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F1 Global Fan Survey: What We Learned

Orange Army fans cheering for Verstappen at the 2021 Dutch GP.

This week, ahead of the US Grand Prix, Motorsport Network in partnership with F1 and Nielson Sports, released the results of the F1 Global Fan Survey. The survey gained over 167,000 responses across 187 countries.

So, let's analyse the main take aways together.

Nielson reported that the 2021 Global Fan Survey sample was the largest and most diverse one yet, with female participation doubling and the average age of participants dropping by four years to 32 since the last survey conducted in 2017.

The most popular driver among fans is Max Verstappen (Red Bull), having been listed as such by 14.4% of participants. However, Lando Norris (McLaren) came in close second with 13.7% of fans listing him as their favourite driver, ahead of 2017 winner Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).

Specifically, Norris showed immense popularity among younger fans, aged 24 and under. He also enjoyed exceptional support from female audiences. This may be due to his extra-curricular activities he enjoys outside of the track to interact with fans more, such as Twitch streaming.

"It's nice to know that [the fans] are supporting me. That's a very cool thing to hear." - Norris in response to the fan survey results.

Norris also helped push McLaren to win the vote of favourite team, with their vote share almost doubling from 15.8% in 2017 to 29.5% in 2021. Alongside teammate Daniel Ricciardo - finishing fourth place in the driver vote - they saw McLaren spring to popularity, specifically with 40% of fans aged 16-24.

"We're putting in the effort to engage and interact with the fans, and it's paying off. It's cool to give them more access and I guess it's good to know that it's worth it." stated Ricciardo.

"Maybe I like the camera, I don't know! And Lando as well is much the same, so I think the team is pretty happy with that."

McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

On the flip side however, F1 fans have revealed their limited support for the newly introduced F1 Sprint.

The F1 Sprint race was introduced this year for the first time at Silverstone, with the intention to slowly introduce more Sprint sessions in the coming races. However, F1 fans have instead shown support for alternative ideas.

The most popular idea was that of "[Leaving] drivers to race without intervention, except for dangerous driving" with a whopping 39.5% in support. Other popular suggestions included allowing multiple tyre suppliers (38.5%) and reintroducing refuelling during races (9.3%).

Despite this, Formula One still intends to push ahead with their plans regarding Sprint races.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said " You need to consider that we see for what we receive as a figure the mixed feeling of having more traditional fan, less happy for the change, while the new fans are really happy to see things are moving in a different way."

Overall, the survey is promising for the sport. It speaks volumes about Formula One's new digital first approach and shows the effect of series' such as Netflix's Drive To Survive, allowing for a new generation of eager F1 fans.

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