Does it matter where a F1 race is hosted?
The multi-billion dollar Formula One racing industry commands one of the biggest global TV audiences. F1 races are broadcast to almost all the countries in the world, some 200 countries.
Annually, more than 500 million F1 fanatics follow the fast cars from the comfort of the couch.
Viewing figures for the 2013 season took a big dip, totalling an estimated 450 million. Sebastian Vettel’s dominance – he won 13 of the 19, winning the last nine race consecutively – contributed to the 50 million viewership slide but there also are other factors:
1. The race schedule clashed with other big television events, sports and other.
2. The nanny rules. More don’ts than do’s. F1 had become boring to watch.
3. Big money wins. Uneven playing field.
A lot of grease
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone probably got a bit of a fright at the decline of the TV viewership. The networks pay up to $100 000 for the broadcast rights to get all the eyeballs for the advertisers. That money pays a large chunk for the upkeep of the F1 circus. Less eyeballs, less pay.
Like any greedy bugger, Ecclestone signed up obscure hosts with rather dubious connections to keep the bucks pouring in. Azerbaijan is set to host F1 races 2015 or 2016 while proposals are held for venues in places such as Vietnam and South Africa, countries where the palms of the political elite are greased for big events.
Does it matter where the F1 races are hosted?
But does it really matter where the Formula One races are hosted? After all, the tracks in China and Abu Dhabi are far away from your couch and, as it happened, they turned out some good racing. And there are no bribes to be paid from where you watch in the luxury of your lounge.
Add the technological advances in television broadcasting and the Internet and F1 coverage should get better with every season. Crisper screens, live timing and fast access to stats adds to the fun factor.
So, unless there are matters of principle against the host, it does not really matter where F1 races are hosted as long as the tracks are challenging, the races competitive, the camera angles excellent and the commentary good.
2014 – new rules, new game
A bunch of new rules were introduced for the 2014 F1 season. As per the F1 site:
Chief among them is the much publicised move to 1.6 litre, V6 turbo engines, but that’s just part of the story.This video guides us through the key 2014 changes, including narrower front wings, lower noses, larger sidepods, single exhaust exits and more.
The most important step, though, is, as the Guardian reported, that “For the first time this year they will receive 63% of F1’s total profits as prize money, meaning that they also benefit from the increased money brought in from TV rights sales.” That should mean more money for development for the “smaller” teams and, hopefully, more real racing.
2014 F1 schedule
|1||Mar 16||Australian Grand Prix|
|2||Mar 30||Malaysia Grand Prix|
|3||Apr 6||Bahrain Grand Prix|
|4||Apr 20||Chinese Grand Prix|
|5||May 11||Spanish Grand Prix|
|6||May 25||Monaco Grand Prix|
|7||Jun 8||Canadian Grand Prix|
|8||Jun 22||Austrian Grand Prix|
|9||Jul 6||British Grand Prix|
|10||Jul 20||German Grand Prix|
|11||Jul 27||Hungarian Grand Prix|
|12||Aug 24||Belgian Grand Prix|
|13||Sep 7||Italian Grand Prix|
|14||Sep 21||Singapore Grand Prix|
|15||Oct 5||Japanese Grand Prix|
|16||Oct 12||Russian Grand Prix|
|17||Nov 2||United States Grand Prix|
|18||Nov 9||Brazilian Grand Prix|
|19||Nov 23||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix|