Hamilton continues to surge on social media

Four-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton continues to remain far above the remainder of the Formula 1 field on social media, analysis of the three major platforms show.

At regular intervals during the year, this site crunches the number of followers each Formula 1 driver and team, along with key championships has across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hamilton leads the way
As has been the case for many years, Hamilton leads at the front of the field, growing his reach faster than all his rivals. With a cumulative audience of 16.30 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Hamilton now has nearly 10 million more followers than his nearest championship contender.

To show the scale of Hamilton’s reach, the drivers placed from 2nd to 5th in the social media standings bring in a combined following of 16.43 million followers. In social media terms, Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, and Sergio Perez equal Hamilton, showing how the Brit on social media transcends the motor sport audience, and why F1 needs to tap into said audience.

Formula 1’s loss is likely to be IndyCar’s gain where Alonso is concerned in 2019, presenting the American series with an excellent opportunity to capitalise on Alonso’s broad reach in the same way they did with last year’s Indianapolis 500. From 2019, Verstappen will be Formula 1’s next big thing on social media behind Hamilton and Ricciardo. But both Red Bull drivers are currently no match for Hamilton on social media.

Social media - 2018-08 - F1 drivers gain
In the first half of 2018, Hamilton gained 1.29 million followers across the three main platforms, whilst Ricciardo and Verstappen gained 499,000 and 368,000 followers respectively. Currently, Verstappen’s contingent of fans is no match for Hamilton on Instagram, which is where most of Hamilton’s increase lies.

The further down the field you look, the slimmer the pickings get. As an example, Valtteri Bottas’ social media accounts gained 185,000 additional followers during the first half of 2018, which is a small number in the social media sphere. Considering millions of viewers worldwide watch these drivers every two weeks, are the gains considered poor, or expected now that social media is mature?

Following a poor start to the 2018 season, Williams driver Lance Stroll deleted his Instagram account in June, reducing his social media reach from 179,000 followers to 42,000 followers. The reality is though that Stroll never used his two active social media accounts. His Twitter was last updated in February 2017, whilst his team updated his Facebook last November.

Meanwhile, since joining Instagram at the end of last year, Kimi Raikkonen has amassed nearly one million followers. The Iceman’s reach of 833,000 followers places him tenth in the overall list of drivers, despite having no presence on either Facebook or Twitter! Raikkonen is the fifth most popular driver on the image sharing platform, only behind Hamilton, Alonso, Verstappen and Ricciardo.

Red Bull closes the gap on Mercedes
In the first half of 2018, Mercedes’ following across social media increased from 14.83 million across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to 15.03 million followers. Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren in comparison increased their following by around 900,000 followers.

The metrics suggest that Mercedes are close to hitting their roof, and struggling to attract new followers, even though the content produced is fantastic. There is a real possibility that, based on current growth figures, Red Bull will become the number one team on social media, at least based on the number of followers, within the next twelve months.

The perceived two-tier Formula 1 goes far beyond the race track, and into the social media metrics. Beyond the top four teams, the growth for the mid-field teams resembles a barren wasteland, with the remaining six teams attracting an average growth figure of 133,000 followers.

For a team nearer to the foot of the table, it is proving to be very difficult to make waves outside of the typical Formula 1 social media circles. Ask yourself this: how many teams go ‘the extra mile’ to produce something relevant to a general sporting audience as opposed to the motor racing fan who might already be following them?

Currently, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren are the big Formula 1 brands, although it will be interesting to see if Renault usurp McLaren on that front in 2019 with Ricciardo joining the Enstone outfit.

Roborace crashes
On the championship front, Roborace’s combined following has dropped by 15 percent over the course of the first half of 2018. From 2.82 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram last November, Roborace now has 2.37 million followers as of the end of July.

Social media - 2018-08 - percentage gain

The drop for the autonomous series, which has yet to begin, is a result of social media sites clamping down on suspicious accounts. Twitter has taken action recently to remove locked accounts from account follower numbers. Roborace has been prominent in this space in recent years, with their number of followers spiking at different times.

Further down the pecking order, Formula E has experienced a strong first half of 2018, culminating in the latter stages of its fourth season. The electric series has increased its combined audience from 584,000 followers to 893,000 followers, an increase of 52.9 percent.

IndyCar, the World Endurance Championship and Formula Two also recorded percentage increases of over 10 percent, but in the case of the latter, that equated to an increase of just 34,000 followers across the first half of 2018. Both Formula Two and their feeder GP3 have low numbers on Facebook, with 51,000 and 17,000 followers respectively.

Out in front, MotoGP continues to lead the way with a combined 21 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, although F1 has closed the gap, with a cumulative following now of 14.66 million.

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Casting an eye over the F1 media landscape

The Formula 1 community is filled with journalists from all corners of the globe, with the sport covered in a variety of languages, catering for a range of different audiences, from the hardcore aficionados to the person wanting a quick five-minute summary of everything that is going on.

From a United Kingdom perspective, there are eleven entities that make up the Formula 1 media landscape, covering both heavyweights and outlets further down the chain:

  • Official F1 website
  • BBC
  • Crash Media Group
  • ESPN Media Group
  • ‘Fleet Street’
  • Motor Sport Magazine
  • Motorsport Media Services
  • Motorsport Network
  • Racefans
  • Reuters
  • Sky

Most entities above are primarily web-based, although some straddle into both television and print. So, how do the entities break down, and which groups splice off into sub-divisions?

The leading quartet
For most readers, four outlets are instantly recognisable, and hold control of the Formula 1 media landscape. Others will be unknown to the naked eye, until you look below the surface and see why they are listed.

The BBC and Sky are two of the UK’s biggest broadcasters, the latter now pan-European. Whilst the BBC no longer covers Formula 1 on television, its website, led by Andrew Benson as it has been for the past two decades, still produces insight and opinion.

Since their television coverage started in 2012, Sky’s UK arm have operated an expansive F1 website. As well as their news articles, the UK site provides a variety of columns, from behind the scenes paddock insight via Rachel Brookes, to technical analysis from commentary box director Mark Hughes. Although Sky’s UK and Italian television crews share content occasionally, this is more unusual online with a specific website for Sky Italia.

If you have purchased a copy of Autosport recently, or read an article via James Allen’s website, you might think that the two are owned by separate entities. Why would the passing punter think any different? That is where Motorsport Network, led by McLaren’s CEO Zak Brown, comes into the equation.

Initially consisting of just Motorsport.com, Motorsport Network have expanded their portfolio the past two years. First on the agenda was Haymarket Media Group’s motor racing outlets (including Autosport and F1 Racing), which moved under Motorsport Network’s ownership in late 2016.

Allen’s website and GPUpdate.net followed, with Motorsport Network closing GPUpdate.net’s English site, diverting resources towards their existing channels. Editorial resources covering Formula 1 across Autosport and Motorsport.com are becoming rationalised, with the same content, appearing on both platforms.

Autosport also runs an Academy for budding journalists, allowing them to exploit a wide range of opportunities across the Motorsport Network portfolio, both on print and television (Motorsport.tv, which was Motors TV, is also part of the Network).

Up until recently, the official Formula 1 website ran a skeleton news operation, reporting only information and not engaging in the rumour mill or analytical pieces. The frequency of news has increased since Liberty Media’s takeover of F1, with the likes of Lawrence Barretto (ex-BBC and Autosport) and Chris Medland joining the team.

Alongside the news articles, there are now regular features on the site, such as the F1 Inbox, and F1 Power Rankings with other FOM personnel such as Will Buxton contributing to these articles.

The mid-pack
The leading contingent above are significantly larger than some of the mid-pack runners, one might think of this as a ‘manufacturer’ versus ‘independent’ situation.

Previously known as F1 Fanatic from 2005 until the start of this year, Racefans is an independent website covering Formula 1, although it has started to branch out to cover other championships recently. Dieter Rencken, who was part of Autosport’s offering for 25 years, defected to Racefans at the start of 2018, bolstering their paddock presence.

Like Rencken, journalist Joe Saward has attached himself to an independent site. His musings are hosted on Motorsport Week, part of Motorsport Media Services’ outlets. Whilst the relationship is a little less formal than that between Rencken and Racefans, it goes to show that not every established journalist is within Motorsport Network’s portfolio. Motorsport Week has been around since 2008, historically known as The F1 Times and Grand Prix Times.

Another F1 rights holder with a website presence is ESPN. However, its Formula 1 website is largely independent of the US television coverage, having being around for several years. Laurence Edmondson and Nate Saunders lead the web output, with familiar faces to UK readers such as Mark Gallagher and Jennie Gow contributing to video content. Instead of giving their US coverage a distinctive voice, ESPN and FOM decided to give US viewers Sky’s UK coverage meaning that the ESPN website remained independent of the TV output.

As well as writing and contributing to Sky’s F1 coverage, Mark Hughes also writes regular columns for Motor Sport Magazine. Now in its 94th year, if you are after a more in-depth outlook on current affairs, as well as a reflection on yesteryear, Motor Sport Magazine is the place for you. Best of all, their entire magazine archive has been digitalised, putting many classic moments at your fingertips, written by those who were there on the day.

Slightly younger than Motor Sport Magazine at 18 years, Crash Media Group (CMG) is now an established name in the motor racing media circles (one can only guess if this group is on Motorsport Network’s radar or not). CMG goes beyond Crash.net, as the group also owns a motorcycling website (Visordown) and a golf website (GolfMagic). Crash has a working relationship with Bike Sport News, but does not currently own the entity.

News agencies and foreign outlets
Reuters is primarily a news agency, meaning that it is unlikely that fans go to Reuters’ directly for their news. Instead, news from Reuters’ resident Formula 1 correspondent Alan Baldwin will more than likely make its way through to other sites, such as the BBC for example.

The ‘Fleet Street‘ contingent has reduced over the years, but there are still some UK newspapers reporting on Formula 1 from the races. Bec Clancy leads the way for The Times, having succeeded Kevin Eason as their motor racing reporter. Other sites, such as The Independent and The Guardian, but very few have someone dedicated to F1 like in yesteryear. As one might expect, the expense of sending someone on site outweighs the amount of readers likely to view or read the following article.

The main non-English website to mention is German website Auto Motor und Sport, which regularly reports F1 stories before its English counterparts through its main reporter Tobi Gruner.

There are countless more websites that I could mention, but I have tried to avoid including sites that regurgitate content already out there. The further down the motor racing pyramid you go, the more sites you see that specialise in a specific series, as accreditation is more straightforward than at the top.

Plus, you have a higher probability of speaking to contacts, breaking an exclusive Formula E story for example, and getting your foot in the door than an equivalent in F1, , increasing your reputation. As the saying goes, you must start somewhere…

Are there any major websites that I have missed out? Do the sites listed cover everything you look for in Formula 1 reporting? Have your say in the comments below.

McLaren continues social media gains despite Honda relationship

The 2017 Formula One season saw the split of two brands after three painful years together. Re-entering Formula 1 at the start of 2015, Honda aimed to take McLaren back to championship winning ways. Just two and a half years later, and very little to celebrate, their marriage ended, with McLaren pairing up with Renault from 2018 onwards.

McLaren’s relationship with Honda has caused damage to their on-track reputation: their last podium visit was at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. But has the damage for both McLaren, and their lead driver Fernando Alonso, extended to off the track and onto social media?

The F1 Broadcasting Blog has analysed the number of social media followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that Formula 1’s teams and drivers have obtained going back to the middle of 2015, reporting on progress at checkpoints half way through the season and at the end of the season. Generally, you expect to see all metrics increase, as drivers become more popular throughout their career, growing their fan base. Similarly, fans may switch allegiances depending on which team their favourite driver heads to.

At this point, I hear you say “why are you not tracking engagement”, and maybe saying “the number of followers is useless if no one interacts with the brand.” Both points are equally valid. However, engagement data is not readily available in the public domain, and it would be extremely difficult to track and record the engagement data across three platforms, covering potentially thousands of different data points (platform, multiplied by 33 accounts, multiplied by individual statuses).

No two tweets generate the same amount of engagement. There is no “one size fits all” approach to presenting this data. For the moment, it is what we have, although I am open for other ways of analysing the data. I would argue that, as a measure of popularity, the number of followers one driver has compared to another is still an interesting statistic.

McLaren continues to rise, but at a slower rate of knots
In July 2015, McLaren reached 4.37 million followers across the three main social media platforms. Fast forward two and a half years, and that number has increased by 64 percent (or 2.79 million followers) to 7.16 million followers. In isolation, it feels like a good increase, and not one that suggests apathy from new fans engaging with the brand. Given the brand history of McLaren, it should be looking to grow at the same rate as its nearest rivals, such as Ferrari and Red Bull.

Interestingly, Ferrari’s number of followers over the same time has also increased by 64 percent, from 4.82 million followers to 7.90 million followers. So, despite having a much poorer period than their Italian neighbours, McLaren kept the pressure on, rising by an identical percentage from a similar baseline.

Social media - 2018-01 - F1 Teams

The problem for both Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes is the onslaught from Red Bull. The drinks company has increased their following by 113 percent, rising from 5.77 million followers in July 2015 to a whopping 12.27 million followers. Whilst still shy of Mercedes, their positive and fun social media strategy, with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen at the helm, has caused a surge in their following, bringing new fans to their outlets. As noted during the Summer break, Mercedes’ social media growth has slowed in the past year.

For allegedly such an important brand to Formula 1, Red Bull is now streets ahead of Ferrari in the social media game. And, to their credit, McLaren’s following has continued to rise despite their poor on-track performance. One of the drawbacks with this data is that we do not know the overlap of followers between teams. How many of Red Bull’s new followers are new Formula 1 social media followers? If the answer happened to be ‘the majority’, from a Liberty Media perspective, this is a group of people that they should be interested in tailoring their output to.

Hamilton wipes social media history as Raikkonen joins the fray
Fernando Alonso’s social media profile has also risen, but to a slower degree. Comparing Alonso’s performance across social media with other leading drivers on social media is difficult as there are only four other drivers who were in a similar situation in July 2015. They are Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.

Unsurprisingly, Ricciardo’s and Verstappen’s following has surged and both have increased in larger share and volume than Alonso. Alonso’s performance flat lined in the second half of 2017, but the gulf between him and the remainder of the field means that his social media position is not under threat. Of course, Hamilton is still comfortably out in front. For the moment…

Social media - 2018-01 - F1 Drivers

Following the gathering of the statistics behind this post, things went south for Hamilton, and his social media profile has come under scrutiny in recent weeks. As a result, the four-time Drivers’ Champion has wiped his complete Instagram account, and his Twitter account dating back to October 2013. If any of them disappear completely, his large profile of over 15 million profiles will be gone in a flash, and places a major dent in Formula 1’s social media presence.

We live in a bizarre world now where Kimi Raikkonen has more Instagram posts than Hamilton. No, that is not a misprint. Yes, the Finnish driver has joined Instagram, already amassing over 300,000 followers in a week, ahead of the likes of Stoffel Vandoorne, Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen.

Outside of Hamilton, the Red Bull drivers and Perez, no one else stood out in the second half of 2017, in what was a quiet end to the social media year. The one team further down the field that impressed was Toro Rosso, who are on course to overtake Force India, a surprising development considering Toro Rosso was the lowest ranked team on social media just two years ago. Toro Rosso’s large increase is likely due to their driver rotations this year, bringing in a wider variety of fans as a result to their social media pages.

A long way to go for F1, and motor racing as a whole
Formula 1’s official social media pages have shown strong growth across 2017. Between March and November, their profiles grew by 39 percent, reaching 11.04 million followers, overtaking NASCAR during 2017. However, Formula 1 remains some way behind MotoGP overall, thanks to a significant gulf in following on Facebook, and is unlikely to overtake MotoGP for many years.

Social media - 2018-01 - Series

Liberty Media themselves have touted Formula 1’s growth on the official F1 website. Whilst F1 has indeed grown proportionally compared to other brands, their reach remains far, far lower. La Liga, which according to F1 has grown just under 30 percent year-on-year, has 34 million followers on Facebook, dwarfing anything motor sport has to offer.

The F1 website also points out Formula E’s growth on social media, which is amusing considering how it is not in the same category as any of the other major brands listed. IndyCar’s PR team may be mystified at how they have not made the list considering it has a far greater social media presence than Formula E and grew their number of followers by 33 percent between March and November.

Proportionally speaking, F1’s following is spread equally between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, something Liberty needs to work on changing as Facebook is a far bigger platform than Twitter and Instagram. Different content works for different audiences across the three platforms, and that is something F1 needs to explore further in 2018 if it is to unlock the potential that Facebook presents.

Full-length classic F1 action heading to YouTube

For the first time ever, Formula 1 will upload a classic race to YouTube in full, in Liberty Media’s latest move to bolster the series’ social media presence.

To mark the nineteenth and final Malaysian Grand Prix, fans are being asked via the official Formula 1 website for their favourite Sepang race. Voting is open on both the website and Twitter, with 2001, 2003 and 2012 the three choices.

In a sign that Formula One Management (FOM) are testing the waters at this stage, a caveat is that the classic race will only be available for fans to watch for 19 days. Formula 1 follows in the footsteps of the IndyCar Series and MotoGP who have uploaded full-length races to social media for several years.

For UK fans, it is the first time that full-length races have appeared legally on a platform such as YouTube. From 2009 to 2011, the BBC uploaded a selection of their ‘Grand Prix’ highlights shows from 1982 to 1996 onto their website, again based on fan voting, with shorter edits for ITV races from 1997 onwards.

Since 2013, Sky Sports F1 have aired classic races during the season primarily in a 21:00 time slot, but the last classic race ‘new’ to the channel aired two years ago, with the same races on rotation since. Races after 1996 are covered in full, with the races from the original BBC era covered in highlights form. Of course, whilst the classic races help fill a lot of air-time for the channel, the audience for races behind a pay wall in that timeslot are minuscule.

There are two points of interest with the upload, depending on the chosen race: the feed and commentary used. For 2003 and 2012, the answer is simple, the UK commentary with the World Feed. In the case of the former, James Allen and Martin Brundle will be the voices fans hear, with David Croft and Brundle expected for the latter.

However, in 2001, FOM had two feeds: the F1 Digital feed and the local World Feed, which most viewers saw. In terms of commentary, there are three options: the ITV commentary with Murray Walker and Martin Brundle, a re-dubbed version of the race, or just the raw sounds. I hope we hear the ITV commentary, but that may be complicated if FOM want to use the F1 Digital feed, as the pictures will not match the commentary. Either FOM could splice the pictures together to create a hybrid feed, or re-dub the commentary.

From a strategy perspective, uploading a complete classic race to YouTube is a significant step from Liberty Media, as they continue to exploit Formula 1 on social media. There is no doubt that FOM will be chewing over the YouTube numbers as demand (or lack thereof) will dictate whether we see more of this content. Broadcasters’ such as Sky will have approved the latest change from FOM.

If numbers are strong, but those viewers are on average watching an hour of the race, truncated versions may appear in the future. It also helps Liberty plan their future over-the-top platform. Is there genuine demand for full classic races, or is the demand exaggerated in certain quarters? The viewing figures are key for FOM in many respects.

Formula 1 conducts successful live 360º video trial
Elsewhere, on the Formula 1 spectrum, a successful live 360º video experience was conducted during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

Historically for sport, the latency between 360º video and the television feed has been greater than 30 seconds. However, the prototype from Tata Communications and FOM during Singapore has reduced the latency to zero, with the 360º pictures completely in sync with the other feeds, something that the official F1 website is promoting as a world first in any sport.

Two 360-degree cameras were present during the race weekend, one in the paddock and one situated track side. The new development could allow fans to follow the action live in the future via 360º feeds on an over-the-top platform.

“In a sport like F1 where every millisecond matters, there are huge opportunities to empower fans to take control of key Grand Prix moments and create their unique, personalised race experiences through the powerful combination of live TV and 360º video,” said John Morrison, Chief Technical Officer, Formula 1.

“We want to unleash the full potential the F1 fan experience through the latest digital technologies,” said Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations, Formula 1. “Through this proof of concept, we’ve explored how live 360º video, and next VR, could transport fans from across the globe to the middle of the thrilling world of F1 and enable them to immerse themselves in each Grand Prix like never before.”

Liberty Media helps bring F1 social media strategy on-track

The direction from Liberty Media, through Formula One Management, to pour resources into Formula 1’s official social media platforms appears to be paying off, figures for the first half of 2017 show, with Formula 1 the fastest growing motor racing series.

Liberty Media helps F1 to significant growth…
This site has tracked the cumulative number of followers for the likes of F1, MotoGP and the IndyCar Series across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram since March. The results for Formula 1 are impressive, with a 20 percent boost in the cumulative number, going from 7.9 million followers in March to 9.6 million followers at the end of July, racing past NASCAR. Assuming the rate of trajectory continues, I would expect F1 to reach 12 million followers across the three platforms by the end of the season.

At the foot of the table, Formula Two and GP3 continue to struggle, below the likes of the British Touring Car Championship. As I mentioned briefly last December, Liberty needs to work hard to help promote Formula Two, after all it should feature the next generation of Formula 1 stars, such as Charles Leclerc. A few video highlights on Facebook and Twitter would significantly help the series’ reach, as would cross-promotion with the F1 channels. Instead, Formula Two and GP3 hides their video highlights away exclusively on their website. I suspect Liberty needs more resources dedicated both of their social media channels. It is absurd for example that Formula Two still does not have an active YouTube channel.

Social media - August 2017 - motor sport series comparison
Comparing the leading motor sport series on social media, showing their cumulative follower growth between March and July 2017.

Fernando Alonso’s drive in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 has helped IndyCar’s standing on social media, jumping from 860,000 followers to 1.06 million followers, a percentage rise higher than F1’s outlined above. The social media strategy around #AlonsoRunsIndy worked, although I suspect any long-term impact for IndyCar will be minimal, unless he returns next year! Further back, the electric Formula E series gained around 60,000 followers from March to July, a jump of 13.9 percent (note: figure recorded prior to the season finale). Formula E is rising at a similar rate to the World Endurance Championship, which is not a great statistic considering the interest from manufactures in the former. Certainly, Formula E’s social media standing is reflective of their viewing figures worldwide in my opinion.

The small rise for Roborace is because of the removal of ‘bot’ followers from their various platforms, meaning that they only see a jump of around 2,000 followers. As mentioned before, I am highly suspect of Roborace’s numbers, I would be unsurprised if the real number was a quarter, or even a tenth, of what the statistics suggest.

…but Mercedes’ F1 growth stagnates…
The loss of Nico Rosberg has hurt Mercedes’ social media portfolio, with Red Bull Racing the major winners. The drinks company has seen growth for the past two years, which has continued in the first half of 2017, their platforms (excluding drivers) rising from 8.95 million followers last December to 11.36 million cumulative followers, a substantial rise of 26.9 percent. In comparison, Mercedes following increased from 13.99 million followers to 14.57 million, a smaller jump of just 4.2 percent. Their Facebook following has stalled at around 11 million followers for the past year and a half, suggesting that it may have peaked in that department.

Social media - August 2017 - F1 team increase
Comparing Formula 1’s ten teams on social media, looking at their cumulative followers and growth between December 2016 and August 2017.

Whilst Liberty Media’s aggressive social media helped the official F1 channels, the loss of Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg hurt the series as Stoffel Vandoorne and Lance Stroll replaced them once the dominos fell into place. Rosberg and Button were Formula 1’s third and fourth biggest stars on social media, behind Lewis Hamilton and Alonso. The pair leave behind a significant gap, with Daniel Ricciardo now F1’s third star on social media, currently half of Alonso’s following and less than a quarter of Hamilton’s combined number.

Moreover, Hamilton and Alonso are still recording the biggest growths on social media with no signs of slowing down. In the first half of 2017, Hamilton acquired 1.73 million new followers, with Ricciardo acquiring 683,000 new followers. The loss of Rosberg, who was Formula 1’s first new champion since 2010, is extremely apparent when you look at the numbers. It continues to be the case that neither Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen have a social media presence, both would likely fill that gap in another world.

…as Ricciardo becomes the third top dog
The loss of Rosberg and Button may explain why audience figures have struggled to rise, for example in the UK, where Button would have had a strong and loyal fan base. Hopefully, this is a short-term pain, long-term gain situation, whereby Ricciardo and Verstappen fill the gap left behind in the years to come, assuming both drivers have the equipment underneath them to deliver the results on the circuit. F1 on the list below does skew older age wise than MotoGP, which is a major issue moving forward.

Social media - August 2017 - F1 vs MotoGP
Comparing how Formula 1’s and MotoGP’s top drivers line-up against each other on social media.

The problem illustrated above will be one that MotoGP faces when Valentino Rossi retires, although you could easily see Rossi going another three to five years. Whilst Rossi is firmly top dog on social media, the championship is in a situation where there are other stars on the track building their reputation. MotoGP’s rider numbers are generally lower than Formula 1, as one might expect. From an age perspective, Marc Marquez, Max Verstappen and Maverick Vinales are the stars with potential in the next ten years in the new media platforms.

It will be fascinating to track the trajectories in both MotoGP and F1 as the baton moves from Rossi and Hamilton respectively. Of course, this assumes that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are still around. Instagram is the platform continuing to surge, with it set to overtake Twitter in terms of F1 team and driver influence within the next six months to a year, despite only having a quarter of the F1 following two years ago.