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wanting to be a social leader doesn’t make you more popular

The perception of Formula 1 is changing, and Max Verstappen has already beaten Lewis Hamilton, albeit in the hearts of the fans for now.


The perception of Formula 1 is changing, and Max Verstappen has already beaten Lewis Hamilton, albeit in the hearts of the fans for now. The Dutchman is the favorite driver globally in the poll promoted by FOM (Formula One Management). The Briton has even been displaced by his compatriot Lando Norris, who has not even achieved a victory yet.

Why has someone who is breaking figures and historical records lost ground? Does it not favor Hamilton to have expanded his role with the leadership of social causes? Where does Lando Norris appeal? Among the Spanish pilots Fernando Alonso is located in the sixth position, while Carlos Sainz does not appear among the top ten.

Despite not having achieved a title, and with Hamilton on the way to his eighth, the Dutchman has surpassed the Briton in the popularity poll

The largest survey of all

The public success of the recent United States GP has provided a good example of the evolution of Formula 1, whose popularity has grown extraordinarily. in a historically reticent market. On the one hand, thanks to the impact of the “Drive to Survive” series in the American market. On the other, the interest that the extraordinary duel between Verstappen and Hamilton is awakening. The stands were packed with orange jerseys last weekend. Precisely, the Dutch driver was chosen as the most popular among American fans in the aforementioned Formula 1 poll.

With 167,302 respondents it is the broadest base carried out by Formula 1. Their average age has dropped to 32 years, also the youngest of all the consultations made to date. Almost 20 percent corresponds to the female vote. In total, the survey covered 187 countries. These data that have influenced the vote of the fans and the final results.

The Formula 1 survey has implied its demographic and age base, reflecting the evolution of recent times

Verstappen the Relentless

Verstappen has garnered 15 percent of the vote. A result that could be attributed to the mass of Dutch fans who arrived at Formula 1 in the heat of his figure, but in the United States and Japan he is also the most popular driver. Singularizing a specific reason does not explain such a position, but an analysis of its profile can provide some clues.

First, the alternative factor. Since 2014 Lewis Hamilton has monopolized the championship, denying his rivals the attractiveness of the winner. As soon as the Dutchman has challenged that status, his popularity has skyrocketed. The strong personal profile that has always distinguished him is added. Of singular talent, oblivious to any type of commitment, irreverent on the track and off it, Verstappen challenges the ‘established power’ that Hamilton represents and with a much younger age. Confirming that personality that seems so attractive to the fans, the Dutchman has made the risky decision not to participate in the next edition of “Drive for Survive” and not to grant any interview to its producers, claiming that they manipulate the chosen stories that serve as the axis to the series.

Hamilton has expanded his role to fields beyond Formula 1, but does not appear to have gained ground in popularity with fans.

Hamilton loses ground

And Lewis Hamilton? In your case, several factors could justify your decline. On the one hand, the broadening of the demographic base of the survey, with a third of those surveyed under 24 years of age. Second, the perception of his figure represents the established power with all the values ​​that it implies. In addition, since last year the British has crossed the frontier of the successful athlete to seek social leadership in causes such as racial equality or inclusiveness. Added to this is the presentation he makes of his figure, more sophisticated and elitist derived from his love of fashion.

Hamilton is the favorite over the 35-year age bracket, also in Great Britain. The rejuvenation of the social base of Formula 1 has diluted his figure, but the results confirm that his new career has not made him more attractive among fans, perhaps a product of the wear and tear or polarization of their personal positions on issues that, however, are popular with the younger segment of the public. The contrast with the figure of Lando Norris is evident.

Norris’s personality, who has yet to win in Formula 1, has made him one of the most popular drivers

Norris and the Spaniards

The presence of Lando Norris in second place offers interesting nuances. Casual, spontaneous, natural and very active in social networks, his figure does not arouse rejection and it does generate enormous doses of sympathy, since for now the weight that his results bring does not explain such a position. Since his arrival in Formula 1, he has had no qualms about interacting on social networks with the fans as one of them, to the point of having to collect candles in recent times to modulate his perception. According to the survey, Norris is the most popular with the female audience and among those surveyed under the age of 24. In this sense, the Briton has become a great asset for F1 and for McLaren, chosen as the most popular team in the poll.

In the case of the Spanish, Fernando Alonso was classified in sixth position. His distance from the circuits for two years and the rejuvenation of the fan base has also had to influence the results of one of the figures who enjoys the most presence in the media, regardless of his results. Carlos Sainz does not appear in the top ten, while the other driver of the team, Charles Leclerc, also very young, is only seventh. Obviously, Ferrari – which lost its first position for the first time in years – has lost its grip in Formula 1.