Bernie is no more. After forty years controlling one of the world’s most glamorous sports, Formula 1 is to be managed by three highly experienced executives in Ross Brawn (ex chief of Mecedes and Ferrari ); ESPN’s Sean Bratches and broadcast guru, Chase Carey.
So to boil this down, F1 is to be managed by a ‘holy trinity’ of inside knowledge of the sport (Brawn), mixed with commercial / sponsorship acumen (Bratches), with a glut of global media / broadcast experience (Carey).
As Tony Hodson wrote in his article for “Sport” this week , “…motor racing is a simple business – it needs to be fast, furious, and lets face it, dramatic”. Many believe this new management team have the capabilities to take F1 into a new era – and I agree.
However, it’s also down to the teams and drivers to do their bit; as well as the countless sponsors that adorn the cars and drivers racing suits.
At Brandtix, we are now tracking the social insights of all the teams and their drivers; as well as measuring the engagement of every individual post across FB, TW, IN. It makes for surprising reading. Given the global impact of F1, I can’t help but think that the sport is under-performing.
Out of the 11 teams, there’s a total fan following across the 3 global networks of 46M. Mercedes and Red Bull take up 50% market share. If I was to compare the total team following (46M) against that of a football club, they’d be the seventh most followed club – nestled in between Bayern Munich and Liverpool.
From a drivers perspective, it’s even more perplexing – especially in the case of Ferrari, arguably the biggest name in F1 history. Ex-Champion Sebastian Vettel, has a strangely small following on Instagram (only), while Raikonnen is completely inactive across all networks. So…correct me if I’m wrong, Ferrari, with their 6.7M social followers, and their multi-million dollar sponsorship endorsements are going into 2017 with their two drivers reaching 186k followers (Vettel Instagram)? As a marketer I find that staggering.
Formula 1 has to grow across all business objectives, and it should also be in the team’s best interests, and that of the drivers to grow the sport as well.
Lewis Hamilton, (who by the way) commands 30% of all drivers’ followers on social (12M) should take massive credit for the way he has grown his brand, and that of the sport and team. Mercedes are also the most followed team (14M). You see the link.
Lewis posts more than any other driver, mixes his content from serious to fun, leisure to business and reaches engagement that outstrips his competitors by a country mile. The sport lacks characters. It’s taken itself far too seriously over the past ten years, and the younger generation have understandably become apathetic.
The good news is that the likes of Ricciardo, Verstappen, and new teenage sensation, Lance Stroll might just know how to pull this new vibrant, engaging and mobile first generation into the sport.
The combo of Liberty Media, socially relevant drivers and some new on-track rules to make for a more entertaining spectacle might just be the answer to drive this amazing sport forward.