Young folks don’t watch F1…imagine that

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The elusive young audience. The often sought, difficult to corral demographic that Formula 1 said they were very interested in attracting. New hybrid engines, top technology and a racing series that’s on the cutting edge of tech evolution with sim racing or “eSports” leagues and more.

There was a time when the former owner said that 25-year-old’s don’t buy Rolex watches so he wasn’t too keen on Twitter, Facebook or social media because it didn’t speak to the demographic that fuels F1 and its sponsors.

Poppycock says F1, the future isn’t the Boomers or Generation X, it’s Gen Y (Millennials) and hopefully Gen Z. They’ve made nodding head gestures to Gen X but that’s really not where their focus is. Unfortunately for them, Gen X may be the last large, discretionary income generation that supports them as new data shows that just 14% of their viewers are under 25.

According to F1’s global research director, Matt Roberts, the average age for a global F1 viewer is 40. Just 14% are under 25, 305 Are between 25-34, 20% between 35-44, 20% between 45-54 and 17% over 55. How’s those numbers hit ya?

F1 ramped up its emoticon-fueled social media presence, streamed its races online using a dodgy first-year streaming service, launched their own eSports series and even started a marketing campaign with faces being subjected to wind and water. Still, demographic that is critical is 40-year-olds who have money to support the series. Yet very little of these efforts are tailored to retain this demographic.

The new marketing campaign directed to a new demo wasn’t seen by too many folks and that’s something F1 is hoping to improve on. They had big plans for that campaign according to Forbes but it didn’t bear fruit during 2018.

The reality is that F1 hasn’t been the same from a sponsor standpoint since the tobacco money left due to EU laws and Roberts reckons the sport has to lure them back.

“We hope with all the investment and the change in management, this will help encourage advertisers back to the sport,”

It’s a tough call. I thought perhaps tech companies might dabble more in F1 than they have but this hasn’t been the case. I’ve said this from day one, You can’t take F1 to America, you have to take America to F1 and the series needs a multi-pronged marketing strategy that targets different demographics for different reasons and with different content.

Apart from the odd survey, they don’t ask me so more power to them but here’s a clue, I’m not under 25 and I’ve carried water for their series for decades now. They might think that one through.

Hat Tip: Forbes

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The reason is many things. I just think the sport was late in delivering its product to a generation that doesn’t watch television on television’s schedule and not available(until recently) on streaming. And they are not buying cars while becoming the Shared generation. Gen X(that’s me) are stuck in the middle again between the millennials and the quickly graying Baby Boomers. We’re keeping the F1 flame burning but we’re not enough and getting bored with the sport.


Seems to me the real competition in F1 is firmly in the realm of engineering and development, all of which are mostly invisible to the public. Racing is mostly a “report card” of progress and not an on track competition per se. To any casual fan this is a big yawn. Increasingly, you need to be a committed fan–reading sites such as this one, certain YouTube feeds and paywall publications–just to get glimpses and hunches as to what is going on with the real competition, I’m geeky enough to really be interested in the true competition. The jump from seeing… Read more »

Dan Cooper

Very well said. Agree with everything you said. Though I’ll repeat my tired mantra – F2 actually IS good to watch, MotoGP actually IS good to watch, so this isn’t impossible. You wouldn’t have to know any backstory to watch one of those races and love it.


Yes indeed. F2 is the “Easter Egg” that saves many an F1 weekend for me. Also, I have long been an IndyCar fan and going to sign up for MotoGP this year. Lots of options other than F1 for race fans.

Dan Cooper

Hmm many good points but I’d quibble a little with your logic, which seems to go along the lines ‘they’re worried about appealing to people who don’t even watch their series, instead of worrying about people like me who already watch it’ They probably wouldn’t disagree with you, it’s sort of the point to attract the next group, yeah? And good point, too bad the Amazons and stuff won’t pick up a team, that would be some real dough.


Todd, our generation will be dead some day. Who will replace us?

Tom Firth

I think I’ve said here a few times before that as a kid, I felt I was in the tiny minority of people who liked F1. Most the other kids liked Football. (Soccer) Now I know that is only my experience but speaking to others, it seems pretty much the same experience so I can’t say I’m surprised that the 25 and under group is relatively small compared to the others as the majority of ‘when did you start following this sport?’ responses I’ve come across begin with ‘I started watching as a kid because…’ Now this is concerning because… Read more »