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Talking Point: Is F1 alienating its customers, the fans?

NEWS STORY
07/08/2007

Twice, in the last couple of days, I have asked the question, "is it just me?".

The first time referred to a member's avatar on the Pitpass forum, while the second related to the Hungarian GP weekend and subsequent fall-out.

In both cases, I am assured that no, it is not just me.

I won't bore you with the avatar, however, as for the Hungarian GP weekend, it seems that I am most definitely not alone in feeling the way I do.

There were times during the course of the weekend, when I found myself no longer caring what happened, as the espionage/sabotage/qualifying nonsense finally took its toll.

Yes, the Hungarian GP was one of the busiest - in terms of traffic - in the history of the site, but is this due to the "fantastic race" we witnessed - according to some sections of the media - or the fact that F1 is rapidly becoming just another 'soap opera', albeit with better sets, a bigger budget and (for the most part) more attractive and believable stars and characters.

Fact is, I don't watch soap operas, I avoid them like the plague, and F1 is rapidly becoming the 'Dallas', the 'Dynasty' of the new millennium.

All very well some might say, but the fact is that while the current shenanigans might be attracting new fans, some of the die-hards are clearly growing utterly sick of the whole thing. If someone, somewhere were to be able to come up with an alternative, it is likely that many F1 fans would make the switch. Sadly, at this moment in time, there is nothing on the horizon. That said, if the Americans were to get their act together, the 'Pinnacle of Motorsport' could (deservedly) find itself under pressure. Bernie panicked when Nigel Mansell headed out west in '93, the right format, the right names and the right locations could get Mr E, and his new pals at CVC, all hot and bothered again.

On Monday morning, I received the following e-mail from Pitpass reader James Delloyde, rest assured it is not the only e-mail I have received on this subject expressing similar feelings.

James writes:

After watching yesterday's race and listening to all of the nonsense of the last couple of weeks, or is it months now, I went to bed last night completely wound up, fuming and determined to have a good rant at someone, or even everyone, about the mess they are making of my beloved sport.

However, this morning I woke up feeling refreshed, calm and controlled. After my first cup of tea I remembered what the horrible nagging thought was at the back of my mind, F1. After my second cup of tea I realised that to be perfectly honest, I just don't care about it anymore. My 40 year love affair with F1 is now over, it has turned into the nasty bitter mistress that seems determined to make me miserable at every opportunity it can, to waste my time and money when I should be spending both on my family, determined to embarrass me at work, during dinner parties or down the pub. The sport that I was proud to be knowledgeable about and could talk for hours about, people would ask questions and get excited at my enthusiasm and on most occasions would then vow to watch the next televised race to see what I was so in love with. All of these friends and colleagues are now, justifiably, ridiculing current Formula 1.

I will not be watching any more TV coverage (just based on the crap commentary and very poor coverage I should have switched off years ago) nor buying any more F1 magazines or DVD's, and sadly I will not be visiting any more F1 web sites. I say sadly because yours is an exceptional site, I looked forward to reading your comments and the articles by the good Doctor. I will miss Pitpass but I will not miss the news that you now report.

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