Mercedes stumped by lack of TV coverage in Japanese GP

I was watching the Japanese Grand Prix, in the middle of the night here in the middle of America, and I, like many, started to notice that the world feed from Formula 1 was absent of much Mercedes action.

Now, you could argue that there wasn’t much action at the front of the field and that’s true. Lewis was putting on a master class on how to dominate a race. However, the pit stops were not really covered that well when he made one and it has some wondering what’s going on. Namely, both Mercedes bosses.

Niki Lauda:

“It was funny, to be honest,” Lauda told reporters in the Suzuka paddock.

“I was watching TV all day long, and funny enough I saw Saubers and a lot of Honda cars, but I don’t know why.

“Somebody must do the filming here; I have to ask what’s wrong with him.

“I want to see Bernie next week and ask him what is the reason.

“At the moment I can’t say much but it was funny today that even the pitstop of Lewis – the leader – you only saw him driving out.

“You didn’t even see if he changed his wheels. So it was interesting.”

Toto Wolff:

“I wasn’t sure during the race where we were,” he added.

“I needed to look at the timing screens because you couldn’t see the cars on track.

“Our first priority is to win the race. If that is not enough, then this is beyond my control.”

When asked if Mercedes had upset Ecclestone, Wolff said: “It’s always very difficult to please Bernie all the time. I need to find out.”

Some have suggested that the lack of TV coverage may have something to do with the team’s refusal to supply Red Bull Racing (RBR) and Scuderia Toro Rosso (STR) with engines for 2016.

While both Wolff and Lauda reject that this is the case, there is a precedent for having a lack of TV time as Force India learned last year when it was publicly critical of F1’s current direction.

Could Mercedes have rubbed F1 the wrong way in rejecting Red Bull’s request for engines and putting them in a serious quagmire for 2016? Or is it simply that the lack of any action up front was avoided in favor of a lot of mid-field passing and place changes?

I’d like to think it was the latter as I have often suggested that the world feed focus on some of the mid-field action as it is actually some of the better racing this year.

You can’t knock F1 for trying to show more of the mid-runners and action to help “spice up the show” can you? We’ll have to wait and see what Niki Lauda says about his conversation with Mr. Ecclestone but the austrian was in the press today laying blame on RBR’s doorstep for missing out on an engine supply deal because they never called Mercedes back to work out the details.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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Tom

I think it’s the latter as well. De head of the field just is not exciting to watch and the cars still look easy to drive (I can imagine they aren’t but it does come across like it). In the middle of the pack there is overtaking and I’d rather see Max and Carlos duke it out for 9th than seeing Lewis drive followed by Vettel 3 seconds later.

MetalQuintessence

Well the thing is that there is a lot more complicated work on the steering wheel buttons and that’s mainly what’s the hard part about driving an F1 these days, even Lauda would agree after he had a go at it in recent years. The driving of the cars and the physical stress that the pilots are on now aren’t as tough as they were 10 years ago. That’s debacle here. I too think that F1 should be mainly on the driving and driver’s skills, than it should be about who can mash the buttons on the steering wheel and… Read more »

MetalQuintessence

“Or is it simply that the lack of any action up front was avoided in favor of a lot of mid-field passing and place changes?” Yep, it is this. It happened back in the day when Schumacher was dominating, it’s fairly normal when you have your top runner well ahead of anybody else. As a fan of Michael with no personalized feeds I was kinda annoyed by it sometimes, but then again I understood the reason behind, still was annoyed to some point tho. :P So is it unjustified? Yes, if you’re Mercedes. But otherwise, nope. I wouldn’t sit around… Read more »

Will Irwin

Nobody would want to see 2 hours of Hamilton cruising out ahead, but surely any decent race coverage should have at least an occasional short look at the guy in P1. On a related note the attempt to “hide” the Manor cars from view, which was commented on earlier in the season seems to have been dropped. They do now get an occasional look.

MetalQuintessence

Imo he had enough coverage, it wasn’t as if they ignored him through whole of the race. In general any race leader who is cruising like 20-30 sec ahead is expected to be sort of “ignored”, just inevitable. Again if Merc have problem with that they can just agree to more relaxed engine rules already and they will get their spotlight back. As for the Manors, they also seem to have picked up their pace or rather got it all together. In the first races they couldn’t even pass the 107% mark so there was nothing much to be shown… Read more »

peter riva

Why would anyone be surprised? Look, the FOM film crew know that stations like NBCSN are down to 22 minutes per hour of full-screen actual coverage (I put a stopwatch on the last race – if you discount the promotions, advertising, the silly unreadable “inset screen” during commercials, and NBC promoting other sports’ events like football (soccer) – you are down to 22 minutes per hour of actual coverage. If the camera follows Hamilton with a 20+ second lead, the viewers will switch off; boring viewing. So what to do? Make us believe “tension” (Hobbs) and “exciting” (Matchett) and “superb”… Read more »

The International

That’s a staggering statistic, even worse than I had imagined

Jason

It would be staggering, if it were true! Rest assured it is nonsense…

The_Grump

Yeah…pretty sure you are ONLY missing 1/3 of the action. At least that’s what I came up with on average. The NASCAR Chase stats being shown DURING THE ——– RACE! That and Leigh Diffey’s idiotic “it’s all the more special because she [Jenson’s wife] is half Japanese.” And now to commercial. Bravo. Dead horse…beating…yeah, yeah. If I were mega-rich I would buy all the ad time so they could show the race uninterrupted: yes, yes… MEGA-RICH. But then I would have to endure 30% more WHOOOOOAAAS from Hobbo and Blank-stares every time there is on-track action.

MichaelB

Honestly, I hadn’t noticed until it was pointed out to me… I started watching in 2012, and in both 2012 and 2013 it wasn’t uncommon for Vettel to run off into the distance leaving the rest of the pack behind, and when he did, the cameras ignored him. So for front runners to get ignored by the world feed didn’t seem all that unusual…

peter riva

But you see, there is a HUGE difference… 1. there were engines in the cars, not sewing machines, 2. there was the risk of a huge fireball with refueling and, 3. there was no “turn the engine down” nonsense we now have with 100kg max fuel.

MichaelB

I still argue that few people would know what if anything was different about the engines when watching on tv, trackside, yes but not from watching on tv. Also, In 2012 there was no refueling, and engines were most definitely “managed” in that era. Heck the whole Multi-21 fiasco was because the engine was supposed to be turned down on BOTH Red Bulls..

MIE

Lewis won the race in 1 hour 28 minutes and 6.508 seconds. Of that time a Mercedes (either Hamilton or Rosberg) was on the screen for less than 6 minutes, that does seem a particularly poor return for the team’s sponsors.

Jason

When you consider in Monza there were 35 minutes of Merc airtime at the shortest race of the year. In Singapore that fell to 10 minutes and then 6 minutes in Japan…

Negative Camber

That certainly shows a trend downward and away from norms and surely those are measured by teams and their marketing folks so shouldn’t be a tough metric for them to harvest. Clearly, and we saw this in the past, a message is being sent. JMHO

Mr. Obvious

THAT is a rather indicting set of stats. I have no doubt that the focus on the midfield battles is better for ratings, but I’d wager that it was a secondary benefit. — Bernie was trying to make a point. Good on Mercedes for making 47 points!

runnah

Bernie has pulled this stunt before with other teams so it would not surprise me if he did it a again.

Frankly if he did then good for him. It’s silly the Merc is being childish and not willing to share.

mini696

I wouldn’t know… I fell asleep.

The Captain

Well i have a lot of problems with the world feed, poor camera calling being top. But at the end of the day it’s their job to entertain the viewer and a lone car driving away is not all that entertaining. So you kinda reap what you sow there Merc.