The alarm rings, pounding your head with every incessant shriek. You emerge from your bed in the darkness, arms stretched out in front of you as you search in the lightless bedroom for something resembling clothes.
The stumble downstairs is akin to an obstacle course as your growing excitement is met with an increasing realisation that it’s best not to wake your wife in the early hours at the weekend.
Finally, you make it to the living room and it’s there that you are greeted by the voice of David Croft as he pulls back the curtain at the beginning of the F1 season.
Like me, millions of fans UK-wide and around the world will force themselves out of bed for the Australian Grand Prix at stupid o’clock. Why? Because we have been waiting all winter for the return of the pinnacle of motorsport and the incredible fire that is the love for the sport tells us to do so.
Formula One fans are the best in the world and deserve the very best treatment from the sport.
Until early this year the sport has been run by former dictator Bernie Ecclestone. He did a grand job of growing the sport, yes, however its appeal was waning as a result of actions that seemed to distance the sport from its core fanbase. If you are an F1 oficionado you’ll know what these are – if not, trawl through my other articles to enlighten yourself.
Enter Liberty Media and the point of this post. They have made the appointments of technical genius Ross Brawn and marketing guru Sean Bratches to bring a new lease of life to the sport and I must say the noises coming out so far have caused some excitement.
Perhaps best of all is that Liberty intends to use F1’s second wind to better serve the fans. Who would have thought it? We finally have the answer!
In an interview with Reuters, Sean Bratches touched on this: “There will be a point in the season…where we start to effectuate change,” Bratches told Reuters. “We are going to be very aggressive. We are going to try new things, all in the spirit of better serving Formula One fans.”
Now we don’t actually know what tangible form these changes will take as of yet, but with Brawn re-assessing the regulations we can rest assured he wants to improve the on-track show with a realistic dedline being 2020 when all current agreements expire.
Off the track Bratches has previously referred to the World Championship as a season of Super Bowls and Liberty intends to use its “aggressive” strategy to market it as such. The corporation has already improved fan engagement by relaxing team social media views and if they continue to do as they say they will no doubt see a turnaround in the sport’s fortunes.
In the interview with Reuters Brawn referred to the change in management style that will not simply focus on how much money circuits pay to hold Grands Prix.
“I think for sure the philosophy of Liberty and the management now in FOM is to look at things in a more complete way,”
“Not just the amount of money we can get from a race but what does it offer Formula One, what opportunities?”
“Do we become partners in promoting the races? Because up until now most of the consideration has been how much they can pay. And we want to change that balance a bit.”
“Where the race is, and how it’s held are going to be vital for the future.”
This approach is a predictably sensible one from Ross Brawn and it seems as if Liberty Media will adopt a holistic approach that caters for fans as well as the money men. They have reiterated the desire to keep thw sport rooted in its European heartland too and that is extremely reassuring.
Brawn will put together a specialist team of engineers in an attempt to uncover the holy grail for fans: close, exciting and unpredictable racin.
So there we have it. Liberty Media are making the right noises. They have drafted in experts ro re-assess and address the sport’s sporting and technical needs and have placed emphasis on engaging with fans and serving them better.
They have made excellent first steps but only time will tell as to whether fans will truly have equal footing with money.