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Talking Point: So, what do you think of it so far?

NEWS STORY
16/05/2012

The Marlborough is usually the perfect litmus test in terms of how casual fans regard Formula One, so imagine my surprise when Arthur, having said that Sunday's was "a funny old race" went on to admit that he hadn't watched it live - instead heading off to Twickenham for the HSBC Sevens World Series - but had watched the highlights late on Monday evening. Two other regulars subsequently revealed that they hadn't watched the race live as did Adrian of the local pet shop.

Now, ignoring the World Sevens, Sunday saw further heavy rainfall in this part of the world, so washing the car or doing some work in the garden was totally out of the question. Furthermore, this being the start of the European season, this was the first race (and qualifying) of the year at a convenient time and it was all live on the BBC, for those that refuse to pay for Sky's offering.

With four winners from the first four races, and no sign of the one man/one team domination of 2011, surely F1 has more going for it than ever, so why the big turn off in terms of casual fans?

Then, late on Sunday night, I caught this article in The Herald by Neil Drysdale, an article, all things considered, I could have written myself. Interestingly, Drysdale uses a word that I also used a couple of times over the weekend and which has been used since, most noticeably by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz. The word in question being "lottery".

For me, personally, this season, the sport has gone just one step too far. Absolutely no disrespect to Pirelli, who have done the job asked of them by the powers that be, but in my humble opinion F1 2012 is too much like staged entertainment and not enough like sport. Drivers now are having to race at 90 - 95% during races, dare they run out of rubber, while Q3 has become a mockery... oh for those last minute charges of Ayrton, Mika and the like.

Someone, somewhere wrote at the weekend that the current scenario - five winners from five races is like something out of Hollywood, but surely that is the point, there is almost something artificial about what we are witnessing this season.

As with Pirelli, I mean no disrespect to Pastor Maldonado or Williams, the victory on Sunday being well deserved and rightly popular, but it was a freak result, and the signs are that there are more to come.

With the Champions League and The Olympics on the horizon, not to mention the damage done to viewing figures by the Sky deal, one wonder how F1 will fare over the summer, especially if the weather improves. How much longer before fans, casual and long-term get the feeling that what they are watching isn't sport but another (stage managed) reality show. Or is it simply a case of us never being satisfied?

After the first five rounds of the 2012 season, we'd like to hear what you think of it so far.

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