In 2013 the world got tired of Vettel’s one finger salute and turned off the telly

Sebastian Vettel celebrates victory in Abu Dhabi last year
Sebastian Vettel celebrates victory in Abu Dhabi last year

Formula 1 superstar Sebastian Vettel’s coasting to a fourth successive world drivers title last year had an adverse effect on global TV audiences, as the 26-year-old Red Bull driver won 13 of the 19 races in easing to the title.

However, it wasn’t to television spectators liking as the total slumped from 500 million in 2012 – when Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso battled it out to the final race – to 450 million according to Global Media Report which was published by Formula One Management, who hold the commercial rights to Formula 1 and produce the images used by broadcasters.

While F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone put the reason for the fall partly down to last season having one race less than the previous year he conceded that Vettel’s dominance, especially in the second part of the season when he won nine successive races, as also behind so many viewers turning off.

Sebastian Vettel with Bernie Ecclestone
Sebastian Vettel with Bernie Ecclestone

“The less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds, culminating in the Championship being decided ahead of the races in the USA and Brazil, events which often bring substantial audiences, had a predictable impact on reach,” wrote Ecclestone.

The most significant drop in viewing figures came in China where the race was switched from state TV to regional stations and as a result lost 30 million viewers from the year before.

France too saw numbers melt away as for the first year the race was broadcast solely on pay TV channel Canal Plus, which paid a king’s ransom to outbid TF1, the long-time home to F1’s TV spectators in France.

Figures there saw a loss of 17 million viewers from 27 million in 2012 to 10 million.

By contrast three countries showed significant rises in viewers, those being the United States, Great Britain and Italy. (AFP)

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