F1 editor: Stability at the top helps titles reach pole position

Long tenures in the editor's chair can create "very powerful" magazines, according to the editor-in-chief of F1 Racing.

Matt Bishop, who celebrates 10 years at the helm of the Haymarket monthly this December, said the traditionally more American style of long stays at the top produces dividends for the titles.

He said: "Sometimes, people are thrust into the editor's chair at too young an age, and sometimes they are pulled out of it and promoted, or moved sideways before they have got to grips with the magazine. "I think a magazine can become very powerful within its niche with some kind of continuity of editorial staff, and that includes its editor, who can really get to know the industry, who can become a familiar face and friend to the readers."

F1 Racing, which is licensed in 33 countries and sells 1.25 million copies a month worldwide, has beaten off competition from three major publications since its launch with a skeleton staff from sister news weekly Autosport in 1996. The title faced its biggest challenge, Bishop said, from the birth of Formula One Magazine by Bernie Ecclestone in the late '90s. He said: "It was greatly exciting to defend our territory with a rearguard action, not only against a well funded adversary, but one which was owned by the man who controlled the sport we were all writing about. We beat him off. Now we are alone in the market as a specialist F1 title."

The magazine, Bishop said, thrived on its access to the small world of Formula One, helped by allowing "to a certain extent, a cult of personality to flourish" within the title so that readers, drivers, teams and PRs know its writers and photographers.

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