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Racing As One

Formula 1 Teams Collectively Generate $259.9M in Post Value Through 13 Grands Prix

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Social Media
Sponsorship Valuation
August 25, 2022
August 25, 2022
 min read

Speed, technological innovation, mechanical prowess, and intense competition are among the many appeals of Formula 1 racing, which boasts fans in every corner of the world. During 22 weeks this year, those fans will tune in to watch the most skilled drivers on the planet maneuver through 20-car grids at breakneck speeds with a common goal of earning the chequered flag. But beyond the broadcast, the races – which take place from Australia to Austin – command international attention on social media. The drivers enjoy superstar status – resulting in millions of supporters online – and their teams proudly share content to followings as large as 26.5 million, in the case of Mercedes AMG Petronas. We used MVP’s social platform to evaluate the true reach of these racing titans and how their posts create value for some of the sport’s most visible sponsors. Our data encompasses all team and driver content shared to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube since the first round of pre-season testing in Barcelona back in February. In that time, the ten F1 teams have collectively generated $259.9M in total post value, with eight-time defending constructors champion Mercedes topping the value rankings.

Constructor Powerhouse Leads the Way

Teams begin approaching dynasty territory after winning three or more titles within a short span, with contemporary examples including the NBA’s Warriors in recent years, the NFL’s Patriots in the early aughts, and MLB’s Yankees of the late 1990s. But none of these franchises demonstrated the consistency Mercedes AMG Petronas has displayed since 2014. The team entered the 2022 campaign having won a record eight consecutive F1 constructors’ championships. And although Mercedes currently sits third in this season’s standings, its loyal fan base has pushed the team to the top of our social rankings after six months. To date, Mercedes has generated $83.1M worth of post value from 5,708 posts. Not only is the total at least 59.9% higher than any other team’s value generation, but Mercedes’ $14,553 per post average also leads the way. The figures are the result of Mercedes’ social content earning 170.8 million engagements and creating 3.93 billion impressions. After a considerable value gap, Scuderia Ferrari ranks second in total post value with $51.9M, followed by Red Bull Racing’s $45.8M. However, the Italian franchise and Milton Keynes-based team swapped places in our average value rankings, with Red Bull’s average post value of $12,939 eclipsing Scuderia Ferrari’s average by 55%. Placing fourth and fifth, respectively in both total post value and average post value were McLaren Racing Limited and Haas F1 Team.

Hamilton Nearly Laps Field

Among the driving forces behind Mercedes’ F1 dominance of late has been driver Lewis Hamilton, who joined the team in 2013 and has since won six drivers’ championships. The 37-year-old Briton is arguably the most popular driver in the league, and his 43.5 million social media followers – a total that exceeds all other drivers’ totals by at least 2.95x – would seem to support the claim. Hamilton’s vast network of fans helped him generate $16.7M worth of total post value through August 23 – 71.2% more than Sergio Perez, who ranks second on our list. This season’s current points leader among drivers, Max Verstappen, is a close third with $9.6M in post value thus far thanks to 41 million engagements and 455.5 million impressions. However, Verstappen is a middling 10th in average post value at $18,577. That category is led by retiring Aston Martin F1 Team driver Sebastian Vettel, who made his social media debut this season and averaged $180,437 in post value from his two posts. Including only drivers who have been consistently active on social media, Lewis Hamilton once again tops our list. His average post value of $101,180 eclipses his closest rival Charles Leclerc’s average by 2.36x. Leclerc also ranks second in total engagements with 58.9 million to Hamilton’s 73.7 million.

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Leclerc’s Wins Accelerate Follower Growth

Although Charles Leclerc joined Scuderia Ferrari in 2019 and won his first career race in that campaign’s Belgian Grand Prix, he failed to ascend the podium again until this year’s season-opening stage in Bahrain. It was the first of four races Leclerc has won so far this year, and it provided an immediate boost to his popularity on social media. After winning the race, he added 196,130 followers across his social accounts – a 2.22% increase – in a single day. This season alone, Leclerc has gained 3.79 million followers, bringing his overall total to 12.34 million – good for fourth among all drivers. He is one of five drivers who added at least 2 million followers through six months of the 2022 F1 season, joined by Hamilton, Vettel, Carlos Sainz Jr., and Lando Norris. Notably, Vettel, who had previously shunned social media before using it to announce his impending retirement at the end of the year, earned 2 million followers within two days of creating his Instagram account and currently sits at 2.2 million. Overall, the 20 drivers have added 27.49 million followers this year – roughly 17.7% of their collective total.

Red Bull Separates From Social Pack

Without a suite of strongly invested sponsors for each Formula 1 team, the globetrotting circuit could not exist. In return for their support, the partners’ logos are prominently displayed on cars and racing suits every race week. And in addition to the value generated through broadcast and print media covering the sport, sponsors reap dividends from being featured throughout the season on social media. Using MVP’s social platform and AI-powered logo detection software, we examined brand values generated by the sport’s top sponsors via text and image content on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The top three earning brands – in order: Red Bull, Haas Automation, and Ferrari – were each bolstered by their respective team and drivers as the primary value drivers. Red Bull sits atop our list of social brand value earners this season with $13.89M, surpassing Haas’s second-place total by 54.1%. Ferrari was the only other brand to exceed the $5M mark, finishing our evaluation with $5.56M in brand value generated. Shell and Petronas followed with $4.81M and $3.77M, respectively. Among drivers, no one generated more brand value than Verstappen, who has topped $3.3M in brand value generated this year. In total, the field of competitors has been responsible for $19.66M in brand value to date.

Time Remains for Passing Maneuvers

Nine grands prix remain in the 2022 F1 season, beginning with this weekend’s Belgian GP at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. And while Verstappen seems poised to claim his second successive drivers’ championship and Red Bull may supplant Mercedes as the top constructor, there is still time for exciting power shifts and passing maneuvers as the season winds down. As such, drivers and their teams will continue to harness the power of social media to expand their reach and generate brand value for their global partners. Stay connected with MVP for further Formula 1 insights in the coming months, as well as a soon-to-be-released comprehensive report detailing viewership personas among motorsports fans.

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