Although F1 racing was not an unpopular sport in the past, the documentary series Formula 1: Drive To Survive on Netflix has worked wonders to spread enthusiasm beyond the traditional fan base.
All of a sudden, people around the world, many of whom have not engaged with F1 in the past, are getting the chance not only to learn about the sport, but to get a look behind the scenes, and learn about the lives, careers, and personalities of many of the leading figures.
As a review at GamesRadar suggested, this made it a suitable documentary “for sports and non-sports fans alike.”
The success of the documentary not just as a film but as a means of expanding interest in F1 has many wondering what might be next for the sport off the tracks. That is to say, how else could F1 continue to expand into modern sports and entertainment culture? We can’t say for sure, but some ideas come to mind.
More Drive To Survive
Season 4 of the show has continued to show strong viewership according to now-available Netflix data. There’s something in the intensity and drama the showrunners have captured that keeps people coming back for more. More seasons are virtually guaranteed, and that will mean more opportunities to rope in new viewers. There’s simply no reason for F1 to do anything but keep this show going as long as it’s popular.
A Mainstream F1 VR Game
F1 video games have been around for about as long as video games have been around. A really high-quality virtual reality game is yet to grace our eyeballs, however. Yes, Vorpx is a somewhat awkward third party solution to play Codemasters’ console F1 offerings, but native support would make it a lot easier to access that immersive experience. Additionally, games like the kart racer F1 Race Stars have illustrated that they don’t all have to be perfect simulations, either. Something more arcade-like, perhaps akin to the Need for Speed franchise, could even bring in more casual players who may have enjoyed Drive To Survive.
VR Games on Slot Sites
If you’re not someone who regularly plays casino games, you may not realise how much reach slots have these days, and the broader gambling industry is worth tens of billions in the UK alone. Modern slots are skinned using a huge array of themes, and have a tendency to capitalise on trends in culture, popular or otherwise; they also have a history of touching on both sports and racing.
As of this writing, the popular slot platform Gala Spins is demonstrating this capacity to promote cultural trends and sports all at once. On the one hand, its prominently featured Jurassic Park game is culturally on-trend ahead of the forthcoming Jurassic World film this spring; on the other end of the spectrum, there are sports-themed slots like an “All Sports” title that ties into interest around last year’s Olympics, and various racing games. A Formula 1 game would fit right in, leveraging both a cultural trend (F1 interest) and a new sport. Such a game would reach countless gamers who already love an adrenaline rush.
A Mobile Fantasy Game
Yes, we’re going ham on the games here, but we know there’d be scope for this because we run our own fantasy league using F1 Manager. While no one is expecting the heights of fantasy sports in terms of popularity, having a definitive mobile app that people could easily make use of while on the train or lounging about at home could be massive for engagement. There have been some valiant attempts, like the F1 Play app, and the mobile version of the F1 Fantasy site is serviceable –– but either an official app from F1 or a great effort from a plucky developer could make a killing here.
A Major Film
In case you missed it, Apple has been working on a mentor-student-type of film in which Brad Pitt comes out of retirement to train a younger Formula 1 driver. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing, and Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski will be at the helm. We don’t know if it will be more Rocky or Cool Runnings, but Pitt’s star power is not to be shrugged off, and the film is coming at the ideal time to capture interest (whereas the underrated drama Rush was perhaps a few years too early for the F1 wave).
In many areas, boosting F1’s reputation is more a question of refining a formula (ahem) rather than reinventing the wheel. And while some of the items in this article are a little more speculative, they’re not totally off the wall. It’s a certainty that F1 will continue to try to boost its momentum, and any of these projects would do it.