Today we meet Oksana Kossatchenko, former Commercial Director of Caterham F1, now working with global sponsoring and branding, managing TV projects, organising sporting events and representing athletes. Oksana shares with the Paddock magazine her take on what would she do if she ran the sport and business of Formula 1.
The digital pass
I fell in love with Formula 1 in the last century (and millennium, for that matter) when I was watching the racing though the TV screen in my commentary booth. Since I first stepped into the paddock almost 15 years ago, I immediately realised that I knew nothing about real Formula 1 world. Neither do millions of fans.
The paddock still exists behind an Iron Curtain and it would be an unforgivable mistake to open the gates for everybody. But we can give the fans virtual access to the paddock, to the teams, to the drivers. Let’s make Formula 1 open to its admirers at least in the digital sense.
We can have endless discussions whether the dominance of one team is good or not, but every fan wants to know how his beloved driver spends the day. The more inside stories, the more money Formula 1 can attract, even maintaining the famous exclusivity as well. These are more than just words.
Formula 1 fans are getting older, but the business seems to look younger every year. We all know that teenagers don’t like to spend their weekends siting on the sofa in front of the TV, they have their devices to follow the world and interact with a gigantic number of people from every walk of life. All these millennials and other youngsters can generate dollars for Formula 1 should we decide to let them watch the race the way they want. Yes, all we need to do is give them a choice: second screens, chats, telemetry, live-timing, view on demand, betting at the end of the day – that’s what young people get excited about.
When teens finally join the community, Formula 1 can welcome new sponsors who are focused on products or services popular amongst younger people. I’m talking about those companies that are not jumping on board at this moment because their target groups are much more engaged with innovative technologies than some of the old-timey Formula 1 followers.
Even if you are not familiar with all these fresh and insanely smart devices, you can watch the Grands Prix on the Internet, there are various options for that. Yes, most of them are illegal but we can’t state they don’t exist. Formula 1 can easily create a comfortable method of streaming the races for millions to enjoy. Of course, this should strictly be a paid service, and don’t worry about the Internet killing the TV business as it would have already done that ten years ago.
We are living in the era of permanent connection through various devices and social media, thus the engrossing digital reality transforms our life in ways we can really be sure about yet. We definitely see how developing technology changes the face of high-end racing. Hence it should be about time to bring it to all sectors of Formula 1 and then reap the benefits.