FOTA’s F1 fans survey results in full

F1 fans want traditional tracks to stay, says FOTA's survey

F1 fans want traditional tracks to stay, says FOTA's survey

The F1 teams’ association’s plans for the future of Formula 1 attracted a huge amount of interest yesterday.

Much of the teams’ recommendations were based on a survey of 8,500 F1 fans conducted by FOTA. F1 Fanatic can now reveal the results of that survey in full for the first time.

Among the report’s main findings are:

  • Fans are most interested in seeing driver skill and least interested in changes to the regulations
  • F1 is “Not likely to gain viewers even if races are shortened” (astonishingly they then suggested reducing race lengths)
  • 58% of fans agreed Spa, Silverstone, Monaco and Monza should stay on the calendar (FOTA did not mention circuits in their proposal)
  • The majority of fans are not concerned about a reduction in testing
  • One third of fans want to see race grids reversed to put faster cars at the back
  • Most fans think the level of overtaking is about right, but a significant number want to see more
  • More than half of fans think more emphasis should be placed on winning races in determining the championship winner
  • Half of fans want more on-board cameras on the cars and interactive television coverage

What do you think of the survey? What other recommendations should FOTA have made based on them? Have your say in the comments.

One slide from the FOTA F1 survey presentation (click to enlarge)

One slide from the FOTA F1 survey presentation (click to enlarge)

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26 comments on FOTA’s F1 fans survey results in full

  1. SamS said on 6th March 2009, 13:58

    like you say in your post, if the fans arent interested in shortened races then why the hell did they suggest shortening races in the FOTA meeting.

    • Kovy said on 6th March 2009, 22:18

      Normally I can understand the reasoning behind a stupid idea, but I can’t figure why anyone thought that shortening races could possibly be a good idea.

  2. Congrats on posting this, Keith – I was wondering if we would ever get to see the much vaunted survey’s results. Oh, and happy fourth birthday to F1 Fanatic too!

    I have one small quibble about this post, however. The word “fan” is an abbreviated form of “fanatic” and it is inaccurate to describe the majority of the survey’s sampling as fans. Only 25% of the sample were true F1 enthusiasts, the remainder being casual viewers and non-viewers. This slants the results heavily in favour of those who don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to the sport.

    I understand why FOTA wanted to know what the rest of the world thinks (they are looking for ways to expand viewership) but their thinking is flawed. The vast majority of those not really interested in F1 are never going to become regular viewers and, if note is taken of their opinions, the sport runs the risks of losing its core audience, the fans. Kowtowing to those who don’t care never works and F1 has ignored the views of its true clientele for far too long.

    Consider how many of the changes and proposals now bandied about by the FIA and FOTA have been requested by the fans for years. If the powers that be would just listen to those who care about F1, years of idiotic rule changes could be avoided and we would go straight to those few adjustments that the sport really needs. As an instance, we have been asking for the return of slick tyres ever since the treaded ones were introduced.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th March 2009, 18:46

      Good point about the ‘fan’ thing.

      Inevitably a balance has to be struck between courting the casual fans (because there’s gold in them thar’ hills) and satisfying the existing, dedicated fan base.

      To an extent the two go hand-in-hand. For example, I think both casual and hardcore fans would be happy to see more stable rules.

      And happily, I think the survey shows there isn’t an appetite for gimmicks like reverse grids even among the casual fans.

      What I am concerned about is how far they are going to go with the overtaking thing. Max Mosley has spoken in the past about creating a situation where a car following another is advantaged by being in its slipstream. Do we really want a NASCAR-like situation where the cars are constantly passing each other? I don’t thin hardcore fans would, but that might appeal more to the mainstream. I’d be interested to hear what people make of that idea.

      Another thing FOTA has come out with is changing tracks to make them more overtaking-friendly. I’m concerned that doing this will just spoil the tracks and make them even more homogeneous.

      Change the cars so that drivers can follow each other closely, and let them do the rest. But let’s not end up with 18 Bahrain Internationals on the calendar. F1 needs diversity.

  3. A Singh said on 6th March 2009, 14:26

    About right

    More overtaking, classical venues not crappy circuits with no atmosphere like China.

    And a better points system

    • patrickl said on 6th March 2009, 15:05

      What baffles me here is that although people answer they want to keep the classics, they also answer that they want new venues even if it means losing classics.

      “Keep the classics” gets a 3.7 and “lose the classics” gets a 3.3, so there is some more favour to the classics. But still 3.3 is a score is also slightly in favour of that answer.

  4. patrickl said on 6th March 2009, 14:29

    Lol amazing how they got such completely useless results.

    For instance the qualifiying opinions. “The fastest car should start on pole” gets a 3.3 and “the grid should be reversed” gets a 3.0 (on a scale of 1 to 5) So that’s two completely opposite answers with roughly the same useless answer.

    Or “It doesn’t matter how many races a driver wins; what matters is how many points they score” vs “the first 3 drivers should be awarded medals- the most gold medals should win” both get a score of 3.3 (on a scale of 1 to 5).

    That goes on and on and on. It seems that for every answer, the opposite answer gets about the same score.

    Actually their question if more people would watch “much shorter” races gets a rather positive result. A 0.3 on a -1 to 1 scale.

    • Dave said on 6th March 2009, 15:18

      It makes sense they got lots of 3’s because that the neutral value. Also their study is weighted towards the Moderate cluster (as they put it) and you’d expect that cluster of viewers to be more undecided (neutral).

      It also looks like they have mixed all the answers together and divided them by the total answers. Meaning their results are affected by outlers, i.e people who have given very bi-polar answers, hence a bunch of 3.#’s

    • patrickl said on 6th March 2009, 19:50

      Sure the answers should all be close to 3, but my point is, how can two opposed answers both get a score that’s positive?

      If someone gives a 4 or 5 for “medals” wouldn’t they be giving a 2 or 1 for the “point system” and vice versa. Then if there are more votes for one system it’s score should be above 3 and for the opposing answer it should be below 3.

      You simply shouldn’t have two diametrically opposed answers both with a positive score. Either the people filling in the forms are idiots, or the scoring system used in the survey is inherently flawed (or both).

    • > Actually their question if more people would watch
      > “much shorter” races gets a rather positive result.
      > A 0.3 on a -1 to 1 scale.
      I believe that is due to the fact that many of us would still watch the races, regardless of whether they were shorter or not.

  5. Andrew White said on 6th March 2009, 16:44

    What struck me when looking at the detailed results was that all the questions seemed to be ‘How much do you agree with these comments?’

    These kinds of question lead to bias, especially when surveying people with only limited knowledge and interest in the sport.

  6. Striay said on 6th March 2009, 16:50

    there was a special in the f1 racing magazine on januarys edition i think about this! However thanx for the info Keith you always give us fantastic info on anything happening in the world of f1!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th March 2009, 18:47

      I think that was a separate survey conducted by F1 Racing with ING, and not part of the FOTA study. There have been a lot of surveys floating around recently!

  7. Chaz said on 6th March 2009, 17:32

    Finally, the seemingly ‘secret’ survey results are released! Thanks for publishing. I’m going to enjoy reading it through closely…

  8. Jose Arellano said on 6th March 2009, 17:49

    For the shorter races i think i agree, beacuase i have a feeling that the drivers would driver with a lot of more eager in a shorter race, than in a large one… and in countrys where you have a limited tv time coverage, you could see more apart from the race, previous and post race stuff.. and i think i would be good for newcomers so they can understand the sport better…..

    For qualy i think we all agree that a perfect blinding fast lap with almost no fuel is what differences a very fast driver from the others. and thats what we want to see!

    Theres another thing nobody has said for tv coverage. but when i watch races in speed latin america i get veeery desperate to see how low the volume of the engines is! and how the commentators are just talking in such a dull manner, that makes is veeeery boring (not for me coz im watching live timing) but for any newcomer i would be very boring,, because you only see the cars but you dont hear them and that doesnt make sense the speed… if you dont hear them they look slow… anyway, i think ANYTHING that would improve the SENSE OF SPEED the cars have, to the tv. would make a much much better spectale… (closer cameras or i dont know, what do you guys think?

  9. Polak said on 6th March 2009, 21:47

    Jose- I agree. Sometimes the cars look slow on TV. You can really see the speed from helicopter cameras when you watch a car hit from apex to apex.

  10. Jess said on 6th March 2009, 23:14

    Sounds like the fans want the racing and coverage and interaction that NASCAR dose in there format. I agree on most of this.

  11. zerogee said on 7th March 2009, 2:20

    It’s a pretty meaningless survey. Where did they find these people? What’s the spread? Did they even really delve into any of the technology stuff when talking about the coverage.

    I think it reinforces my view about the teams and FOM – they both think the same way because they haven’t the faintest idea about who’s watching.

    • Gman said on 9th March 2009, 17:44

      Exactly me feelings. With only 17 countries, how on Earth do they expect to get anywhere close to a good sample of opinions from a sport that is described as the “World Championship”? A 5-year old could make an electronic survey and distribute it to probably..or, lets say..150 or mroe countires, so no excuse for FOTA not to expand their survey demographics.

  12. Reverse grids were trialled in V8 supercars, and dropped very quickly and quietly.

    If someone else has tried something & it failed miserably, then why doesn’t F1 learn from those mistakes rather than trying to emulate them?

  13. Andrew said on 7th March 2009, 19:04

    I definitely want to see more more on-board cameras on the cars and interactive television coverage, and I wouldn’t mind if the commentators shut up once in a while, and I definitely want to see more overtaking. But I do NOT want to see reverse grids. That’s just stupid.

  14. DGR-F1 said on 9th March 2009, 9:04

    Reverse grids are really only any good if you are doing two or three short races in one day – as the British Touring cars do. And even then they have had to make it a completely random reverse, from between 6th and 8th on the grid, otherwise the cleverer drivers can always position themselves to be on pole. And of course Touring Cars are using success ballast as well, so there isn’t always an advantage to getting pole….
    I wonder why FOTA didn’t pick up on the fans wanting to see the traditional venues? Are they worried it would upset Bernie’s scheming?
    Also, I do agree more should be done to make the cars LOOK fast during the race, using kerbside cameras, better angles, more noise, less commentating, and a lot less ‘Ted Kravitz’ style obvious questions…..

  15. Matt said on 14th March 2009, 8:32

    Reverse grids are not only stupid but carnage waiting to happen when the slower guys at the front hit the brakes earlier than the faster guys coming from behind. Happened a few times in V8 Supercars here in Australia.

    Once the chaos of the race start is over, I’d love for there to be a complete lap from onboard cameras without any commentary, just the sound of the car, seeing the driver working it around.

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