By James Broughton, June 20, 2022
Formula 1 is growing in popularity every year. Indeed, in the UK, broadcast figures increased by 25.7 percent from 1.27 million viewers in 2020: the fourth consecutive year that F1’s audience has increased. And this trend has been replicated all over the world. But what’s driving this growth and popularity? Read on to find out.
The history of F1: what is it?
Cars have been racing competitively in Europe since the early 1900s, but the rules and organisation were formalised by the FIA in 1946. What followed were a set of rules and a championship of drivers competing in a season of races.
It was immediately a global sport, with drivers from all over the world racing in circuits held across many different countries. Since then, the likes of Nikki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Sebastien Vettel, and Lewis Hamilton have dominated the sport and are some of the most iconic racers in its history.
Where are F1 races held?
For the 2022 F1 calendar there are 22 races held across 20 different countries, beginning with Bahrain and ending with Abu Dhabi. The calendar features many of the iconic circuits from F1 history: Monaco, Silverstone, and Spa.
F1 has been ambitiously expanding in recent years, going from 17 races in 2020 to 22 races in 2021. And there are further plans in the future to add a Las Vegas race as the sport continues to expand in the USA.
Why is it so popular?
Part of this growth in popularity has been fuelled by Netflix’s hit documentary, Drive to Survive. This show has been extraordinarily popular and has brought a technical and inaccessible sport into the mainstream.
It was helped to no end by a thrilling battle between Hamilton and Max Verstappen for the title last season. The two were neck and neck heading into the final race before Verstappen narrowly defeated Hamilton following a controversial final lap. This drama has many new fans excitedly tuning in for more this season.
The shift in competitiveness
The competitiveness of F1 shifts as the rules change. For instance, Bridgestone tyres were popular before Pirelli became the sole provider in 2011. There have been more drastic changes for this season though, with the new rules aiming to encourage more overtaking and excitement. These include a ground-effect floor to increase downforce, simplified wings and bigger tyres to improve handling. Overall, this should make it easier for competitors to reel in the leading car.
F1 has surged in popularity in recent years. And if you’re looking for a dramatic, exciting sport, it’s well worth tuning into a race day to take in the spectacle.