Formula 1 and Social Media

The recent rumours that YouTube may be sponsors of the USF1 team next year could make for a very interesting insight into the Formula 1 world. The paddock is a very exclusive place and for the layman it is one way out of the realms of imagination. Being one of the chosen few who get to go behind the scenes is an honour indeed The F1 Paddockand something that 99.9% of Formula 1 fans will never experience. Formula 1 is on a different level to other sports, as simply getting access to the live spectacle is a challenge due to the cost and demand related to one of the world’s most glamourous playgrounds. In other sports, such as football or rugby, it is certainly only a privileged person who gets to go behind the scenes, though getting tickets to see a game from the stands is a relatively easy process. This is not the case in Formula 1, with TV coverage taking the majority of people as close to the action as they will ever get.

So the explosion of social media has added a new exciting element to the sport as we can now gain formally unheard of access using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Many of the F1 teams use these sites to interact with their fans, providing behind the scenes material to paint a much clearer picture of  how the sport works both at the track and back at the factory. McLaren is one that dos this particularly well, with regular Twitter updates from ‘The Fifth Driver’ telling fans what the team and the drivers have been doing and posting photos of Lewis and Heikki in their free time. This sort of access, in my own opinion as an F1 fan, is fantastic and undoubtedly builds the relationship between the team and its fans, forming stronger bonds and creating advocates rather than just fans.

The BBC are also exploiting these platforms with presenter Jake Humphrey amongst a number of the team on Twitter as well as writing their own blog . These Twitter accounts allow fans to put themselves in the writer’s shoes and experience the action from a first person point of view in a way that they have never been able to do previously. The blogs are one step back from this, not giving a real time account of events at the track but offering a much more in depth retrospective view of the business taking place behind Formula 1’s closed doors. I love discovering new things every weekend through these mediums, things which would never have been accessible before, and it has certainly enhanced my experience of the sport I love.

So the news that USF1 have supposedly brought YouTube on board as a major sponsor next year was music to my ears. The opportunity for social media content from this partnership goes as far as the eye can see and gives the team a great platform to build a very strong and wide reaching fan base. Of course, it is all just conjecture at the moment but more often than not where there’s smoke there’s fire. I for one hope that the rumours are true and will be paying close attention to any developments. Since Damon Hill’s championship winning days I haven’t really had any affiliation with a particular driver or team, but this may be about to change if Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor make this shrewd move bear fruit and provide their fans with the most complete access to a Formula 1 team we’ve ever seen.


One Response to “Formula 1 and Social Media”

  1. […] and Social Media Revisited Earlier on in the 2009 season i wrote about the increasing use of social media in Formula 1. This issue has exploded since then with more and more people in increasingly important circles […]

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