We’ve posted quite a bit on F1 and social media in recent months; particularly after the FOTA Fans Forum in Montreal where it was one of the key discussion points and also when I put some of the fans’ questions to Bernie Ecclestone about F1’s reluctance to push content out on social media.
Our colleagues at the leading French website Toile F1 have compiled some research on the subject, which is worth sharing and which highlights some interesting trends.
The sample was measured this week. The % column refers to the gain in popularity from the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, when the Forum took place, to now.
TEAM TWITTER RANKINGS
Ferrari tops the Twitter rankings, but as Head of Communications Luca Colajanni said in Montreal, the team does not allow its drivers to have Twitter accounts because it does not want any messages to be misconstrued. Communication is centrally controlled, unlike McLaren and Williams where the drivers have very powerful Twitter status.
TEAM FACEBOOK RANKINGS
The research team did not include Ferrari in this table because it doesn’t do much on Facebook. Here McLaren dominates with a very active Facebook scene, but it’s interesting to see Team Lotus in fourth place, given its status in the championship and the fact that the team is only in its second year of competition. However it’s rate of growth since Canada indicates that it needs to keep the momentum going. Williams has a very low figure because it only recently started a Facebook page.
DRIVER TWITTER RANKINGS
Rubens Barrichello dominates here, with over 1 million followers. All the South American drivers are well represented. As Williams boss Adam Parr pointed out, when Barrichello tweeted his delight that Williams had done a deal with Renault for engines, that had a significant value to Renault in Brazil.
Drivers are now increasingly leaned on by sponsors wanting them to link to some new initiative. As there is something going on all the time with teams’ sponsors, it’s going to be interesting to see how much the drivers are willing to let their Twitter space become commercialised.
It was amusing that at the Montreal Fans Forum, Parr said that he didn’t really get social media, while his team, Williams has been pushing hard lately on social media, launching a Facebook page (belatedly) and revamping its online activities. He’s since become far more ‘on message’ about social media.
The teams and sponsors clearly now all see the value in it.