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2014-06-11 10:05

IS F1 WORTH WATCHING ON TELLY? From Red Bull to Mercedes dominance...seems F1 fans are bored by the sport as TV audiences plunge globally Image: AP/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz

Formula 1's TV  viewership ratings in key markets are down in 2014.

Spanish sports daily Marca's correspondent Miguel Sanz reports that the most worrying figures are in South America, where ratings halved.

Sanz also looked at Italian and Spanish TV ratings and reported: "In Italy, depending on the successes of Ferrari, the drop is 20% based on data from the first five races of 2014. Spain, always with an eye on Fernando Alonso, is down 15%."


The analysis said ratings declined with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel's dominance in the sport when the global audience fell from 515-million in 2011 to 500-million in 2012.

Bernie Ecclestone's Formula 1 Management company revealed a further drop of 50-million viewers in 2013 (450-million), in a season that ended with a nine-race winning streak by the Red Bull driver.

Sanz said major markets in China and France have not helped the situation, as Chinese state broadcaster CCTV's coverage ended, while France moved to a 'Pay TV' system.

Germany's decline was reportedly 10% in 2013 but it has continued to drop a further 3% in 2014, despite the prominence not only of Mercedes but also 2014 Drivers' Championship leader Nico Rosberg.


Former F1 team boss, Flavio Briatore, says regulations are to blame: "What we have now is not F1, it's something else. The audience is clearly enjoying it a lot less, because there are cars that do not make much noise.

"There are drivers who save fuel, drivers who only do 'fake' overtaking when their wing flap is open.  Drivers who are doing their accounting in the car rather than being gladiators," Briatore charged.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone has also been highly critical of F1's new era, and particularly the quieter V6 engines.


He is not overly worried about the TV numbers.

Ecclestone said: "I was talking to the people from RTL television in Germany. They said it is surprising that across everything they do, television ratings are down.

"Why?  Because people have only so much time.  They are using Facebook, Twitter...there are so many things people can watch.

"You see the ratings have gone down but in the end they will go back to watching television."

Read more on:    england  |  motorsport  |  f1

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