Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali says the 2021 season attracted a record number of two billion viewers.
The 2021 campaign will be remembered as one of the greatest Formula 1 has seen, a season of twists and turns as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battled for the Drivers’ title, while gripping action also shone through in the midfield pack.
At times we saw those midfield stars rise to prominence – Daniel Ricciardo’s victory at Monza, leading home a McLaren one-two; Esteban Ocon’s win in Hungary for Alpine; plus the late heartbreak for Lando Norris in Russia as a late rain shower and wrong strategy call cost him the win having led much of the race from pole position.
Many more key elements could be added to the list, and that has resulted in more eyes being on Formula 1 than ever before.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Domenicali said: “We are coming from an extraordinary season, followed by more than two billion people!
“The last Abu Dhabi GP was the most watched sporting event in 2021. These are stratospheric numbers that we should be proud of.”
A new FIA president is now at the helm, that being Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who replaces Jean Todt after he served his maximum term of 12 years in the post.
He therefore has several priorities which have been laid out to him to keep the good times rolling, but it cannot be ignored the title-deciding season finale in Abu Dhabi ended in controversial fashion.
An FIA investigation is under way regarding the interpretation of the Sporting Regulations in Abu Dhabi and whether they were followed correctly by race director Michael Masi.
Domenicali did not want to be pulled back into the talk of said controversy, but did hint that under Ben Sulayem there could be a shift in the balance within the FIA which impacts Formula 1 going forward.
“With the change of presidency at the FIA, there could also be a change in the balance within the International Federation which, for us, has an absolutely fundamental role,” Domenicali explained.
“We have already spoken to the president, we have talked about the priorities he will have to face, and they are many, but at this stage it is right to remain silent so as not to create further controversy in an area that was very heated.”