Holidays, Blogging and F1 Coverage

So, it’s been a little quiet around here lately, I know. I’m still around and enjoying the F1 season. The trouble is that there’s not that much to blog about really. Yes, the new formula is super exciting and action-packed, but to be honest, there haven’t been a lot of big strategy calls made this season. I will look into the conclusion of the German GP and take a look at Fantasy Racers after Hungary though.

One thing I do want to comment on is the news that the BBC will be sharing the F1 coverage with Sky from 2012. Now, there are many great posts out there that have much better arguments about why this is bad news for F1 fans – chief among those reasons are those of costs, and the fact that F1 has to be on free to air to get the best exposure for new fans and sponsors.

But what a lot of people are doing is that they are getting angry at the BBC for this decision, which I totally disagree with. I’m not the biggest fan on the way that they operate, but the fact is that they run on public money supplied from the licence fee, which the current government decided to freeze in order to save the average household a few bob. Then they told the BBC to cut costs, and to be honest, if the choice was between axing channels and radio stations or the multimillion pound deal to host the F1, well that’s an easy choice really. Times are tough these days and something has to give. F1 fans have to face the fact that while their sport has quite a lot of viewers and exposure, it’s always going to be a second tier sport and will never take precedence over a sport like football, for example.

What interests me is the reaction on twitter. Obviously there is a lot of anger and disappointment at the decision and rightly so – F1 needs to be free to air in order to have the greatest exposure to fans and sponsors alike, along with the ‘man on the street’ who appreciates what F1 is and knows about it yet doesn’t really follow it.

But a lot of anger has been directed at the BBC for supposedly selling out. The simple fact is that the BBC have had to do this because they cannot afford it, for the reasons mentioned earlier.

Bernie Ecclestone must be rubbing his hands together in glee, because yet again he’s managed to pull off another PR coup and come out of this looking good again. He made a lot of noises about how F1 should remain free to air and that F1 going to Sky was ‘not going to happen’. Yet did he offer to reduce the already exorbitant fees he charges? I’m willing to bet it never crossed his mind…

We now all support a sport where the simple facts are that it’s too expensive for the average punter to attend a race without a lot of sacrifice, it’s too expensive for an internationally successful race circuit to afford to hold a race without making a loss, too expensive for most teams to compete in F1, and now we have got to the point where it’s too expensive for major TV stations to afford to show the coverage. The sport as we know it has lost all of it’s values and only cares about money.

F1 is now purely about greed and has completely forgotten about the fans who support it. Yet they haven’t realised that without the fans, the sport is worth nothing. It could well be that if things continue as they are, the Sky/BBC decision could well be the first nail in the coffin of F1 – as there are plenty of other forms of motorsport to enjoy out there that are just as watchable as F1, yet a lot cheaper and more accessible.

I think that F1 needs to wake up and have a good long think about itself over the summer break. I mean, we have an organisation called FOTA who says that it’s for the fans and holds a lot of waffle sessions about what needs to change in the sport, yet have they actually acted on the suggestions the fans have given them? If FOTA are really serious about themselves, now more than ever is the time to act. Because F1 has always been free to air and that’s always been it’s USP – to take that away seems like a foolish and greedy decision that will do more harm than good.

The sad part about this rant is that I know it changes nothing. I will continue to follow the sport as best that I can, but if it becomes too hard or too expensive I’ll just move on to something else. I’ve done that before and I sure can do it again. I reckon a lot more F1 fans may just do the same too.

Turning The Amp Up To 2011!

Hey guys! Are you excited? I sure am!  I cannot wait for the action to begin tomorrow and like many others I have no idea what’s going to happen…

  • Will the speed of the Red Bulls give them domination?  Will tyre management be more important?
  • Will we ever remember the colours for each compound (Here’s a helpful song if you cant ;) )?
  • Will a racy or conservative driver be best over a Grand Prix distance? Continue reading

Bloggers’ Swap Shop: The Return

So it’s the off-season in F1 and the news and activities have started to die down… so what better time for VivaF1 to launch another Bloggers’ Swap Shop?  This time I have written a guest post for F1 Weekender, and Christine Blachford from Sidepodcast has written a great post, which will be uploaded here soon.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 19: Pirelli F1 Tyres being prepared during the Formula 1 Pirelli Tyre Testing at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 19, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Andrew Hone/Getty Images)

Tired of the off season already?

Check them out – and the others too, as it’s a great idea and always produces some quality content Smile

Collaborative Blogging

As you may know, I like to comment on a website called Sidepodcast.  In a post by Christine about Sebastian Vettel and his recent cheery upswing in his mood, Stuart Taylor asked the following:

Anyone know the lowest position an eventual champion has been in with 5 races to go? Lower than 5th?

Well, he thinks he can do it…

Journeyer read the comment was inspired to write a brilliant post about whether it was possible to win the championship when you are lower than 5th in the standings (as Vettel is this year).  The resulting post is here, which I helped him out with by making a few graphs.  In my opinion it’s a really good read and well worth checking out.  The only downside is that this man will not start a blog!

So hop on over to Sidepodcast now and have a read of Journeyer’s post.  I will be back soon with tales from the Belgian Grand Prix ;)

The link: 5 and 3/4: Looking Back at Title Standings with 5 Races to Go and at the 3/4 Mark of the Season

A Little Housekeeping…

Just over a year ago, I started this little blog with the idea of looking into the Grands Prix from a perspective that was a little different – I would look at the data from the Grands Prix, analyse the numbers and look into things in ways that may not have been tried before.

Since then, I’ve been given great ideas for posts, some of which have become regulars, and others which have been enjoyed by readers of the blog.  Some have even been translated into different languages and I have also had some lovely comments made about them.  So thank you to all of you who have read, commented, linked, translated or mentioned my posts – as I have really enjoyed analysing, writing, and sharing the content with you.  I had no idea how well it would turn out, but I’m really happy with how it has :) Continue reading

Plugtastic Time – F1 Minute

If you guys like F1 News and Podcasts… well you won’t find them on this blog ;)

However, my good friends over at Sidepodcast make some fantastic podcasts and also do F1 Minute – a great daily podcast made by Christine that talks about the best F1 news of the day – in just one minute :D

Sadly, because I am using the free version of WordPress, I cannot embed the F1 Minute player in the blog.  However, they have just started producing video versions of their podcast:

Over Christmas, we’ve been working on the idea of F1 Minute video. Similar to the minute’s worth of audio content you get every day, the video brings an added visual element to proceedings. We’re running a bit behind, because creating brand new video shows is not easy, but the first show is up and available for you to view now.

More info can be found on the new F1 Minute blog.  In the meantime, why not enjoy the first ever F1 Minute video right here?

Pretty cool eh?  I don’t know about you, but I like this idea very much and I think Christine and Mr. C. are going to make some very good videos :D

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Dear all readers of this blog,

Thank you so much for you readership and support in 2009 – your comments and ideas are what keeps this blog fresh and what keeps me making these posts.  I have really enjoyed working on this blog all year and it is a real pleasure to see what people are saying about it.  I am looking forward to new ideas and new partnerships in 2010 (more later) which should keep this blog entertaining and relevant.

I sincerely hope you have a wonderful Christmas Holiday period and that you get to enjoy the time spent with your friends and family.  I shall continue to work on my 2009 review posts in between Eating, Drinking and being Merry, so keep an eye out for that as I am sure you will like what you see.

Finally, I thought I’d link to one of my favourite Christmas songs – yeah I know it’s cheesy Xmas pop but you gotta love Slade.  The sillyness of the song matches my attitude and how I feel  about Christmas.

So have fun, and see you soon when I post again.


Gavin :D Continue reading

What next?

So what next for this blog now that we have entered the off season? Never fear, because while I have been basing a lot of my blog posts on stuff that happens over the race weekend, this does not mean I won’t have anything to write about now the season has ended.

On the contrary, in fact – I have been saving up loads of ideas for posts that simply could not have been done during the season! The most obvious I guess would be roundups of the 2009 season – which I plan to look at from the numbers perspective, of course…

Then I plan to branch out a bit into some special projects that were just too massive to attempt while the season was on – the regular posts just took up too much time to do this. And besides, I wanted to have some stuff to do during the off-season when I could really sink my teeth into it…

Other than that, if you guys have any ideas on specific stuff you would like me to look at, then please give me a shout in the comments and I’ll see what I can do – I always try and write these posts with my readers in mind, of course ;)

So you’ll have plenty of reasons to visit ‘Making Up The Numbers’ during the off-season – and I hope that when you do, you will be pleasantly surprised by what you see here ;)

Making Up The Numbers…

Quite often I am asked why I have a blog and what makes me want to write it.  Well, the truth is that I really enjoy using my number-crunching and presentation skills to look into the data behind a Grand Prix  – and explain it in a clear and concise way that everyone can understand and enjoy.  I decided early on that I would make my analyses according to what you guys wanted to see, because it’s no use writing stuff for an audience that doesn’t like it ;) Continue reading