Formula 1 Fans Speak Their Minds

‘Advanced Technology,’ ‘Competitive’ and ‘Exciting’ are the three words the majority of fans chose to describe Formula 1. And when I say ‘fans’ I am referring to the almost 90,000 (including myself) who participated in the survey. They also think F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and that it showcases the best drivers. Fans stand neutral, however, to the following statements:

‘F1 has an important role to play in promoting environmentally friendly initiatives in motorsport’

‘F1 plays an important role in promoting road safety globally’

I was tuned into Eurosport last night (Beirut, Lebanon time) watching the LeMans qualifying session and was following the LeMans twitter feed. Several tweeps mentioned that the Le Mans 24 Hour Race is broadcast in High Definition.

Now, if we put that fact in one hand, and look over to our other hand (where Formula 1 is sitting), how backwards is the sport we all love and follow religiously?

I don’t need to ask you any more questions because the LG F1Racing Global Fan Survey results are out and there is a lot of important information on the sport and its fans.

You can view the full 36-page PDF file here: LG F1Racing Global Fan Survey Results.

Turkey in the heat © The Cahier Archive

1. Viewers

26% of fans are avid viewers. 44% are moderate and 30% are infrequent. In 2009, 25% of fans were avid, 44% were moderate and 31% were infrequent – so things are improving, slightly.

2. Viewing Duration

38% of fans have been watching F1 for over ten years. 27.4% have just began following in 2010. That’s a large number. The rest are dispersed evenly between 1 and 3 years (15.4%), 3 and 5 years (15.1%), and 6 and 10 years (15.1%). 33.5% of fans watch 12 or more races during a season and 27.2% watch between 1 to 3 races. Only 43% of fans watch an entire race. A quarter watch ‘most of the race’ which is where I am classified under. I can’t help but falling asleep at times when F1 is BORING!

3. Formula 1 in HD

Fans want to see Formula 1 races broadcast in High Definition. Approximately 39.4% of fans are ‘very interested’ in such a feature as 26% are ‘interested’. I, sure as hell, am! Half of the fans would be interested in watching F1 races on the internet, as well. I tried that once, and it was decent. I mean, it’s another option – and when you can’t get to a TV (for some strange reason) the internet is a great alternative. The same amount of people also found it interesting if races were available to download.

4. Interactive race viewing

44.2% of fans want to see more on-board camera action. Analysis of stewards’ decisions is a feature fans want to see more of (60.3%), as well as split-screen coverage (67%), interactive TV to allow fans to follow specific cars (53.7%), and the ability to follow a specific car for the entire race distance (57.9%). 68.6% of fans want to see a diverse selection of race tracks around the world (good job Mr. E) and with the addition of Korea, things are looking good.

5. Car manufacturers or energy drinks?

Half of fans feel the involvement of multi-national car manufacturers is important for the sport. A quarter don’t mind if an energy drink such as Redbull dominates the grid. 75.9% of fans feel overtaking in F1 is important to them, as is the involvement of classic venues, putting an emphasis on driver skill, and that the sport should be affordable to fans who want to attend.

Affordable. I was in Qatar last year and the Qatar MotoGP race was coming. The cost per ticket was $30. $30 for the weekend – and the circuit was full – as opposed to my visit to the Bahrain International Circuit, where a weekend at the Turn 1 Grandstand cost me $350.

6. Circuits

Fans also felt it important that the sport protect its European heritage and that teams and the FIA need to work together to set manageable budgets for teams. Spain (Catalunya and Valencia), Monaco, England, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, and Turkey (depending on where you think it fits) are the countries that make up the European involvement in Formula 1. Eight of them, out of eighteen different countries, are in Europe. 41.7% of fans request that more circuits be added to the calendar. What? Are you serious? Referring to point #2, not even half of the fans watch an entire race, and yet, they want more on the calendar? First, it’ll result in more fans falling asleep or watching highlights. Second, it will increase costs rather than cut them, which is not what we want. Keep the number of circuits at 19 and focus on attracting the full attention of the F1 fan.

7. Most important circuits

Out of the various venues, fans agree that Monaco is the most important host with Italy, Britain, Germany, and Belgium following.

8. KERS

25.7% of fans don’t know or understand KERS. 21.8% felt that because it wasn’t used by all teams, it was difficult to measure its success. I thought it was a great innovation. Fine, teams agreed to ban it for 2010, but they will be including it in 2011 (hopefully with the return of the turbo). 37.5% of fans felt KERS had a positive impact on the sport and 43% would like to see KERS return.

9. Up close and personal

30.6% of fans agreed to having the top three drivers go on a world tour during the Winter season. I agree because of the following: in the last year, 77.5% of fans have not visited one circuit. In the past year, these fans have not experienced F1 up close and personal. I have been to Bahrain three times, in 2004, 2005, and 2006. The last year, they gave three-day-ticket holders a Thursday afternoon pass into the pits. It was the highlight of my life! Formula 1 is really great. When you get that close, it’s indescribable. So yes, have the top three tour the world.. as lame as it may sound.

10. New points system

44.9% of fans feel the new points system introduced for 2010 is a great improvement. 61.9% would increase the number of points between Grand Prix winner and second place in order to encourage aggressive racing and more overtaking.

The most favored moment of 2009 was Force India’s qualifying and race performance at Spa (18.8%).

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