Formula 1, which stops in France from Friday to Sunday, enjoys a similar level of popularity in France to that of the early 2010s, when it was broadcast on TF1, thanks to the series dedicated to it on Netflix and the successes of Pierre Gasly.

Since the start of the 2021 season, Canal’s premier motorsport category has had the best average audience per Grand Prix since 2012 (the last of the TF1 years) with 1.2 million spectators for qualifying and the race. from sports research firm Nielsen Sports.

“In 2018 and 2019, the French GP recorded the highest attendance of the season,” added Pierre-Emmanuel Davin, General Manager France Benelux of Nielsen Sports. “With F1 arriving on the Paul Ricard track this weekend – one of four races airing on C8, Canal’s free channel – we expect the numbers to continue to rise. “

Regardless, F1 on Canal has already broken several records this year, averaging 1.89 million viewers and peaking at 2.34 million during the Bahrain GP in the clear at the end of March Monaco GP in May. an average of 1.35 million viewers, peaking at 1.74 million initially.

In addition, the proportion of the French population interested in this sport is 23% according to Nielsen Sports January 2020 rose to 27% in April 2021.

The popularity of French drivers Esteban Ocon (Alpine), but especially Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), has also increased on social networks since March 2020.

The audience of Gasly, who became the first winner of the French GP last year since 1996, increased 205% on Facebook (399,000 subscribers), Twitter (630,300) and Instagram (1.9 million, up 179%) Ocon, which is currently its Contract with the French Team Alpine has extended it until 2024 and has 925,000 subscribers on Instagram and 384,600 on Twitter.

“Having two promising French drivers certainly contributes to this increase,” analyzes Tom McCormack, rights holder at Nielsen Sports.

“The power of the Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive [three seasons dedicated to the 2018, 2019 and 2020 championships] is likely to come into play,” he adds. “This format is ideal for bringing Gasly’s personal history and professional accomplishments to a new audience. “

The prospect is rich. “My podium in Brazil 2019 was a pretty strong message and it started there,” said the 25-year-old. Then: “The victory inevitably changed a lot of things about my status. . even though it had been 24 years since we had a GP winner in France. Of course I saw the change. “

Ocon, who was on his first podium in 2020, goes even further: “France is already shining a bit in F1, but also in other motorsport like MotoGP. And there’s Netflix, which has helped make it more visible to the public. F1 has opened up to a lot of more global media and this has really contributed to its popularity. How nice. “

With an ad reduced to 15,000 viewers per day, the Covid-19 forces (compared to 60,000 in normal times) that it will not be seen in the stands this weekend, but the madness is there. It would be a good result. Not too much for the Habs: In 2018 Ocon and Gasly clung to each other, in 2019 the second could not do better than the 10th

We forget that the Grand Prix was interrupted after the first oil shock due to the incredible fuel consumption of these vehicles.
Formula 1 was suddenly on the verge of collapse because it lacked money. Ecclestone managed to outbid the media, clean the stalls (he was first a mechanic at Brabham) and the money came from sponsors who were mostly linked to the tobacco industry.
I was a fan in the early 1970s because you could approach this environment very easily. I went to Paul Ricard (the track was paid for in full by Paul Ricard, not the state) to see private tests every weekend and take pictures without hassle. All the teams went there because the course was less dangerous than the others.
We got to meet all the drivers, Ken Tyrrell, Gordon Murray, see all the technical details of the cars, it’s much easier than today.
The only downside: Every month at least one driver was killed in the world because the cars were unsafe. Safety came later thanks to pilots like Prost.
I am getting older and F1 cars have become very complex and 50% longer because of that complexity. No one is accessible and you have to pay to see them on TV. As for the technological impact on our cars, it is becoming really marginal (maybe some electrical aspects in recent years).

Sometimes generalists are boring… Just like sometimes certain football or tennis matches.
But F1, not for the Khmer Greens, is an exciting discipline.
It combines the highest technology (which ordinary people often benefit from later) with strategy, mentally and physically (pilots are very high level athletes because piloting these machines requires enormous physical skills), piloting talent. pure, courage …
Long live mechanical sport. F1 and WRC… And also to watch MotoGP in an even more spectacular way and now with 2 French at the top.

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