Formula One Rising In Popularity Among Young People

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Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” poster, one of the key factors in gaining younger viewership for the sport.

Alex Arabadzhiev, Staff Writer

Formula One is one of the most popular sports in the world, with a union between man and machine that pushes the boundaries of speed.

Formula One is unlike any other sport in that it mixes a variety of sporting components from engineering the engine, chassis, aerodynamics  to race strategy which is the key to success . It is mostly an individual sport where drivers strive to do well themselves and win races, but it is also a team sport in that there are hundreds of employees within the car whether it be for strategy, engineering, marketing and press. At the end of the season, the teams who have done the best and have won the majority of the races end up receiving the most money.  Furthermore, F1 is not without drama and conflict, both among teammates and among competitors. Then there’s the thrill of the race itself, which is perilous for the driver, but thrilling for the spectators. These are some of the reasons that the sport is increasing in popularity, including among teenagers.

Nate Ryan, a junior, is among those highly passionate in Formula 1.

“For me, the Monaco race is the most interesting and fun race to watch, especially in qualifying. The cars race on narrow streets and they’re are many tight corners as well as a tunnel.” said Ryan.

There is a thrill factor associated with Formula One. It is human nature to be impressed by the brave and the strong and, in F1 racing, the challenges and risks that drivers face in each race make it all seem so real and thrilling. Despite the fact that driver safety is a big topic every year due to the amount of high impact crashes and the resulting injuries the sport has seen over the years, Formula One racing continues to enthral viewers by pushing not just the cars’ but also the drivers’ limits. The fact that the race tracks change from one location to the next adds to the excitement of the competition.

Every track that Formula One races on is different. There are street tracks like Monaco (180mph on normal roads!), night races, technical races like Silverstone and desert races.

Many people compare the sport to NASCAR, which consists of slower cars racing around an oval circuit. The tracks of Formula One, on the other hand, have chicanes, hills, banked corners and other features. These guys race nose to wing at speeds of up to 200 mph.

Formula 1 is the highest level of world motor racing, a pillar of luxury with sponsors such as Rolex and Emirates, as well as the top car manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren as teams. With drivers from all over the world, it’s one of the most diverse sports leagues internationally. In total, 15 nationalities are represented among the 20 drivers, with many more in the race teams themselves.

Formula One has experienced a revival of sorts with many younger fans tuning in. For years, the sport was viewed as a rich man’s sport and there wasn’t any real participation from younger fans. This all changed with the Netflix: Drive to Survive Series which gave fans a behind the scenes look of the teams, the drivers and the sport as a whole.

For Ryan, “Drive to Survive” was his first exposure to the sport, and that’s how his love for the sport grew while watching.

“I started to follow Formula One as a result of the Netflix ‘Drive to Survive’ series. I watched it during COVID and then when the races started in July, I made sure to tune in to everyone,” said Ryan.

As a result, according to Nielsen Sports, the Formula 1 audience between the ages of 16 and 35 will reach one billion by April 2022.

For Nelson Andrews, a junior, “Drive to Survive” also opened his eyes to the sport.

“One day earlier this year, I scrolled through Netflix and found the Drive to Survive Series. I started to watch and became very interested right away,” said Andrews.

Formula One represents the pinnacle of engineering. Everything is created and manufactured from the ground up. Because everything they require is of the finest quality, there is no stock product available in the market that they could use.

For Andrews the engineering aspect of Formula One is one of his favorite things about the sport.

“There are so many different and important parts that go onto the car to make it perform well. The engine, the aerodynamics, the wing of the car, these are all things that need good engineering in order to have a fast car.”