28 Apr 2015
Formula 1 edging closer to the cliff edge
There will be no German F1 Grand Prix this year. So in the most automotive minded nation on the planet not enough spectators are interested in F1 and/or are prepared to pay the exorbitant ticket prices necessary for the race organisers to run the race and pay the F1 owners their licence fee.
If that is not bad enough the rumour is that there will be no Italian F1 GP next year for the same reason.There is already no French F1 GP. Formula 1 without an Italian Grand Prix at Monza is like the Vatican without the Pope. Unthinkable.
How much longer can this go on?
Formula 1 is very close to falling off the edge of the cliff. It may well go over soon.
A valid question is whether big time, big budget motor sport is finished as a mass spectator sport. It's not just F1 which is suffering. NASCAR spectator numbers are also way down in the US.Yet the Goodwood Revival, the Le Mans Classic and Le Mans 24 Hours are drawing big crowds. The answer surely is that the spectators want a real show.They want to see the cars,they want to be entertained and above all else they want value for money. All three events are absorbing-there is lots to see and do. Watching them on TV is either not possible or not as absorbing. You can buy a quite passable mobile phone - even an iPhone- for the price of admission and a grandstand seat for an F1 race.Less than two hours of processional racing and it's over and you cannot get within a bull's roar of the cars or the drivers.
Photo above taken by me at Brands Hatch in 1968. The race was over and they were clearing up. You got really close the action in those days- that's the track on the other side of the paling fence- and you did not pay a fortune to see it. It will never be like that again but that is not an excuse to screw the punters.