F1: Sochi Sucks

October 15, 2014 Comments (2)

Sochi Sucks! Mickey Mouse Track Designer, Hermann Tilke, has done it again! His name is anathema to enthusiasts and was never mentioned. This was a triple threat come true. The track is boring, the race was boring (Alonso agrees) and the coverage was abysmal.

Hermann Tilke

Our sympathies to the talking trio who sit in Connecticut trying to make an entertaining contribution without any control of the broadcast feed or the ability to review images.

Having said that, their consistent braying “the drivers love it” about absolutely every venue sounds like a directive from F1 management. They and F1 appear to have forgotten who it is they are supposed to be entertaining.

Will Buxton

Kudos to Will Buxton for consistently asking the tough questions, also for his forthright statement to Alonso about the race: “It wasn’t a classic.”

Bravo also to NBCSN for highlighting the issues brought on by Russia’s recent actions in the Crimea, the Ukraine, and the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane. Their showing of the portion of the “Team Principals” Press conference in which Red Bull’s Christian Horner’s gutless response to the question of why F1 was even there, made very clear the teams’ principles.

$150M for five years is clearly the guiding one. 

Christian Horner

From the post race podium interviewer we learned that Hamilton “is a real fan of Russian racing”, “has been back in Moscow”, is “impressed with the ski resorts” and in his own words “(Russia) Is not far from where I live and I will be hopping over for some holidays for sure.”

F1 didn’t do itself any favors today. Lewis Hamilton will not get any Christmas cards from Holland and NBCSN made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Unfortunately, this overshadows Mercedes’ remarkable accomplishment. On this day they secure the F1 Manufacturers World Championship for the first time in the modern F1 era. Congratulations to them.

Ross Brawn

The genesis of this accomplishment is also interesting and historically significant: In an interview after the race, Paddy Lowe, Director (Technical) of Mercedes reminded all that the winning car was developed last year under the guidance of then manager Ross Brawn. The Mercedes Team was previously the Brawn F1 Team and Brawn actually bought the Team from Honda, purportedly for $1.00, when Honda pulled out of F1. The package he got included a car which Honda had developed for 2009 that was as significantly ahead of the competition in that year as Mercedes is of its competitors now. That car carried Jenson Button and Brawn their only championship.

Honda Team logo

Ironically, Honda is coming back to F1 in 2015 as an engine supplier to compete against its former, albeit significantly changed, team. F1 is a small world.

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Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous c/o:
    Oct 20, 2014 at 07:49 AM

    The latest commentary about racing brings to mind what I recently read about NFL commentators. Specifically their weak criticism and lack of bite in the scandals.

    Racing commentators are too afraid of losing their access and the cache that comes with top tier racing. I get sick of listening to each one of them gush over certain drivers, some of whom have awful reputations ("Max the Axe"). There's never a serious rebuke or criticism of officials and the sanctioning body. All controversial rumors and news is given a positive spin, even when the gossip is all but confirmed. It's a good ole boy network and I think it hurts auto racing's reputation. Non race fans can't take it seriously and everything looks 'fixed'. We never get the whole story. And don't even call it journalism. Is Europe any different?

    At least in our broadcasts we don't have to put up with the locker room shenanigans that take place on major sports shows and are just a waste of time (what actually happened in the last 30 minutes of that FS1 NFL post game show that they had to bump the ending of the Petit Le Mans???).

    Is anything likely to change? Probably not. We've seen what networks think of auto racing and its fans, treating us as second rate. Maybe something will come up on the web that can be viable for the series and fans alike.

  2. Peter Bourassa:
    Oct 20, 2014 at 07:59 AM

    I have often wondered why a show about a worldwide series, broadcast in America, cannot have American commentators. I like Hobbs, Matchett and Diffy, they are qualified and competent people. But, there are living Americans who have raced in F1 and are articulate. Eddie Cheever comes to mind. How necessary is it that you be European (or Australian) to broadcast F1 in English. I think that MMR favorites Tommy Kendall and Justin Bell shepherded by Bob Varsha would be a hoot! And they would definitely boost the ratings.


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