Social media is far from the end-all, be-all of what’s happening in the world, but it’s still a solid barometer of how popular Formula 1 racing has become in recent years. A new study, however, is showing that the racing circuit is losing a bit of buzz in 2023.
In a white paper, analysis from social media intelligence company Buzz Radar has shown a stark decline in mentions and conversations about F1 versus 2022. In fact, it has predicted that the sport may have peaked on social media.
“The data comparison between 2022 and 2023 revealed significant drops in the overall mentions of F1, along with dismal numbers in the growth of new followers of high-profile accounts. The reach of F1-related content across various social platforms has also receded, in stark contrast to the steady progress observed yearly before. But, the declining numbers are only one part of the story. The social data from 2023 also offered insight into a fundamental shift in conversation about F1: a noticeable upswing in the use of negative adjectives associated with the sport. Words like ‘boring’ and ‘annoying’ are now becoming high-frequency descriptors, replacing erstwhile positive words like ‘interesting’ and ‘exciting’.”
One major component to the decline in social buzz is the dominance of Red Bull and the reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who is currently in line to win his third straight title. The Belgian-Dutch racer won 13 of the 16 races so far in 2023, including 10 straight at one point. Red Bull itself has won all but one competition this year (teammate Sergio Perez alternated wins with Verstappen over the first four races) and just wrapped up a second straight Constructors crown.
The report does note, however, that some of the same reasons for a so-called decline in interest also came up when Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were the kings of the track through much of the 2010s.
There could be other factors to the drop in F1 buzz on social media beyond what’s happening on the track. Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” served its role as a gateway for many American fans, but the last two seasons lacked the same level of intrigue as the first two.
In addition, X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, has gone through quite the upheaval since Elon Musk bought it in late 2022. It’s recently come under fire for placing NFL ads on the accounts of prominent white nationalists, adding more concerns from advertisers about brand safety. There are conflicting reports about the usage rates on the platform – Musk says it’s up but some reports dispute his claim.
Red Bull’s dominance this year may also have an impact on traditional television viewership in the United States, where F1 has shown tremendous growth over the last four years.