Lando Norris, McLaren, Monaco, 2021

Will shorter races attract young fans? Why Norris believes Brawn’s formula is correct

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn admitted last week the sport’s Sprint Qualifying race format is being introduced partly to target new young fans.

The extra 100-kilometre races – one-third the length of a typical grand prix – will be held at three rounds this year.

“Things change and young people don’t necessarily want to watch two hours of racing on a Sunday afternoon,” Brawn explained. “We may find the short format racing’s more appealing to them.”

Some question the assumptions behind this view. Suggesting young people invariably have more limited attention spans smacks of lazy stereotyping.

The ‘shorter format equals younger fans’ formula seems flawed, too. The popularity of football is not exactly waning, yet their matches are little shorter than F1 races. Popular culture is replete with successful examples of long-form content: 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame”, with its three-hour running time, was the highest-grossing film ever until recently.

Brawn hopes younger fans will find shorter races more appealing
Nonetheless, one of Formula 1’s youngest drivers believes the sport has it right by trying to tailor its product to an audience which wants shorter bursts of action. When RaceFans put Brawn’s explanation for Sprint Qualifying races to 21-year-old Lando Norris, he said: “I agree with that.”

“For someone watching TV, I think people in this day and age there’s just so many things to do in your life,” he explained. “There’s so many more things then there was probably 10 years ago, 20 years ago. There’s so many things people enjoy doing and it’s so easy to go out and do something, go meet your friends, play games, go online, whatever.”

Norris speaks from experience. Many of his fans are equally used to seeing him behind a steering wheel in his McLaren and behind a microphone on his Twitch stream.

Professional Twitch streamers can broadcast for hours on end. But as Norris points out, they don’t necessarily have the same viewers watching throughout, and maintaining their interest isn’t easy.

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“I’m not a massive streamer. A lot of my following is from Formula 1. Some of my following within Formula 1 is from the people from Twitch that didn’t have a clue about Formula 1, or racing and stuff like that. So it’s both ways.

Keeping the viewers entertained isn’t easy, says Norris
“That’s one of the hardest things, if you’re successful on Twitch, keeping the viewers entertained the whole time. Which I don’t, because you have to be quite chatty, you have to chat to them a lot and answer their questions which sometimes I couldn’t think of anything worse to do.”

He admitted he doesn’t always feel motivated to sustain the level of interaction needed to keep his Twitch audience interested.

“Sometimes I don’t mind, I go on and have a lot of fun, chat, you have a good laugh with your mates. You’re reading the chat and questions from people and having a good laugh and people love it.

“But sometimes I go on and just because I’m tired or I’ve had a long day or something… Sometimes, I’d say most of the time, I’m not chatty at all. I don’t like talking, I’m quite an isolated guy. I like keeping to myself a lot. Sometimes I turn into that kind of guy and I don’t want to talk at all.”

With his experience of interacting with fans directly on Twitch, Norris can see the logic behind Brawn’s plan to win them over with a new, shorter race format.

“As soon as someone stops enjoying something, they will just go and do something else that they want to enjoy,” he said. “And there’s so many things that people enjoy.

“It’s so easy to move on very quickly if you lose interest in something. So from my side, I would say that makes sense.”

Read more from our interview with Lando Norris on his long-term commitment to McLaren and expectations for the future coming soon on RaceFans

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  • 64 comments on “Will shorter races attract young fans? Why Norris believes Brawn’s formula is correct”

    1. I don’t know, Lando.

      The points made in the article about football and Avengers movies are about right. I think, in those cases, the difference is that there is action all the way through. Even a 0-0 draw in football usually has tension throughout, with moments of drama. Many F1 races are decided by the end of the first lap, or at least at the pit stops, with not much happening the rest of the time.

      It is not the length of the races that is necessarily the problem, but what happens during them. I don’t think Sprint Qualifying actually solves the issues that make many F1 races dull – tyre/heat management is likely to still be the order of the day, and the risk/reward ratio of passing means that the teams’ natural conservatism will win out. And because Sprint Qualifying will likely iron out any “surprise” results from traditional qualifying, it’s probably going to make the main races less interesting as well.

      1. Exactly this @red-andy

        Many F1 races are decided by the end of the first lap, or at least at the pit stops, with not much happening the rest of the time.
        It is not the length of the races that is necessarily the problem, but what happens during them.

        And the sprint races don’t have anything in them that would make it more likely (rather less actually) to give us the expectation of having a higher portion being full of action.

        Not all races can be like Monaco in the wet, where simply keeping the cars out of the barriers is already intense to watch!

      2. You can’t have watched much football this year. Most of them have been like training matches. Only decent ones have been the cup games

        Reply moderated
      3. tyre/heat management is likely to still be the order of the day,

        Absolutely. If I compare it to Motorcycle racing, MotoGP is 24 Laps of racing. We’d think it’d be 24 laps of pure adrenaline racing and pushing to the limit, but other than the midfield, the top runners are conserving until 10 laps, then there is action. Those who push initially drop-off by the end of the race, so the winner (unless it was Marc Marquez, who would ride the bike and win even if there were no tires on the bike) is the one who managed his tires best.

      4. Show more onboards!

        Youngsters don’t like to watch cars ‘pass by’; they want to be in the car, like their racing heroes, they want to see the same viewpoint as in their video games.

        If you want more youngsters to watch the entire race, make sure you show almost all of the race as continuous onboard footage. Exceptions: start, pitstops, wheel-to-wheel through multiple corners (viewing angle of the onboard camera is usually ill-placed for this, but make sure to show an onboard replay later anyway!). While nothing is happening on track, show different driver’s onboards only.

        Won’t happen. Why not?
        Advertisement deals.
        Contractually, there needs to be a certain percentage of time with ads in view or the sponsors will sue. If you show 90% of the race as onboard, you can’t properly see the trackside / digitally embedded adverts. This is why we can’t have nice things.

    2. Main event wont be canceled.

      What I would look forward to is leaders starting from the back.

      This is what I want to see, Hamilton and Verstappen, stuck behind a pair of Ferraris, 100km, see if they can overtake for good position on Sunday.

      1. Couldn’t agree more.

        As the late great Murray Walker once said, “F1 is ‘if’ spelt backwards”, and sadly, the ‘if’ element is sorely lacking these days.

        I love not knowing whether X will be able to pass Y – now it’s an inevitability, and sadly one which people have grown accustomed to.

      2. It has happened before, both Max and Lewis, finding themeself back there, passing slow pokers under DRS or them graciously pulling over as not to spoil their own race or not to spoil their “team mate” result.

    3. If the goal is to get young people watching, stream the sprint races live on YouTube. I don’t know many young people during a post covid recession who are prepared to pay £40 a month to watch F1, no matter how good it is.

      1. No their parents do

        Reply moderated
      2. +1.

        Viewing Formula 1 is getting more expensive. In the Netherlands we have Ziggo that offers it but got more expensive each year. Now the viewing rights are sold next year to Nordic Entertainment Group who are streaming it via VIAPLAY with paid advertisement. F1TV Pro will exist but is also not for free. In Germany it is already hard to watch Formula 1.

        Obviously F1 wants to have more viewers but I don’t understand the current business model of F1. They want to cut cost by downgrading technical creativity (only V6, limited freedom design) but the fans only see increasing prices at the track and pay walls for seeing it on TV. And with the sprint races its more expensive for the teams to maintain the cars. Who is going to pay for that?

        1. It’s a shame that I will probably won’t be able to watch F1 next year after watching it for basically my whole life.

        2. And ironically Ziggo belongs to Liberty Media. Liberty are not even prioritizing their own brands to show F1. Its all about money!

    4. In an age where the youth bingewatches 48 hours of tv series in a weekend, I highly doubt that the time a race takes is the problem.

      It’s the tension arc during the race that is the problem, or well the (complete) lack of any tension.
      And that problem has only exacerbated since the FIA turned F1 into an endurance format rather than a sprint (thank you reliability rules and degrading tyres).
      In this current format of F1, there is some tension at the start, then no tension for the rest of the race unless there is a restart, and then some possible tension at the end of the race if the cars come closer together again.
      Even the most hardcore F1 fans have problems keeping their eyes open during the snoozefests they have had presented to them the last 8 years…

      Reply moderated
      1. If I watch live I tend to either fall asleep or spend most of my time looking at my phone.
        This is why I prefer watching the 1-hour summary by Channel4. They cut out all the dull parts of the race, and you miss nothing noteworthy.

    5. There is indeed more competition for people’s attention now than 20, 30 years ago.
      It’s not that ‘young people’ can’t maintain interest for a long time, but more that F1 simply isn’t interesting enough for all that time.

      A sprint race partly deals with this problem by making it shorter and having the most interesting and risky part (the start) feature an extra time during the weekend, with the pack being tighter for a larger percentage of the total race.
      However, it doesn’t address the quality/sustained interest factor – certainly not in the same way that a reverse grid race would, or that a spec series does. F1 races need to be interesting from start to finish in order to keep those eyeballs glued to the screen – and that simply isn’t happening regularly enough.
      That goes for all demographics, not just the youth. I know several people in their advanced years who have no issues getting up half way through a race and not bothering with the rest of it. F1 races, all too often, are effectively done by the first (and usually only) pit stop. What is there to stick around for? It’s not like there are many mechanical failures or driving errors anymore.
      I wonder what the stats say about winners leading after the first few laps – I’ll bet it’s a lot higher now than ever in F1’s history.

      1. At least in terms of those starting on pole and then going on to win the race, it looks like you are probably wrong and it isn’t really that much higher than in the past.

        Over the whole history of the sport, the pole winner went on to win the race about 42% of the time. Over the past few years, it has fluctuated from 38% to 59% – so, we have had some years above average, but also years which have been below average as well.

        Looking at the past, you can find periods with high, or even higher, percentages of races won from pole, and indeed periods where that fell within a similar band – the period from 1959 to 1965 had four seasons with even higher percentages of races won from pole, with 1959 seeing 75% won from pole and 1960, 1963 and 1965 seeing 66% of races won from pole. 1988 to 1993 inclusive also saw heavy domination by the pole sitter, ranging from 44% to 75% – statistically, the sport now is actually not really that different to the past.

        1. But not getting better, either…

        2. A couple of my first races I attended had just three drivers on the same lap at the end, and the other I think six. And apart from the second placed driver those on the last lap were over half a minute behind the leader. And that was a golden age according to some.
          And I wonder how many times have we had four races on the trot where the two top drivers were in with a chance of winning almost to the end?

          1. Not anywhere near enough.

        3. It’s not about pole, it’s about leader of the race on the first lap. We all agree the start is exciting.

          My father only watches the start until lap 3 usually, when there’s the replay of the start. Then he goes about his business and reads about the winner in the paper. I think watching his way has the highest action/time available in F1.

    6. I worry that in it’s quest to appeal to everyone, F1 might actually end up appealing to no one.

      F1 is already a sprint formula, reducing the lap counts just means there’s no time for strategy to play out. Even worse the proposed qualifying races seem designed to remove any actual drama in the actual race. It’s interesting that F1 has chosen to trial the sprint races at the tracks where it’s arguably easiest to overtake, any qualifying upsets will easily be rectified in the sprint race, leaving the main event to be a boring procession.

      The reason F1 has lost a lot of it’s audience has nothing to do with the spectacle and everything to do with stupid pay to watch closed media gardens. If F1 really wants to broaden it’s fan base let new fans watch full races for free to see if they like it and get hooked. F1 also needs to improve its TV direction, what’s the point of action if no cameras are pointed at it?

      Finally F1 needs a decent re-watch feature, with an ever expanding season it’s too much to ask fans to do nothing but watch F1 for half the weekends in a year. If they had the full race available to stream by Monday far fewer fans would miss an event and give up on the rest of the season.

      F1 engaging with fans shouldn’t be about dumbing down the product because it percieves fans as being too stupid to sit and watch for 2 hours. Instead it should be engaging fans by seeing how they prefer to get their content and removing barriers in the way of them consuming it.

      Reply moderated
    7. As someone pointed out above, the races themself is a smaller issue compared to the accessibility of the viewing(costs mainly). With the expensive paywalls that has been the strategy for the last decade (or more) the obvious drawback that you get is fewer new viewers and tougher to get young viewers interested, the goal there is to milk the current viewers to the maximum, and I hope they are aware of that. The F1TV is a small step, but they should go further and have several races during a season for free, and maybe even streaming some races on youtube for free to get more people into the sport.

      1. F1 has nothing to appeal to younger fans. The whole thing is set up as a marketing exercise for brands young people don’t care about. When was the last time you actually bought a product you saw advertised on an F1 car? I, as a millenial, don’t own any Haas machinary, Petronas products or Aston Martins.

        The shift of F1 to pay per view meant that they stopped advertising to masses and started advertising just to the millionaires they invite to the paddock. F1 can’t complain about losing audience when it shaped itself into a old boys club. It’s more than just the advertising too, Stroll, Mazepin, the influence of payed drivers is greater than ever and that really compremises the image of the best of the best.

        Reply moderated
      2. MotoGP are having two free to air races this year. Last weeks French race attracted over 400,000 UK viewers, with nearly 200,000 watching the two support races.

    8. The thing about young people having shorter attention spans has been going on forever. An F1 race is about the same length as a football match, rugby match, basketball match and of most films. It already is the right length for a main viewing event. While it’s considerably shorter than American football, baseball, cricket, NASCAR, Indy 500 etc. And with many of the other examples theres far more than 23 per year. The argument could be that young people don’t watch any of them, but none of those see the solution as being to shorten their events as it would fundamentally change their sports /art for marginal, speculative gains.

      1. One factor that is rarely mentioned (All auto manufacturer marketing department are aware of it) is the new generation is moving away from the “petrol head” way of life. In their every day life, cars are not that important anymore and all of motorsport is suffering from that. It is going to take more than a gimmick to reverse the trend.

    9. Young people watch 90minutes of football with a 15minute halftime break and maybe 30minutes of stoppage time if it’s a cup game.

      Attention span isn’t the issue.

      Don’t treat the symptom – treat the problem. The tracks and cars don’t encourage close racing and action. Simple as.

      1. Football always has the excitement factor of “what if.” You could have the team at the bottom of the table beat the team at the top and they all start the game at 0-0 where anything can happen.

        If you did a F1 version of football, the only team capable of beating the top team would be the team in 2nd and the team higher up the table would already starts the match with a goal advantage (or several goals if they’re a much better team).

        Most players would spend the game walking around to save their boots that were designed to fall apart quickly and they would have their calorie intake heavily limited in the build up to match so they started the match with only just enough energy to get to the final whistle.

        As 0-0s are viewed as boring, instead of scoring a goal, when a team went on the attack and got into the box, they could press a button and the ball would automatically go in so we get “exciting” 19-17 scorelines.

        Oh and it would only sometimes matter if the ball went out of play – depends if the ref was planning to enforce pitch limits on that side of the pitch or not. Obviously if the ball went out but there was no “lasting advantage” they could just play on.

        1. +1 and comment of the day.

    10. While I agree with the comments above that the real problem is that the racing itself is not exciting (excessive tyre management, inability to follow in dirty air, huge gap between teams performance), there is no solution to those problems, perhaps except the tyres.

      F1 is unlike any other sport where there is non-stop action for 90 minutes and a driver that falls behind gets no respite. In cricket, every ball resets the field and the balance between batting and fielding teams. In tennis, every game / serve resets the balance.
      In F1, there is no reset available. A driver that spends a lap behind another driver suffers more degradation, more dirty air, invariably making him less and less likely to be able to mount an overtake as time passes. The gap between him and the leading car just keeps on growing making the race uninteresting.

      See this article on how Hamilton’s ability to do 1-shot overtakes gives him a tyre life advantage h**ps://www.racefans.net/2021/05/04/how-hamiltons-one-shot-overtakes-handed-him-a-tyre-life-advantage/)
      What this means is that a driver who actually overtakes faster, gets a tyre life advantage and is even less likely to get overtaken later. A driver who overtakes slower, his disadvantage piles on and is unable to mount any challenge later. Hence, the gap between such 2 drivers keeps on rising as we go deeper into the race. And hence, races tend to keep on getting boring towards the end.

      In all other sports, there is a human element involved which adds uncertainty. F1 unfortunately is more about the machine which is unfortunately, not all that unpredictable and hence, the bordeom. What F1 needs is 1) simpler cars which are not over-engineered to generate insane levels of downforce and can follow each other, 2) simpler team structure that do not go into over-analysing insane amounts of data to provide a target lap time to the driver that optimizes his tyre life, overall lap time and give a boring race. We do get that but in Formula TWO! :)

      1. Simpler cars? Yes.
        Simpler operation? Yes.

        Would really love to see F1 without radios. Teams unable to control the play minute by minute – the driver has two hours to make the decisions all by themselves.
        The teams have had months or even years to build the car – there should be 2 hours set aside for the driver alone to do their bit.
        That’s why they are there.

      2. sumedh We are about to get what you describe, next year. I think that is the main important point in terms of F1 garnering a bigger audience including more youth. Just because Brawn has spoken about shorter sprint races perhaps being more palatable to today’s youth, doesn’t mean he doesn’t want them to become life long fans of F1 in general, and also watch Sunday’s races. I think overall, Sprint Qualifying is a trial to see if qualifying can be more exciting, and by extension Fridays on those weekends will be more exciting too, and Sunday’s races will remain unchanged, however, the new cars should make a world of difference to the product on the track, to the product presented to the viewers on Sunday. I predict a lot of buzz about F1 once the drivers will be able to race much more closely, and that will be the main driver of a growing audience.

        1. @robbie I admire your confidence but for mine your logic is flawed.

          What Liberty want to do is see whether sprint races will attract more eyeballs, particularly younger ones under the guise of it being “more exciting”

          If indeed these new viewers don’t watch Sundays races, wouldn’t logic dictate that if they changed Sunday races, or some of them, to sprint format that there would be a higher likelihood of keeping those new younger viewers.

          This is not an experiment to see if qualifying can be more exciting and I think the change in language is supporting that. This is a trial to see if more viewers, particularly younger ones an be encouraged to F1. By extension if that trial is successful they would be completely remiss if they didn’t trial sprint races (probably two) on race day.

          I know you don’t believe me but I continue to believe that the goal is to maximise profit at the expense of Sunday races, qualifying or anything else if their research and “trials” support what they change.

          Frankly it’s not of any major consequence to me any longer, the change will be gradual, we’ll probably still retain a few “proper” races for the foreseeable future which should probably give enough F1 to keep me satisfied.

          I’ll just ignore the ones I don’t want to watch with sprint races and watch the Sundays that have the full length ones which will probably get me back to my preferred number of races per year anyway.

          1. @dbradock As you know I disagree wholeheartedly and am fully confident Sunday races will remain as they always have been. The teams would never agree to anything else.

            1. @robbie give it 12 months and we’ll know who is right.

              Teams don’t have to agree if the decision is made in advance, but I don’t see them not agreeing if they’re offered more money and that’s what the aim of sprint races is – generate more income.

              I’ll even go as far to say that it’s absolutely inevitable that Sunday races will change because Liberty will have no choice but to attempt to capture more young eyeballs. They will only do that by saturating social media and then providing shorter races quite possibly with some sort of “interactive” component (dare I say fan boost )

              I’d love to be wrong and I’m really happy that they finally realised that ground effects has the potential to provide better racing from next year onwards, but I just don’t see that saving F1 weekends, or more to the point Liberty doesn’t, which is why they’re throwing up these other ideas to see if magically they can get some extra interest.

              Give it 5 years and we’ll have a blend of “events” some traditional races as we currently enjoy, some will be sprint race weekends and you can bet reverse grids will make their way in as well.

              Let’s chat in mid 2022 & see who’s interpretation of where they’re heading is closer to the mark.

            2. @dbradock I think the problem is you are spending a lot of time and energy trying to interpret the future with little to go by other than a personal paranoia. You have decided for yourself that Brawn and Liberty’s only motivation is centred around money and youth audience. They have only ever said they will leave Sundays alone, and they have every desire to retain the existing audience and grow it from there. You portray them as money grubbers who will happily forgo the existing audience in an attempt to gain youth audience, and I simply see no evidence of that based on anything they’ve said, nor any comments from within F1 and without, apart from your own. I find little need to interpret anything as they are speaking plain English, whereas you want to bend over backwards to find things that aren’t there.

    11. Sprint races to attract young people is a pointless exercise as they don’t have easy access due to the paywall (Yes you Sky) unless their parents have already paid for it.

      Until F1 gets on social media platforms like YouTube, or streaming like Netflix, the numbers will not go up.

      Reply moderated
    12. Well said Kyle. Tracks need to be tweaked. We need to give up on the nastalia of history. If a travk is 40.yrs old but delivers boring races most of the time. Tweak it. Change areas to make the track more exciting. The cars too do what is required. But i understand very difficult to change things. Alot of us live in the past which unfortunately is sometimes just a fantasy.

      1. I actually had more of the modern Tilke tracks in mind when I made that comment (dies anyone like Yas Marina?) but, yeah, no track should be off limits.

    13. It starts as a gimmick with the potential to do little more than introduce cost spikes to teams’ weekend/GP budgets via operations overhead and increased probability of shunts. I welcome it, but trust it will be refined into more than a gimmick before actual rollout.

    14. Simple is out the window. We cant unlearn what we’ve learned unfortunately. The wheel is no longer just a wheel. A spade is a spade but is it really just a spade these days? The world we live in and f1 is a microcosm of it is far more complex than just 20 yrs ago.

    15. How can LeMans 24 hour survive, better change it to 24 minutes for youngsters.

      Reply moderated
    16. Good article. For me it seems old conservatives are pushing against any change in F1, like they do in all of society, but society evolves, and so does sport, so these old nostalgic types slow down change to only benefit themselves and their indulgence of anything in life at the expense of others. Attacking young people as having a short attention span is pathetic, as it can be said of any person in the era of wifi/mobile devices, people are just being fed information quicker and we can choose how to spend our time more in each moment than 30 years ago when things were slower paced, ie when we used to by and write writing letters on paper and post off instead of sms. Ross Brawn has always come across as to be as a politician, not a sportsman so no wonder he used those words to describe young people, and attracted attacks from old F1 fans on young F1 fans. I have watched F1 since early 90s, that doesn’t make me a better or more important racing fan, and nor do my opinions, but I am open completely to seeing F1 evolve into modern F1, even though some things like 18inch wheels I see as a pointless expensive change.

    17. It is getting harder to scam the viewers into enjoying the F1 time trial, despite all the marketing involved.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        21st May 2021, 12:35

        But this is more of a commitment to people’s calendars? Unless you’re not watching the Sunday race at all and in that case what’s the point of just watching a short qualifying race that stands for nothing on its own. Even if it’s pure excitement from start to finish (which it won’t be as everyone will be in conservation mode not to take unnecessary risks) it’s still just qualifying and probably a less exciting version of qualifying at that.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          21st May 2021, 12:36

          Sorry meant to be stand-alone comment not reply. This dodgy site jumping around and shoving adverts in face is making it unusable.

    18. I’m not one of those people and never have been. Le Mans 24h, other 24h races, 12h, or even the WEC races are another story. Single-seater races that generally last from about 1h16min up to 2h w/o stoppage are short in comparison.

    19. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      21st May 2021, 12:40

      But this is more of a commitment to ‘attention span-less young people’s’ calendars? You actually have to be more die hard and committed to watch this qualifying event. Unless you’re not watching the Sunday race at all and in that case what’s the point of just watching a short qualifying race that stands for nothing on its own. Even if it’s pure excitement from start to finish (which it won’t be as everyone will be in conservation mode not to take unnecessary risks) it’s still just qualifying and probably a less exciting version of qualifying at that.

      1. And that’s the point – if the sprint race was pure excitement from start to finish, then that, in itself, is a commercial success. It’s better from Liberty’s/broadcasters perspective to have people watching a little than to have them watch none at all.
        Who knows, if it was that good, maybe they’d also watch some of the GP…

    20. We’ve had two dull as dishwater F2 sprint races because people protect their midfield position rather than go for it and spin or DNF to the back and have serious handicap in the second sprint race. I expect a similar scenario for F1. The risk/reward of a qualy race is very negative.

      If you want youth watching, don’t hide F1 behind paywalls. It is as simple as that.

      Reply moderated
      1. Yet in Bahrain we had a thrilling F2 Sprint Race 2. Some people running different strategies, which could happen in F1 depending on the tires involved, close racing, knowing you had to get the overtake done soon before the end of the race. And that was even fighting for a reverse grid position, just track position.

    21. ady (@sixwheeler)
      21st May 2021, 14:24

      I got into F1 at the age of 13. However if I was that kid today, there’s my parents would not have given me £10 every couple of weeks to watch a motor race on pay-per-view, no matter how exciting it might be

    22. ady (@sixwheeler)
      21st May 2021, 14:26

      *delete there’s

    23. Lots of sensible comments here. The problem is not the attention span of younger people but the product on offer, it’s frequency and access to it. As usual F1 management tries to tackle the wrong issue because it’s easier than dealing with the more difficult ones. So in a nutshell the solutions seem to be:
      – Make the on track action more exciting. So cars that are able to follow each other closely and pass each other. If this means banning things that make cars a second or two faster then so be it. The sport needs to be able to remove the need for DRS and be less reliant on tyre management.
      – Give more free to air access. People seem to be crying out for this. This is a quick way of attracting more viewers. Even if not every race is free to air let a portion be at least.
      – Don’t saturate the market. I am making a generalisation but I honestly think there is a limited appetite for more than 18-20 races in a season. It just involves people in a bigger time commitment which is difficult to make. Higher quality is better than quantity.
      – Don’t neglect evolution of the sport but don’t throw out the historic rules of it either. It’s important that we keep the main event as a longer race. Even if there is some kind of shorter race on a weekend as well. Maybe consider having more action at less circuits. International travel and moving teams/people around is very expensive.
      – Try to keep costs down both for teams and spectators. I know this process has started but more is needed. The sport needs to attract more teams but financially it has to make sense. Let there be more of a share of the income for newer or smaller teams. A difficult balancing act I appreciate.

      1. Agree with all your points except for ‘saturating the market.’
        It makes little difference how many races there are as quantity and quality are not mutually exclusive. The higher the quality of the races, the more demand.
        Every additional race brings a small chance of it being a decent one.
        When they are of low quality, I’m equally disappointed with 18 as with 23 – and when they are of consistently low quality as they are, I do not anticipate the next one.

      2. Saturating the market is a good point, with 23 races, the current points system seems to be less meaningful. Hamilton has won 3 races to Verstappens 1 and yet is only 8? points ahead. The championship fight won’t mean anything until October at this rate.

        1. Verstappen is currently trailing Hamilton by 14 points @emu55. Which is a slightly more understandable gap.

      3. The problem for Liberty with regards to TV is that contracts were signed by Bernie for long term deals, such as Sky in the UK, that they have no power to cancel without paying an enormous amount of money. They also need to be able to get FTA channels to want to show F1. That was the problem in Germany: RTL didn’t want to extend their contract so Sky were the only party interested. And it may, and this is just speculation, be the case that in the Netherlands, Ziggo, part owned by Liberty, decided not to extend their contract in hope of it going to a FTA channel, but none of them were interested.

    24. Format and race length discussions aside, a growing proportion of fans stream the races illegally. The morality of this is debate for another day, but surely there are ways F1 and broadcasters can monetise free to air / stream deals rather than essentially lose fan income altogether through their own greed!

    25. This whole talk that young people somehow have shorter attention spans, It’s nonsense.

      They will sit 8-10 hours on a video game. They will look at their phone aimlessly 2 hours no problem. They will binge watch a series on netflix for 5 hours.

      The problem F1 has, and to a similar extent, as the same thing is being raised in Football right now, is the product is too often dull, which makes it feel longer.

      To take Football as an example, given there has been talk (with the same reason given that it’s too long for the youth of today) of trialling 60 minute matches, What we see all too often nowadays at all levels are the same teams, all playing the same styles, often cancelling each other out as 2 centre backs on each side knock it aimlessley between themselves for the sake of controlling possession. Nobody grew up wanting to see that. They fell in love with the entertainment of Ronaldinho, Messi, Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo. If they wanted to watch tactical chess, they’d go and take up chess. 90 minutes feels like 3 per half hours when you get games like that. The result is always the team with the best players wins because nobody does things differently and the best players just execute the game plans better.

      In F1, it’s a similar thing. 2 guys with a realistic chance of winning, 1 has dominated and is still in a car too quick for 95% of the rest of the field to even compete with and nobody having even a strategic option to bring themselves to the fight. The result being the same 2 guys driving off into the distance and on the occasion they are both in the fight, it normally falling down to chess again with pit strategy. Sure you get the odd upset like a Perez of Gasly win, but for a lot of the season, it’s same old same old to a casual fan. A race around Sochi for example feels more like 6 hours than 2. There’s not enough wheel to wheel stuff at the sharp end and too high a percentage of the passing we do see is just DRS assisted artificial nonsense.

      It’s easier for people like Brawn and Florentino Perez of Real Madrid to come out and say the solution is to make things shorter in their sports to appeal to young fans because they say they get bored watching than it is to hold their hands up, admit the product is fundamentally poor and rectify that.

      A great race, 2 hours feels like 20 minutes. that’s the issue, the perception of time due to the quality of the ‘entertainment’ on display.

      Interestingly, both sports issues both fall to the same fundamental point IMO. A focus on data.

      Football, too much focus is placed on teams hitting irrelevant statistical numbers such as passes completed, possession, zones of play, individual distance covered etc. The theory being if you ace them, you’ll win.

      In F1, the races are all simulated multiple times over by teams and all run to the numbers. Set ups are dictated by simulators and the cars are all designed to run as fast as possible in clean air only, making them useless in dirty air. Meanwhile the rule makers are looking at the data like number of overtakes and basing key decisions on raw numbers than quality.

      A race now might well have 30 overtakes, but 25 of them will be with DRS. An older race when the aero was more simple might well have had 7 overtakes, but it was tense. There would be multiple attempts before one could finally stick, and when it did, it would feel more….heroic?

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