EXPLAINED! Why has Formula 1 become so popular?

07-01-2023 19:00

Formula 1 has always been a global sport but not quite on the scale it is today. It used to be a slightly niche sport, one which only hardcore fans took a keen interest in.

Going back I took an interest in 2008 but I was really too young to understand it, and it took until 2016 for me to show an interest again. The title battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, had me captivated. But it wasn’t until 2018 when I watched an entire season with a genuine interest. And that will come as no surprise that it has coincided with the growth of the sport in general. But I’m just one of a huge and always growing new audience!

But what has changed?


There’s one huge factor that’s different in generations gone by and that’s accessibility. From a spectators point of view the sport and the stars behind it are more accessible than ever. Whether it is social media, the internet, journalism, or GP Blog, from the moment you wake up, until the moment you go to sleep your favourite drivers, teams and legends of the sport are just a finger tip away.

And it’s not just from the people you see on tv, complete strangers can have a debate on twitter and that can snowball. Wherever you go Formula 1 is not far away.

And even traditional coverage is bigger and more accessible than ever! Sky have broadcast the sport for years and have trapped it behind a pay wall. Not to worry, they have an abundance of additional free content on YouTube and social media they have free highlights available in the moment and their coverage really is second to none.

Go beyond that and there’s free content everywhere. I’m bias, but the GP Blog sites alone have so much content, whether that’s my videos, my colleague's articles or posts from our social team. There’s always a constant stream of content, in a variety of languages and so much of it is free.

But there’s an even bigger factor…


Do I really need to say anymore. Drive to Survive has taken Formula 1 into the stratosphere. I’ve done videos on drive to survive, it isn’t my cup of tea but there’s no doubt it has blown F1 up. All of a sudden these pretentious, exclusive sports star celebrities, are now more accessible than ever. The audience can start to care for them, can find out more about their personalities and build up relationships with them, when before they were just blokes who drove laps in fast cars. The production on the show is so good and it’s on the biggest streaming site going, most households have Netflix. It’s everywhere. The source of the popularity is largely drive to survive, and the show has helped accelerate some of the stuff I mentioned above. Everyone is now competing with Netflix, you either do it better than them or you do it quicker than them and it is taking the sport to new levels.

New Investors

And it’s not just new fans that are entering the sport, more and more people want to invest and invest heavily in Formula 1. Investors and potential new teams are cropping up left right and centre, take Andretti for example, they could be on the grid next season!

One of the people behind a potential new team is Calvin Lo, a Hong Kong billionaire. Little is known about his current plans but we caught up with Calvin to ask him why he thinks the sport is in such a popular space right now! Lo believes we are in a new generation of fans, and this has been driven by the accessibility the younger generation has. It therefore makes F1 a very attractive prospect for new investors.

"I think it has hit a new era. I generally think so. I've been asked this question and I've been thinking a lot about it," Lo explained in an exclusive interview with GP Blog.

"Social media is a big thing. Now. Back in the days when I was starting like Schumacher days, there's nothing. So all you see is what you get from TV now. You know, they feel so close to the drivers. They know the back story of each day what's going on. So they feel like it's attached to them. They feel like part and parcel of the life, right. So that is a big thing," Lo added.

This article was a script for a video on the GP Blog YouTube channel written by Joe Tyrrell and you can watch it by clicking here.