Netflix success shows F1 shouldn’t just chase profit - Brawn

Jonathan Noble

With the second series of Netflix's F1 documentary grabbing the interest of fans, grand prix racing's chiefs are well aware of the wider exposure that the sport has had with a new audience.

While Netflix has paid only a fraction of what major pay-TV channels are forking out for live coverage of the sport, F1's managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn says that the gains it has brought deliver a different kind of value.

"I think it was really great to show the fans the other side of F1, because most of the fans have only seen what goes on at the track or the interviews at the track," said Brawn, speaking at an event for new F1 partner 188Bet.

"Suddenly you see behind the scenes, both at the race tracks and at the factories and the bases the teams operate from. I think it gave people a fascinating insight.

"What we've discovered is it's been very appealing to the non-race fan: in fact it turned them into race fans. Some of the promoters in the past season have said they've definitely measured the increase in interest in F1 that has come from the Netflix series.

"And while Netflix in itself wasn't for us a hugely profitable venture, in terms of giving greater coverage for F1, it's been fantastic. And that's the type of initiative that we're doing, we're looking at taking a holistic view of how we can lift F1."

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Brawn said that F1's push in the Esports arena was along similar grounds: that it was being viewed as an investment to attract a younger generation of fans rather than simply about being a big money deal.

"Eracing, for instance, is a fascinating crossover," he said. "The new generation are very engaged in Esports of all sorts. And we want to make the connection between F1 and Esports.

"Our Esports initiative has been a fantastic success. All of the F1 teams have put teams forward. And it's really engaging a new area, a new age group, and a new interest in the sport."