Blog Rules

I started writing a column in Autosport in 1988, which some clever soul decided to call Globetrotter, presumably on the basis that I spent less time in the office than they did.

I was out on the road and I wanted readers to know what it felt like. This made the column rather unusual at the time because it mixed F1 with travel writing, and added personal touches. It was designed to engage with fans and to take the readers into the inner sanctum of the sport – inside the gates – and let them know what it was like to be in Sao Paulo, or Adelaide, or wherever I happened to be.

This blog follows in that tradition. A lot of people do not understand what the word “blog” means. A blog is not a traditional new source, but rather a personal web log (hence the name) of whatever the author wants to include. Blogs tend to have themes and in this case the theme is the complex world of Formula 1 motor racing, but if I wish to write about wasabi, French taxi drivers or hairstyles in Peru, I am perfectly at liberty to do so – and readers should respect that.

I am happy to allow people to air their opinions in comments, as long as this is done in a respectful fashion. A good rule of thumb when writing a comment is to question whether you would say such a thing to someone’s face…

You must remember that you are, in effect, a guest in my house, so being abusive and rude about me or others is simply not acceptable and such comments will be deleted and the commenter will be blocked from further involvement. In other words, you will be blackballed from the club.

I would appreciate if people do not post links as I am not an advertising service for other websites. That is like coming round for tea and pasting a circus poster on the wall of my sitting room.

It is sad to relate but many F1 websites are run by frauds; people who know nothing about the sport from the inside. They pretend to have inside information and would like to be involved, but in reality they know little more than their readers. So be aware that this is the norm. One of the reasons I write this blog is to counter this trend.

I am a professional motorsport journalist with 35 years of experience in the business, the majority of that time has been spent reporting on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, but I have done many other things well, including the Dakar, Le Mans, Bathurst, NASCAR and the Indy 500. I’ve even been known to turn up at French hillclimbs. I’ve worked in the junior formulae and in touring cars, and sportscars. There are still some things I’d like to do, but time is short and we all have other responsibilities in life. My primary work is Formula 1 and I have attended every Grand Prix since the middle of 1988 and I am fully accredited as an FIA Formula 1 Permanent Passholder.

Commenters often make the suggestion that I am biased in favour of the British, but they do not ever consider that I am lucky enough to have travelled for more than 30 years and that I have lived in France for more than 25 years. My son has three nationalities. I have had experience visiting and doing business with people from many nations and many cultures, and I consider accusations of national bias to be more a reflection on the accuser than the accused. Nationalism is often a refuge for the unintelligent.

My posts will generally steer clear of religion and politics, but sometimes I will express an opinion. It is my opinion and no matter what your opinion is, I’m unlikely to change my views, particularly if you write a tirade based on what you think. I may be wrong, but then you may be wrong as well, so let us live and let live. I am open to intelligent discussion and if you have powerful arguments then perhaps I will change my views.

I refrain from writing about the private lives of the F1 racing stars, unless it has a direct effect on their on-track performance. We are all entitled to privacy. Formula 1 people are not public servants, but – whether they like it or not – they are role models and thus inappropriate behaviour may be reported, particularly if it involves hypocrisy. If, for example, a driver has taken part in anti-drinking campaigns and is arrested on drink-driving charges I think that is a matter of public interest and it will be reported. Similarly, criminal acts will be noted. Those in positions of power, who can influence the sport, will be treated in a similar fashion, no matter who they are.

I consider that elected officials (including members of organisations such as the FIA) should be treated as public servants. They claim to represent the automobile world and so must live up to the standard of expected behaviour. They are trying to influence governments with their campaigns and so have a responsibility to behave in a manner that is appropriate to that position. My criteria for behaviour is usually based on whether one can be blackmailed if caught doing it, as this means the sport can be influenced.

My blog will be used to promote products and events with which I am associated. My books, the GP+ e-magazine, the Business of Motorsport e-newsletter and the “Audience with Joe” events are all included in this category.

I occasionally write material for promotional publications and from time to time I act as a consultant or a non-executive director, for companies involved in F1 – if I am asked to do so. The commentary, analysis and opinions expressed in my work are not affected by these arrangements. If I consider there to be a conflict of interest, I will stop any such activity. Industry consulting does not affect my views as a journalist, except perhaps to give me greater insight into the organisations or people involved.

If you would like professional advice, please leave a comment, with suitable contact details.

My goal is to amuse and inform and I hope that readers will respect that desire. I am not here to argue endlessly with commenters. There is more to life than that.