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Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT04
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Opinion

When F1's heavy-handed charm offensive has left a bad taste

OPINION: Formula 1’s attempts to show that everything is still rosy when it comes to fan engagement haven’t gone down well, as MATT KEW explains

Liberty Media and the Formula One Group are publicly listed companies, which means a green or red number next to their stock price indicates just how well life is going. Naturally, this leads to plenty of PR spin to soften any bad news so the value is protected. This is nothing new and hardly exclusive to F1. But recently, the charm offensive bordered on the offensive.

When the championship was ascending the popularity mountain as Drive to Survive viewers tuned in to the 2021 dogfight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, F1 was content to disclose the size of its TV audiences. On the eve of each season, growth and percentage gains were shouted about. Granted, contentious and compelling campaigns don’t come around often so a dip – the intrigue surrounding the landmark pivot to ground-effects for 2022 considered – is understandable. But now F1 keeps schtum.

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