2014 Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying: How F1 interacted with Twitter

A few hours ago on Twitter, I posted an image looking at how Formula 1’s eleven teams along with the UK broadcasters interacted with followers across the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying period, alongside post-session reaction. The tweet has so far between retweeted by 22 accounts and favourited by 11 accounts. I thought it would be a good idea to repost the image on here and highlight some important things that pop out when looking at this.

How Formula 1 interacted with Twitter during Qualifying for the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix.
How Formula 1 interacted with Twitter during Qualifying for the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix.

For the purposes of this post, and as noted above, I have used the time period 13:00 to 15:30, so from the start of Qualifying to an hour and a half after the session. The image is fairly self explanatory, just two points to make: the average is the amount of retweets (RT) or favourites divided by the number of tweets made within that time period, whilst the latter column is the number of RT’s or favourites divided by the number of followers, as a percentage. Of course, people can RT and favourite accounts that they don’t follow, but there is no way to know exact numbers where that is concerned. It’s the first time I’ve tried to bundle a lot of statistics into one image, and no doubt there may be other ways to look at this, but thought it would be worth doing considering how social media where Formula 1 is concerned is a very popular subject at the moment! I’ve added some conditional formatting as well to give a clearer view of the situation.

Whilst Formula One Management’s (FOM) social media strategy has been under intense scrutiny as of late, their tweets can reach many people, however that requires them to actively tweet. An average of 112 accounts retweeted or shared their three tweets, the second highest of the list, and only behind @WilliamsRacing. Despite this, the percentage is the lowest of the 14 accounts listed, 335 interactions in total from nearly 1 million accounts is only 0.04% of their overall total. If @F1 chose to actively engage with their followers throughout an F1 session, then I would be painting a different picture. What is odd is that @F1TimingApp is clearly humanely ran. So why does one company operate two completely separate social media policies? They don’t need to accelerate @F1 fast, but why they are not interacting with their followers, I simply don’t know. What is there to lose?

Where there is a void from FOM, there isn’t from @BBCF1 and @SkySportsF1. The BBC story is interesting, as it started out as a BBC Radio 5 Live account before turning into a corporate BBC Sport account earlier this year. I’m personally not a fan of the style that the BBC F1 account uses now, but when you look at the numbers above, you cannot complain too much. I suspect the difference in the amount of tweets between them and Sky is because this weekend is a highlights weekend for them, so kept tweeting fairly low-key in comparison. On Sky’s side of things, I did in the past complain about their lack of interaction, however that has improved significantly since then, and the statistics show that their followers like what they are seeing – #AskCrofty is one particular feature after each Qualifying and Race session. I personally would like to see more of GP2 and GP3 on there, but from a F1 perspective, I think Sky have got it right. @SkyF1Insider on the other hand is a different kettle of fish for debate in another blog post…

Given that this is a look at Qualifying, unsurprisingly the tail-ender teams do not register significantly in this analysis, @Marussia_F1Team, @OfficialSF1Team and @CaterhamF1 the victims. Up front, all the credit goes to @InsideFerrari – 54 tweets during the two and a half hour time period! Okay, some of them are duplicates as there will be tweets in English and Italian, but it shows to me how they are desperately trying to push social media within Formula 1, more so than perhaps other teams. @RedBullRacing may have half a million followers, but with only six tweets during Qualifying today, its potential is not being maximised as much as it should be. Their sister team @ToroRossoSpy made more than double the amount of tweets as them despite having a much lower social media profile.

The @WilliamsRacing numbers really shows what happens when a team or driver claims victory, their pole position tweet as of writing has been retweeted over 1,000 times! Anyway, I thought this would be an interesting comparison to do. Okay, it is a very small sample of data, and only one session, but it is fascinating to see who is embracing social media and which parties need to improve – or in one case create – a social media strategy. All it requires is a few tweets to tap into the next generation of Formula 1 fans. They are ready and waiting. With over 830,000 followers for the official F1 account on Twitter, all the Commercial Rights Holder needs to do is reach them. And why wait?

Update on June 22nd at 17:50 – I’ve done a comparison between the statistics for Qualifying and the Race, which can be found here, and a race day chart including NBC Sports is here.

5 thoughts on “2014 Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying: How F1 interacted with Twitter

  1. I installed the official f1 app. It pinged and told me Williams was on pole before I watch qually on BBC . Which means I have now uninstalled it. Cant really have live tweets if u cant watch the sport live si never will sign up Now

  2. @InsideFerrari repeat all their tweets in 3 languages; Italian, English, and Spanish. Did you take this into account in the figures? If not, their figure of 57 tweets should really be counted as 19!

    1. This is the case for some of their tweets, but not all of them, at least from the sample I looked at. Also, if I was to do that, you could argue that I’d have to only include the RTs/favourites from their English based tweets as a result.

      Another thought is that they should have three separate accounts, @InsideFerrari_IT, @InsideFerrari_ENG and @InsideFerrari_ESP – which is now being common practice for some of the big football teams.

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