Dear Bernie Ecclestone, Liberty Media, FIA, and all interested parties.
Over the past few years, F1’s viewership and attendance have been declining since 2005. With the empty seats clearly viewable in Friday practice, especially.
Fan engagement has been a top talking point as of late, due to the recent takeover of F1 by Liberty Media and their comments of F1’s lack of Social Media involvement.
F1’s current foray into fan engagement is the “Driver of the Day” vote they have during the Sunday Race, however personally this doesn’t seem to be actually working, the way it was intended to. It seems like the driver with the biggest fan base is getting the vote more often than not, instead of the deserving driver. For instance, Malaysia; Max Verstappen has won the, highly esteemed award, ‘Driver of the Day’ when from an objective point of view it was clearly Fernando Alonso in Malaysia respectfully, coming from the absolute back of the grid to finish 7th. Because of this, and the general tone of Social Media content I follow, all of whom are passionate F1 followers, has suggested that many of the votes from fans have just become a joke towards the disregard they have for the ‘Driver of the Day’ award, which doesn’t really hold any meaning for anyone.
I must add that I respect all drivers for their talents in the car, but the deserving driver should be awarded it over someone who has a more current if you like, fan base.
I also realise that a race weekend is already very busy and intense for everyone involved, however, to increase fan engagement and excitement within the sports something like this needs to be done.
My idea for Formula 1 is to improve the excitement and engagement of fans on Friday Practices. I believe this to be an all-around benefit for everyone involved with the sport itself.
Friday Practice – Driver Vs Driver.
During the Friday practice, fans can vote for 2 drivers to either go head-to-head in a lap time event or in a 5 lap race.
In the head-to-head, drivers are put into either GT cars or current road cars, sponsored by competing manufacturers or outside manufacturers.
Fans can choose from a set list of available cars from the multiple types of cars and manufacturers. Each car having a decal or number to identify which driver is driving; drivers personal racing number.
Winning driver could be awarded prize money that goes to a charity and/or a special decal on their Formula 1 racing car for that specific weekend.
– Drivers cannot be voted into the event once they have done it, until 5 race weekends later. For all drivers to be able to participate throughout the season.
- Could include GP2 drivers (Old Vs New).
- Special events where drivers at their home race compete.
- Be able to host the event during all types of weather.
- To have better engagement with drivers as well, they could have current/past drivers commentating on the head-to-heads.
Benefits for all parties include:
For Teams: a good advertisement for their road cars as they advertise F1 technology in their current road car models.
For Drivers: pure racing excitement and engagement with fans. A chance to show off who they are and what they’ve got.
For FIA/F1 Brand/FOM/Liberty Media: Fan engagement, higher interest in Friday practice & income from more attendance on Fridays. Brand awareness, engagement & loyalty.
For TV distributors: More excitement involved with the entire weekend, more viewers across the weekend rather than having most on Saturday & Sunday.