BusinessF1 was founded by Tom Rubython in 2002. Rubython was the former editor of EuroBusiness magazine and F1 Magazine which he founded in partnership with Bernie Ecclestone. Rubython met Ecclestone in the mid-nineties when he first started writing about the business of Formula One in BusinessAge and Sunday Business. Ecclestone quickly recognised that he was the first journalist who really understood the business side of Formula One and although he did not always like what was written, he respected the style and the potential need. At the time, Rubython was the only journalist writing about the business. Rubython is a very experienced editor who has had a long career in magazines, including publishing Marketeer, Amusement Business, LeisureWeek, BusinessAge, Sunday Business, EuroBusiness, Formula 1 Magazine, BusinessF1 and SportsPro. He has written four books about Formula One; The Life of Senna, a biography of Ayrton Senna, Shunt, the story of James Hunt and two non-fiction motorsport books called In The Name Of Glory and Fatal Weekend. He has also written biographies of actor, Richard Burton, singer, Barry White and financier, Jesse Livermore.
Tom Rubython published the first issue of BusinessF1 in March 2003. It was an immediate success, generating over 1,000 subscriptions before launch and quickly building to an audited circulation of over 7,000 copies a month. It also proved very popular with business advertisers. Bernie Ecclestone recognised the benefits of the magazine and was broadly supportive. In contrast Max Mosley, the then President of the FIA (the world governing body of motorsport) was not enamoured by BusinessF1’s behind the scenes in- depth reporting and detailed coverage of the sport. He initially took a position against the magazine, denying access to the Formula One paddock and applied other restrictive sanctions.
Despite this handicap, the magazine was able to prosper. Eventually there was a rapprochement between Mosley and BusinessF1, paddock access was restored and he and Rubython forgot their differences. Mosley came to accept that BusinessF1, with its unrivalled coverage of sponsorship and business, was good for the sport. It is a fact that Formula One’s sponsorship income exploded over the next five years, reaching nearly $1.5 billion a year. Unsurprisingly, the magazine became widely read across the whole of the sports business world. BusinessF1 was published continuously every month until December 2007 when the magazine found itself covering the wider sports world more frequently, to the extent that eventually many of its readers were from different sports. It naturally evolved and changed its name to SportsPro magazine in January 2008. The magazine’s popularity continued as SportsPro and a year later Tom Rubython sold the magazine to Henley Media Group who continue to publish the magazine and have grown the business into a multimedia group with activities including conferences and exhibitions, generating sales of over $6 million a year.
For five years, between 2003 and 2007, BusinessF1 was the monthly staple of the Formula one community and the wider world of motor sport. It was a truly global publication, circulating in every country of the world. It wrapped an authoritative tone in a unique and amusing style, which made it required reading. As a result, more or less every significant decision maker in the global sports community became a subscriber and its influence extended far outside of its core market of Formula One.
Past becomes the future
Now the past has caught up with the future and BusinessF1 is being published again. It is back as the monthly staple of the Formula One community with all the old style it had in the past but now bigger and better. But some things will never change. Facts and attention to details remain the overriding editorial philosophy of BusinessF1. It is reporting without a preconceived agenda of the highest standard, hence the quality of the story telling is consistently high. BusinessF1 writers seek to tell the story behind the story. If it’s good, the good is reported but if it is bad, then we don’t shy away from reporting the bad. There is simply no other magazine like it for providing up-to-date honest analysis. People may not always like elements of it but they always respect it because it is truly independent, with no ties to any organisations working within motor sport meaning the Editor has total authority over what is written in the magazine. BusinessF1 does not employ freelancers and its writers work exclusively for the magazine full time. They have a long-standing reputation of understanding the business of the Formula One industry better than any of the other writers working in Formula One today.
News is primarily delivered in 10 pages every month and has two formats. Every issue contains at least eight pages of exclusive, behind-the- scenes business news which the magazine is famous for. Over 80 per cent of the stories are wholly original sourced from deep sources we have embedded in most of the significant organisations in Formula One. We rarely report from press releases. Almost all of the news stories are agenda-setting, which is embedded in the magazine’s culture.
Insight stories are the news behind the news in longer format - the really detailed analysis of the main news stories of the month. They are regarded as the ultimate analysis of what is really going on in Formula One. The BusinessF1 Insight writers regularly make predictive assessments of the repercussions of what goes on today, and what it could mean in five or even ten years’ time. The stories are a mixture of issues, information and statistics, with measurements of performance readers will not find elsewhere. Every fact is checked and correlated against reality.
Features in BusinessF1 are the highlight of the magazine. Features are written with a lighter touch, to bring true insight into a subject. The features are rarely critical but for the most part seek to inform. It is the only magazine where you meet the real characters who work behind the scenes, such as the managers, sponsors or agents. The magazine is light on graphs and pie-charts but is full of tables and graphical analysis, the result of copious research, the quality of which often surprises the editor himself.the month. They are regarded as the ultimate analysis of what is really going on in Formula One. The BusinessF1 Insight writers regularly make predictive assessments of the repercussions of what goes on today, and what it could mean in five or even ten years’ time. The stories are a mixture of issues, information and statistics, with measurements of performance readers will not find elsewhere. Every fact is checked and correlated against reality.
BusinessF1 is famous for its columnists who display a humorous and subversive style. The magazine has five regular columns and each have a distinctive style. Paddock Patter is the Editor’s own column, featuring the serious matters of moment. Notes & Observations wryly reflects the action and movement behind the scenes of current issues. Premature Facts looks ahead and predicts what might be happening tomorrow - Its famous strapline is ‘A rumour is just a premature fact’ and it lives up to that mission statement.
Jottings by The Scribbler is one of the oldest columns in the motoring press, having appeared in many magazines over the years. The Scribbler, now in his late seventies, is a columnist, without equal, writing juicy items of social gossip that would otherwise not see the light of day. Almost every major Formula One personality gets a gentle roasting from The Scribbler at least once a year. Finally, in 2021 we are introducing Lewis Webster, as a new columnist. Webster tells it like it is in his own unrivalled ‘crusty’ style. Webster’s writing style is in the finest tradition of BusinessF1’s columnists.
BusinessF1 is the only public source of snap, accurate reporting of TV ratings and attendance figures at races during the Formula One season. At season end, it provides a thorough analysis of all the figures, and in a series of Special Reports through the year it provides an ongoing historical analysis and listing of all the relevant statistics and numbers governing Formula One. The Business of Grand Prix Special Report every March was famous for its detailed analysis, accounting for every dollar of sponsorship revenue in Formula One.
BusinessF1’s Paddock Gallery often runs to six pages or more. It publishes over 1,000 photographs a year at every social event in Formula One that matters. There are pages from the Paddock Club at every Grand Prix and the paddock itself. Most of the photos are taken by BusinessF1’s chief photographer, Graham Fudger, who is himself well-known in Formula One.
BusinessF1 publishes many Special Reports, focusing on matters of the moment in the Formula One business community. Each issue contains at least one special report and sometimes two. The reports are a serious editorial project, with in depth independent analysis of the subject. They often extend to 32 pages or more. The magazine has four core Special Reports, which are always published on the same anniversary. The Business of Grand Prix is a financial preview of the coming season, published every March. The Power List is the 150 most powerful people in Formula One, published every July. The Season Review is published every December and the News Review is published in January. There are also two tent pole issues every year. The issue prior to the Monaco Grand Prix is always the biggest issue of the year and the special issue published for the Monaco Yacht Show in September is also an important issue.
Other special reports always published in the same issue every year are Driver Management (April), Sponsorship Agencies (May), Corporate Aviation (July) and Aerodynamics (November). There are bi-annual Special reports on other slower moving subjects such as Trackside Advertising and Circuit Design.
Finally, there are also Special Reports which focus on the individual countries that stage Grand Prix races. On occasions, the magazine will also cover other related sports such as Nascar, MotoGP and the America’s Cup.
The positive impact of a Formula One race on a host venue cannot be underestimated. Every year BusinessF1 writers examine the nature of this impact in a series of special Country Reports. Each report is more than 30 pages and focuses on all aspects of running a Grand Prix and operating a Formula One circuit, emphasising the business relationship between circuits and surrounding businesses, and the impact a race has on tourism. The reports include profile and interviews with the key people in each country, including title sponsors, race promoters, marketing directors, circuit partners and the associated businesses that benefit when the Formula One circus arrives in town. In 2006 alone, BusinessF1 carried extensive country reports from Bahrain, Turkey and Malaysia.