BENGALURU: If you open an Instagram page and swipe through the stories especially during the race weekends, it is guaranteed that you will tap through, on average, 20-25 profiles with stories about the race. Over the past year, there has been a surge of Formula One fans, especially among college students.
We talk to some of the new Formula One (F1) fans from the city and understand the reasons behind the buzz.Aniket believes that the Netflix docuseries have played an influential role in grooming F1 fans. “I know so many people, who started watching F1 because of Drive to Survive. The show personally gave me the push to watch and follow the sport.”
Released in 2019, Drive to Survive is a docuseries that opens the world of Formula1 to the people. The intimate insight it showcases is believed to be the key reason for the growing number of fans especially youngsters following F1. New research from global analytics company Nielsen Sports has revealed that 2020 witnessed an audience growth of 77%, mostly between the age group of 16 to 35.
“People have started watching Drive To Survive as a result of the pandemic,” Aniket adds.Sanjana S, an engineering student, says, “After knowing what goes on behind the scenes - the effort by the team, the amount of dedication, strength and perseverance each driver has, it just adds on to the intensity and makes the race extremely interesting. This knowledge, keeps me at the edge of my seat, all race weekend.”
For Udbhavi Balakrishna too, the show helped her to learn the little nuances about the sport. “I love the uncertainty and possibilities; not knowing who will win until the very end because anything is possible. The adrenaline rush I experience as a new fan and the hopes I pin on my favourite team and drivers are all very exciting. I love the competitive spirit of the drivers and teams on the track and the camaraderie off the track. It certainly is a lot more than ‘just men driving cars round and round a track,” she adds.
While the show has led to a growing fan base in the city, some veteran fans believe that the show is filled with exaggerated drama and doesn’t highlight the true essence of the sport.“I understand, drama sells a story, and it is what people remember the most.
While I am grateful the show has made the sport bigger in the city, it doesn’t necessarily represent the true aspect of the sport. True aspect being that this is a motorsport wherein the skills of the 500+ engineers and talent of the drivers is more important and should be held to a higher regard than the drama portrayed by the show,” says Pratyush Kaith, a Formula One engine aspirant.