Latest news:

Key data of the F1 global survey

By BMW Sauber F1
March 5 2009

The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) today outlined its roadmap for Formula One at a press conference at which senior management figures from all 10 current Formula One teams shared the stage together. Find here the results from the survey carried by FOTA to be understand the fans demands...


-17 countries surveyed
-First ever poll of Formula One devotees alongside non-Formula One devotees (ie, marginal and/or low interest fans)
-Responses were weighted according to the size of viewing market in each country (to avoid small markets skewing the results)
-Results were segmented by interest level in Formula One, demographic profiles (age and gender), country and region

Total audience is comprised of:
- Regular fans (25% by volume, predominantly male, cross section of ages)
- Moderate fans (44% by volume, female and male, cross section of ages)
- Infrequent fans (31% by volume, unlikely to watch grands prix, predominantly female, cross section of ages)

1. F1 isn't broken, so beware 'over-fixing' it
The current race format is not viewed as fundamentally broken (across all levels of Formula One interest) and therefore doesn't require radical alteration. There is a strong desire for Formula One to remain meritocratic, while consumer interest is driven most by appreciation of driver skill, overtaking and technology.

Implication: there is no evidence to suggest that grand prix formats need 'tricking up' via, for example, handicapping, sprint races, reversed grids or one-on-one pursuit races. Formula One audiences appreciate the traditional gladiatorial, high-tech nature of the sport and would not respond favourably to a perceived 'dumbing down' of the current format.

2. F1 needs to be more consumer-friendly

An individual's view or understanding of Formula One is framed almost entirely by their local broadcaster. Unlike most global sports, the vast majority of 'consumption' of Formula One is via race-day TV coverage, supplemented in part by traditional, non-specialist newspaper coverage. Formula One fans are also mature consumers of new media channels (eg, on-line, mobile) and other touch points (eg, gaming, merchandise).

The global nature of Formula One, although an attractive characteristic in itself, impedes the uniformity of race schedules, and often results in consumption of a race being limited to locally broadcast TV highlights programmes. Only devotees (25% of the total potential viewing audience) are likely to watch a race live if it occurs outside peak viewing times.

Implication: significant opportunities exist to build audience via other channels such as internet and mobile.

3. Major changes to qualifying format are not urgent
When asked to consider alternative qualifying formats, all fan types expressed a modest preference for a meritocratically determined starting grid. There was some degree of interest in allowing luck to play a part in shaping the starting order, but the general sentiment was that the fastest driver should always start from pole.

Implication: there may be justification for minor modifications to the current qualifying format, following further trials; however, a major change to the format will not result in a significant increase in audience.

4. Revisions to the points-scoring system
As with qualifying, all audiences want a meritocratic points-scoring system. This means that they want winning grands prix to count for more than it does currently. There is an indication that all audiences would like to see a greater points reward for winning grands prix.

Implication: a minor adjustment to the existing points system is justified

5. Evolution of pit stops and refuelling
All audiences view pit stops as integral to their enjoyment of grand prix coverage; however, they rank the most important and compelling aspect of pit stops as tyre changing rather than refuelling. Race strategies were not highly ranked as a determinant of interest in Formula One.

Implication: audiences are unlikely to diminish if refuelling is discontinued. Tyre changing is an important driver of audience interest (in pit stops) and should not be further automated.

View a Printer Friendly version of this Story.

Bookmark or share this story with: