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McLAREN'S WHITMARSH: F1 Must Do A Better Job For Fans

Discussion in 'F1' started by RP, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. RP

    RP F1 World Champ

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    McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh has called for the sport to do a better job of catering to the interests of its fans and believes teams should make more information available to television viewers.

    He acknowledged that Formula One is an entertainment business and that hardcore fans would benefit from increased broadcasting of information such as pit-to-car radio transmissions, current fuel loads, and strategic data.

    "I think for us to maintain and develop our fanbase we have to make better use of Formula One as an asset," he told the winners of an autosport.com/KangarooTV competition this week. "Those of us that are involved in it have not yet done a good enough job to provide the fanbase with the information and insight to the complexities of our sport.

    "There are enthusiasts that are interested in the gladiatorial contest of the drivers, like Kimi Raikkonen v Lewis Hamilton wheel-to-wheel, there are those that are interested in the team game and the competition of McLaren v Ferrari, there are those that are interested in the technological battle, and there are those that are fascinated by the tactics and the strategy going on over a race weekend.

    "The more we can reach out and educate the people who are watching it, the more they can enjoy it. There will be some fans who are not interested in all those things, and in some senses these factors get in the way of a straightforward and simple interpretation of the event. But the reality is that within the fanbase there are a lot of people who find that fascinating. And understanding that is something we need to do a better job of."

    Whitmarsh believes that the strategic analysis provided by Kangaroo TV for fans at circuits are a great first step, but suggested that the teams should be less secretive about their race strategies and also give more information about the current situation with their cars during a race.

    But they would be reluctant to give up any information which might aid their rivals, such as in the Turkish Grand Prix this year where McLaren had to change Lewis Hamilton onto a three-stop strategy because he was struggling the rate of wear of his front right tyre.

    "We knew there was a problem, obviously, and we held that back because ultimately we were racing Ferrari and we didn't want them to know how we were going to conduct the race," he added. "There is a balance, but historically we would not have made any radio transmissions available and now we volunteer that, so there is quite a change of culture going on.

    "We have to overcome some of the delight that the technicians have in this secrecy. Inevitably we are right to try to retain some of this, but we are in the entertainment business and we have to credit our fanbase that they are interested.

    "I think what F1 has to get better at is providing the proportion of the fanbase that wants it with that extra data and information. Year by year you have to try to create more interest, and the more insight they have, the more they are intrigued, and the more they're likely to come back next time.

    "Those of us who have the information in front of us get used to it, but if you find yourself in front of a television without it, Formula One isn't as interesting."
     
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  3. PhilNotHill

    PhilNotHill Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I would think McLaren would be the LAST team to advise anyone on sharing information for the so-called good of the fans is laughable after McLaren was found guilty of arguably the biggest cheating scandal in the history of F1 which envolved stolen proprietary information from their chief rival (Ferrari). McLaren did more to harm fan interest than Bernie, Mosley and ALL the F1 sponsors and teams COMBINED.

    Such gall astounds even me... and I consider myself pretty jaded when it comes to the depravity of human nature. ;)
     
  4. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Firstly, I am in no way defending what they did - They cheated, they got caught, and were pretty heavily penalized. The sport has moved on, and I certainly don't see any lack of fan interest this season compared to last.

    Now, as a "techno geek" I believe that "Kangaroo TV" (to which Whitmarsh was referring) could turn into a wonderfully informative device IF the teams become just a little less secretive with their data/radio communications.

    It seems to me that this was all Whitmarsh was recognizing - That there's a demand for it, and that the teams should provide it in order to increase fan interest.

    Hopefully it'll happen. At least it's a start.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  5. Senna1994

    Senna1994 F1 World Champ
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    +1
     
  6. kraftwerk

    kraftwerk Two Time F1 World Champ

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    +2
     
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  8. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

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    All that said, what kinds of things would you guys like to see during a telecast to make the race more interesting? I'm still thinking.
     
  9. Modeler

    Modeler F1 Veteran

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    A little noted comment from Whitmarsh, recently, was that Heikki Kovalainen had often out qualified Lewis Hamilton this season if fuel load was allowed for.
    A good example of how skewed perceptions can be without information of fuel weights etc I'd suggest is that many / most fans would reject the likely-hood of Heiki being quicker.
    Gall or not, he's right.
    Anyone who's followed a broadcast from radio Le mans knows how more info can be disclosed without hurting competition.
     
  10. RP

    RP F1 World Champ

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    I posted this thread. My initial reaction to Whitmarsh's comments?

    DUH!

    Its like he discovered rocket science. All of these F1 teams are EQUALLY to blame for not doing much to improve fan experience. Its like they figure if they show up at the track, so will the spectators. BMW does have a traveling show of some sort, but that seems very limited in appearance.

    F1 management should send someone to NASCAR races to understand what fan appreciation is all about.
     
  11. Ambassiatore

    Ambassiatore Formula Junior

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    #9 Ambassiatore, Jul 2, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
    ...maybe to help the the race itself, and is one of those gimmicks...

    but I´ve always wanted to see some PUSH TO PASS button on F1...along with some graphs that will tell you who has NOS left and who hasnt in the case of a last lap attempt to pass...

    even more with this overdeveloped front wings that make passing worst than dificult, top dogs are just like .3 secs faster than their own teamates...that will give a real shot at the winning to those with some NOS left...and might try a bold move... and that´s racing.

    ...nowdays drivers wont challenge the one in front only for a 2 point difference (podium finishers), because of the risk of loosing clean airflow and going off track or crashing... hense the second half boredoom of almost every race...

    ...although I can see why Hamilton will probably will need an extra pedal or lever to activate such thing...one more button on his steering wheel and he might cut his mechanics in half slowing down for a pit stop...heheheheheeeee
     
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  13. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

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    The following was lifted from the Kangaroo site:

    > 8 TV channels including live in-car camera feeds
    > Team radio, including driver-to-pit conversations
    > Multi-lingual audio commentaries
    > User-friendly keypad and interface
    > Audio and video replay
    > Official race timing and scoring; leaderboard, pit and sector times
    > Biographic files on teams, drivers and much more

    Which is a start - You get to choose which in car video feed you want to watch. Team radio would be cool *if* they open it up. However, I'd also like to see stuff like:

    - Fuel load (yeah right - *that's* going to happen!....)
    - Engine data (revs, temps, pressures etc)
    - Brake temps
    - Loading on the car (Like the "g-circle" that sometimes appears on the TV broadcasts)
    - Pretty much any other data that's streaming off the car - Interesting stuff (to me at least)

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  14. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

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    Something I can do without is the pit radio communication. Without fail they cut to it right as the commentator is making an interesting point. And it's usually some indiscernable gibberish, followed up by the driver's gibberish, followed by Steve Matchett's interpretation about how the crew chief just told the driver a) to drive faster b) to drive slower c) Massa/Kimi/Hamilton is _____seconds ahead/behind.

    Speaking of Matchett, in all these years I can't recall a time he said something that wasn't interesting or, at the very least, relevant. The changes I'd like to see would be production-based for the telecast, like more in-car footage, overlays, etc. If you're not going to see a whole lot of wheel to wheel action, it would be cool to see the differences in drivers' styles.
     
  15. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

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    +1

    I believe the teams all get each others in-car feeds all the time - They can then overlay and/or split screen these feeds to see what they want. It would be way cool if "we" could do the same. Almost like the multiple feeds now available from Wimbledon, at least on DirecTV. Having said that, I think we're talking more about feeding to a computer and using that for the various displays - This is beyond what "standard" TV can do and is my only real "criticism" of the Kangaroo - The screen seems to be way too small.....

    I agree radio comms is a tough one - However, scanners work pretty well in taxicab races - Having a scanner definitely improved my "Bristol experience" a few years back. This is all predicated by the teams opening up their channels of course - Not very likely IMHO.

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  16. Fast_ian

    Fast_ian Two Time F1 World Champ

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    I got it! - I want a team independent pit-wall "control center", just like they've got! :D Call up whichever car I want to monitor and look at the same stuff as the guys on the pitwall. I can do without single-button access to Charlie, and my setup would be "passive" as I doubt they'd want me making comments, but you get the idea......

    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  17. Senna1994

    Senna1994 F1 World Champ
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    Excellent post, couldn't agree more.
     
  18. Senna3xWC

    Senna3xWC F1 Rookie

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    Let's have some sense of proportion here, shall we?

    First of all, F1 viewship is MUCH higher now than it was 5 years ago when Ferrari was unchallenged and Schumacher was winning 13 GPs in a season. Fan interest last year was the highest in years thanks to a title battle that went down to the wire with 3 drivers. Furthermore Mosley's actions are FAR more detirmental to the sport than anything McLaren has done.

    McLaren's actions, while deplorable, are hardly the worst cheating scandal in F1. Renault and Toyota both engaged in exactly the same behavior themselves and that is only within the last 3 years. We could go back to Ferrari breaking into the Williams garage to dissect their GP car back in 1975 and we are still only scratching the tip of the iceberg. Cheating in F1 is, has been, and always will be rampant.

    This is sounding like that idiotic banter comparing Alonso to Hitler and bin Ladin last year. Comparing a tempermental driver to mass murderers?!? Let's keep things in perspective and avoid the overblown and nonsensical hyperbole.
     
  19. kraftwerk

    kraftwerk Two Time F1 World Champ

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    +100
     
  20. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Bring back different displacement engines (or turbos!) and get rid of the butt ugly cars. Give me a Jordan 191 or a Ferrari 412T1 any day.

    What I lament about F1 is the same thing that happened to CART. Manufacturers, with the endless spending, are ruining the sport. Mark my words, Toyota and Honda will exit since they aren't seeing results, and the loss of "privateers" like Force India or non-starters like Prodrive are going to be the downfall.

    Go watch some videos from the 90's when F1 was at the peak IMHO. 28+ cars, pre qualifying, and relative "parity". Those were the days when Minardi had a chance to podium (never did, best was 4th IIRC) and there were personalities and drama.

    While F1 remains one of my passions, you could practically put robots in the car...what's the fun in that? Whitmarsh is spot on with the sentiment, but I think the sheer technology is one thing damaging my interest.
     
  21. RP

    RP F1 World Champ

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    #18 RP, Jul 2, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
    I would not agree with you AT ALL about Mosley being more detrimental than Stephneygate. People that do not follow the sport on a regular basis, have no idea who he is. While those not interested in F1 know about Mercedes "caught cheating". The Mosley issue is blatently "overblown and nonsensical hyperbole" to use your words more accurately.

    Mosley was a passing joke on Jay Leno, and I would guess that there are more in the world that wonder why the stink with Mosley than think his actions were horrible. I also think that the people that did not like Mosley are primariliy the ones complaining about him. Kinda like mostly Republicans were agast about Bill Clinton's trist with oral sex. As a Republican, I thought there should be a full time position to satisfy the president.

    I think in the very near future you will learn that it was someone at McLaren that set up Mosley, intentionally. I think there is a chance that McLaren will be gone from F1 by the end of this year. I believe that now Bernie is really pissed at the bad publicity, and now he will personally go after the one that caused this ridiculous outrage.

    I do not know exactly what went on in that London flat with Mosely, and I really doubt if anyone here has seen the video tapes, so to point fingers is hypocritical. There is something really smelly going on, and I think its within "Woking" distance.
     
  22. mpatrizio

    mpatrizio Formula Junior

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    To echo Ron's comments above.... There were an army of FIA legal delegates at Woking both today and yesterday. The same level of people as during the initial Spygate investigation.

    Something is cooking.
     
  23. RP

    RP F1 World Champ

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    Max Mosley may be guilty of behavior in incredibly poor taste, but he can still only walk into a room by opening the door. Ron Dennis can slither underneath. He is a desperate man, not worthy of the McLaren name.
     
  24. jknight

    jknight F1 Veteran

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    I think this has gone a bit astray from what F1 must do in making the series better for fans . . . Ron was on with his point about taking tips from NASCAR.

    F1 folks might want to hire the NASCAR marketing folks! Seriously, look at the amount of advertising, very "catchy" ads, the programs leading up to the races, the liveNASCAR show trackside prior to the race . . F1 could be doing something similar and offering folks more than 1/2 hour of Inside Grand Prix (at bizarre hours on Speed) and 1/2 hour of Pre-race with Peter Windsor. . .who cares what celebs are at a race, the "race" is the important event. So, Martin Whitmarsh can learn marketing techniques from NASCAR and how to be "Fan Friendly" from ALMS, LMS and FIA-GT. . . the later two series are in "his backyard". Perhaps Mr. Whitmarsh and company need to go to the LMS race in September at Silverstone. They will find an open paddock, sit anywhere you want, full track access, pit walks, grid walks, etc. and ONLY pay 20 GBP for the weekend (Friday thru Sunday) - top that with "non-processional" racing for 6 hours or 1000 km (of late with the speeds of the 908 and R10 the race is usually 5.5 hours or less). Perhaps F1 needs to look at it's hospitality - it's ridiculous to spend $3,000 for the weekend - what do they get? a tent, food/drink, near the garages, etc. ......for $200 for the weekend we get the Audi Experience at ALMS races and get the same thing and more!!! Something wrong with this picture.

    Yes, there's much F1 can do to secure more fans.

    Carol
     
  25. Senna3xWC

    Senna3xWC F1 Rookie

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    First of all, Mosley wasn't set up. He went to that brothel willingly and of his own volition. If someone leaked the onfo about Mosley, then are they really culpable or is the responsibility Mosley's for his own behavior? Was the FBI at fault for exposing the congressmen in the Abscam case or was it the politicians fault for being corrupt?

    I find this entire argument ridiculous. Mosley is the one who committed the embarrassing and disgusting acts. he wasn't coerced, he wasn't enticed, he did so willingly and of his own volition. he is a disgusting Nazi fascist pig and the only issue at hand is his behavior, not how it came to light.

    I don't really care how the news got out or who was responsible for releasing it. The issue at hand is Mosley and his Nazi sympathizing disgusting behavior. He has made F1 into a laughing stock, he is an embarrassment to the sport, its sponsors, its fans, and its participants. He needs to go and he needs to be driven out of office in disgrace. Let's not cloud the issue.
     
  26. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

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    Good points. And the machinery is pretty first-rate as well.
     
  27. kraftwerk

    kraftwerk Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Total bollox.
     
  28. Jack-the-lad

    Jack-the-lad Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Not necessarily related to a telecast, but I'd like to see:

    Refueling banned
    Slicks
    Free engine architecture
    Multiple tire suppliers
    End silly qualifying gimmicks
    Limit use of safety car
     

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