Gearing up for the 2023 Formula 1 Season: Social Media, Sponsorships, & Drivers
The 2023 Formula 1 season starts March 5 in Bahrain. It’s a season with some pending questions: Will Ferrari step forward and compete in the championship against Mercedes and Red Bull? Will the FIA approve the entry of new teams? Does Fernando Alonso return to the top positions in his new team?
Over the next eight months, Formula 1 fans will watch 10 teams race 23 Grand Prixs in 20 countries across five continents. Based on Formula 1’s growth over the last five seasons, we looked at Blinkfire data across the league and teams.
State of Social: Formula 1 and Teams
The 10 Formula 1 teams have more than 134 million followers, and the Formula 1 channels have more than 56 million followers. These figures have grown season by season because of the interest Formula 1 ignited in fans (one supporting factor: Netflix’s F1 Series “Drive to Survive”). In 2018, F1’s Instagram account had 5.6 million followers, and by the end of 2022, followers increased to 21.6 million, a growth rate of 283%.
The increase in followers also had a positive impact on F1’s average engagement per post across the league’s four main channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Formula 1 Teams’ Social Score Cards
Using Blinkfire’s Media Kit, which gives teams the best overview of their social media health, including follower growth, media value, and engagements, we created 2022 social score cards for each racing team across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (because not all teams have TikTok, that channel was not included). A couple of takeaways:
- Facebook saw minimal growth. Nine out of the 10 Formula 1 teams saw follower growth at or below 6% — Moneygram Haas was the outlier, as the team’s Facebook followers grew an impressive 31%.
- Instagram drove the most media value for every Formula 1 team.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 drove the most engagements and media value in 2022; the team also has the most followers of all F1 teams.
Scuderia Ferrari saw explosive growth on both Instagram and Twitter in 2022. The only two teams that had a better Instagram growth rate were Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team and Moneygram Haas F1 Team.
Oracle Red Bull Racing
During the 2022, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen won his second consecutive World Drivers’ Championship for the team.
Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team
Aston Martin had the second highest growth rate on Instagram, behind only Haas F1.
Moneygram Haas F1 Team
It was hard to beat Haas F1 Team’s on social media. The American F1 team embraced the fun-side of social media which helped them earn the best growth rates of all F1 teams on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Instagram was Mclaren Racing’s most valuable social network, driving 85% of the team’s social media value.
Scuderia Alphatauri saw the second largest YouTube follower increase amongst F1 treams, behind only Hass F1.
BWT Alpine F1 Team
Alpine F1 saw the largest follower increase on Twitter in 2022. Not included in this social score card though — the team increased TikTok followers by 270% last year.
Like most other F1 teams, Williams Racing saw the largest growth rate on Instagram and Twitter.
Alfa Romeo F1 Stake Team
Alfa Romeo saw huge success on Twitter during the 2022 season. The team saw the fourth best engagement rate of all F1 teams.
Formula 1 Driver Stories
With the withdrawal of Sebastian Vettel and the subsequent arrival of Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin as well as the break up between McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo, there’s been quite a bit of action and movement between teams and drivers.
One constant with Formula 1 drivers has been their impressive follower growth and audience reach on social media. Using Blinkfire’s Global Ranking, we ranked the top 10 Formula 1 drivers based on Instagram followers. To understand how massive Lewis Hamilton’s Instagram social following is, the Mercedes AMG driver has 44% more Instagram followers than Formula 1.
F1 Social Media Best Practices
In a sport where most-watched action happens during weekend competitions, it’s essential for F1 teams to use the weekly breaks to post content that generates excitement beyond Grand Prix races. Some of this content could be centered around the team, drivers, throwbacks, and birthdays.
Birthday posts generate some of the most engagement in sports where teams wish players, former players, and coaches well wishes — most often these posts are sponsored.
Who doesn’t like to look back to remember great moments in sports? The Throwback Thursday (#TBT) is a popular trend racing teams use to reminisce about past drivers, wins, cars, and seasons. It’s also one of the best ways to connect with fans through nostalgia.
Highlighting Team Managers
As we see across other sports, showcasing athletes on a team’s social media channel is an excellent strategy to increase followers and engagement. In the wake of the Netflix docuseries “Drive to Survive,” team managers like Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner, have also gained popularity, and social media teams are taking advantage.
Formula 1 teams test their fans’ knowledge or find out their preferences with trivia and polls. Posing questions to fans can be an inviting way for them to interact with your posts.
A Fan Takes Center Stage
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake launched one of the most successful Formula 1 campaigns last year, and it wasn’t just because of the engagements and video views earned; the story behind the campaign won over fans.
In 2019, a fan of the team sent them $20, apologizing for not raising more money to help them. The fan didn’t give an address or include his last name; he said his name was Goto, and that is when the ‘Finding Goto’ operation started.
Three years later, Goto fulfilled a dream and watched the Japanese Grand Prix in the front row. The videos where Alfa Romeo told this tender story achieved more than 3 million views on the team’s social networks and 6.7 million views on Formula 1 channels. Many media outlets told this story as well, sharing it with millions of fans around the world.
The ‘Finding Goto’ campaign won the best activation on social media award at The Race Media.
As the 2023 F1 Season kickoffs with its first race in Bahrain on March 5, Blinkfire will be your go-to spot for data and insights. Want to learn more about how Blinkfire can help you drive sponsorship revenue and track social media and digital?