Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Thursday Thoughts - F1 and exclusivity // Helping fans get more from the sport when attending a race weekend

Published by Christine

For this week's Thursday Thoughts, Adie of F1 Tailpipe has offered us a fabulous question:

What can F1 do to enhance the experience of fans in attendance at the circuit? Does the ‘exclusivity’ of the sport add to the mystique of F1 in general, or has F1 set itself too far apart from your Average Joe?

For me, the question falls into two distinct parts. I don't mind if F1 is exclusive, and some of the real contact with teams and drivers is reserved for corporate parties and the very rich. However, this can only be the case, if the money generated from such things makes the experience cheaper for everyone else. Feel free to keep drivers on the inside of the circuit, and close off the bridge, but only if I get cheaper ticket prices.

If the money from such corporate exclusivity is simply going into Bernie's pocket, then I'm not interested.

Keeping Formula 1 apart from the fans who love it
Keeping Formula 1 apart from the fans who love itCredit: sidepodcast.com

Of course, I also argue that drivers should do the mandatory signing sessions and it's excellent when they make appearances at their team merchandise stands. However, the lack of direct contact is part of what makes F1 so appealing. Even catching a tiny glimpse of your favourite driver is ten times more exciting if you know you're not going to bump into him round every single corner.

This leads nicely onto the second part of my answer. There's something about the elite nature of Formula 1 that keeps it so interesting. If I wanted to see cars up close on a regular basis on a cheap ticket, I could just visit my local circuit and watch some club racing. That's not the point. The point is these machines are special, these drivers are the best (well, some of them), and it is, in a way, a fantasy.

I want events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed to remain something very special. Our overriding impression when we went for the first time was that being so close to the cars in the paddock area was an amazing experience and something we would remember forever. To reduce the barriers at a race would reduce that feeling to a simple 'oh, there are those cars again.'

That's not to say that F1 does everything right, not by a long shot, but I do believe that the exclusivity of F1 is what keeps us all wanting more.