AutoMatters & More: Serious Problems for Formula 1 Racing plus Reviewing the LitraPro LED Light for Photography

Exciting Formula 1 action in 2012 at Circuit of the Americas
(Jan Wagner)

Formula 1 Racing Facing Serious Problems

Long revered as arguably the pinnacle of auto racing – if not all of motorsports – worldwide, Formula 1 racing is now in serious trouble. Ultimately, racing depends on having lots of spectators to generate its massive required revenue. Sponsors pay a large part of that tab, but if spectators do not watch the races – either in person, on TV or on a streaming device, the sponsorship will surely dry up. There are only a few manufacturers that can sustain the enormous costs of Formula 1 for very long, and if no one is watching, the only benefit for them would be product development. Smaller teams would surely fold, and Formula 1 would collapse as a major form of motorsports.

What is the problem? For the answers to that, all one really needs to do is review the results of all of this year’s Formula 1 races. That will reveal that one team has utterly dominated the races. That team is the two-car Mercedes Formula 1 team.

Crowds of fans watching F1 at Circuit of the Americas in 2012
(Jan Wagner)

The first race of the year was the Australian GP, which was won by Valtteri Bottas, driving for Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton, his Mercedes teammate, came in second. The next race was the Bahrain GP. The order was reversed, but the same two drivers were on top of the results sheet. At the Chinese Grand Prix, the story was the same. At the Azerbaijan GP, Valtteri won again, with Lewis coming in second. At the Spanish GP, Lewis was back in form and won the race, followed again by Bottas.

On Monaco’s ultra-tight street circuit, Lewis won again, but this time it was a Ferrari that came in second, driven by Sebastian Vettel. However, this was not a typical Formula 1 track.

In Montreal, Vettel’s Ferrari took the checkered flag first – but then he was demoted to second due to a very unpopular application of the rules, elevating Hamilton to the top step of the podium.

Therein lies Formula 1’s second big problem: its rules. Let racers race. That’s what the fans come to see. When good, hard racing is penalized by the rules, something is very wrong.

F1 racing at Circuit of the Americas in 2012
(Jan Wagner)

This past weekend saw the most boring race of the year: the French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard. Between the inability of any of the other teams to be competitive with the Mercedes duo (Lewis won again), and the forgiving runoff areas, this race was a snoozer.

So, what should be done? Racing is a show. Some may cringe at the suggestion that Formula 1 would be well served to look to NASCAR and IndyCar for how they can and should improve the show. Since IndyCars are, by design, ultra-competitive with each other, any of the drivers might win any race. That is exciting for race fans and good for the sport.

Formula 1 should act this season – not wait until next season or beyond. This situation poses an existential threat to Formula 1 racing and should be treated with the attention that situation warrants.

LitraPro LED light and accessories
(Jan Wagner)

Reviewing the LitraPro LED Light for Photography

As promised in my recent AutoMatters & More column about Cine Gear Expo at Paramount Studios, I am now able to review the LitraPro LED light that I saw there. They sent one to me, along with several accessories.

At the heart of the system is the major award-winning (CES and NAB) LitraPro LED light. Litra describes the LitraPro as “the world’s first full spectrum bi-color (3000-6000K) compact video and photo adventure light on the market.” It includes Bluetooth, adjustable color temperature and is fully dimmable. Furthermore, it is waterproof, compact and constructed of rugged yet lightweight aluminum.

Accessories including a set of colored filters, soft box, barn doors, an adjustable cold shoe ball mount and more make it fully suitable for not only uncompromising video needs, but also as a stand-mounted or even a hand-held light source.

LitraPro LED light on cold shoe ball mount
(Jan Wagner)

It is powerful and bright (1200 Lumens), factory calibrated to =/- 100k accuracy and can be used in combination with additional lights, offering both corded and cordless operation (45 minutes to 10 hours of rechargeable battery life). I used it on and off my Nikon Z6 camera and found it incredibly versatile.

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Copyright © 2019 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #596r2