Behind F1’s Velvet Curtain, by Kate Wagner

Tagline: If you wanted to turn someone into a socialist you could do it in about an hour by taking them for a spin around the paddock of a Formula 1 race. The kind of money I saw will haunt me forever.

Kate Wagner

It’s 2024. We still do not have equality. We still need to fight for it daily. For this International Women’s Day I want to amplify a voice that was recently suppressed by those with more power. This is a case study in speaking truth to power, holding yourself and each other accountable, and maintaining your convictions viewed through the lens of the failure of the media industry and the deepening class divide.

I have been reading Kate Wagner’s work for several years after discovering her coverage of the Tour de France. Many may know about the viral Twitter account and website, McMansion Hell, where Kate lampoons the subject of gigantic homes. I was definitely already a fan of McMansion Hell when Zillow attempted to bully Kate into shutting down the site by issuing a cease and desist letter. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) agreed to represent Kate and Zillow backed down. So this week’s drama is clearly not the first time Kate has faced corporate bullying.

Last week Kate Wagner’s excellent piece covering the luxury world of Formula One was published online by Road & Track. Hours later it was pulled with no explanation. The blowback began earlier this week when Will Sommer at the Washington Post published an article investigating the story of why a 5,000-word, commissioned story that was months in the making, that has drawn widespread praise “because of the unlikely pairing of writer and subject”, would be pulled – disappearing from the Internet without explanation.

Someone in a position of power wants all of this to go away, including Kate – her author profile page on Road & Track briefly went missing this week. Either sponsors, Mercedes Benz and INEOS, or the editor-in-chief, Daniel Pund, do not want you to read this article.

So please take a moment to read it. We should be elevating voices like Kate’s, not silencing them. Pay no attention to the man (or sponsors) behind the curtain!


  1. A socialist writer skewered the Formula One scene. Then her article vanished., Will Sommer, Washington Post, 2024-03-05.

  2. Road & Track EIC Tries To Explain Why He Deleted An Article About Formula 1 Power Dynamics, Patrick Redford, Defector, 2024-03-05.

  3. Behind F1’s Velvet Curtain, Nick Heer at

  4. Kate Wagner’s bio on Road & Track. Don’t be surprised if it 404s.

  5. PDF of Behind F1’s Velvet Curtain, by Kate Wagner just in case the Internet Archive’s version gets “lost”.