Whilst the big prizes for the 2023 Formula One season are almost decided, the final six Grand Prix of the year will be gripping for a number of the competitors. Max Verstappen should he claim a podium in the Sprint race in Qatar will be world champion and thus equal Michael Schumacher’s record of claiming the title with six Grand Prix remaining.
Of course we are comparing apples and pairs because the points system for the Grand Prix have been altered since 2002 and the additional of the Sprint again muddies the waters.
Verstappen wins by 9 races
The better weighting for winning a Grand Prix today should make it easier for a driver to claim the title even earlier than Schumacher did.
However now there are 25 points for a win rather than 10 which also has the effect of keeping the championship alive mathematically for longer as a drive could score 100+4 points for winning the final four races of the year with the fastest lap.
Under the 10,8,6,4,3,2,1 Max would now have 181 points and Sergio Perez 75. So with six races remaining Verstappen would already be champion.
In fact Verstappen would have beaten Schumacher’s record by using the points system from back in 2002 winning the title with 9 races of the season remaining (Sprints ignored).
Indycar scoring system
Formula One could learn a thing or two from Indycar if it wishes to prevent the alleged lack of excitement towards the end of the season. The Indycar champion was only crowned at the last race of the year for 17 consecutive seasons until Alex Palou broke the mould in 2023 closing the championship out with one to spare.
Indycar use a different points strategy when compared to Formula One. They load up the value for a win over a P2, but much less so
50,40,35,32,30,28,26…. And all the way down to 25th place for 5 points. In F1 the winer receives 38% more points than the driver in second but in Indycar this is reduced to just 11%.
Further, by offering 50 points for a win rather than 25, then the title race remains open for longer mathematically.
F1 social media collapse 2022
A report just out claims that Formula One social media engagement has collapsed during 2023. Buzz Radar, a social intelligence company studio social media patterns states there has been a dramatic U-Turn in F1’s growth in recent years.
Their case study published on Thursday, titled Have we reached Peak F1?, Buzz Radar’s analysis suggests 2022 was the best year ever for F1 following there dramatic 2021 title fight and there new car rules for 2022.
The study crawls across 70 million fan posts and demonstrates F1 is suffering its first decline in some while.
The data reveals that social media mentions of F1 have collapsed by 70.2% from last season over the first five months of 2023.
“Boring” and “annoying”
The figures for January to May for the past three years are:
Buzz Radar concluded: “The data comparison between 2022 and 2023 revealed significant drops in the overall mentions of F1, along with dismal numbers in the growth of new followers of high-profile accounts.
“The reach of F1-related content across various social platforms has also receded, in stark contrast to the steady progress observed yearly before. But, the declining numbers are only one part of the story.
“The social data from 2023 also offered insight into a fundamental shift in conversation about F1: a noticeable upswing in the use of negative adjectives associated with the sport.
“Words like ‘boring’ and ‘annoying’ are now becoming high-frequency descriptors, replacing erstwhile positive words like ‘interesting’ and ‘exciting’.”
Close title races improve SM
Buzz Radar also demonstrates there is a direct correlation between fan engagement on social media and how close the battle for championships are citing 2016 the Nico Rosberg beat his world champion team mate Lewis Hamilton.
“2016 was the most talked about season, until 2021, despite all the contributory factors of the Liberty takeover, Drive to Survive, and lockdown, because [Nico] Rosberg and Hamilton were battling closely,” it argues.
“The season was decided by only five points. Conversation stagnated between 2018-2020 while Hamilton dominated, and grew significantly again during the 2021 season; the closest championship since 2016.
“Both 2016 and 2021 seasons were decided at the last race. 2022 continued to ride the wave of the close competition at the end of 2021, but now we are seeing the result of one driver dominance once again. 2023 is now on course to continue losing conversation, and this pattern will continue until the racing becomes closer again.”
F1 top 3 global sport
Liberty media will be hugely concerned with this data given much of the sponsorship for the sport and the teams is based around visibility on the internet.
Yet the long term picture is good for Formula One the compared to other sports and particularly given there are just 24 scheduled events per calendar year.
“Between 2016 and 2022, F1 grew its conversation levels by 80%, which was only bettered by the Indian Premier League (208% increase) and the UEFA Champions League (up 112%),” added the white paper.
“Remarkably, F1 managed this despite hosting the fewest events of the top five, with 2022 conversation coming from just 22 race weekends compared to 285 NFL matches, including the Super Bowl which, year on year, is one of the most talked about sporting events in the world.
“The only year that growth slowed was in 2018, and the biggest growth was in 2021, when they gained around 14 million new cross-channel followers. This makes them the fastest-growing social channels of any major sport in the time period.”
F1 Points system review underway
Liberty Media are savvy when it comes to raising the profile and value of Formula One and they’ve already made a number of significant changes to improve fan engagement.
This year the Sprint weekends were increased to sic and the format altered which provides competitive on track action across all the days of the Sprint Grand Prix weekends.
The F1 points allocation is currently under review and it would not be beyond belief were they to request the FIA move towards a more IndyCar style system together with offering points all the way down the field so those finishing outside the top 10 in a race have something tangible to aim for.
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