Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

S’pore is ‘perfect platform’ for F1 to reach out to younger audience: F1 boss Chase Carey

SINGAPORE — Since taking over the wheel at motorsport’s biggest and most prestigious race, Formula 1 head honcho Chase Carey has made the pursuit of younger fans a priority.

S’pore is ‘perfect platform’ for F1 to reach out to younger audience: F1 boss Chase Carey

To attract millennial fans, F1 has relaxed “a series of historical restrictions” to allow teams, promoters and drivers such as Lewis Hamilton to create and share content online.

SINGAPORE — Since taking over the wheel at motorsport’s biggest and most prestigious race, Formula 1 head honcho Chase Carey has made the pursuit of younger fans a priority.

Two years after acquiring F1 for US$8 billion (S$11 billion), American media and telecommunications firm Liberty Media has since signed partnerships with popular social media platforms Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter —  a move that saw F1 become the fastest growing sports brand across digital platforms last year.

Market research firm Nielsen Sports said that impressions and video views for F1 went up 124 per cent and 283 per cent respectively last year, with the number of F1 followers rising by 56 per cent to 10 million last year. The growth was the most significant in subscribers to YouTube (178 per cent increase) and Instagram (104 per cent).

But that is just the tip of the iceberg, said Mr Carey in an email interview with TODAY, ahead of the 11th edition of the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix this weekend (Sept 14 – 16).

“Formula 1 is one of the greatest spectacles on the planet, and there is still more to be unleashed,” said the 64-year-old American.

Mr Carey added that F1 have learnt a lot in the last 20 months, and that “we’ve listened continuously to our fans in order to understand what works and what needs to be looked at”.

The digital space, in which many of the younger fans are immersed, is a key area of focus for the sport, with F1 investing and strengthening its digital department, and “focusing on content production and commercial solutions”, said Mr Carey.

The F1 chairman and chief executive officer also believes that the Singapore Grand Prix — dubbed F1’s “crown jewel” by his predecessor Bernie Ecclestone — is the “perfect platform” for the sport to reach its target audience.

He told TODAY: “A location like (Singapore), with its unique and fantastic setting, is the perfect platform to reach our targets. There are all the ingredients — sport, show, music, food, hospitality facilities — which can make an event like a Formula 1 Grand Prix an extraordinary experience.”

OFF-THE-TRACK ENTERTAINMENT

To attract millennial fans, F1 has also relaxed “a series of historical restrictions” to allow teams, promoters and drivers — particularly stars such as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who boasts an Instagram following of 7.2 million — to create and share content online.

Last September, F1 also launched the inaugural Formula 1 Esport Series, an annual competition on the F1 2017 video game for the PS4, Xbox One and Personal Computer platforms, which attracted over 63,000 players for the qualifying stages.

Its partnerships with social media giants such as Twitter and Instagram have allowed fans to catch 10 “live” shows in the 2018 season online immediately after the podium ceremony.

F1 has also worked with streaming video recorder and media server PlayOn to develop two F1 fantasy games for fans.

“Much has been done, and more is in the pipeline because we strongly believe that (going) digital is crucial to reach new and younger audiences, which is fundamental to ensure the growth of our fan base,” added Mr Carey.

Efforts are being made to “make the races more spectacular on track and more enjoyable and accessible for our fans”, said the F1 boss. “This means, for example, improving the quality of the broadcasting and making the sport’s heroes more accessible to the fans.”

MAKING CHANGES

A slew of changes have also been proposed for the 2021 season, with F1 owners Liberty Media and engine manufacturers working on a package of rules to revamp the cars’ power units. These include louder and cheaper engines, and less complicated rules, including a much-debated proposal to do away with the MGU-H — an advanced feature of the hybrid engine system that contribute more than half of its electrical power. The engine regulations have been delayed after the four manufacturers rejected the original proposal by F1 and motorsports’ governing body Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA).

Other changes could include new chassis regulations and a cost cap for teams — a bugbear for the smaller teams who struggle to compete against the likes of Ferrari, which operate on annual budgets of some US$570 million.

Discussions with manufacturers and teams can often be a long-drawn affair, but Mr Carey is determined to “make the cars more 'race-able'”, and to make the sport — whose rules have been criticised as too confusing and technical for casual spectators — “more interesting and captivating for our fans”.

As F1 looks to enhance fan experience both on and off the circuit, it is looking at what makes races successful, such as the Singapore Grand Prix, which has steadily attracted more than 200,000 spectators over the race weekend since the inaugural edition in 2008.

While critics have pointed out that the attraction of the race here lies in its trackside entertainment, rather than the action on the Marina Bay street circuit, Mr Carey dispelled the notion, adding that “the fans here have always showed great interest and passion for the action on track”.

“If they then enjoy the event also because of its entertainment side, then this is more than welcome. One of our targets is to make Formula 1 a big entertainment event with a racing core, so Singapore is already leading the way.”

After sitting in motor racing’s hottest seat for close to two years, Mr Carey believes the sport “has a great future because of its potential”.

It is a winning formula that he is happy to build on. He added: “There is no other sport which has such a huge fan base — more than half a billion — spread across five continents, takes place every year and not every four like the Olympic Games and the Fifa World Cup.

“This potential has (yet) to be fully tapped, but we’re on the right way. Working together with all the stakeholders will allow the sport to really become the greatest spectacle on the planet.”

*Tune in to Mediacorp’s coverage of the Singapore Grand Prix from 14-16 Sep, live on oktoSports and Toggle.

14 Sep, Fri

1st Practice Session

From 4.30pm, live on oktoSports & Toggle

2nd Practice Session

From 8.30pm, live on oktoSports & Toggle

 

15 Sep, Sat

3rd Practice Session

From 6pm, live on oktoSports & Toggle

Qualifying

From 8.55pm, live on oktoSports & Toggle

 

16 Sep, Sun

Race Day

From 7.45pm, live on oktoSports & Toggle

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa