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Formula 1’s ‘digital first’ strategy has successfully driven up the popularity of the sport, engaging a new generation of racing fans and pulling in more female supporters.
Formula 1, Neilson Sports and Motorsport Network came together for the mother of all fan reviews, revealing the results of the Motorsport Network F1 Global Fan Survey on Thursday 21st October.
Conducted in 15 languages across the motorsport.com platform, they got an incredible 167,000 replies from fans, the largest response known to date.
The survey disclosed that Formula 1 is considered “the pinnacle of motorsport” by fans globally. The sport is also seeing a more diverse and developing fan base since the last survey in 2017. This year’s review saw the youngest average age ever, 32-years-old, down four years from the former study.
The ladies also had a bigger presence, nearly doubling their participation to 18.3%, up from 10% in 2017, and student responses increased to 26%, up from 18% in the last survey.
Fan favourites in terms of locales are Monaco, Monza, Spa, and Silverstone.
“The results show that F1 is in excellent health, certainly the best I have known it in my 30-year career in the sport,” said the President of Motorsport Network James Allen. “F1 struggled in the past to attract younger fans and particularly the female fan base and this survey speaks volumes about how the new management’s digital first approach and the funnel effect of projects like Netflix ‘Drive to Survive’ are engaging a new generation of passionate F1 fans. Thanks to the internet and social media, anyone anywhere today can become a fan.”
The sport is attracting more interest from the US, India, China and Mexico than five years ago, while McLaren has experienced a renaissance and is now the most popular team, followed by Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes. Max Verstappen is the overall most popular driver. Lando Norris is second most popular and highest-ranked amongst women. Lewis Hamilton rounds out the top three and is unsurprisingly the highest-ranked in his native United Kingdom.
Fans also said the sport was exciting, competitive, entertaining, expensive and technological. This is the first time that competitive and entertaining have appeared in the top five adjectives used to describe F1, and more than two-thirds of those asked think F1 exceeds expectations with regard to “pioneering technology”.
Fans, 55% of them, believe F1 should take the lead in pursuing the development of sustainable fuel sources as a matter of course. Two-thirds were aware of F1’s plans to introduce 100% sustainable fuels by 2025.
Photo of the Spanish Grand Prix 2021 credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
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