The survival of independent motorsport websites

F1 fans running onto a circuit

The motorsport media landscape is becoming a closed circle. But two long-running F1 websites are fighting back to fly the flag for independent publishing.

It is cheering to see the well-established motorsport journalist Dieter Rencken joining the independent website F1 Fanatic as a columnist.

I first became aware of F1 Fanatic when it was an independent fan blog, well over ten years ago now. Many other blogs faded away over time (including my own!). But F1 Fanatic grew to become the prominent and consistently reliable resource it is today.

The site’s owner Keith Collantine is kind enough to link my blog posts from time to time, and I even had the tremendous honour and privilege to write a handful of articles for F1 Fanatic some years ago.

By the sound of Dieter Rencken’s first article for F1 Fanatic, there are exciting plans ahead for the website.

Another long-running blog I have followed for years is Formula 1 Blog. The new owners of F1 have taken the decision to control their trademark more tightly, meaning they have had to change their name to The Parc Fermé.

These developments are all the more important when almost every motorsport media outlet is being hoovered up by one entity, Motorsport Network. It has absorbed the TV channel Motors TV, taken over venerable institutions like Autosport, and even owns part of the Formula E championship.

Zak Brown is Motorsport Network’s non-executive chairmain. He is also the executive director of McLaren, as well as the founder of United Autosports, a team that competes in a variety of championships. On top of that, he has also been touted as a future commercial chief of Formula 1.

These are lots of fingers in lots of pies.

I don’t know what has driven the rapid expansion of Motorsport Network over the past few years, and I can’t tell if there is an ulterior motive. But it can’t be healthy for one organisation to own so much of the media that covers a sport with so much money and politics.

Thanks, Keith, for keeping F1 Fanatic independent, and providing a platform for the likes of Dieter Rencken to operate independently.

And hats off to Todd McCandless, the owner of The Parc Fermé, for taking the effort to keep the site alive with a name change.

These are two independent Formula 1 outlets well worth your time.

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