The survey – amassed from over 167,000 fans across 187 countries – had an average age of 32, which is four years younger than the previous study in 2017, while female participation has doubled over the past four years.
The trend reflects well on F1’s digital-first approach and projects such as the Netflix documentary Drive To Survive. This newer audience, who indicated they had been following the sport for less than five years, showed biggest growth in the United States, India, China and Mexico.
“Increased diversity and a younger audience will enable us to be richer is terms of being able to capture the attention of more people,” said F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali. “That’s really something that we’ve seen the effect by having the right language, the right narrative and the right tools that are closer to how the younger generation is working and behaving.
“That’s really something we’re going to push even harder in that respect. This is for sure the most encouraging and most important push that we need to keep our in our wave to the future.
“I can see the same kind of results over four or five years if I compare the average age of the people that are buying tickets for Grands Prix, and that is also pushing us to thinking what makes for an incredible event when people come here. It’s good to see the vibes for the future that we are having from this research.
“We take [these results] very seriously, without the fans we wouldn’t be here. Despite all the different areas, different cultures, to see the trends that are emerging is really crucial for us to make the right decisions for the future.”
Alpine F1 driver Fernando Alonso said on the subject: “There’s a younger generation following Formula 1, so I’m pleased to see what they think about the sport. I think the fanbase is a bit different from before, in the last two or three years with the Netflix series, et cetera.
“The surveys are very important. We had one a few years ago with some very interesting answers, and this one is the biggest ever, so this survey is going to provide even more interesting answers from the fans.”
There was also a greater geographical spread than ever, including a doubling of the response from Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.
Fan positivity was also reflected by the top-five brand attributes, which were identified as ‘exciting’, ‘technological’, ‘expensive’, ‘competitive’ and ‘entertaining’. It is the first time that ‘competitive’ and ‘entertaining’ have appeared in the top-five attributes, whereas in the 2015 report ‘boring’ was one of the highest-scoring traits.
When asked if F1 is healthier than before, 55% of fans agreed. Increases were also recorded in the key attributes of ‘delivers exciting racing’, ‘features fastest cars’, ‘features best drivers’ and ‘has pioneering technology’.
The statement ‘Provides lots of overtaking’ was the only under-performing attribute, proving the requirement for the 2022 generation of cars to improve the racing product.
“The good news is that action is already underway,” added Domenicali. “In 2022 we will see a new era of cars that will improve the battle on the track.”
You can read the full findings of the 2021 F1 Global Survey here.