This weekend Formula 1 returned to the US for the first time in 5-years.
Formula 1 has always had a mixed relationship with America. The popularity of NASCAR has significantly impacted Formula 1’s success. As Eddie Gossage, the president of Texas Motor Speedway recently said:
“NASCAR fans tend to look down their nose at Formula One fans and Formula One fans tend to look down their nose at NASCAR.”
The problem, he says, is that road racing isn’t an American sport and therefore, it will never succeed.
Events like the 2005’s shambles - which saw only 6 cars taking part – have done little to help. But this time around, Formula 1 put on a great show at a brand new purpose built circuit.
The social media buzz around the event certainly reflects that. By using our tool, Sentiment Metrics, to monitor social networks in the US over the race weekend, we have recorded 22,000 mentions. As you would expect, the peak was on race day itself when over 7000 mentions were recorded.
As you can see from the chart above, these conversations were overwhelmingly positive. Of all the mentions, 45% were positive and only 4% carried negative sentiment. A small number of those negative mentions were tweets referring to the sport as being boring or dull, but these were few and far between.
F1. They’re like cars, but 1000% more boring.
— myerman (@myerman) November 18, 2012
Instead, American viewers clearly embraced and enjoyed the race. Contrary to the earlier quote, even some NASCAR fans were getting in to it.
I’m truly thrilled about F1 being in Austin. So awesome!! #fb #F1
— Stephanie Gage (@Stephig) November 18, 2012
Outstanding return of #F1 to the United States. Congrats to Lewis Hamilton! Awesome job by Alonso to finish on the podium as well.
— Steve Emerson (@sremerson) November 18, 2012
The Formula 1 race was fantastic! Now time to relax and watch the NASCAR season finale :)
— Adrian Casillas (
YourManAdrian) <a href="https://twitter.com/YourManAdrian/status/270266358099480577">November 18, 2012</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet">What an awesome <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23USGP">#USGP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23F1">#F1</a> race!! Congrats tolewishamilton. Now watching the @nascar race. Going to be exciting all the way to the finish!!
— Justin Allgaier (@J_Allgaier) November 18, 2012
It looks like there could be a positive and prosperous future for F1 in the US after all, but social media monitoring can tell us much more than that. Drilling into this data can tell event organisers what worked well and what can be improved next year. For example:
Were the shuttle buses a success? Were there complaints about traffic? What age group was most likely to watch the race? Was the television coverage well received? Who were the most talked about manufacturers or sponsors? All of this can be answered using social media monitoring.
Guest post by Jeremy Taylor (Our Social Times)