The sports powerhouse that’s prioritizing inclusion to diversify the fanbase.
Women + BIPOC + motorsports fans + Gamers + Engineering students
As the highest category in international racing, Formula 1 is relentlessly focused on a long-term strategy to incorporate more female drivers and expand its audience, funding opportunities and creating diverse, inclusive content.
Formula 1 officially announced the creation of a new women-only series. In addition, the F1 Academy will be managed and financially supported by the sport's owners (Formula One Management) to help young women progress in motor racing and ultimately enter F1.
F1 has also extended its financial commitment to the Formula 1 Engineering Scholarship program to promote talents from underrepresented groups, continuing its commitment to increasing diversity within the sport.
Thanks to its Netflix series, Formula 1 tapped into new fan audiences, especially within the US market. The series itself successfully introduce people who would not have been exposed to this historically upper class and affluent sport with 35% of Drive to Survive viewers becoming fans of the sport.
The dividends from the diversity work are that F1 fans are becoming younger and more diverse with a 9.5% increase in fans over 4 years. (Motorsports.com).
The organization took a big lead in esports by holding an incubator series for women. The inaugural competition was watched by 60,000 people, was watched in 123 countries, and garnered 20 million impressions. Regardless of their status or background, fans from all over the world can take part in these esport competitions.
Debuting in 2021, the Women's Wildcard is another way female participants can enter F1 Esports. The purpose of the initiative was to create a space that encourages more women to participate and submit time trials via the official F1 video game, with the fastest earning a spot in the F1 Esports Pro Exhibition and for a chance to be selected by a team for the Pro Championship later in the year.
F1 is intentionally moving away from their good-old-boys-club vibe, which dominated the sport for years. Leading drivers like Sir Lewis Hamilton are pushing aggressively for social progress and representation, and the organizing body at F1 is responding.
Through F1 in Schools, the organization promotes STEM programs for women and people of color.
At an F1 in Schools sponsored Community Night in Miami, residents and youth had a close-up experience with Hamilton, one of the greatest, and the only Black driver, in the history of F1. Racing legend Willie T. Ribbs, the first Black driver to test an F1 car and race in the Indianapolis 500, also made an appearance.
Following efforts to attract more female fans, ticket purchases for the Australian Grand Prix went from a ratio of 75/25 male-female to 60/40 male-female as a result of the popularity of the Netflix’s Drive to Survive series. “It’s been a marketing bonanza for Formula 1,” said Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott.
The brand also uses the sport to push women's boundaries in some countries where the sport has been historically restrictive. In Saudi Arabia, a country that recently lifted the hijab, F1 recently promoted non-veiled women driving an F1 car in the country.