their inner workings and initiatives. Norman said they would be happy to discuss that as well.

I found nothing untoward from Norman or his reasoning and I agree that the current situation isn’t the best fit for their current model as explained to me in a very collegial manner. I was going to use the Sean Bratches gambit and explain to Norman that we are “underserved” but on second thought, I didn’t. I reckoned Norman has heard that enough already.

This means that we move on, change our name, brand, features, site and all the details that go with it. As we mentioned, we’re going to focus more inward toward our community than outward toward potential partners. We are going to change but the last thing we want to change is what made us appealing to begin with.

With all that said, expect big changes in the coming weeks and months. I would also be remiss in not thanking the massive support we’ve received online and personally. You are truly amazing people and we couldn’t be more honored to call all of your our friends and the reason we do what we do.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • peter riva

    A message for all FIB users: PONY UP NOW. This is going to be expensive.
    Look above for the donate button. If each of us gives $50 it will make things easier on Todd & Co. My money goes in today.

    • You’re too kind, Peter. Thanks for the support.

    • Tony Drake

      done – monthly small amount (a coffee in Australia). Wish it could be more, but $50 a year.

  • Emil Forsmark

    Your podcast is one of the highlights of the week and makes me look forward for my commute to work for the first half of the week :) Keep fighting!

  • Joe Jopling

    I thoroughly enjoy your podcast…and feel as if I know you all personally through it
    …..Liberty Media I thought would have been more accommodating to your arrangement (if it was good enough for Mr E)…Is there a online petition that could be organised, to maybe let them see how popular you really are???

  • Ando

    This is so sad that the FOM don’t see the good you are doing for then for free. As a little Aussie fan, it is very hard to get good F1 new and coverage with out paying all the money to cable companies and this podcast and website has blossomed my love and knowledge of F1. Not only that it has helped me get other friends and family into F1.

    Just know Todd that all your hard work will be worth it as your thousands of fans will still support you and continue to love your work

    Ando

    • Salvu Borg

      Yes, but not if all the good work will be turned in to support their “LM’S” Nascar/Indycar series.

  • jakobusvdl

    That must have been a bit deflating Todd, sounds like it was all very cordial, but nothing but a loose promise from Liberty.
    I’d imagine if they’d put much thought and planning into how they want to engage with fans through podcasts and websites, Norman could have been more forthcoming on working with independent podcasters.
    I’m thinking you should have taken the Ferrari option and told L.M that you’d be taking your podcast, and the FBC fan base out of F1 and to our own independent race series – I think they’d realise you’re not kidding. Indy here we come! !!

    • Salvu Borg

      These people cannot even be trusted with their own statistics that they push-out let alone with running a formula one series as the pinnacle of open wheel car racing, neither with what they say, when the big boss comes out saying that what one of his two sidekicks says is only his ideas.
      Up to what have been pushed out so far and its effects so far, it looks like the big boss’s poacher-gamekeeper side kick’s legs have been already cut-off at the knees. Starting with grid girls, ending with his latest great aero discoveries and with his plug-and-play engine formula in between, all he did was a mess so far. So either nothing changes/very little changes or LM’S huge money invested will result in them running an American style Nasscar/Indycar series with the cars being only distinguished by their paint color.

      • jakobusvdl

        Hi Salvu, has Carey been saying Brawn’s comments on the Future of F1, p.u’s etc are only his ideas? I hadn’t picked up on that.
        If so that is a bit concerning.

        • Salvu Borg

          Yes, that is what Marchionne was reported as saying Carey had told him. and nobody as yet has negated what Marchionne said.

        • Salvu Borg

          Marchionne: “But then when I call the boss of Moses “Carey” he tells me that was Brawn’s personal opinion”.
          (Full article) Marchionne: “Brawn behaves like Moses reading the ten commandments”.

          • jakobusvdl

            Marchionne’s comments make interesting reading. He’s certainly not making life easy for Liberty Media.
            If these are just the early skirmishes in the ‘negotiations’ around the future of F1, its all going to get very messy over the next few years.
            Wait ’til Mateschitz, Zetsche and Ojjeh start jumping in on L.M.
            How long until talk of a break away series starts?

          • Salvu Borg

            JAKO, Cheers and all the best for the festive season. Yes interesting reading indeed. If as I believe you are interested in “interesting reading” instead of me hammering my opinion on here, or having to quote here and there, I invite you to go read “The ugly truth about Liberty Media and F1” This (take my word for it) is by one of the best experienced posters when it come to F1 matters (dropped in on here a couple of weeks ago) a poster that I have long experience of.

          • jakobusvdl

            Thanks Salvu, and a Merry Christmas to you too.
            That is certainly an interesting read. As the article comments, for many of us outside the USA, the NFL model means nothing, so it is an interesting and worrying read. If that franchise model is really how L.M see the future of F1, there will be no place for engineering competition in it.
            No wonder Marchionne is opposing the L.M ideas so strongly.

  • Michael

    I’m sort of new to this site. Came here desperately seeking a place with fair discussion and good writing. I was really surprised, not knowing the back door deal with Mr. E, that this site name could exist independent of F1 (It couldn’t!). I remember that old site F1live.com got bought out year and years ago.

    Liberty not wanting to continue the deal, is IMO nothing but a good thing. The writing here has pretty much been fair AND critical. Now that I know the real deal, I’m sure the new owners don’t want any content out that their that doesn’t follow their talking points and support their new initiatives.

    Looking forward to the new site and continued writing that is honest. Decided on a name yet? grandprixreview gets my vote.

    • Hi Michael, that’s exactly it. They have to protect brand an program content. We get it. Onward and upward. Still working on name…and lots more. :)

  • subcritical71

    Well, at least now you have a direction and will no longer have the trademark over your head. I like you see their concern and quite frankly I would have the same concern if it was my brand. Hell, I don’t even like the car dealership put their badging on ‘my’ car.

    Is there any time frame for the switchover? I hope they gave you some time to continue using the current domain so that you can make a clean transfer…

  • theotherdc

    So you’ll have a second wind. Recovering motivation after a blow to your passion — to which you’ve donated so many hours of your own time — is not easy, especially when you’re up against F1. Believe me, I’ve been there! As a result of giving up my business and domain which contained “F1” a few years ago, it forced me to evaluate, pivot, redefine the product and go to market with a new service and brand. Yes, it was a lot of work. There were lost emails and broken links. There were many late nights on the phone with my hosting provider and weekends spent dissecting my WordPress setup.
    But, the initial feeling of dread and defeat and loss was forgotten, replaced by the excitement of refining and improving my new brand. I was now providing a better service. I met new business contacts. I made real money. Was it meant to last? Maybe not, but I accept that, too, because it has given me space for the next big project. Whatever that may be.
    Best of luck to you and the team — ride this wave.

    • Thanks so much. We’ve bumped into them before but this time was the definitive jumping off point and that’s ok, we will carry on and with one singular goal, be better for our supporters and community.

  • Shocks&Awe

    Todd, please convey our deepest appreciation and admiration to Mrs. Camber and the little Camberettes for their support of you and the whole FBC team.

    We know you couldn’t do this with her mere tolerance, and that her full support is a big reason why the rest of us get to enjoy such a wonderful experience for the pure joy of Motorsport.

    I think I speak for most, when I say, Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mrs. Camber!

    • That incredibly kind of you. I know she will appreciate it very much.

    • I just did and she said to me…

      “It gives me joy to see you doing something that you love and the fact that it brings joy, mirth and/or happiness to listeners is just icing on the cake. Knowing that they appreciate you even a 10th as much as I do brings joy to my heart”.

      No, really…she just said that. Did I luck out or what?

      • subcritical71

        All I can say is, wow! You are one lucky dude!

  • jakobusvdl

    I love the photo that goes with the article.
    Was that the moment when Bratches is saying “Yes Sir, Mr Earp, as soon as the season’s over we’re taking the axe to FBC”?

    • Salvu Borg

      In that photo the one on the left looks dressed like a music box operator..

  • Jonny P

    I’ve never posted before but am a regular listener to the podcast (and yes I am a patreon donor too!). Just wanted to say that you do an amazing job and I genuinely look forward to the podcast which adds joy to my week. I do think it is for the best that you have complete ownership and control over your work and perhaps you can leverage this situation into some exclusive content and access given the importance of what you do for the sport? It must be a complete pain to have to transfer it all but once it’s done it’s done and I’m sure you will quickly build your following again. Thank you for all your time and effort and I for one am thrilled you have decided to keep going. Huge regards to Grace too who is fab!

    • Thanks so much for listening and for the kind words and support.

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  • matt thorne

    wish it could’ve worked out differently. While I understand their point, there has to be a level of trust that you would be looking out for the best interest of the sport. If they’re not willing to show they have that trust, you can’t work with them, nor should you give up your editorial independence.

    Looking forward to seeing what comes next…from this site, and from F1. Let’s just say from their side, I’m not super encouraged at this point. I hope they prove me wrong.

  • David in seattle

    who knew that Mr E was a marketing genius. Free promotion!!
    I now understand why none of the teams took the option of buying shares.
    Farewell Ferrari!

  • Sam H Vance

    Originally from Indianapolis… I enjoy the conversation you create about racing… I’ve been looking for a new spark of conversation as NASCAR and Indy Car have left me “Spec’d” out and searching for new racing. Australian V8 Supercar Series has been fun, but the pinnacle of racing is F1 and you guys (and gal) break it down into ways that leave me the lame, searching for more information to quench my thirst and choosing teams and appreciating the work put in by manufacture teams and leaves me impressed with how Force India and Haas teams compete in the mid pack … All this to say …the “lets have a beer and watch the race” approach allows me to slow my busy life down and enjoy a race from start to finish.
    Your work is very much appreciated … The next sound you hear will be the coins falling into your Patreon account to help you facilitate the move and acknowledge all your hard work!
    Cheers Mates … and thanks for a great product….

    • Sam H Vance

      Never Mind my run on sentences…blame it on Red Bull…

  • Tiago Ribeiro

    It is precisely
    for this kind of attitude, so refined in the hierarchy of
    values, that this European (me, portuguese), who follows F1 for more than 30 years,
    is tuned to another continent!
    This is where F1 has
    never been overtaked!… not for small pride, for prejudices, for frustratiosn, for the need of recognition …
    Faced
    with this problem with F1 rights, after shaking the first impact, you’ve quickly tuned
    in to what is the most important … to continue being a true site of
    authentic F1 fans.
    Nomenclature aside … thank you very much for all the time we’ve sit in the same couch talking about the sport you’ve choose to like. Muito obrigado.