F1’s 2022 season breaks TV viewership record in USA

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In the round-up: Formula 1’s growing popularity in the United States resulted in record-breaking audiences this year, according to ESPN.

In brief

F1 breaks record for TV audience size in USA

Formula 1’s 2022 season was its most popular yet in the United States for fans watching on television, with an average of 1.21 million viewers per race according to figures released by ESPN.

The media network combined viewership across the ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC channels for calculating its figures, which was a 28% increase on the previous record set last year of 949,000 viewers on average per race.

Another record was also set by the Miami Grand Prix, which attracted 2.583 million viewers in the US and therefore became the most watched F1 race ever in the country. There was also a significant increase in female viewership, which on average equated to 352,000 viewers per pace (an increase of 34% over 2021) and an improved 72/28 gender split in the audience.

Ukraine solidarity group projects message on Red Bull F1 HQ

Ukraine Solidarity Project, an activism group that calls out international companies for continuing to maintain a business presence in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, projected a message on the side of Red Bull’s Formula 1 headquarters in Milton Keynes on Monday night seeking for the brand to stop selling its energy drink in Russia.

The two-minute long statement was read out by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Oleksandra Matviichuk, and began with “this is a message for Max Verstappen and all Red Bull athletes” as the project requested that brand ambassadors ask Red Bull about their continued presence in Russia.

Red Bull have been approached for a comment.

F2 testing begins in Abu Dhabi

Richard Verschoor, Formula 2, testing, Yas Marina, 2022
Verschoor put Van Amersfoort on top
Formula 2’s three-day post-season test got underway at Yas Marina circuit on Wednesday, with Van Amersfoort Racing’s Richard Verschoor setting the fastest lap in the afternoon session.

MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger was fastest in the morning, heading Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan and Verschoor. A cooler track meant quicker laps later in the day, and Verschoor just pipped Prema duo Frederik Vesti and Ollie Bearman to the top.

Trident’s Roman Stanek and Hitech GP’s Jak Crawford both caused red flag stoppages during the day, with Crawford suffering a crash at turn two that required the barriers to be repaired.

Van Amersfoort announced Juan Manuel Correa will partner Verschoor in their line-up today.

McLaren Applied to continue supply of F1’s spec ECU until 2030

McLaren Applied has extended its contract to supply Formula 1 with its Standard Electronic Control Unit (SECU) until 2030.

The company, which was sold by the McLaren Group in August 2021 but is still based in the same building as the group’s racing and automotive subsidiaries, first became F1’s SECU supplier in 2008 and has had its contract renewed several times by the FIA in the years since. Its current deal ends with the 2025 F1 season, and the new contract will then cover off the five seasons after that.

“Motorsports remain our absolute focus, and we’re delighted to extend our partnership with the FIA for the supply of the standard SECU to all teams in F1,” said McLaren Applied chairman Nick Fry.

“Our current SECU has done over 1.5 million race kilometres without a reported in-race failure since its introduction in 2008 and we look forward to maintaining this exemplary record to 2030 and beyond.”

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Comment of the day

Several drivers have said that the changes made to Yas Marina Circuit last year, and with this year’s F1 cars in mind, have not made for entertaining racing as some predicted they would. Overtaking is still difficult, and it could be further tweaks that truly unlock the racing potential of the track.

I honestly love turn nine, and just because it isn’t a heavy braking zone doesn’t mean it should go. Plus you make it a heavy braking zone it will go back to back-to-back motorway DRS passes that Abu Dhabi used to have before, where passes would cancel each other despite the best efforts of the driver behind.

I agree that work needs to be done on sector three, but hey, can’t remove that luxury hotel can we. They could change the camber on some of those corners though, it would increase cornering speeds and make it easier to follow more closely than the current point-and-squirt 90-degree configuration.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Heart Of The Sunrise, Nakavich, Beverly Sanford and Haziq Danish!

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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15 comments on “F1’s 2022 season breaks TV viewership record in USA”

  1. Why not project a message saying “zelensky resign”. I think it is more efective than ruining russian cocktails.

    1. We’ve found a bot.

      1. A bot with a sense of humour.

        1. Not a particularly good one.

          1. @justrhysism never went out clubbing? Lots of cocktails are made with redbull. Why I am explaining jokes?
            I think the offended should start up a country of their own, make a flag if can decide on one, an anthem and hopefully relocate to the moon.

          2. @peartree no idea why you’re explaining it. I got the joke, it just wasn’t funny.

  2. 1.21m viewers in 332m population country, amazing numbers. Meanwhile in Netherlands 1.93m out of 17m people watched 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. Liberty are so right at focusing on the US market! Let’s hope for 4th, 5th or even more races in the land of the free.

  3. Nick Fry. There’s a blast from the past!

  4. I already responded to COTD in the relevant article, so here’s a shorter version here:
    Point 1: Still happens regardless of how much versus before.
    Point 2: Not much to do with those corners anymore since they already got addressed & for the better.

  5. Those are ridiculously low numbers for a country with 320 million inhabitants. For comparison, the free-to-air highlight/overview of the last race in Abu Dhabi (with basically no championship interest at all) drew up to 2,4 million viewers in the Netherlands out of fewer than 18 million inhabitants.

    1. FTA? There’s one reason for the higher viewership.
      I’d bet America would be more interested if it was their driver winning the WDC, too. Or even if they had a decent (results-wise) team.

      Probably not a lot more interested, though…. But who could blame them? If I hadn’t grown up with it, I almost certainly wouldn’t watch it now either.
      I’ve watched Indycar/CART for almost as long as F1, and I far prefer that series over F1. Other series too.
      F1 just feels way too ‘business’ and not nearly enough ‘sport.’

    2. Those numbers are actually extremely good. As S points out, ESPN and ESPN2 are not FTA. Only three races were on ABC (the FTA option in the US). Second, you have 4 time zones across the US and most of them are not conducive to watching any of the coverage live. Thirdly, there are competing sports programs throughout nearly most of the F1 season. But even with all that, F1 now has nearly the same viewership numbers as the NBA on the non-FTA channels.

      In the 2021-2022 season, for the NBA across TNT (pay) and ESPN (pay) the average viewership number was 1.4 million. And that was a significant increase over the previous season. If F1 is only 200k viewers shy of NBA numbers on the same channel, given the long history of NBA fanaticism and well established fan bases within the US, that is actually huge for F1.

  6. According to the data, the 2022 Miami GP was the largest live audience in US TV history, but the 2002 Monaco GP, tape-delayed, had more viewers. And I would suggest that, like all things to do with tv ratings, the numbers for tv before cable were far far higher, but hey, don’t damn the details!

    1. JJ, I think the delayed transmission probably gets better viewing figures because of the time zones. A race starting at 1pm London time, 2pm Monaco time would be, I think, 9am on the east coast USA, and 6am on the west coast. That’s going to be a major obstacle to getting live audiences for the European GPs.

  7. JJ “the 2022 Miami GP was the largest live audience in US TV history”

    You do mean the largest audience for an F1 race don’t you, not just the largest audience full stop. That thought prompted me to pull out data on other live sports events broadcast in the USA. The highest rated event this year was the Superbowl, 98m viewers, whilst the playoff games can get in excess of 50m, and even regular season games exceed 10m. The Beijing Winter Olypics had 14m for the opening ceremony with 12m to 13m for some other nights. The Kentucky Derby pulls in 16m, basketball about 12m, and the Golf Masters about 10m. Surprisingly, 12m watched USA vs Wales in the World Cup match on Tuesday.

    So I guess the 10m mark is about the best that F1 could realistically hope for. Looking at their other motorsports broadcasting, the Indy 500 had 6.5m viewers in 2015 when Montoya won but this year it was down to 4.8m, and Fox reckons it gets 3.7m on average for a Nascar race, so on that basis, F1 is doing a lot better than we might have assumed from the raw figure.

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