TV numbers are Formula 1's currency. When ratings are up, the Formula One Group is able to negotiate top-dollar contracts - which in turn trickles down to teams, albeit diluted - and when global numbers peak so does the value of sponsor and partner deals, whether at team or commercial rights holder (FOG) level.
Circuit owners, too, score through increased awareness in their territories, while there is little doubt that today's fledgling viewers are tomorrow's drivers, engineers, buyers of tickets/merchandise/games, and pitlane reporters.
F1 was once very much a fringe sport, watched live mainly by petrolheads; today it's a mainstream activity followed not by the billions all too often misleadingly spoken about, but certainly hundreds of millions across the globe.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken