At the Mercedes – INEOS partnership unveiling event Toto Wolff was asked if he thought Mercedes’ domination was bad for Formula 1 viewership.
Mercedes has been dominating Formula 1 since 2014, winning six drivers’ and constructors’ championships in a row. Some are saying this unparalleled run of success is causing Formula 1 to lose its appeal, however Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the data paints a different picture.
“The data speaks a different language,” Wolff said.
“We were presented the 2019 data by Liberty last week and you can see that our audiences have grown everywhere.
“You would imagine that linear TV is something that should be quietly shrinking, and it is not for Formula One. We are actually one of the few sports that is growing the audiences whilst we are moving certain countries behind the pay wall.
“The UK is a great example obviously when we were with the BBC or then Channel 4 the absolute audiences where much bigger than we have today, but Sky is doing a great deal and they are providing lots of content and this is growing.
“We are looking at the year 2019 with almost two billion viewers, 419 million unique viewers, almost 90 million views over a weekend and an average of more than 20 million live viewers for the Grands Prix. These are huge numbers compared to any other sport out there and that is really a stand-out.
“In terms of global attraction for the sport it is there. We are the fastest growing sport in social media, even compared to all the American leagues. You can see that we are on a good track.”
Wolff goes on to say he thinks the rise of Formula 1’s young guns like Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen is a big reason the sport is maintaining its appeal.
“The reason behind it is that Liberty is doing a good job by opening up to social media which wasn’t the case before and I think we had a great competition, even with Mercedes winning a sixth championship you can say does this make people turn off? But the point is there was still variability and unpredictability.
“You wouldn’t know before the weekend if a Ferrari was on pole position or a Red Bull, whether Max Verstappen would win, the battle between the generations is something that is a great attraction, Vettel against Leclerc, Verstappen against Hamilton, this is something that attracts the audiences.
“For me the best news is that we are growing our audiences and fanbase with the younger generations.
“Overall, we are on a really good path,” concluded the Austrian.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team