In our latest podcast, the Rancast, we mentioned the waning TV audiences for Formula 1 and questioned some of the reasons that have been given as to why that might be happening.

Hear me when I say that I am in no way overplaying this but I do feel that a generational difference can be contributing to the cause if ever so slightly. The Millennial generation is big…larger than Generation X (but we have a cooler name) and they happen to be larger than the Baby Boomers from whence they were begat.

When you consider Gen Y and Boomers, perhaps some of these differences between them contribute to the waning desire for F1.

I’ve said this before but many Boomers were in love with the European sports car back in the day—heck, why do you think they sold so many MG’s, Triumphs and other , more exotic two-seat roadsters? The concept of freedom was never more tangibly realized than the ability to get in a car and “go somewhere”.

There was a certain “summer of love vibe” back in the day but camping at festivals and over the weekend of races seemed to have more gravity back then than it does now. Making an event out of the race is something F1 has recognized that circuit owners need to work on as evidenced in the recent Austrian Grand Prix.

That concept of freedom worked its way well into the 70’s and 80’s but by the 2,000’s, the Internet began to take serious shape and offered the mind an opportunity to “go somewhere”.

Gen Y’s are more likely to use mixed-mode transportation to get to their destination according to transportation “experts”. They ride public transport more often although I do think that is typically location specific.

They are taking longer to get their license and they like the down time while on public transport to tweet, post something on their wall or search the internet or even use an app. This constant connectivity keeps them at least somewhat up to date on the events around the world.

They aren’t having as many children either which has an impact on not only public transportation but car manufacturers as well as petroleum companies.

So of these, do any of them play a role in F1’s current slide? Perhaps the connectivity issue plays a role. If Gen Y would prefer to get their content across multi-device lifestyles, then a strong mobility strategy might be advised.

Has the car and car culture been left behind in Gen X and the Boomer generation? Do Gen Y’s care if they drive a Honda fit or a Ferrari 458? I think they do but I may be completely wrong. The press say that Gen Y’s don’t care about cars and aren’t a car culture. They say they have little interest in racing and sports that are perceived to socially irresponsible. I am no sociologist but I really have a hard time believing that if you put a Gen Y’er in a 458 Italia at Sonoma, they’d say…meh.

F1 is convinced that the current rush toward STEM education and all things technology is the element that they should be promoting to garner more interest amongst the Gen Y’s. That may be true but sitting on the couch watching Jacques Laffite in his Ligier was reason enough for me. I wasn’t completely engrossed by the technology as I was the racing but then I’m a different breed of cat.

The reason I ask is that we suggested that F1 do a little research into the reasons and perhaps we can start with the Generation they believe they are having trouble reaching. I say there are plenty of petrol-heads in Gen Y but maybe there are betters ways to appeal to them.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • jiji the cat

    as someone who has experience in the television broadcasting profession, i would say that F1 lacks an holistic approach. It was not until television took the internet and mobility seriously that the numbers started to come back. These numbers do not increase in the television viewing audience, however overall the audience is there as they get the content (shows, movies etc) on mobile devices.

    F1 must incorporate the mobile device (smartphones, tablets, apps, internet) if it is to address the issue properly.

    However, don’t be surprised if there is some sort of clause in the FOM broadcasting rights with the broadcast rights holder that binds the hands on the mobile technology content

  • João Paulo F1

    Just put big screens on rear wings and sidepods with LIVE TWEETS on it and its done =P
    Just kidding. But.. F1 will never get kids attention with the current product. We all know the racing is great, the tech is mega interesting, the drivers are the best around…. but… meh…

    You dont have a Stadium Track where you can watch the whole action y’know? Its like.. a few cars passing by after 1.30minutes…
    U dont have sideways-drifting, dont have little jumps around the course….dont have a little dirt on the tracks (always cool.. ALWAYS!!).
    You dont have your drivers saying sh*t on twitter. You dont even have your drivers HAPPY after a race.
    A P2 looks like death for these guys.. and always under team orders.

    I like how SuperCross and Skate guys are always mega happy even with a Bronze Medal (P3). Look at MotoGP drivers. They get so happy at the end of the race just cuz they really had to DRIVE their machines. F1 is all about SAVING everything and passing each other all the using gimmicks and alternative tires.

    Look how awesome is RallyCross now! Its an Euro sport that has been around since the 60’s but now FIA is putting them all over the world! In US you have a whole RedBull Series with TONS of “hot wheels / xgames” heroes: Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan, Bucky Lasek, Ken Block, Travis Pastrana, Dave Mirra… You have Villeneuve, Petter Soldberg (WRC legend) Markus Ghronholm, Sebastien Loeb… It filled with great guys racing hard and getting drunk together after the races!

    Sorry but F1 needs to chance its format.. Just like Nascar… and Indycar.. THey are all “perfect” but they suck

  • João Paulo F1

    And dont forget …”you gotta have your races on youtube!!!”

  • AlanMiller

    I don’t know if I apply to Gen Y, I’ve never been able to find concrete dates of when one is deemed to be part of this “coveted” generation.

    I’m 22 years old. I go to work at 7AM six days a week driving a 2011 Toyota Yaris. Not pretty car, not ugly either. It gets good gas mileage, upkeep is inexpensive, the insurance is cheap and you can park it anywhere. Not to mention its a Toyota and as far as I know through my family’s history it’ll drive until it completely rots away.

    Would I love to have a Ferrari 458, Mercedes SLS Black, Audi R8, or a BMW M5 F10? Oh heck yea! Probably the BMW M5 because it would be a bit more practical than the rest. Anyway, I drool over these high performance, high precision cars. I hope that I will be able to drive one of them someday.

    But lets get back to the topic at hand. Does F1 have a generation Y problem? I can’t really answer that. I maybe part of Gen Y but I don’t have a hive-mind connection with them (although that would be pretty awesome). My similarly aged acquaintances at work and college don’t know much about F1, some of them haven’t even heard about it in the first place. However I’m able to find one or two through people in their late 30s early 40s who are somewhat familiar with the topic.

    I’ve run into NASCAR fans by the truckload, which isn’t very surprising. I try to get them engaged F1 through a common bond of motorsport but it doesn’t bear much fruit. They just don’t seem to like F1 in general. Which is perfectly fine, if they love NASCAR they should follow it and watch it and get neck deep in it. However I do find it frustration that here in the States they get all the coverage they can get, and I’m lucky if F1 gets a passing mention in any sports program. I am at least thankful that NBC Sports reruns the races later on in the day so I don’t have to conflict over F1 or sleep.

    Also on the mobile front, yes it definitely helps. See, I love baseball but I rarely kept up with it, now I can get an app on my phone or pull it up on my PC while I’m doing school work and keep up with my Seattle Mariners all season long. The simple lesson is that better access means more eyes. But FOM makes a good amount of money with the current format, and as long as they make a keep a good profit margin the format will stay.

    • +1

    • What a great post; if you don’t mind me requesting, please continue posting, as your well-rationed opinion brings a great perspective to what I feel can be a curmudgeonly fan base (myself included).

      Further unsolicited advice regarding those aspirational cars; if you spot one in your area, proposition the driver, ask him/her questions, perhaps ask for a ride or drive if all’s well. I think you’ll find many passionate about their car/marque, pleased others share the passion, and generous with their piece of pride.

      If you’ll allow me a personal story, I’ve been a Porsche fan since childhood, and it was a monumental day I purchased my own. However, whilst still loving 911’s, I began to hate the snobbery some owners and jealous disparagement some have-nots fling out, and thought about selling the current one while shopping for a new daily driver.

      That is, until waiting at a stop sign outside my house a few years’ back, when young parents with their 6 year old son crossed in front of me. The son looked at the car, then looked again, tugging on his mom’s hand as I saw him mouth “a Porsche Mom!” in awe.

      The family and I become engrossed in a conversation after I parked; this little boy, prompted by his father’s love of cars, has come to love Porsches and points out the countless models in our neighborhood. As he sat and fiddled around inside, giggled as we started and revved the car, we made and kept a date to take dad and son for a drive. They’re now friends of ours.

      Point is, I received so much from that first encounter, sharing my love of the car/brand, renewing the sense of wonder and passion I held in the machinery. Little Joe is still my buddy, and whilst I make no claim to his future accomplishments, I hold some small pride in feeding his dreams; he helped me remember mine.

  • Part of this that isn’t being said is how a lot of this generation is cutting the cable, and unless you have an online package. All the other major sports (save all of auto racing) Don’t offer an online package, I can even pay $15 and watch the Tour de France without cable, or sign up for Sunday ticket, but I can’t get any auto racing.

    One of the reason’s why could also just be intrinsic to F1 and that is time zones, there are going to be a few races every year that only the hardest of the hard core will watch live, and sports almost has to be live in our social media age.

    I also don’t buy that Gen Y doesn’t like cars or racing, I think that racing has just failed to meet this generation where they are at,

    • Heck, I can pay $150-ish a year and get live videos of all the MotoGP races (including every practice and qualifier, press conference, and dozens of “behind the scenes” videos per race), PLUS I get access to historical races spanning back to the 70s, and at least highlights for every race going back to 1992. Oh, and it includes all of the support classes, too. For an extra ~10%, I can get a multiscreen player and options to watch onboard footage from various bikes, helicopter footage, various timing and telemetry screens, and I can even turn off the commentary and just listen to ambient sound if I want. It’s glorious.

      I will admit, the F1 app on iOS and Android is far superior to the MotoGP app, and at a far lower price point, but I’d rather be able to pull up a whole season’s worth of races (or, say, a classic like Laguna Seca 2008) on my spare laptop while I’m crunching numbers at work, or find last week’s highlights on my iPad to show my non-motorsport-watching friends over pints at the bar.

      If F1 would let me, I’d gladly pay them just to get access to streaming race coverage and timeshifting sessions. [insert Futurama “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY” meme here.]

  • Mr. Obvious

    It’s a simple matter of attention span. Gen Y/Millennials are “internet-natives”, and have grown up hard-wired for a constant feed of media and content. F1 has 19 races per year, with two to four weeks between races throughout the season. Conversely, NASCAR has 36 races over a ten month season — seldom a week goes by without a race. In a similar vein, NASCAR is ubiquitous in the USA. You can’t turn on a sports program, log-on to your favorite sports website or open the sports page in your local newspaper without being smacked upside the head with NASCAR-related content. F1, on the other hand…crickets. My point is that F1 is competing with NASCAR and an entire universe of sports-related media for the attention of an entire generation that is collectively a fined-tuned, media-thirsty machine. They demand constant information/entertainment, and F1 is not currently up to the challenge. What other sport takes off an ENTIRE month right in the middle of their season? What other sport keeps such a choke hold on their content that fans have a hard time finding something to pass the time in the seemingly unending span between events? If I were them, I’d probably find another sport to latch upon as well.

  • All very good comments folks, getting a good feel for what you all think about reaching out to Gen Y and what resonates with them. While we’re at it, might as well talk about Gen Z too. If you thought Gen Y was digital-natives, Gen Z is even more so.

    It seems many of you do feel that a mobile strategy is needed and while I don’t disagree with that, do we have any feel for if this mobile strategy would re-build the base? I liked jiji’s point above that losing TV viewers may be supplemented by mobile devices in regards to number of eyeballs and there are ways in which F1 can measure that. I know none of you are advocating that a mobile strategy is a quick fix but what would be the low-hanging fruit? Mobile app and content on demand first? then engaging the fan through that medium in a more meaningful way?

    • To easy/quick/cheap fixes, F1 should be promoting the official site and adding content/adapting layout to that promotion. On it, content should be paneled into categories easily-seen on its main page. Current news, driver specials, a development blog, etc., should share equal prominence. A daily-changing piece of fluff such as anniversary of X driver’s first win or % increase fuel efficiency should join the race-day countdown.

      Various embedded blogs or insight pieces from newly-hired and *named* experts will forge the missing connection between audience and teams for those lacking on-site content providers; we associate with those giving the info as much as the info itself (see ESPN in the US).

      This new look and expanded info should be trumped via social media overtures; dedicated F1 twitter staff announcing various site pieces, short vignettes exposing F1’s history via Vine, and so on.

      Make overtures to amateur media outside motor racing. Road car, green energy, X games, NASA… These and others reference F1; by granting PR interviews with aforementioned *named* sport experts, the sport reaches a larger initial group with minimal outlay, and via association with a topic already important to the consumer’s tendencies.

      This is all low cost/mid time, but requires mindset shift away from closed door policy. Baby steps, before larger (costly) restructuring such as TV/streaming models.

  • The ATPA report referenced here is based on PIRA and U of M’s research presented last year, the latter of which my company participated in. It’s a multifaceted question; urbanization of the populace for work opportunities means more deem public trans sufficient. Some deem being plugged in via social media/smart devices a sufficient replacement for personal contact. Vehicle and particularly teenager insurance inflation has skyrocketed past income growth. Cars and driving are still coveted, but interconnectivity within infotainment systems has increased in importance, further upping buy-in costs for the tech. Some feel cars are luxury items rather than rights (not a bad view).

    The birth figures in total are misleading; the better if un-PC question is which education/income/geography bracket is/isn’t having children and how it impacts market trends. I’ll leave that topic as inappropriate on an F1 blog, but evidence begs the question if its better catering to the broadest demo or stratifying for the most-passionate.

    As to content-consumption, there’s some truth in the viewing-pattern shift. Via sites such as Imagr/Vine/Twitter, audiences are being trained to demand immediate payoff to story/point, impatience . This sounds and could be a negative; however, a positive is that audiences are becoming more selective with this content, forgoing the slickly-produced “sell” pieces and poorly-structured dreck for human interest and emotional-connection pieces. Having sat in some debates concerning this trend, I feel there are ways to incorporate this social media phenomenon without sacrificing the story being told; it’s all about presentation and association.

    Formula 1 isn’t outmoded in its content per se, but as oft-mentioned in how it presents and makes itself available. Whether smart/old, educated/not, most of us enjoy seeing excellence in competition. Those with an inkling towards tech, be it analog or digital, enjoy progress. F1 must repackage its content for the ever-changing world. Sharing the stories of how Hamilton “came up” in a supposedly working-class area, of how similar but smaller engine than a Prius can produce so much power, even how much data can be accessed via the new steering wheel displays, are all compelling stories for a certain demo; F1 needs trump those tales to the audience.

    • I’m a bit of a broken record on this issue but I really believe that F1 doesn’t do enough history lessons in its broadcast packages. I know I get accused of romanticizing the halcyon days but it wasn’t until I learned the history of F1 that I was able to better appreciate what the present was doing and why. It’s like all fact, figures, positions we hear…they always resonate better with context. F1 resonates better when contextually placed on the linear timeline and broadcast in an expository way in my opinion but then I am an old curmudgeon. :)

      • So true Todd. Something that can’t be emphasized enough. Pele, Ali, Montana, Ruth. The tall white socks, porn mustaches, leather helmets. Smoking in dugouts.

        Sport builds on the shoulders of its past, tells a compelling narrative us couch-sitters relate to as we share the story with parents/offspring. It’s criminal F1 ignores this.

        • Seconded. Or thirded. Whichever-ded.

          See also, my comment above about MotoGP’s subscription service and the Classics section. I could go pull up a video of Mick Doohan’s first win in the premiere class right now and watch it in its entirety. Why isn’t Formula 1 offering anything even close to that?

  • Tom Firth

    car culture is dead, Long live car culture.

    To answer this, I think one has to look at what Car Culture means to generation Y, to do this, I’m going to use myself as a case study, which is probably a bad idea given I’ve been completely obsessed with motoring and motorsport since a young age but here goes, and bare in mind, I’m writing this from a UK perspective, perhaps it’s different in the USA.

    So to me, a definition of Car Culture, is a generation of people that have a shared interest in cars, whether that is from a mechanical perspective, a visceral perspective related to the speed and excitement of a car or from a freedom point of view, in owning a car. Basically they like cars.

    Did in a previous generation, people have to be fanatical about motoring to be classed as been part of a car culture, has the requirement to be seen as part of that movement changed in time?

    Young people in the UK, love cars, they might not be able to buy them, but it doesn’t stop them from loving hypercars and having aspirations to one day perhaps drive one.

    I do think the distribution however of how these cars are appealed to one has changed dramatically. Up until the mid 1990’s really and perhaps even into the early 2000’s having posters of supercars on the wall from car magazines was the best way for the car culture to be integrated fully into peoples home from the start of the generation Y to effectively the point where they could learn to drive and move towards this aspirational goal. Today the distribution method has changed. The BBC’s Top Gear is a fantastic example of this, in the 90’s, it was a show about cars from a factual perspective, and eventually viewers fell out of favour with the show and the BBC axed it.

    When Top Gear was relaunched, the new (Current) show format appealed far better to the generation. It’s an entertainment show that has some factual content embedded in features such as testing the new LaFerrari or the Mclaren P1 and guess what? It works. Top Gear is one of the BBC’s Iplayer most watched programmes, and that could be partially to do with how Generation Y watches made-for-TV content.

    Generation Y are talking to each other about the Mclaren that was on TopGear through social media in the way that they would of when reading magazines such as Performance Car in the 80’s through to the 90’s to one another. Hypercars are cool again.

    Top Gear isn’t the only example of how traditional car magazines and the wider car manufacturers have changed the approach of car culture to appeal better to generation Y. DRIVE on Youtube and traditional magazines such as AutoCar have launched into video’s on Youtube (other video sharing platforms are available) specifically designed to target generation Y alongside traditional print and e-mags. We have distribution methods such as Video Games too, Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo, even arcade games such as EA’s Need for Speed series have officially licensed car manufacturers displaying products on these platforms, to attract Generation Y. Hence why Formula E has just launched on Forza because of the generation it is trying to appeal too.

    Not everything is perfect in car culture though today, and one of the area’s Todd mentioned above certainly rings true, in that young people don’t buy cars in the way other generations did. In the UK, when your 17 you can go for your drivers license, the problem most 17 years face that prohibits them from doing so, isn’t a desire to do so, but it’s insurance costs, and to a lesser extent other costs associated with running a car today at that age, and primarily due to the high percentage of accidents of drivers admittedly in that age bracket, directly in the age that Generation Y exists.

    Now for the slightly complicated bit, does Car Culture related to road cars really make Generation Y explore motorsport? I don’t personally believe it does. Forza Motorsport 4 sold over 4 million copies worldwide, F1 games struggle to sell half a million, why?

    You could put some of it down to how the two games are distributed admittedly and you could argue that Generation Y has no interest in F1. I was 8 before I found another F1 fan, I could find a hundred soccer fans. Or you could argue it’s a massive disconnect between racing fans and car culture, the latter I think is true, Generation Y I don’t think are interested in marketing guff such as “The LaFerrari has an F1 inspired gearbox” It makes no odds to Generation Y, that is aimed at Generation X, and those that can perhaps actually afford the car in the current climate.

    Generation Y are in my opinion interested in speed, aesthetic qualities and competition/bragging rights to me. I’m not saying the generation is stupid and don’t understand, it’s just PR stuff related to motorsport in the sale of road cars has lesser effect and motorsport is no longer seen as a sport of heroes to many as well as poor distribution methods from what many people see as motorsport, been F1 in capturing the attention of the Generation Y. F1 has to head this change in how motorsport is seen by Generation Y, as it is the core of motorsport for masses.

    It’s also over complicated, particularly in the crossover from road to track. If you have a hypercar that has a higher top speed than a Ferrari F1 car on paper, where is the attraction to the F1 car without getting them closer to it? Then you have the ludicrous over-legislation of motorsport to many, why can’t a hypercar race at Le Mans when it’s rival can because the cars are built to different regulations. The logic doesn’t compute.

    Anyway apologies for the long post, had a lot to say on this subject but if anyone read all of that, maybe generation Y doesn’t have the attention span of a goldfish after all, or I’m just talking to myself and don’t fit generational stereotyping, either way thanks for allowing me to express my opinion in a fantastic debate.

  • charlie w

    This really doesn’t answer the question of dropping F1 interest or viewership when applied to the globe. Here in the USA and its Greatest Generation, baby boomer, Gen-X, Gen-Y and millenials age groups, it may be those issues addressed here. I think, overall, F1 no longer appeals to the younger audience-period. Whether they drive a subcompact or take the train, they simply don’t care about F1. And I find that ironic since its best drivers are, if you must use a generational category, Gen-Y’ers. While a case can be made for the sport’s refusal to move into social and portable media, Todd(Negative Camber) got it right by saying the sport’s video history is inaccessible to the public and it hurts them to bring in new fans who wish to learn the history. It’s probably too late to bring them into the fold now.

  • One of the ways I was brought into the sport was through the writings of folks like Ken Purdy, Henry Manney, LJK Setright, and Robert Daley. They made it sound mythical and pressed all the right go buttons. Yes I am that old. How you do that in the modern era in the face of such highly tuned cynicism and irony I have no idea. The closest I’ve seen anyone come lately was the movie Senna.

  • First off, I find the idea that as a broad statement Gen-Y and/or Millennials (depending on whether you group them together or not) are all “internet natives” absurd. This really only applies to the youngest Millennials, and to the post-Millennials born after about 2004. Simply put, the Internet was not something early Gen-Y and even early Millennials had as young children. They grew into it much later, when the web became more useful and popular in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Us Gen-Xers had the Internet in college and we brought that forward into culture and business. We also created Google and Twitter, and Tesla Cars. :) There’s nothing genetic about technology acceptance or anything else. If the tech had been in there in 1972, I’d be a digital native too. Regardless – I think you also must look at who the Gen-Y and Millennial kids are being raised by to understand their car culture. I have several teens who fall into this age range down the street from me. They have their lowered & pimped out NISSANs and Mitsubishis running around. I’ve learned to be OK with the flatulence mufflers and all that crud because hey – they’re into cars and that’s a good thing. They’ll teach their kids to be into cars. See if the Y/M folks aren’t into cars it’s – I think at least – that they’re being taught by the enviro-Boomers that cars are bad. And those folks don’t like cars, and never have. USA Today ran an article in the last couple of weeks that says Gen Y is set to spend more on cars than Gen X. I find that hilarious considering all the gleeful talk of how Gen Y/M doesn’t care about cars. However in that article they had the Millennials going all the way back to 1977, which is an absolutely insane range of dates and only then gives Gen X 10 years – also absurd. Younger folks buy cars that help them afford other things. They still like what they drive but they drive a cheaper car because that’s what they can do. That doesn’t mean they don’t want a Ferrari some day, but the priority of buying one just may not be the thing that’s most important to them. I had this conversation recently with a couple of Gen Yers – they were in their late 20s and early 30s. We spoke about family and such, both of them with a couple of kids. I mentioned a few things about cars and how I’d been looking at some fun toys – $70k cars you can get for under $35k – a video I had watched from the /Drive folks recently. They had little interest in that – but their reason was that family and other commitments were more important. It’s all about what you value. Not that car folks don’t value family, quite the contrary in fact, but the thing is just as it has always been, either you have the bug or you don’t. Back in the 1960s my high school had an auto shop class. By the time I was there in the mid 1980s, it was long gone. Kids had learned how to fix cars and all of that in HS, and now that’s lost as well. Much of car culture comes from what’s learned around you. When you grow up with cars and talking about cars you’ll tend to be into cars. The idea of these generations universally shunning anything that isn’t socially responsible (in their minds) is a bit of bunk, as it’s certainly not altogether the case. Also the idea they’re adverse to cars overall seems to largely be the product of folks who really want that to be true, more than it’s actually true. And let’s not forget all of us Gen X ers out there with young kids who LOVE cars. And they do, mostly because WE do. Racing overall has to get down to the younger generations. How they consume any product has changed dramatically. That’s where the technology comes in. It’s faster, more sound & video bites than it is anything else. I also think to some level it’s an experience, share, and be seen type of situation. When you go to an IndyCar race, GrandAM or NASCAR event there’s opportunity to interact (and take a few selfies) with drivers, cars etc. F1 offers very little if any of that. When they did the pit walks at the USGP in Indy they were a huge hit. As well the autograph sessions. This is what fans want to see, and I think the Gen Y /M folks aren’t any different. They kindof want to be seen at these things, and F1 simply blocks it all off unless you are a celebrity or have crap tons of cash to spend, which they don’t. F1 needs more younger voices instead of just saying “it’s all good, nothing to see here”. It’s the same struggle I have in groups I lead where most of the participants are Boomers or Xers. We have to open it up. I see plenty of younger kids and teens at car shows and races. But we have to keep them engaged in new ways. If that’s via interest in technology and how that applies to racing then hey so be it. But my 4 year old loves cars, and loves racing. He is excited about what he sees & hears. It has nothing to do with whether we can follow the action on an iPad.

  • Matt

    I could be completely wrong based on my own point of view, but I don’t think being one has to be a “car guy” to like F1. I’m 23 I don’t consider myself a “car guy.” I didn’t get my learners permit until I was 17 and not 16 (I got my license shortly after, but that was at my parents pushing and not mine), I don’t do any of my own maintenance on my car, I have no intention of buying anything other than your typical compact car, and I think most classic American cars are obnoxious. I suppose I pay some attention to what Ferrari, Porsche, and others come out with, but it doesn’t really matter to me since I would never buy one. Despite all this I love F1 and F1 technology. I love the fact that you can tweak the geometry on a side pod by 1 mm and gain a measureable advantage.

    I think there are a lot of problems with how F1 is presented at least in the US and I suppose embracing twitter is part of it, but I really don’t use twitter other than as a news feed so I don’t have any suggestions as to fix it. However, the one thing I would like to see is a pay for app/account where you can watch the replays of the race from either the broadcast cameras or the onboard from any of the cars. Personally I buy NFL Sunday ticket, NBA league pass, and Granted with these I like that I can watch any game I want live, but I really like being able to watch the replays of all of the games. One of my best friends is just is crazy in sports as I am and will be talking about how a certain NBA team has been playing better defensively recently so we will go back and watch their last few games and figure what they changed in their pick and roll coverage or how soon they are sending help. Doing this type of analysis isn’t really possible in F1. Everyone knows that Ricciardo has been generally quicker than Vettel this year, but it is tough to put a reason as to why. I think it is lazy analysis to say Vettel sucks and only won because of the blown diffuser. Realistically you might see 3 laps over the course of the race that were completed in similar conditions between the two because cameras are focused on other things which they should be. I would like to think that if you could watch a replay of the whole race from the onboard from each of them you could figure out what the difference is.

    Just as a side note I have been watching the races on the Spanish station at Grace’s suggestion and I have liked it so far. I don’t understand any Spanish at all, but I don’t feel like I loose any value from the broadcast since they do not go to commercials you see all of the laps. NBC only rarely tells me something I can’t see for myself on the screen or on the live timing app.

  • John M

    Hi new to the podcast and website hell even the sport. I’m 27 and a member of Gen Y. I only just started watching Formula 1 this past season. You make some interesting points that I haven’t thought of and since I’m obviously from a younger generation I cannot dispute some of the comparisons you make with between Gen Y and Gen X. I also cannot speak to for an entire generation so I can only speak for myself but to me the real reason viewers such as myself didn’t or haven’t tuned in was simply a lack of awareness of F1. I grew up a racing fan watching NASCAR and Indy Car but after a while due to the oval track format and the sheer length of the races my interest dwindled. It’s really on a matter of coincidence that I became a Formula 1 fan and my passion for racing was rekindled to be greater than ever. Frankly speaking the only reason I became aware of it was I’m an Olivia Wilde fan, for obvious reasons. When I saw she was starring in Rush I thought I’d check it out. I was instantly hooked on the sport and had to know more. I was shocked to learn that Formula 1 is actually the pinnacle of motorsports and they are to motorsports like the NFL is to football or the UFC is to MMA. It’s the elite of the elite. Now I could ramble on about why Formula 1 is so much more appealing and interesting to me than say a NASCAR (shorter more dynamic races & cutting edge technology are two that immediately come to mind) but the point I’m trying to make is that I never thought of Formula 1 as the best before recently simply because that’s not how it was presented to me in the American Media. I live in New York and follow my local teams passionately but most of my outside sports knowledge comes from watching outlets like ESPN and Fox Sports. They simply don’t cover the sport as much as say a NASCAR or Indy Car and I think that leaves the perception with the American Mainstream that it’s somehow below them or the “European Championship”. They even alluded to that notion in the disney movie Cars. To me that is the key to making Formula 1 more popular in this country. The drivers in Formula 1 are astronauts on wheels driving the cutting edge of driving technology in a relatively short, dynamic race for one of the world’s only true World Championships. This is how NBC Sports needs to present and market the sport. Also some increased exposure not just thru advertising but having driver’s on talk shows (or whatever gets that in the spotlight more) or even something as simple as putting the races on NBC instead of NBC Sports could greatly increase awareness. It should be an easy sell as Formula 1 is really like soap opera filled with the talented, rich and beautiful which in this “TMZ” era should be very appealing. Yes I think an American team and/or American driver would help but I agree with your point on the last podcast that they would need to win in order to make an impact however I will state because I was this person recently that when a new fan types in Formula 1 into google and they read the driver or team line-up you are initially a little put off by the lack of Americans. For me it wasn’t for any ethnocentric reasons more of like a question of who can I relate to or root for ? But once you get to see the driver and team’s personalities and unique driving styles/abilities a bond starts to form. It’s difficult not to admire a Sebastain Vettel or a Fernando Alonso and it’s hard not to like a Daniel Ricciardo or Kimi Raikkonen. To me if NBC Sports simply put more stock into Formula 1 and presented it for what is, the best motoracing in the world I think the product has enough quality to carry itself. Another factor in my opinion is that the casual motoracing fan of my generation is more attracted to things like Rally Cross than previous generations. Again having the ESPN machine behind you helps because when they watch something like the X-Games or play a videogame like Dirt I think it has that extreme sports appeal that a lot of members of my generation are into. You can’t even buy the Formula 1 videogame at gamestop. Small potatoes I know but to me it’s just a slice of the bigger picture. Formula 1 is not treated as it the most important racing series in the world in this country and it’s changing that perception that will get this country’s attention. When the causal fans can tune into sports center and the lead is who won the driver’s championship I think you’ll see a change.

  • Jason Anthony

    While the World Rally Championship has had it’s fair share of problems, and to be honest, some of the ideas from the new promoters are just as ludicrous as “standing restarts” in F1, I applaud them for what they have done with the WRC+ subscription website. I never used to be able to watch the WRC until the WRC+ website was launched last month. Now, for about 9 dollars a month, I can watch live and archived WRC events WHENEVER I WANT TO. I have to be honest, I have been on that site more than any other website over the past month. Even today, I was keeping tabs on the live coverage of Rally Germany.

    I have to be honest, for the past 3-4 years my interest in the WRC had dwindled due to lack of access… now, in just one month, I am back on board. I know that over the past few years, there has been a lack of manufacturer involvement, and that is one thing that has hurt the series, but I must say that if I had this kind of access 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have drifted away from following the sport.

    I am definitely one of those “gen Y” people with that alleged short attention span we always hear about. However, I am more than willing to spend my time (and money) on a well presented product that offers access WHENEVER I WANT TO WATCH IT. I couldn’t care less about the WRC when it was on TV at 3am on the Discovery Channel a few years ago. But now, I am closely following the championship because I can fit it into my busy schedule. Sanctioning bodies need to make the effort to make their form of motorsport available on my terms, not the other way around. For a series to think that their product is so great that I will put my life on hold to watch it at a certain time on TV is arrogant and misguided.

    Kudos to the WRC promoters for getting one thing right,

    F1 and other forms of racing would be wise to take notice!

  • IMO, this post’s comments should be bulletin’d and highlighted on F1B’s front page. The perspectives brought forth from others are impassioned, insightful, personal; constructive criticisms and experiences rather than inflammatory dreck to see oneself be read. In particular, thank you “Gen Y” posters; in F1 forums and the larger media world, you’re too often denigrated as internet warriors or follow-the-herd trend-slaves. Clearly, F1 should instead be looking at you as invaluable contributors to the sport’s health; thank you for the thought-provoking reads.

    A general fan-accessibility (lack thereof) and public consciousness (invisibility in current promotional avenues) theme seems to be repeating.

    -F1 ignores avenues that current media uses to attract new audience.

    -Current fans are cut off from in-depth, special interest insight we now expect from our entertainment. What’s available is scattered throughout the internet rather than easily-found via an “F1” web search or pop-up/TV announcement.

    To those newer, does F1 tell a compelling narrative? Do you still fantasize about being a racing driver like I do? Or perhaps one views the drivers as heroes; did F1 introduce you to the Fangio’s/Schumachers/Senna’s, and connote today’s drivers with such? In “promoting” green technology, and I say promoting sarcastically, did you get the notion that F1 has long lead development which does in fact translate into what’s on public roads? How it’s a new frontier to be excited about?

    I’m curious what story, if any F1 is telling, and if there’s a responsibility from it or or opinion-making press to tell it.