I Read an interesting tweet today from the friends over at Pole Position (http://www.twitter.com/PolePositionP1),  that TV Ratings for the past 2013 Formula 1 Season has gone down 10% on 2012. That’s a HUGE amount. These days, TV Networks crap their pants when a series ratings DON’T go up. An interesting one, and they asked, is Sebastian Vettel single-handedly to blame? I thought, since this is a good topic, that I would throw my hat (or small cap), into the ring and give you my take on it!

To answer in simple terms – Is Vettel’s dominance the problem? Partly, yes. But it’s not the complete problem. Allow me to explain…

"Vettel after winning his 4th Straight Championship in India"

“Vettel after winning his 4th Straight Championship in India”

I’ve been watching Formula 1 since about 2000 (Yeah, I’m old), so I was raised into the dominance of Michael Schumacher. His reign of terror in Formula 1 with Ferrari (5 World Titles, winning 45 of 85 in that span), might be unmatched, but towards the end of that run, ratings were plummeting. Casual fans were tuning out, citing boredom. Something had to be done.

So the great entertainer, Bernie “Vincent Kennedy McMahon” Ecclestone, changed the rules, making it that tyres had to go the full race distance, crippling the Bridgestone running Ferrari, and giving a huge advantage to the more durable and efficient Michelin running competition. It gave rise to the Fernando Alonso era, Michael himself saying: “It’s like they’ve blunted my weapon.

"Schumacher. So strong in 2004, they changed to rules to stop his dominance."

“Schumacher. So strong in 2004, they changed to rules to stop his dominance.”

In the current Bernie era, he’s always been looking for ways to make the sport more entertaining, including Sprinklers, a Medal system, the new Double Point system for Abu Dhabi 2014, and so on. He’s always wanted the title to go around because it apparently makes things more entertaining for the casual viewer. If anything, it worked too well. 2006-2010 had 5 different World Champions (Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Button, Vettel), and we were all jolly well happy.

Well, what happened here in 2013? The easy thing to say, would be Sebastian Vettel’s dominance, maybe even more so than 2011, the other year Seb’s destroyed the opposition. Winning 9 races in a row is frankly unheard of in modern day F1, and when it’s coming from a driver even more polarizing (More on the negative end following Multi-21 from this same season), it’s got to put even more people off; considering he doesn’t have Schumi’s fan-base.

"Is it unfair to judge 2013, considering how these two went to war the previous year?"

“Is it unfair to judge 2013, considering how these two went to war the previous year?”

I still say there’s more to it than that. You have to remember, the 9 in a row came after Pirelli had to change the tyre designs after the PR disaster that was the British Grand Prix, which before hand, the field was definitely closer together and a tad more competitive.  Don’t get me wrong, I think RBR had the best package beforehand, but the tyre changes sealed the deal. Yay for political influence as Red Bull and Mercedes led the complaints commission.

On top of that, we were coming off a blockbuster season in 2012. 2012 featured 7 different winners in the first 7 races, from 6 different teams (Including Williams of all people), and a Championship in which Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel went head to head, all the way down to the final race with some incredible drama. 2013 just didn’t have that. Nothing really compelling on track (More off of it), where even when the field was close, there wasn’t really a brilliant race that captured the causal spectators eye either. We as F1 fans going into 2013, if you ask me, were a little spoilt.

"Sporting spectacles like the Superbowl can reach casual fans far beyond their own sport."

“Sporting spectacles like the Superbowl can reach casual fans far beyond their own sport.”

To me, when it comes down to it, the casual fan is so important in sport. Look at last night’s Superbowl. It’s one of those incredible spectacles in sport that people who don’t even care about the NFL, will watch anyway, for moments such as Bruno Mars and the half time show, and they appreciate the production. Same for Wrestlemania every year. Anyone who has been a Wrestling fan in the past or only watches on an occasional basis, will tune in for Mania’s epic spectacle, and often, out of sheer curiosity.

Does this apply to you? Were you bored of 2013? Do you think it’s Vettel’s fault? Is it on the rest of the field for not being competitive enough? Something else? Let me know below!