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We warned you it would be long…very long. After last week’s short cast we figured we owe you a little extra this week. The sad reality is we could have gone on for another hour or three as there was much we didn’t touch upon but we’ll leave that for another day.

Join Paul, Mark and me as we share our frustrations with the series as well as some ideas about resolving those frustrations. We offer our thoughts on Broadcasting, Technical regulations, sporting regulations and the fans. Let us know your thoughts as well in the comment section below.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • pear-shaped pete

    Thanks !

    pear-shaped pete

  • TurboPhoenix

    Great RantCast guys, you handled it well and it barely felt like two and a half hours. Most of it was not so much ranting as it was intelligent discussion, but IntelligentDiscussionCast doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    • The drivers seat

      Yes not so sexy, thanks!

  • Tim C

    Great podcast! Like it was said above . . . intelligent discussion (but with a little passion too).

  • eram

    Yeah just wanted to say great podcast this week. Really well done.

  • Thanks folks, we wanted to respect the sport as it deserves our respect but share some of our frustration points as well as offer a few of our thoughts on solutions or at least possible ideas for solutions. We hope we achieved that with balance and weren’t too ham-fisted in our approach.

  • charlie w

    Unlike you guys, I think I’m ready to walk away from the sport after the 2014 season-unless something changes.

    • I will say you are not alone from feedback I’ve had. Let’s hope they take a long look and cure some of these for 2015.

  • Nicolas Hu

    I like the NBC coverage, but I do agree that it’s rather bland, very kid-glove like. Also, although the NBCSports Live Extra is great, it’s not available to all cable providers.

    What F1 should do is to follow the MotoGP delivery model. It provides all sessions (FP, Quali, Race) live and it’s available as VOD as long as you hold a subscription. All current-season videos are HD at 720p, and many past seasons were in HD as well. For the 204 season, you can also view different angles on the same screen (onboard, tail view, heli view, live timing for ALL sessions), and you can turn off the commentators if you wish. Moreover, you get full sessions of past seasons, interviews, testing highlights, and more. All for about $200 per season.

    If F1 were to ask F1 fans if they’re willing to pay $200 for comprehensive practice, qualifying, and race coverage, including VOD of past races, I’d bet that most of the fans would say “heck yeah!”. Why F1 hasn’t done anything like this really boggles the mind.

  • Nicolas Hu

    One last thing, great podcast as always!

  • rapierman

    1. So, new intro song for the podcast, eh? ;-)

    2. Other issues for broadcasting F1 in the US are that (a) they have to get people to buy into this, and everyone who does feels that they have to hawk something to get their money’s worth and they feel that they have the right to do that, yet they don’t realize that as they gain money doing so, Formula 1 and it’s fans also lose something when that happens. Formula 1 is supposed to be commercial-free (BBC & Sky), yet the only thing that’s commercial-free in the States is PBS, and there’s no chance that sports will play a role in PBS; and (b) you have to get everyone one of every stripe in the whole North American continent to buy in. We are all the Lowest Common Denominator, and if you leave anyone out, you doom yourself to mediocrity. As the envelope usually says, “Do not fold, spindle or mutilate”. You must avoid elitism where possible so that everyone feels like it’s a part of their soul, like they all have their say, or some sense of “ownership” in the process. (Yes, I’m trying my best to avoid bringing in the fire-and-brimstone preacher, but it’s hard sometimes.)

    3. Charsley: Maybe you’re thinking of Bruno Senna? I’ve seen him sub for Ant a few times and he does a pretty decent job of it.

    4. I think the other questions are (a) what is the “story”, and (b) what is the process of “telling” the story?

    5. I’ve always said that DRS isn’t completely in control. You still have to make the right judgments involved in when to pass and how to pass. DRS can’t make that decision for the driver.

    6. I don’t like the fact that they’re limited to a certain number of tires to a point where it now becomes questionable as to whether or not you can make it last long enough, resulting in not being able to race flat-out. That is what racing is all about, isn’t it?

    7. Any change is expensive. It’s one of the reasons that change should never happen unless it’s absolutely necessary.

    8. I saw no point in restricting fuel flow. That’s another extremist demand, and I seriously HATE extremism.

    9. I also saw no point in limiting parts. The FIA’s asking way too much out of those power parts, and it’s already starting to show.

    10. Mark: Who gets to determine what matters and what doesn’t in regards to regs and technical things? What might matter to you may be something different to someone else.

    11. Todd: What would be a minimalist technical department for Formula 1?

    12. Paul: (A) Would you be adverse to reducing power temporarily if you go offline? (B) If you’ll recall, Kimi did suffer a negative consequence when he went off-road and then forgot to slow down to come back on the road. That was his mental mistake and the hop and accident was the negative consequence.

    13. Personally, I’d rather have cameras at strategic locations, a computer to bring things to light and a support steward staff.

    14. I hate subjectivity. it perverts and defeats the purpose of enforcing any sort of rule, regulation, law, etc.

    15. Mark, I’d rather have you as a steward than me due to your in-depth knowledge of the rules and your keen eye.

    16. I’m waiting for Maldo to get banned at some point. Whatever happened to “penalize according the potential danger created”? Why not make the punishment fit the crime?

    17. Paul: Agree, each team needs its own crew. NASCAR drivers still have individual pit crews all concerned about the car they’re driving even though you may have as many as four cars within a racing team.

    18. I’m not inclined to have a robot driving the car. That’s obviously not the point.

    19. Formula 1 is a team sport as much as baseball is a team sport: It may be a team, but only one individual can win or lose it for the team.

    20. Strategy group was a decent idea, but I think it could have worked better. It needed to be all inclusive because, in the end, everyone is affected.

    21. Honestly, who was in the room, and did they really think things through when they were doing these new regs?

    22. Paul: What is a “natural path”?

    23. Yet the alternative is to keep the lapped guys in front and risk running into them and thus lose the race despite the fact that you were up front. So, what’s the real answer?

    24. Mark: We call them “edumacated idiots”. ;-)

    25. Paul: I’ve always said the financial model that Formula 1 uses simply does not work any more. All the millionaires and billionaires are already gone, and all that’s left are us poor schmoes who drive the economy, and nobody up there in millionaire-land realizes it because they’re blinded by their money (Bernie included). They only rich folks who actually get it are the ones that have the deep discount retails stores (such as Sam Walton’s kids) who are making money hand over fist because they realize that if your products are affordable, the folks will beat a path to your door, thus allowing you to make the money you need to keep things going and give you a decent income in the process. This is the goal that Formula 1 should attain.

    26. Bernie has outlived his usefulness. Then again, there’s CVC on the other side, and they’re no better.

    27. Mark, a suggestion: Make the so-called smart whizzes in the Strategy Group spend a day and/or night in my apartment or doing my job. Then maybe they’ll understand what makes me tick as far as the sport is concerned.

    28. I like this sport like I like NASCAR, IndyCar, baseball, football, basketball, hockey….all sports in general: It’s mostly the action, the drama, the strategy, and, on occasion, the sort-of morality and ethical play.

    29. Sometimes, we need to rant. We need our catharsis.

  • Very interesting podcast; well done to you all for taking the time to construct well-thought opinions on personally-important topics, then discussing it here. Collating 1st impressions and countless outside opinions, then arriving at an individual summation you’re willing to share can be uncomfortably-exposing to some; thanks for sharing.

    Something I feel needs addressing is the long-time/anorak vs. new/naive fan classifications; it irks me that we associate tenure with right/knowledge. I consider myself a long-time fan, but that no way means I’m more knowledgable or more interested in detail than a newcomer. We all have our leanings, be it how drivers/teams cope with new technical challenges in the competition (me), or if one driver is better than the other etc.; experience doesn’t automatically lead to understanding, nor does it prioritize viewpoint hierarchy.

    Phew, sorry, I just see so many commentary sites (not F1B for the most part) bash minority or debase new fan opinion, and that’s wrong. Formula 1 is different for us all, which is highlighted in your rant cast with wildly diverging viewpoints despite all being long-term fans. It’s okay if individually we don’t understand the tech regs or prefer driver v. driver, do/don’t care about personal interest stories, think Lauda is a genius/fool, as long as we assert it as opinion and not an absolute others should follow. You deserve credit standing behind your assertions without the “everyone else thinks so too” or “I’m right, you’re wrong, I know better” bullish*t.

    A very fun and enlightening listen.

  • *TV coverage and audience understanding

    -What’s great about Sky or BBC is that the information is embedded in the coverage; one can take or leave specific aspects while enjoying the total show. NBC gives the fan no option; only the visceral aspect is presented, a la Indycar or NASCAR. I personally don’t care how fans camped at Silverstone, nor do I understand Ecclestone’s bribery case, but with the former I merely concentrated on the parade of historic cars and the stories behind them, and the latter I take the time to try learning.

    -To me, maintaining a healthy TV audience necessitates the Sky/BBC detail level; one latches onto the sport for whatever reason, and investigates those interests further via expanded content. Perhaps a mention of something piques a new curiosity. In an undeveloped market like the US, dumbing down content ensures a shrinking fan base as the old timers croak.

    Todd, you mention several times the complexity of the PU’s and tracking difficulty of penalties and PU elements as being intimidating, perhaps fan turn-offs. It might be helpful viewing certain knowledge as optional to the show; not all NFL fans understand the Challenge rules, how teams can earn or lose challenges based on success rate, but one doesn’t need to as its explained each time concisely.

    Perhaps this is where NBC coverage fails (don’t know, haven’t watched it this year). With Sky, it’s only mentioned when a driver nears a limit or accrues another penalty, and is summarized briefly. An example was (paraphrased):

    “Maldonado was given a X place grid penalty and X points on his license. A driver receives license points for safety infractions defined by the FIA, and has 12 points throughout the season before receiving a race ban. This is to prevent injuries and promote safe driving.”

    In less time than it took to read that sentence, Sky explained the points system in a way I think any could digest.

    -I agree with Mark that F1’s done a poor job representing 2014 tech regs. The public seems to misunderstand what the PU’s are, and view the efficiency message negatively.

    One doesn’t need have an engineering degree to understand the PU’s, but F1 failed explaining the concept at season-start, leaving many confused and dismissive. The governing bodies and coverage should have explained the PU’s as turbocharged engines which, via hybrid technology, harness otherwise-wasted kinetic exhaust gas and braking energy to provide more power. That power, like fuel capacity, is limited, this time by battery capacity and by the manufacturers’ abilities to develop efficient hybrid systems.

    That’s sufficient for those disinterested, leaving those inquisitive with “what is MGU-H?” or “how does braking recharge a battery?” free to investigate further.

    The efficiency message left a bad taste in those mouths who view F1 as sprint racing. Ignoring the equipment/fuel conservation that’s always taken place in F1, the sport would’ve serviced itself trumping the new fat power bands and increased power density goals. Anecdote: A friend car-shopping recently asked me if Mercedes had a hybrid setup for its upcoming C-AMG; this friend has no interest in motor racing, yet had seen ESPN coverage of Merc’s domination, and seen the word “hybrid” on the engine cover. With the recent downsizing engine trend and image making cars incorporating hybrid assist, even the general populace is buzzing about a message F1 itself ignored. A shame.

    -Great observation about camera angles, Paul. To drum up interest in the 2012 Austin race, I showed the girlfriend di Grassi’s helmet cam videos at Spa. She was shocked how visceral/physical the ride looked, and how little di Grassi can see that low; that was when she finally relented to attending, and since then occasionally watches the races with me. Why FOM doesn’t include more of the innate entertainment and vitality of *heroes* wrestling with the fastest circuit track cars in the world via stationary and helmet cams and close-mic’d exhausts is baffling.

    *Ecclestone/CVC, FIA, and the teams.

    I wish there’d been more time to discuss the power imbalance. I’ve no problem each faction serving its own interests, but the lack of checks/balances leads to the unfocused mess F1 currently finds itself in. Eliminating DRS/Double points, fair revenue distribution, content availability, purer racing and so on won’t happen unless the sport health-ambivalent CVC/Ecclestone is broken up or lobbied by the other two. Come on John Malone, who’s ideas bear investigation.

    *Opinions of those within the F1 community

    When sitting at lunch with the mentioned mechanics or PR reps etc., how healthy do they feel about F1’s health? I have no desire to involve myself to that level, as it’s a passive diversion I consume, but conversely am interested in what those people have to say. Do they feel Ecclestone’s lost his mojo? Is the current formula “fun”? How should team order be implemented?

  • ok, point form here, because i never read long replies. first, thank you for the great podcast-i really enjoyed it, and it gave me a lot to think about. thanks for discussing canadian f1 coverage, mark!

    1. another aspect about our experience watching f1 is that i think many of us try to imagine ourselves driving the f1 cars,so we are living vicariously through the onboard camera shots. maybe f1 should ask schubert to design a helmet with an integrated camera that has the camera wire as part of the wiring loom.

    2. i like DRS for two reasons: it gives my gf something visual to cue her into where she might see a pass, and it may,in some circumstances, be a motivation to a driver of a car that isn’t quite as fast as the car in front. if he can just get into the DRS zone, he might have a shot at passing, so she shouldn’t settle for 5th place (or whatever). i’d rather get rid of the “push a button or maximum power” feature.

    3. yes, there should be less driver coaching from the pit wall. of course, that’s impossible to govern unless there’s zero pit radio, which i also don’t want.

    4. the tires are ok this year, but a more consistent (large) gap in terms of degradation between the compound would keep strategy interesting.

    5. even if outright engine volume stayed the same, if they could rev to 20 000 rpm, our perception of speed would be heightened. let the engines rev to 20 000 and give each car an extra power unit for the season. i ride a v-twin sportbike. at mosport, even when i am spanking a an inline 4, i sound slower because my bike gives up about 3 – 4000 rpm. my bike is loud as hell, but does not sound as fast as any inline four simply due to revs. this is also why corvettes sound so boring on a track.

    THE LACK OF FURY IN THE SOUND IS THE WORST PART OF F1 FOR ME.

    6. loosen parc ferme regs for a while until the teams have the tech changes completely figured out.

    7. mark makes a great point about how f1 makes it ‘cool’ to be interested in science and technology. this is part of the sport’s superiority over NASCAR, etc, so it should be trumpeted more by the f1 community.

    keep up the great work!

  • i like the new intro/outro music. obviously i need to stop letting caterham design the space bar for my laptop.

    that is all.

    • Thanks, wasn’t sure if filks would like the intro and outro.

  • I have a solution… all Bernie needs to do is talk with the NFL camera team – they made spectators at home share the real experience, first with fil, then with video… without NFL camera coverage, in-your-face, the NFL would never have grown beyond a sunday tailgate party for fans… people at home would never invest $$ to watch.

  • Great podcast… absolutely right on all front, perfectly summed up by Todd with “Let them eat cake.”
    Guillotine anyone?

  • Oily Bo Hunk

    So were you guys able to hear me scream “THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG,” when it got to the part of the discussion about all the old content that is vaulted?

    During these long season breaks, it would be nice to wake up on a Friday morning have some coffee and watch an old Spa Friday practice. Saturday wake up and watch that same race weekend’s gualifying, etc…

    If you’ve seen the movie Gravity, there is a scene with Sandra Bullock throwing a tantrum inside the Soyuz (or maybe the Chinese Shenzhou), I threw the same tantrum when you guys were talking about the old F1 content.

  • After being a fan since 1961 I’m outta here after this year. I believe they’re not going to change anything meaningful as there are too many beaks in this trough. I know they had to give Mercedes something for all the money they spent but this is really just too much. Formerly 1 in my opinion. Got my Autocourse and old season reviews on tape so I’m good.

    • Let’s hope they sort it out. Ultimately fans vote with remotes so we’ll see if F1 is listening. :) “61? You got me by several years. :)

      • I hope you’re right. Like the podcast better than the races these days. Maybe next year I’ll just listen to you guys. Yeah 61, American wins the title as his royal team dies in the teams home gp. Italian opera at it’s best. The sharknose Ferrari with those fabulous wire wheels didn’t hurt either. Even in the grainy black and white pictures of Road &Track I was a smitten eleven year old.

  • Paul

    Have been listening every week since 2009/2010ish and this is one of the best ‘casts without doubt. Thanks so much.

    One point on DRS. Like others, I’m completely against it on principle. However, there are certain tracks on which I find it more offensive than others. Spa, Monza, Melbourne, Montreal, Silverstone, etc… are all fine without DRS, thanks. Monaco, Abu Dhabi I’m less precious about…

  • I’ll parrot others here: GR8 podcast. You guys surfaced and drilled down most of the major issues facing F1. Sadly, I am left dispirited. A wall of exclusion has been erected by FOM, FIA and the teams. The powers that be are caught in this bubble of their own making and listening only to their own echo chamber. I know that we ultimately vote with our remotes (as they say), but what are the options for making ourselves heard when it really counts – like ‘now’! By the time F1 gets the message from the ‘remote’ poll, I fear it will be too late. Mark was right – any sound business would immediately begin researching why, what and how.

  • GREAT, GREAT podcast guys. Loved it!

    • Thanks John. Thanks for listening and taking time to comment.

  • bfreelove

    Awesome podcast. In regards to compelling onboard video, this is one of the best recaps I’ve seen on a modern GP. Raw, long uncut onboard with just team radio. I would pay to get an edit like this after every race.
    http://www.canalplus.fr/c-sport/c-formule-1/pid5576-videos.html?vid=1110635

    • Wow, this is pretty spectacular. Thanks for sharing…. do you know if Canal+ does something like this after every race?

  • Louis, Amsterdam

    Great podcast and I do enjoy this season very much as well. My biggest frustration is the thing about the track limits. I am watching this sport every race from 1978 and I just do not understand how these asfalt run offs can be policed. Please bring back my trusted grass and stones on the exit of corners. DRS and battery charges I can handle!

  • Great episode with some really solid thinking. The bit about access to content particularly struck a chord with me as I try to find a way to watch next weekend’s race while on the road. NOBODY WANTS TO TAKE MY MONEY! :)

    Reminds me of this oatmeal comic: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

  • Every time US television coverage of F1 gets discussed, I feel compelled to chime in on the glory that is Steve Matchett. To my knowledge, he is the only ex-mechanic presenting F1 in the world. And I think it is a serious dereliction of duty to have him relegated to lowest common denominator commentary. Let him talk to the grown ups using the big words. I have 30 years invested in this sport, I don’t need my hand held. Granted, not everyone is a wizened gasbag like me…… but the sport isn’t really gaining that much traction in the U.S. (despite what NBC would have you believe), so that means there isn’t a desperate need to overly simplify things.

    If Matchett and Brundle were ever allowed to comment on a race together, my head would explode. But it would be a good explosion, like when you eat pop rocks.

    Thinking back to the days of Bernievision…… there is no reason why it couldn’t work today. Bernie ultimately killed it because he expected the teams to invest to defray some of the start up costs (Which is sort of insulting — you paid to be the exclusive license holder of the TV rights, if you want to exploit those rights yourself, that’s your expense. But I digress), and he priced it so high that they never really attracted a significant audience. If it were priced on par with Sunday Ticket (NFL) or Center Ice/GameCenter (NHL) I would buy a season package every year, almost without even thinking about it. I mean, it would have to offer pretty much what Bernievision offered in terms of an array of channels. But I’d be all over something like that.

    • Having the distinct honor to call Steve a friend, I couldn’t agree more. He is a superlative man in a world of mediocrity. A true gem.

  • I think the racing has been better this year than the past few years although the sound is worse the tires are good and they have relaxed on the ridiculous penalties . I’m sure the cars will get louder as they gain more power over the next few years.I don’t want double points or other gimmicks
    The TV coverage is much better than it used to be but F1 is failing on the Internet . I’m glad we don’t get F1onNbc here in Canada Leigh diffy is hard on the ears and it’s bad enough he’s on Indycar.

  • I want to chime in on the TV coverage thing. It sounds like the coverage here in Australia is similar to Canada. nearly.

    We only get 1 option and that option is:
    – Qualifying shown live and commentated by the Sky team (thank goodness).
    – Race shown live with a 30 minute pre-race show where the commentators talk blunder about discussing what happened in the three practice sessions and quali. A bit of footage is shown, maybe a minute or two of each session.

    The commentators are ok. There’s the regular guy ‘Rusty’, and 1980 world champion Alan Jones. I’m not a fan of either, as Jones is out of date and Rusty.

    Mark Webber has signed to commentate some V8supercar races next season. I’d rather see him at Network 10 doing F1.

    All said, the coverage is better than it was a decade ago, when we got delayed races, sometimes by many hours. At least, probably thanks to Webber and Ricciardo, coverage is at a time where Aussies can (just) watch it live. I’d love for more indepth coverage, even if it means paying for it via subscription tv (not an option here yet).

  • What’s up mates, I’m Anderson from brasil, this is the best F1 Podcast. I rarely comment on blogs and podcasts, but this time I feel like I’m have to do it.
    About ideas to make f1 more interesting
    1 Its a great idea to make a 2 screen more interesting, like, just showing the lap time, and maybe the radio between teams and pilots, maybe will be great some comments about the penalties decisions
    2 extra cameras, to what it on cell, if I want to watch the entire race in Raikkonen car, I could do it on internet, They make-it in Brasil during the world cup, You could watch the game over one camera that you choose in internet.
    3 I think to make a f1 more interesting, would bring the V10 back, and to make it less expensive they could make the races 20 laps less, they would use less gas and tyres. Maybe would make the drivers trying to gain positions more often, cuz they will not have many laps to do it,.
    4 I think that DRS aren’t just a bad thing, its just stupid the DRS zone, if they can use it when they want-it would be more interesting
    5 I’m pro assistances, like ABS, Driver assist, and all this stuff, if formula 1 its to make it to road cars, why don’t use it all on f1, so they can do it faster, and faster.

    and About Broadcasting, here in Brasil we don’t like our host, he says a lot of bullshit, he thinks he is the only guy who knows everything, he always thinks Massa is Right, even if he’s not, he talks when they are translating the radios, sometimes he just not talk about it, or if is something that he thinks it’s against Massa, he do not translate it, presuming that no one would knows it.
    But one think we can’t complain about it, with him “Galvão Bueno”, that knows a lot of f1 people, we have Rubens Barrichello and Luciano Burti to comment the race, that’s is great cuz they don’t treat the public like stupid, and always talk about technical stuff, we don’t have commercials between the race, but they starts to show it 5 minutes before it starts, and when the race finishes it they just show the podium, but sometimes, they stays talking when the anthem are playing, or shows other stuff. And if we have Massa speaking or Nasr, they cut whatever is on, to show it.

    Sorry about my bad english. keep on making that great Podcast, and So long.
    ps. you can invite me any time to make comments about to not make it alone like you did it on #379 show.