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