Random thoughts on the F1 fan survey results

BBC columnist Andrew Benson has released some of the key findings from the recent F1 Fan Survey, and doubtless some editorialising has already occurred.

From what we do know, allow me to offer the following thoughts...

After Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were the next two most popular drivers

No real surprises here, apart from the lack of mention of one Lewis Hamilton. More on that later...

Ferrari was the most popular team, followed by McLaren and Williams

Again, no surprises. I'm pretty sure I answered Mclaren for favourite team, despite their current poor form. So, sorry Red Bull, it seems that your complaints will continue to fall on deaf ears, hardly surprising in the case of Mr. Ecclestone.

32% of fans said the 2000s produced the best-looking cars, with the 1990s the next favoured era for aesthetics at 20%

And most people watching F1 in the 1980s don't complete online surveys... pretty cut and dried. 

Ayrton Senna was voted the most popular driver ever, followed by Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost

It'd be interesting to see the percentage difference between Senna and Prost.

88% said F1 needed to feature the best drivers in the world, but only 45% thought it did

Bloody pay drivers. In my mind though it's not even a question, Formula 1 does feature the best drivers in the world... and then there's a few others filling the grid. It's questions like these that were particular leading, either they were poorly crafted or deliberately skewed.

74% said the rules should be relaxed to allow greater diversity of cars and technology and 73% said the sound of the engines was important

This angers me, greatly. I really don't want the grid to feature cars with a diversity of specifications. I'd actually rather see all drivers competing in the same spec car than having some cowboys in a ratrod at the back of the field.

80% wanted more than one tyre maker

Word. [fistbump]

60% said in-race refuelling should be reintroduced

This is interesting, but ultimately 60% isn't anywhere near compelling for what is ultimately a 50 / 50 proposal. To paraphrase The West Wing, 60% is 6 out of 10 in a focus group. If you convince one person to change their mind it's 50 / 50, and if you convince one more to change their mind it's a landslide.

86% wanted the drivers to be more open and honest with the fans

I think this goes some way to explaining Kimi's popularity. He may not say much, but no one doubts that he is 100% genuine that he just doesn't give a fuck.

More than half of respondents were between 25 and 44 years old, with an average age of 37 and more than 75% had been following the sport for more than 10 years.

Agreed, 37 is a very average age and one that I'm fast approaching. Either the vast majority of respondents have actually been following F1 for more than ten years or just those that have been watching for so long are concerned enough to complete the survey.

Also if you're reading this Benson, one of my pet peeves is listing off dot points and finishing some sentances with full stops and neglecting others. Pick a side, dude.

Twitter was the number one social media outlet for F1, with Button the most followed driver among respondents, even though both Lewis Hamilton and Alonso have more followers overall

I. CAN. NOT. WAIT until being popular on twitter is enough to grant you media accreditation. I'll just hold my breath until that happens....

But back to Lewis Hamilton not featuring in the "most followed" driver list. Alonso features in the most popular section, so he gets a pass, but how can Hamilton as the reigning champion with more twitter followers than Jenson (2.8 million versus 2.1 million) not be the most followed driver?

I think here we're seeing the emergence of the "formula one fan" of the future. It won't shock anybody when I say that a lot of Hamilton's followers are millennials who are just as interested, if not more so, in who he is dating, whether he'll drop a tasty mixtape, what brand of kicks he is sporting and hoping that he'll post more shirtless pics (I mean... are you doing pull ups or wearing them?).

The million dollar question is this: if his broad appeal doesn't attract new fans to the sport... what on earth will?

^ Rod