joeblogsf1 | The real stories from inside the F1 paddock
In a perfect world…
September 15, 2014 by Joe Saward
I am anything but a good businessman but, in my favour, I love Formula 1 motor racing and I am passionate about it and so when I see rampant profiteering going on at the expense of the sport, I get annoyed. I want the best possible Formula 1 and so I naturally object to what the financiers have done to the sport. Suffice to say that if I was a multi-squillionaire I would buy the sport and fix it the way I think it should be. A lot would stay the same but distribution of money would be very different and no teams would get an advantage.
From a philosophical point of view, I don’t understand the super-rich. If you are comfortable for the rest of your days why is there any need to screw every penny from every deal. Yes, there is ego and the pleasure of doing the deal but I don’t get the need to keep score. Once you have enough money it ceases to have any value beyond being something than can be used for good. If you are earning money just to be richer than someone else you are no better really than a mouse on a wheel. F1 is just a game and irrelevant in the history of the world, but it nonetheless gives pleasure to millions and inspires people. It is their escape from the drudgery of everyday life. It puts a smile on their faces, and that is its sole real value. But making people happy is a sensible and tangible goal to have.
Anyway, this is why I do not understand the new calendar for 2015. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to work out that if one twins “fly-away” (intercontinental) in the same region, one reduces transportation costs. Thus a calendar with no fewer than six stand-alone fly-away races cannot possibly be justified as the most cost-effective route to take. There is absolutely no logic in having Australia as a stand-alone event and then a two week break before a Malaysian-Bahraini double-header and then China as a stand-alone event. You would save 30 percent of the cost by moving Malaysia to a week after Australia and then having China and Bahrain separated by a week. In a similar fashion it is daft not to twin Russia and Abu Dhabi, Canada and Austin and Mexico and Brazil. Thus the only possible explanation for such an inefficient calendar is that there is an agenda to try to force teams to accept more races by making the existing events needlessly expensive.
I started wondering if I was running the sport, what would be calendar be, so as to make F1 the best possible marketing tool? The first thing I would do would be to rid the sport of the current circuit designer and put the work in the hands of those who have a better understanding of the science of overtaking. It is a scientific problem that can be solved and built into a circuit. It does not have to be guesswork.
If I had 20 races to hand out I would do them more logically. I believe that there should be a sensible division into three basic zones, allowing TV packages to be created that would get everyone watching enough races to make the TV coverage effective for fans and advertisers. The first race of the season is a big event and it makes no real sense to stick it in Australia, where the TV audience is limited by the time zones, even with an evening race. It makes much more sense to start in the United States where one can build excitement in the US market and still hit prime time European markets if one starts the race at noon. So I would start in Austin in early March and then go on to Long Beach or Laguna Seca. If you start a race at midday on the West Coast of the United States, it is prime time TV in Europe. So it would be good to begin the Championship with an early afternoon race in Austin and then a lunchtime race in Long Beach or Laguna Seca. From there the cars would go to Australia and the people would go back to Europe and then Australia would be at the end of March twinned with Singapore on the first weekend of April before flying to cars on to Bahrain (April 19) and Sochi (April 26). That would get us back to Europe in time for Monaco (May 17), which I would twin with Belgium (May 24). It rains all the time at Spa so May and September are not very different.
After that I would send the teams out to Canada for a Montreal/New York double-header (June 14/21) and then back to Europe for France (why not try for the Bois de Boulogne in Paris) and Britain (back-to-back) – on July 5/12 -and Germany (if F1 cannot fill the Nurburgring then why not learn from Formula E and use Berlin Tempelhof) and Italy – July 26-August 2. No championship would be right without Monza. That would get us to the summer break. I would then go out to Asia for Japan and China back-to-back (Aug 30-Sep 6), with Abu Dhabi (September 27) and perhaps a street race on the east coast of Africa (October 4) if somewhere stable can be found. And then I would end the seasons with a double-header in Brazil (October 18) and a race in the West Indies (October 25).