As the oldest and most well-established motorsport in the world, Formula 1 has no shortage of fans. However the sport could always learn from others, attracting more viewers, making bigger spectacles, and having more exciting races.
Because F1 is so established, the decision makers behind the sport have become accustomed to doing things in a certain way, and in one way only. Getting stuck in a routine limits what the sport can do, how it can engage with fans with changing tastes, and ultimately can impact the longevity of the sport moving into the future. Learning from other sports can help Formula One retain its core fanbase, as well as helping it branch out into new areas to attract new fans.
What Motocross Can Teach F1
Motocross is just one sport that Formula 1 could really learn from, and is enjoying more exposure than ever thanks to its dynamic and pulse pounding racing style. The initial chaos of the first seconds of the race seems worlds away from the tightly controlled precision of Formula One, with all its teams and analysts working to an airtight plan. Motocross relies far more on the driver’s instincts, with everyone vying for position at any cost.
Motocross is frenetic, a packed and dangerous sport with a loyal following. Every single jump is watched with eager anticipation, thanks to the astounding physical prowess of the riders and the level of danger they face from a single bad landing.
While Formula One certainly doesn’t lack excitement or danger, but given the race takes place on a single flat plane, it can’t compete with the daring acrobatics Motocross is famous for. Formula One can’t replicate the spectacle of Motocross, but it can analyse how to maximise the dramatic potential of its tracks. The more intense and difficult the races, the more exciting the crowd and viewers will find the race.
The engineering involved in Formula One is world-renowned, widely regarded as the cutting-edge of motoring technology. Where Motocross stands out is the fantastic durability of the bikes, able to take tremendous amounts of punishments and still operate for the duration of the race.
While safety standards have gone up across the board in all motorsports thanks to new materials, crashes do unfortunately still happen. Formula One cars are still relatively fragile compared to other vehicles in motorsports, due to their ultra-light frame. Working to make them more resilient and able to withstand the stresses of high speed impact could help to make the sport more dynamic.
Motocross has a tiny fraction of the budget of Formula One. Yet even without the level of advertising, sponsorships, or broadcast opportunities, Motocross is still growing in fans. This is because those in charge of the sport understand what the fans want, and that’s what they deliver. In recent years F1 has come under fire for changing the sport too much, including changing the iconic sound of the cars.
Changing too much about a sport will alter how it works on a fundamental level, and this will drive long-term fans away. Retaining fans, and nurturing new ones into the sport is the only thing that can guarantee sustainable success.