F1 set record straight after reports of sharp social media decline

Thomas Maher
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F1 has directly refuted a recent report suggesting that the sport’s popularity has taken a significant dive in the last 12 months.

On Thursday, social media analysis company Buzz Radar published a 23-page report asking the question ‘Have We Reached Peak F1?’, positing that the huge exponential growth the sport has seen online and on social media has reversed.

Buzz Radar explored the topic in a whitepaper analysis, which combined human eyes with artificial intelligence to pick through the data from social media, finding that F1 had taken a huge dip in popularity and online reach over the past 12 months.

What did the Buzz Radar report suggest?

According to the report, social media mentions of F1 dived by 70% over the first five months of 2023 in comparison to the same time period from last year – a time that included the aftermath of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the FIA’s investigation into said race, and the changeover to ground-effect and the new regulations for 2022.

New followers dipped by 46%, with social reach down 64% for the same five-month window compared to 2022, with Buzz Radar saying: “The data comparison between 2022 and 2023 revealed significant drops in the overall mentions of F1, along with dismal numbers in the growth of new followers of high-profile accounts.

“The reach of F1-related content across various social platforms has also receded, in stark contrast to the steady progress observed yearly before. But, the declining numbers are only one part of the story.”

Buzz Radar's analysis of F1's social media accounts and impressions.
Buzz Radar’s analysis of F1’s social media accounts and impressions.

“There is a noticeable drop in total mentions of F1, new followers for key accounts, and reach on social media, between 2022 and 2023,” says Buzz Radar.

“Prior to 2023, mentions of F1 had been growing steadily year on year. Using AI pattern detection and predictive intelligence, our team can determine, with a strong degree of confidence, that 2022 was a peak in F1 popularity for the foreseeable future, and we are now on a downward trajectory.

“There is a clear pattern in F1, as there is in most sports. The closer the competition, the more people are excited to talk about F1. This large contingent of new fans of the sport are expecting the excitement levels to be consistent with 2021, and are more likely to drop off when the competition for the championship is less intense.

“2022 continued to ride the wave of the close competition at the end of 2021, but now we are seeing the result of one driver dominance once again. 2023 is now on course to continue losing conversation, and this pattern will continue until the racing becomes closer again.

“The data shows that if F1 continues to be dominated by one driver and team, it will lose much of the newfound audience gained in the Liberty era.”

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F1 hits back at Buzz Radar figures

Approached for comment on the analysis, F1 supplied PlanetF1.com with figures that completely refute those reported by Buzz Radar.

Their figures show that follower growth across official FOM channels in 2023 is up 757% (8x) on what Buzz Radar reported. F1’s figure is 3.7 million new followers, while Buzz Radar’s is only 489 thousand.

In the second quarter of 2023, F1’s social channels have ranked second amongst all major sports leagues for follower growth rate – bested only by Spanish football division La Liga.

F1 also state that, on their social media channels, active engagements such as likes, comments, and shares, are up 4% when compared to 2022 and, like in 2021 and ’22, are set to surpass 1.5 billion active engagements.

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