If you’ve ever wanted concrete proof that the old men in charge of Formula One’s marketing department have lost touch with their core audience, look no further than the war currently being waged on RaceDepartment. Formula One itself have required RaceDepartment to remove an abundance of Formula One modifications and liveries from their website – for multiple titles. The sanctioning body has made it clear that Formula One – the world’s most prestigious auto racing series – has no place in sim racing, much to the dismay of F1’s most dedicated fans.
Over 30 pages of Formula One related mods for two officially licensed Codemasters titles, as well as Reiza Studio’s Automobilista, have been removed due to copyright claims from none other than the bitter cunts from Formula One themselves. While technically justified from a legal standpoint, as F1 does indeed own the rights to the cars and teams participating in their championship, everybody knows this move is a power tripping exercise on F1’s part. Sim Racers aren’t profiting off of these creations, and yet Formula One has essentially told diehard F1 fans to stop producing virtual artwork that acts as free publicity for the sport – a sport which at the moment is desperate for positive press.
To make matters significantly more perplexing, these creations are being taken down even when they benefit officially licensed F1 products. The Codemasters line of Formula One simulators ship each year with a fictional Williams F1 livery – omitting the iconic Martini logos and colors – forcing users to manually edit the team’s car skin in a quest for maximum authenticity. Formula One has now stepped in, and officially disallowed this kind of harmless dedication from continuing, along with cracking down on users who merely update the game’s default liveries throughout the year with proper decal placements. It’s important to note that not every download link has been affected as of yet, though I’m sure the hardcore F1 gaming fans among us will soon start running into broken links on RaceDepartment and begin to take inventory.
The drama between Formula One and sim racers couldn’t come at a more inappropriate time. Building circuits in known dictatorships and stunting technical development among teams, Formula One has seen a steady decline in popularity over the past five years. Both current and former drivers have actively voiced their displeasure over the direction of the sport, prestigious race tracks such as Hockenheim have been dropped from the schedule entirely, and the traditional motorsports media have openly mocked the misguided rule changes which have served to turn the sport into a comedy of errors come each race weekend. The sad reality is that the world’s greatest auto racing series has turned into a formality rather than a festival.
And while the sport is dying an extremely painful and humiliating death in front of record low crowds, frustrated old men under the Formula One banner have instead chosen to pick a fight with an extremely small group of sim racers on the internet – talented individuals who have dedicated their free time to spreading the joy of Formula One. Not only have F1 representatives displayed a gross misuse of company time by embarking on a pointless crusade against their own fans while the sport itself has quickly become a public embarrassment, this marks the second time Formula One have aggressively stomped on the sim racing community – indicating a team of pathetic, power tripping lawyers are actively monitoring and bullying a group of people who unconditionally love their product.
Not long ago, Canadian Metallica tribute band operating under the name Sandman were issued a cease and desist letter from one of Metallica’s lawyers, threatening to sue for the use of Metallica’s easily recognizable font. Upon the letter going viral, drummer Lars Ulrich promptly issued a personal apology to the band members, and within 24 hours fired the lawyer who had sent the letter. Here’s to hoping a prominent individual from the Formula One circus does the same.