Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport, has evolved significantly from its early days of mechanical mastery to its modern integration with digital culture. Pit-stops, once a pure test of mechanical speed and efficiency, remain a crucial element where teams shave off precious milliseconds with choreographed precision.

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However, the sport has expanded its reach beyond the racetrack, leveraging platforms like TikTok to engage a new generation of fans. Teams and drivers share behind-the-scenes content, race highlights, and personal moments, turning the high-octane world of F1 into a relatable and interactive experience. This fusion of tradition and technology not only enhances fan engagement but also ensures that Formula 1 remains at the forefront of global entertainment and innovation.

Seven years on, it’s undeniable that the new owners have done a remarkable job in improving the brand positioning of the competition, which, by the way, has found an ally in the digital world. The analogue days are long gone, and F1 has leveraged its global tour to capture young audiences.

Seeing content about F1 of all kinds is almost standard on any social media platform, with the vast majority being infotainment. There are, of course, other accounts that do not provide major news updates but have found in F1 a source of entertainment that young audiences love to consume.

However, not everything that glitters is gold and a segment of the traditional fan base questions the legitimacy of these new fans. The sport has indeed gained followers because of certain drivers’ looks and their charisma. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with that reasoning. Nobody judges those who watch a movie because they like the actor, so what is the big deal in following a race because someone is attracted to a driver? Whether we like it or not, there is a growing percentage of F1 followers who, even if they are not that interested in the technical side, are more than willing to buy merchandise, engage on social media, follow the teams’ partners, and stay up-to-date with everything related to the sport. In other words, that particular audience translates into money and proves that F1 has managed to convert audiences ten years ago, who wouldn’t even know that F1 existed.

Motorsport influencers have also played their part. While it is difficult to have exact numbers on their return on investment, the reality is that all those personalities provide something extremely valuable to the competition: exposure. If one can go to the cinema to watch a boring movie because their favourite actress is in it, who’s to say that a fan who follows an influencer won’t buy a TV subscription to follow celebrities across the globe?

If there is a sport that is leveraging new generations and the digital world, it is definitely F1. However, the organisation also faces challenges. Eighty per cent of the jobs in F1 are located in the United Kingdom, which, for a global sport, significantly limits the number of applicants who meet the criteria of being eligible to work in the country. The same applies to the different diversity and inclusion programmes. On the contrary, the biggest football organisation, with its headquarters in Switzerland, has a different approach to recruiting talent and has a much more flexible policy in sponsoring and relocating talent. This is definitely an approach F1 should consider to ensure the global nature of the sport is reflected in all areas.

A similar issue arises with languages. The organisation’s official channel only creates content in English, which directly limits the potential reach of a senior audience that, even though interested in the sport, does not master English. Additionally, sponsorship is also affected, as a multilingual brand is more likely to meet the business requirements of companies that want to communicate directly with their local audience, which, in many cases, may not be English-speaking.

In summary, the growth of the F1 brand and its respective teams should be in every brand and marketing book. Nonetheless, there is still room for improvement to ensure the global approach is embedded in all the different areas of the sport.


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