F1 looking for NFL draft type of off-season event

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/F1

Sure, the winter season is dull now that Ferrari pulled the plug on Wrooom but that’s what happens when a marque decides that it wasn’t money well spent. Recall, if you will, the days of winter frivolities involving Ferrari drivers and luminaries of the sport. Those days are gone like so many car launches but that’s the knock-on effect of the 2008 global financial crunch.

These days there is very little that happens in the off months from a fans point of view but don’t tell that to the teams, they are generally working their tails off trying to get the new car ready for the season-opener in Australia.

Just the same, most every conceptual idea I’ve hear F1 boss Chase Carey or F1 marketing honcho Sean Bratches discuss is how F1 might utilize NFL’s moxie in building a bigger audience, generating more excitement and gaining more viewers…never mind that the NFL viewer numbers are woefully off from years past.

We want a super Bowl experience, we want streaming like NFL (still haven’t been able to sign up for F1 TV Pro which they said will launch next weekend), we want NFL-style social media impact. Now they want NFL drafts in the winter months to “spice up the show”—if I hear that term one more time, I’ll puke.

“One of the ambitions we have is to figure out how we make this sport something that engages the fans 12 months a year,” he said.

“But it doesn’t mean we will race [that long] – our season is not going to go [to] 12 months.

“One example would be the NFL, which is not playing right now but they just had the NFL Draft. That is a big event.

“They have created events that are interesting for fans even when they are not in the season.

“So we would like to determine – how do we create more interesting things for fans, whether it is unique competition or unique events, or things that are around the sport that continue to build interest and enable fans to engage more?”

Now, to be fair to Chase, he’s not saying they are interested, necessarily, in an actual draft system but perhaps some sort of off-season event that generates the kind of buzz. The NFL draft in the US usually creates a lot of coverage and fan interest.

I’d suggest that’s worth studying because I grew up watching and loving football but haven’t watched in the past few years and the draft holds no interest for me…didn’t watch a second of it. Sure, NFL diehard fans did but if F1 hosted some sort of off-season event, would casual fans be engrossed? Not sure. Those that do love football (NFL) are certainly glued to the draft system, though.

I still understand and appreciate his desire to build year-round excitement, though. Just not sure what kind of event they will develop. Not everyone is into Fantasy sports so what could F1 create to keep fans pre-heated and possible fans intrigued throughout the winter?

I will suggest that car launches used to be a media pull but those went away in favor of online streaming launches and they just don’t carry the same weight as the big events used too. Hard to argue with because those cost a lot of money to host.

Maybe if they really want to embrace eSports, they could host a winter season with all the drivers participating in a eSport event with their teams and have a virtual season. There would be a way to get reserve drivers involved, make a multi-race weekend with both drivers, the reserve driver and one lucky fan to make up the team in which four rounds would be held and the results an aggregate time/position.

Fans around the world could tune in to watch the races, here the live audio and see teams work in a virtual environment. Heck, if new formats and elements work well, translate those to the real world. Just an idea. No teams or drivers would have to fly around the world to do this so the commitment would be quite a bit less. You could even give points or winners are given bonuses of some sort that translate to the actual season when it starts. Again, just spit-balling here.

What do you thin Chase and the folks could do to make the off season more engaging?

Hat Tip: Autosport

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Why not having one off season race, that would not count toward WDC, WCC, or anything? Just have it with the current year car(s), but remove fuel limit, fuel flow limit, free tire selection, no mandatory pit stop, no DRS detection (free to use any time), no grid penalties of any kind, etc… a short race (like 25 to 30 laps, or one hour)… to see all the potential out there…


I could see something like that. Something completed ran by F1. It can, essentially, a proving ground for not just for drivers, but for engineers, mechanics, strategists, etc. F1and the FIA can also use it as a way to test new ideas, concepts, rule changes, etc. I would live something like this. Have it at a different track each each year. Offer it as a bonus to race promoters. No charge to host it, unlike a race.


Thinking as a fan I like this idea a LOT. However, thinking as Liberty would think there are a couple of problems. Danger to the drivers. Cost to travel, engage personnel, etc. The main problem would be that a race like that would be SO superior to the regular product I think it might backfire! Something like NC’s ESports league idea might go over but only among a certain part of the fan base. I think Esports will eventually be a more widespread thing but right now most people just think “Watching people play games? That’s BORING!” I’m always worried… Read more »

Steve W

Keep repeating… F1 is not the NFL… F1 is not the NFL… Not saying one is better than the other, but F1 is not the NFL…

sunny stivala

Liberty Media is seeking to monetize as much as possible as it seeks to recoup its $8bn purchase. When they went to trademark the “shoey” they gave a clear idea of the direction they want to head the sports into. They are business men and not petrolheads. Most probably the NFL style draft would be against European laws on freedom of movement for workers. Each time Liberty says “we are not trying to Americanize the sports” they are lying, just like they lied when they conned one local government into spending $400million on a baseball stadium.


L.M are trade marking the shoey?
I thought Danny Ric had the I.P on that!
And I might be in breach of T.M from my last Go-Kart event, it was coke in a running shoe, but I know where I got the idea from…….

sunny stivala

Formula one licensing was granted a trademark registration to the word “shoey” on 24 August 2017. It has been registered in 25 countries and it came in force on 4 January this year.
Even though it originated in Australia some 15 years ago by a surfing and fishing brand, by performing a daring manoeuver F1 has handed them the rights to the word “shoey”.

Drew Green

I’m of the mind they’re thinking of doing all the team reveals together in a similar vein to the draft. Could be cool to have some nice production values wrapped around all the unveiling, and some time to focus on each team and driver in between unveils. I think f1 would them be better able to market and build excitement around one event rather than 10+ smaller unveils be each team. Actually not a bad idea if the idea is to ramp up interest. In short, f1 could market this event more, build up excitement, and provide higher production values… Read more »

Tom Firth

This year (January 2018) The FIA World Rally Championship brought all its manufacturer teams together for a joint launch event at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, England on one of the press days then left the cars on display for the public to see over the next few days, which was a good idea in terms of creating some interest in the team launches in front of a motorsport related crowd. Next year, the plan is to do the same thing, but launch the actual cars on one of the public days of the show so the public can… Read more »


Autosport International is too early for F1 launches. What motor show is there in February (preferably close to a FIA grade 1 circuit in a warm climate)?

Tom Firth

None I don’t think. Most are March onwards, I wasn’t really suggesting that ASI should be the launch venue, just something of that style which sees all the manufacturers together.

One other idea could be to leverage the growing relationship F1 has with Australian Supercars and increase the F1 drivers presence at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide (Which Ferrari and others in recent years) have done demonstrations at etc ahead of Melbourne with older F1 cars.

Ship the current cars to Melbourne for the race a couple of weeks after.

Drew Green

Yeah I don’t think they’d call it a draft, I think Carey is just thinking of an markee event in the off-season. I think an official f1 team launch event would be a nice idea. From a marketing and tv/interwebs perspective, it would be easier to promote and cover from a media perspective. Thinking of this just from the angle of building interest stateside, if ESPN would promote the event leading in and cover it, it could bring in more fans who might not ever pay attention to the different car launches. We do, but from a casual fan perspective,… Read more »

Fast Freddy

I’m kind of losing interest in the NFL and when the Raiders move to Las Vegas, that will pretty much be it. Except I’d like to see the Texans do well soon. That is beside the point, I never cared to watch the NFL draft. Who went as number and who did my team draft. The whole ceremony was like watching Amercian Idol. An hour show with 5 minutes of music. The rest is just flashing lights and bs comments.


LOL, I lost interest in the NFL when they moved from Los Angeles!

sunny stivala

There is no F1 for around four months and no F1 means no money.


What do you thin Chase and the folks could do to make the off season more engaging?

How about something like this: https://theparcferme.com/tpf-2018-f1-season-preview-event/

They could also do season reviews / previews with each team. Open up the curtains and let us see what is going on behind the scenes.

sunny stivala

Well to start with it’s a matter of opinion without which (differing opinion) we will not be here talking it out. What I personally think of Chase and the Liberty Business men could do to make the off season more engaging is, if they calculate they can monetize the off season they will engage with anything whatever that may be. As for me and that’s only my personal opinion, I don’t want to be engaged 12 months a year, I prefer the teams have a proper winter break, and I prefer to be able to wait in agony till the… Read more »


The master plan: Ultimate Drivers Championship
Sponsored by Ford (provide spec cars for the events)
Race 1: Rally cross
Race 2: 3-4 hour endurance race
Race 3: Drifting
Race 4: Oval race
Race 5: Sprint race

Each race will have a spec car so in theory the winner at the end is considered the best overall driver in F1 field.
Liberty will then give said driver a golden Halo for the rest of the year.


A mini season for the reserve drivers with a year or two year old car with no in season development.