Verstappen replaces Hamilton as F1 fans’ favourite driver

2021 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen has been named as the most popular Formula 1 driver in a global survey of over 167,000 fans commissioned by the series.

Lewis Hamilton, who topped a previous version of the survey four years ago, has fallen to third place behind his championship rival and Lando Norris.

McLaren were named the favourite team in the survey. Their drivers Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were also chosen as the two most popular competitors by female fans, Ricciardo ranking fourth overall.

The survey also shed light on fans’ attitudes towards the sport. More than half of those who responded – 58% – agreed it has “the right balance of sport and entertainment”, up from 39% in 2017. In a similar vein 55% of respondents agreed F1 is “in better health than five years ago” compared to 25% in 2017.

F1 says its plan to move to sustainable fuels in 2030 was also supported by followers of the sport, 55% of which want it to become a world leader in the technology.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said the survey’s findings vindicated the direction the sport has taken since Liberty Media took over the championship.

“We are privileged as a sport to be truly international, racing in continents and countries around the world with a global fan base,” he said. “We reach every corner of the globe through our events, TV broadcast and social media and media content.

“This is a blessing – to have such a platform – but it is also a responsibility. We must protect what we have, grow it, reach more fans, and ensure those blessings remain and get stronger.

“The results of the survey show we are doing the right things and we will continue to be focused on creating excitement and entertainment on and off the track which is what all our fans want. We are hugely excited about our future, and we know our fans are too.”

F1 conducted the survey in conjunction with Nielsen Sports and Motorsport Network.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

22 comments on “Verstappen replaces Hamilton as F1 fans’ favourite driver”

  1. This is:
    1. Clear clickbait trolling.
    2. Understandable. Hamilton’s always made headlines but often for his unpopularity as much as his popularity. Everyone knows who he is – he’s a global sensation. How many people think positively about him is a completely different question.

  2. The results of this survey largely follow the results of previous one’s when it comes to a vast majority been strongly against gimmicks & artificial elements.

    Most dislike the sprint format & are very strongly against reverse grids, success ballast & other such gimmicks.

    How Stefano can then claim to understand it’s fans is beyond me as much of Liberty’s future vision is taking away elements fans say they like while also adding elements they clearly don’t. That isn’t listening to it’s fans & if anything shows that they don’t understand the fans or have a complete lack of respect for us.

    As to other results im kinda surprised most seem to feel the sport/show balance is about right as certainly compared to the last survey in 2017 it’s surprising how that has shifted in terms of opinion given how obviously in the other direction things have actually gone.
    I just don’t see how anyone could objectively argue that the show hasn’t become more important than the sport now. That is afterall the only reason the gimmick race exists & the only reason they were pushing for reverse grids & other such artificial elements & gimmicks.

    I wonder how much is the newer fans having no idea what F1 once was so think that things like DRS, Comedy tires & other similar things are just normal so don’t consider them more ‘show’ as I think most longer time fans may.

    1. Newer fans or a very small sample of fans. 167k.

  3. Mclaren getting voted as the favorite or most popular team is unsurprising, but I wonder why their drivers are popular among females specifically?

    1. Daniel Ricciardo, Lando.. What is not to like?

      Can one imagine a more popular racing duo?

      1. @jureo How can say that when we have Leclerc and Sainz in Ferrari? *smh*

  4. Lewis is to woke to be most popular.

    He is like a smart leftist polititian, that happens to be an excellent driver.

    Meanwhile Verstappapen is a young common sense keep it stupid and simple racing driver. Does not care about ideology, believes in fast laptimes.

    Guess who racing fans prefer.

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      21st October 2021, 18:21

      why do you feel the need to pull in politics to a story that has nothing to do with it (aside from the normal F1 politics)? There is no factual evidence to prove Hamilton’s “wokeness” is behind why he’s not the fan favorite anymore.

      It is likely because Max has always been popular among the fan base and are hopeful to see a new world champion that is not named Hamilton!

    2. Excellent driver yes
      “smart leftist polititian” funniest thing I have heard in ages!

      1. But it’s true. Funny, but true

    3. @jureo Yeah interesting that when Hamilton should have scored a ton of points by lifting trending issues on social media his popularity goes down, so the F1 crowd seems to be reacting adversely to that.

  5. The sport currently attempts to attract new and F1-ignorant fans, slowly moving away from experienced audience who see things differently in many aspects. As far as driver popularity is concerned, one should better have a look at Instagram followers.

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      21st October 2021, 20:30

      Not entirely sure what your point is here, but you do realize that new fans are usually not well versed in all things F1, right! I was a CART fan in my youth and Nigel Mansell came to the states to team up next to Mario Andretti (Michael Andretti made his run in F1) in 1993. Became a fan of Mansell and followed him upon his return to F1 in 1994 at Williams. I knew next to nothing about F1 at that time (I didn’t realize F1 was a thing) and followed it since. What I am saying is that new fans do not come in as an “experienced audience”. Many of us have different views of what racing is or should be.

      1. By experienced and ignorant I distinguish those who understand what’s going on and why, have experienced the past and what F1 stands for, won’t miss a single race not because of race excitement but because they love the sport, and those who will treat F1 as a TV show, have learned about it from Netflix and will only follow race as long as they are fascinating and a popular driver wins.

        1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
          21st October 2021, 22:23

          To be honest, I don’t think F1 understands what F1 stands for, lol!

          I see your point but I think there should be a distinction made between new F1 fans who are truly getting into it as a sport vs a new F1 fan taking it in as a soap-opera. I don’t disagree with your Netflix view point as it is valid. I think todays generation (I’m generalizing and not saying all here) attention spans are short and are quick to move onto the next exciting fad. We shouldn’t discard that there are new fans that do love the sport, they may hold different interpretations of what it should be. The older fans also need to recognize that the sport needs some change to grow with the new generation of fans so F1 can still be around to watch as tech also changes. So we also need to be open to new ideas and changes (as long as it is still racing) ;)

  6. All Max and Lewis care about is who has the most points after Abu Dhabi. Nothing else matters.

    1. @greenflag Seems you don’t know Hamilton

      1. Championship #8 is all he cares about. Breaking records is his thing.

  7. My favorite driver/skipper is Peter Burling. He cares only about sailing fast. Never says anything but praise about his competitors. I gave up watching this peacock competition. After 36th AC, F1 seems like a bad joke to me. Luckily, I recorded all the final races so I can watch them over and over to keep my mood high.

  8. Pirro was right, just look how popular Vettel is.

  9. Surveys can be misleading and their outcomes preorchestrated. I dont take them seriously.

  10. And at the same time, Racing Incident replaced Penalty Consequences.

Comments are closed.