2013 World Gets Tired Of Vettel Finger And Turned Off Telly – Great Play The Blame Game…

From GrandPrix 247

Formula 1 superstar Sebastian Vettel’s coasting to a fourth successive world drivers title last year had an adverse effect on global TV audiences, as the 26-year-old Red Bull driver won 13 of the 19 races in easing to the title.

However, it wasn’t to television spectators liking as the total slumped from 500 million in 2012 – when Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso battled it out to the final race – to 450 million according to Global Media Report which was published by Formula One Management, who hold the commercial rights to Formula 1 and produce the images used by broadcasters.

While F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone put the reason for the fall partly down to last season having one race less than the previous year he conceded that Vettel’s dominance, especially in the second part of the season when he won nine successive races, as also behind so many viewers turning off.

“The less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds, culminating in the Championship being decided ahead of the races in the USA and Brazil, events which often bring substantial audiences, had a predictable impact on reach,” wrote Ecclestone.

The most significant drop in viewing figures came in China where the race was switched from state TV to regional stations and as a result lost 30 million viewers from the year before.

France too saw numbers melt away as for the first year the race was broadcast solely on pay TV channel Canal Plus, which paid a king’s ransom to outbid TF1, the long-time home to F1′s TV spectators in France.

Figures there saw a loss of 17 million viewers from 27 million in 2012 to 10 million.

By contrast three countries showed significant rises in viewers, those being the United States, Great Britain and Italy. (AFP)


So Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have performed at an incredibly high level, from pushing the limits of car design, to the team effort on race weekend and the spectacular driving by Vettel most Saturdays and on most Sundays as well. And because of this somehow it is their fault that viewership is down? Well I have four names to give the 50 million fans that tuned out because Red Bull and company were only fulfilling what they set out to accomplish, what F1 fans live for, to build the best car and race it to great effect. Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and yep, you guessed it Lotus.

I would propose it is not the fault of the current world champions for the dramatic fall in TV viewership, but the fault of everyone else starting with the four I just mentioned.  I’m not a Vettel or Red Bull fan and have made that point quite clear in this blog and to anyone who will listen these last four years, but as a fan of F1, how on earth could I not appreciate what this team has done in its short tenure as a constructor? I want nothing more than someone else’s finger to be atop the podium on Sundays, like the guy from Oviedo, or Hertfordshire (that is Lewis Hamilton in case you didn’t know his birthplace), anyone really for that matter, but these last four years it has not been the case. So what? We move on.

To be upset that other teams and drivers have not had as much success is a testament to the passion all of us have for this great sport. To start pointing the finger at a constructor and a driver because they have got it right more times than not, is just plain silly and unsportsmanlike.


10 Comments on “2013 World Gets Tired Of Vettel Finger And Turned Off Telly – Great Play The Blame Game…

  1. Agreed…BUT.
    Today Bernie blamed Ferrari for not building a fast enough car to compete with them (Red Bull). He blamed them for the drop in viewership. WHAT? Does think they didn’t try?
    Red Bull have been pushing the limits with flexible wings, tilted chassis, blown exhaust, engine mapping and who knows what else Newey dreamed up for years. It is difficult to copy overnight and very expensive. Especially when engineering so close to the limits of the rules risks crossing the line and being disqualified. Easier said then done.
    When the other teams (Ok 3 of them) showed they had a chance, F1 pulled the rug out from under them all, bundled it up and gave it to Red Bull with a big red ribbon on it by going back to 2012 tyres. (or “tires” for us North Americans) After Red Bull dominated in 2012, to go back to the 2012 tires because of a few failures just handed them the championships. Three races post tyre change, most teams gave up and started development of the 2014 cars. (And I don’t blame them) They knew they were not going to catch up at this point. Even double points for the last three races (what a joke) wouldn’t have changed the standings this year. Triple points in the last race wouldn’t have changed anything. If the championship was won with 4, 3 or even 2 races to go viewership would still have dropped. Blame that on the FIA and Pirelli, not the other teams!
    I can’t wait to see how things play out this year. If one engine manufacturer totally dominates, how will the FIA penalize them to level the playing field? (or try to keep the championship alive until the last race) But that will be a topic to be addressed in July????

    • hey Doug

      I always enjoy what you have to say, I feel there is a blogger in there somewhere. Ecclestone is way off the mark although I do agree with him just a bit in the fact that the other teams have got it wrong in general these last four years. the tire point you bring up is a very good one. had the debacle at silverstone not happened, we would have seen a different championship in 2013 for sure, but it didn’t work out that way. there is some good news in all of this however, viewership is way up in the north america. i think the jump was from 2 million or so to 12 million. still a small amount in comparison to the cars that go round in a circle but still not to shabby?

      • Good to see that America was somewhere that F1 picked up viewers, as you start from small it can only mean improved coverage and more money heading your way to make a better experience for fans, it will encourage teams and riders to take part too over time.
        Interesting to see the UK also gained, must be as it costs so much to watch on Sky TV now, if we pay we must digest it all!!!

        Sure there is a little truth to casual fans sitting it out if Vettel keeps winning, but even if your not a fan of the man, fans of the sport continue to tune in to watch the flipside to that – a remarkable driver making history; boring, dominant history; but history all the same.
        I watched more last year because the quality of racing was better overall than the previous couple of seasons and the races didn’t clash with other favourite sports/life, but I watched less too – as half of the season costs extra to watch on a dedicated channel!
        Though Hamilton performed well neither he nor Button were in the frame to do much (following your fellow countryman) and Alonso was not in the title hunt either (As i always root for my favourties no matter where they are from). It makes a difference to me if my favourites do well and I ahve a feeling that’s a pretty global thing.

        There are many factors to be fixed to make F1 a spectacle again, it is lazy of Ecclestone to blame the best team for employing the best rider, that’s just the nature of sport.

      • Lisa
        All great points. as is my usual M-O-D i will back track a little on my take and indeed agree that Vettel winning everything under the sun did have an adverse affect just as Schumacher caused quite a bit of a turn off as well in his era. but as you point out there are several reasons for the drop in viewership, Vettel being only one of them.

        ps – i was surprised at the increase in the US as well. as you know i want nothing more than for F1 to move out of the niche market here and into the mainstream if only just a little bit. it was also interesting to see the UK is on the rise as well, albeit not yet at the levels of prior to 2012 (i think). i would think even with the pay-per-view element that the UK would be further up in total numbers. All this should be a wake up call for bernie (off the hook) ecclestone and the powers that be. The golden goose needs some attending to.

    • I think Bernie unplugged the phone to avoid the wake-up call, the world’s been ringing for years!

      You are also quite right re: the UK figures – better than last year but behind on our good old free days. Thinking it over surely the move to more races further afield to gain financially for Ecclestone and his cronies means more silly o’clock starts for motorsport mad europe and that must surely hit viewing too. ( I know for say, Bahrain or Japan, if I see the result by accident on my homepage while having breakfast I may well give up and not bother with the replay…(though better for you if they are closer to U.S. time ha ha!)

      Nice link from Doug there too!

      • L. i completely forgot about the crazy start times and how that must reek havoc with the european audience. I know is makes me crazy, but of course being in north america i am use to it as it has always been the case that it was either too early for me to get up (5am commonly,not even the idea of Alonso winning every race could get me up that early on a regular basis) and the alternative which is to stay up till 5am.

  2. For me in the Eastern Time Zone, most of the F1 races start at 8AM. That is by far the best time to watch a race. I get up at 7:45, make a coffee and oatmeal. Sit down in front of the TV, sit back and enjoy. If it’s a boring race, I might have a bit of a morning nap. If it is a good race, by 10 AM I am pumped and ready for the rest of my day. If the race is playing at 2 AM or later (EST) then I just PVR it and still watch it at 8AM. 🙂
    Back in the day I used to spent (or waste) too many Sunday afternoons watching North American racing. Now I enjoy our short summers afternoons instead of stuck indoors watching TV all day. (Except for May 25 -Monaco, The Indy 500 and The Coke Cola 600 – that day is a wash)

    Here is more on Haas, he’s pushing on….

    • Doug

      yes the EST 8am start time must be nice. we here on the west coast are slightly jealous. thanks for the links concerning Haas. you know i am watching this one very carefully…

      • 8am sounds awesome, that’s it, I’m moving! 🙂

        Seriously though, as so much racing is is Europe I benefit more, our American timed racing goes out somewhere between 7-10pm, which is a nice way to spend an evening, even 5am isn’t so bad. One of the MotoGP races is in the no-mans land of 3am though and that’s the kind of thing I had in mind! Too late to stay up and really early to get up! If I wasn’t up to write about the lower classes for work I would have taken the news result and gone back to bed!

        Nice link to Haas, Doug, good to see he’s still trying to move on up!

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