Formula One Are Stepping Up Their Social Media Game

Grand Prix Times
Formula One hasn't ever had the most progressive attitude towards social media. Mostly they've just tried their utmost to hem the racers in, leading to a few notable conflicts, most famously with Instagram addict Lewis Hamilton. Formula One is also struggling to pull in new viewers, and the ratings are suffering for it.

It doesn't take a genius to see the connection there - better social media marketing, higher chance of pulling in a broader (and younger) audience. Ipso facto. Back in September, F1 was bought by American company Liberty Media for £3.3 billion. Last month Bernie Ecclestone, who became chief executive back in 1978, was removed from his position, and his draconian views on social media went with him.

Now, Liberty have hired a director of global communications, a position which has never previously existed in F1. The man in question, Norman Howell, is a 30-year veteran of sports PR, and for the past 2 years he's been F1's head of digital. Chase Carey, meanwhile, has taken over CEO duties, and himself has a background in media, having acted as CEO for DirecTV. He also has a glorious moustache.

Seriously. (via CEO.com)
Between Howell and Casey, you can probably figure out where social media sits on the agenda. Liberty have now officially announced that they are relaxing social media regulations for drivers, allowing drivers to record video and take photos in the paddock and then post them online, something which was previously pretty much a cardinal sin.

During pre-season testing in Barcelona, Lewis Hamilton, the Renault team and a few others posted footage and images on their social media channels. Looking ahead, Liberty will also probably start making much more prominent use of the dedicated F1 social media channels. Carey has made it clear that he doesn't think F1 are doing enough to 'connect' the fans. Synergy across social media channels is a great way to do that.

It's an exciting time to be an F1 fan. The sport has plenty to offer but under Ecclestone it felt like it was trapped in the glory days of motoring, appealing only to an older audience, and not an audience to be proud of, on many counts. Bernie Ecclestone, Max Moseley and their ilk treated it like an old boys club, and it was only through the charisma of people like Lewis Hamilton, Jensen Button, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso (all big time social media users) that the younger demographic was really accounted for. Not anymore.

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