There’s no such thing as a free TV din­ner

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

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 sufcient 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 magnicently to the chal­lenge and re­duced its fuel con­sump­tion by one third, thanks to en­gines with a phe­nom­e­nal ther­mal efciency 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”

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