Formula 1 Breaks Out New ‘Sprint’ Race Format

    • Formula One debuted a new concept car and racing format, both designed to produce an accessible, exciting product.
    • The racing series' popularity has surged in the U.S. following Netflix's "Drive to Survive" docuseries.

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The breakout Netflix series “Drive to Survive” crystallized the drama and intrigue of Formula 1’s recent seasons. Now F1 is making adjustments to pack more action into its live product.

F1 debuted a new “sprint” format to determine pole position at the British Grand Prix over the weekend. The 62-mile race, one-third the length of the Grand Prix, is meant to deliver an accessible, high-octane spectacle.

The Italian Grand Prix will also use the sprint format, as will a third, to-be-determined race outside Europe.

On Thursday, F1 also revealed a new concept car designed for higher-speed turns, among other things.

F1’s revenue surged to $180 million in Q1, compared to a pandemic-affected $39 million from the same period in 2020.

The format changes could be good for casual fans as F1 seeks to capitalize on the boom in interest brought by the Netflix series.

  • F1 had 99% growth across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube in 2020.
  • June’s French Grand Prix scored the second-highest cable audience in F1 history, eclipsing 1 million viewers on ESPN. As of June, viewership was up 53% compared to 2020, and 38% compared to 2019.

F1 will have another major opportunity to grow its American audience in 2022, when Miami joins Austin as a U.S. host city in the global race series.