Q&A with the president of F1 Experiences

President – F1 Experiences

We sat down with Brian Ruede, the president of F1 Experiences at the British Grand Prix to give us an insight into his programme about how it all got started and where he plans to take it in the future.

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How did F1 Experiences start?

This has actually been a long time in the making, for years we’ve been having conversations with FOM about how we might be able to create an elevated fan experience, around the time Liberty Media came along, we got a phone call asking us about the proposal we had and if we wanted to dust that off and see if we might be able to collaborate on creating a real fan experience.

The music to our ears was the first meeting with Sean Bratches [Managing director of commercial operations, FOM] where he said he wants to create the gold standard in fan engagement, that’s what we do, our whole history has been building sports experiences for sports fans that are unmatched by anything else.

The incredible part has been Formula 1 has been an amazing partner and is really committed to going out in this new era of Formula 1 to create the gold standard in fan experience.

Was Bernie Ecclestone not entirely behind the idea?

I wouldn’t say Bernie wasn’t entirely behind the idea, I mean a lot of our initial discussions advanced with Mr Ecclestone at the helm. When the changed happened it was more of a concern as to what the new regime was going to look like, and we were thrilled to find out they were even more eager to bring these experiences and to create something new and different for Formula 1 fans.

The incredible part has been Formula 1 has been an amazing partner and is really committed to going out in this new era of Formula 1 to create the gold standard in fan experience.

Brian Ruede

How quickly did you get off the ground when Sean asked you to jump in?

We signed our contract somewhere around the middle of March and we went on sale with our first series of races for Australia on March 24. The team and Kim Langford in particular had to work night and day, organising tracks, organising tours, setting up the product, working with marketing and creating the whole retail side of it.

The team has done an amazing job and Kim has been the one spearheading that product.

Do you have any dedicated drivers to the programme? or do you have them on a for-hire basis?

That’s the really nice part about the programme, it’s about trying to engage all fans across all teams. Right now we’re in the process of developing a circuit of different drivers based on their availability.

We understand the tremendous strain on these drivers, first and foremost their job is to drive the car, so a lot of the teams have been really gracious in contributing to the program, so we’re building as we go.

Any further plans on how to grow the experience?

Absolutely, we believe our product is in its infancy, you’re starting to see things already that initially, we hadn’t really planned. We didn’t know we’d have the two-seater cars up and running as quickly as we did, as we look around in the F1 Experiences hospitality, we see the garage across the way.

All of these things have occurred in a short period of time, and we’ve really been running the program for over about 200 days now.

So it is in its infancy, we expect to grow, we expect to add new opportunities and new experiences as the fans asked for, we believe this opportunity to grow this programme and to engage the fans like never before is really limitless.

After the two-seater experience, are there other potential ideas on the horizon?

Nothing I can disclose at this time! [laughs]

Thank you for your time.

It was a pleasure.

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