Britain in the fast lane - Exploring Formula One’s popularity among Brits
July 9th, 2024, Lesley Simeon

Britain in the fast lane - Exploring Formula One’s popularity among Brits

With the British Grand Prix taking place this month, we look at YouGov data to see exactly how popular Formula One (F1) is among Britons.

Data from YouGov Profiles, which covers demographic, psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural consumer metrics, shows that motorsport ranks fifth on the list of sports Britons watch/follow - a little over one in ten (12%) British adults are motorsport fans.

But what about Formula 1 specifically? According to YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks consumer sentiment towards thousands of brands daily, F1’s following among the general British population has remained more or less the same since 2020.

But following among 18-34-year-olds has risen in the last four years. Compared to other age groups, F1’s Current Customer score (which measures the proportion of people who watch or follow a sport in the year prior) has improved the most among young adults (18-34 years), from 12% in January 2020, to a peak of 19% in July 2023, before falling away to slightly lower to 16% in June 2024.

F1-related chatter among friends and family has been most prominent among 18-34-year-olds too.

For instance, F1’s Word of Mouth Exposure metric, which asks if respondents have talked about a sporting event/league with friends and family in the past two weeks, grew from 9% in January 2020, to a peak of 18% in November 2022, before falling slightly to 16% in June 2024 - the highest among all age groups.

The data findings spell good news for F1, given that the event, the participating teams and the sponsors are targeting younger audiences. It’s likely that six seasons of Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive have supported this effort.

What must brands that sponsor motorsport events know about engaging fans?

When it comes to sponsorship, F1 fans (respondents who say F1 is one of their top interests) are more likely than the general British population (70% vs. 56%) to say that sometimes the brand that sponsor sports don’t make sense. F1 fans in particular are also more likely than motorsport fans (67%) to say so. Notably, roughly F1 teams list roughly 300 brands as sponsors.

Further, YouGov data shows that more than two in five F1 fans (43%) and more than a third of motorsport fans (34%) take notice of who sponsors the sporting events they watch - again, more likely than the general public (27%).

F1 fans are also more likely to expect special discounts from the sponsors (41% vs. 25%) as well as to support their teams by buying products from their sponsors (29% vs. 17%).

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Methodology: YouGov BrandIndex collects data on thousands of brands every day. Formula One’s Current Customer score is based on the question: “Did you watch or follow any of the following sporting events/leagues in the past year?” (% Yes). Formula One’s WOM Exposure score is based on the question: “Which of the following sporting events/leagues have you talked about with friends and family in the past two weeks (whether in person, online, or through social media)?” (% Yes). Data from surveys of adults aged 18 years and above residing in Great Britain from 1 January 2020 and 4 July 2024. WOM Exposure scores are based on a 52-week moving average. The change in scores for each brand is calculated by taking the difference between the highest and lowest scoring days within the period. Learn more about BrandIndex. .
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