The growth of online coverage in motorsport

As we all tune in to this weekend’s smorgasbord of motorsport coverage, it’s a good time to think about how we might be following
series like Formula One, World Endurance Championship, World Rally Championship and more, in the future.

While not a new concept, live streaming events are garnering more attention through social media. This week Audi presented the new R18 e-tron quattro at Le Mans via a live stream following the car through a lap of the city streets. Hyundai also presented their new World Rally Championship program via an easily-accessible live stream in December, unveiling the i20 WRC and its initial driver line-up of Thierry Neuville, Juho Hänninen, Dani Sordo and Chris Atkinson.

In the past, these events have only been open to the upper echelons of media and VIP sponsors. By including the general public, fans can feel part of the team from the beginning of the season and more importantly for motorsport as a whole, manufacturers can capitalise on maximum online airtime.

Speaking of social media, there is some interesting analysis of Formula One related Twitter accounts available now, the most extensive of which is the Formula One Social Media Index created by UK media agency Umpf. It measures activity, growth and other metrics from all of last year’s teams across eight social media platforms for the two month time period between 1 August and 30 September 2013.

Lotus topped the index with a score of 74.5 out of 100 for their engaging and cheeky content, with Williams scoring 65.5 and Red Bull close behind at 65.3. The methodology is fairly complex and well worth a read for F1 social aficionados.

A less scientific approach was taken by website Bleacher Report back in January to rank the Formula One drivers based on their social media popularity (sheer numbers) and post frequency. Popular albeit anti-social media drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen did not score well for obvious reasons. Winner Lewis Hamilton has amassed almost two million fans on both Facebook and Twitter. Closest rival Fernando Alonso matches HAM on Twitter numbers, but needs to work on his Facebook presence.

With the increasing number of young rookie drivers making the step up to Formula One, it will be interesting to see how driver social media changes in the future. We suspect the younger racing generation will take to sharing their life with fans online a lot easier than some more veteran drivers, which can only mean fans can get even closer to the action.

What do you think will come next for online media coverage? Tweet us @TechandSport