This weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – along with the following V8 Supercars Championship finale and the Formula E race in Uruguay in early/mid December – will be the last events covered as RichardsF1.com.
This website, as we currently know it, will be coming to an end.
You have Bernie and CVC to thank for this…
The reason for this has come about by the
intervention interference of Formula One Management (Formula 1’s commercial rights group), which accused me and virtually every other specialist Formula 1 website of “diluting their rights” to license the trademarks associated with Formula 1 and make a healthy profit from doing so.
The fact that the RF1 website operates as not-for-profit was not of any interest to FOM’s lawyers…
In a nutshell, my beautifully designed RF1 logo and all of our social media platforms were in violation of certain trademark conditions that FOM had never previously published or enforced.
They objected to the design of the logo, the use of ‘F1’ in our platform names and told me:
“We also need to try to ensure that the public is not confused into believing there to be an association with us, when this is not the case.”
Some of you may have noticed in recent months that the website stripped away all of its branding, and this is why.
This was a very painful process for me – I likened it at the time to being asked to chop off an arm – as I was basically being asked to strip away the identity that the website has built in over six highly successful years of bringing you some of the best motorsport content from around the world.
All of this stems from Bernie Ecclestone and, in particular, CVC Capital Partners, the financiers who make their money this way and who think so highly of themselves in doing so.
Unfortunately they only look at the world through the prism of how quickly they can make a buck (or many). And they don’t care who they trample on along the way.
All they are concerned about is sucking away as much money as they can, and in doing so they have loaded F1 with almost unsustainable debts. They do not invest in the future, they do no real promotion. They have steadily destroyed the sport that I have loved for over 25 years.
The overwhelming impression I get is that the industry and the fans are largely disgusted by the way CVC Capital Partners operates. They leech everything they can from the sport and give nothing back.
They are ignorant of the work that we in the media do to promote the sport that we love to you, the fans, who are pouring your hard-earned money into its coffers by paying outrageous ticket prices and TV subscription fees to watch a sport that should have a burgeoning, youthful audience around the world.
I can only hope that the current owners of the Formula One group will soon go away and we will get championship promoters who have vision and a sense of duty.
Only then will the sport will be allowed to grow once more, so that more people will be able to enjoy the experience and discover the passion that is Formula 1.
No-one can really own a sport, it belongs to the fans, the people who keep it alive.
Formula 1’s owners – past, present and future – are nothing of the kind, they are simply custodians. The responsibility of a custodian is to pass the value on to the next generation, rather than concentrating on profit at all cost.
So what happens next?
Fear not! I’m not shutting down the website.
I am just rebranding.
Over the course of the off-season break, we will become a brand new site with a brand new name that better reflects the breadth of coverage we provide to almost a quarter of a million readers around the world, but which still reflects our proudly Australian heritage.
I am working with developers to perform the rebrand and migrate the entire site content – including over 9,000 published stories that many of you have been a part of – onto this new platform, and we will reboot in the New Year with the same great, passionate, well-informed content that our readers have grown to love and to which my outstanding team of writers so kindly contribute.
Once again, I want to thank you, the fans, for your continued support and passion in this humble website. Without you, RF1 would not be in the position it is in today as one of the world’s leading motorsport websites.
I believe that the next chapter ahead is an exciting one and I look forward to continue the journey with you. Watch this space!