F1 study reveals how Verstappen dominance is affecting the sport

Social engagement in Formula 1 has experienced its first decline since 2018, according to a study by Buzz Radar which looks like it may have something to do with the now-three-time world champion Max Verstappen.

Before this season, social media metrics such as mentions, new followers and social reach had been steadily increasing. However, 2022 marked a peak, with mentions falling by 70.7%, new followers by 49.2%, and social reach by 64.1% so far in 2023.

An analysis of fan conversations on social media has indicated a shift towards negative terms and phrases used on social media. “Not good”, “boring” and “disappointing” are becoming more common language in F1 circles whilst the use of “love”, “great” and “fun” have declined.

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Entirely dominant eras from Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen seemingly contributes to a loss of interest from F1 fans
F1 fans are more interested in the sport during tense title battles like Nico Rosberg’s championship win in 2016

Title fights pique interest

The report’s findings highlight significant declines in F1 mentions and meagre growth in new followers for prominent accounts when comparing 2022 with 2023.

Also, the reach of F1-related content on various social platforms has diminished, contrasting the consistent growth witnessed in previous years. However, these declining statistics are just one aspect of the situation.

The decline in engagement could be attributed to Red Bull and Verstappen’s recent dominance, resembling Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s streak in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The 2016 and 2021 seasons stand out as the most widely discussed in the years prior to 2022, which is likely down to the closely contested championship battles.

While 2021 thrived on the excitement generated by Verstappen and Hamilton’s championship duel, 2023 appears to be following a pattern seen in 2017 and 2018 when Hamilton’s dominance prevailed. Mentions related to the 2023 season are projected to drop by 20% compared to 2022.

Not all doom and gloom

Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that fan engagement remains more passionate than ever, with a 1% increase in negative discussions and a substantial 27% rise in positive conversations compared to 2016.

It’s possible that ongoing challenges on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) have contributed to the overall decrease in social engagement, although it is not the sole underlying cause of this drop off.

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