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A New F1 Audience in America


The Cahier Archive


As part of SPEED’s coverage of Formula 1 in the United States, four races this year will be going to FOX and their affiliates, who can and do make programming decisions that affect the sport’s coverage in certain markets.  Their extended coverage of this year’s Canadian Grand Prix is appreciated by Formula 1 fans across the country, for a race that took the honor of being the longest in Formula 1 history.  Having put together over 100 viewing events with our local F1 group here in San Francisco with dozens of them shown on FOX, I can say from firsthand experience it’s not always a sure thing to have a scheduled race shown on the affiliate in our local market.

The nature of this year’s race with several gaps in action due to rain and crashes made for an epic event, especially for those who stayed on to the finish.  In a country where commercial advertising makes for several natural breaks during a race, the red flags and soaked track in Canada this year created a different kind of opportunity for fans.  Viewers normally worried about missing a return to racing after a regular commercial break took the opportunity during the extended rain delays to jump to laptop or mobile device to contribute to a growing conversation on twitter.  Fans were talking about not only the race so far, but also weather forecasts, who was at the race, and even something I was interested in:  How was everyone getting on with their television coverage on FOX?  I was almost certain part or all of the US would jump to a local sports team on their local affiliate at some point before the severely delayed race was over.

The rain delays also afforded a great opportunity for the SPEED team to engage with the many fans tweeting about the coverage, and during the fill that many broadcasters need to create during an extended break in action it was refreshing to see SPEED taking requests via twitter for highlight footage to be shown during the red flags.  Giving the broadcast the ability to sample the stream of feedback from viewers happening live once again showed the opportunity for much greater Formula 1 fan engagement with a new kind of racing fan, one that is connected, engaged, and is contributing to the experience everyone viewing and tweeting is having.

That said, there’s nothing like a live broadcast at a reasonable hour to make it possible for fans and event to come together in a much more spontaneous way as part of the total experience.  The opportunities in front of a the American Formula 1 audience this weekend weren’t lost on the celebrities tweeting about the race, from rapper Ice-T (in attendance) to gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, and next year in Austin will only create more opportunities for fans, brands, and racing to come together with something altogether different: A purpose built facility at Circuit of the Americas and a little Texas charm.

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Filed under American F1 circuits, American F1 Events, American F1 Fans, brand strategy in F1, Circuit of the Americas, F1 and branding, F1 and business, F1 and Hollywood, F1 and Social Media, F1 and technology, F1 broadcasters, F1 broadcasting in America, F1 in America, United States Grand Prix, United States Grand Prix in Austin

The Canadian GP 2011: Three for the Road


Button & Vettel, Canada 2010

The Cahier Archive


First off – a safe journey to all travelling up to the races this weekend in Montreal, it looks like it will be another year of fantastic racing.  Several friends and members of our local F1 group are heading up and so I’ve put together a few things about events around this race . . .

Tomorrow (Thursday) will be the first of three Formula One Teams Association fan forums, where fans will have the opportunity to engage with the sport most directly.  The event has been filled up, but questions can be emailed to info@teamsassociation.org for review.  Only registered fans will be allowed to attend, but all should send their $.02 for this event.

Friday night in Montreal will experience a boost with social media getting a real trial at this year’s GP.  With so many North Americans on Twitter and Facebook, the hashtags will be flying from hotspot to afterhours.  Not one to get left behind, Red Bull has launched a new app – Invasion – which will catapult the latest goings on through the iPhone from track side to bar side.  Redbull’s integration with event, city, and team will be interesting to watch and measure the impact they and the medium have with F1 audience and businesses.  Circuit of the Americas and the city of Austin will do well to watch and learn from this exercise as the race there will draw the next big North American audience in 2012.

Finally, this Saturday and Sunday a 30 year history of Hugo Boss and McLaren together in photographs will be on display from friend and photographer Paul-Henri Cahier, and event details are here on our Facebook page.  If you haven’t had a look through the history of the Cahier Archive, it’s well worth viewing.

Best to everyone up in Montreal – and look forward to meeting everyone in Austin in 2012!

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Filed under American F1 Fans, brand strategy in F1, Circuit of the Americas, Events, F1 and branding, F1 and business, F1 and Social Media, F1 and technology, United States Grand Prix, United States Grand Prix in Austin