The Liberty Media market saturation strategy is working
We’re exploring the world of Formula 1 through a business, content, and media lens. If you’d like to read and listen to our work directly from your inbox, subscribe now.
Whew! That was a wild three-week stretch of races. It feels like yesterday we were in a rain-soaked Spa for the Belgian GP, and now we’re just two races from the end of the season.
Here’s where we stand after the inaugural Qatar GP:
Max Verstappen — 351.5 points
Lewis Hamilton — 343.5 points
Mercedes — 546.5
Red Bull — 541.5
Ferrari — 297.5
McLaren — 258
Thanks to the amazing F1 subreddit, u/QC_1999 gives us these scenarios for Max Verstappen to take home the World Drivers Championship in Jeddah:
Verstappen 1st + fastest lap and Hamilton 6th (Max 377.5, Lewis 351.5)
Verstappen 1st and Hamilton 7th (Max 376.5, Lewis 349.5)
Verstappen 2nd + fastest lap and Hamilton 10th (Max 370.5, Lewis 344.5)
Verstappen 2nd and Hamilton doesn’t score (Max 369.5, Lewis 343.5)
Essentially, a gap of 26 points with a Max win or a Lewis non-win, gives Verstappen the Championship.
What a season!
The Blitz is Working
This data in this thread from August continues gaining momentum.
The next step for Liberty Media was to lower the age of viewers and attract a newer audience to the sport.
Former Formula 1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone was notoriously against new ways of marketing, especially to younger fans. He was even quoted as saying things like:
I’d rather get to the 70-year-old guy who’s got plenty of cash. So, there’s no point trying to reach these kids because they won’t buy any of the products here and if marketers are aiming at this audience, then maybe they should advertise with Disney.
Ecclestone famously relied on race promoters, teams, sponsors, and media to publicize the sport rather than the rights holders themselves investing money in marketing.
In 2018, that changed when Formula 1 rolled out a minute-long film ‘Engineered Insanity’, which initially rolled out over social media channels. It focused on the visceral appeal of the sport as experienced by ‘superfans’ inside a wind tunnel.
Ellie Norman, Formula 1’s appointed director of marketing and communications, told Reuters at Formula 1 that teams were supportive of the initiative.
There is definitely a sense of appreciation that for the first time Formula 1 is promoting the sport and the series itself.
The teams work incredibly hard from their team and driver perspective but there has not been something from Formula 1 that promotes the series.
Liberty Media is truly embracing the internet age.
Drivers and teams have online personas. Drive to Survive is a piece of brand content that would never have flown in Bernie’s F1. There’s personality in the content. It feels like work you want to support.
Just a couple of months back, Formula 1 released the results of the massive survey they put out earlier this year to some amazing results.
The blitz is working — and I believe it’s time for other sports to follow suit.
Lewis Hamilton on Qatar
Lewis had these words to say about racing in Qatar and the duty he feels for raising awareness for the equality issues:
We’re aware there are issues in these places that we’re going to. But [Qatar] seems to be deemed as one of the worst in this part of the world.
As sports go to these places, they are duty bound to raise awareness for these issues.
These places need scrutiny. It needs the media to speak about these things. Equal rights is a serious issue.
I am aware that in this place they are trying to make steps and it can’t change overnight.
If we are coming to these places, we need to be raising the profile of the situation. One person can only make a certain amount of small difference but collectively we can have a bigger impact.
Do I wish that more sportsmen and women spoke out on these issues? Yes.
I have been to a lot of these countries and have been ignorant, been unconscious of some of the problems in some of the places.
It’s down to whether you decide to educate yourself and hold the sport more accountable and make sure the sport is actually doing something about it when it goes to these places.
That’s why I’ve tried to raise my voice, but there are far brighter people that are knowledgeable on these issues that are trying to fight them in the background.
But I still think we can bring a spotlight to it and create that scrutiny and that pressure that can hopefully create change.
Speaking of Bernie Ecclestone
Would you work from home if Senna’s MP4/8-6 was your backdrop?
My short answer: no, I’d be figuring out how to drive it at any moment.
One of the funniest F1 impressions skit you’ll watch. Carlos and Kimi had me absolutely rolling 🤣 😂 😂
The Qualifier is a weekly newsletter that explores the world of business, money, and content in Formula 1.
Subscribe now if you would like to join more than 33,000 other industry executives, sports fans, and pro athletes who receive it instantly to their inbox.