It’s my understanding that the FIA is actively seeking recommendations for improving the F1 race weekend experience and after a few closed door meetings, the geniuses involved were unable to come up with any solutions that trump the current format.
Well, this is an opinion from the wrong side of the fence.
In the simplest terms possible, here is an easy solution for enhancing the fan experience, brought to you by a man who has invested way too much time and money into being an F1 aficionado.
For starters, here are my requirements for the on track entertainment that travels to all 18-22 venues with the big show.
- Porsche Supercup
- Past F1 Driver Touring Car Shootout
These 4 classes would keep the masses entertained for three days. I’m already loving the thought of Mika Hakkinen punting Nigel Mansell at Copse and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
3 DAY FORMAT:
- 10:00 – 11:00: F1 Free Practice 1: Nothing like traveling hundreds or thousands of miles and getting to the track on Friday AM all revved up for the first car on track. It has to be an F1 car. (And it has to be loud).
- 12:00 – 2:30: Support Series Practice
- 3:00 – 4:00: F1 FP2
- 4:15 – 5:15: REWARD THE BUZZARDS – Pit straight is opened to the fans for 1 hour to walk down and look into the garages. Teams have to keep the doors open AND drivers have to hang around to greet their fans. I know, poor guys have to slum it for a bit. I can already see the promoters pulling their hair out over this proposal, but it needs to be done. Sure there will be a few drunks or over zealous buzzards to police, but they can manage I’m sure.
- 8:00 – 10:30: Support Series Qualifying
- 11:00 – 12:00: F1 FP3
- 1:00 – 2:30: F1 Qualifying
- 3:00 – 3:30 – Past F1 Driver Touring Car Shootout Race 1
- 4:00 – 5:30 GP2 Feature Race
- 9:00 – 10:00: Porsche Supercup Race
- 10:30 – 11:00: Past F1 Driver Touring Car Shootout Race 2
- 11:30 – 12:30: GP2 Sprint Race
- 2:00 – 4:00: F1 Race
- 4:15: Track gates open to allow spectators to walk the track and run for the podium.
For traffic management purposes, give the fans the option of sticking around and watching Manu Chao do a 90 minute concert in the infield after every race. (is there anybody with more world appeal than Manu?)
This is so simple, yet so pleasing.
One other piece of business: Simply watching and listening to F1 cars is no longer enough to satisfy our frenetic minds, so we need to be able to interact with F1 through our mobile devices as well. My thoughts, take a page straight out of the NFL book and push fantasy racing leagues. Fan Duels. Draft Kings. PROMOTE GAMBLING!
My game would look something like this:
Pick 10 head to head match-ups, determined after qualifying on Saturday (ex. Nico vs Lewis, Perez vs Hulkenberg), and then rank them 1-10 by the level you feel comfortable with. If you are positive that Verstappen is going to beat Sainz, then make that your #1 head to head pick that is worth 50 points.
50 points – Head to Head Pick 1 (ex Verstappen def Sainz)
40 points – Head to Head Pick 2 (ex Vettel def Kimi)
35 points – Head to Head Pick 3 (Rossi def Stevens)
and down the line you go.
And to spice the game up, throw in a bunch of bonus questions:
5 points – First retirement
5 points – Most positions made up in the race
5 points – fastest pit stop
5 points – safety car yes/no
5 points – Race fastest lap
5 points – fastest speed trap mph
Should I keep going here? You get the idea. To keep people at home or in the stands engaged, the fantasy leader-board has to be constantly changing with “as they run” scenarios. Have F1 promote the hell out of their fantasy game and get sponsors to reward prizes for race wins and season wins. Allow fans to start private leagues and have a overall, season long champion.
Lastly, get up to speed with Social Media! F1 needs a heavily promoted site where fans can share their content from a race weekend. Selfies with Bottas, drunk buddy passed out in a McLaren hat, hot girl in Kimi bun shorts, sunrise pic in the campground, new friends in the stands from Columbia. I just don’t see F1 keeping up with the mind of a millennial. It’s time to loosen the reigns on their intellectual property.
Lastly 2.0 – They have to get back to loud motors and cars that look difficult to drive. More decibels, more HP, wider rear wheels, more mechanical, less aero grip, and for the love of Jan Lammers, get rid of the silly DRS.