News sites are buzzing this morning with stories that Formula 1 is dead, with the 8 FOTA teams deciding to form a break away series, and abandon all commitment to the FIA and FOM controlled Formula 1 circus.

Most of them seem to focus on the reasons which caused the split - the budget cap, disagreements over TV rights payments, and so on.

I don't think these matter though.

What matters to me as a member of the public, is what happens on the race track. In recent years with few exceptions Formula 1 has largely become a dull spectator sport. Emphasis on the spectator here, the drivers, teams and sponsors seem to love it, as it has become tailored to them.

At all the new tracks, the levels of corporate hospitality are unbelievable, and of course in the prime positions on the circuit, and with the 10m high FIA imposed fencing, a typical punter is left feeling a bit insulated and isolated from the sport as a whole.

Further to this, all the new tracks are not where the spectators are, old favorites like Montreal, France, Silverstone have been, or are being abandoned, in favor of new, and not wishing to cause undue offense to Mr Tilke, slightly dull circuits in territories further afield.



Its not that I mind the expansion of a sport into new areas, introducing it to new people, but in the case of Formula 1, it has been done solely for the purpose of ensuring FOM get as much money as possible, shunning the importance of the spectators which make the sport.

The shambles in Malaysia earlier this year highlighted this in a poignant fashion.

So, with that preamble out of the way, my question is, what will the new FOTA driven championship be like?

I don't think anyone outside of maybe FOTA know at this point, but that doesn't mean I can't pontificate on what I, as a spectator would like.

To start with the Calendar, we want a good range of exciting circuits. A key thing to keep budgets down, and spectator interest up, is not to flood the calendar with races without meaning to the spectators. The current level of 17 or 18 races, is insane!

I think my race calendar would look something like this:

Kyalami, Interlargos, Silverstone, Magny Cours, Spa, Imola, Hockenheim, Hungaoring, Montreal, Suzuka, Fuji

Maybe a couple more could be added, but that list above would keep me happy at least. I don't include the Nurburgring, as the modern GP Strecke is a damp squib to the original hairy chested Nordschliefe.

So that's the circuits sorted, now what about TV coverage.

With such a short time between set up, and the season starting, it might be difficult to get lucrative deals sorted for next year.

I would therefore advocate an online streaming model, for the first year. Records for online streaming were broken during President Obama's inauguration earlier this year. I think premium sport could beat that easily.

Doing so in a manner designed to help involve spectators with the sport, and make them feel valued, would be key too.



I think a pay-per-race scheme would be the best approach, cap the maximum cost at €7 per race, but then discount it, if more than expected numbers show up.

For example, an average audience of 7 Million would then yield gross revenue of €588M/yr. From this €188M can be allocated to the organizational body, in exchange for the organization, and Marshalling of each race, paying for the streaming of the content, and dealing with the inevitable legal issues from FIA/FOM.

The remaining €400M would be split amongst the 8 teams, providing each with €50M of funding. Whether this is split evenly, or a tiered system is a decision left up for the teams. I'd reward success, but not so much that it results in prohibits other teams from becoming successful.

Perhaps, a minimum of €40M/team, with the remaining €80M being divided up between the top 4 teams?

As viewership increases, which it will - an estimated 200 M people watch Formula 1 presently, revenues will increase, and thus the revenue share amongst the teams could increase accordingly.

So thats the circuits, and the viewing sorted. This leaves the cars. I think for 2010, as cars will be almost developed already, the possibilities are somewhat limited. I would favour freer development, but keeping the focus on making it a sport where the driver does make a real difference.

Is there anything else left to sort?

Update!!
I put some thought into what is left for the FIA run Formula 1.

Its not looking good. I mean the only current F1 teams who have signed up, are Williams, and Force India, powered by Toyota and Ferrari respectively.

With Toyota and Ferrari being part of the FOTA contingent, it becomes uncertain whether those power train supply deals will continue.

This could mean that Formula 1 ends up being an entirely Cosworth powered field, which whilst good for Cosworth, would make the field an even less exciting prospect.

Perhaps the only silver lining in the dark gloomy cloud hanging over the FIA's F1, is that it will give Williams a real chance of being champions again, but the significance, and joy will be severely dampened seeing as it will be against a fairly weak field.