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F1 must open up to attract younger fans

NEWS STORY
28/03/2014

Formula One must become more accessible if it is to attract younger audiences. That is the opinion of many team bosses who agree that the sport has become too sterile and even alienates younger viewers with its policies towards the internet and social media.

With the largest set of regulation changes in its history, Formula One this year has the opportunity to reach a new demographic using the cutting-edge development of hybrid technologies as a catalyst. But while those within the paddock seem happy enough to give snappy sound bites as a collective they've failed to actually sell the sport beyond simply turning up for the scheduled nineteen races.

"That's particularly sad at this point of time because we've entered into an absolutely new era, particularly with regard to the powertrain unit," admitted Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn. "That's such a strong message.

"We have such a sophisticated hybrid system," she continued. "If you look at the consumer market, everyone's going to there. It's about less consumption, it's about such high efficiency and exactly that's what we are showcasing here - and what we should do at Formula One."

But even if the sport was able to sell that message one of the biggest difficulties it would face is engaging with the teenage Joe Public; a demographic the sport is missing from its current fan base.

"The younger audience today is one that have a lot of things thrown at them and have a lot of entertainment options," explained Pirelli motor sport director Paul Hembery, who suggests the sport should humanise itself.

"It's one of the few motorsport areas I think where we could be doing a lot more in promoting the personalities of the drivers," he continued. "I think it's a shame sometimes that we have some great, amazing - the best - drivers in the world but maybe they're not promoted as individuals as much as they should be."

Much of the problem is driven by marketing-minded PR departments who stage manage much of what drivers say and extends even up to the commercial rights holder, Formula One Management, and its strict policy on sites like YouTube. While both attempt to protect the sport's intellectual property, such hard lines could in fact be hurting the business by alienating fans according to Caterham's Cyril Abiteboul.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by A41202813GMAIL, 29/03/2014 13:22

"This Is About Money, Nothing Else.

If BE Was Not Senile He Would Create A Package With That Deep Green Color, DP, GODADDY And Any Mid F1 Team Willing To Accept A Single Pay Driver, Giving Them All A Few Dozen Million Bucks, Because The Return In The UNCLE SAM Market Would Be 10+ Fold.

That Would Be An Immediate Return, Not Something That Is Expected To Grow Slowly.

How Senile Can You Get ?

GO, 44 !
"

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2. Posted by edllorca, 29/03/2014 3:43

"Maybe when Monie Grabberstone retires (hopefully soon) more open attitudes flourish."

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3. Posted by phantom, 28/03/2014 22:48

"NIki Lauda may 'know best,' but if I shut up I take my money and viewing time with me. Sorry, Niki. Great driver, but a bit of a social moron."

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4. Posted by gbubba, 28/03/2014 21:25

"F-1 must also find a way to lower the prices to attend an event. The US GP is probably one of the least expensive events to attend with the $49.00 walkabout ticket"

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5. Posted by vins0n, 28/03/2014 20:45

"Maybe stop alienating the existing fans first. Maybe also stop the corporate creep. Enforcing the "rebranding" of engines to "Power units" Tyres to "traction delivery units" and drivers to "corporate drone units" now rather than personalities. It's going to get worse before it gets better. But then like Niki Lauda nearly said "Shut up, we know best so shut up." "

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