Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

F1 question time for fans in London // Posing the questions to some Formula One team principals

Published by Mr. C

Members of the FOTA panel
Members of the FOTA panelCredit: James Allen

Today in London, 150 motorsport fans got the chance to meet the leading figures from the world of Formula 1. The forum, put together by the Formula One Teams Association, hosted at the BAFTA Theatre in Piccadilly and moderated by ex-commentator James Allen, appeared to come across as a resounding success.

Similar in style to the Audience With... events that Joe Saward has been hosting this year, the forum aimed to bring fans closer to the sport, giving them a chance to put questions to those in the know.

On hand to answer questions for the inaugural event, was a panel of five, including:

  • Martin Whitmarsh, FOTA chairman and team principal of McLaren Mercedes
  • Tony Fernandes, Team Principal of Lotus Racing
  • Jock Clear, Senior Race Engineer for Mercedes GP
  • Luca Colajanni, Head of Motorsport Press Office at Scuderia Ferrari
  • Paul di Resta, test and reserve driver for Force India

A fine collection of F1 fellows, I'm sure you'll agree.

We couldn't attend the meeting sadly, given that it was held in the middle of a working day, and in the middle of London (that probably tells you something about the type of fans the event was aimed at). We did learn a lot from updates posted on Twitter though and here are some of the best:

Tony Fernandes: "I think it would be good to simplify the rules and get down to racing. Feedback from today will go into consideration."

Jamesallenonf1 Jamesallenonf1

Luca Colajini says concord agreement limits what info from #F1 can be made public

emmastonier emmastonier

Jock Clear: "My mum loves F1, but she doesn't understand it all because the tv viewers don't get the data they need."

TheFifthDriver TheFifthDriver

Whitmarsh says that 20 races is too many. He also said F1 has made 'a hash' of attempts to hold a race in the States...

Jamesallenonf1 Jamesallenonf1

Great event - first ever chance for fans to grill the teams up close and personal http://twitpic.com/21hb4r

MyLotusRacing MyLotusRacing

Paul di resta says more testing is needed. He says teams what more testing to give young guys a chance and throw out the old guys.

tonyfernandes tonyfernandes

JA asks Luca if he wants to answer questions on road relevance. Luca shrugs 'even our road cars arent road relevant'

chainbear chainbear

Panel passing notes among themselves...wonder what they say!

emmastonier emmastonier

Other F1 people spotted in the audience... Mike Gascoyne, Frank Dernie, Matt Bishop, Ted Kravitz, Richard Woods

OfficialMGP OfficialMGP

a few arguments for harsher penalties for making mistakes says paul, but its about getting a good balance of not putting the driver in danger

clubforce clubforce

View from the back row of the FOTA Fans Forum http://twitpic.com/21ho80

OfficialMGP OfficialMGP

There will be a video to follow, and we'll post it as soon as it's available.

While we at Sidepodcast are keen supporters of the sport opening up more to the fans - and this concept does appear to offer that - the cynic inside of me says that none of the suggestions will be taken on board and this is simply FOTA paying lip service to fans in return for some free publicity and brand loyalty.

I'm sure neither Bernie nor the FIA will give a Flying Felipe about anything said in London today, and I'm convinced nothing will change for the positive any time soon. The attendance of at least one FIA personnel, in the shape of Richard Woods, is notable though.

Teams already know what the fans want, they aren't stupid. They simply are not in a position to do anything about the current state of Formula 1, regardless of what the Teams Association claim. Some might even say they had that chance last summer and blew it spectacularly. FOTA may like to believe they are an association with the power to change, but that simply is not the case.

I'd love to be proven wrong of course, but I wasn't born a cynic, Formula 1 made me this way.