SPORT: F1 to compete with watching paint dry for TV viewers.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes take their 37th consecutive win of 2019 as previous Formula One TV viewers switch to watching paint dry.
Some said it was inevitable, some said the sport’s heyday was years ago and everyone under 50 years old said “Formula One? What’s that?”, but the declining interest in the ‘sport’ long predicted by the whole world has finally hit tipping point. On Friday, a poll of almost one million previously diehard F1 fans revealed that they've switched to watching paint dry.
Barry Alsop, leading motorsport pundit on BlogSpot ‘Revvin’, confirmed that the days of millions tuning in to watch twenty high performance racing cars have their tyres changed and hear a billionaire driver moaning on the car radio are over. “Nobody gives a toss. Every race, same teams, same line-up, same grid positions, no overtaking and that squeaky prat on Channel Four desperately trying to inject some tension. What a fucking drag.”
His views are borne out by the latest sport statistics. Since 2012, only Mercedes and Ferrari have won a race, with the German team taking the last 93 in a row. Interest in who wins the Saturday pole position shoot-out has collapsed since both teams took a 25 years lease on the first four grid spots and now share them in rotation. In addition, with overtaking banned, every racing move subject to a Steward’s enquiry and the other eight teams forced to run in second gear, on-track excitement has completely vanished.
The increasingly mundane nature of the sport has had huge effect on TV viewing figures. Ten years ago, a typical Grand Prix would draw a worldwide audience of more than 500 million. These days, not so much. UK viewing data for the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix shows that the event was only watched by Luton residents Ken Peterson and his cousin Ron – and even they tuned out after the fourth lap once Hamilton had established a comfortable 30 minutes lead. When asked why they failed to watch the entire race, the pair said there was a full load in the tumble dryer, so they watched that instead.
In contrast, the new pastime of observing the air-drying qualities of different paints has caught on at record pace. Estimates from the newly formed UK Paint Drying League (UKPDL) indicate that more than three million fans of latex and oil-based paints, resins and varnishes are regularly glued to their walls, doors and windowsills.
Comments on the UKPDL’s Twitter account reveal the high level of interest in the activity, with members saying, “It’s exciting to see if Dulux will be touch-dry faster than B&Q own label,” and “Our whole pub bets on different colours. Light pink beats shite brown any day.”
In June, the League announced that from 2020, they will host their own TV Channel, featuring 20 worldwide Grand Prix du Peinture in locations such as Rio, New York, London and Kazakhstan. Each event will be run over three days, with untimed practice on Friday, timed practice to determine brushes or rollers on Saturday and then the race spread over a sixteen hours period on Sunday. The events are predicted to draw viewing figures of over six billion.
In response to the anticipated interest, huge sums of money are being invested in the enterprise and main sponsor, Crown Paints, has committed to a five years contract to support all events with clean rags and turpentine. Sky TV has already confirmed they will air the races in place of their current F1 line-up and are considering hiring Kevin McCloud, host of home makeover show Grand Designs, as race commentator.
Total bull racing
Meanwhile, Liberty Media, the owners of F1, are fighting back, and are rumoured to be investigating the addition of new gimmicks to enliven their failing sport. A leaked internal memo from a recent Liberty ‘blue sky’ brainstorming session reveals that ideas include arming drivers with lances and having them drive at each other in a high-speed joust, and attaching a caravan to each car in a direct copy of the bullshit seen on Top Gear. Unfortunately, experts think no amount of tom foolery will halt the sport’s slide into oblivion.
As if to confirm this estimate, a spokeshole for Liberty gave RFN an off the record comment that we recorded for posterity. In it, she said that, “F1 is fucked. Might as well mow the lawn.”
Last laugh is best laugh
As Liberty and the UKPDL go wheel to brush in the battle to win viewer’s hearts and minds, it is unclear who will prevail. However, it seems that no matter which way the dice fall, one person will be a certain winner. That would be Bernie Ecclestone, the past owner of F1 and the man who sold the franchise to Liberty for six trillion pounds in 2017. In a phone call from his 600 metres mega yacht ‘HawHawHaw’, Mr. Ecclestone told RFN that, “Selling that pig was the best thing I ever did. Anyone for a drop of paint?”
As we go to press, RFN has learned that Formula One is changing its name to the ‘Round and Round We Drone League’.