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Formula 1 is experiencing a steep decline in public interest on social media due to the absolute dominance of Max Verstappen and Red Bull this season, according to a recent study released in the United Kingdom.
The analysis conducted by Buzz Radar, a social media marketing company specializing in media trends, has revealed a significant decrease in Formula 1’s ability to engage its audience on social media, a trend that had been growing in recent years.
Titled “Have We Reached the Summit, F1?” the study suggests that the exponential growth experienced in 2022, driven by the thrilling title battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, along with new technical regulations for the cars, may have marked the peak of interest in Formula 1 in a long time. This trend appears to persist due to the lack of competitiveness in races and championships in this and the previous season.
Using both human interpretation and AI data analysis to examine Formula 1’s social media engagement over the past decade, involving the observation of 70 million posts, the study reveals that the pinnacle of motorsport has experienced its first decline in several years.
The data indicates that mentions of Formula 1 on social media have dropped by 70.2% in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2022, the number of new followers has decreased by 46.3%, and the reach of related content has diminished by 64.1%.
The Buzz Radar study report notes that “social data from 2023 has offered insight into a fundamental shift in conversations about F1: a notable increase in the use of negative adjectives associated with the competition.” Words like ‘boring’ and ‘tedious’ are becoming frequent descriptors, replacing positive words like ‘interesting’ and ‘exciting.’
The Buzz Radar report argues that the cause of this decline is simply the absolute dominance of a single team, Red Bull, which has won every race in 2023 and most of those in the past 12 months, with just two exceptions.
The report concludes that there is a direct relationship between the proximity of a title fight and fan engagement, citing the example of 2018 when Lewis Hamilton secured his fifth consecutive title with an 88-point lead over the second-placed Sebastian Vettel. In that year, Formula 1 also experienced a significant decline in social media interest.
The study argues that the seasons most talked about on social media are those with intense title battles, like 2016 and 2021, both decided in the final race. Conversely, years in which a single driver dominates, as in 2018, tend to register a decrease in online interest.
In summary, the study predicts that the decline in social media interest in Formula 1 will continue until the races become more competitive, emphasizing the importance of excitement and uncertainty in the sport to keep the audience engaged.