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Ex-F1 manager Weber blames ‘decline’ on leaders, current drivers

Aug 8, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing AP

Michael Schumacher’s former manager Willi Weber has said that the self-interest of the leaders within Formula 1 and the current generation of drivers are the reasons behind the sport’s apparent decline.

In 2014, there has been a great deal of focus on ‘improving the show’ in Formula 1 after the global television audience fell by 50m. Figures such as Luca di Montezemolo and Bernie Ecclestone have been critical of the sport’s new formula, but Weber feels that the sport is not moving with the times.

“There are many reasons for the decline of the Formula 1,” he explained to Bild. “First, the fish rots at the head. Bernie Ecclestone is much too old to embrace the age of new media. FIA president Jean Todt lacks the power to enforce.

“These men think only of their own interests.”

Weber also feels that the characters within F1 are not what they used to be, calling them “wimps” with reference to Sebastian Vettel’s moaning during the British Grand Prix during his tussle with Fernando Alonso out on track.

“Who wants to see the wimps of today crying on the radio?” Weber asked. “There are no more characters like Ayrton Senna, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher were.

“They would not complain on the radio but give their answer on the track.”

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has called for a summit to discuss the ‘wrong turn’ that has been taken, after labelling the sport as taxi cab racing over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend. Rather aptly, the drivers did give their answer on track by producing a sensational race under the lights.

And that is the way it has been all season long. 2014 is shaping up to be a classic year despite the off-track sagas concerning the sport’s direction – what better way to prove that F1 is in good health?

  1. barrylibby - Aug 8, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Very easy to say after you have banked your percentage !

  2. techmeister1 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Standing starts and other foolishness are not going to improve the racing or viewership IMO. With most motorsports attendance and viewership being down while a never ending economic recession carries on some 6 years and counting, we may have seen the absolute highest viewership we will ever see for motorsports as an entity. There are many distractions these days including social media for the braindead. While the Net and social media could improve motorsport viewership they are competing with other distractions.

    If motorsports wanted to increase viewership they should make mandatory crashfests every 10 laps in all forms of motorsport. They should have mandatory fist fights after all races. They should have mandatory fires when the cars crash. And they need a LOT more nudity and sex on the screen perhaps via female mud wrestling? I guarantee you these would ALL increase motorsport viewership.

    The real question is: Is greater viewership necessary or is the current viewership more than sufficient to pay everyone involved handsomely? Financial greed can kill the golden goose.

    • oldnhrafan - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:18 AM

      Well done techmeister1. Your first paragraph hit it right on the head. Unfortunately, your second paragraph could be or is the future. When the Discovery Channel can produce a show called Street Outlaws and have more than one season, real televised motorsports could be in trouble.

  3. kitnamania13 - Aug 8, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    If F1 was broadcasting radio transmissions in the 80s and 90s, I’m sure we’d have heard plenty of complaints from Senna and Schumacher. Driving and F1 car in a Grand Prix is one of the most intense things a human being can ever do, so complaints are only natural. The only way to take away the complaining is to censor it or to eliminate radio transmissions alltogether, which would take a lot away from the narrative of the race.

  4. fireblade22 - Aug 8, 2014 at 11:47 PM

    “calling them “wimps” with reference to Sebastian Vettel’s moaning during the British Grand Prix during his tussle with Fernando Alonso out on track.”

    Staggeringly dishonest … which makes it par for the course for Luke Smith.

  5. hkfan5 - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    This is the most exciting F1 season in years. There’s nothing wrong with F1. It’s evolving. But standing starts after a Safety Car? Seriously? FIA needs to quit meddling.

  6. huskyfrk - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    standing starts after the safety car has been dropped. thank god. economics should have prevailed and they should have kept the old engine formula. the costs for developing the new engine is staggering. we don’t need green racing.

  7. ducati007 - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    Let me just make this point about some of the taxi cab drivers — my driver in Athens would make vettel’s championship seasons look like a walk in the park. no joke..

  8. worknman24hours - Aug 10, 2014 at 6:20 AM

    I think the teams must be allowed to work on the cars during the season to update them and make them more competitive.

    All the development freeze rules have to go.

    As do the anti testing rules that would allow the poorest teams the best way to check those changes -to simply take the race cars out and drive them between races and improve their cars for the very next race instead of five races up the road.

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