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Ferrari tops poll as fans’ favourite
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Mar 2010   |  1:01 am GMT  |  101 comments

I was interested to see the results of the recent fan survey conducted by FOTA with the support of LG Electronics and F1 Racing.


They are fairly predictable, with Ferrari coming out on top with 30% of the support, well ahead of McLaren on 19% and Mercedes on 10%. 22% of fans said that they had no particular favourite team.

On the driver side, Michael Schumacher has not lost his fan base and he tops the poll with 19.5%, ahead of Fernando Alonso on 9.7%, Kimi Raikkonen on 7.2%, Felipe Massa on 6.1% and Lewis Hamilton on 6%. Again it was notable that 30% of fans had no favourite driver. Meanwhile poor old Jenson Button had just 2.6% of the votes.

It shows how hard it is to build a strong fan base in F1 unless, like Robert Kubica (4.3%) you are the only representative of your country. Alonso has been at it now for seven years and yet he has less than half of Schumacher’s fans.

Elsewhere there was a slight bias towards continuing on the classic tracks, but not as much as you might expect, only 51%, while Monaco, Italy and Britain were the three races most fans wanted to see kept on the calendar.

One of the more striking stats was that 43% of fans would like to see KERS re-introduced. This survey was done before the first Grand Prix in Bahrain, where a few KERS induced passes would have been welcome.

In all, 84,000 fans were surveyed in 174 countries. F1 Racing did a similar survey with ING a couple of years ago and the FIA did two surveys sponsored by AMD. It remains to be seen what actions will be taken as a result of the survey, but it is positive in that it shows FOTA taking some steps to understand F1’s fanbase better.

F1 fans are more of a community now than they have ever been with internet and social media making it possible for them to get their voices heard. Some action needs to come out of these surveys if fans are to continue to take them seriously in future. There is no point in having the same one sided conversation all the time.

The next survey should perhaps target people who are aware of F1 but don’t watch it, to find out what measures would attract them and thereby increase the fanbase. Women and under 18s would be the area I would want to survey as these are groups with low representation among F1 fans.

Meanwhile Silverstone and FOM have got together to offer an amazing experience to two lucky fans at this year’s British Grand Prix. Anyone buying tickets to the race prior to midday on 30 April 2010, will be automatically entered into a prize draw. In addition to being in with a chance of winning ticket upgrades to the Formula One Paddock and Paddock Club Hospitality, two lucky individuals will join a team on the Pit Wall.

It’s a great initiative and very much a step in the right direction.

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1

F1 is a sport by adult men for adult men. If we allow ourselves to cut through the PC nonsense and be honest for a minute.

Sensibly, I’d like to ask why MUST it be any different? The short term goal must be to retain the current fan base after Bahrain – not sure that F1 has the luxury of looking beyond this for the time being…

Having said that – broadening the appeal did no harm for the ratings of Top Gear for example.

You’d be looking at a very different sport though. To get kids and (most)ladies interested you’d need to hide away all the layers of engineering tech and bring the blood and guts driver personalities to the fore… complete with guaranteed excitement.

2

James

I undertook the survey and my answers pretty much sum up the result of the survey, one part fo the survey was the bit about improving the racing and overtaking. Now an idea that I think could be muted, I remember the one lap shoot outs which where great and if you made an error you went to the back and the best drivers in the best cars then had to overtake or their race was over.

I agree with the Bahrain assumption it was processional but the grids are always going to be the top 4 teams and some other people unless something goes horribly wrong. How about leaving the no refuelling, putting in 2 pit stops minimum, and hard tyres only but change the qualifying. I would go for 3 sessions but you only get 3 laps (Out lap, fast lap, in lap) and each car goes out 30 seconds after the one in front. Then as now the bottom times drop out, then session 2 exacylt the same but the fastest time from the first session goes out first, and carry one. This way the fans get to see cars on the track, and the grids could be shaken up radically meaning you could get Alonso starting in P14 meaning he has to push to get to the front. I know it would take a while but surely by upsetting the grid is the answer to also get some racing out there.

Your thoughts or thoughts of fellow readers would be of interest.

Allan (UK)

3

I’m surprised about the fact that it appears that there isn’t a large female fanbase. My experience is very different. I’m a woman and I don’t personally many male fans, however I know a lot of female fans and that is not because the majority of my friend basis is female, because it isn’t. If you visit F1 forums you’ll find that on average the split is about (just a guess) 35% female. I believe that is quite high in sporting terms.

I agree that the younger audiences need to be targeted. However to do that there needs to have either good strategical elements involved or more overtaking. Preferably both. Good highly enthusiastic commentators help. Definitely missing you there James.

4

It is a nice oppurtunity for us,that survey.And a clever idea as well,to make us more interested in watching the spectacle which is now “almost entirely” designed by fans…

I hope to see more surveys like this,but concentrating more on a specific problem or topic.Although,it cannot work properly,we might witness quite tifosi biased answers,considering that 30 percent voted Ferrari as a favourite.

Anyway,the questions were too soft and smart for my taste,designed in a way that it was not easy to show our mentality or dislike towards certain trends in f1. I had to think hard,how would bernies and mosleys interpret our clicks,before sending the answers.

5

Interesting that Kimi is still featured. What was more interesting is that I visited the Ferrari store in San Francisco on the Thursday before the Bahrain Grand Prix. They didn’t have any Alonso merchandise in store, but they were well stocked with Raikkonen products!

6

Interesting results, almost to be expected.

Schumacher is #1 on the back of his success.

Hamilton surely beats Button because it’s ‘fashionable’ to support Lewis? He’s down with the kids talking about his bling and inviting rappers to the grid. Jenson is more old skool than that, ergo the difference in the poll.

I’m surprised McLaren has so many fans given their very dodgy way of running things over tha last few years. British they may be, but I can’t support them at all, they go completely against fair play IMO, they’re as bad a Steven Gerrards dives !

7

It isn’t hard to get behind a team with as much history and talent as Ferrari.

8

I didn’t see this survey, so did not take part in it. I doubt the part about Monaco – the last survey I took part in you could vote for or against Monaco. I would vote against, such a boring race.

The only thing that is exciting at Monaco is if a driver is involved in a horrific accident, and spectular as that is, that is the wrong reason to be watching.

You certainly won’t see any overtaking there – witness DC in a McLaren unable to overtake an Arrows all those years ago.

They also don’t pay any race hosting fees, despite putting on a really poor race. And yet Silverstone has to pay through the nose and has a great track. Some world we live in.

9

Poor Jenson, but he can rest easy knowing that I am also one of the 2.6% that voted for him. He has been very favourite driver since 2000 since Damon Hill retired. Always supported the Brits.

10

Zami, you are mistaken, Mika Hakkinen also won back to back world championships (1998-
1999, albeit Schumacher missed most of ’99).

11

questions for James Allen:

1. is this survey gonna be published somewhere, I would surely like to read it all.

2. to what extent (if any)fans ideas will be taken into account on improving the show

thx

12

Spa not included in favourite tracks by fans? Something fishy to me.

Just hope it won’t come from the calendar.

And where are the results for the most prefered points system? Again, something fishy.

About fanbase: I also heard in last survey Hamilton leading with Kimi second. So how this year Hami lost those fans? Kimi isn’t in F1 any more so he doesn’t count.

13

Hi James,

I think this survey needs to be analysed carfully before we can judge if for example Shumi has a larger fan base than say Hamilton or Alonso. I suspect they have not weighted this survey in terms of number of responses per country. What I mean is that by poulation numbers and thus likely number of respondents there are more Germanic countries (Germany, Switserland and Austria) some 100 million. So if their result is biased and for example of 1,000 survey takers 300 were from that area then the 19.5% Shumi has does not reflect reality and therefore your and other journalist’s interpretations will be utterly wrong.

Can you let us know where to view the results and can we/you find out how the survey was conducted, i.e. is it representative of global fan base.

14

I think globally, Schumacher is the only star driver that is sellable. That is a fact. No one else has global appeal like schumi. We dont need polls to figure that out.

15

I think if they asked who was the most unpopular driver Schumacher might win that one too. He is probably liked and disliked in equal measure

16

Alonso and Hamilton would be high, too.

17

Interesting point.

18

For Sure…

19

It will be like that for all the controversial drivers. Some people like that, some (or a lot) of people dislike that. It would be the same for someone like Hamilton and to a certain extent, Alonso.

20
Carlos Del Valle

Agree

21

No surprise that Schumacher is well ahead. Whilst he may anger and put off some people with his controversial actions, his extraordinary achievements and stunning victories have told here.

Which is a real shame as his achievements aren’t spoken of enough in the media. But then the media only likes controversy don’t they. Instead of getting journalists opinions on his misdemeanours lets get their thoughts on his brilliance more.

The saying goes Michael Schumacher – 7 times World Champion. The rest is just opinion!

22

Must admit I’m a bit surprised that Sandshoe Fixer is at the top of the list, just goes to show how boreing the rest of the competitors are, although I expected Mark Weber to be up there.

But in MotoGP there’s no disputing Valintino Rossi is at the top of his pile, personallity too.

PK.

23

On results to date, sure. But as with F1, some questions will probably never be answered, like Rossi and Stoner on the same bike. More’s the pity.

24

I recall the questionaire asked about race distances, and whether one would prefer shorter or longer races. Have they released the results of that question?

I live in fear of the day that Grand Prixs following the path of World Rally events, and are emasculated in the name of television. FOTA have previous made comments favouring shorter races, and it’ll be a travesty if it ever occurs.

I imagine it’s a misguided belief that they can keep the fun start and end, and miss out ‘boring’ middle. However like a good wine, races need time. It allows for things to evolve, conditions to change, difference to play out.

25

Well I hope I don’t win the draw and have to sit on the pit wall. Apparently the pit straight isn’t the best place to see the action from 😉

As far as the survey goes I am not too surprised to see the outcome, although I am a little disappointed that Jenson didn’t score so highly. I think it would be more interesting to hear why people truly support drivers. We can all churn out the same “because he is the best” etc etc stuff, but I would be interested to see whether there is a particular part of the driving (overtaking, wins, poles, fastest laps) that could help quantify this. I have been doing a little work up of the stats of some of the most popular drivers, including the all time greats and it is interesting to see who actually comes out on top, particularly reading many of the comments on Senna.

As far as the support for KERS, I bet most of us would love to see that reintroduced by the teams, it probably would have changed the order of the race, if not the podium.

26
Zami from Melbourne, Australia

Jenson needs to prove that he is at least as good as Hamilton if not better.

If you want people to say stuff about overtaking, wins, poles, fastest laps then it won’t be survey anymore, it will be a research. A lot of fans don’t understand every little thing about F1 either. 84,000 people are not going to write a history book about F1 all night long. More like 84 people will. Then there will barely be any viewer left in 20 years time.

KERS need be used by every team before being used at all in the grand prix

27

James, can you please enlighten us on the need to attract more fans to F1.

I can’t help but feeling I’m missing something here, the sport has gazillions of viewers and it makes huge amounts of money for Bernie and all involved. Why do they need to get more people to view it, especially if it means coming up with ridiculous new rules & regs?

Wouldn’t cricket get more recognition in the US if they introduced body tackles? Or ice hockey in the UK if they introduced tea & cake and spread a game to last 3 days instead of 60 minutes?

Maybe I’m a bit thick here but I’m quite happy to watch a race and enjoy a beer while the missus & kids are out skipping or whatever it is they do. I certainly wouldn’t want to see F1 brought down (or up) to their collective level of interest with puppets, costume jewellery, interior decorating etc.

If it really is necessary to attract women, just do a small split screen at the bottom which only films drivers’ wives and girlfriends during the race.

28

Well said, Captain. I agree.

PK.

29

“It remains to be seen what actions will be taken as a result of the survey, but it is positive in that it shows FOTA taking some steps to understand F1’s fanbase better….Some action needs to come out of these surveys if fans are to continue to take them seriously in future. There is no point in having the same one sided conversation all the time.

The next survey should perhaps target people who are aware of F1 but don’t watch it, to find out what measures would attract them and thereby increase the fanbase.”

It seems difficult to envisage situations where the sport both makes changes to appeal to the hardcore and to the not-currently-interested, other than the disingenuous “more overtaking please”-type requests.

30

Hi James

Good article just wondering if you took part in the survey and what were some of your answers? such as what races do you want to stay, how long do you think a race should be?? Do you have a favourite driver or team?

Thanks

31

FOTA’s conclusion regarding the KERS question in one of their surveys:

“When fans understand KERS, there is a positive reaction. However, one fifth of fans do not know or understand the technology.”

How hard is it to understand KERS? Surely if you’re an F1 fan you understand KERS.

One of the questions in the latest survey was something like … “Would you like to take part in more surveys”.

I hope this means FOTA will be asking F1 fans for their opinions more often, rather than just once a year.

32

Ok Bec, you understand KERS, will you explain to me exactly where and how the KERS power is applied to the F1 driveline. And while you’re about it clarify to me if they get electrical energy from the brakes or do they engage a generator on the overun to charge the batteries. I’ve always wondered about this. And btw how much voltage and cranking amps do the batteries have?

PK.

33

It seems to me that people have some inclination for those who don’t talk too much: Schumacher and Kimi. Alonso would be the exception only because he is Spain’s no 1, and because he is a double champion. I’ve never understood why Kimi gets so many fans: he is boring to listen to, and he was much more irregular in his performances than any of the others.

I prefer people who speak out their minds, except if their name is Bernie Ecclestone.

34

Well I like Kimi, he’s not one to whine about his car or other competitors, he just gets on with the job and has a bit of fun after hours as well, no acting or getting carried away, just good old Kimi.

I hope he’s back soon!

We all know he can drive.

PK.

35

When was Kimi ever boring?

His accent may be monotonic, which seems to be a trait in all Finnish drivers speaking out of their mother tongue, but you could never call him boring.

I always found his responses in interviews to be both humourous and enlightening – he had a knack of telling you exactly what he thought with a single word and a look than any of the others could manage. He didn’t waffle, he didn’t make excuses, he just told it how he saw it – no more no less.

36

I’m sorry Martin but however interesting it could have been what he may have said, it became boring as it went through his lips.

I don’t really remember anything he said but I feel very capable of writing any driver’s speech from now to the end of the season. They always say what they are supposed to say and that’s it. I only remember I could never follow his words becauseitwaseverythinglikealongboringword.

I used to like Kimi’s helmets though.

37

I just read a top-10 statements from Kimi, and I can’t believe anyone would say those were boring in any sense of the word, and I can’t see any other driver on the grid speaking their mind like he did. I don’t think the mods would allow me to quote all of those sentences, but he certainly lets his distaste for PR hear in his answers and it’s just plain funny to follow. 😉

Maybe just a couple of family friendly pearls:

“The helmet has a special meaning for many drivers. How important is it to you? – It protects my head.”

“What are the kind of things that make you angry in normal life, as you say?

– If you keep asking questions like those.”

“I’m not going to a language school to learn Italian, that’s not what I came to do at Ferrari.”

“I read somewhere that I drive with the luck of a drunk.”

“Kimi, you speak a little bit? – Yeah, one two.. three..”

“Interviewer: The most exciting moment during the race weekend?

Kimi: I think so it’s the race start, always.

Interviewer: The most boring?

Kimi: Now.”

And of course the classic quotes, like with Martin Brundle in Brazil, and on what there is to do in Finland at summer/winter time, but I’ll moderate myself and won’t repeat them here…

38

Kimi doesn’t like media attention, that’s rather a quality itself. However it’s not for the “quality” of the speech that people like him, f1 racing is not some kind of “role models” arena…:)

39

it is interesting that in favourite driver massa is over hamilton.

massa is 2008 wdc.

it is just shame that button officialy is wdc and massa is not.

40

Favourite amongst the respondents.

Personally I’m a Massa fan, but you have no idea yet of the number of respondents from Italy, Brazil and Britain respectively. This could well have skewed the results if there’s a disproportionate slice of Italian and Brazilian replies (which is what you’d expect).

And as much as I like Massa, Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 World Driver’s Championship, simple as.

41

How is Massa the 2008 WDC?

Lewis was cheated out of his win in Belgium, and that win was handed to Massa, who had a miserable race and was lucky to finish third on the road!

42
malcolm.strachan

I think that was a typo.

43

in belgium 2008 it was ham mistake.

for masssa it was ferrari mistake in singapore and ferrari engine reliabity problem in hungary,the same thing occur last year for vettel.

meanwhile massa win 5 gp ,a victory more than ham.

if 2008 season have the 2010 point system massa was wdc.

2008 season cause to change point system.

44

Yes but Hamilton followed the rules, let Kimi past and then re-passed him into the first corner. As Kimi didn’t even finish the race, no penalty should have been levied.

Yes Massa won 1 gp more than Hamilton in 2008 on paper – but thanks to Belgium, Lewis won a gp more than Massa on the road

45

re the silverstone competition that is a great idea. pity its too late for australia, and this should be something that FOM and FOTA does for every race, or at least something similar where the real fans can get injected into the action (sensibly of course so as not to distract the show).

definitely a step in the right direction and would love to see how this progresses. just wish they could trial it at an earlier race (language barriers notwithstanding) and i hope all tickets are eligible for the draw. imagine buying general admission and then getting this monster of an upgrade! great incentive!

better yet, if a grandstand ticket holder gets it, then a random general admission ticket holder gets upgraded to the newly-occupied grand stand seats.

46

It’s funny, the last survey had McLaren as the most popular and Lewis Hamilton as the most popular driver by quite a margin, with Kimi second. But that survey got hardly any media space, whereas this one is much more reported. I have the copy of F1 Racing with the last survey in it. Also, when the last survey was discussed on the odd forum, despite 70,000 people in 160 countries being questioned, a lot of people started to question the validity of it. I wonder if the same thing will happen with this one, or are the answers “right” this time?

47

Are you sure that wasn’t a British survey? I’m pretty sure Ferrari has been the most popular team (internationally) in F1 for at least 10 years.

48

The old ING survey was just as internationally based as the current one.

McLaren just edged out Ferrari because Lewis was the new champion.

I’m surprised just how far ahead Schumacher is in the popularity stakes compared to the other drivers.

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