For many years, the premier class of motor sport resembled the film “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray, in which every day started the same way. In Formula 1, the world champion Lewis Hamilton was responsible for this repetitiveness. He broke every record and won title after title. Even if there was a little tension in between, it usually didn’t change the situation as much. The Briton always stayed reliably at the top. Yet, this year everything is different, there is tension like never before. This is quite astonishing; because even before the season began, all the experts assumed that Hamilton would dominate this year as well.
Max Verstappen challenged the world champion, and he already has more victories than Hamilton. Only after a dramatic race, Hamilton eliminated him in a direct duel, but even now no one can say how this season will end. At the same time, it is precisely this situation that Formula 1 has a problem with. You can see that at several points. After the cancellation of the Japanese Grand Prix, the organisers have to reschedule the racing calendar. That is Japan’s fourth rejection this year.
The Fourth Rejection
The stops in Canada, Australia, and Singapore, had to be canceled beforehand. The race in Brazil is also not yet final. Therefore, the organizing committee have already announced that they will publish a new racing calendar instead. Initially, there should have been 23 races this season, but sadly it is now unclear whether there will be that many. However, numerous countries have still expressed their interest in holding a race, but their interest doesn’t make the logistical problems any more solvable.
As if that weren’t enough, the racing series in Germany is struggling with slumps in audience interest. Tragically, this happens the same year during which Formula 1 is more exciting than ever before. In one of the largest markets for racing in Europe, Germany, the TV rights switched from the public broadcaster RTL to the subscription-based TV broadcaster Sky in the previous year. Therefore, there was a damper in the millions this season. However, this only affects the total number of viewers. Sky itself can be satisfied with the ratings. After all, these were over a million viewers at the start and are now well below a million on average. In the previous year, RTL was able to look forward to almost four million viewers. The slump comes at an inopportune time for Formula 1 because the races have not been so exciting for years.
The small neighboring country in the south, Austria, proves that television broadcasts are still important. Although there too was a channel change, but Servus TV, which Red Bull’s founder Dietrich Mateschitz owns, is happy about record ratings. The race in Emilia Romagna had the best odds in ten years, which were enough to raise the audience figures in Austria to the level of Germany. That’s amazing since the country is ten times bigger. Formula 1 is also celebrating record ratings in England, where interest in the sport is more significant than ever. There, the number of viewers regularly exceeds one million too. These trends will hopefully lay the foundation for further development of Formula 1.