It’s been a busy few days for Formula 1, with new owners and a new management structure being put in place. But what changes do we want to see from Liberty Media?
F1 has new owners in the form of American media giant Liberty Media, with the 100% takeover being completed at the start of this week.
Along with it came major changes to who is in charge of F1, with Bernie Ecclestone’s 40-year reign over the series coming to an end.
F1 may be rapid, but changes won’t be so quick. But, nevertheless, we’ve thought up some of the things we want to see from F1’s new owners in the future:
Expanding new media use
Despite F1 being one of the most technologically advanced sporting championships in the world, it’s been strangely slow picking up new media. It’s social media coverage has been growing and expanding, particularly over 2016, but a lot more needs to be done.
Ecclestone has famously been against social media and said there was no point trying to attract young fans, but that seems just plain wrong. Using social media and new media is surely a way to show young people what F1 is all about and why it’s pretty damn cool.
Whether that’s through adopting new media like Snapchat, Instagram stories and increasing its use of YouTube or Facebook, it’ll give F1 a much broader reach and could be perfect for bringing in new fans, and giving existing F1 supporters more cool content.
We’re not saying you have to live stream the actual F1 races. No, TV broadcasters would smash the place up if that happened. But, why not stream pre-race events, or practice sessions.
There are loads of ways to live stream now, whether that’s on Facebook Live, Instagram, YouTube or something else. But people are consuming media differently now, it’s not all about TV. People want content on their small screens and bringing live streaming to F1 (we did see a nice live stream on Facebook at the end of 2016 in Abu Dhabi) on a regular basis would be great.
Spreading the money
The news of Manor’s collapse is a perfect example of how unfair the current prize money situation is. It’s really harming the series and putting teams, jobs and futures at risk.
How can we expect smaller teams to become competitive and take the fight to the established lot? How can we have great racing all the way through the field and unexpected results if some teams (cough, Ferrari, cough) are getting extra money just for showing up and backmarker teams are struggling to win considerably less prize money.
The current prize money and payment structure as a whole to teams is ridiculous and needs to change. Liberty seems open to making this fairer and even seems in favour of a budget cap, which would help to close up the field.
More promotion of F1 races
In the UK, we see the odd Channel 4 or Sky Sports F1 trailers on TV, and the odd F1-related advert will pop up online. But, for the most part, promotion of F1 races is pretty poor. This is, in part, thanks to races having to promote themselves. If F1 wants to get the word out there about this fast and frantic racing series, they need to invest more in promotion, whether that’s in the local area, online, in print or TV.
Keep the classics
F1 is always looking for new markets to crack and that’s awesome. Seeing F1 races in new countries is pretty cool, most of the time. But Liberty need to make sure classic events (mostly in Europe) like the Silverstone, Monza, Spa and Suzuka remain.
These are races and circuits that have been on the calendar for decades, with huge amounts of history. The calendar should be a real mix of old and new. That’s what we want to see. No one likes to read about Monza’s future being under threat, or Silverstone considering whether it can afford to continue hosting F1.
One way to keep hold of these classic races would be to change the fees for hosting rounds of the F1 world championship. Because, for many events on the calendar, these fees are extortionate and put a huge amount of financial pressure on the tracks and organisers. It’s why we often see races drop off the schedule.
Making races more affordable, or changing the current system in some way, would be a good start to holding onto historic races and giving the calendar a good mix of races.
More things to do
We’ve heard murmurings of Liberty looking to make each race a huge event, like the Superbowl, with a real festival atmosphere. This would be a big boost to the local area and the experiences F1 fans have.
Hosting demo runs in nearby towns and cities in the week ahead, hosting sit-down sessions with drivers, competitions, music, shows, eRaces and more would be a great way of drawing people in, as well as making the whole weekend better for fans.
This is a bit of a niche one, but F1 expanding its presence in the gaming world would be pretty cool. Going into Virtual Reality is a possible avenue for F1, especially for gaming and sim experiences. Hosting F1 game championships and events would be nice too, as well as helping create bigger and better racing game titles for consoles and the small screen as well.
It may seem like a fairly small sector, but it’s a great way to get people interested in F1 – particularly young people. Looking at the large followings of F1 YouTubers like aarava and Tiametmarduk are good examples of what F1 gaming can do.