The job of the Commercial Rights Holder is to promote and showcase Formula 1 to the audience. With all the criticism of Formula 1 this year, along with artificiality being introduced (double points), how about the Commercial Rights Holder doing its job and putting some positive points out there into the public domain?
For reference, between 13:00 and 15:30 on Saturday, @F1 made three tweets, despite having a massive (by Formula 1’s standards) 830,000 followers, more than any team or F1 broadcaster, that they could have mentioned the sport to. As I mentioned in the linked article, @F1 should be the gateway to the sport. Instead of me banging on about the fact that they need a social media editor, let’s pretend I’m on day one of the job. I need content to fill the Twitter feed, and make it look interesting, approachable, and more importantly: ready, for the next generation. So here are four tweets from the Austrian Grand Prix that are cool all in their own way. If I was @F1, I’d be sharing these to my 830,000 followers straight away…
1. @OfficialSF1Team – 50 gear changes / lap times 71 laps = 3550 gear changes over the entire race. On average a gear change every 1.4s… – This is just one of them cool statistics in my eyes, and makes Formula 1 drivers seems human and not just robots behind a steering wheel on rails. Sauber though only have 200,000 followers, and that tweet is unlikely to go as far on an account of that size compared to one with four times a bigger reach.
2. @RedBullRacing – Behind the scenes: Wondering how many people it takes to make the #AustrianGP weekend possible? #projektspielberg – Accompanying the tweet was a really brilliant graphic showing just how many people are involved with a Formula 1 race weekend, beyond the 22 drivers. I haven’t counted them, but its in the region of 2,000 people. More importantly is the fact that it used a graphic. In social media land, using pictures such as the above can increase exposure by more than double, I know that from experience on the @F1Broadcasting Twitter account. With 500,000 followers, and that tweet having over 500 retweets alone, that tweet may have reached at least a million people, many of them may not be Formula 1 fans, yet will be fascinated seeing how much effort goes into a race weekend. With that in mind, it makes complete sense that none of @F1’s tweets have contained an image… that needs to change soon.
3. @PirelliSport – Discover the history of the #RedBullRing, host to the #AustrianGP! In our #F1 Infographic! – This is another great infographic, albeit a bit different to the Red Bull one above in that it is a little less colourful. Nevertheless, it is another way of presenting information. Whether we like it or not, where social media is concerned, not everyone is going to click through to website articles and read a 500 word piece, which means that FOM need to find other ways of presenting information to a social media audience. Pirelli’s tweet is a great way to present information where statistics are concerned, the graphic, whilst not bright in any way, presents the information in a readable way to an audience who will not want to read masses of text. More importantly, it gives newer fans some quick facts about the race alongside a diagram of the circuit.
4. @virtualstatman – The cars now barely 1s slower than the fastest ever laps of this track from 2003, set in the V10 era, during a tyre war – Let’s just look at that. 2003 – V10 Ferrari: 1:07.908. 2014 – V6 Williams: 1:08.759. If you wanted to use Michael Schumacher’s Q2 time from 2003, which was a 1:09.150, then Saturday’s Qualifying time was faster! To me, that looks like a bloody impressive statistic that should be publicised and bandied around by the Commercial Rights Holder. Sadly, unlike example #2, @virtualstatman has 4,700 followers and was retweeted 46 times. So in terms of readership, it will not hit as many people as example #2. However, that should not stop the Commercial Rights Holder retweeting that out to its 800,000 followers, in order to actively, and positively, promote this sport. You wouldn’t have thought so…
All of the four tweets above positively promote the sport, directly or indirectly. Which is something that has been rare across this season. Instead of positively promoting the sport, the Commercial Rights Holder has been doing the opposite, primarily because those running the sport are now thinking of more artificiality for 2015 such as standing restarts (in a very sad case of irony, four hours after this post went online, standing starts for 2015 became confirmed…). Not one fan has asked for that. Not one. Nor double points. If Formula 1 is going to move along the right track, then I’m afraid the Commercial Rights Holder needs to do its job and promote Formula 1 to the millions of potential fans out there instead of doing back handed high five’s via CGI over the World Feed.
Aside from social media, on the official Formula 1 website, there are some articles leading up to a race. But the problem I have with them, is that they not only sound robotic but also are not attributed to any author, unlike say AUTOSPORT. I know that I’m more likely to read an article if it is a journalist I trust writing it, however Formula 1’s website contains none of that. A minor point to some, an important point for others. You probably won’t find any humour on the site, or the Twitter page either. I’m not expecting laughs and giggles obviously, but something to bring the reader into the site instead of a monotone corporate sounding voice would be nice.
Of course for the above to be achieved, that means running a proper social media account, for one… the Commercial Rights Holder needs to do their job and start that today. They need to wake up. The time is now. Not six months from now. Not two months. Now. Today. Because they have already wasted enough time as it is by failing to be part of the social media wave. It’s about time the Commercial Rights Holder does what it is paid to do instead of resting on its laurels.