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How to make enemies in the pitlane

NEWS STORY
09/06/2005

Shortly after setting up his Formula 1 Magazine, Bernie Ecclestone came to realize that its editorial direction was rubbing up many F1 insiders the wrong way.

"In the old days I used to walk into the paddock and people were saying 'hi Bernie' and ''how are you Bernie', it was all smiles and very friendly," he told Pitpass.

"Then it got to the point where I was scared to walk in there, everyone glared at me, and people like Ron and Frank come up and ask why the magazine was saying such things. Everybody was moaning at me"

Eventually there was a parting of the ways between Ecclestone, and the magazine's publisher, Tom Rubython, before the F1 supremo decided to close down the operation, without warning, in early 2004.

Rubython went on to form his own Business F1 magazine, which focuses, as the name would suggest, almost entirely on the business side of F1.

Priced at £25.00 ($48.00) an issue, it is not pitched at the F1 fan, but rather the F1 insider, and in particular marketing companies and sponsors.

Unfortunately, much like the days of Bernie's F1 Magazine, Mr Rubython and his team consistently manage to get well and truly up the noses of many F1 people, which has led to a number of law suits.

In the most recent issue, comments are made about a potential sponsor being lost by Renault following remarks made by Flavio Briatore. A source at Renault has told Pitpass that on contacting Business F1 to see if the story could be substantiated the alleged response was that this was irrelevant.

It's understood that Business F1 is currently embroiled in a number of lawsuits, including two involving Max Mosley and another involving Alan Donnelly.

Furthermore, the editor of a respected Formula One website, Grandprix.com, is accused of allowing himself and his site to be used as a "propaganda machine" for the FIA, even though the site is known to be fiercely critical of the sport's governing body.

There is much that is good about Business F1, however there is also much that is bad, and there have been many occasions on which the magazine has - in our humble opinion - crossed the line, its vitriolic tone leaving a most unpleasant taste in the mouth.

At a time when some insiders are predicting how much longer Business F1 can withstand the pressure, perhaps it would be wise to tone down the vitriol and the smears and concentrate on the business of accurate F1 (business) reportage.

Note: This article was not paid for by representatives of the FIA, FOM or indeed any team or sponsor. That said, we are always more than happy to receive brown envelopes filled with readies.

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