Why Formula 1 is So Popular Right Now

Why Formula 1 is So Popular Right Now

Watch video version on YouTube.

Every nation has its nice past-time. For the USA, it’s baseball. For the UK, it’s soccer (soccer). Getting folks to concentrate to a brand new sport is a tall order – and that’s why Formula 1’s latest success is so gorgeous.

On ESPN, 548,000 folks tuned in to look at Formula 1 in 2019. In 2021, that determine raced to 934,000 viewers.

It’s actually laborious for a sport to broaden its demographic. People are likely to get caught of their methods, and sports activities are hardly ever capable of diversify their fan bases. And but Formula 1 did, and I need to speak about how.

I’m a brand new fan of Formula 1 myself. I took no real interest in it till I sat down and watched it with a mate. This resulted in me falling in love with the game. It’s exhilerating and one thing about it actually clicked with me.

If you’re not acquainted with Formula 1, the fundamental idea is easy: folks drive open-wheel single-seater racing vehicles round a observe. Sometimes the tracks are constructed for racing, and typically they’re on closed-off metropolis streets. Either method, drivers and groups have one objective – win.

It’s a thrill!

That’s why I need to speak about why Formula 1 is rising in reputation. What is about Formula 1 that retains folks watching in suspense? How do they earn cash? And how does advertising issue into the entire image?

I’ll focus on these questions and extra on this put up.

Think advertising is complicated as hell? You’re not alone.

Join over 1,000 different confused, however curious of us. Download Weird Marketing’s FREE Experimental Marketing Guide.

Why Formula 1 is So Popular Right Now experimental marketing cover

How Formula 1 Makes Money

Formula 1 dates again to the 12 months 1950, with its first race on the fabled Silverstone Circuit. It’s mentioned that 100,000 folks attended, together with the royal household, most notably King George VI.

But you would argue that Formula 1 in its trendy kind began in 1968, when a cigarette firm known as Gold Leaf sponsored Lotus. It was in 1968 that the enduring apply of sponsorship liveries started, or – in laymen’s phrases – that’s once we began slapped company logos on vehicles. Fast ahead to now, McLaren vehicles now include Google Chrome rims and a whole-car colour scheme to match.

Why Formula 1 is So Popular Right Now Alfa Romeo Tipo 182

This unhealthy boy can match so many sponsors *slaps automotive*
By John Chapman, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Sponsorships are an integral a part of Formula 1. The type of sponsors that find yourself on the vehicles say lots about what issues to society at that second. In specific, it tells you what firms really want to model themselves as “cool.” Because what’s cooler than having your identify on a race automotive?

For a very long time, the tobacco trade had probably the most sponsorships in Formula 1, however that development is beginning to fade. This is for the higher, since we’re all acquainted with the risks of tobacco use. But whilst just lately as 2020, Formula 1 noticed whole annual income from tobacco firms tally as much as $115 million.

You know what else is an enormous sponsor in Formula 1 today? Cryptocurrency. As many as 8 out of 10 teams this 12 months have a cryptocurrency sponsor. Crypto is much more profitable for Formula 1 than smoking, as crypto firm, Bybit, reported an insane $150 million partnership with one of many prime 3 groups in Formula 1 – Red Bull. This is $35 million greater than the annual spending from all tobacco firms.

That’s lots of Bitcoin.

Who are Formula 1 followers?

A complete of 445 million people can name themselves Formula 1 followers, as that is the quantity of people that watched it on TV within the final 12 months. As many as 2.69 million followers attended races in-person throughout 2021.

Formula 1, in different phrases, in not an obscure sport. So it might sound tough to attempt to describe its demographic in additional element, however there are methods we will be taught extra.

The common Formula 1 fan is 32, which is pretty younger to start with, however Formula 1 has clearly been focused Gen Z just lately, which has been pushing this quantity down. Formula 1 is aware of they’ve lots of youthful folks watching them, as four-in-ten men ages 18 to 29 (43%) have traded, invested, or used crypto – and crypto is a significant sponsor of the game.

Though males dominate the Formula 1 sport itself, ladies are moving into it too. The feminine demographic as a share of general viewers has grown a strong 2% yearly, from 10% to 18.3%, just about doubling in 4 years. There’s no telling how excessive this might go.

Overall, Formula 1 has seen a large enhance of passionate followers from 12% in 2017 to 34% in 2021. The enhance in ladies followers is undoubtedly a part of this. But the larger query is: the place did all these new followers come from?

How Formula 1 Grew Its Fanbase

You would possibly suppose that massive personalities are extra widespread in sports activities like wrestling than in Formula 1. But that’s not precisely true.

Formula 1 is made up of particular person drivers and the groups they race with. You take out the drivers and the groups, and Formula 1 could be a reasonably boring sport. But as with all trendy sport, there’s a ton of drama and preventing behind the scenes. And folks love that.

Right now in 2022, the Ferrari staff is within the highlight. They are at the moment profitable this season preventing in opposition to Red Bull, whose profitable streak ran from 2010-2014 till Mercedes snatched it away.

These groups are all nice, however if you wish to see why Formula 1 followers actually love the game, it’s essential to take a look at the one staff that stands above all of them.

Think advertising is complicated as hell? You’re not alone.

Join over 1,000 different confused, however curious of us. Download Weird Marketing’s FREE Experimental Marketing Guide.

Why Formula 1 is So Popular Right Now experimental marketing cover

McLaren – The Most Popular Formula 1 Team

Despite not profitable a championship since 1998, McLaren the fan-favorite staff charts with 29.5% of the vote. Their driver, Lando Norris, is available in second as a fan-favorite at 13.7%.

McLaren is the second-oldest staff within the sport which makes it a widely known identify with a historical past. But it has additionally had very memorable drivers through the years, giving them fairly the pedigree.

Since I solely acquired into the game in 2021 so I requested the buddies that launched me what made McLaren so fashionable and what they instructed me was about legendary drivers Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, and the MP4/4 car.

The MP4/4 automotive is arguably probably the most profitable in Formula 1 historical past pushed by Senna and Prost who’re arguably two of the most effective drivers of Formula 1. Given that Formula 1 followers are drawn to high-tech automobiles, pace, and driving ability – the truth that McLaren’s historical past is dwelling to probably the most iconic automotive and probably the most legendary drivers make it an everlasting fan favourite.

But McLaren is no backwards-looking staff. It’s additionally a really trendy staff that is aware of find out how to use the facility of memes too. And there’s no higher instance of that than their driver Lando Norris.

Lando Norris – A Modern Meme Marketer Meets an Old Sport

Lando Norris is frankly a loveable man who embodies the Gen Z perspective. He’s 22 years outdated and has everybody fangirl/guying over him like he’s a Ok-pop star. Lando Norris is additionally the one driver to have a vlog and a Twitch channel, which is interesting to a youthful era.

It’s vital to do not forget that if the common age of a fan is 32. Lando is serving to Formula 1 pull in new followers, and he’s serving to preserve that common age demographic from getting any greater.

How does he do that? Put merely – he’s a memelord. He stirs up drama, creates nice video moments and soundbites, and usually retains issues spicy. Here’s an instance.

Now Lando is not the one one meme-ing his approach to success. And memes are usually not the one purpose Formula 1 is doing properly, although Lando is a fantastic case research.

Truth is, no quantity of memes would assist Formula 1 if it weren’t an intrinsically attention-grabbing sport to look at. And lots of that may be chalked as much as one easy reality.

Formula 1 is a harmful sport, and that provides to the thrill

No sport is 100% secure. But Formula 1 feels further harmful. Its give attention to high-tech vehicles and speeds of over 200 mph makes it actually harmful.

Formula 1 claimed lots of lives within the Nineteen Fifties-Seventies. But it wasn’t till 1994 that the game was shaken to its basis by a tragic weekend.

If you ask any fan of Formula 1 immediately what was the worst 12 months for the game, most individuals would say 1994 because of the loss of life of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna. These beloved drivers died in separate crashes within the San Marino Grand Prix, and it forged a darkish shadow over the game.

Formula 1 vowed to vary its methods. It beefed up security laws and altered some guidelines. Multiple security precautions have been applied just like the addition of headrests in 1996, accident knowledge recorders in 1997, wheel tethers in 1999, and 8 other safety features and modifications meant to make the game safer.

Until the 2014 crash on the Japanese Grand Prix, nobody had died in a wreck.

A very good instance of this is to look at this devastating crash. Because of the brand new security laws, the motive force was capable of stay acutely aware (which is essential for survival with out critical harm), and so they acquired him out of the automotive. He was strolling the following day. It actually reveals they’ve gone a good distance for security.

Think advertising is complicated as hell? You’re not alone.

Join over 1,000 different confused, however curious of us. Download Weird Marketing’s FREE Experimental Marketing Guide.

Why Formula 1 is So Popular Right Now experimental marketing cover

Here is the crux of it – Formula 1 must really feel harmful to be enjoyable. That’s why it’s thrilling. But you may’t have a sport the place your drivers are frequently put in danger. Formula 1, via their security enhancements, has dramatically improved the security of the game with out compromising what makes it superior (like NASCAR did with the implementation of restrictor plates).

But the sensation of hazard is nothing new. What actually propelled Formula 1 into the mainstream was a docufiction sequence known as Drive to Survive.

Drive to Survive on Netflix Massively Boosted Formula 1’s Fame

Formula 1 had every thing it wanted to go viral. It’s thrilling, it’s acquired memeable stars, and it’s acquired a protracted historical past to attract from. But kindling alone doesn’t make a fireplace – you want a spark.

That spark was Drive to Survive on Netflix.

The Drive to Survive sequence began in 2019. It’s a collaboration between Netflix and Formula 1 to doc the behind-the-scenes drama of Formula 1. After this sequence went stay, the ESPN viewing numbers for Formula 1 jumped a whopping 55% from 547,722 viewers in 2019 to 2021, 934,000 viewers. That’s evening and day – you may’t even chalk that type of change as much as the pandemic.

This is additionally backed up by a quote from the president of motorsport in the identical survey:

“The success of Netflix Drive to Survive” documentary sequence has been to open the game as much as new, youthful and extra various audiences, making the game extra accessible.”

Clearly, Formula 1 is creating extra followers – notably youthful followers – who’re watching full races. This is a fantastic signal as a result of it retains the median age low. And it’s working as a result of now Formula 1 has “the greatest proportion of under 25’s of all global sports leagues, with the exception of the NBA” in response to analysis and analytics director, Matt Roberts.

However, it’s not all excellent news. The sequence has declined quickly in high quality on Rotten Tomatoes, from 91% to an abysmal 14%. Even although the sequence is nonetheless doing its job to convey Formula 1 to a brand new fan base, it hasn’t carried out properly persistently as a consequence of how Netflix is portraying its drivers and rivalries.

But at this level, it could very properly not matter. The Drive to Survive sequence at its peak could have been sufficient to propel Formula 1 into the highlight. Their social media presence has grown dramatically.

The Formula 1 Twitter web page has 7.7 million followers proper now, and the groups and drivers have a big presence too. They share art work of upcoming races, new helmet designs, and way more – together with cats.

There are additionally heaps of memes that may be discovered on each Formuladank and posted instantly from the Formula 1 team pages. These are sensible as a result of there are such a lot of clippable moments and ridiculously simple issues to meme each on and off the grid.

Even if the Drive to Survive sequence continues to leap the shark, Formula 1 has constructed up a strong media presence of its personal by now. That higher positions the game to maintain up with altering occasions.

Speaking of which…

Formula 1 is altering with the occasions

Historically, Formula 1 has been white and male. As properly as being a social drawback, this is additionally a enterprise drawback. Formula 1 has been focused the Gen Z demographic, which is very diverse.

But the game is versatile, and is altering in ways in which really feel pure. For instance, in June 2020, Mercedes opted to change from a silver car to a black car. In holding with the occasions, the transfer was mentioned to be “a stand against racism and discrimination in all forms and a public pledge to further improve the diversity of our team and our sport.”

It’s not simply symbolic gestures, too. The Hamilton commission researched the underrepresentation of Black folks in UK motorsports, and has identified attainable options. The playbook is there – and now it’s time to see how far Formula 1 goes with it.

The willingness to vary is there. For instance, take into account the opposite illustration drawback Formula 1 has – the shortage of ladies behind the wheel.

My buddies, who’ve been Formula 1 followers longer than me, launched me to the concept of Grid Girls. Basically, in 2008, a enterprise was established to produce feminine exhibition fashions to sports activities like UFC, boxing, and – sure – Formula 1.

Formula 1 relied on Grid Girls to draw a male viewers for some time, however stopped doing this in 2018 as a result of “they no longer believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.” In different phrases, they learn the room and glued a PR drawback.

But they’re going past that too. Also in 2018, Formula W was launched. It consists of all ladies drivers, and is a very good step towards bringing ladies again into Formula 1, the place they’ve been absent as drivers for the reason that early Sixties. And in 2021, Rosanna Tennant turned the primary feminine Lead Commentator on Formula 1’s Pit Lane Channel, which additionally made right here the primary lady to name a Formula 1 race begin on TV – ever!

Still, there is a remaining difficulty that I hope Formula 1 finds a approach to handle. Namely, whereas phasing out Grid Girls helped cut back the looks of sexism, it launched an attention-grabbing dilemma. Some ladies labored their method from Grid Girl to prestigious jobs like reporters and presenters. I’m considering of Milena Koerner, who began as a Grid Girl and climbed all the best way as much as staff supervisor, and Amy Dargan, who is now a reporter for MotoGP.

For them, it was an entry-level place – a reachable rung on the company ladder. Phasing out Grid Girls removes that low, reachable rung on the ladder, and there doesn’t seem like an entry-level gig instead but. Hopefully, Formula 1 – maybe via Formula W – will discover a approach to make it simpler for girls to get jobs and be represented inside the “good old boy network.”

Formula 1’s modifications haven’t been with out controversy, particularly round their effectiveness at addressing underrepresentation and sexism. But they’re definitely proof of a willingness to do issues otherwise. In the world of sports activities – which is so usually steeped in dated traditions – that’s commendable.

Final Thoughts

Formula 1 has all of the makings of a fantastically fashionable sport. It’s thrilling, it’s harmful, and it’s acquired stars who can draw consideration to it. But what actually pushed Formula 1 into the mainstream was the Netflix sequence Drive to Survive.

This outdated sport has been revitalized and reimagined in recent times, and it reveals no indicators of stopping. The stars are younger, the sponorship cash is rolling in, and the game is fixing its outdated drawback of being too white and too male.

It’s a very good state of affairs to be in. I’m curious to see what is going to occur in Formula 1 within the 12 months 2022. Will the median age preserve dropping as Gen Z followers get on board? Will the feminine viewership proceed to rise?

Only time will inform. But it doesn’t matter what – I can’t wait to see the following race!

Think advertising is complicated as hell? You’re not alone.

Join over 1,000 different confused, however curious of us. Download Weird Marketing’s FREE Experimental Marketing Guide.

Why Formula 1 is So Popular Right Now experimental marketing cover


Check Also

A Columbia University Professor Urges Art Students to “Embrace the Machines” In Digital Storytelling—Here’s How His Lessons Are Relevant to Business Owners Looking to Creatively Collaborate with AI

A Columbia University Professor Urges Art Students to “Embrace the Machines” In Digital Storytelling—Here’s How His Lessons Are Relevant to Business Owners Looking to Creatively Collaborate with AI

A latest New York Times article detailed a professor who’s one thing of an anomaly …