Don’t believe everything you read in the papers, or more specifically The Independent!

July 27, 2011

I mentioned in my last post that I had recently returned from holiday. It seems a long time ago now, but it was a great trip, we went to southern Africa and spent time in South Africa (although there was a bit too much time in Johannesburg airport), Botswana and Zambia. Africa is an amazing place with the big skies, the wildlife and such friendly happy people (with the notable exception of Air Botswana ‘Customer Service’). It certainly seemed a long way from the hurly burly of F1, or so I thought.

Having settled into our hotel room, which overlooked the Zambezi river before it explodes into the Victoria Falls or to give it the local name Mosi-oa-Tunya – The Smoke that Thunders, I was happily watching some zebra gently grazing when I received a text from Chris Aylett of the Motorsport Industry Association. Chris had come across a piece in the Independent that had quoted me as stating that the motorsport industry in the UK has quadrupled over the past ten years, was this true and was it based on new research?

Hmm.. I’d had a chat with Kevin Eason at the Times just before leaving for a piece he was writing, but hadn’t made any such statement, so where had this come from? I replied to Chris that I had no idea where this had come from. So how on earth had this happened? The UK motorsport industry is certainly a world leader, but has not quadrupled in the last ten years. So on my return I managed to contact the journalist who had written the piece in the Independent’s pre-British Grand Prix issue on 9 July:  ‘Britain is Centre of the Universe for Motorsport’ – Richard Rae – who advised me that he had found the quote on Clive Couldwell’s website:

Now Clive’s a really nice bloke and his book ‘Formula One: Made in Britain’ is an excellent publication and one in which I am widely quoted (so I could be biased), and one of these quotes is that the motorsport industry has quadrupled over the last ten years – so actually I did say that. The problem is that the book was published in 2003 and the interview I did was in 2002 and at that time, between 1992 and 2002 the UK motorsport industry had quadrupled, but it certainly was not the case in 2001 – 2011, although Chris advises me that things are looking good with sales, exports and employment in the industry still growing.

So I am delighted to get good news on the motorsport industry out there, and the Cranfield media team are delighted we’re getting national press coverage, but I think like all things we sometimes have to treat what we read with a bit of care and this is definitely one of those times.

3 Responses to “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers, or more specifically The Independent!”

  1. Amazing how lazy journalists can be sometimes. I remember once seeing a dozen articles about a project I was working on and every single one was based on one quote from one report.

  2. Tim Says:

    So it’s about time we did another National Survey I think!

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