There’s no such thing as a free TV dinner
get you the Nobel Prize for Being Very Clever and Humane but, ironically, make you simultaneously Very Unpopular.
We soon realised scientists had that ‘nite fuel thing’ a bit wrong. We are now told that they have enough oil under Gatwick North Terminal to keep Crawley self sufcient for thousands of years. So we’re okay then. In fact, we now have so much oil that we can keep the whole planet warm, maybe, forever.
F1 has risen magnicently to the challenge and reduced its fuel consumption by one third, thanks to engines with a phenomenal thermal efciency of nearly 50 per cent and which go faster, to boot! Run that past your Departments for Transport and the Environment and see how much they like it. F1 doing its bit in the War on Warming. Oh, and remember when the F1 world was going to end because the Government were going to ban tobacco sponsorship? Some 50,000 jobs were to be affected by this ‘draconian’ and ‘reckless’ bit of do-gooding. Actually, all the ‘blue chip’ sponsors who didn’t want to be associated with tobacco were waiting in the wings licking their lips ready to ood in the moment they were gone. Far more ‘ethical’ companies, like banks…
When I left Williams, then sponsored by Rothmans (very nice people with a great golf tournament in Scotland that sounds a bit like ‘D. Hill’), there were 160 people working for the team. A few years later, there were 650! Er? I thought you told the Prime Minister, Max and Bernie, that 50,000 jobs were at stake? At that rate, F1 teams expanded their workforce by 400 per cent, without the evil weed. Poor Tony. I think he was a bit taken in by these two. He had to give the donation back, you know? One million smackers. Ouch. Still, the tobacco ban was generally good all round. At least you don’t stink like you’ve been in a pub when you come back from the pub.
And now free-to-air is a thing of the past. What? They’ll be making us pay for air next! My god! No more free F1 coverage? Well, I have some sad news: there never was any ‘free’ F1 coverage. We were being used as ammunition in the war for TV ratings, much like Facebook and Google use us today. Ever heard the phrase, ‘no free TV dinners’ (I’m hoping I just invented it)?
But there is the question here of how one measures the success of F1. Is it through mass appeal? Or is it through Return On Investment? What are we trying to achieve here? In an attempt to get more viewers we ddle and fumble with the product in the hope of making it more appealing. Why? Because we want the numbers and the highest revenue per head. We want to have our cake and eat it. Making F1 an executive toy is not the way. There was nothing fundamentally wrong with qualifying across Fridays and Saturdays that could not be easily xed. A provisional grid on Friday meant something. It was a real result and pumped up the next two days.
I have some other ideas but I will only tell you if you subscribe to my ‘Damon’s Brilliant Ideas’ app. It works like this: pay me a pound and I tell you my idea. It’s brilliant, don’t you think? But it’s not free. Sorry.
“I have some sad news: There never was any ‘free’ F1 coverage. We were being used as ammunition in the war for TV ratings”