For a long time, F1 was seen as a sport that had no real marketable value other than the fans experience of watching fast cars on a circuit with the logos of the odd company they bought a manufactured product from. There has of course been changes of recent times, the biggest of them being the sale of the F1 freehold to ‘Liberty Media’. This change of hands has meant big changes for F1 as the new and younger owners want to give the spectators and fans something to watch and interact with.
Veteran sports marketing guru Sean Bratches has been parachuted into the role of being the new face of marketing for F1. Bratches has literally hit the ground running and sees the writing on the wall of what can be done to deliver a more interactive F1 package back to the fans who watch the sport. The underlying issue has been that F1 whilst it was under the control of the former boss and key decision maker Bernie Ecclestone was focused solely on the teams whom participated and providing a niche market for the wealthy to play with their toys. Ecclestone only saw the F1 supporter sitting in the stand watching F1 as a hinderance to the sports growth and development as they did nothing to bring any money into the sport. All they were after was a seat in the grandstand to sit and watch the cars. ‘Liberty Media’ and most importantly Bratches have identified the missing link, personal contact.
Bratches will take the task on of cleaning the slate and redesigning the way F1 is sold to the masses. We as the fans will see a new clean operational surface for teams, drivers, sponsors and fans to be able to interact with each other without restriction. The other big opportunity that Bratches has seen is that with twenty different races in twenty different countries, there is no limit to what can be done on an individual basis for every race.
The drivers are seen as the biggest key to this change of interaction as they are the identity and face of F1. With the change in technology, it has also been recognised that social media and the interaction with fans must be embraced. Simple use of ‘live’ videos on Facebook and twitter messages allow unbridled access to the drivers by fans whom have for years been protected from outside contact.
This use of social media and the loosening of the restrictions has already been made noticeable by the current and former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg. In his ambassadorial role for Mercedes, Rosberg was seen posting numerous live videos and posts of his former team mate Lewis Hamilton and replacement driver Valterri Bottas driving out of the garages in their W08 cars during winter testing.
This embracing of social media will not only ensure F1’s future but allow fans the access they have asked for. F1 is now set to explode #F1isalive