F1 teams embrace power of social media to bring fans closer to the action

Fans and teams alike have reacted positively to Liberty Media's relaxation of the use of social media from inside the F1 paddock.

Many teams took the opportunity to have their drivers speak directly to the fans through channels like Twitter and Facebook following Friday's practice sessions.

It was a hot topic during Friday's FIA press conference, with most team principles excited for the potential of reaching fans through new media channels. 

Christian Horner teased that Red Bull could offer fans unprecedented access to their drivers in the lead up to the Grand Prix.

"I think that relaxing the rules regarding the digital platforms, allowing content to be generated—non-circuit content—giving the ability for fans and followers to get a little bit beneath the covers and closer to seeing the personalities of the drivers in the build-up to a grand prix or pre-season is certainly positive.

"It's a media business at the end of the day. Formula One is a media business."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also saw the potential for reaching untapped audiences through new digital channels.

"We have to cover three different generations. We have to cover the long-time followers, so-called middles agers, the Millennials and Generation Z," said Wolff.

"For example," he explained, "when we launched the car we put some time into the car launch, which is a risk on the engineering side, you're compromising your time, and we did a Facebook Live launch, 360, and we had almost a million views in 24 hours and it was successful."

Mercedes' launch video for the W08 earned over a million views in 24 hours.

Mercedes' launch video for the W08 earned over a million views in 24 hours.

Defending their decision to shield Kimi Raikkonen from the press on Thursday, Ferrari team principle Maurizio Arrivabene justified their decision by reiterating that the best way to reach more people is it to utilise as many digital touch-points as possible.

"Yesterday we had Sebastian who was talking and we were using social media and posting something related to Kimi," he explained.

"Liberty also said that in this business at the moment the digital platforms are used at only 1% of the potential. So, the good thing is to find the right balance. Instead of having two drivers on Thursday and talking and doing a copy and paste of one versus the other with the same questions we made sure Sebastian was talking in one way and Kimi in the other."