F1’s internet Future

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F1 Internet
Thanks to Al Gore, the “interweb” has become a handy tool. That “Cyberspace” sure is a crazy world with all kinds of opportunities and untold fortunes for the right viral marketing campaign, Paul Potts and about every other Netflix-like pop-up ad known to man (including the new one with the highly unattractive female mid-section “before and after” photos proving weight loss).

But there is one institution that has not really embraced the entire “internet” thing and that would be Formula 1. While Jonathan Noble and the MB’s at Autosport have pondered those questions, they saw fit to ask Mr. Mosley, the FIA President and F1’s own “Al Gore” of socially eco-conscience racing infinitives, what he thought about the lack of internet presence and missing the boat entirely on the possible revenue stream.

“Bernie has a sort of reluctance to deal with the Internet, there is no question,” he explained. “And if we overcome that, we will see great things because the potential is vast.

“Just think for one moment – on the one side you could have all the archives, all the practice times, all the four (timing screen) pages and everything that is available to the teams. A camera in every garage, a camera in every public area of the motorhomes, a camera in all areas of the paddock. They would be all there and there on-site.

“On top of that, if you have some good software writers you could sit at home and join in the race. And there would be the race, and you would be in the middle of it… socking it to Lewis Hamilton for pole position. It is all there to be done.

“The technology exists. It is just annoying because the potential is vast. Eighteen to 24-year-olds – what do they do? They do the net.”

Apparently, Max the ever high tech guy he is, seems to think that old coot Bernie is just way behind the curve with these youngsters 18-24. Far from that tender age, this older gentlemen is using the internet for the entire F1B world, media viewing and about every other form of entertainment possible so while I think Max’s assertion is correct, sort of, he is off on his target market age group…I think it is much bigger than that.

In fact, I think the internet could be the saving grace for F1. NASCAR has so much coverage both online and through terrestrial broadcast as well as Cable/Satellite. It has allowed fans to have a level of access that is so much deeper than just reading results. Fans get to know the most intricate details of their favorite drivers, teams and series. This is beneficial because the deeper a fan base is in a series, the more successful that series is. Something F1 seemed to miss when the first-day-syllabus was handed out in Commercial Rights class 101.

The question is, what would you like to see from Formula 1 as far as an online offering? Would you pay for premium servies like HD broadcasts direct to desktop, timing, cameras? F1 would do well the crack open the series and get audio and video of the inner entrails of Formula 1. Fans would embrace the series in a much larger fashion and be more intimate with their support of some of the most finite divisions of Formula 1. While Max is correct in some of his outlets, the larger picture is a saturation of the internet and motorsport community with the most viral marketing efforts on behalf of F1. Look at what McLaren did last year with their videos produced by Vodafone. We hosted the videos here and had tremendous traffic generated from them. FOM could do very similar things and this would be a good start to saving a series that is dying slowly on the vine. I would be willing to sacrifice my time and offer to become the new Internet Czar of FOM/FIA/Formula 1 if you need me to Bernie. You know where to reach me and we can discuss it. ;)

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