Netflix’s ‘Drive To Survive’ Has Made F1 Racing More Popular Than Ever In U.S.
The hit docuseries is being credited with the sudden popularity of Formula 1 with American racing fans.
F1 fandom has reached a historic high in the U.S. thanks to Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive, according to a new report.
The dramatic docuseries offering viewers an intimate look at race weekend battles, drivers’ personal lives and the inner workings of teams is responsible for hooking an unprecedented number of American fans to follow the world’s most popular motorsport.
According to a survey by the Morning Consult, “Nearly 3 in 4 fans under the age of 45 (74%) attributed their fandom at least in part to Drive to Survive. Fifty-seven percent of U.S. adults who identified as fans of Formula 1 said they became fans within the past five years, including 26% who said they became fans in the past year.”
The fans Drive to Survive is attracting are also young, which means they’ll likely be around to watch the sport for years to come.
“Among fans between the ages of 18 and 34, 42% said they came on board in the past year. Fifty-eight percent of adult F1 fans in the United States are under the age of 45, up from 49% in 2020.”
Inside Hook adds that ESPN’s live F1 coverage averaged 946,000 viewers per race in 2021, up 56 percent from 2020 and 41 percent from the year prior.
“There is not a way to quantify if the Netflix series has contributed to the audience increases, but it certainly hasn’t hurt,” John Suchenski, director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN, told The New York Times.
“Having additional Formula 1 content out there that reaches a wide and different audience helps increase awareness and interest, and hopefully incentivizes them to tune into the races. A rising tide lifts all boats.”
Ellen DeGeneres is one of many who discovered F1 via the streaming service’s hit show, the fourth season of which premiered on March 11.
To promote an interview with McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo, the talk show host tweeted, “I didn’t know how much I loved Formula One until I started watching #DrivetoSurvive, now I can’t get enough of it or of @DanielRicciardo.”
Fans new and old witnessed an absolutely electric F1 season opener in Bahrain on Sunday, March 20. Ferrari ended a 45-race wineless streak with a one-two finish, putting Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on the top two podium spots, ESPN notes.
Defending world champion Max Verstappen fought Leclerc from second place for much of the race. But the last laps proved catastrophic for the Red Bull driver and his teammate Sergio Perez, both of who were forced to retire due to what team boss Christian Horner claims is a fuel pump problem, according to Top Gear.
The Red Bulls’ failures opened the door for seven-time champ Lewis Hamilton to nab third place, followed by teammate George Russell in Mercedes’ outpaced cars.