Will Google buy Formula 1?

Alex Hint, author of the very creative book called “Will Google Buy Formula 1”, gives us his insights on the social media side of the sport.

The book is my take on how Formula 1 could save its popularity in the near future, when a new generation — the Internet generation, of course — will replace the old one. Whatever they say, the figures speak for themselves — the audience is shrinking, and this will only continue, I’m afraid. The Internet offers many new opportunities and options to spend your free time, so the attention is dispersing. The partnership with one of the leaders of web technologies could help Formula 1 to slip into the new digital age more seamlessly and keep the sport’s role as the pinnacle of racing.

When I was writing the book “Will Google Buy Formula 1”, I thought that Google had the most suitable and productive line of services for this project to be successful. As for today, the thoughts creep into my mind that Google has become too big and, I would say… too logy while other ambitious players appeared on the search and ad-targeted arenas. Bing, Yandex and others — they all want their piece of the pie. Hence, chances are good that it is not Google who will become a partner for Formula 1 after all.


Social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives, that’s no secret to anyone. We can’t say Formula 1 doesn’t have a future without it, but ignoring it totally is certainly not a right way to go. At least, not from a marketing perspective.

What if Lewis Hamilton, during a Formula 1 demonstration, gave her a fast ride, just like Jeff Gordon did?

Let’s take Rihanna, who has 47 million Twitter followers. What if Lewis Hamilton, during a Formula 1 demonstration, gave her a fast ride, just like Jeff Gordon did in the video “Jeff Gordon: Test Drive” (it must be a two-seat Formula 1 car though)?

That video was watched over 44 million times. Just one line with a link to YouTube would be enough for millions of people, through her emotions, to understand what a Formula 1 car is really about.

Formula 1 is a total 3-in-1: show, sport and business. But it is the show part that attracts various audiences the most. That is why creating a show is what Formula 1 needs to concentrate the most on in the next few years. One could offer many different effective and efficient marketing steps, but not ignoring social media would definitely be at the top.

The prophecies

If we look at Formula 1 drivers that have excited and lead the audiences in the past — Senna, Prost, Schumacher — I would surely say that this was a matter of charisma. And charisma is something that is beyond our power, whereas marketing strategies are quite the opposite — they are in our total control. So if we fail to gather a new generation of charismatic Formula 1 racers, our only salvation in the process of attracting new fans will be creative marketing campaigns.

One more thing – the travelling circus must keep on traveling, in my opinion. Still, it should not break the bonds with its historical roots, such as Monte Carlo, Monza, Spa Francorchamps or Silverstone. As for the cars, they will probably become even faster pretty soon, but I’m afraid it will not add a lot of excitement to the spectacle. As long as aerodynamics will not allow the chasing driver to come close to the driver ahead without excessive tyre degradation, nothing will change radically.

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