Formula 1’s digital future


The importance of using social platforms and mobile apps is more than obvious nowadays, especially when it comes to attracting new fans, lovers or followers. Unfortunately, Formula 1 is still not having the best days considering the level of interest coming from the young generation. What are the options?

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Having an independent app is the absolutely right and logical step. But let’s be honest the app itself works mostly for Formula 1 fans and not for attracting new audiences. The engagement of new people seems to be focused in using digital platforms not only for broadcasting information through social media but also for being entertaining enough to make it catchy even for those who aren’t interested in Formula 1 yet but could be potential.

So the first step the sport did towards the digital future was the announcement of a partnership with currently one of the most popular social platforms – Snapchat – for covering some of the Grands Prix in the 2017 championship. It became “the first commercial partnership with a major digital platform of this kind” as said by Head of Digital and New Business Frank Arthofer. The collaboration is going to cover races in Singapore, Japan, the US, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi as well.

Snapchat is staying on top among millennials worldwide for a few years. The collaboration seems to be quite successful and it has a lot of positive mentalities as long as Snapchat is really easy and fun to use which plays a great role while talking about attracting new people. And, of course, Formula 1 needs to learn to use Snapchat in creative ways so that the younger admirers wouldn’t get bored soon.

 Big social platforms and apps

Certainly, the perfect scenario for Formula 1, in my opinion, must be partnering with a giant like Facebook. I don’t only mean Facebook as a social media but as an owner of such mobile apps as Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. On the subject of active users per month, the numbers might seem just enormous: Facebook – about 2 billion people, WhatsApp – 1.2 billion, Messenger – 1.2 billion, Instagram – 700 million. This sounds crazy but the fact stays clear: the Facebook-Instagram platform is a perfect way for diverse promotion worldwide.

Facebook itself stays on top for many years. It has the advantage of its consistency and diversity. At the same time, the obvious advantage of Instagram as an independent social platform is the mix of photo feed and Insta-stories quite similar to Snapchat ones. Instagram has updated its features lately so it automatically collects the stories into larger ones following the exact hashtags or locations – this kind of Insta-stories might be very suitable for the same kind of promotion as in the case of Snapchat. Facebook is having it all too but not as its main feature, that’s why the collaboration with both Facebook and Instagram might look just unbelievable and would definitely bring a lot of more people to Formula 1.

Formula 1 already has Twitter and YouTube broadcasting its content for the fans but it still leaves some options for widening the audience through a specific and more profound partnership with these two platforms.

Margarita Yakoupova

WhatsApp and Messenger also have the “story” component which is a little bit more modest but still quite popular. The main purpose is online communication which is so essential nowadays. So partnering with any of these two platforms in using stickers, special emojis or anything of this kind as well could be easy and interesting at the same time. This would make people aware of Formula 1’s updates unobtrusively while just sending short messages.

Two other huge platforms are Twitter and YouTube. They are quite different but this difference keeps them both alive for many years straight. Twitter has about 328 million active users per month and YouTube is still killing it with 1 billion ones. Formula 1 already has Twitter and YouTube broadcasting its content for the fans but it still leaves some options for widening the audience through a specific and more profound partnership with these two platforms.

 Other choices

Talking about specialised social media, Pinterest, Tumblr and Flickr come to mind – those are mostly focused on picture-based content but they are still quite popular among youngsters. Let’s not forget SoundCloud or Spotify too, which could also be used to communicate with new fans.

As for the absolutely unusual collaborations, why not brainstorm about options like Formula 1-LinkedIn or Formula 1-Ask.Fm? I’m sure that Formula 1-Tinder could be arranged as well. By the way, Tinder is getting even more popular among young people looking for friends and partners lately.

The last option I really feel like mentioning is a regional partnership. As long as some of the apps and social platforms are popular in specific regions, I think that attracting new people from, for example, Russia needs a partnership with one of the most influential apps here – VK (, which is quite similar to Facebook but is dominating in Russia for many years. Telegram, which is also so popular in Russia, is becoming very influential in Asia too. It is mainly famous for its stickers which could be created by any user or company and are free to add. Sending a series of Formula 1-themed stickers could be quite entertaining for youngsters.

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