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F1 "not saleable" and a "s*** product', says Silverstone MD

NEWS STORY
08/10/2015

A couple of months back, never a fan of the new formula, Bernie Ecclestone was alleged to have blamed team bosses for the sport's current woes.

"I was talking to some engineers the other day and I told them that I was always pretty good at selling used cars, and I still am, but I told them they have given me a crap product to sell," he was quoted as saying.

The F1 supremo strenuously denied uttering such words, but was no doubt delighted to see them in the public domain. In terms of F1, nothing negative gets into the public domain unless Bernie OK's it.

In recent weeks tales of woe have emerged from Silverstone, where, despite a 3m profit in 2014, and a long-term contract to host an event which was previously permanently under threat, the powers that be say they cannot afford to continue hosting the British Grand Prix.

Whilst Ecclestone turned his eyes on the British government for support, Silverstone MD Patrick Allen, who is already of the opinion that circuit owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, should sell the track, warned that next year's race might not happen.

Having admitted that the previous management had made drastic mistakes, and lamented the agreement to a contract which sees the hosting fee rise by 5% each year, Allen has now turned his attention to the sport itself.

"Fans don't want to see a procession," he told The Independent. "As a promoter I can only promote what you give me and if that isn't up to standard, people aren't going to buy.

"Months and months back I said it to Mr E himself that I can't sell tickets for a s*** product," he added.

You might think Allen's "s*** product" and Ecclestone's "crap product" come from the same scriptwriter, we couldn't possibly comment.

"I've said that people don't come to watch guys looking at data screens," Allen continues. "Fans want to see gladiators racing and fighting it out in a fair fight. Nobody wants to hear drivers getting told to 'lift', 'coast' or 'we're not going to catch the guy in front, settle for second'.

"I think it is criminal when we have got to that state of racing and that is not saleable. I think Bernie is as frustrated with it as we all are. How long is it before the technical director is stood on the top step, not the driver? You've just got to throw the towel in then and look for something else.

"I'm massively into F1 and used to race bikes," he revealed. "If you compare F1 to MotoGP, they are changing lead every few minutes, there are at least three or four guys that are going to do well. The Brits can do well in it. It is exciting stuff to watch.

"In my opinion you should probably get flag-to-flag racing back into F1. You go out with a tank of fuel and once you're out there you're gone until the second flag drops. The Stirling Moss days. Do away with pit stops. Once you're out there you're on your own mate, and you're not allowed to communicate at all. You go back to using your pit board."

Again, a sceptic might form the opinion that Allen's utterances will cause Mr E to knock a few percent off the hosting fees, the Silverstone MD stoking the fire perfectly for the F1 supremo.

And all this at a time the sport might - that's might - be up for sale and we face losing a couple of teams.

Right on cue, Ecclestone, rather than defend his product, especially when the criticism comes from a circuit previously likened to a "run down old house" in a (soon to be) "third world country", rather than gagging Mr Allen - as happened recently when drivers spoke out following the tyre failures at Spa - echoes his feelings.

"It is hard enough today, forget Formula One, for anybody to sell things unless they are top of the range, and unfortunately our product isn't," said the F1 supremo.

Whilst he has made no secret of his admiration for Lewis Hamilton and the media attention he brings the sport, what with his on-track success and rock 'n' roll lifestyle, Ecclestone admits it can't go on forever.

"Lewis gets attention this year because it's new, it's a novelty," he said. "Wait until this year is gone and the public say, 'I wonder what is going to happen? Are we going to have another year like last year? Hamilton is going to go rushing off.' People want a race."

As we say, the timing of all this, the similarity in the scripts, the talk of F1 being sold off, something isn't right.

Interestingly, readers of a certain age will remember an actor called Patrick Allen. Star of movies and TV, he was famous for his distinctive voice which resulted in regular voiceover work for the likes of Barratt Homes.

Indeed, his voice was the voice of doom for he was the narrator of the British government's Protect and Survive information broadcasts in the 60s and 70s informing citizens how to protect themselves during a nuclear attack.

He subsequently recorded a parody voiceover - "Mine is the last voice you will ever hear. Do not be alarmed" - which was used in the song Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

The voice of doom... or smoke and mirrors?

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Yeyox02, 09/10/2015 0:28

"What else needs to be said about the miserable and stupid situation of the current Formula 1? Ecclestone has created a s--t product -he himself said this several months ago- but he does not care because he has filled his pockets with a bunch of money and THAT IS what really matters."

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2. Posted by scf1fan, 08/10/2015 17:51

"In the end, this discussion is pretty useless. If one driver/chassis/PU combination is so superior to the rest, that combination is going to win more often than not. And why shouldn't it? Why do we somehow expect it to be otherwise?
.
The only way to promote "close" racing throughout a season is to either promote a formula where anyone can produce a competitive package easily or to slow the faster guys down. Both have been done with some measure of success. Although I am more a purest, if I had to suggest one way to deal with the current conundrum, I would point back to how the SCCA dealt with the dominance of the Audi Quattros in Trans Am. Each time a car won, more weight was added to the car. The only question would be how much weight to add.
.
Say 1/2 pound (a 1/4 kilo) or so per championship point added to the minimum dry weight of the car by the next race, accumulated through the season. Maybe Manor could win a race at that point . . . Weight is the great equalizer in F1, yet it would still allow/encourag the better performing teams the ability to overcome the additional burden. "

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3. Posted by Spindoctor, 08/10/2015 13:53

"he spirit of Messers E & A all I can say is B*ll**ks!!!"

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4. Posted by repco lad, 08/10/2015 10:34

"The cynic in me can't help but think that this brave new world of F1 was devised by other teams to curb the influence of one man who continually outwitted them .... A.Newey. I know Renault had a hand in the PU formula but look where they are headed now, buying their own team. This after seriously hampering RBRs operation via a curious lack of performance and subsequent absence of urgency to improve their product. I'm betting the PU comes good once its put into a Renault branded car."

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5. Posted by Jonno, 08/10/2015 10:00

""...nothing negative gets into the public domain unless Bernie OK's it..."
Nuff said.
"

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