F1 conquers a new audience thanks to the series

Formula 1 has been looking for a new audience for a few years “younger, more feminine and less European” and it is getting it with its series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” on the Netflix platform, whose third season premiered this Friday.

“It is one of the pillars of what we have tried to do to open the sport, to reach a wider audience, while still serving the fans,” says Ian Holmes, director of media rights for the promoter of the sport. Formula 1 world championship.

In January 2017, the American group Liberty Media acquired the commercial rights to F1, ending the 40-year reign of Britain’s Bernie Ecclestone, an era of ‘exclusivity’ that the new and more dynamic promoters wanted to close when they found that his audience was aging.

They opened to social networks and then to the Netflix streaming platform that offers to follow “the ins and outs of the championship, focusing on the different personalities of the teams,” Holmes says in statements to AFP.

The father of the idea was former F1 CEO Sean Bratches and the secret to his success is that ‘Formula 1: Drive To Survive’ has taken the sport into uncharted waters, introducing Netflix fans to the hyper-technical world of F1. But the show’s popularity is not due to the technology on display, but to the intriguing women and men that make up the sport of Formula 1.

“The success of Drive To Survive is because it has a great cast of characters. To be a Formula 1 driver, to be one of the 20 best drivers in the world, you have to have something in your character, and be it a Lewis Hamilton or a Daniel Ricciardo, they are all very different, they are all very complex in their own way. , and they all handle the pressure in their own way, ”says Paul Martin, one of the series CEOs.

The first season of “Drive to Survive” -ten episodes dedicated to the 2018 world championship- It premiered in February 2019, a few days before the start of the 2019 season, which was followed by a second installment in 2020 recorded throughout the previous year and the third just released.

“The best thing about this series,” adds Martin, “and the reason I think this series could go on and on is that there is never a shortage of characters and there will never be a shortage of those characters who provide the level of drama and conflict that is needed for this. Serie”.

Netflix never discloses its viewership ratings, but Ian Holmes has some evidence that fuels his satisfaction: “We know that the completion rate for viewing the series is very high, and in a very short time. We’re at the top of the list alongside thrillers and cooking shows. “

“It is very satisfying from the public’s point of view, but above all by its nature,” he continues. “The fan has been hooked on the series, of course, but especially the non-fan, the occasional fan or the old fan.”

“It is one of the most successful marketing initiatives that F1 has undertaken,” say the specialists in digital strategy.

“If someone doesn’t start following the sport live, but watches 400 minutes of‘ Drive to Survive, ’that is still valuable. They are still fans, and this is a broader way to get their attention. We can interact with them, they observe, they consume. And there are many visible sponsors in the program ”Holmes ditch.