What the average fan really thinks of F1

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Like it or not, this is why a lot of people watch F1
Like it or not, this is why a lot of people watch F1

There’s a lot of discussion about how to ‘improve the show’ and make it more accessible to the ‘average fan’. But what do typical sports fans actually think of F1?

I’ve had it in my mind for some time to find out and the festive season has offered lots of opportunities to meet new people.

So – while avoiding the opportunity to bore people to death about my favourite subject – I’ve snuck the phrase “what do you think of F1?” into conversations a few times recently and turned up some surprising results.

Two responses were particularly common:

“I watch it for the crashes”

The kind of dedicated F1 fans who read F1 Fanatic are more likely to appreciate an impressive overtaking move or a great qualifying lap.

But the average fan tunes in waiting to see it all go wrong. And although safety is much improved today compared to 20 or even ten years ago, that’s still a slightly worrying thought.

There’s no denying that crashes are spectacular and, when you know a driver escaped injury, entertaining. But are there many other sports where people tune in mainly to see it go wrong?

I don’t watch much sport that doesn’t feature four wheels and an engine, so you might have to put me right on this. But I suspect football fans watch for the goals or to see their team win, rather than in anticipation of a leg-breaking tackle.

Perhaps it’s just part of human nature that we find something irresistible in seeing multi-million pound racing cars reduced to heaps of rubble by a mis-judged move. Or is it the case that the good things about F1 – the passes, the hot laps and so on – are a bit too intangible to be universally appreciated?

“It’s all down to the car”

The other comment which came up most often was the complaint that a driver’s success is entirely down to whether he’s got a good car or not.

The zero-to-hero story of Jenson Button over the past two seasons was seen as a case in point.

To an extent F1 is little different to other sports. Ferrari and McLaren can spend more money to build a better car just as Chelsea and Manchester United can dip into their vast reserves to hire the best players.

I think the difference between an average fan and an F1 fanatic here is mainly down to perception. The average fan sees F1 as a contest between drivers. Dedicated F1 fans see it as a contest between drivers and teams.

The driver’s role in developing and setting up a car tends to get get overlooked by the average fan. Not to mention the skill involved in driving it (I have long suspect on-board cameras make driving an F1 car look stupidly easy) and the ever-tighter margins of competition.

Conclusions

So if F1 wants to attract more casual fans it needs to change the rules to make all the cars the same and create more crashes.

In other words, it needs to become NASCAR.

I’m sure you all have plenty of interesting opinions about whether that’s a good idea – and whether it’s already happening. So, whether you’re a ‘casual’ fan or an F1 fanatic, post your thoughts below.

120 comments on “What the average fan really thinks of F1”

  1. Excellent example of sounding opinions in a non-obvious way.

    Considering the way the overtaking poll has been hijacked so that two foregone conclusion non-passes are in the lead, this is a much better way of going about it.

    1. …it would be interesting to know the percentage of ‘fans’ that make up the ‘average fan’ base, this would show how much, or how little influence on the sport they have….If it is a huge percentage, will their interest be lost [read money] if F1 becomes too safe/clean.

  2. You’re right. But why would it? Seems to me that F1, for all its faults, is doing just fine as it is—apart from a need to get costs under control. It’s not exactly hurting for fans worldwide.

  3. It is true my friends who have seen F1 only really care if theres a huge crash.

    Also they can’t understand why Button is now the best driver in the world this year and Hamilton isn’t very good.

    1. I think the reason is that the “average fans” see silver cars, red cars, blue cars white cars etc. And that, if you only look quickly appear all the same.
      More often than not, the same names are at the front. They are interested in action and what happens on the track.

      An F1fanatic however looks at F1 in a more wider view and understands its not just car/driver/wheels.

      A quick example is my girlfriend, that i finally have managed to point her in the direction of F1. Sure she has a nice Mclaren T-shirt, a Lewis cap and a ticket for Spa, but when i tried to explain about winter testing, aerodynamics and wind tunnels. She was just not interested and Sex and the city was back on TV in a flash.

      I dont want to sound offensive to the “average fan” because they are importantant to F1. I guess that because there is essentially an awful lot of work thats put in before the action starts it is difficult to take it all on board.
      I have to say though, when i started to learn the science, research, and governance on F1, It made every race a million times more interesting.

      1. I agree with you and i will actually say that there isn’t an average fan. Ether you are a fan or you are not.
        You might not know what is happening at first and only be impressed by crashes(lets be honest some of them are cool, i loved the old days with crushes all over the place)but after a few GP if you really are watching then you will start to learn what is happening.
        If not then you don’t care about F1, you will never go to a GP and if your TV is playing it it’s because you didn’t find anything good to watch.
        They are not fans. They don’t exist and there opinion is irrelevant. You don’t have to visit sites like this to be a fan but if you only see cars as red,silver and blue and know the names of one or two drivers then you have no relationship with F1.
        I bet if your girlfriend wasn’t with you, she wouldn’t watch an F1 race ever again.
        Why would anyone care about the opinion of people who don’t care about something.

        1. lol. She probably wouldnt.. But while she is she will damn sure sit there through saturday qualifying and sundays race and bloody enjoy it…

          and next year we will work on friday practice!!!

  4. I read someone post on a football forum that seeing things like Raikkonen almost getting burned in Brazil is what a casual fan like him craves when he watches F1.

    1. Watch it for the crashes?MG, what a moronic response to F1! I only have two rules for F1, and the first is “don’t hurt the driver”. The second is “don’t hurt the car”. In other words, drive shiny-side up. The crash-lovers can indeed go to NASCAR (the other moronic response to F1)

  5. Crashes and equal cars – Formula 2

  6. To be honest, crashes are the probably the thing that got me interested in F1 in the first place. I’m sure that it was not a coincidence that I first took an interest in F1 at the age of 8 around the time of the 1998 Belgian GP and the huge first lap pile up.

    Obviously, I soon realised that there was way more to the sport than accidents, and within a couple of years I was hooked. Even now, I like to see lots of crashes (as long as no one gets hurt). But I love F1 for what it is, and I definitely don’t want it to become like NASCAR

    1. I had the same experience as you Ned.
      My perception is that crashes in F1 are equivalent to hard hits in Rugby or crunching sliding tackles in Football. You want too see the lad get flattened, but dust himself off and carry on with the game like a man.

    2. Me too ! The carnage that began the 1998 Belgian GP was my introduction to F1. I was so amazed by it that I began to watch the series. In time I metamorphosized from the type of fan who was attracted by a spectacular crash, to a regular viewer, and ending up with my transformation complete as a genuine, bona fide F1 fanatic !

      And whilst I still appreciate a good crash, I am far more likely to be raving on about a great overtake or suspenseful race. I still rate the Alonso/Schumacher final laps showdown from Imola 2005 as the best “moment” of F1 that I have seen.

      1. It is obvious that the casual fan can not see past the crashes in Australia. Over here, F1 only ever gets on the news if there is a crash or Mark Webber is on the podium.

        The first race I fully watched was the 2002 Australian Grand Prix with my Dad when I was 8 years old. I found it very interesting and the spectacular crash at the start with Ralf Schumacher flying over Rubens Barrichello and several cars piling up behind ultimately promoting home race hero Mark Webber to a 5th place finish on debut made it hardly a boring introduction to the sport. Since then I was hooked on F1 and have only missed a handful of races.

  7. crashes are the worst thing! no matter who it is, because, it brings out the safety car and a safety car ruins a race, especially for the leader. I dredd crashes. I watch f1 to see something like lewis hamilton come from 18th on the grid to finish on the podium…not to see a safety car guide them round for ten laps…

    1. Very true but if your talking about LH 3rd in Brazil then he couldnt have done it without the safety car.

    2. Fortunately, next year safety cars won’t interfere with the racing (anywhere near as much) since there’s no refuelling strategy to mess up.

  8. I think you confuse what an average fan wants to see and what attract him to F1. Which is not necessarily the same thing. “The best in the world” thing, hence prestige etc., is what makes people watch. They don’t care about excellent junior categories, nation-cup A1GP. People want to see “the best, the fastest, the richest”.

    But when they actually watch their TVs they like spectacular crashes. Why? Yes, because they’re spectacular. Kubica’s Canada crash was the most popular F1 video some time ago I bet(maybe still is…).

  9. Also, has anyone read James Allen’s features on the future of F1 this week? He seems to think F1 cars will soon be able to run nose to tail like in NASCAR. It sounds exciting, but I hope they don’t change things too much.

    http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2009/12/f1-in-the-future-the-aerodynamics/

    1. I read those articles…very interesting.The one that stuck out in my head is F1 possibly going to 500cc engines with turbo.

      1. That’s an interesting concept. It wouldn’t necessarily mean a power drop either: 750bhp would probably be doable.
        Turbo technology has moved on a lot since the 80s monsters – but surely it would only happen if there were ecological (for which read = fuel economy) benefits, and I’m not sure whether there would be…
        I’m not convinced they’d be able to make them as reliable as the current 2.4 V8s though – and breakdowns would be more likely to be destructive, which would increase costs.

  10. I reckon F1 isn’t doing all that bad. Bar the Football World Cup and the Summer Olympics it’s the most-viewed sporting competion in the world.

    Of course I understand that could be better still, but I don’t think that having 3 or 4 drivers crash their cars every race, will help up the viewers’ numbers.

    Reducing Formula One to a spec series is not a solution either, since that’s a major depart from F1’s roots. It would likely drive out the top teams, including Ferrari and McLaren, then the drivers and finally the sponsors. Just look at the state of IndyCar as a spec series: it only barely survives, even as a unified series.

    When I talk to non-F1 fans about Grand Prix racing, I often stress that Formula One is mostly a team sport, arguing that it’s the team, not the driver, that designs, builds and develops the cars and engines, manage strategies, perform pitstops et cetera. When that is empasised a bit more, I reckon it could attract fans, too.

    Disclaimer: I am not a casual fan by far, since I started watching F1 almost 20 years ago… ;)

  11. I think where F1 can really improve for the casual fan is give a greater sense of speed.

    I’m guessing that this would be more down to TV camera locations and the local TV crews than anything else.
    Again Nascar does this well with it’s wall mounted and car mounted cameras, but F1 rarely dips into this. F1 is improving in this area but it could do so much more.

    I remember only seeing Eau Rouge from an elevated shot ,that really showed the gradient and speed, a few years back and this took my breath away. We’ve got a great overhead helicopter shot this year at Hungary.

    However, it’s been pointed out that not all TV shots are shown to us viewers, that seems crazy to me?

    Bland same old static TV cameras by the side of the track bore casual fans. If you’re not at the track you need a greater immersive experience to enjoy the event.

    1. absolutely agree on this… the thing is if you tune in on the tv, you dont see the cars going really fast.. the f1 fans know they are pushing like hell, but the average fan dont know this. and the tv just doesnt show the speed and the way they push….

    2. American_F1_Fan
      30th December 2009, 18:27

      I think you hit the nail on the head there Chalky. F1 does a horrible job of portraying the sense of speed on the TV broadcast. I’m no fan of NASCAR, but they know how to immerse the TV audience and portray that sense of speed. They sometimes use low camera angles really close to the racing line, and they also have times where the commentators stop talking and crank up the sound of the cars. It really gets the blood flowing.

      Then we come to the issue of HD. Get with the times FOM. I’m tired of excuses as to why they can’t do it. Bernie can demand outrageous sums and institute pretty much any rules he wants to host a GP. The ability to broadcast that GP in HD should also be one of the conditions of hosting a GP.

      As for the cars, yes, it’s mostly about the cars, but that’s what makes F1 to me. The drivers are part of it, but it’s all about the cars!!!

    3. I’ve been a big fan of onboard cameras placed low for ages. When I still held out hope for a subscription F1 service or ppv I thought split screens and/or a separate channel with exclusively on board cameras would have been fabulous. I think one of the U.S. series did try this years ago for one or two races. I can’t recall what series it was, though.

    4. While I agree with you there Chalky, the fact remains that there is only one way to get a true sense of the speed on an F1 car, and that is to be trackside.

      People often ask me why I shell out hundreds of dollars each year to go to the GP when you get a better view at home on the couch. Perhaps to entice more viewers it should be mandatory to go to a race live?

      Because at home, you can’t feel your seat shaking when they go past, you can’t feel your ears bleed from the sound, you can’t smell the fuel, and you can’t get your eyebrows singed by Button’s engine blowing up 50 metres from the finish line like I did in 2006 ! When TV can reproduce all that, then it might entice more casual viewers to stick around.

  12. I could have told you that Keith already. Button’s championship told the average person who tuned in on the off chance, everything there is about his “skill”. From nowhere to champion – what other conclusion can there be that it was 95% down to the car. It will always be so if the cars are so different in design and performance. Dedicated F1 fans know that if the top cars are relatively the same, the driver comes into his own a lot more, as we saw in the latter half of the season. Hence, why ‘Autosport’ magazine accurately voted Hamilton and not Button as their driver of the season. But the first half of the season was a complete joke – it must have been to have two ZEROS like Button and Barrichello winning everything.

    Perhaps we should just accept that if F1 is to remain as it is, that is how it will be perceived. It will still be popular and glamorous, and if a non-F1 fan tunes in for the crashes, at least they are tuning in.

    1. Presumably you think when Hamilton wins it is 95% down to him…

      1. No, if you read my post properly, I said

        “Dedicated F1 fans know that if the top cars are relatively the same, the driver comes into his own a lot more, as we saw in the latter half of the season.”

        I would say when the cars are more equal in performance, as in the latter half of the season, the driver input is more like 30-40%.

        Are you saying that Button has always been champion material? With him, in a bad car, he trundled around like an also ran, shrugging his shoulders and saying “s’not my fault”. With Lewis, he tried to wring every last ounce of drive from a poor car and was clearly extremely frustrated at not being able to do more. Maybe that’s why so many people came out and said it was the car not the driver this year. Maybe the fact Lewis is favourite for the title next year should tell you something about the two differing abilities.

        And please read my posts carefully in future.

        1. I’ll read your posts more carefully when I think you’re no longer blinded by your love of Hamilton.

          For the record I think Hamilton is the best driver in F1 too but that’s no reason to belittle the achievements of his rivals

          1. Seems like a lot of people aren’t buying the “Button is the greatest driver in F1” schtick either, hence part of the reason for this article.

    2. But the first half of the season was a complete joke – it must have been to have two ZEROS like Button and Barrichello winning everything.

      Button and Barrichello won everything in the first half of the season? I must have been watching something else.

      Anyways, it’s always been the same. Miles of difference between the cars and bugger all between the drivers.

      1. Australia 1-2
        China 3-4
        Spain 1-2
        Monaco 1-2

        Barrichello had some dodgy strategies and the odd gearbox failure as well. He got more points than Button from Germany onwards (but then who didn’t?).

        1. Australia 1-2
          China 3-4
          Spain 1-2
          Monaco 1-2

          Are these races that Barrichello won?

          Isn’t this the guy that was, to quote himself: “in the form of his life”, and on his day (team orders and car spec allowing) could beat Michael Schumacher?

          As for strategy, they pretty much had the same, which was not the case for poor old Heikki among others. LOL

          Barrichello wasn’t able to get to grips with his launch control on a few occasions, and over-torqued his gearbox.
          Which is something he failed to tell the rest of us. He’s never been very good at starts, maybe just got too used to falling in behind Schumacher?

          Yes, a few drivers got more points than Button mid-season on, but he scored the points that mattered when he had the best car (very marginally if you note the times), just like what’s happened in previous seasons.

          Anyway, Button should beat Hamilton, because Barrichello bet Hamilton in Valencia – To use the logic of some. LOL

        2. Vettel (44), Hamilton (40), Raikkonen (38), Barrichello (36) and Webber (34) scored more points than Button (26) from Germany onwards.

          The fact is, though, that Button score 64 out of 75 in the races before Germany. His teammate in equal equipment scored 41.

          So in the first half of the season, Button outscored his teammate by more than 2 points to 1. Not a bad effort.

          And you can’t blame strategies. That’s part of it. That’s like Vettel saying he would have won in Australia if he hadn’t crashed. But he did. You can’t just pick and choose your facts.

          1. José Baudaier
            30th December 2009, 23:30

            I’ll defende Barrichelo in this one. At the beggining of the season Rubens had overheating problems with his brakes so he couldn’t use wheel covers on his back tires. When he changed his brakes manufacturer and was able to use the wheel covers (Don’t remember exact what race, but close to the middle of the championship) he was able increase his performance.

            Note that I’m not saying that he would overperformance Button if he started the season with the good brakes, but he would definitely perform better than he did and be closer to Button’s score.

    3. S Hughes,

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Get over yourself, buddy. No one likes a fanboy.

      1. Are you aware, mate, that this site is named f1FANatic?

        I think that the site´s owner had dedicated his site to the F1 FANatics, driver´s FANatics, teams FANatics…

        So, Get over yourself too and let the FANatics express his preferences!

        1. Spot on… F1 Fanatic. Not Lewis Hamilton is the best ever and everyone else sucks donkey balls Fanatic”.

          1. has anyone else noticed that every artice that keith posts, we always end up comparing hamilton to someone or something else?

            why is that?

  13. When I was younger I remember by brother teasing me that people only watched F1 to see the crashes.

  14. Does the biggest sport on Earth really need more casual viewers?

    F1 viewers clearly like it as is. Those that don’t are free to watch the miriad of other (less popular) series.

    1. Exactly! We dont hear about football and other popular sports trying to change all sorts to attract the casual viewer. If you dont really like cars you wont really like F1.

      We all love it so leave the core of it alone please.

      My mum would never watch….well maybe only if columbo featured trying to solve some murders!

      1. That’s it!!

        Each race 1 driver gets murdered and we get in a different TV Detective to work out which of the other drivers did it…

        …makes about as much sense as some of the other ideas that have been suggested over the years…

  15. I’d hate to see f1 have all the same cars. Theres atleast 20 series or so that race with identical cars. And for more crashes, I think these started to decline when all the rules for saving engines etc. for multiple weekends came. I mean, about 5 years ago I would hope for the moment schumi’s ferrari engine would finaly burst to flames, or laugh when another honda bit the dust :). Nowadays cars are bulletproof and also drivers seem to be much more carefull.

  16. This is an interesting point: anyone tell how to improve F1 buy no one except you dare to ask F1 fans what they think.

    Can you broaden this topic, ask more questions around and let us know ?

  17. Boxing is a sport where people watch to see someone get injured or hurt!

    I agree with @Chalky a better sense of speed would make it more exciting for new fans. Very often this is lost with camera angles positioned at the bottom of a strait zooming out as the car approaches. When I first attended the British GP (1988) a friend and I stood halfway down Hanger strait on the Sunday morning. I was blown away when Senna came down, and I shouted out “There’s no way he’s going to get round that corner” but he did. Now, if the producers can get that onto our screens they will be doing a good job.

    1. Now, if the producers can get that onto our screens they will be doing a good job.

      The problem with F1 is that the rate at which the cars do corner makes it difficult for it to come across as exciting on TV.

      MotoGP bikes can accelerate as hard and go as fast down the straights as an F1 car, but have to brake earlier for the corners because they have less grip from tyres and downforce. Unlike F1, this comes across very well on TV!

  18. Would Michael Schumacher have won any championships had all of his cars performed like the F60 did in comparison to the best cars in the field? A big fat ‘No’ is the answer.

    Crashes are there to remind us just how dangerous the sport can be. I can’t think why people would find them “entertaining”!?

  19. Identical cars are not the way to go. I’ve said to mates around the bbq having a few beers that to fix F1 get rid of wings altogether. No more aero interference in corners, longer braking distances which make it easier to pass, and cars drifting through some very quick corners. Maybe use ground effect tunnels to up corner speeds but otherwise get rid of downforce totally and the racing will improve.

    I use MotoGP as the example becuase there you have the best riders at the front regardless of what bike they are on – unless it’s a Suzuki. And of course, they can run nose to tail as they have no wings! All their grip is mechanical. No-one since the late sixties in F1 or any top level open wheel racing has tried the no wings route to improve racing.

    No wings means (a) lower costs for development, (b) the car industry benefits from F1 aero gurus designing cars for minimal drag which helps build more efficient road cars, (c) fans can be put closer to the action as the cars are slower through the corners which means smaller run off areas are required, (d) longer braking distances mean there is more margin for a quicker driver to outbrake his opponent, etc. etc…

    The cars would not be the fastest circuit cars anymore but would that matter? Not to me, and I’m as big an F1 fan as anyone I know. Would the casual fan know any difference? They’d notice the wings were gone but when the first race was a start to finish FFord race only faster I think they’d love it.

    I would.

    1. Just further to that some of the closest gaggle finishes of all time in F1 were involving cars with no wings (or just rear wings) at Monza where at the finish you had four or more cars covered by a second and positions changing every lap.

      Imagine that’s going to happen in 2010? No, I don’t think so either.

      1. if you had no down force it wouldnt be f1, it would be just a glamourous touring car even, cornering speed would be HUGELY reduced! lap times would absolutly soar!

        one thing about f1 that makes it so glamourous is the speed and the danger, if you take that away than it isnt as good and you will loose viewers instead of bringing them in…

        …ok you will have better racing, but people wont watch it on the scale they do now!

  20. Hmm, the watching for the crashes is something I find some what distasteful, but then I don’t understand the pull of boxing either and that still gets it following, and that is effectively repetitive crashes between two bodies.
    I think what F1 has lost in recent years is it’s original goals. It was to see just how far man and machine could be pushed, riding the envelope of development. In more recent times however we have seen more and more regulations brought in to actually hamper the speed and grip increases due to things reaching such a level that the risk factor was just too high to let it continue. SO we are no longer watching the spectacle of what can be achieved without limit, but what can people get away with within the rules, it’s almost become more a game of cat and mouse between the teams and the law makes than who’s putting the best solution on the track.
    Now I don’t have any big idea on how to avoid this, and pretty much accept this as just the way things must now be. It hasn’t stopped me watching or enjoying the sport, it;s just an evolution.
    Oh, one thing they do need to do, and which I was amazed BBC didn’t make use of last season.. show the races on BBC HD for gawd’s sake!!

    1. Oh, one thing they do need to do, and which I was amazed BBC didn’t make use of last season.. show the races on BBC HD for gawd’s sake!!

      Yes indeed. But it’s no good watching paint dry in glorious technicolor.

      It’s better to play a good game on a Nintendo game boy than it is to play a bad game on your X-BOX connected to a 42″ screen.

      If F1 doesn’t become more entertaing (not that I think it needs to be), then we may end up not watching it at all.

      1. It is not the BBC’s fault. Bernie is the one holding back HD

        1. Some of the host countries are not yet up to speed with HD. FOM often has to take the feed from a host broadcaster, rather than using its own.

          1. José Baudaier
            30th December 2009, 23:37

            FOM is the one that generate the images in almost every race – except for Japan I believe. So if it wanted it would be possible to set up HD anywhere.

  21. lol Good piece.

    I think your right in that the casual fan doesn’t get the team element. Having more manufacturers helped with that as the names help put a handle on the concept, what’s more tangible USF1 or Toyota?

    1. I think people just naturally look for the human element and in F1 (and pretty much all other forms of motor racing) the obvious centre of that is the driver.

  22. i used to watch for the crashes, tho i was 6 at the time.
    i also find the on-board camera’s make the cars look too easy to drive, esp when u look back at clips of the cars from the 70’s and 80’s when the driver was having to fight the car to keep it in a straight line…
    sadly, F1 is one of those sports when only a die-hard will fully appreciate a hot lap or a great overtaking move, a great slide, or dare i say it, a good pitstop!
    perhaps as u say, thats y Nascar is so popular, tho i dont mind watching it, u do know at some point there is going to be a “big one”.
    F1 is my favorite sport, always has been and always will be, even tho these days it is all down to the car….

  23. I also think it’s down to visuals-you can see footballers or runners giving it everything but my friends have said ‘well they’re just sitting down and going round and round’. :o
    It also has a clear business side with sponsors draped everywhere. Every sport has this but on the cars it can change liveries and what a commom fan would associate and link to their team. The only true team colours are ‘the red cars’.
    Bringing in new fans seems to be just as hard as turning casual ones into fanatics at times. The scandals can draw attention but it also leaves many thinking that it’s all fixed.
    Then there are the driver fans, the ones who watch for their driver and nothing else. Spain Alonso mania, here we have the Lewis bug and Kimi is insanely popular everywhere it appears and fans come and go with these drivers.

    1. oh and I don’t think the press helps very much especially in Britain with being completely bias and having the build them up knock them down attitude

    2. I really wish the general public had greater awareness of the skills involved in driving a race car. Like the racing line, accelerating, braking, weight-transfer, oversteer, understeer, the traction circle and so on. That’s why I love F1, because these guys are the best drivers in the world.

  24. I am Canadian, and I can tell you that one of the biggest reasons people watch hockey is for the fights. The violent, spectacular stuff that catches people’s attention is always part of the show. In other words, I get why casual fans like watching things go off the rails. A good bench-clearing brawl always spices things up.

  25. Another view on F1 here by a Guardian Sport columnist (usually not as lentil-munching as the rest of the paper) http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/blog/2009/dec/30/cheating-review-barney-ronay

    “the diabolical funhouse of Formula One – less a sport and more a portable never‑ending after-party on a yacht peopled by disco-dancing billionaires”

  26. What F1 really needs is to go to more picturesque and challenging tracks. That would make “casual” fans appreciate the drivers’ skills more. Right now, all they see on TV is the cars running around sterile autodromes, they think anyone could do that.

    That is not going to happen though, because of the obsession with safety…

  27. how will more casual viewers actually help the sport? will they buy more merchandise? will they attend more GPs? if they are ‘casual’ i wouldn’t think so….perhaps they will buy a ferrari or mclaren shirt if they happen to come across one in a store. a few may be sucked in and actually become more die-hard fans…but thats about it. more viewers = more $$ for bernie and his goons?

  28. Crid [CridComment @ gmail]
    30th December 2009, 15:45

    You can call it a team sport, but nobody knows the name of anyone on the team but the driver or his management.

    I was always amused to see this guy during F1 telecasts. But in exchange at Saward’s I recently learned that most people hate him… And we’ve never heard a word from him, just seen his face!

    Drivers are often disposable, like Hollywood starlets… There’ll be another fresh face in the paddock soon anyway. And there’s nothing as silly in F1 as seeing all of them riding around the circuit on the flatbed truck before the race: a bunch of millionaires in garish sportswear talking to each other through sunglasses. (On a truck beyond a crash fence and gravel trap.) This is how F1 shares personality?

    That article in Wired Magazine from a couple of years ago comes to mind: The real stars of F1 are the cars. I may never aspire to a night with Brad Pitt’s wife, but I often imagine a lap in Lewis Hamilton’s car.

    And BTW— If the cars are the stars, the new aero regs have done a tremendous disservice. There’s no reason that one car or another would strike your fancy when they all look the same except for paint. It’s not like there are ten teams building ten cars, there are ten teams building one car, and they might as well be stockers. A couple of years ago, you could at least say you liked the Honda for the bunny ears, while the next guy maybe liked the McLaren for the viking horns.

  29. It is difficult for fans to get into F1, because every year the rules are different. You think you know what is going on only to find out that ‘new for this year’ cars/divers can/cannot do this or that. No sport on the planet is so changeable. Imagine a football match where one year studs on boots are banned to ‘improve the show’. Or the ball is made lighter to encourage more goals. As I’ve said before, F1 is artificial and different every season. The only constant IS the crashes and wheels bouncing down the track. I like F1 for the cutting edge tech, but when that is gone so will I be. KERS should have stayed and been implemented properly. [rant over]

    PS nice article as usual Keith.

  30. I started to watch F1 at the age of 7. And honestly, what really hook me to the sport was Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. When Schumi retired, I retired from watching F1 too. I tried watching a couple of races after his retirement, but it didn’t feel the same. Something didn’t feel right. F1 was no longer ‘exciting’ :/

    Just my opinion..

    1. José Baudaier
      30th December 2009, 23:51

      I was the opposite. I actually stopped watching F1 when Schumi would win every race and would be champion 6 races before the end of the season. Luckly Alonso came along and I could actually enjoy F1 again.

      But I guess I understand you, I started watching F1 as a kid when Senna was in his prime, and after he died I kind of stopping enjoying F1 for like a year or two, funny enough it was Schumacher first two championships.

  31. Well, of course a lot of it is down to the cars, which is why I watch it – the technology race that Max kept trying to stop. Why should I care about the drivers who are so often unbelievably dull, or if they’re not, the pointless stupid questions they’re generally asked makes them seem so.

    As far as I’m concerned the last championship was about Brawn versus RedBull versus McLaren, you could have put anyone in the cars (capable of driving them competently) and I’d have been as interested. And this is precisely why I don’t watch series where the cars are standardised.

  32. This one paragraph sums it up for me:

    I think the difference between an average fan and an F1 fanatic here is mainly down to perception. The average fan sees F1 as a contest between drivers. Dedicated F1 fans see it as a contest between drivers and teams.

    ….and I also agree about the camera shots.There needs to be more of a sense of speed.I was at a party once a had to endure a NASCAR race on TV.This guy had his basement set up like a small theatre with big screen and surround sound.During intervals of the race (about 5 or 6 times)they would show a low angle camera shot near the end of one of the straights while the cars were at full speed of 200 mph,the commentary would stop and you could just listen to the sounds of the engines of the entire pack and the camera was just inches away.I don’t care for NASCAR but,it gave me goosebumps every time they would do that.

    F1 needs to cater to the fans the way NASCAR does.

  33. I wonder if i buy myself into f1. Cause lots of crashes, big ones but not enough to injure anyone and gain alot more fans and support than current famous drivers.

  34. As a big fan of both F1 and NASCAR I can say we dont need F1 to become a NASCAR. If we get that we get the IRL. 1 car 1 motor. There is enough Spec series in OW. If F1 gose that route it will loose all the luster of being F1.

  35. I was attracted to F1 by Nelson Piquet Jr’s crash! =)

  36. I see myself as a bit of a sometimes snobbish fanatic, but that doesn’t stop me getting sometimes a bit excited when there is a shunt (so long as no-one is hurt of course). If the crashes happen every lap then they don’t become so exciting… it’s the same as overtaking and my feelings towards KERS – you can have too much of a good thing.

    I think there is a fine balance to be struck. F1 is not NASCAR, and nor should it ever be otherwise it will lose as many fans as it gains.

    Just get the HD sorted and some V10s again and we should be ok $:)

  37. I can also admit that the excitement that drew me in was the crashes and they are still captivating. I don’t want anybody hurt, but the risk is probably why they are well paid.

    The “best” crashes are where a driver is pushing themselves and their cars to the absolute limit. If there were no crashes I wouldn’t think people were really trying.

    But no I don’t want more crashes, and I’ve been particularly unimpressed by the crashes caused by rookies with no opportunity to test. And no we don’t want nascar, the teams and designers are rightly a HUGE part of F1.

  38. Oh and Ski Sunday is another sport people watch for the crashes. And no I don’t want every skier to get injured, but crashes do remind you of the gutsiness of these people and the dangers they face.

  39. i watch f1 because it’s the fastest cars in the world and i don’t care much about overtaking coz when there is one it the greatest in motorsport

  40. that onboard camera making it look easy its soo true.. everyone thinks anyone could do it….

  41. But the average fan tunes in waiting to see it all go wrong.

    LOL.I never really thought of it like that but, I’ve known for decades that everyone thinks race fans are only fans because of the crashes. I’ve wasted a lot of breath trying to explain that at the very least crashes bring out a yellow flag or safety car which is not my idea of a good time. I don’t even bother wasting it explaining what how reading about a drivers death in the paper (pre-cable tv) or worse watching it on tv feels like.

    I watch in the (usually vain) hope of passes, not crashes.

  42. To be honest- F1 is addictive. I hate it and I love it. Why? Recently races are often boring with a really few overtaking maneuvres. I love GP2 for lot of fighting and that drivers use same cars, I also foung A1GP very exciting! But for some reason I can’t stop watching F1- Simply those are magnificant men in their flying machines.
    This is unbelivable to drive almost 1,5 hour at 340kmph!

  43. In my experience casual fans know the drivers well – one of the main topics of conversation is Schumacher’s return and whether he’s “too old” to cut it any more. I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on the ‘it’s all the car’ angle (at least in the UK), people I’ve spoken to seem to recognise the inherent team nature of the sport.

  44. All I can think is that they need to copy NASCAR by pushing the drivers personalities more rather than hiding them away to please the sponsors. Granted, not many of them have ‘personalities’, but neither do most X Factor contestants either.

  45. For me only someone very sick and not an F1 fan can wacth F1 to see them crashing, obvious you´re not thinking about any driver or the simple possibility of being you inside the car!
    Believe me, when i say that is not a very good sensation, i have knocked a tree down at 200 kms/h with my Toyota with locked braking disks (my car have put brakes by himself, had is own life) and spent 5 weeks to recover sensibility on my legs.
    Racing is not crashing a car is to see the skill of the best drivers in the motorsport industry giving their best for every milisecond.

  46. [Apologies for length]

    Didn’t Bernie say last year that no-one watches F1 for the crashes?

    I’ll be honest. I enjoy a good crash. It’s an inevitable part of the sport. Why pretend that I hate something that is part and parcel of F1?

    It doesn’t mean I will people to crash for the sake of it, but seeing thousands of shards of carbon fibre through the air – I have no problem with getting a bit of enjoyment out of that.

    The age we live in is one of immense safety standards. It’s not like in the 70s and 80s, or even to some extent the 90s, where drivers would frequently end up injured, sometimes seriously, critically or worse. How many serious injuries have occurred to F1 drivers in the last say, 3 years as a result of a crash (Massa’s freak accident discarded for obvious reasons)? I can count Hamilton and Kubica – both heavy shunts, both drivers virtually unscathed.

    With regards to other sports: rallying. Why did so many people love Colin McRae? Well, he was very quick and outrageous fun to watch – and he crashed a lot. Colin McRae fans accepted that part of his fiery nature behind the wheel also meant he crashed a lot, and those crashes were far more dangerous. But it was part of it. Even he accepted it was an appeal. It didn’t seem to bother him.

    I also love Speedway. Fantastic, awesome sport. Very simple, yet very tactical – but, by its nature, seems some pretty bad crashes sometimes. But plenty go for the crashes.

    Maybe we just need to embrace our mortality more. But the fact is, if you enjoy watching people on the edge of their limits, which I love, sooner or later, they’re going to fling it in the barriers. That’s part of it, and whether or not they wreck the car or not, I love it – and I wouldn’t change my mind if I was doing the driving either.

  47. I think two things need to be done to make F1 more interesting:

    1) I agree with all on the camera issue. There’s not enough of picking up a car coming down the straight and following it as it approaches, passes, and continues, including the crucial shot of how quickly the car goes past the camera itself. More shots like those of the cars going round the Parabolica, where the camera followed them for almost the whole 180 degrees, are desperately needed. S0metimes we’re lucky and we get a following shot of cars going through Eau Rouge which really shows off the incline well, but for corners like this we need to go a step further and have cameras at ground level that start moving along when the cars approach, like the rabbit at greyhound races, though of course they won’t be fast enough to follow them at the same speed!

    2) The cars themselves; I feel that the best thing to do would be to heavily restrict not only the amount of aero but also the scope for difference and development to the point where you’re only going to a get a tenth or two per lap from having better aero. Since the engines only have a difference of about three tenths between fastest and slowest, that leaves the advantages to be gained in the mechanical side of things (and hey, maybe unfreeze the engines if it’s too close i.e. near-spec) and the drivers themselves.

    PS: Go back to the old points system too. To a football fan 3 measly points are precious. 25 for a winner, I’d bet, looks suspicious to a casual fan. I say that because as a casual fan of Moto GP, its points system looks contrived to produce a closer season.

  48. I think casual viewers want to see emotion and passion, and hence why they like the crashes, because it brings out the emotion. My girlfriend is a non F1 fan, but she can clearly remember the details of the last lap in Brazil 2008 where Massa lost the world championship to Hamilton. Why? Because there was so much emotion happening, she could see how much racing meant to the drivers and their families. Same goes for Mark Webber when he won the German Grand Prix. In Australia the clip of his voice over the radio still gets played regularly on TV, because it shows the passion and the emotion involved in the win, and TV stations know that it excites people.

  49. FOM need to sit down, watch Nascar and Indycar followed by Baseball. Why? Because the way that it is covered with constantly rolling stats, split times etc. Also it is easy to follow for the casual fan due to the clear information that is illuminating to the die-hards

  50. The appeal of any motor sport is the RISK of crashing. How close to the edge can a driver push the car and maintain control?

    The early appeal of racing was very easy to appreciate when drivers routinely drifted their cars into and out of corners. Combine that with passing at the same time and you have a great spectator sport. Which we have gradually seen eroded by technology.

    If we want more real race fans the only way to do it is to lower the damn prices at the venues. One paying new fan will spread the word to countless others. Because as we all know, there ain’t nothing like experiencing it first hand.

    As for crashes and fan interest the movie “Grand Prix” accurately portrayed the “casual” fans interest in the crashes, injuries and yes, deaths.

  51. José Baudaier
    30th December 2009, 23:58

    So Briatore was actually a martir trying to attrack more casual fans for F1 and nobody notice :p

    Now being serious, I don’t watch F1 for the crashes, but they are really a plus. Beautiful to watch.

    Besides that, Chalky made an excellent point on how the right use of cameras could improve F1 sense of speed and thus its watchability for casual fans.

  52. Correct me if I’m wrong, roughly half the audience of most sports are hoping it all goes wrong for the team they don’t follow? I mean, most Australian cricket fans tune in to either watch Australia fall apart like they did against the Windies or watch the other team fall apart.

    Sadly, a good close test match is now considered ‘boring’ and all the fans and media seem to want is a crushing domination…

  53. David Watkins
    31st December 2009, 1:07

    Why on Earth would you choose to watch F1 for crashes? The best drivers money can buy in the series with the least wheel-to-wheel racing. If I wanted crash porn Id watch Touring Cars or YouTube.

    The ‘it’s all about the car’ line was totally predictable as soon as Button crossed the line in Brazil. Especially in Spain now that Alonso/Renault weren’t competitive enough to fight for the title for the second straight year

    1. The ‘it’s all about the car’ line was totally predictable as soon as Button crossed the line in Brazil.

      Well, he could have parked it up before crossing the line and still won the championship.

      The actual gap in overall performance between his car and the next make of car (RedBull) was the smallest that it’s ever been throughout the history of F1. Gone are the days when either the Renault, McLaren or the Ferrari are 1.5 seconds quicker than the next best team.

  54. I´m quite new to F1. Seeing the standings after the first few races got me hooked for BrawnGP (what an incredible upside down table). I stil don´t know exactly what attracted me, but I love F1 now. Interestingly, it surprised me the fragility of the cars! One bump to the next car could mean your race was over or you had to pit and then your race was over! I expected crashes or bumps and the cars going to the pits to get fixed and back to the race as if nothing happened. When I realized this it was a real surprise. That´s why I understand what the article says. And I think when you had that perception of F1 and see that it´s not like that and stil like it, that´s when you become a real F1 dedicated fan.

  55. Surprisingly the average fans didn’t talked about overtaking,as there isn’t much nowadays,so if we can improve that then I think all average fans will turn into true F1 fan.

  56. F1 under the stewardship of Bernie (since the onset of his senility) is becoming more and more about entertainment for pretty people and less and less about racing. The constant addition of street circuits with little or no overtaking, stupid knee-jerk rule and car specification changes, and the chasing of sponsorship / syndication money wherever it may be found has started to make me fear for F1’s future. It’s over reaching and it’s going to collapse IMO. I fear it is going to become culturally more and more like football as more and more people who just see the colour of the cars are drawn into it… Perhaps this is just a function of our now wholly media driven society..

    To truly understand F1 you need to have a passion for racing yourself, and to invest a certain amount of yourself in the sport. Crashes are certainly interesting to see, but anyone who watches F1 simply for that disgusts me. It would be the equivalent of watching football simply for the fouls.. something I do in jest simply to annoy friends of mine who are rabid football fans.

    A collapse of some sort in F1 may not be a bad thing as hopefully it will bring us back to a more grass roots level of racing, rather than it resembling more and more something akin to the Red Bull Air Races. For me F1 has always been first and foremost about skillful but aggressive driving by truly talented drivers in the best machinery that they can wrestle from their team, and that *team* can produce. I am not naive enough to think that it’s *just* down to any one driver, but I also know that that extra 0.001% of natural talent that one driver may have over another can make all the difference. Hence I can respect someone like Prost and his achievements, but was never a fan. Conversely while at times in the Mansell / Senna years I hated Senna with a passion I truly admired his talent. Likewise in the last couple of years Alonso has earned a massive amount of respect from me, whereas a few years ago I could barely speak his name without getting angry!

    All too often I associate the kind of people who support teams like Ferrari blindly as cut from the same cloth as those who support Manu Utd “because their mates do and they like the red shirt”, which is a shame….

    Next year will be an interesting year for me.. I (as most of you know) am a Kimi fan. But next year I’ll have the interesting situation of starting to watch an F1 season without any driver or team I particularly want to prevail over any other…. It will be all the more interesting for me.. and perhaps the first 30 seconds of each race won’t be so stressful… :)

  57. “I watch it for the crashes” is a lot of times just a generic response for someone who really doesn’t know anything about the sport other than it races cars.

    When my favorite driver crashes, it ruins the rest of the race for me.

    Kubica’s crash in Canada 07 was very cool. But his
    showdown with Massa during the final rainy laps in Japan that same year was much much cooler!!! Damn near epic!

  58. I’ve been an F1 fan for 4 decades and indeed a fan of just about all motorsport. The technical developments, endless rules and regulations, driver styles and personalities make for fascinating viewing and study. I agree that it would be improved with closer competition, more overtaking opportunities and more onus on the driver making his own decisions though. If you want real car racing thrills then have a look at the Caterham racing series!! Four full UK race venues per annum and about a tenner to get in.

  59. What I’d like to know is who is (or what is) this “average fan” ?

    Is it:

    1. A forum member?
    2. Man down the pub?
    3. A Jingoistic nerd who just likes to see someone from his country win whether it be F1 or tiddlywinks?
    4. A person who pressed the wrong button on the remote?
    5. Other?

    1. Actually the article was originally going to be called “what the man down the pub really thinks about F1” – which should answer your question. This was gleaned from conversations with actual people, not anonymously or on the web.

      1. OK, thanks for that. I’m off down the pub now.

  60. I think it’s all come down to details.
    I became a F1 fanatic when I really start to understand what was going on, how to compare some drivers and some cars, and what made some cars/drivers fasters than other… as well as seeing the development of cars and a good understanding of the rules and all that.
    Thats why, for example, football is son popular, it is not that hard to follow, it’s very simple actually even the details of the sport are very simple and people tend to say that if the best players are in a team and they are not winning, it’s all coming down to the manager.
    And other example is baseball (I know in Europe baseball is nearly nonexistent, but I’m from Venezuela and here is our main sport), I’ve been watching baseball since 93 and What I loved about it is the complex of the rules and the millions of statics that you have to follow.. it has so many things that it becomes so very interesting.
    So I think that people who watch F1 just for the crashes and tend to ask why in 2008 button was nobody and Hamilton was the best, and now is the other way around they are fans who just don’t know the details of the sport that makes it so interesting and exciting

    1. Wow! Baseball! It´s so exciting: in six hours of game, maybe you get five minutes of action. Man, those statistics (not statics!) are really really exciting…

      1. Sorry for my english, but it tend to get exciting, but you obviously don’t know anything about that.
        You are like the people who say “F1! yeah, that’s exciting! 2 hours of cars going around in a track”
        So, I understand you are not a fan of baseball, but there are plenty of people who are.

        1. WOW! You are really on a roll! I know baseball and a really long time ago was fan of the LA Dodgers! I know everything about that, you genius. And it´s BORING as hell! Then, if you think F1 is “2 hours of cars going around in a track” what the hell are you doing in this site? My point, o mi punto si lo querés entender, is that saying baseball is exciting because of statistics man you are way off base! If you like it, that´s your thing, don´t critisize me for knocking it out in a F1 site!

          1. I don’t think you’ve understood him. He’s not saying F1 is boring because it’s two hours of cars going around a track, he’s saying some other people think that.

  61. When I was younger and first started watching F1 with my dad (mid 90’s) the things I really liked was over taking, the look of the cars and I loved it how cars bottomed out and sparks flew everywhere and you could see the air displacement off the rear wings.

  62. I lived in Mumbai, India for four years and after watching the races there the average fan doesn’t need crashes to enjoy the race in my opinion. I got the impression that the “average fan” was closer to what we would consider a fanatic (and BOTH sexes to boot, I’d be interested to see what percentage of F1 Fanatics are female, I think all of us are male here). The tecnological aspects didn’t seem that interesting, but they genuinely got really into the races. Cheering on the drivers, shouting, booing, etc. Heres a small YouTube clip a made watching the ’08 Brazil GP. Notice the Cheers when his Brother Nicholas is shown. To me that shows that they really follow the “soap opera”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eiW49YbJaI

  63. (I have long suspect on-board cameras make driving an F1 car look stupidly easy)

    keith to restore your faith you should watch senna’s on board from monaco in 1988? again.

  64. Why does F1 need more fans? It’s already one of the most popular/most watched sports in the entire world.

    Just like anything else, F1 has just got to stick to its strengths. Futuristic cars, amazing sounds, insane speeds, and the world’s best drivers.

    1. Just like anything else, F1 has just got to stick to its strengths. Futuristic cars, amazing sounds, insane speeds, and the world’s best drivers.

      I’m not sure that F1 can currently say it has the ‘best’ of any of those! Maybe the last one, but it’s debatable!

  65. In other words, it needs to become NASCAR

    Keith, you know you have to commit seppuku or something after that statement, right? :)

    On a more serious note. I perfectly understand where the casual fans are coming from. To outsiders F1 can be a very closed and difficult sport to understand. Crashes are simpel and exhilarating. Our everyday lives are kind of dull and void of danger, which doesn’t really fit with the inner caveman in humans. So we look other places for danger.
    Personally there are other things that interest me in F1 than crashes. However, I do accept that it is part of what makes F1 what is it. It certainly adds to the great show.
    An example could be Hamiltons charge late in the game at Monza last year. While I didn’t want him to crash, the fact that he was driving balls to the wall and right on the limit with the possibility of crashing any moment made it all that more exciting. It was too bad he crashed, though.
    So the outcomes has to be, that a little crashing is fine, because it means that the drivers are pushing it to the limit. If they never crashed, they do not try hard enough.

  66. I have to say that the processional races can be boring. A spectacular pile-up makes me hold my breath until the driver gets out. The minor crashes also play a part,like when a leading contender has to come in for a nose cos he’s bent the end plate and given someone else a puncture. Then to watch them come back through the field….
    It’s amazing to see both the strength and fragility of an F1 car. The driver emerging from a totally destroyed chassis and the undrivable car with a slight ding to an aero component.
    For me it is a team sport, the driver is the team’s gladiator and the figurehead who may get to collect some silver and we al have our favourites for that honour, either team or driver.
    But crashes do play a part, either the wonder of how a driver didn’t crash in a situation or how he did! And in any type of motorsport – Peter Dumbreck’s flight in the Le Mans Merc….
    I’m with you Keith, don’t have much interest in any sport without high-powered cars. Unfortunately losing some manufacturers has taken away some relevance to the viewing public as not many of them can afford a Mclaren or Ferrari.

  67. Well… I’m not an average fan, it’s not for average people! Die hard is a better connotation. Just love it as it is and enjoy – There is no better sport on the planet than F1!!!! (And there is no “i” in team which is why F1 is numero uno :-)UNLIKE SOCCER/FOOTBALL LOL.

  68. F1 is what it is and shouldn’t try to become NASCAR- just because. F1 has to know its core viewers and the fans that watch other forms of racing- just as any major global brand should. One basic advantage of the F1 brand is that it is the de facto Elite Level in ALL of racing. If it can sprinkle in a bit more “accessibility” for the “middle class” & “blue collar” viewers (i.e. ticket prices, packages, outreach programs, lower priced opportunities for sponsor participation, etc), it would have a bigger share. F1’s technical superiority and driver star power shouldn’t be touched. The changes have to be at the other end, in cooperation with the teams & the drivers, for the brand to be worth while to the average viewer- to engage deeper and become a loyal follower- F1 has to work harder to achieve, and bridge this gap. Also, F1’s market is “the world” vs. NASCAR’s market is the USA. It’s comparing apples to oranges. But it should, never the less, be a wake up call for the new administration headed by Todt and for Ecclestone. F1 could be so much more- even greater than it is now.

  69. Schumi_the_greatest
    4th January 2010, 13:23

    being a football fan myself keith i think the main difference is sports like football etc are physical sports.

    people enjoy the aggression and physical aspect of these sports. whereas f1 fanatics may get exicted at the prospect of hamilton vs alonso over 1 lap in the same car football fans would like to see who’d come out on top in a 50-50 challenge between roy keane and vinnie jones.

    you have casual football fans who will watch the odd game but dont really get bothered about the formations and tactics that the teams themselves are using. and while you are right that the bigger footall clubs can use their wealth to buy the best players the same can be said of the bigger f1 teams usuing their wealth to build better cars.

    the fact is though that f1 is a more technical sport than say football or rugby and therfore harder to follow as just a casual fan to understand it properly you do have to need to know the ins and outs

  70. I suspect football fans watch for the goals or to see their team win, rather than in anticipation of a leg-breaking tackle

    Most football fans will support a team because of their connection with the place the team comes from. This doesn’t happen in F1 as much. You may get more support for Renault from France, more support for Mercedes from Germany, etc, but where nearly everyone has a home football team (whether that be Association Football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, AFL, Aussie Rules, Gaelic, etc.), not everyone has a home F1 team. Because there is not the same loyalty to a team for the average fan they both do not understand the team dynamic in the way an F1 fanatic does, and they will not watch the sport for the same reasons as they would football.

    The F1 fanatic is a different breed though, and they will develop a loyalty to a team based on any number of factors (I support McLaren because of it’s connection to NZ, for example). We learn the importance of the team, some of their key personnel (or even the non-key personnel for the truly dedicated), and we know the intricacies of the sport.

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