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#1 Mohican

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 09:10

I started a thread named "Give us back Grand Prix racing - F1 is boring" the other day, and am happy to have received widespread support.

One aspect that is often overlooked when it comes to bemoaning the ever-increasing commercialisation of motor sport is the influence of the media, and how the media - and in particular the press - slides further into the gutter.

Case in point: I have subscribed to Autosport since 1970, and have become quite disgusted with its tabloidisation over recent years. Not a single headline without words like "hero", "shock", etc. - and an incomprehensible focus on Britain. I understand that the magazine is sold mainly in the UK, but Haymarket Publishing needs to make up its mind if they want to publish an international reference respected by the international motor racing community, or a UK gutter rag focusing on issues like David Coulthard's sex life. Nigel Roebuck is the only journalist that keeps me reading Autosport today - and there must be many like me.

Autocar is the same - worse, in fact - and is of course also a Haymarket title. I can quite understand why guys like Peter windsor only write in F1 Racing nowadays.

My point is that the media is under commercial pressure, and this of course is the same for the specialist racing press - which makes it extra sad to see that the only recipe in the minds of publishers and editors appears to be a lowering of standards. Overall, the only effect is to make readers turn to even more specialised providers of information - such as Atlas F1, and the Nostalgia Forum.

Great to have you around.

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#2 Jeremy Jackson

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 12:38

I agree totally about Autosport. I also started my subscription in 1970, and my brother has been buying Autocar for longer and we both agree that the quality of writing is pretty sub-standard.

I filled in Autosport's survey to that effect at the end of last year aswell, but since I had no interest in their "prize" (British GP tickets), I don't suppose they'll care about what I wrote.

I've stopped buying it reguarly anyway, for precisely the rasons you've mentioned.

Glad I'm not the only one!

#3 BRG

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 14:25

Originally posted by Mohican
an incomprehensible focus on Britain

This sort of nonsense really gets up my nose. Let me explain in simple terms. Autosport and Autocar are British magazines. They are written for British readers. If they sell many copies outside the UK, it is probably mainly to expatriate Britons. They do not aspire to be producing an international product. That's why they cater for a British audience> That's why they talk more about British drivers and topics.

I agree that the quality of some reporting is not very good, but if you don't like these British magazines why do you buy or read them???? :confused: I never read any criticism in this BB that the German or Italian or Brazilian press pander to a German, Italian or Brazilian audience. So why is some sort of higher standard demanded of the British media? If you don't like it, get a better one of your own!

#4 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 14:29

I have to agree with BRG, that it always puzzles me when people complain that autosport is too pro-British given that it is a British magazine. However, it probabily would make comercial sense to make the magazine as less country-of-origin orientated as possible.

#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 14:42

Originally posted by BRG
if you don't like these British magazines why do you buy or read them???? :confused: .... If you don't like it, get a better one of your own!


In the words of a former Prime Minister when she had her mind set on a policy:

"There is no alternative"

Autocar absorbed the Motor some years ago and its only rival Auto Express pays scant attention to sport - Auto Express makes Autocar look intellectual anyway!

Autosport's only rival is Motorsport News, now owned by ..... Haymarket! So they've tailored the two to appeal to different markets: MN now concentrates on rallying and grassroots racing, including stockcars etc. It's not the publication it was either!

And of course Haymarket also own MotorSport, Classic & Sports Car and F1 Racing ... these at least have an international outlook but as monthlies are not as immediate as Autosport.

#6 Don Capps

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 15:13

Let me not mince words: Autosport is and has been pieces of paper best suited for lining birdcages to collect birdshit for years and years. I started reading it back in the 1950's when Gregor Grant was still at the helm and what exists to day must have him spinning in his grave -- and at very high rpm's. Out of a sort of morbid curiosity, I do pick up a copy now and again (if there is something interesting by Mr. Roebuck in it), but I usually regret it since it only encourages them to print the other garbage....

This probably applies to many of the other tabloids and monthlies as well. Once upon a time I had many, many automotive and racing magazines pouring into the mailbox and had to suffer many Dagger Stares from She Who Must Be Obeyed each time I fished them out -- or worse, when she did. Now? Motor Sport, Vintage Motorsport, and one other. And I happen to love magazines. Perhaps I need to start getting The Alternative.

As for the British nature of Autosport and the others, Perfidious Albion at work once again: in the English language press, take a wild guess who seems to have cornered the market on motoring and especially racing magazines -- Haymarket. Racer and Sports Car are both Haymarket productions, the former producing the latter.

But, so it goes....

#7 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 16:18

Don, maybe if you ever got The Society for Motor Racing History off the ground you could have a nice, highquality newletter/magazine to read every month? :)

#8 Don Capps

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 17:59

Originally posted by MrAerodynamicist
Don, maybe if you ever got The Society for Motor Racing History off the ground you could have a nice, highquality newletter/magazine to read every month? :)


Believe it or not, that is still an item on my personal agenda for when I hang up the uniform. I think that when the time comes, Mr. A., you will be one of the first to whom I put a subscription form in the mail for supporting The Cause. :lol:

#9 BRG

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 18:17

I apologise for the tone of my earlier post - it was more suited to RCF than this more rational forum.
But whilst I am not strongly nationalistic, I am still British and find unfair digs at my country and its institutions irritating (as indeed, I am sure, do the rest of you in respect of your countries).

I agree with Don that Autosport isn't what it was, and nor is Motorsport News (which is my particular weekly read). As far as Mohican's original points, and those of others as well, on the quality of reporting go, it is fair comment. These magazines should be criticised for falling standards.

But people outside Britain need to realise that our sense of national pride has become far more overt in the last 30 years. When I was a lad, the British were almost embarrassed to show patriotic spirit, except at carefully controlled events like royal weddings. No-one flew the national flag on homes or business premises, in the way that you can see it flown in other countries. Even now, government buildings only fly the flag on special days, like the Queen's birthday. But over these years, there has been a gradual loosening of that reticence.

In motor racing this has been demonstrated by the growth of patriotic support for (some) British drivers. First, it was Hunt, then of course, there was Mansellmania, which co-incided with the Thatcher years when a right wing government played the nationalist card frequently. Then it was support for Hill, which was stoked up of course by his rivalry with a German driver. Nowadays, British support for home drivers matches the level of national support given to Brazilian, US, Australian, German etc drivers. In this respect, Britain has "come out" and is now as openly partisan as everyone else. Is that a pity? Perhaps.

The British specialist press have simply been reflecting this change and has moved from the old school, high-minded and measured commentary of Jenks etc. (although he had his nationalist moments) to a more "tabloid" style. But they have to cater for their market and most British enthusiasts want to know about British drivers and British teams and constructors rather than Greek or Peruvian ones. The expectations of non-British readers that our press has some obligation to adopt a more neutral and international viewpoint than the media of other countries is simply unreasonable. Hence my reaction to Mohican's comment about "an incomprehensible focus on Britain". but I stick to my (perhaps rather brutal) stance that if the British media does not suit non-British readers, then they should seek a media that does.

Thank you and have a nice day!

#10 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 19:07



It could be worse: the motorsport magazine market could have cornered by the french and have had every issue dedicated to Prost :)



#11 Roger Clark

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 19:19

I'm no great fan of the modern Autosport but I think that to criticise it for its focus on Britain is misleading, especially if in comparison with the same magazine in the 1950s. In part this was economic, the magazine couldn't afford many foreigh corresondants in those days. But it was a reflection of the times; when they published race results, British cars and drivers would often be highlighted in bold. THey were fairly liberal in their definition of British; Jack Brabham was often given the "honour".

I am looking at at the edition published 50 years ago, almost to the day. It records the death of King George VI. I t says:

In 1950, the late King graciously agreed to attend the opening meeting at Silvverstone, the RAC Grand Prix and it was with great pride that followers of motor sport saw their King being introduced to the drivers, and watching the racing with an intelligent interest.

The reign of the new Queen coincides with a new era in British motoring sport and it is to be hoped that the famous victories of Le Mans and Monte Carlo will be followed by many more, thus furthering the mounting prestige of British automobile engineering and making an incalculable contribution to the future of this country's vital export trade.



#12 Steve Williams

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 21:23

It could be worse: the motorsport magazine market could have cornered by the french and have had every issue dedicated to Prost



How about the ostensibly British F1 Magazine. Every issue worships at the shrine of Senna (I still rate him as best every by a very small margin). It's not Senna I have a problem with, it's the Icarus-like fawning of their 'scribes' that gets me every time.

#13 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 21:27

F! magazine might have an unhealth obsession with Ayrton but I don't think you can put that one down to Nationalism. Well at least the last time I check Brazil wasn't part of the UK :)

#14 Joe Fan

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Posted 14 February 2002 - 03:30

Originally posted by BRG
This sort of nonsense really gets up my nose. Let me explain in simple terms. Autosport and Autocar are British magazines. They are written for British readers.


Well, why don't they just call their mags British Autosport and British Motorsport as to not confuse the rest of us?

#15 Mohican

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Posted 14 February 2002 - 08:59

For BRG:

I think that you miss one very important point I was trying to make before, and I quote from my own first comments: "Haymarket Publishing needs to make up its mind if they want to publish an international reference respected by the international motor racing community, or a UK gutter rag".

English is a language spoken the world over, and is very often the only foreign language in a given country. In many countries where motor racing is not highly publicised or well covered (due to economic considerations, lack of successful local drivers or teams, whatever) the English language specialist press is the only one available. Which gives Haymarket Publishing a very large commercial opportunity - and this in turn imposes a certain responsibility on them for journalistic standards. Which they are very far from living up to today.

Simple as that. It has nothing to do with nationalism or xenophobia.

In fact, personally find the French monthly "Sport-Auto" vastly better - and Jabby Crombac has certainly never shied away from praising or criticising (as appropriate and when due) the likes of Renault, Ligier, Prost or Larrousse.

#16 BRG

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Posted 14 February 2002 - 12:16

Mohican

I think that Haymarket Publishing has made up its mind about this long since. It is catering for the British market. For instance, "Motorsport News" has the words "the voice of British motorsport" beneath its title (Joe Fan, please note!!). You may feel that Haymarket are wrong, but it is their commercial decision to make. They may well think that the costs of catering and distributing to an international market outweigh the commercial benefits. Just because a lot of other countries use the English language does not put any obligation on the British to cater for them as well. And I do not notice any part of the US media (news or specialist) making any concessions whatsoever to English-speaking readers outside the USA.

If you think that these British motorsport publications have poor quality reporting, lack objectivity and have gone downhill in recent years, then fair enough - that is your opinion and it is one with which many, including myself, will at least partly agree.

But if you consider that they are "UK gutter rags" simply because they choose to cater for a British, rather than an international, audience, then that is IMO not a reasonable view.

#17 Yorgos

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Posted 14 February 2002 - 12:31

Originally posted by Mohican

............
In fact, personally find the French monthly "Sport-Auto" vastly better - and Jabby Crombac has certainly never shied away from praising or criticising (as appropriate and when due) the likes of Renault, Ligier, Prost or Larrousse.........


...ehm, I dont know if you did it on purpose but Sport Auto is owned by
EMAP and I dont think that Gerard Crombac has even a monthly column.

Cheers
Yorgos

#18 Rob29

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Posted 14 February 2002 - 12:43

Must be more than one 'Sport Auto' The french one when I last saw it,was monthly,and contained little sport. Best french mag was Auto Hebdo,which I used to be able to buy at a shop in London.

#19 Mohican

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Posted 15 February 2002 - 09:51

BRG:

I do not disagree, in that I think that Haymarket HAS as you say made up its mind to serve the UK market only - when it comes to MN and Autosport. This does however not explain why the journalism needs to be of such low quality. Surely you British deserve better, just like the rest of us ?

It is interesting to note that Haymearket is going in the opposite direction with F1 Racing and Autocar, both of which are published in several "foreign" languages.

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#20 Criceto

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Posted 15 February 2002 - 10:08

The thing that really rankles with me is that Autosport has allowed itself to deteriorate so badly and so fast. Even 15 years ago, you could rely on finding a good read amongst the club racing reports, whereas now you will be lucky to find a half a page devoted to a meeting, the body of the text simply reiterating what their truncated results tables have already told you.

Many are the times I have come back from a thrilling national race meeting, and been left wondering whether Autosport actually had a reporter there at all, or if he had actually figured out where the track was.

As a case in point, last summer I was treated to an exhilarating race display between Trevor Taylor in a Ford GT40 and Win Percy in a Samuri Datsun 240Z. Two racing legends, dicing hard in two evocative cars. Autosport summed up the race in three sentences without mentioning the duel.

But last week, thanks to Autosport, we could learn everything we ever wanted about Jacques Villeneuve's winter snowsports holiday in a feature article.

Autosport has managed to become a disappointment for everyone. It's not glossy enough for the "Hello" market, it's not learned enough to inform the aficionado.

Mohican has it right. We DO deserve better.

#21 BRG

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Posted 15 February 2002 - 11:27

Originally posted by Mohican
Surely you British deserve better, just like the rest of us ?

Yes, I am sure we do!

I suppose the bottom line is that if the British audience for Autosport and MN don't like these products, we should apply exactly the same rule as I have been suggesting for the non-British audience - if we don't like it, don't buy it. It is only by losing or gaining customers that the suppliers of any product can learn if it is what people want or not, and act accordingly. But unfortunately it may be that there is a bigger audience for the tabloid style of reporting than for the more "purist" style that we would prefer. :(

#22 Leif Snellman

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Posted 30 June 2002 - 16:27

Originally posted by Mohican
One aspect that is often overlooked when it comes to bemoaning the ever-increasing commercialisation of motor sport is the influence of the media, and how the media - and in particular the press - slides further into the gutter.

Case in point: I have subscribed to Autosport since 1970, and have become quite disgusted with its tabloidisation over recent years. Not a single headline without words like "hero", "shock", etc. - and an incomprehensible focus on Britain.

My point is that the media is under commercial pressure, and this of course is the same for the specialist racing press - which makes it extra sad to see that the only recipe in the minds of publishers and editors appears to be a lowering of standards.

Originally posted by Don Capps
Let me not mince words: Autosport is and has been pieces of paper best suited for lining birdcages to collect birdshit for years and years.

After having bought Autosport for a quarter of a century, including subscribing for several years I sadly have come to the same conclusion as the Mohican and Don.

I simply have had enough!

So bye, bye, Autosport. I have no intention of bying any more copies in the forseeable future.

#23 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 June 2002 - 17:20

As a former'Autosport' contributor - and avid collector - I can only say how sad it has been to witness this one-time journal of record's consistent deterioration. Quite recently I have thought it was actually beginning to improve, but you should hear some of the long-timers still involved with it who spit bullets regularly about it, the poor standards applied, the errors made...and above all the fact that nobody seems to CARE over accuracy, detail, evidence, record.

BRG has it absolutely right - the bean counters who run Haymarket made the strategic decision long ago to 'popularise' the journal's approach and coverage. This was largely enforced by an Australian mafia who seemed to infest the place - presumably Murdoch trained????

In part this involved applying school of journalism practises to the content - in effect no story of more than 1,000 words - the vast majority of no more than 500 - no sentence of more than ten words - no word of more than three syllables. Concentrate on the easy to digest - avoid dense detail - magnify personality - diminish technicality.

At one stage the 'art' department seemed to take precedence - black print on blue blobs, yellow print on buff blobs, text over photographs. The thing was designed by designers seeking the envy/approval of other designers. No thought about the poor would-be readers. But the major distinction between the present magazine and that of its probable heyday during the late-1960s and 1970s is that a proportion of the staff are short-term journos with backgrounds in local newspapers, on 'Autosport' this year, perhaps on 'Slot-Machine Monthly' or 'What Skateboard' next year, then into the dizzy heights of management thereafter. The current editor seems to have his heart in the right place - a bloke who made real sacrifices to step DOWN into his present role - but whether he can do much for what should have been the journal's core constutuency I frankly doubt...

I recently actually RENEWED my subscription after missing on four years - but merely to maintain my run from August 1950.

DCN

#24 Speed Demon

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Posted 30 June 2002 - 18:28

I tend to agree with Doug about the problems with Autosport. Even in the mid-90s, there was always something worth reading about. I can vividly recall buying my issue each Thursday and reading it cover to cover by the end of Friday. But these days I will scout through the news, have a look at some of the race reports and then put it on a shelf and forget about it. I've just checked the past two month's worth, and I'd estimate that I have read only 50 percent of the articles. The features are so formulaic they are hardly worth bothering with these days.

Trouble is, it is the only weekly racing magazine, and although it is totally dominated by F1, it still provides much of the information I have on some of the other series around the world. I'm not sure how bad it would have to be for me to stop buying it, but as it stands, it does still have value (just). However, it saddens me greatly that it is now a (very) pale imitation of what it once was.

#25 Gary C

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Posted 30 June 2002 - 18:34

Can I tell you a quick story that is Haymarket related?? A couple of years ago, I and a friend were going to start an historic racing magazine, it was going to be quarterly, perfect bound, full colour etc. We did all the studies, worked out the finanncies etc and in the end were ready to launch it. Through a friend I had available a couple of F1 cars to use at any time. We thought it would be a good idea to launch it at the Autosport Show at the NEC in Birmingham. Just one drawback when we enquired the prices of stands, as we were a competitor to Autosport, Motor Racing News, Motor Sport we were not allowed to hire a stand for the week! Enough said???? (especially when you think of all the other people / products that exhibit at that show).

#26 ensign14

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Posted 30 June 2002 - 18:44

Hey, it's still the best place to check out the Belgian Procar results from 1993 or any stuff like that. And don't say 'the Internet', at some point most of it will vanish because of rising costs.

I never liked that Michael Heseltine...  ;)

#27 fines

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Posted 30 June 2002 - 21:13

I had forgotten to renew my subscription earlier this year. I don't miss it.

#28 FredF1

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Posted 01 July 2002 - 09:30

I bought Autosport quite regularly for a few years in the 90's but once I had regular internet access, I gave up buying any magazines.
The 'British-centric' tone never really bothered me all that much. Although, I used to get quite a giggle out of the latest "Johnny Herbert says he can win in the ____ grand prix this weekend" stuff - Could that have been the cause of all his misfortune?
I read Nigel Roebuck's Q&A every week but that's about it. The rest of the site isn't up to much - no better or worse than many other motor racing websites. And those pop-up ads give it a high score in the 'annoyance factor' stakes.

#29 Zoe

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Posted 01 July 2002 - 16:04

The first F1 magazine I found and subsequently bought was the Swiss or Austrian "Motorsport Aktuell". It comes in a format equal to a yellow press tabloid, and I am sorry to say that the contents were adequate to its appearance. Still, it was the only weekly motor sport magazine in Germany, or so I thought.

Then I disvocered Autosport and, although quite expensive in Germany, immediately swapped. I didn't buy all the editions at first, because of the price, but the contents, oh.my.god. So there came the subscription, some time in 92 or 93 I guess. And it lasted until 2000, when I finally gave up on Autosport. Internet had played its role as well and I was eventually upset enough with the writing style and bias that I cancelled my subscription. 100 quid could buy me a lot of internet access time and the occasional magazine.

I found the reporting to have become quite poor over time, Nigel Roebuck apparently dropped into a state of nostalgian self-pity (Ah, those were the times), and the rest simply wasn't worth it.

Sometimes I do miss the opportunity to flip through the magazine in the bathtub, or read about CART and ALMS races, but then so what.

Now I have a complete set of Autosports from early to late 90ies to sell; anyone interested?;)

Zoe

#30 fines

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Posted 01 July 2002 - 16:44

Yes, interested in the early ones! My subscription only began in early 1995. Do you live in Germany?

#31 JohnS

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Posted 01 July 2002 - 16:45

Zoe, I agree with you about Nigel Roebuck. I much prefer the stuff he writes for Motor Sport these days, as his love of the sport (as it was) really comes through. When I read his Autosport column I wonder if he even enjoys visiting the races any more (and his endless jibes at the current government are rather tiresome - I'm not a fan either but I don't feel the need to tell everyone all the time).

John

#32 Zoe

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Posted 01 July 2002 - 18:26

Uh-oh, I never thought anyone might be interested in the "modern times" of Autosport :) I have to check what issues and years I actually do have; they are all neatly stowed in boxes in a deep corner of my (dry) basement. I'll keep you posted.

Yes, I do live in Germany (Munich). I think the biggest problem would be shipping them, because of weight.....

Zoe

#33 Barry Boor

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 06:33

It is somewhat comforting to find so many other people who have been regular Autosport readers but who, like myself, have stopped buying it.

My Father bought me my first one, 1957 Monaco Grand Prix issue, and I had several in the late 1950s. Then from Easter 1959 on, I had them all.

The reason I stopped buying it, in the summer of 2000 was not out of dislike for its jingoistic attitudes (I never really noticed them!), but simply that I was not getting the race reports that I wanted. Major races seemed to have lots of graphics, lots of little sections about this that and the other (well, not so much about the other, actually) but virtually nothing describing the progress of the race.

Looking at an issue from the fifties, sixties or seventies, you will find the races described chronologically, as they progressed. The modern method of producing a race report just didn't suit me at all.

On a different point, as an Englishman living in North West Wales, I think one or two of the above posters should try to understand that the word British has no meaning. You are either English or you are not. Come up here where I live and talk about things 'British' and see what reaction you get!!!!!

#34 Kuwashima

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 07:38

In my oh-so-short life, the only magazine I have ever subscribed to (as opposed to buying frequent copies of) is AtlasF1. :)

#35 Gil Bouffard

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 05:36

Having traveled around the world, I found that there was a constant in both Autosport and Motor Sport.

In Japan there were a couple of auto sport magazines-slick covers and lots of colo(u)r photos. My inability at Kanji or Kata Kana made reading the reports difficult.

The German magazines Auto Motor und Sport, Sport Auto and so on were interesting and I could read the language. I used to get Motorsport Aktuell which was also subtitled POWERSLIDE.

Back in the dark days, I was an original subscriber to Denise McCluggage's Competition Press. It did a fair job of reporting.

There are a plethora of car magazines in America. Most cover NASCAR or Drag Racing or Indy---Ooops! Champ Cars.

On Track went from good to just another rag. The print of National Speed Sport News comes off on my fingers.

I complain about Autosport and Motor Sport because I remember what they used to be and I am disappointed by their inability to remember history.

Living as I do in the Central Valley of California where the last few days have been in the hundreds, I need something to cool me off and Motor Sport, Autosport and Vintage Racecar do an excellent job.

I have also found that I get more out of the various websites that I have on http://www.fastlinesinternational.com

Gil

#36 Felix Muelas

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Posted 06 January 2003 - 12:09

Originally posted by Barry Boor
It is somewhat comforting to find so many other people who have been regular Autosport readers but who, like myself, have stopped buying it.


Actually there HAS to be a common element in all of us, as far as our attitude to Autosport. Trying to figure out what I think has been recently the most irritating feature of the magazine (that I will not be buying anymore after so many years of almost religious behaviour --albeit on Thursdays--) I think it has to be related with its graphic aspect. Too many pictures and a recently redesigned aspect, that made me think that they wanted deliberately make the magazine look AS IF IT WAS NOT A PRODUCT TO BE READ, just to be looked at.

Of course that is exactly what I think it is, and that is probably the last reason I needed to stop buying it.

Now, considering that we have to pay here in Gibraltar a supplement covering the costs of transportation from the United Kingdom (70 pence for this magazine, for instance) I notice that I have spent, for instance, the incredible amount of £182 this past year in Autopsort. :eek: Those pounds equal more or less $280, so I'll make the following assumption for this year 2003 : I'll spend $36 on my AtlasF1/FORIX subscription and I will still have $244 (GBP 160) to spend in some other REALLY interesting motoring-related items, not in Autosport!

If only everything in life was as simple as this... ;)

Felix

#37 Paul Parker

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 17:39

Re: all the comments about magazines, jingoism etc., etc.

The dumbing down of printed matter in general is the hallmark of prejudice that patronises younger readers and assumes, wrongly, that they will not be able or want to cope with anything too precise or thorough. In short most British car and racing magazines, but not all, apparently have a target audience aged between 14-18. It also costs less money to produce and most of their readers will not know any better unless they can be reliably informed elsewhere.

This is what happens when accountants (motto: Cheapest is best) are allowed to take charge, and is symptomatic of many similar ills that afflict every aspect of life in Britain from retailing, public services, health, education, transport infrastructure, customer service (an oxymoron in British terms) and even law and order. Quality, continuity, accuracy and honesty are anathema as they cost too much and take up too much time.

#38 fines

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 18:51

Originally posted by Paul Parker
This is what happens when accountants (motto: Cheapest is best) are allowed to take charge, and is symptomatic of many similar ills that afflict every aspect of life in Britain from retailing, public services, health, education, transport infrastructure, customer service (an oxymoron in British terms) and even law and order. Quality, continuity, accuracy and honesty are anathema as they cost too much and take up too much time.

Not only in Britain... Germany is about to be taken over by idiots all the same - not that we do not have an idiotic past, though... :rolleyes:

#39 Mark A

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 19:30

The comments about Autosport etc are very interesting to read and mirror my own. In the mid 90's I was a subscriber to both Autosport and Motoring News. Both because of my interest in F1 and circuit racing (Autosport) and Rallying (MN). However someone commented that Haymarket had aimed MN (don't like the name change) at the grassroots. It always was, but in my opinion no longer is. There used to be regular reports on road rallies, autotests etc etc the last time I bought MN this was all lacking. They even printed a report we did on a 12 car closed to club rally I organised, can't imagine this happening today.

I bought Autosport after the Austrian GP for all the gossip (or lack of) and didn't buy it again until this week, and only for the track guide (although I'll stick to Darrens site in future). The mag it'self was really bad. The testing from Barcelona took up a small corner in page 8, The 50 Greatest cars laughable. I was amused at the picture on the inside rear cover showing an impact between 2 cars in the Andros Trophy, this picture was about 5 times larger than the total coverage inside the magazine on the recent round.

Motorsport is the only Magazine I regularly buy every issue, I used to buy a magazine almost every day, now it struggles to be more than 3 a month.

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#40 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 19:42

Well for starters with the British (ie English speaking) press being very much the world press, there's allways going to be a heavy slant.


I think the big problem is there's no proper journalism to speak of in Grand Prix racing. Guys like Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Henry are some of the best writers ive ever read on any subject (Roebuck these days just rambles on like a fool) but at the same time there's very very little good reporting. If F1 was 'unprotected' How long until there would be an article about why Mclaren continue to charge sponsors X dollars a year and then take home 20% of their budget as profit. Or where the likes of Tom Walkinshaw and Eddie Jordan get their oney, or why some drivers get fast tracked to F1 and not others.

In many ways its good racing somewhat has a circle of mutual acquaintances protecting it, if the whole truth got out it'd sink pretty fsat.

#41 Holger Merten

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 19:56

Originally posted by fines

Not only in Britain... Germany is about to be taken over by idiots all the same - not that we do not have an idiotic past, though... :rolleyes:


Yes Fines thats completly right. Most of the magazines are cheap bullshit. Printed for ads inside and some articles too. The same with books. There are six new books about the boaring F1 season 2002. But it seems to me that they were written AND printed between the 1 december and the 6 december 2002. Nothing of interests or background stories. NONE, NICHTS, RIEN.

Fortunetly I have an international press store here in Basel, where I can have a look in the international motorsport magazines. So I have a wide range just to have a look and pick out the best for my interest.



And by the way. The best magazines are the corporate magazines. I like those from Mercedes, BMW, Audi or Saab or "Premium" from the PAG, which is really great. As well as the UK Audi magazine. Okay, sometimes a little bit too much pr, but good stories, well written and the best fotographers.

If I could find an independent magazine, on that niveau, yes I would buy it.

#42 Haddock

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 21:14

In many ways its good racing somewhat has a circle of mutual acquaintances protecting it, if the whole truth got out it'd sink pretty fsat.



Interestingly, this is exactly what an old friend of mine who works as a motorsport journalist says. And if half of what he was telling me bout messrs Ecclestone, Briatore and Walkinshaw was true......

#43 petefenelon

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 21:44

Originally posted by Haddock


Interestingly, this is exactly what an old friend of mine who works as a motorsport journalist says. And if half of what he was telling me bout messrs Ecclestone, Briatore and Walkinshaw was true......


In many respects Bernie-era F1 journalism seems the same as the "lobby correspondent" system the British government has allowed - in exchange for privileged access to the Houses of Parliament the Lobby effectively censors and regulates itself. The correspondents know a lot more than they're willing to tell us, and protect their sources, but if they did tell us they'd instantly lose their access!

Media and parliament both love this system - the media because they don't have to work terribly hard to get stories in such a leak-ridden environment, and parliament because they've got a tame bunch of journos who'll eat what they're given in preference to going to look for real stories.

pete

#44 René de Boer

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 21:50

Writing regularly about motorsport myself (as a correspondent for Autosport, Motorsport aktuell and a few others), I find the comments in this thread most interesting, and as a motorsport fan, I do agree with most of them. Yes, I would like to see in-depth reports, features of more than 1,000 words (yes, it can be done!!!), and not only about Formula 1! This is why I like so much browsing through 1960s and 1970s issues of Motor Sports, with detailed reports of all kinds of races by WB or DSJ. What a difference from what we get now: Autosport's "World of Sport" sometimes limited to 2 pages... Personally, I never like it when the word count for Autosport arrives, asking me to write only 100 words about German F3 or so... Still, it is better than nothing.

On the other hand, you have to take into account that there are two different groups. The first group are people like on TNF, who would like detailed reports, features etc. But unfortunately, I think that they are a minority, outnumbered by far by the second group, those for whom motorsport is identical with Formula 1 and who sometimes don't even know that there was racing before MS The Great arrived. And believe me, in Germany, it is even worse than in the UK.

Statistics show, for instance, that sales of Motorsport aktuell are less when there is something else than Schuey on the cover - people just won't buy it when the first page is showing a touring car, a sports car, a rally car or a motor cycle. MSa used to report more about racing other than F1, especially when it still was called "Powerslide", but now, it is 60 percent F1 as well, even on weekends when there is no GP. In Autosport, you can still find most results of the major international series and some news that is not F1-related, although I agree that it could be more (would give me some more work, too!).

The low point for me was Autosport's bumper mega ultra double Christmas issue (or whatever it was called), with a 60 page review of an F1 season that was probably the most boring ever, basically summing up everything that could be read in Autosport during the season itself, be it in race previews or reports. A nice sportscar story? I missed it. Something about touring cars? Failure. Probably, F1 is what the majority wants to read, and that's what they get.

And, like somebody correctly stated earlier in this thread, when the accountants are in control, and publishing companies are being run like any other company, things are not likely to change within the near future. Fortunately, there are still old Motor Sports to be read, or the American "Vintage Motorsport", or French magazines like "Le Mans Racing" and "Automobile Historique". And TNF...

BTW, Holger, thanks for the positive comments about corporate magazines. As you know, I write for some of them (Mercedes, Audi), and they indeed sometimes have space for features and reports of more than 500 words. And they pay better, too, but that's another thing.

#45 Holger Merten

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 22:02

Yes René, I already closed a post reply one minute before, where I'd like to ask you and Doug, what you think about this thread.

And may you'll agree, it's interesting to stay there near the race track or close to the pits, enjoy the privileges in the Vip-tent, talking to the drivers, enjoy your food, meet some nice girls.

And on the other hand I think we are living in a time, where most of the people wanted to have this fast-food journalism, snap something here, grab something there. Many pictures are welcome in the magazine, they don't like to read so much. They have seen it already on TV.

BTW. I tried to sell an article about AU, and nobody is interested in it. They told me, nobody is interested in the 30s, the space in a magazine is to expensive. Write something (anything!) about Formula 1.

NO, I won't.

#46 fines

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 16:32

Originally posted by René de Boer
Statistics show, for instance, that sales of Motorsport aktuell are less when there is something else than Schuey on the cover

Please remind me, when was the last time Schuey wasn't on the cover of MSa... :rolleyes:

#47 René de Boer

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 17:00

Originally posted by fines

Please remind me, when was the last time Schuey wasn't on the cover of MSa... :rolleyes:


Actually, this week, the cover shows a picture of Dottore Rossi... Must be a mistake, or they couldn't find a picture of Michael Schumacher during his winter holidays!

#48 Don Capps

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 17:21

I think that one interesting aspect of this discussion is that printed periodicals (or to be correct, 'serials') have undergone a very obvious transformation in the past two-plus decades -- with a very substantial part of that tranformation taking place in the past 5 to 8 years. With just the few exceptions which have mostly already been mentioned, it is difficult to pick up a recent racing magazine and have the same experience that you would have had some decades ago. "Read" -- and I use the term loosely -- a recent issue of, say, Autosport, from the 2002 season. Go back and read race reports from the 1982, 1972, 1962, and even 1952 seasons. Then compare and contrast the huge differences in just that one magazine. Ditto for Road & Track, Motor Sport, and so on and on.

I think the not so subtle shift in how we literally view racing today is in great measure the main factor in all this. It is interesting how this shift pretty much coincides with the rise of Michael Schumacher and the tightening of the FIA's grip (especially Eccelstone's) on how information is controlled in F1. With TV viewing of races becoming commonplace and the rise of the internet, Changes Were Made, as they say.

As a result of this shift, the literacy and focus of the racing magazines reinvented themselves in what they have become today -- varying combinations of Tiger Beat and the Dick & Jane Readers. With the ascension to near-total power of the Bean-ounters, the ultimate disciples of the Sect The Bottom Line, the need to minimalize content in the unendless quest for profitability became a dogmatic pursuit of the first degree. They then stumbled upon the fascinating phenomenon that despite producing magazines in which the number of words -- and their reading comprehension levels -- were pared significantly downward, they still sold lots of the magazines and to a new audience to boot. The formula was simple: lots of pictures and few words. And the words should be devoted to gossip and chatter as much as possible. And focus on F1 as much as possible, which the FIA generously helped by killing off all the other series except rallying.

It is ironic that Doug Nye, Graham Gauld, and others have not been able to float magazines which were literate, witty, and informational in the best sense of that term. Those few magazines not devoted to the coverage of F1 survive only after having to make some serious adjustments. Such may be life, but then again nothing says I have like it, even if I have no voice in whether or not I like it.

But, I will halt now before I digress further.....

#49 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 22:52

Well, it would appear that the widespread scepticism demonstrated here regarding Haymarket magazines is reflected in the world at large. The latest ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) figures for the UK for the Jul-Dec 2002 period have just been published. Of their five sport-related motoring magazines, only one is showing a year on year increase. Which one? Classic & Sports Car, which shows a fairly healthy 3.4% rise in a generally depressed market for motoring titles. I wonder if the fact that two distinguished TNF members write for it has anything to do with this?
:wave: Doug :wave: Mick :lol: To be fair, EMAP's Classic Car is also on the up (2.6% - but it has only half the circulation of C&SC). The only magazines in the sector with higher percentage increases are Maxpower (10.2%), Fast Car (6.0%), Evo (24.7%) and Classic Car Mart (4.7%). In the first two, the cars tend to play second fiddle to semi-clothed young ladies and the average buyer, at least in my shop, is about 15 years old. Evo is still very new, but is gaining fast on its competitors in the hotrodding market. Classic Car Mart speaks for itself: it's mainly advertising, but it's interesting that three classic car mags show increases!

And now the losers from Haymarket:

Autocar - down 2.6%

Autosport - down 12.3%. I wouldn't bet on a salary increase René!

Motorsport News - down 7.5%

Motor Sport - down 5.3%

F1 Racing - down a whopping 20.2%

Will heads roll???

#50 Don Capps

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 02:30

V2, what were the numbers like for the Bernie F1 magazine? Up or down? Racer is another Haymarket mag, any idea had it did?

With the F1 Racing numbers down as well as those for Autosport, I wonder what the response will be?