2013 World Gets Tired Of Vettel Finger And Turned Off Telly – Great Play The Blame Game…
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.
“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)
So Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have performed at an incredibly high level, from pushing the limits of car design, to the team effort on race weekend and the spectacular driving by Vettel most Saturdays and on most Sundays as well. And because of this somehow it is their fault that viewership is down? Well I have four names to give the 50 million fans that tuned out because Red Bull and company were only fulfilling what they set out to accomplish, what F1 fans live for, to build the best car and race it to great effect. Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and yep, you guessed it Lotus.
I would propose it is not the fault of the current world champions for the dramatic fall in TV viewership, but the fault of everyone else starting with the four I just mentioned. I’m not a Vettel or Red Bull fan and have made that point quite clear in this blog and to anyone who will listen these last four years, but as a fan of F1, how on earth could I not appreciate what this team has done in its short tenure as a constructor? I want nothing more than someone else’s finger to be atop the podium on Sundays, like the guy from Oviedo, or Hertfordshire (that is Lewis Hamilton in case you didn’t know his birthplace), anyone really for that matter, but these last four years it has not been the case. So what? We move on.
To be upset that other teams and drivers have not had as much success is a testament to the passion all of us have for this great sport. To start pointing the finger at a constructor and a driver because they have got it right more times than not, is just plain silly and unsportsmanlike.