The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article was written by Sophia Demarchi and edited by Amanda Oestreich.
That Generation X — better known as the parents of Generation Z — were part of a decade of fans of icons like Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, and Michael Schumacher, we know. But Gen-Z is not left behind in the crowd, whether with the enjoyment transmitted by the family or following through social networks and video games, the new generation of drivers like Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, and Lando Norris have been winning the hearts of the younger public.
In 2021 Formula One started its 72nd season and brought in its bag an active generation of consumers interested in the sport. The growth of the young audience in recent years is mainly due to Liberty Media taking over in 2016, which promoted tournaments in the world of e-sports with Virtual Grand Prix that mix e-sports players with professional drivers of all teams in disputes. This modality mostly attracted Gen-Z, who already follow e-sports over traditional sports, on mobile devices and through platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.
Social networks have contributed to the growth of the public, as news is followed first-hand and reaches possible interested parties in the subject. In Brazil, it is common for Formula 1 to be present on Twitter Trend Topics on Sundays — broadcast day on the open channel Band TV. During the São Paulo GP, on November 14th, the channel broke its record and reached 30 minutes in first place in the audience, according to Kantar Ibope Media.
In addition to the fame of e-sports, another success is the documentary “Drive to Survive” on Netflix, which shows behind the scenes of F1. With 3 seasons, the public not only has fun but follows the evolution of technology and new iconic drivers that represents the younger audience. Currently, the average age among the drivers reaches 26 years, with Yuki Tsunoda being the youngest driver of the current season, only 21 years old.
Although the huge support for foreign pilots, on the other hand, one of the most traditional countries in Formula 1 hasn’t had a driver on the grid since the retirement of Felipe Massa in 2017. For those who are waiting to be able to cheer for a Brazilian, our hopes are in Pietro Fittipaldi, 25, who has been a reserve and test driver for the Haas team since November 2018. His fans are looking forward to having his presence effective in 2022. He already has the support of Brazilians and has become a source of inspiration for many young people who wish to enter a career as a driver.
Plus, with the engagement of communities on social media, driven by this new generation of fans, the movement on TikTok and Twitter has developed considerably, even more with the recent creation of the official Formula 1 page on TikTok in partnership with Aston Martin for content creation. The female audience also increased, which even boosted the creation of F1 content on TikTok by women like the creator @fakeroberts. And to raise its representation, the W Series championship arrived in 2021 with the exclusive participation of female drivers. This is a way to give visibility to the pilots and get sponsorships to decrease the imbalance between genres in the modality.